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Angel 4: Undercover

tn_angel4In ANGEL 4: UNDERCOVER, the chapter after the final chapter, Angel rises from the streets to invade the corporate world. “Executive by day, hooker by night. From the boardroom to the bedroom.” Cool idea, right? Seems like a very ’80s idea, but it was still the early ’90s, it wasn’t too late to explore those still relevant themes of corruption and cruelty hidden behind mirrored skyscrapers and fancy clothes.

I should specify, that’s what the box of ANGEL 4 is about. The movie itself is a standalone story where she’s not an executive and there’s no boardroom (or bedroom, really) and she doesn’t look like the same lady on the cover and doesn’t become a hooker again. But you know, you gotta let the marketing people express themselves too. They had a story they felt like they were born to tell, and they just had to let it out.

Damn. The ANGEL saga started out so promising. Unfortunately this 1993 follow-up is more like a shitty TV movie going undercover as an ANGEL movie, and quickly getting its cover blown.

This time Molly “Angel” Stewart is played by Darlene Vogel, later of the TV show Pacific Blue. To a certain type of nerd she might mean something because I guess she played somebody named “Spike” in BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II and also “Heather – ITF Spokesperson” on BACK TO THE FUTURE… THE RIDE.

mp_angel4These days Molly is blond. She’s still working as a crime scene photographer, now in California again, and in a steady relationship with a corny radio DJ who looks like Paul Reiser (Mark DeCarlo, whose next credit after this is SAVED BY THE BELL: WEDDING IN LAS VEGAS). Also she has depth because she enjoys the poetry now, and is planning to go to a reading (though we never see this).

The boyfriend is a big dork who always wants to watch videos with her. He says “I’ll bring the HELLRAISER video” and in another part he shows that he owns REFORM SCHOOL GIRLS (which is weird since that’s from the same director as ANGEL III, but he’s not involved in this one). The boyfriend’s part in the movie is mostly being upset because Molly doesn’t return his calls and he doesn’t see her enough. Because she’s Undercover.

It all comes about when she runs into another one of her dearest street friends who we’ve never seen in the previous three movies. Paula (Kerrie Clark, who played a hooker in MIAMI BLUES and was on the TV show Dream On) was like a little sister to her who she protected. There’s one conversation about some photos Molly took that might be a reference to part III when we heard she was trying to do a photo book about street kids. Continuity!

Now Paula’s gotten clean and is happy dating the bass player for a band called AK-47 but trying to get with the lead singer Piston Jones (Shane Fraser) even though he already has a controlling girlfriend named Jade (Sam Phillips, PHANTASM II, DOLLMAN) and has become a crazed pill addict since the overdose death of his previous girlfriend. Coincidentally this same band’s management are currently threatening her boyfriend and his co-workers because they accepted payola but are not playing the band a suspicious 3 times an hour as agreed. In fact, Molly just photographed the dead body of a DJ who fell off the roof being chased by the record label’s enforcer (Patrick Kilpatrick, BEST OF THE BEST 2, UNDER SIEGE 2: DARK TERRITORY, THE SUBSTITUTE: FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION). I don’t think she ever makes the connection (an homage to part III’s connected-but-she-doesn’t-notice opening casino raid?)

Molly decides to become Angel again when Paula turns up dead in a dumpster and she hears a cop saying “Another dead hooker. You’d think they’d learn,” and then immediately changing the subject to “You know, you can’t get a good bagel in this town.” We know that Piston tried to sex Paula up, then snapped and strangled her with a guitar string, but Angel doesn’t know this. So she goes undercover as a groupie and capture’s Piston’s heart by purposely dressing like his dead girlfriend. She falls for him and doesn’t think he did it but does not investigate any other leads or consider any other suspects. And it’s implied through editing that she immediately fucks him (sorry, VHS watching boyfriend).

Creating a fake great rock and roll band for a movie is always a losing proposition, and especially when the movie is low budget and not good and made during an awkward era of popular music. There’s no Hollywood Boulevard footage and no theater marquees in this one, the time period is marked by the radio station’s posters for Nine Inch Nails, Metallica and Faith No More. I guess AK-47 are supposed to fit into that transitional period between glam metal and “alternative rock.” Judging from the name, Piston must’ve been intended as an Axl Rose type, but he seems more like a model. He’s a muscular dude always playing with his long hair, keeping his shirt open to show off his nipple ring.

There’s exactly one part where he seems like he’s supposed to be a joke. After cheating on his girlfriend he answers a phone call from her. “Did you have a good fuck?” she asks.

“It was okay,” he says innocently. “Who is this?”

Other than that it seems like maybe you’re supposed to think this idiot is interesting and complex. Molly is impressed by his quoting of Rimbaud and Sylvia Plath, and when she finds out he went to Juilliard. She’s moved by his acoustic guitar playing and he laments that his audience would never accept it (which I don’t buy, it’s not like the bullshit he’s playing is exactly rattling their skulls). I think maybe we’re supposed to take him seriously as a darkly troubled artist. When he and Jade get into tearful fights I’m sure they were thinking of Sid and Nancy, and thinking Sid and Nancy were cool.

In defense of actor Shane Fraser, he does seem to really play guitar and he performs and writes the songs himself. To me they’re terrible but they seem to fit into that type of music of that time. It’s just not my thing.

Of course you also have to deal with a ridiculous portrayal of the music industry. AK-47 have threatened their way into being played 3 times an hour, but their song is still only #3, and Molly, who meets her boyfriend at the radio station every day under an AK-47 poster, has never heard of them. Still, they’re often referred to as this big deal on the verge of exploding. But they seem to perform almost nightly at this one small bar, where they also seem to live and rehearse all day and film part of the video they’re working on. They have a large entourage of hoes but the only label or management people are the one enforcer guy and the evil head of the label, Roddy McDowall playing a role where you gotta figure they meant to call Malcolm McDowell.

This just doesn’t feel like an ANGEL movie at all. It’s partly the era’s fault. For the most part the low budget filmmaking of the early ’90s was more polished than it had been in the ’80s, in a bad way. I’m not a fan of the way this kinda shit looks and sounds, the type of studio rock music on the soundtrack and cheesy video effects on the credits. I suppose it’s a time capsule just like the other ones but it captures an aesthetic I’d rather forget. I know everybody was in it for the money, but the people doing these movies in the ’80s seem like they went out there and busted their balls trying to figure out how to make a real movie. This seems more like a routine day job of making Movie With Hint of Boobs #2437B. They seem like factory workers who know how to churn out passable cable fodder. There’s no grit and no life that gets on camera, it’s all sets that have been used on a thousand TV shows and movies. They never went out onto an actual street and found interesting people to shoot, it’s all girls with big hair and lacy bras that waited in a long line to audition.

Also, this is the only ANGEL movie without any transvestites or street performers.

Not only does this lack the heart, personality, style, texture and location of the first two ANGEL movies, but this fourth incarnation of the character doesn’t have any of the toughness she started with. There’s a part where she twists a girl’s arm to break up a catfight, but that’s it. She doesn’t carry a gun or have to fight anyone after that. There is no revenge or vigilantism, just collecting of evidence that clearly will not even be remotely considered in a court of law, and then convenient accidental death when she tries to stop Piston from committing suicide during a video shoot. Actually, there’s one funny climactic kill: she accidentally falls off a tall structure, then Jade tries to jump on her and she holds up a broken guitar, impaling her.

Not surprisingly this is an all new set of filmatists not involved in the previous ANGEL pictures. Director “George Axmith” is a pseudonym for Richard Schenkman. He had previously done a blooper video called SNAFU: THE WORLD’S SCREWIEST FOUL-UPS!, two Playboy videos and 2 LUSTY LIAISONS movies, but this is the one he wanted to put a fake name on. He later did JEROME BIXBY’S THE MAN FROM EARTH and more recently the Asylum movie ABRAHAM LINCOLN VS. ZOMBIES. The writers were Dode B. Levenson (CHILDREN OF THE CORN III: URBAN HARVEST) and Frank Chance (nothing else).

I’m sorry to say that I completely understand why this is not on DVD and not included in The Angel Collection. It adds nothing to the series. The only thing I got out of it was practice being patient and the satisfaction of completism. If you don’t have that same compulsion I say just watch the first two in the series. Cool cover, though.


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VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Thursday, January 30th, 2014 at 3:38 pm and is filed under Crime, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

54 Responses to “Angel 4: Undercover”

  1. That box features some seriously bad photoshopped faces. Yikes!

  2. You’re right Vern, great cover, and great legs.

  3. I’m with you on the boring slickness and professionalism of early 90s low-budget film, Vern. The flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants quality of the 70s and 80s was replaced by a bland competence. It’s clear that everybody involved was just trying to get enough masters, closeups, and over-the-shoulders to cover the scene, without any of the off-kilter or in-the-margins stuff that would make these cookie-cutter setups interesting to look at. They knew how a movie was supposed to be made, but not why.

    On that note, I have actually seen ABRAHAM LINCOLN VS. ZOMBIES. It’s not my fault, though. I was on Nantucket and planning on seeing LINCOLN with some friends, but the tiny independent theater switched to THE GUILT TRIP at the last minute without telling us, so we had an awkward couple of minutes wondering why the Lincoln Bedroom looked so contemporary and what’s up with this music and holy crap is that Barbra Streisand, she’s not in this, is she? Once we figured out our error, we got our money back and went back to my friend’s place and watched the only Lincoln-related thing on Netflix at the time.

    I don’t remember much, but the guy playing Abe was actually pretty decent. On par with the guy in ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER, I think. I figure they just hired a real Lincoln impersonator so this was probably the moment this guy’s been waiting for his whole life.

  4. Woah woah woah, you’re telling me Roddy McDowell is in this piece of crap? Boy, the 90’s were not kind to that guy. You gotta figure he died right before Quentin Tarantino was gonna cast him in something.

  5. Can’t find any confirmation, but I saw a couple of blogospherical mentions that this was a pilot for an Angel TV series that never went ahead. I don’t know if it’s true, but it would explain why it’s so bland and cheap.

  6. Spike was one of my Griff’s (no relation) gang members in BTTF 2

  7. uh, ignore the “my”

  8. I don’t know what it was about the mid-90s, but there were A LOT of movies, tv movies, books and, God knows what else – probably children’s books, about women getting screwed over by lovers turning into psycho killers. I reached the tipping point when I saw no less than 3 movies/tv movies and read one book with this plot device in the same week. I don’t know if it was an indictment against women, saying we’re idiots who can’t recognize a bad guy even if we’re fucking him, or against men, saying they’re all psychopaths. All I know is I hate anything with that plot device now. They just make me angry.

  9. Maggie – the best ‘Woman-Gets-Screwed-Then-Gets-Screwed-Over-By-A-Psychopath’ movie of the early 90’s is BLUE STEEL, in my opinion. Jamie-Lee kicks his arse though so it’s not a downer.

  10. I rewatched BLUE STEEL recently after having not seen it since it first came on cable, and wow, does that movie make no sense. The script tries to play off everything bad that happens to Jaime Lee as “Nobody’s listening to her because she’s a woman in a man’s world!” but it’s actually because she’s the world’s absolute worst cop. No question. SAMURAI COP had a more conscientious and effective law enforcement protagonist. At no point in the movie does she betray the slightest hint of competence or good judgment. Not only does she blow the investigation on multiple occasions (which the movie steadfastly refuses to acknowledge, sticking to its story that it’s all the patriarchal bureaucracy’s fault), she’s also a danger to herself, her coworkers, and the public at large every single second that she’s allowed to carry a gun. It’s the opposite of Hitchcock’s rule of thumb about how the audience will sympathize with any character who’s good at his/her job. It’s the kind of movie where you find yourself yelling at the screen after every other line of dialogue.

    Bigelow is a skilled director, so the movie looks great and the action is visceral and effective, but I can see why she went and got herself a journalist to plot her movies for her. Clearly narrative plausibility is not her strong suit.

  11. Turns out I have delivered this rant before, in much greater detail: http://www.outlawvern.com/2007/07/12/blue-steel/

  12. Majestyk, yeah she didn’t give us a very confident protagonist in Curtis. Ironically enough Bigelow seems more confident in how she handles her male characters, particularly the military ones in HURT LOCKER and ZD30.

    Like Maggie said, maybe she (Jamies character) was just a product of that mentality that felt women needed to be portrayed as being vulnerable AND stupid, as opposed to feminine yet strong.

  13. Majestyk: “I don’t remember much, but the guy playing Abe was actually pretty decent. On par with the guy in ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER, I think. I figure they just hired a real Lincoln impersonator so this was probably the moment this guy’s been waiting for his whole life.”
    The actor was intereviewed by Brad Jones on thecinemasnob.com once and he seems like a real nice and guy, and looking him up I think I read that he’s a bit of a stage actor and has played not just Lincoln but Kennedy before too.

  14. Yeah, it’s weird. I realize that most movie cops are menaces to society, but they get results, dammit. Jamie Lee had all of the brazen disregard for protocol and public safety of your typical loose cannon, with none of the ubercompetence that makes such a character palatable. It’s like they wanted to go for a more realistic take on the usual Dirty Harry cliches, but the best they could come up with was making her really terrible at everything.

  15. Darren:

    Ironically enough Bigelow seems more confident in how she handles her male characters, particularly the military ones in HURT LOCKER and ZD30.

    Negativo, amigo.

    Negatron, Megatron.

    She’s “more confident,” perhaps, but she ain’t more competent. The lead protag of THL is a fucking imbecile and a head case; the males in 0D30 are mostly shitheads or compromised suits and/or dirty chaw-chewing grunts who happen to be on constant standby availability for a ‘superior’ government agency/service to grant them a helicopter taxi ride to the next hit mish.

    Bigelow is the worst.

    I hate.

  16. Stu: What kind of chameleon is this guy that he can play both our handsomest and our homeliest president?

  17. Mr. Majestyk’s words on BLUE STEEL are nothing short of revelatory in terms of understanding the Bigelow. oeuvre.

    Seriously, I’ve looked internet-wide, and only this here one OutlawVern talkbacker really ‘gets’ that slice of ’80s Bigelow. I’ve a friend who has accused Bigelow of going out of her idiotic way to offend any audience members with any law enforcement or military service background, and I’m inclined to agree, but I’d prefer to hitch my hate-wagon to the perfect, perfectly civilian critiques of our boy Maj.

  18. I’m sad that this ANGEL retrospective is coming to an end. Nobody has anything to say about the movies themselves, but they prompt some pretty good side discussions.

    In related news, I recently discovered the 70s glam band Angel, who were like the anti-Kiss. While Kiss wore all black and pretended to be demons, Angel wore all white and pretended to be sent from heaven to rock the mortal coil with their killer riffs, gleaming torsos, and estimable fog machine budget.

    I immediately downloaded their entire discography. Obviously.

    Behold! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5Cc-9Wij_M

  19. Until you reviewed them, I didn’t even know that those movies existed. So thank you for that.

    Useless trivia: “Angel” is German for “fishing rod”.

  20. I’m gonna read Majestyks critique a bit later(I’m posting from work), but Mouth, she did make NEAR DARK and POINT BREAK, so she deserves some credit. To be fair they were both pop-genre films, whereas THL and ZD30 were about a unique group(the military), so I get that her portrayals could rub people-in-the-know the wrong way.

    And she survived James Cameron’s ego.

  21. the best thing about BLUE STEEL is how stylish it is, that great opening credits sequence with the fetishistic close ups of Jamie Lee Curtis’ gun as well as her bra (the whole cliche drawing parallel between sex and violence thing), the cool Brad Fiedel score (which sadly doesn’t seem to be available anywhere) and Ron Silver acting like a nut (which I’m sure was a real stretch for him)

    also, I’ve always had a bit of a…thing for Jamie Lee Curtis, to me she perfectly epitomes the whole “MILF” idea (I try to not think about her modern day poop yogurt hawking though) and seeing in her in the ladycop getup in that movie has a certain affect on me

    however try not to think too hard about the story because yeah, it’s ridiculous, oh well…

  22. Also Griff, **(Maggie, stop reading now)** there is pause-rewind-slow-forward-one-frame-at-a-time-worthy shot of Ms Curtis in the bedroom scene after Ron Silver breaks up her canoodling with The Kurgen. I refuse to go into any more detail because of the lady present.(Maggie..if you’re still here…apologies…I a man after all).

  23. I hate NEAR DARK and I love POINT BREAK specifically for the reason that it’s directed by a mental retard and performed/constructed by a conglomerate of brilliant [temporary] mental retards, so. . .

  24. Really, Mouth? You’re calling Bigelow a retard now? You can take that shit over to the imdb message boards.

  25. I’m calling 1991 Bigelow a retard, yes, absolutely, and you can’t disagree other than to praise her segmentally-separated non-retard work on the chase/lawnmower/skydiving business, and maybe a couple other scenes.

    I couldn’t be more delighted that she somehow, someway managed to direct one of my fave movies at that time.

    POINT BREAK and K19 are good-to-great;
    everything else she’s helmed has been specifically designed to insult me or to piss on the world.

  26. Mouth – guess what? I was not too impressed with NEAR DARK either, glad to see I’m not the only one

    I mean it has it’s moments, but the lead actress is fucking terrible and the ending is intelligence insultingly stupid, it’s a way overrated movie that given the hype I expected to be much, much better than it was

  27. NEAR DARK’s been copied a lot, so it feels pretty old hat these days, but its atmosphere is damn near impeccable, and it has some great set-pieces, particularly the justly lauded saloon sequence that Bill Paxton just fucking owns for all eternity. The shootout in the motel with the shaft of vampire-killing light is also pretty sweet. But its third act just pisses it all away. The blood transfusion cure takes all the pathos and tragedy out of becoming a vampire (Sure, go ahead and explore the dark side, kids, daddy’ll make it all better in the morning), in addition to being pretty medically infeasible in my unprofessional opinion. I used to think the ending negated everything that came before but I’ve come to appreciate its good parts more than I lament its bad. It’s 2/3 of a really good movie, and with the curve that’s a solid B- in my book. Not too shabby.

    I’ll not hear a bad word about Ms. Jenny Wright, though. There’s just something about her. I’d follow her into the eternal night, too.

  28. Good summation Mr M. I first saw ND in my teens, and I liked it way more than THE LOST BOYS. The nomadic life of being a vampire was made more real. They were dirty and vicious, extremely violent and bloodthirsty. They had Lance Henriksen as their leader, not Keifer. Didn’t like that kid though. Acting all HR Tuff n Stuff. Casting directors need to choose their kid actors carefully. Nothing worse than a grating child performance in an otherwise good film.

  29. Man, the Angel movies brought up discussions of every nerd show in existence and gave more chances to shit on beloved directors. God help me when I try to finish writing about the BLOODFIST series.

  30. I sort of appreciated the first ANGEL, Vern, and for that I have you & Fred to thank. And Andrew Davis, probly. But you’re gonna beat me in the ANGEL franchise marathon. I’ll consider this series a public service — your reviews as well as Griff’s reminder in the other thread of the existence of ’80s Betsy Russell have improved my life, though probly not as much as a sustained filmatisticritical exploration of the BLOODFIST saga would.

    That reminds me – in Star Trek’s 3rd season, episode “Fist of Blood,” there was {chokes to death on own nerdiness}

  31. Mr. Majestyk’s Angel YT link just above takes you to wonderful places, by the way. My weekend soundtrack is set, thank ye.

    My more traditional angelic Angel-ness musical inclination, however, favors The Stanley Brothers.

  32. Dammit, Mouth, I don’t have time to watch O BROTHER tonight, but you just made it a necessity.

  33. It’s okay you guys, I know in-depth ANGEL talk is alot to ask. I was just smarting from Mouth shit-talking Kathryn Bigelow again ’cause I know I can never convince him that if he had taken a different job path ZERO DARK THIRTY would be his favorite movie of all time.

  34. Vern, the upside of THE ANGEL COLLECTION not including #4: an opportunity for boxing all four movies on blu-ray in THE COMPLETE ANGEL COLLECTION, with “where are they now” interviews with all four Angels, Mark Blankfield, Kin Shriner, etc. By the way, I thought Asylum’s Lincoln vs. zombies cheapie was more entertaining than the bigger budgeted theatrical Lincoln vs. vampires feature.

  35. Wouldn’t it be great if my obnoxious female counterpart and possible soulmate got online and told us all about how the ANGEL series is an offensively unrealistic, purportedly semi-real story of how prostitutes do business?

    Please feel free to watch and review LONE SURVIVOR, Vern.
    I promise I’ll be good down here and mostly just talk about its excellent stuntwork.

  36. Yeah, like Female Mouth would hang out with us losers.

  37. Touché. My non-Vanessa fantasy chica wouldn’t even have internet, since she’d be too busy dominating at life and stuff. She’d be an executive by day and a [monogamous] hooker by night.

    But she’d have a VCR or 2, so we could watch early 90s movies in tandem with Vern’s endless search for unloved, forgotten classics.

    And I would indeed call her “Female Mouth,” so that it feels like I’m loving myself.

  38. I really recommended this series just to get to AVENGING ANGEL, which I saw first and out of order so probably why it’s my favorite.

    I insist on doing the HIGHLANDER series next. The way each one tries to make sense of the ridiculous premise and only makes it worse is magnificent!

  39. HIGHLANDER is good swag (and also terrible swag), but obviously I’m going to insist recommend doing the HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL series next, due to the fact that kids are snow-iced out of school right now, so by the time you post your thoughts on HSM2 it’ll be just like a late summertime ‘Back to School’ special, except not as good as the THE SUBSTITUTE or STEP-UP serieses yet more timely due to Polar Vortex.

    Also there would be a fair amount of Vanessa in my opinion.

  40. Mouth – I’m with Vern, Bigelow doesn’t deserve to be shit on. The ONE good thing I got out of your rant is that you said “POINT BREAK and K19 were good to great”. So I just returned from my DVD retailer, where I picked up K19(its the only Bigelow I haven’t seen).

    I’m curious Mouth, are there any military films and or directors who have gotten past your subjective defences?

  41. Everybody deserves to get taken down a peg every now and then. Nobody’s perfect, and hero worship does no one any favors, least of all the heroes themselves.

  42. True….to a point M. We also want to encourage good filmatists to keep making good movies, and our heroes to keep up the heroics, even if they make a stinker once in a while. We don’t have to tear them a new arsehole cause they’re imperfect. I like that they’re not perfect. I can relate to that.

    Take Vern for example. Now, in my opinion, he is one of the top 2 or 3 Seagalogists in the whole of North America. His cinematic love for, and his detailed analysis of Seagal and his films is a mix of admiration and occasional disappointment.

    What comes through is that hey, sure Seagals seen better days, but we’re not gonna write him off. He can still come through. Imagine if we pissed on Seagal the way some piss on other directors/actors. Vern would snap your keyboard fingers then throw you through the cyberspace window.

    Sometimes hope pays off. The cinematic highlight for me last year was seeing DePalmas PASSION and feeling that joy when I knew I was watching a master do his stuff. It doesn’t happen very often, but it blows me away when it does.

  43. Mark Boal is the real toxin in the recent KB oeuvre. She’s just the simpletonian hired hand.

    I’d fight him on sight.

  44. I never understood why people were so angry about the HIGHLANDER remake/reboot/rewhatever, that was announced a few years ago and will probably never be made*. Did those people ever see those movies? Every single god damn sequel was already a reboot! That series has the shittiest continuity I can think of! I mean, nothing against the seriously cool part 1, but when you can say of a franchise that its mid-to late 90s Network TV spin-off is the best thing about it, you shouldn’t be all mad at some people trying to remake it.

    *Although at one point it looked like the ROBOCOP remake wouldn’t happen either.

  45. It’s only the nerds CJ. Don’t upset the nerds.

    I would like to see a remake where they remember to remove the stunt wires this time during post-production. (the final Quickening scene where Lamberts up in the air).

  46. I have to admit I’ve always enjoyed HIGHLANDER II THE QUICKENING. Please note I say I enjoy it, rather than saying it’s good. I think it’s fun in a FLASH GORDON kind of way. I recently watched the directors cut which tries to tie it in with the first film by changing a the Planet Zeist to “the Past”, which turns a film which made no sense as a sequel to a film which makes no sense whatsoever, but I still found myself enjoying the action, some of the humour, and the atypical creativity and production values for a cultish sequel in that era. It’s a botch-job alright, but one I find much to enjoy in.

  47. Useless trivia: Sam J Jones entire dialogue was dubbed by another actor in FLASH GORDON.

  48. Hey Vern, now that you’ve completed reviewing another 4 film series, how about reviewing the Karate Kid sequels? I think you will get a kick (no pun intended) out of Thomas Ian Griffith’s villainy in Part 3 as “Terry Silver”. He’s definitely one of the most underrated villains of all time.

  49. Karate Kid would be a good one too, especially the Hilary Swank one. III is an interesting conundrum. Robert Mark Kamen wanted to turn it into an old school wire work movie but the studio said no. 10 years later he might’ve gotten it.

    HIGHLANDER though, the theatrical cut of II no longer exists. Why isn’t the anti-George Lucas contingent up in arms that Russell Mulcahy refuses to acknowledge the theatrical cut? Oh, right.

  50. Give the cheesy stuff a rest for a while Vern. I recommend Tsui Hark’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA trilogy. Lets get back to the balls of action cinema.

  51. Jack Burton – while I totally agree on T I Griffiths, the character’s name is “Silva” not “Silver”. I wouldn’t normally correct you on such a minor point, but there’s just something about “Silva” with an “a” that sounds infinitely more sleazy, isn’t there? (Sorry to anybody who’s name actually IS Silva!)

  52. The ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA trilogy is great (I thoroughly recommend the HK Legends DVDs if you can track them down) and interesting when compared to the current crop of government-approved Chinese films. They’re undoubtedly patriotic, but that nationalism is tempered with a message about learning from other cultures and adapting to change.

  53. ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA isn’t a trilogy. They made IV and V without Jet Li, and then Jet returned for ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA AND AMERICA which I’m surprised Miramax never repackaged as a DTV SHANGHAI NOON sequel.

  54. Youre right Fred I should have done my homework. I was only aware of the first three OUATIC’s with Jet Li.

    Silly me, I keep screwing up with these series. I thought ANGEL was a trilogy until I was knocked for a FUCKIN SIXER by the knowledge of the existence of a FOURTH one! The consensus around here is that it was shite anyway, so thanks for the heads up.

    Vern, someday, can you please review the FRIDAY THE 13th trilogy and also the trilogy with that Freddy Krueger guy?

    Cheers mate.

    But seriously, 3’s a good fucking number for a series. Good things come in three’s. Here’s a few examples :-

    EVIL DEAD 1-3 with Bruce Fucking Campbell

    THE DOLLARS TRILOGY with CLINT God damn EASTWOOD

    THE MATRIX TRILOGY

    THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY

    THE GODFATHER Parts 1-3 (Yes even the third one. I didn’t say a trilogy had to be perfect. We all have a sibling or a relative who is uglier or fatter than the rest of the family, who we have to put in the back row of group photos so they don’t ruin the shot. Maybe you are the ugly one, I don’t know. I’m not judging anyone here. Just sayin be nice ok?)

    That’s all I can think of off the top of my cranium. Three’s can be good.

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