May 23rd, 2009

KIDNAPPED COED (1976) **

Sandra (Leslie Rivers) is a dorky rich girl who gets kidnapped by a small time hood named Eddie (Jack Canon).  Eventually the two end up falling in love but not before having to fend off two gun toting rapists, a couple of surly rednecks, and a pitchfork wielding farmer with an uncanny resemblance to Santa Claus.  In the end, Eddie winds up losing the ransom money but wins Sandra’s heart.

 

Kidnapped Coed fails to live up to its promising provocative title.  There is no nudity to be had, although Rivers does show off her knees and shoulders a lot.  On top of that, the flick also has way too many dull spots in it to be truly rewarding.  Plus, the kidnapper isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed and gives the coed like 100 opportunities to escape, but she never does.  Idiot. 

 

Canon does a fairly good job as the kidnapper and reminded me of a bargain bin version of Gig Young.  Rivers adequately portrayed the whiny, geeky coed, although she exhibited ZERO sex appeal.  The biggest surprise acting wise was seeing a young Larry (Darkman) Drake playing a beefy nursing home attendant.  

 

Director Frederick R. Friedel captures the action with panache and even tosses in a couple cool looking Stanley Kubrickesque camera shots too.  He also serves up some memorable death scenes.  My favorite came when Canon shot the one rapist in the dick and the other one in the ass.  And I don’t mean ON the ass, I mean IN the ass!  That scene alone is worth ** right there.  Too bad there weren’t any more outrageous moments like that in this flick.  It might’ve been a real winner. 

 

Friedel went on to direct Axe the next year.

 

AKA:  Date with a Kidnapper.  AKA:  House of Terror.  AKA:  Kidnapped Lover.  AKA:  The Kidnapper.

FINISHING THE GAME (2007) **

I have an affinity for Bruceploitation movies (movies that featured Bruce Lee look-alikes that cashed in on his untimely death) so I thought I’d enjoy this movie.  It’s a mockumentary about the casting process involved in finding someone to replace Bruce Lee for his final film, Game of Death.  If you’ve seen Game of Death, you know that the producers hired a body double (Tong Lung) for Bruce Lee and disguised the fact that he didn’t look anything like Bruce Lee by A) making him wear a motorcycle helmet B) making him wear a phony beard C) covering his face with bandages.  Game of Death isn’t exactly a good movie but the fact that the filmmakers finished the film the way they did is wonderfully absurd. 

 

Unfortunately, Game of Death is a lot funnier than Finishing the Game.

 

The flick follows a couple potential Bruce Lee wannabes as they audition for Game of Death.  Breeze Loo (Roger Fan) is a martial arts star that himself is accustomed to using a body double, Cole Kim (Sung Kang) is a naïve kid new to Hollywood, and Raja (Mousa Kraish) is an Indian doctor who gives up his stethoscope for a chance at being an action hero.  Predictably they have to deal with an oblivious director, a bitchy casting agent, and their own touchy egos.

 

Director Justin (Fast and Furious) Lin gets some mileage out of the initial concept but the flick runs out of comedic steam as it wears on.  The film suffers from a lot of over-fictionalization since what the real producers did after Lee’s death to complete Game of Death was much more surreal than what’s depicted here.  In addition, I think the mockumentary format also hurt the film’s chances of being successful.  If Lin had played things out realistically, the film could’ve worked much better and given the characters more of an underdog quality.  

 

Hopefully, some day someone will direct the definitive movie about the making of Game of Death.  That would rock.  Till then, I guess we’re just stuck with this.

 

Best part:  Look for James Franco (who also starred in Lin’s Annapolis) in a cameo as an ill-fated 70’s TV actor.