February 12th, 2009

BILLY THE KID (2007) *** ½

I don’t think I would call Billy, the teenage subject of this painful-to-watch but fascinating documentary a “cool” kid.  He’s incredibly awkward, doesn’t have many friends, and has some kind of mental disability to boot.  In his favor though, he loves Friday the 13th, An American Werewolf in London, and can openly quote dialogue from The Terminator.  He also likes to crank the KISS every now and then.  In short, Billy is good people.


Documentarian Jennifer Vendiiti followed Billy around school for a couple months and peeked in on his life.  He doesn’t have it easy.  He lives in a trailer, has a dad who is a crackhead, his stepfather isn’t around much and he has a rattail.  I got to give a lot of credit to his mother though because she seems to keep it together despite of everything.  Then something of a “plot” emerges as Billy starts up a friendship with a chick named Heather who is a year older than him and is probably legally blind.  Billy may be socially awkward but he can talk to the ladies better than I could at his age so I got to give him mad props for that.


I freely admit that documentaries aren’t my thing.  However, after a slow start, Billy the Kid really starts to suck you in and ultimately makes you care about the dude and for that, I commend it.  Besides, any movie that ends with KISS singing “God Gave Rock n’ Roll to You” is alright by me.


A desert-dwelling Satanist cult sacrifices a chick in the center of a pentagram and barbeques her boyfriend.  Sheila (Road House) Caan stars as the concerned sister who travels out into the desert to find out what happened.  Pretty soon, she’s being chased by the Satanist leader (Mr. Clean himself, Robert Tessier) who wants to impregnate her so she can give birth to the Anti-Christ.


Fertilize the Blaspheming Bombshell is another lame horror movie that Troma re-released under a different title.  What’s perplexing is that in the movie Tessier actually says “Fertilize the blaspheming slut!” and not “bombshell”.  I guess movies with the word “Slut” in the title don’t go over well at Blockbuster.


Most of the flick is too dark and it’s hard to tell what the heck is going on during the nighttime scenes.  It also features way too many boring driving scenes and enough dune buggy chases to make you want to slit your wrists.  On the plus side, Caan does get naked a lot, takes a bunch of showers (including one under a waterfall), and runs around in her underwear for most of the movie.  I also liked the fact that the Satanists were wearing Snuggies nearly two decades before they were popular.


Bo Hopkins co-stars as yet another dumb hick sheriff.


Tessier gets all the movie’s best lines like. “Now whore ye shall know the hard-on of sin!”  He also gets a great speech that should immediately go into that 101 Great Monologues for Young Actors book.  It goes a little something like this:  “You are going to fuck me again and again until thy belly is swollen with child!  A child that is born unto Satan himself!  Then you whore you shall know the mark of the beast!  Satan incarnate in my bastard’s child!”


AKA:  Mark of the Beast.  AKA:  Triangle of Death.

MEN OF WAR (1994) ** ½

Dolph Lundgren stars in a low budget action flick that was co-written by none other than John (Alligator) Sayles.  (The writers of Tales from the Crypt Presents Demon Knight also had a hand in it too.)  Dolph plays Nick “The Swede”, a mercenary who is lured out of retirement to pull off one last job.  He recruits his old army buddies and together they head out to a remote jungle island.  Their mission is to make the natives roll over and let some greedy industrialists exploit the land for its most valuable natural resource, bird shit.  (No, I’m not kidding.)  Dolph eventually takes a shine to the people and decides to fight FOR the natives and not against them.


The first half hour or so of Men of War makes you think that it’s going to be a classic.  There’s a great Muay Thai boxing match as well as a fun barroom brawl scene where Tiny “Zeus” Lister choke slams a guy through a table.  Unfortunately the pacing in the middle section of the film is extremely sluggish and the scenes where Dolph actually starts to CARE about the people really slow the movie down.  Thankfully, the movie gets back on track for a rousing climatic battle in which people get grenaded, bazookaed, and rocket launchered to death.  We also get some pretty convincing severed heads and amputated hands tossed in there for good measure too.  The final fight between Dolph and Trevor (Kano from Mortal Kombat) Goddard is also top notch and gives Dolph ample opportunity to use his catchphrase, “Welcome to Hell!”


Speaking of Dolph, he gives what is probably his best performance and really lends the picture a solid center.  The supporting cast is also quite memorable.  Kevin (Road House) Tighe gets to dress up in a kimono and play with Banzai trees like Mr. Miyagi and Tiny “Zeus” Lister gets to put a rubber on the tip of his gun.  (Although the scene where he gets beat up by a bunch of kids is unforgivable.)  B.D. Wong also gets some good scenes as the wiseass native who helps Dolph and his men kick ass.  Best of all is Charlotte (Embrace of the Vampire) Lewis who gets to show off her exquisite figure while bathing in a waterfall as well as during a hot fuck scene with Dolph.


A random hooker gets the best line of the movie when she tells Dolph, “If you want to fuck, twenty dollar!  If you want friend, that cost more!”


Nicky (Psychomania) Henson stars as secret agent No. 1, Charles Bind in this slow moving and not very funny James Bond spoof from director Lindsay (The Million Eyes of Su-Muru) Shonteff.  The plot has Bind going after an assassin who has ties to an international criminal organization called K.R.A.S.H. (Killing, Raping, Arson, Slaughter and Hit) and getting into a lot of “funny” fights and shootouts. 


Henson is OK in this movie but he doesn’t really get a whole lot of funny stuff to do.  Geoffrey Keen (a veteran of several Moore Era Bond films) and Jon (Doctor Who) Pertwee also appear and like Henson are lost at sea with the thin material.  The Achilles Heel of this movie is that the budget is much too low to send up the Bond movies properly and in the end it just feels more like another cheap imitator than anything else.


I did enjoy the running gag that required Bind to throw water on his sexy sidekick’s see-through blouse though.  There was also a decent comedic Kung Fu battle with a transvestite named Stormy Weather and well as a nice scene where some top heavy women in low cut T-shirts had to do a bunch of push-ups too.  Although the flick may run out of laughs at about the half hour mark, it’s still funnier than the 1967 version of Casino Royale.


Shonteff returned two years later for the next installment of the series, The Man from S.E.X.


AKA:  No.1 of the Secret Service.  AKA:  Tell the Other Guy to Move Over, I’m Number One!


Ken (Attack of the Giant Leeches) Clark stars in this, the first of three terrible low budget Italian James Bond rip-offs as Dick Malloy, Agent 077.  In this installment, Dick is trying to retrieve a nuclear weapon codenamed Bloody Mary that was stolen by The Black Lily, a nefarious Chinese baddie.  Dick has to fly from France to Spain to Greece to find his arch enemy and stop him from blowing shit up.


Like most low budget Italian James Bond rip-offs, Mission Bloody Mary is long on talk and short on action.  There is one decent fight scene that takes place on a train that’s similar to the one in From Russia with Love; that’s about it though.  We also get a couple Bond-ian gadgets like a switchblade flashlight, rooms that double as a microwave oven, and a gun that carries one extra bullet in the chamber, but it’s nothing that Q would want to brag about. 


I’ve seen a lot of bad Italian James Bond rip-offs in my time (Secret Agent Super Dragon, I’m looking at you) but this is among the worst.  Director Sergio (Mad Dog) Grieco paces the flick in a dull and plodding manner and isn’t even able to make the exotic locations seem attractive.  You’ll need a couple Bloody Maries to keep you awake for this one. 


Clark and Grieco returned with Fury in the Orient later in the year.


AKA:  Agent 077:  Mission Bloody Mary.