September 30th, 2010

NIGHT CALL NURSES (1972) ** ½

The third flick in producer Roger Corman’s Nurses series revolves around three nurses who pull the graveyard shift at the psycho ward.  One nurse tries to help a fellow brother (a revolutionary being held captive by The Man) escape the hospital.  Another nurse falls in love with a speed-taking trucker.  And the other nurse starts to think she’s going crazy once she starts dating her shrink.  Oh yeah, and there’s also a transvestite nutball (who likes to dress up like a nurse) roaming around stalking the girls.

 

Night Call Nurses isn’t great or anything but it’s a big step-up from the previous entry in the series as it actually has some humor sprinkled about.  It also features a healthy amount of skin (which is always a good thing) and director Jonathan (Bad Girls) Kaplan always finds some excuse for the chicks to get naked.  The best nudity scene comes from a group therapy session where the pimp doctor urges all of his female patients to disrobe.

 

My biggest complaint with Night Call Nurses is that way too much time is taken up with the nurses helping the prisoner escape.  The whole black revolutionary thing was already done before in Private Duty Nurses, so it seems redundant to have it in this flick too.  I also wish more time was spent on the transvestite killer nurse subplot.  It was a potentially cool idea but it never really receives a satisfactory payoff in the end.

 

The trucker gets the best line of the movie when he looks at a nurse’s name tag and asks, “Janis?  Is that your name, or the name of your left titty?”

SORCERER (1977) ** ½

Man, am I ever disappointed.  I thought this flick was gonna be about wizards and shit.  Turns out, it’s really about these down on their luck jackasses who get hired to drive a truck loaded with nitroglycerin down a bumpy ass road in the middle of a godforsaken jungle.  If all of this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a remake of The Wages of Fear.  You know, I thought The Wages of Fear had a couple of great sequences but it was hampered by some crappy pacing problems during the first half of the film. 

 

Well, no surprise here, but Sorcerer suffers from the same damn problems.  The flick spends way too much with the supporting characters’ back stories.  I think if we just had Roy Scheider’s back story (he robbed a church and had to leave the States) and chucked everyone else’s (Who really gives a crap if that French dude embezzled a shit load of money or not?), the first half of the movie would’ve been a lot tighter.

 

Sorcerer reminded me a lot of another Friedkin movie, The Exorcist.  It has a really slow beginning but once it starts to cook, it’s pretty good.  This flick is no Exorcist though.  Heck, it’s not even as good as the original Wages of Fear, but it does have a couple of suspenseful moments.  My favorite part was when the drivers had to use some of the nitro to blow up an obstacle in the road.  The ending is also memorable, as is the excellent Tangerine Dream score.  Most of the time though, the film played like an extreme version of a truck driving school video.

1968: TUNNEL RATS (2008) **

As you all know, I’ve been going through the film works of Oliver Stone, a man who is most famously known for his movies about Vietnam.  I thought it would be a nice change of pace to see the Vietnam War through the eyes of another respected auteur.  That man is Uwe (House of the Dead) Boll.  Although people give Boll a lot of shit, his Vietnam movie 1968:  Tunnel Rats isn’t nearly as bad as you’d expect.

 

The flick follows the exploits of a platoon of soldiers led by Michael Pare (a veteran of many a Boll film) who find an elaborate tunnel system used by the Viet Cong.  Pare orders his men into the tunnels to flush the enemy out.  Naturally, the VC know the tunnels like the back of their hand and have several booby traps, ambushes, and other surprises ready for the doomed soldiers.

 

1968:  Tunnel Rats is far from Uwe Boll’s worst, although that isn’t saying much.  The acting is strictly high school drama class and the ending pretty much sucks.  I will give this to Boll:  Some of the war scenes are very well done.  Boll also makes the tunnels themselves seem kinda menacing and gives these scenes a moderate sense of claustrophobia.  The gore is also adequate as we get a broken spine, a stick through the neck, and an assortment of juicy stabbings and shootings. 

 

Bottom Line:  No one is going to mistake 1968:  Tunnel Rats for Platoon, but if you MUST see every single Uwe Boll movie out there; this one will go down smoother than most.

 

AKA:  Tunnel Rats.

THE YOUNG NURSES (1973) **

Roger Corman Nurse Movie #4 features more of the same.  Yet again we’ve got three young nurses that get into various misadventures while losing their clothes at regular intervals.  The brunette nurse gets in trouble with the head nurse for making unauthorized administrative decisions.  The blonde nurse falls in love with a rich dude after he breaks his shoulder blade sailing.  And the black nurse tries to track down a new street drug that’s killing her brothers and sisters in the ghetto.  None of this is particularly engrossing, but hey; at least they get naked, right?

 

You know, all of these Nurse movies are starting to blur together.  They all feature interchangeable plots, lame humor, and nurses who are willing to show off their “bedside manner”.  None of the nurses are “hot” per se, but at least they get naked at the drop of a hat.  Overall, The Young Nurses isn’t as much fun as Night Call Nurses but it’s better than the first two entries in the series.

 

Without a doubt the best thing about the movie (besides the tits obviously) is seeing cult film director Sam (The Steel Helmet) Fuller playing the small but pivotal role of the kindly old doctor-turned-drug dealer.  His crotchety demeanor and enthusiastic line readings easily outshine the rest of the middling cast.  It was also a lot of fun seeing Mantan Moreland popping up in a cameo too.

 

The “series” concluded the next year with Candy Stripe Nurses.

 

AKA:  L.A. Nurses.