Archives for September 2008 | Varied Celluloid

Archive for September, 2008

Last Blood, The

Posted by Josh Samford On September - 30 - 2008
The Plot: The Daka Lama, a famed religious leader is coming to visit Singapore but thanks to a cult-like crime orginization called The Red Army – his life may not be safe during his visit. Also visiting Singapore from Hong Kong is a smalltime triad thug named Bee (Andy Lau) who is flying along with his dingy girlfriend, who both have harsh words for the helplessly friendly Daka Lama who tries to warn them of their future while aboard the plane. At the airport however, the stuff hits the fan as the Red Army attack and end up shooting both Bee’s girlfriend as well as the Daka Lama. Now both the Lama and Bee’s girlfriend are in critical shape and desperately in need of a blood transfusion. The only thing is that BOTH have the same blood type, and it’s extremely rare. In Singapore only three people are known to have it and once the Red Army finds out their names, two are dead with only one man (Eric Tsang) still left breathing. Now it’s up to Bee and the two best police officers Singapore has to bring down the Red Army and gather the last blood donor!




The Review
Retitled for British home video release as Hard Boiled 2: The Last Blood, this early Wong Jing effort is far from being anything remotely similar to John Woo’s massive epic of the action genre. This is no reason to dislike the movie however, really if you go out and pick this one up even without reading this review – just looking at any pictures of the film should let you know you’re dealing with a smaller budget and how could you ever top the original Hard Boiled with a limited budget? My use of the term “limited” is pretty big in this situation, as The Last Blood looks like it wasn’t exactly cheap in Hong Kong cinema terms – but certainly not up there with Hard Boiled which was released a year AFTER this film was, for the record. The subtitle for the release, which is what I am using here for the actual title and is probably the more commonly used, “The Last Blood” isn’t exactly the best of titles either. Really, what does that even mean? I know it has to do with the last blood donor, which relates far better to the plot than Hard Boiled 2 alone does – but still; the actual title “The Last Blood” doesn’t even make grammatical sense. From what IMDB tells me the exact translation of the original title is “12 Hours of Terror” which is FAR superior than everything mentioned so far; but who would search for the actual title of the film? I move on though, Last Blood has a lot of promise going for it – including an opening sequence that very well could have started the film off and heading towards a Hard Boiled-esque action film, but ultimately this isn’t an all out gritty action drama. What Jackie Chan did for Kung Fu, Wong Jing with Andy Lau and Eric Tsang (you know, the chubby gentleman from the Infernal Affairs series) attempt to do to the Heroic Bloodshed genre. Although Tiger on Beat kind of set the blueprint a couple of years before this film, I suppose Wong Jing and company didn’t get the memo, because unlike Jackie Chan’s reinvention of the Kung Fu genre with Yuen Woo Ping and their infusion of comedy into the action pieces – Wong Jing & co. simply set up a lot of great action and brutal violence; and have their characters take everything with a humorous disposition. After all is said and done, you’re left with a very disjointed film that fails as much as it tends to succeed. Not at all a bad film, but with so many moments of glory it’s a shame the film wasn’t able to capitalize on its better ideas and move from there.

I was so impressed with the first few minutes of The Last Blood, as previously stated, I started to buy into that false title. Maybe this will be some unhyped smalltime HK production that will rival the work of John Woo. There have been some pretty decent little bits of Heroic Bloodshed I have found for cheap on DVD such as Chow Yun Fat’s City War and Rich & Famous. Well, I remember one of those happened to be entertaining, though it’s been so long I can hardly remember. Anyway, imagine a house full of gangsters all gathered around the television. They await news from their boss in a most unconventional fashion, when they hear a knock at the door. A young guy wearing glasses, a bit nerdish appears holding a VHS tape. They let him in on word that he’s from the boss and they sit him down. They all gather around and the boss appears upon the TV by way of the tape. He warns that the police have attached a new inspector who is looking to track them down, and that he has his picture. Then a shot flashes on the screen of the detective; the geeky gentleman who brought them the tape and is sitting behind them with two guns drawn. We then are entertained with a spectacular bit of action with squibs galore and explosions, which is a testament to all of the action throughout the film. When it comes to blistering action; the film does deliver. Featuring far more massive explosions than I could have expected, and I couldn’t help but be surprised many times during the course of the film. Hey, even the comedy isn’t all that bad either. The terrible subtitles kind of shoot down much of the dialogue based humor but hey it’s Hong Kong comedy so you can expect a TON of broad humor. I assume most readers who are searching out this sort of film are generally aware of Asian cinema in general and you know what to expect; but Andy Lau does deliver here and is his usual charismatic self even if his character is a bit of a self absorbed jerk at times. Eric Tsang is over the top in his role as Fatty… yes, Fatty is his characters name. Remember, broad humor. The straight man for the entire picture is Alan Tam, the previously mentioned geeky glasses wearing hero cop, who honestly impressed me in the role. Although not a physically dominating man, he makes up for it as a crackshot detective who thinks absolutely everything through. He holds the film on his shoulders and does a very respectable job as leading man. Afterward I was surprised at how few films I have seen him in or in a starring role. Perhaps his lines weren’t delivered very well, you never can say when watching foreign cinema but I will say I did enjoy him here.

The Conclusion
So you’ve got fantastic action and all you could expect from HK comedy, but it’s unfortunate that the two things didn’t exactly go together like peanut butter and chocolate. Especially when things like an entire family slaughtered at one point, bookended with jokey moments that simply have no choice but to fall flat due to the serious course of events that have surrounded them. As much as I would like to give the film a four out of five, which it very well could be rated by many who read this or have seen the film, but I simply can’t. As entertaining as it was, there’s a massive glaring flaw and contradiction running throughout the film that I can’t ignore. Although the comedy bits don’t completely overtake the film, you will grow weary of Andy Lau and Eric Tsang completely driving you nuts with their constant bickering or panicking. I give the film a three out of five and although I doubt you’ll be able to just go out and rent this one, definitely take these words into thought and read up more on the film before seaking out the DVD to see whether it’s something you’re going to really enjoy. Heroic Bloodshed completest, this is probably a necessary, everyone else: probably not.

Gonin

Posted by Josh Samford On September - 30 - 2008
Plot Outline: Bandai (Koichi Sato) is a desperate club owner in debt to the local yakuzas. He keeps putting off the payment but knows he will have to come up with it soon or the consequences may be dire. He quickly takes on the idea to rob the local yakuzas, because he is aware that there is a safe in their office with a good deal of cash, so he begins looking for a team to help him pull it off. He first finds the knife carrying and sexually ambiguous Mitsuya (Masahiro Motoki, who was in the great Bird People in China), whom Bandai has more than just a little fascination with. Then he finds Jimmy (Kippei Shiina), a stuttering and blonde junkie/pimp who happens to have a girlfriend whom he loves and wants to leave for Thailand with. Then there’s Hizu (Jinpachi Nezu), an ex-cop who was kicked off the force for dubious character traits, he now needs the money for his family and to get his life straight. Last but not least of course is Ogiwara (Naoto Takenaka), an unemployed business man who has went just a little bit insane and now picks fights with anyone who might challenge his masculinity. Together the five decide to pull off the heist, but things don’t go according to plan and the yakuza are on them like white on rice. Now they have to run for their lives, or fight for them.


 


The Review: Anybody remember Things To Do in Denver When You’re Dead? Some call it a Tarantino knockoff, same with plenty of other films I don’t mind too much, but I personally always found it to be one of the most underrated crime films of the nineties. It’s not perfect by any means and there are moments where it feels like a made-for-tv gangster melodrama, but more often than not it was a unique look at the underworld. It’s basic plot went like this: After a job goes bad for a group of criminals, a Mafia boss wants them dead. The rest of the film follows the remaining days in these group of men’s life. As the tagline says; They can die quickly. They can die slowly. But they must die! Sound a bit familiar? It should if you read that above plot outline. Which film came out first, I’m not really sure since imdb has them listed in the same year but I have to imagine Denver did. If Gonin had, then I think a million little film geeks would have been up in arms calling Denver a ripoff in order to prove some point about how ‘in-the-know’ they are. The clearest sign to me that Gonin is the one most likely borrowing from other films is simple logic. Who has ever heard of a Hollywood film going from the scriptwriting stage, pre-production, casting, filming, post production and release all in one year? It doesn’t quite add up in my book. Maybe it’s just a coincidence and I’m not seeing things clearly. The only movie references the imdb even has listed for the film is from the French crime film “Riffi”, but that seems to be for the holdup scene. In the end it doesn’t matter, because Gonin may or may not borrow liberally from this underrated Andy Garcia film, but what Takashi Ishii adds to the production is what makes the film unique. He gives the film an urban feeling with a gritty realism not seen often in crime films these days. The lighting is garish, the characters are repulsive but endearing and the film sucks you in. Ishii takes the existential dread of Kitano’s films (and I’m thinking specifically of Sonatine) but gives a force and a name to what may bring about the demise of our ‘heroes’. The film is equally loved and hated depending on what circles you run in, but I for one can’t resist the film. I won’t use that old redundant ‘car crash’ analogy (you know, like a car crash you can’t look away) but the violence within the film has impact and the characters have meaning, which makes seeing violence brought upon them all the more painful and all the harder to look away.

Gonin has been ridiculed for a number of reasons, one of which is that it’s unnecessarily cruel or as one review I read put it ‘mean’. Like a rabid dog, Gonin is most definitely a mean film, but at it’s heart it cares about it’s characters. I never found anything in the film to be excessive, sure you don’t like seeing these rather decent men treated in such a way, but that’s part of the experience. Although I was watching the film for my second time today, having seen it in the past, certain parts of the film still managed to make my heart race. I knew the outcome, I knew what was coming and yet it still provoked such a sincere reaction from me. I always say that if a film produces a reaction, any form of physical reaction from it’s audience, then you have got to show at least some respect for said film. I have a vast amount of respect for Gonin, in every single aspect of the film. Takashi Ishii really made me step back and re-evaluate what I thought I might know of this director. My only previous experience with the director was sitting through Evil Dead Trap, which I didn’t actually care much for. I thought it was interesting to see a Japanese director who seemed to be so inspired by Italian horror films (most likely Dario Argento especially), but the way the film came out really didn’t hit me that hard. There was one of the most disgusting eye slicing’s in celluloid history, but other than that I thought the film was too drawn out and maybe even a bit too bizarre for it’s own good. Best to take notice because that’s a pretty rare criticism coming from me. Anyway, I assumed the director was likely a hack. One of the many Japanese gore directors making films for a straight to video market, but Gonin is a work of honest emotion. It hits it’s audience with intensity, but doesn’t forget that they need to be entertained. He lets us grow attached to these characters, but doesn’t ask for an abundance of sympathy when some die. It is reproachful, but genuinely honest with it’s self. There are comparisons that could be made to Takeshi Kitano’s films, but when it comes to his displaying yakuza characters he is often sentimental to their plight. He shows them as arrogant children, but he lets them remain human. Ishii removes all humanity from these characters. These are men who kill, torture and maim to get what they want. They may be children but they’re violent children, and this is why they’re so menacing. The leads that are provided may not be the most perfect of individuals, but we know we don’t want them to fall into the hands of these beasts that are hunting them. As we grow to know these wild cards though, we learn their stories and we learn to care for them. That’s why the confrontation hurts so much.

The acting for the most part is grand, in my eyes at least. The most noticeable exceptions come with Kippei Shiina and Naoto Takenaka, both play things up a bit and have a problem with going overboard, but neither detracts from the brilliant performances of our leads. Particularly Koichi Sato and Masahiro Motoki. Both give their very best to the film, particularly Motoki whom I also loved in Takashi Miike’s Bird People in China. The acting style (with of course the above exceptions) tends to be very subtle and at times deadpan, much like Kitano’s work, but there is a lot of emotion brought out from these characters. There is a homosexual subtext to the film that is difficult to read exactly what Ishii was trying to say, but when it comes to the forefront at the end it’s quite powerful. If you have a really bad problem with this sort of thing then perhaps you should steer clear, but I’m not the most comfortable person in the world when it comes to seeing two men kiss but I never felt out of place or drawn away from the film. The actors do nothing but help the film, even those who ham things up. Even the most dramatic of films needs some sort of comedic release. Takeshi Kitano who is often thrown on promotional work for the film really doesn’t have a huge part. He has few lines, but after the burglary he becomes almost mythical. Larger than life, almost omnipresent in his relentlessness. Kitano gives a far more menacing performance than in any of his films, even in Boiling Point where he played another ruthless yakuza, he never reached the heights he does in this film. His character is pure tension for all involved, as soon as he hits the screen you just know something bad is going to happen. Takashi Ishii who I have bragged about quite a bit thus far really makes a name for himself with this film. Of course he had done that far before this one film, but in my eyes, this is what sealed me as a fan and truly makes me want to watch Evil Dead Trap again to see if there’s a possibility I might have been wrong. The film is dark all throughout, sometimes too dark for some critics, but his shadow covered world only helps my viewing experience. His use of color throughout the film is like a walking nightmare, the disco scenes in particular are truly garish. He uses color sparingly throughout the film, but when he does go all out with flickering lights and colors in the scenes that take place in Bandai’s disco he makes sure it too is as gritty as everything else in the movie. The film is hard to pin down with a certain ‘look’ because the director seems to always be changing, but his transitions and stylization is absolutely wonderful. In one scene he slows the frame down until it stops blank, but lets the sound continue to move. He uses it to set up the rather infamous and much talked about torture sequence, he lets us hear what is going on but not see it. He sets up this tension and hits us with something so cold that it makes for a very uncomfortable feeling. Running it through my head, I think of it as very De Palma’esque, but it doesn’t play out that way at all. Ishii crafts a style his own, with a film as equally unique in so many ways.

It’s hard for me to recommend it so highly, I have no choice but to give it a four, but for the select audience that might see all of the things I do and more it’s a film truly in a class it’s own. Why a four and not a five? Well, as much as Ishii does he doesn’t explain a lot of things in the film. There’s a lot of things going on with the characters that only seems to be hinted at rather than delved into head first. Ishii isn’t restrained in the film, but there are things one would hope could be dealt with on a level deeper than symbolism. Still, if you’re wanting a solid crime film, look no further. Things are thick until the very end and the film never ceases to amaze me with each sit. There are some who generally don’t like the film and their opinion is just as valid as mine, it’s all up to the viewer. All I can say is that I love a good crime story, and if it has all the bonus goodies that this film has then it’s not only a good crime story, it’s a great film.



Guard From the Underground, The

Posted by Josh Samford On September - 30 - 2008
Plot Outline: Akiko Narushima is a bright young art enthusiast hired by an up and coming corporation with the aims of becoming a new force in the world of high stakes art dealing. With Narushima as the only semi-professional appraiser on the team, she obviously has her work cut out for her. Her first day on the job becomes a nightmare however when the news that a Sumo Wrestling murderer has escaped and is on the loose. The killer, unknown to everyone else, has enlisted himself as a guard for this corporation and well… nothing good can come from any of this.


  


The Review: There is absolutely no question to me that Kiyoshi Kurosawa may in fact be one of the most important directors on the scene. With his work on Kairo (often cited by me as one of the scariest films of all time) and Cure, he catapulted himself well beyond the call of duty in my book. His use of shadow and darkness to let the audience fill in the blanks with their imagination is only equaled by some of Hitchcock’s techniques from back in the day. I can literally think of only a select number of directors who have achieved such monumental gains in genre cinema, and Kurosawa simply deserves as much praise as can be afforded. The Guard From the Underground is one of the many films us R1 folks have never been given the opportunity to see for ourselves until Artsmagic bought the rights and it should be on it’s way to DVD shortly. If you’ve read much on Kurosawa, or even the Japanese film industry in general, you know what the V-Cinema market is and what kind of films have been released through it. As details are pretty slim right now, I can’t say for certain that Guard From the Underground was made specifically for the V-Cinema market but if I had to guess I would say it at least carries all the distinguishable markings of one. As one of Kurosawa’s earliest released films, it’s definitely an interesting piece of work. Not as confrontational in ideas as his later films would prove themselves to be – it never the less bares his mark as a director and you can trace his prints in ever frame. This is a film by a director learning his technique, what he likes and what he doesn’t. Never the less, it can still prove to be quite a bit of fun if you’re a slasher movie geek like myself.

Guard sets its’ self apart from the beginning as something that maybe teeters on the edge, even if it doesn’t quite push over those boundaries it hangs upon. With a profile shot of our leading lady sitting in the back of a cab having what can only be described as a painfully awkward conversation with the driver (and I have to commend the actress for this, as she gives one of the best ‘uncomfortable’ faces I’ve ever seen). The dialogue, despite what you would normally think, appears to be quite punchy for this sort of film. The back and forth between the two is amusing and generally just a nice way to introduce the character. From there the audience is piqued with a news bulletin speaking of the Sumo Wrestler who was known to break human beings like pencils, of course a brilliant (albeit simplistic) piece of foreshadowing and plot development. After all of this we’re finally given the title card. Kurosawa has a knack for setting his films up before the actual title sequence, but there’s something so fresh and invigorating about the way Guard starts. I actually walked in not knowing anything about it, so it was as if everything was new to me – and I have to say, if he was looking to lure the audience in, it was a fantastic way to get the job done. The budget for the film is of course going to stand in its’ way at times, it’s to be expected. It makes up for all of that in it’s experimental ways though, which is something I enjoy seeing in a lot of these older films from improved directors. Especially Japanese filmmakers who have spent some time in the V-Market. There’s an experimental nature to all of it that can’t be topped. Many of them, especially when you break it down to strictly genres, seem to have the same atmospheres about them (a layed back view of filmmaking, although you just know the sets were anything but), but I have to imagine it’s simply the inventive nature of these directors given so much freedom with other people’s money. At least the better of them of course.

These early efforts by great directors of course have their weaknesses as well as their strong suites, that’s just the way life is. One thing that should instantly strike you as ‘off’ in the film is the overstated V-Cinema-esque score. I went over this in my review for Shinji Aoyama’s Wild Life where the score actually helped to even the film out in some ways – but with a project like The Guard From the Underground it has the polar opposite effect. Where a minimialist approach was almost absolutely neccesary, the soundtrack pumps out generic “bum, bum, bum!” scary themes to accentuate the onscreen horror. If you can’t tell by now, I’d have to say it was a failure. I hope I’m not spoiled by the more modern approach to atmospheric filmmaking in Japan, but I can only imagine how much more effective the ‘dread’ of the film would have been had their been more ambient noises or simple silence. There’s no use crying over spilt milk I suppose, so I’ll just move onto the visuals, which make Kurosawa as proud as usual. You can literally see him forming the ideas and theories in this film that would later make him as popular a figure as he has become. I am partiuclarly fixated on this one shot where our “guard” himself is introduced and we’re given shots of his feet taking cold calculating steps up a stairways, and the way his face is mostly hidden in the shadows during the course of the film. Even after his features have been revealed, he still remains in the darkness. Kurosawa is just full of little tricks like that, and the film showcases many that have become staples of his particular ‘style’. The acting throughout ranges from just what you would expect from a low budget slasher film such as this, to many pleasant surprises. Our lead actress turned out to carry her weight around quite well, even if the character its’ self was a bit light at times. I of course can’t go without mentioning Ren Osugi who pops up for his role, which I am told is guaranteed to him with every motion picture filmed on Japanese soil! At least that’s the way it seems. He plays the roll of the slightly perverted boss at the company who ends up getting bashed over the head at one point and spazzing out on the floor in what might be one of the more disturbing moments of the film. His eventual death is even moreso. Although not an excessively violent film, Guard uses what blood it does to great effect. I have to give it that. Whenever I flinch at a scene with barely any onscreen violence – I know someone has done their job right. Although Guard From the Underground is by no means a ‘great’ film, it is fun in the way that these flicks usually are. If you’ve seen one, half the time you’ve seen them all. Guard does break from that tradition but it might not be enough for loyalists, but who is to say. I can’t help but like this sort of stuff myself. Broken bones, oozing blood and sumo killers; that is classic entertainment.



Godmonster of Indian Flats

Posted by Josh Samford On September - 30 - 2008

[imdb]0070119[/imdb]

Plot Outline: Young sheep herder “Eddie” has a night out on the
town, first visiting a casino and then ending up in a bar where he has one too many drinks. After
ticking off some locals, he’s sent home packing. After being picked up and dropped off at home by the
local scientist, Professor Clemens, Eddie is in for a shock. After passing out in his barn, somehow a
gigantic sheep embryo is laid out next to him. When Prof. Clemens shows up to check on Eddie with his
assistant, Mariposa, he is amazed at what he finds. After cleaning up Eddie and slapping the embryo
in a box, both are brought to the scientist’s ranch. Meanwhile, a man named Barnstable is new in the
same city, there on behalf of a large company looking to buy up all the property so they can reap the
profit of the rich mines. The mayor, Charles Silverdale, seems to have spent his whole life building up
the town and has no intention of selling. After giving Barnstable a bad name with the general public
(someone made it look as if he shot a dog), he is unable to buy one lease in the city. Barnstable is
still persistent though, and Silverdale and his lackey’s are just as annoyed. They have plans to get
rid of Barnstable, even if he doesn’t want to leave by his own free will. Back on the other side of
town the sheep embryo is now growing, and turning into a monster… a gigantic sheep monster. A not so
predictable finale awaits them all.

  

The Review: What sort of film can anyone possibly stand up on a
pedestal and claim to be the worst ever? You ask any single man woman or child and you’ll always get
a different answer. I always hate reading people who claim any film to be the worst ever as if it’s a
fact and not opinion, so in this review I’ll try my best to stress the fact that this is all my opinion.
I’ve seen some claim Pearl Harbor to be the worst, and while that film was most definitely a crap fest,
it was too technically stable to be anything but ordinary garbage. Some claim Plan 9 From Outer Space
to be the worst apple on the tree, but if you ask me it’s far too entertaining to ever be considered
worst anything. It was like a comedy that no one even knew they were in on. Looking back on something
like Plan 9 all these years later, one with no knowledge of Ed Wood or the history of the film it’s
self would probably be hesitant to believe something so over the top and grandiose could be made
unintentionally. The definition is different for everyone, and the same goes for me. I do in fact think
of Godmonster of Indian Flats as the worst film I’ve ever seen. When someone asks me what the worst
film I have ever seen is, I always point them to this film without the slightest hesitation. So, what
is it that makes GOIF so bad? Making a list of the truly terrible offenses of the film would take days.
I’ll just give a run down throughout the review, but make no mistake, I don’t hate or hold any venom
towards Godmonster. Much like Ed Wood’s masterpiece, the entertainment you derive from the film will be
based on how funny you think it is to watch a really bad movie. There’s enough seriousness in the film
that it’s also totally acceptable to purely hate or love the film. Love might take it too far, but
there are some strange people out there.

I get the feeling the director was looking to make some kind of artistic or perhaps political statement
with the film, maybe it has something to do with the south I can’t really tell. If it was his intention
to make some kind of political observation, then I’m afraid he failed on so many levels. If I were a
betting man, I would put my chips on the possibility that the film was at least thirty minutes to an
hour longer than it’s presented today. It’s the only logical explanation I can come up with to explain
the disjointed and sloppy editing. After watching the film, you’re left with a million unanswered
questions. The whole centerpiece of the plot, the sheep thing, isn’t even explained. There are hints
here and there, like a conversation where Eddie the sheep herder mentions something about having a
dream where gold dust flew in his barn or something. The professor is even worse at giving an
explanation because the writing seems like it’s supposed to impress us more than explain the actual
plot. He throws out a whole lot of scientific mumbo jumbo that doesn’t even make sense, and mentions
gasses in the caverns, but this doesn’t explain how a Embrio somehow magically appeared in Ediie’s
barn! Did they just miss this part of their own script? Speaking of that professor, it may be just
me, but the guy reminded me of Dr. Quest on Johnny Quest. Just thought I would throw that out there
while on the subject. There are other equally strange and totally unexplained things going on all
throughout the film, like why is it that everyone is dressed as if it’s California circa-1876? I
think I heard Silverdale mention something about it being a restoration society or something around
those lines. I got the idea that they were committed to believing it was the 1800s or something, but
then if that were the case what were they doing with cars everywhere? Why wasn’t this explained?
It also seems to be hinted at in the film that Silverdale is a racist and this is why he hates
Barstable so much, but after watching the film three times now, there’s no mentioning of race at all.
Maybe I just didn’t pay close enough attention, but I don’t think I’m wrong because I’ve seen people
call Silverdale a racist in plot summaries.

There are also just those moments where you grab the sides of your head and just shake it furiously,
trying to block out the stupidity that has invaded it. Like, during the center of the film Silverdale
concocts a plan to smear Barstables image by faking the accidental death of a dog (Yes, I know).
Anyway, they throw a funeral for the dog the next day (Yes, I know) where Silverdale and his goons
start lathering on the hatred for Barnstable, but right after the funeral is over and Barnstable is
nowhere in sight, it is revealed (although we seen it for ourselves a scene earlier) that it was all
a hoax. The owner of the dog reveals that he shipped it to his son out of state, now this is where
things get a little strange folks, the owner of the dog steps up to the casket and lifts it to reveal
no dog inside, but on the soundtrack a dog starts barking for no absolute reason! I don’t understand
for a second why this was placed here. I could understand it if the guy was in grief over his dog, but
just throwing in the sound effect for no reason produces one of the strangest moments in the film
for me. Then again, when you’re talking about Godmonster of Indian Flats ‘strangest moments in the
film’ come about every ten minutes. One of the most infamous weirdo moments comes after the godmonster
sheep thing is released out on to the public. Mariposa runs out after the beast, for no apparent
reason, skipping until she finds him. Once she does, she begins to dance with the giant sheep. That’s
right, they dance. It’s one of those moments in film history you’ll never forget, it really is. The
king of all weirdness in the film is without a doubt the ending, I’ve watched it three times now, and
I still can’t make sense of it. This is truly what sets the film apart from other crappy films
out there, this one just doesn’t make any sense. It implodes upon it’s self rather than self
destructing. Like a black hole sucking up all it’s surroundings, Godmonster of Indian Flats will take
away many braincells.

The acting doesn’t deserve too much comment. Christopher Brooks (who went on to have a successful
career in Hollywood as a composer) isn’t a bad actor and has a charm about him, but look at the film
man. The rest of the cast don’t deserve much mention. Well, except the Dr. Quest look-alike professor.
He was hilarious. His whole attitude seemed based around the fact that he thought he was a genius, like
talking and pronouncing every word with far too much concentration. There’s really nothing else to say
about Godmonster, it doesn’t make sense, it’s completely inept and there are more plot holes in it to
either thoroughly confuse you or make you laugh until you’re red in the face. I’m giving it a
three, because anything higher would be too gracious just for making me laugh, and anything lower
would be too offensive for this cheesy and bizarre classic. One of my favorite bad films, and if you
ask me, it should at least be considered one of the worst.

Gen-X Cops

Posted by Josh Samford On September - 30 - 2008
Plot Outline: After the gangster “Dinosaur” dies, Inspector Chan the black sheep of the police department, somehow gets permission to follow around Dinosaur’s brother Daniel. To do this he has to find a group of officers who can successfully go undercover and infiltrate the organized crime syndicate. After searching he finds Jack, Match, Alien and the lone female computer wizard Y2K. Together the five find their way into the cutthroat world of organized crime and must stop the evil gangster Akatora who has stolen a new dangerous form of explosive.















  


The Review
In life there is usually a opposite to everything. That doesn’t mean you can’t be split down the middle, but when you look at things in the broader sense people usually are split pretty even on any given issue. Hong Kong cinema is just one such issue. There are those who love the Hong Kong of old, when Chow Yun-Fat carried two pistols and Jackie Chan performed stunts that boggled the mind, but these very same people vehemently despise what Hong Kong cinema has become in the past several years. The names Nicholas Tse and Wilson Yip usually sends a shiver down the spine of this sort of person. Then there are those who love the Hong Kong of old (isn’t entirely necessary though), but also adore this new wave of HK cinema. People who think Nicholas Tse is a fitting replacement for Chow Yun-Fat and Stephen Fung is just adorably cool. Well, you can just tally me off right in the center there because I don’t really hate the new wave, but that doesn’t make me a fan. I’m actually a pretty big fan of Sam Lee’s, for no other reason than he seems like a bizarre character, but Nicholas Tse has a tendency to annoy me a bit. He’s not a bad actor, he doesn’t even seem like that bad of a person, but I tend to dislike him because he’s like a Ken Doll who I’m supposed to believe is ‘totally cool’ or something. Granted, I really enjoyed his performance in Time and Tide, but everything else I’ve seen him in just annoys the crap out of me.

Maybe I’m just too old fashioned, but I like to decide for myself what is ‘cool’ instead of having it marketed to me. Chow Yun-Fat was always cool I thought because he seemed to make his own mark on what is or isn’t cool. The man comes off cool looking without much effort, which is the opposite of what Nicholas Tse does for me. Whenever he’s in some ridiculous action scene jumping over a stack of boxes, I can’t help but imagine his hair dresser or make-up artist is more than three feet away preparing to powder his nose. It’s probably just me and I don’t mean to offend any of his fans, but I just don’t buy Tse as a tough guy. I suppose my biggest beef with Gen-X Cops is how commercial it is. There’s no risqué content in Gen-X Cops, there’s no amazing action sequences, there’s no inventive storyline and there’s almost no differentiating it between one of the many crappy action films Hollywood puts out in any given year, but at it’s heart it’s still got something going for it. What that one thing is I can’t quite explain. Maybe it’s the energy of the lead actors, maybe it’s the peering in on the changing of culture or maybe it’s just how hot Jaymee Ong is, I’m not sure. I just know that, for me, I find it hard to hate the film. Regardless of how cool it tries to force you to believe it is.

I really should talk about the good points the film has to offer, but when I try to think of them, the really bad aspects of the film come up. I don’t know if it’s because I watched it with the horrendous English dubbing or not, but the film is just CHEESY. Not cheesy in a good way like Troma, or cheesy in a fun way like the fashion style and music of some of John Woo’s earlier works, I’m talking unbearable cheese. I found myself groaning quite a bit during the film, it’s just so melodramatic and cliché all around. One scene in particular that that really gets to me is a scene with Stephen Fung and Jaymee Ong later on in the film. The two are expressing there unrequited love for one another, only to be broken up by Sam Lee, where Fung then leaves the girl he’s supposed to love so dear and head off into adventure land once again. I’m not going to go into detail as to why it’s so cheesy, because it should be obvious, but it’s kind of hard to spoil anything in the film when even a blind man can see what is going to be said next. The whole film is just predictable from the get go, and it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if there was something in the film I couldn’t get from going to my local multiplex. That’s what made stuff like Police Story so amazing, sure the plot was fairly predictable, but when you threw Jackie and his stunts in the mix you got a bonafide classic. Gen-X Cops doesn’t have anything like that to keep it feeling fresh, but the least you can say about it is it’s entertaining. Even if it’s entertaining in a dumb kind of way.

The Conclusion
Ahh I know, I know, I’m ragging on it. I can’t help it. The one true reason to even see the film if you’re like me is to know what’s out there these days. This new Hong Kong can either be bliss or a curse depending on the person. For me it more often than not turns out to be a curse, but every once in a while you get a film like Time and Tide that really is a great little flick. I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about Gen-X Cops and think I hated it or anything like that, the film is actually quite enjoyable. It’s just hard to write a lot of positive things about it because of all the small little nuances that get in the way. I’ll leave you with the finer aspects of the film. If there’s one thing that probably makes Gen-X Cops a bearable experience is how charming the whole affair is. It’s cute, it’s smarmy, it’s funny and for the most part it’s an entertaining film. Not something I recommend buying really, but if you can find it to rent then that’s definitely the way to go. So, in conclusion? Beats me. The film has a million bad aspects to it, but if you’re a forgiving person like myself (hey, I’m a Fulci fan remember?), then you may or may not find this one amusing little film. If not, then just stay away. If you’ve always wondered who that chick from the kfccinema.com page is (EDITORS NOTE: Dated reference, be warned), check it out for that sexy (if a little faint) Australian accent of hers.

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Varied Celluloid is a film website intent on delivering views on movies from all genres. Started in 2003, the website has been steadfast in its goal and features a database of over 500 lengthy reviews. If you would like to contact us about writing for the website or sending screeners, please visit the about page located here.

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