"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Posts Tagged ‘Branscombe Richmond’

Christopher Columbus: The Discovery

Monday, September 26th, 2022

In 1992, several similarly themed movies sailed the ocean blue. It was the 500th anniversary of the voyage of Christopher Columbus, and it goes without saying that mainstream audiences go absolutely fuckin ape shit for any movie commemorating a quincentenary. So who could blame producers for knowing for sure there was gonna be some intense Columbus Fever infecting the indigenous population of movie theaters, and wanting to hop aboard that ship? For example, Gaumont put together 1492: THE CONQUEST OF PARADISE, which was directed by the great Ridley Scott, with cinematography by Adrian Biddle (ALIENS) and music by Vangelis.

But that one didn’t come out until October. The one that came out August 21, 1992, causing me to have to watch it, was CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS: THE DISCOVERY. That’s the one produced by the father and son team of Alexander and Ilya Salkind, best known for producing the SUPERMAN movies. And then SUPERGIRL and then SANTA CLAUS: THE MOVIE and then Alejandro Jodorowsky’s disowned THE RAINBOW THIEF and then this. They had such a terrible time with this one that they quit the business (though Ilya did do one more movie, DANCING FOR MY HAVANA, 23 years later.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Death Ring

Thursday, July 14th, 2022

It was the fourth week of June, 1992. BATMAN RETURNS was ruling the roost. It wasn’t the unbridled Batmania of ’89, but it was the biggest movie of the year. On Tuesday the 23rd a couple notable-to-me albums came out. Eric B and Rakim released their fourth and final album, Don’t Sweat the Technique. It included a song about the Gulf War (“Casualties of War”) and the classic “Know the Ledge” (originally on the JUICE soundtrack).

At the time I was also into Deee-Lite, who released their less popular second album Infinity Within. I’ve never been an electronic dance music guy, but the presence of Bootsy lured me into the first album (in fact, seeing them live was the first time I saw Bootsy live), and then I stuck with them. I had not listened to this album in years, but I enjoyed putting it on to get into the 1992 spirit. It’s very of-its-time in that it blends genres and features guest appearances by Arrested Development, Jamal-ski and Michael Franti (then in Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, later Spearhead). I think it holds up as a good album and some of my favorites are the four shamelessly corny P.S.A. type songs: “Vote, Baby, Vote,” “I Had a Dream I Was Falling through a Hole in the Ozone Layer,” “Fuddy Duddy Judge” and “Rubber Lover.” (Why is there politics in my dance music what happened to just dancing without having to care about anything I’m calling the cops)

And then on Wednesday the 24th on the new release shelf of your local video store you may have found the DTV action movie DEATH RING. Its contribution to weirdness in the year of our lord 1992 is that it’s the movie that says “NORRIS, DRAGO, McQUEEN, SWAYZE” on the cover and yes, the Drago is Billy Drago, but the others are Mike Norris (son of Chuck), Chad McQueen (son of Steve) and Don Swayze (younger brother of Patrick). (read the rest of this shit…)

Nemesis

Monday, March 21st, 2022

Would you believe I’d never seen NEMESIS (1992) before? I’d heard claims it was one of the better movies for director Albert Pyun and/or star Olivier Gruner, but I didn’t get around to it until now. From the cover I always thought it was gonna be kind of a TERMINATOR knock off, so I was very surprised and impressed when it opened seeming more like BLADE RUNNER in the style of THE KILLER.

It starts in Los Angeles, 2027 A.D., which does not look overly futuristic, but is covered in an eerie orangy brown haze. Alex Rain (Gruner, who had only been in ANGEL TOWN) is in a hotel for a liaison with a woman, but then he shoots her in the head, revealing a bunch of wires and electrodes. “God damn cop,” she says. “God damn terrorist” he replies. Though he very poorly delivers a one-liner to her exploded head, he looks very cool when he walks out of the hotel with a Chow Yun Fat style tie-overcoat-and-sunglasses look, passing a bunch of people in the hallway who take a minute to figure out he’s the cop who shot their friend. But then they follow him. (read the rest of this shit…)

Showdown in Little Tokyo

Wednesday, August 25th, 2021

“Y’know – this is a weird part of town.”

August 23, 1991

SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO is a movie I have long enjoyed (here is a pretty dumb review of it I wrote 13 years ago). It’s a buddy cop movie starring Dolph Lundgren (between COVER UP and UNIVERSAL SOLDIER) and Brandon Lee (between LASER MISSION and RAPID FIRE), so any possible deficiencies are easily overcome by their great charisma and the unrepeatable novelty of their team-up. Watching it in the context of these other ’91 movies it does seem slightly primitive; it’s a Warner Bros. movie, but the budget was $8 million, which is less than DOUBLE IMPACT – or even non-action stuff like DEAD AGAIN, THE COMMITMENTS, BINGO, RETURN TO THE BLUE LAGOON and LIFE STINKS – let alone the new state-of-the-art represented by POINT BREAK and TERMINATOR 2. Fortunately it’s in the capable exploitation hands of director Mark L. Lester (STEEL ARENA, CLASS OF 1984, FIRESTARTER, COMMANDO, CLASS OF 1999), so it has heavy doses of The Good Shit. He always gives you something extra.

Just as MYSTERY DATE has its two leads getting into trouble with gangs in Chinatown, this is about two guys fighting a Yakuza drug ring in L.A.’s Japanese district. In this case that’s in their job description as members of the LAPD Asian Crime Taskforce. Dolph’s Sergeant Chris Kenner gets the kind of introduction all his characters deserve: he single-handedly raids an illegal fighting circuit by climbing through a skylight, swinging into the ring on a rope and saying, “Haven’t I told you this is illegal, and it pisses me off?” Then he’s announced as the new challenger and has to fight the guys in the ring. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Hidden

Tuesday, October 13th, 2020

Many of you have been trying to tell me this for years, and it has finally gotten through to me: THE HIDDEN is incredible. It’s kind of a sci-fi/horror/action hybrid, and it hits hard on all counts. Makes sense that it’s director Jack Sholder’s bridge between the horror of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE and the action of RENEGADES, but I’d argue it’s more cinematic than either of those. It opens with a thrilling, Friedkin-esque car chase after a buttoned-up looking guy in wire rimmed glasses (Chris Mulkey, FIRST BLOOD, BROKEN ARROW, BARE KNUCKLES, THE PURGE, THE STANDOFF AT SPARROW CREEK) shoots up a bank. He stays very calm, sometimes mildly amused as he tears through L.A. in a Ferrari, occasionally running over people (including a guy in a wheelchair), blaring a heavy metal tape, sometimes bopping his head a little. Police absolutely riddle him with bullets and destroy his car at a road block – he steps out and laughs before getting blown up. Even that doesn’t kill him.

It does put him in the hospital, where a doctor is offended by how the detectives talk about this seriously injured patient. It probly makes more sense to him after Detective Willis (Ed O’Ross, LETHAL WEAPON, FULL METAL JACKET, ACTION JACKSON, RED HEAT) spews a monologue about all the murders, injuries and robberies the guy is responsible for, ending with, “Six of the ones he killed he carved up with a butcher knife. Two of them were kids. He did all that in two weeks. If anybody deserves to go that way it sure to hell was him.” (read the rest of this shit…)

Cage

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

“Wrestling? I like wrestling. But I don’t like fighting. But I like wrestling!”

Note: Box Office Mojo only lists “1988” as the release date, but IMDb says September 1, 1989. I’m going with the specific one.

The movie CAGE is alot like the character Lou Ferrigno plays in it: brain damaged, childlike, clumsy, well-meaning, and hard not to like. The opening definitely had me concerned, though. In “VIET NAM 1969,” a bunch of army dudes run around in a field screaming and firing machine guns while the keyboards of composer Michael Wetherwax (SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE) sort of imitate the RAMBO theme. B-movies about the Vietnam War don’t tend to be watchable, in my opinion, so thank God our boys get out of there quick.

Escaping in a helicopter, Billy Thomas (Ferrigno, between his last two Incredible Hulk TV movies) heroically saves his friend Scott Monroe (Reb Brown, UNCOMMON VALOR, ten years after his last Captain America TV movie) by having the strength to one-arm-dangle him under the copter even after being shot in the head with what, judging from the leak it springs in his temple, appears to be an adorably tiny bullet.

(Good makeup effect, though.)

The opening credits are a comically corny rehabilitation montage set to a ballad called “Don’t Let Go” by Jennifer Green. Without sound, Ferrigno and Brown pantomime a series of struggles and minor triumphs, from getting a medal to being frustrated with a puzzle to making it up a few steps. (read the rest of this shit…)