November 18th, 2010

ROADIE (1980) *

The incredibly stupid Meat Loaf stars in this incredibly stupid movie as a redneck shit kicker who gets chosen to be a roadie for concert promoter Don Cornelius.  He gets to meet Hank Williams Jr., Roy Orbison, and Blondie, but all he cares about is this jailbait groupie played by the chick from Porky’s.  All she cares about is boning Alice Cooper and The Loaf sets out to help her on her quest.


Meat Loaf is kinda like an Idiot Savant in this movie (with a heavy emphasis on the “Idiot”) as he can cobble any old thing together and make it part of the stage show.  At one point when the promoter doesn’t pay the electric bill, Meat Loaf goes to a nearby field and gets a bunch of cow flop and turns it into methane energy so he can keep the lights on.  (This guy would’ve cleaned up in Bartertown.)


That part was kinda funny but most of Roadie is just too annoying for words.  The jokes are awful, the performances are grating, and even the rock stars look like they don’t want to be there.  And for a movie that’s purportedly about rock n’ roll, the music is rather sucky.  There’s one scene where Blondie does a cover of “Ring of Fire"; although the IDEA of Blondie doing a cover of “Ring of Fire” is infinitely cooler than the finished product.


The reason Roadie is borderline unwatchable (it took me three days to successfully get through all of it) is because of Meat Loaf.  Now he was capable of giving a good performance in his later years (anyone who’s seen Fight Club or Black Dog can tell you that), but this was back when he didn’t know his ass from his elbow when it came to acting.  Christ, I’d rather watch that “I Would Do Anything for Love” video of his over and over in a two hour loop than be subjected to this turd again.


Jim Kelly plays a secret agent who is sent to Hong Kong to retrieve some stolen diamonds in this inept but sporadically amusing Kung Fu flick.  It was originally released as Black Belt Jones 2, but that doesn’t make any sense since Kelly’s character is named Lucas.   Although billed as a blaxploitation flick, it’s much more of a Chinese chopsocky picture.  The secondary Asian characters get the same amount of screen time as Kelly (if not more) and he’s dubbed pretty badly to boot.


As second rate Kung Fu knockoffs go, you can do a heck of a lot worse than The Tattoo Connection.  Kelly isn’t given much to do and the plot is slow moving but the action isn’t bad and the dubbing is fairly hilarious.  (Some of my favorite lines include, “Damn your ass!” and “Black man, you’re lucky… THIS TIME!”)  You also get a pretty cool James Bond style opening credits sequence and there’s plenty of T & A too.  (There’s a funny love scene that has images of race cars and roaring engines intercut with the fucking.)  


So The Tattoo Connection pretty much delivers everything you could probably want in a Kung Fu flick.  It doesn’t necessarily do so in a competent manner, but it gets the job done.  If only there weren’t so many lulls in between the action, it might’ve been a classic.  Okay, maybe not.


AKA:  Black Belt Jones 2.  AKA:  Black Belt Jones 2:  The Tattoo Connection.