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Posts Tagged ‘Terry J. Leonard’

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Thursday, September 15th, 2022

July 31, 1992

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER is an unusual cult movie because it’s largely remembered for the same reason it’s dismissed: it’s overshadowed by its long running TV show followup. In that sense it’s Gen-X’s answer to M*A*S*H.

Had that not happened, maybe there would be more passion for this likable if not entirely successful execution of a cute horror-comedy idea. The director is Fran Rubel Kuzui (TOKYO POP), the screenwriter is then-25-year-old Roseanne staff writer Joss Whedon, and its gimmick is almost there in the title: what if the popular, mall-loving, air-headed Valley Girl cheerleader was not just fodder in a vampire movie, but the chosen one destined to protect humanity? I can’t actually think of many Valley Girl cheerleaders in horror – it seems more like a twist on fake horror movies within other movies than on the actual genre – but it works as a tongue-in-cheek way to cross a high school comedy with horror, and at least superficially point to the serious place where their themes can overlap. (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 Package (1989)

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

THE PACKAGE is… kind of an action movie from director Andrew Davis. After the better-than-average Chuck Norris vehicle CODE OF SILENCE (1985) and Steven Seagal’s debut ABOVE THE LAW (1988) the director put some similar elements into a thriller with Gene Hackman in the lead. Hackman had just done MISSISSIPPI BURNING (which he got Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for) but did not have any black belts in anything, so I’m not sure why he thought he should be in movies?

He plays U.S. Army Master Sergeant Johnny Gallagher, who I assume is respected for his skills, but he seems mostly just beloved for being a great guy. He’s introduced arriving for security detail at the site of U.S.-Soviet Union disarmament talks in West Berlin and walking around smiling and saying hi to everybody. (read the rest of this shit…)