July 10th, 2008

THE BLUE EYES OF THE BROKEN DOLL (1976) **

Paul Naschy stars as an ex-rapist hitchhiking his way across the countryside that gets picked up by a hot chick with a prosthetic arm.  She offers him shelter at her house where her two sisters also dwell and they eventually keep him on as a caretaker.  Naschy tries to make time with the one-armed lady, but when he finds out the other sister is a nympho, he tries to bed her PDQ.  (It doesn’t take much to prime her pump, if you catch my drift.)  The other sister is a wheelchair bound cripple, but that doesn’t stop Naschy from trying to worm his way into her pants either.  Meanwhile, there’s a serial killer going around ripping out chicks' eyeballs and since Naschy is already on the run from the law, that makes him prime suspect Numero Uno. 

 

I won’t spoil the rest of the movie for you because the surprising plot twists are one of the few things this flick has going for it.  The film also features some pretty memorable special effects such as eyeballs being ripping out, a bloody murder with a rake, a few juicy throat slashings and some maggot filled eye sockets.  As unsettling as the effects are, it’s the real scenes of pigs being slaughtered that will put you off your pork chops for awhile. 

 

Although sprinkled with moments of greatness (I particularly liked the scenes where Naschy did stuff like chopping wood shirtless while swanky 70’s music played in order to make himself sexually desirable to the three women) the thing is, The Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll is just too damned lackadaisically paced for its own good.  Despite the fun scenes of Naschy trying to woo the three sisters, there are too many long, dull stretches where nothing happens that hampers the film’s effectiveness.  I did enjoy the atmospheric opening scenes (which are very similar to An American Werewolf in London as the hitchhiking Naschy strolls into an unfriendly pub and gets weird looks by the oddball locals) as well as the stylish flashbacks to Naschy’s checkered past, but it all doesn’t add up to very much. 

 

This isn’t Naschy’s finest 85 minutes, but he certainly has done a Hell of a lot worse. 

 

AKA:  House of Doom.  AKA:  House of Psychotic Women. 

REVOLVER (2007) *

 

I never watched Guy Ritchie’s Swept Away, the much hated vanity vehicle for his wife Madonna, but I can’t imagine it could be much worse than this crap. 

 

The plot is thin:  Ritchie regular Jason Statham (sporting far more hair than you’re likely ever to see him with again) stars as a claustrophobic chess playing ex-con who gets duped by two mysterious loan sharks (Andre Benjamin and Vincent Pastore) into ripping off a hot tempered gangster (Ray Liotta).  All of this could’ve been acceptable if Ritchie had peppered the film with his trademark memorable characters and surprising bursts of violence.  These commodities can be found in Ritchie’s best work such as Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, but Revolver is completely devoid of them.

 

Since the “twist” ending is as obvious as the nose on your face, Ritchie tries to throw you off the scent by tossing in tons of useless flashbacks, ADD style editing, anime for the sake of anime, and irritating inner monologues by the characters to pointlessly confuse you.  The film also keeps doubling back on itself, showing the audience stuff we’ve already seen to make us think Ritchie may have an additional trick up his sleeve, but no.  All this erratic editing does is needlessly jumble things up and give you one big fat headache.  By the time Ritchie springs the so-called “twist” on you, you’ll be cursing yourself for spending 105 minutes on something you already figured out 10 minutes into the film. 

 

Memo to Guy:  Your movies were so much better before you hooked up with Madge.  My advice:  Quit practicing Kabbalah, stop adopting third world babies and dump The Material Girl.   

 

Ritchie also wrote the screenplay which was “adapted” by Luc (The Fifth Element) Besson.  I’m sorry but if I was going to bring in another screenwriter to make sure my movie made sense, Luc Besson would be the last fucking guy I’d choose.  Statham and Liotta were also in In the Name of the King:  A Dungeon Siege Tale together, which looks like Citizen Fucking Kane compared to this shit. 

THE HEADHUNTER (1982) * ½

 

Chow Yun-Fat stars as a Vietnam vet hitman who doubles as a pyrotechnics operator for a movie studio that’s actually a front for some shady gangsters.  He falls in love with a snooping television reporter who is looking for some stolen Agent Orange left over from the Vietnam War, which naturally is in the hands of Fat’s boss.  When Fat is ordered to kill his lady friend, it severely tests his loyalties, not to mention puts a damper on his love life. 

 

This mostly boring, wholly forgettable action/drama benefits from a decent performance by a fresh-faced Fat, but little else.  The occasional action scene spices things up (the kung fu is kept to a minimum), but are no match for the thoroughly turgid romance stuff.  The opening dream sequence in which Fat gets his head cut off is pretty memorable, but I could have done without the overly dramatic red tinted flashbacks.  Since Fat’s character is largely absent for a good chunk of the film, it makes for some rough going in spots, so even die hard Fat fans may have trouble sitting through all of this one.  It also doesn’t help that it takes FOREVER for Fat to start chopping off people’s heads. 

 

Some fun can be had from the swinging music that sounds like it was stolen from a late 70’s porn movie and of course the horrible dubbing, but the most hilarious thing about this movie is that the rival gangsters are called the “Eagles” and the “Bears”.  Every time someone talks about the warring factions it sounds like a goddamn Sports Center update. 

 

AKA:  Hunting Head.  AKA:  The Long Goodbye.