February 6th, 2008

BEAST OF BLOOD (1971) * ½

Director Eddie Garcia and star John Ashley return to Blood Island for the third and final time in this sequel to Brides of Blood and Mad Doctor of Blood Island.  It’s the weakest of the lot, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t have it’s moments. 

 

Right away we are treated with an excellent pre-credit scene where a green blooded zombie hacks a bunch of people to death with an axe aboard a ship before it blows up, leaving only John Ashley alive. 

 

You better enjoy this action scene, because it’s the only action you’re gonna see for quite some time. 

 

After surviving the explosion, Ashley returns months later to the island with a nosy female reporter (Celeste Yarnell) in tow.  Yarnell gets kidnapped by angry natives and John and a few of his buddies try to get her back.  Ashley learns that the horribly scarred Dr. Lorca (now played by the director wearing an eye patch) is still alive and experimenting on the maggot faced zombie, which lost it’s head in the explosion… literally.  Lorca keeps the zombie’s head on the counter while his body is still twitching on the operating table.  Brilliant.  The doctor tries to find a new donor head for his creature, but Ashley grabs a bunch of machine gun toting natives to storm Lorca’s hut (I mean… fortress) and causes a bloody shootout.  When Lorca tries to escape, the creature’s headless body jumps off the operating table and Rodney Kings the doctor to death and burns the lab to the ground. 

 

The first and last five minutes of the movie are easily the best, but everything in the middle is pretty much a mess.  Garcia must have been so busy in front of the camera that he forgot about what worked in Mad Doctor of Blood Island.  While he handles the horror scenes nicely, anything that doesn’t revolve around the decaying headless zombie is S-L-O-O-O-W. 

 

The scenes in Lorca’s lab seem like a warm-up for Frankenstein’s experiments in Day of the Dead.  They are fairly effective but lose some of their impact because sometimes it looks like the doctor is cutting into a side of beef instead of a human body.  There’s also an impressive death by bamboo spear and a few juicy bullet wounds as well. 

 

Yarnell’s only purpose in the movie is to fall into snake pits and quicksand and be kidnapped by natives, then stand around and wait to be rescued.  She also provides the film with an occasional tit shot, but unfortunately for me, she looks a lot like my mom and when her naked body gets groped by John Ashley, it kinda scarred me.  Half star deduction for increasing my therapy bills. 

 

Yarnell may have freaked me out by looking too much like my mother and popping her top, but at least she has the funniest lines in the movie such as:  “I don’t have a syndicated byline for nothing you know!” and “You’re a sterling doctor, but this cloak and dagger business just isn’t your bag!” 

 

Another unofficial sequel, Brain of Blood followed the next year.  

 

AKA:  Beast of the Dead.  AKA:  Blood Devils.  AKA:  Horrors of Blood Island.  AKA:  Return to the Horrors of Blood Island.

THE CONDEMNED (2007) *

 

WWE Wrestling guru Vince McMahon tries yet again in vain to find the next “Rowdy” Roddy Piper of the acting world with this weak action/sci-fi/thriller. 

 

Basically if you put The Running Man, No Escape and The Most Dangerous Game in a blender and hit the puree button and drained them of any fun, The Condemned is what you would get. 

 

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin stars as a grumpy faced convict who is sent along with nine other death row prisoners to a remote island where the goal is to kill each other and be the last man standing.  The island is rigged with cameras to capture all the action and the “event” is streamed worldwide onto computer screens everywhere.  The convicts are all saddled with explosive shackles and when they lose their fights they go boom-boom.  Vinnie (X-Men 3) Jones is the only other recognizable convict in the bunch. 

 

The biggest problem with the movie is that we don’t care about any of the characters.  We’re supposed to be rooting for Stone Cold, but he has all the screen presence of a tree trunk.  Likewise, the other nine contestants are all interchangeable hard asses and we really couldn’t give two shits if any of them lived or died.  Same goes for the fight scenes.  Two dudes fight.  One dude blows up.  Repeat.  It gets a little monotonous.  The only other person who has an ounce of charisma is Jones, but even his character is thoroughly unpleasant. 

 

Another problem I had with this flick is that it runs nearly TWO HOURS.  I’m sorry, but there is no reason in Hell a movie starring a professional wrestler has to run more than 90 minutes.  The “message” of the movie (reality TV is bad) is as heavy handed as a fistful of rocks and the film’s real villain, a smarmy TV producer is a thousand times more grating than any of the contestants. 

 

The dude who directed this movie is named Scott Wiper.  That’s fitting because if you wiped your ass with a bunch of celluloid, the results would probably closely resemble this movie. 

 

Come back Roddy, we miss you. 

CITY NINJA (1985) ***

 

Hong Kong, 1940.  A Chinese dude gets jumped by several Ninjas who explode when they are killed.  When the ninjas realize they are no match for him, they all disappear into thin air.  Then we’re treated to a title sequence where an AMERICAN dude gets jumped by several Ninjas who explode when they are killed. 

 

45 years later, a boxing champion named Wang Lee passes the time before his next bout by drawing faces on stripper’s asses.  SOMETHING of a plot forms when a bunch of greedy, greasy bad guys all want to get their hands on a precious necklace, but mostly we just get a lot of scenes where Wang practices his boxing moves in a sweaty gymnasium.  Wang’s technique mostly involves spitting blood in his opponent’s face to blind them before tap dancing on their larynx.  Wang is hired by one of the interested parties to retrieve the necklace. 

 

Next, this Asian nympho masturbates in the shower and THEN watches porn, but her uncaring husband doesn’t want to touch her so she tracks down Wang at the gym and seduces him in the locker room shower.  But before they can close the deal she gets cold feet and decides she can’t cheat on her hubby, so they just cuddle fully clothed in the shower. 

 

I hope it was a cold shower, because if a chick ever cockteased me like that, there would be Hell to pay. 

 

So Wang goes to find this necklace and has to kung fu this pool player who does trick shots while doing a handstand.  Wang comes in and shoves a cue ball down his throat and impales him on a stuffed elephant.  He doesn’t find the whereabouts to the necklace because he was too busy clobbering the guy to ask. 

 

Then the movie gets arty for a second as we are treated to a full minute of gratuitous female mud wrestling. 

 

Wang then kung fus some more guys using a patented fighting skill that I’d refer to as Lead Pipe to the Groin Style. 

 

Then Wang gets blue balled by ANOTHER chick, this time his fiancée.  No wonder he goes around smashing guys in the testicles with a lead pipe.  I can’t say I blame him. 

 

But things start looking up for Wang (or shall I say his Wang starts going up) when the nympho comes back to the gym and he fucks her vigorously on every piece of gym equipment known to man.  All I’ll say is that you’ll never look at a rowing machine in quite the same way again. 

 

Then we learn that some other Oriental chucklehead named Jimmy is in possession of the necklace and he gets promptly attacked by a vicious gangster known as Red Head (he looks like Ronald McDonald without the make-up dressed like Gordon Gekko).  After he and his girlfriend fight off several of the Ginger Man’s goons, they celebrate with some intense fucking of their own. 

 

Then Jimmy has an outstanding fight scene where he kung fus several henchmen while sitting in the backseat of a car.  He just breaks the glass with his foot and pummels them through the window.  The thugs then stick Jimmy in the trunk, but that just makes him MAD and he rips the trunk open with his bare hands and begins disassembling the car WHILE IT’S IN MOTION, causing the driver to fly off a cliff. 

 

Cut back to Wang, who is informed by his mistress that they’re expecting a little Wang.  Some bad guys overhear the news and try to blackmail him at spear gun point to cooperate, but it doesn’t really matter because Wang ends up accidentally killing her anyway. 

 

Hey, it beats paying child support.   

 

Then Jimmy’s girlfriend masturbates in the shower, but she uses a detachable shower head for maximum access, only she gets interrupted by some gangsters led by a guy with Mr. Spock eyebrows who torture her by spinning her around the room really fast.  This makes Jimmy especially cranky, so he goes and karate chops the daylights out of some ninjas on a suspension bridge, only these ninjas don’t explode when you kill them unless you physically blow them up with TNT.

 

Then Jimmy goes into a warehouse and starts piling corpses into barrels, before we get to see ANOTHER Asian chick masturbating in the shower.  (I’m starting to see a motif here.) 

 

Things get a bit confusing from this point out as Wang and Jimmy look so much alike I couldn’t tell who was karate chopping their way to find the necklace.  In the HUH!?! ending, Jimmy gets killed, and Wang is arrested.   

 

If you can’t already tell, this movie is dumber than a box of dog biscuits, but it’s also a lot of fun.  You never have to wait for something ridiculous to happen and the flick is never boring.  Sure, this movie made zero sense, but sue me, I liked it.  I have no idea what the beginning of this movie with the exploding ninjas had to do with the rest of this flick or what the ending was all about.  Then again if you try to make sense out of this bat shit insane movie, you may end up doing time in a padded cell.  There’s nothing remotely coherent about City Ninja, but oddly enough that adds to it’s charm. 

 

The fight scenes aren’t expertly choreographed (in one scene a guy visibly splits his pants, but they just keep going), but at least they’re energetic and fun.  Besides where else are you going to see a guy being forced to swallow a cue ball before being gored on an elephant tusk?  Women will especially enjoy this flick for the tender love scenes that make 9 ½ Weeks look like Lady and the Tramp and guys look like to watch women masturbate in the shower will definitely want to check it out.     

 

A drunken American gets the movie’s best line when he insults Wang by calling him “A yellow shithead!”

 

AKA:  Ninja Holocaust.  AKA:  108 Golden Killers.  AKA:  Rocky’s Love Affairs.

THE FOUR SHAOLIN CHALLENGERS (1977) ** ½

 

Although Lin Che Jong (Bruce Lee imitator Bruce Leung) is just a lowly street vendor, he can still throw down with the best of them because he trained under the famous Wong Fei Hung (the Chinese Robin Hood).  Encouraged by the support of his fellow peddlers, he opens up his own kung fu school and starts training up and coming kung fu fighters. 

 

Then the plot kicks in as a gambler has to sell his sister into prostitution to pay off his gambling debt.  She tries to make the best of it.  Sadly, she just isn’t cut out for a prostitute’s life and dies shortly after being raped.  Jong gets wind of this and doesn’t like it one bit, so he grabs his three best pupils to go smash up the gambling hall/brothel.  This cheeses off the brothel owner, a big time gangster, to no end so he hires a bunch of mean dudes to the rearrange the faces of Jong and Co.  This leads to a lot of scenes where men in funny pajamas beat the snot out of each other. 

 

It takes about 75 minutes of plot for The Four Shaolin Challengers to finally get down to brass tax and start cracking skulls, but I’ll have to admit, it’s sorta worth it.  I mean you kinda have to admire these Four Shaolin guys.  They know how to mix it up.  One guy beats the tar outta a few dudes with an umbrella, the second uses a pole to knock some teeth out and another uses a pair of cymbals to slash people across the eyeballs.  The other guy basically just uses his fists and feet, but at least he’s moderately proficient at it.    

 

This flick suffers from some lackadaisical pacing and a thoroughly routine story, but by the final 20 minutes is more or less a kung fu free for all.  Had the rest of the movie been as action packed and featured more inventive fight scenes like the classy umbrella brawl; The Four Shaolin Challengers could’ve been a winner.  You’ve seen it all before and done a lot better, but chopsocky fans who enjoy period films over modern action may want to give it a look-see. 

 

As with any kung fu flick, you can at least count on some atrociously dubbed dialogue to keep you entertained; my favorites include:  “You’re a bunch of lily livered fools!”, “No more pussyfooting around!”, and “Your iron balls are quite fantastic!”