Action Shootout-Cobra vs. Raw Deal

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I’ll be…uh right here.

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I drew dis here with my crayons.

It’s Sly vs. Ahnold in my very first action shootout and if no one reads it then it  could be the last action shootout. I picked these two films because they star probably the two top action stars of the 1980’s, both are lesser known films by these guys, the main characters are both law enforcement types and the films came out just weeks apart in 1986.

The plots in a nutshell although they got in those nutshells I’ll never know-In Cobra Sly is a cop who ends up protecting a model who witnessed killings by a serial killer and his gang. In Raw Deal Arnie is a former FBI agent turned small town sheriff who asked by his old boss to go undercover to bust a mob group in Chicago. Both plots start out kind of basic but become bigger and bigger and just more outrageous as the films go along. However I think by using the serial killer and witness angle that Cobra managed to put a little bit of suspense into the film and that made it just a hair more interesting. Point to Cobra.

The Stars- Sly plays  Arnie plays Mark Kaminski and Sly plays Marion “Cobra” Cobretti. Arnold was fairly in his action film career at this point as most of his bigger films were ahead of him. In 1985 Sly had done a Rambo and a Rocky so he at the top of the action star list at this time. Sly playing an Italian cop who can’t obey rules seems less of a stretch than big Arnold playing a former FBI agent trying to go undercover as a mobster. However Stallone comes as a shell of a hero most of the time who has chances to show emotions but instead just uses his gun to his talking. While certainly not a good performance Arnold gets the chance to add more of a balance to his character as he struggles with his marriage and his attraction to a woman who is pulled into a bad situation. Point to  Raw Deal.

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Your hair is so slick.

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Don’t we look cute in out matching threads?

Leading ladies-Brigette Nielson plays the model/witness in Cobra while Kathryn Harrold plays a woman tied up with the mob who befriends Arnold. Nielson in her Razzie nominated performance isn’t as bad as she is in other films, but yes she overacts a bit and gets worse as the film goes along. Arnold probably lucked out getting Kathryn Harrold as his leading lady as it’s not a fantastic part but she does well enough with it and mostly importantly didn’t stink things up like Nielson. Point to Raw Deal.

Villains-Cobra faces a serial killer with stud handled knife and his gang of thugs while Arnold faces a mob boss, his untrusting and really scary right hand man and a crooked attorney working for the wrong side. Yeah point to Raw Deal.

Action-This is fairly close. Both rely a lot of shooting, explosions and car chases. The explosions are bigger in Cobra an he has an awesome car, but I think action stands out more in Arnold’s film. It’s also more satisfying when the villains get what they have coming. Point to Raw Deal.

For my money the underdog Raw Deal takes this one as the better action flick in a 4-1 blowout.

Best line(s) in Cobra-

Killer at store-Get back! I got a bomb here! I’ll blow this whole place up!

Cobra- Go ahead. I don’t shop here.

Best line in Raw Deal-

Kaminsky (after his drunk wife goes off and throws a cake at him)- You should not drink and bake!

 

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Sly got a better car than me!

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Yeah he did.

Warriors of the wasteland AKA: The New Barbarians: Warriors of the Wasteland

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1983 according to the case and 1984 according to IMDB

It’s 2019 and the nuclear holocaust has hit so apparently there is that for us to look forward to. So in the future there are these guys called Templars who wear white armor and they ride around shooting things up and causing all kinds of bad news. Hey, never fear this bubble domed muscle car wearing guy named Scorpion will help. Does he sting people with his bottom? No afraid not, he has a gun and he does have this spiny blade thing that pops out of his car that he uses to slice and dice bad guys with. The One ( a glaring eyed goon) and Shadow (shag-mullet headed lunkhead) are the two higer ups with the Templars. Eventually Scorpion saves this woman, he cleans her up and their must be a hair salon nearby because her hair gets bigger as the movie goes along. Eventually Scorpion runs into some Templars who are trying to make a name for themselves so they attack him. He uses his, blades and his car to slice and dice cheap stand-in mannequins those foul beasts into bits. He rolls around with the newly acquired big haired woman in something that looks like a see through tent. At some point skinny headband wearing, crossbow toting Nadir (former NFL player and Blackploitation film star Fred Williamson) appears. Eventually he helps Scorpion plan to fight the Templars. They are defending a village of people wandering around in dirty clothes. Scorpion and Nadir are joined by a slingshot expert who looks to be around seven, but is voiced by someone about twice that age. The One rants about getting revenge and destruction and lack of plot devices or proper hygiene skills or something. Of course a big battle comes between Scorpion and his buds against the One, Shadow and the other Templar goodwads. Scorpion gets shot by the One and doesn’t even flinch. Turns out he’s wearing see through bubble armor over his bare chest-what a man! So the One runs like a coward, he may be the One but apparently he fights like number two. Nadir and the kid take care of all the lackeys. Meanwhile Shadow steps up and calls out Scorpion. He kills some innocents and talks a good game before Scorpion blasts his bad hair style off of him. Scorpion hops in his ride and takes off after the yellow the One and eventually kills him via giant metal corkscrew coming out of his car-don’t you hate when that happens? The villains are dispatched, the heroes have one and life isn’t so bad except for that whole living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland thing.

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The negatives-This is one of many low budget Mad Max copies made in the 80’s. The effects are cheap, the acting ranges from okay to painfully bad. They tend to avoid physical fights for gun battles.

The positives-They throw a lot of cars, explosions and gunfights into this film. I give them a “B” for effort for trying add action to this thin little film. I was glad to see Fred Williamson. He’s not great, but he did have a certain presence that helped and on some copies and posters of this film he gets top billing even though as far as screen time goes he’s second as far as the top heroes go. It’s cheap and cheesy, but I found it to be fun enough for what it was. Just have you remote ready to fast forward past some slow parts.

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It came from the bargain bin-Street Fighter

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1994
Purchased at Big Lots recently.
Cost-$3
Why this could be good? I’m a big fan of the game and I liked a few JCVD films back in the day.
Why this could be bad? Everyone I knew who saw it said it was average or worse.

Guile is the main hero as a French accented, US flag tattoo wearing soldier (?!). Bison is the villain and some big old nasty plan hatched. Eventually all the other characters from the game appear and end up on different sides of this battle. There’s martial arts competition, military actions, gun battles, evil plots and all that kind of going on to some extent throughout the film. The main villains (Bison, Sagat, Vega) sneer, look evil and try to cause problems -ewwww take that good people. While the obvious heroes (Guile, Cammy, Chun Li) fight for what’s good, just and what the script tells them to fight for. Others like Ken and Ryu go from indifferent to maybe bad to good just in case you wondering or cared at all by this point. Somewhere along the line the director said “what have I done?”, no actually he said “we are running out of time and money so let’s set up a grand finale and blow stuff up”. So that’s what we get. There’s some fights with evil losing. The bad guy lair explodes. Zangief is forgiven his crimes because he holds a door open for the good guys while the other baddies remain bad. Ken and Ryu both become good for ummm good. At the end of the film the cast try their best to recreate poses of the game characters with not so impressive results. Game over.

The negatives-I think the first one that comes to mind is that for an action film based on a legendary fighting game this film lacks memorable fights. They take too long to get to real fights and when they do they are short and we see close ups of part of the action rather than a whole fight scene. Definitely real missed opportunities. With this many characters in one film it’s understandable that some get fleshed out more than others. However some of my biggest character complaints are…
1-That skinny soldier was T. Hawk? They didn’t even try on him.
2-Dhalsim loses his hair at the end and that’s like we all get on him being the Dhalsim we know. He was around before Cammy and Vega in the game yet they shoved him to the side in this film.
3-In this film Balrog is good and DeeJay is bad. Why? Did the writers of this movie ever see these characters in the game? I think not.
There are also the usual plot holes and perhaps worst of all I never really cared as much about the characters in this film as I did while playing the game.

The positives-The locations are nice, actually the storming the fortress scene at the end makes good use of the location. I liked that they tried to include all of the characters from the game even if they didn’t get most of them right. I liked when Sagat and Deejay thought they were getting something valuable only to find that they’d saved some Bison bucks.

Was it worth $3? The price is lower that the average bargain bin price of $5 so that means the film doesn’t have to be as good to be worth less money. I suppose that’s right. However for me in evaluating the value of a film for what I paid for it I go to two things-was it good and how many times would I watch it again? For the first one I have to say the film was below average. It had far more faults than I figured it would. The one thing I was hoping for was good fight scenes and it didn’t have enough of those. For the second question no I don’t have the desire to see this film again any time soon. So I’d say unfortunately it was not worth the $3.

I hope to this bargain bin segment twice a month starting in January. I already have some films lined up for the next few months. Some possibilities for 2015 include-
The Scorpion King action pack
Mortal Kombat double feature
Tales from the darkside the movie
Konga
Four sided triangle
Spaceways
Future Sport
Short Circuit double feature
Hancock
The wolfman (remake)
The Neverending story double feature
The monster maker
X the man with X ray eyes
Godzilla against Mechagodzilla
Casper meets Wendy
Werewolf the beast among us
Sherlock Holmes Double Feature (w/Basil Rathbone)
Idle Hands
Silver Bullet
Jason goes to hell
The land that time forgot/People that time forgot double feature
Alien Apocalypse
Crucible of Horror
Man of steel
Collateral Damage/Eraser double feature

Beastmaster

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1982

A hook nosed nasty type Maax teams up with rot faced half naked witches to suck the heir to the throne out of his mom’s womb and into a cow. No, that wasn’t a post Mexican food dream, it was the start of this film. The baby boy Dar is rescued prior to being sacrificed. His new dad raises him at a farming village and the boy shows a knack for talking to the animals, but no his last name is not Doolittle. Unfortunately some wicked muscle bound types called the Jun horde wipe out the entire village except Dar. Dar takes off most of his clothes and goes off to avenge his village. Along the way he picks up animal friends including two ferrets, a bird and a tiger with a bad paint job because remember he can talk to them. He spies on a topless woman, becomes friends with a staff wielding guy and a young prince. Oh and he falls into quicksand because you know how common that stuff is. Double oh he runs across these winged creepies that eat people, but they become friends with Dar because he is buddies with a bird and it likes these rejects from a bad horror flick worship birdies. Eventually Dar stops sacrifices at an ungodly steep temple and saves good people while ticking off Maax and his fake beak. Eventually this leads to Dar fighting and defeating Maax and his bald followers-ewww take that! Dar and his friends and followers take over the city and await a confrontation with the dreaded Jun oh,dear, oh dear. They have flames ready and Dar leads the fight with some wrestling and fancy sword work. He takes a few of the Jun and just when you think it will be a tough battle those winged weirdos from earlier show up and take out the rest of the Jun-hooray!. The young prince will lead the city now. Then it’s discovered that Dar is actually the first born, but he does not want the role and wanders on. Roll the credits.

The negatives-The lower budget shows in spots if you are looking for it.Tanya Roberts couldn’t exactly act her way out of a paper bag (although with her looks it didn’t really matter in this film).

The positives-Marc Singer, Rip Torn and John Amos lead an a mostly solid cast. The lighting during night scenes is inspired. The scenery is overall fantastic and really adds to the feel of the film. The plot might just be okay, but the action and characters really make it magical for what it is.

A really great fantasy, action film that I have enjoyed since I first saw it on TV in the mid-1980’s.

Charlie’s Angels-Unidentified Flying Angels

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1977

The plot-
So this rich woman disappears or actually she is roughly escorted from the room after seeing a UFO. Such beastly behavior. The angels are called upon to investigate this place which is run by a flim flam man (Wild Wild West’s Ross Martin) and an ex-astronaut who wears the worst blond wig/hair helmet this side of a Star Trek alien. Apparently they charge people a bunch of bread in exchange for the chance of maybe spotting a UFO. Oh, boy! Bosley (David Doyle) and Kris (Cheryl Ladd) pretend to be a couple (of what I am not sure) who want to see a UFO or rather Kris does so her sugar daddy gives in. Meanwhile Sabrina (Kate Jackson) plays a cheap PI looking for a missing person (although not the one she is really looking for) at the UFO/rich guy place. The third angel Kelley (Jaclyn Smith) hits up the bewigged ex-astronaut in hopes of finding out information. So the girls and Bosley play their roles trying to figure out what is going on. They go through different outfits, fool the baddies, stroll through 70’s style rooms and eventually Sabrina finds the UFO is a fake. There is also an airplane, a water running car (yeah, right) and uh a desert. This UFO business is all a sham, the evildoers are outed, the saucer revealed and the case solved. The girls talk to their boss Charlie over a little black box while they grin a lot and our show is over.

The UFO-
The saucer looks relatively detailed and is a typical saucer shape. It’s grey and makes a whooshing sound. When it is revealed as a fake it’s a metallic looking thing around a meter in length. It’s on a rod and it goes up and down while being controlled by remote control and the controls are a big desk like thing. So a fairly elaborate set-up and it’s kept outside behind a stone wall a ways from the house.

I just saw this one for the first time last week. It’s a decent enough episode that shows how people can want to see a UFO and I’m sure that happened in the 70’s. Ross Martin is good as the crook. Kate Jackson is always a delight when she gets to play a tacky person as her cover as she does here. The UFO actually looks very good, like a Hollywood style prop which of course it is. Once you see the model it’s hard to believe that’s the same huge thing that duped a room full of adults.

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Batman

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1966

After the first season of the series a theatrical movie was released. All the key people played their roles except Julie Newmar was already doing another project so Lee Meriweather was brought in to play the Catwoman.

The Joker, Catwoman, Riddler and the Penguin are out, free and ready to cause havoc in  a campy, low-budget kind of way. The villains plot various devious traps for the dynamic duo. They try missiles and that fails. So then Catwoman pretends to mIss Kitka a reporter from Russia who lures Bruce Wayne in with her charms. He falls for her of course. Meanwhile the fiends have also kidnapped the head of a distillery and taken his device which basically just dehydrates things. Wait, what do they want that for? Hold onto your capes there Mr. and Mrs. Impatient we’ll get to that. Bruce Wayne fights the baddies, Batman can’t get rid of a bomb, Alfred drive the Batmobile and Bruce/Bats still can’t figure out that Catwoman is miss Kitka. The Penguin tried to be someone else (Bats sees through this disguise) and Batman and Robin cause tome thugs to pop like bubbles and vanish POOF! The villainous four eventually take the Gotham equivalent of the United Nations and they suck the juice out of them, sweep up their powered remains and take off with the Dynamic Duo in pursuit. Evenutally this leads to a sea battle where the heroes cause the no-goodnicks to surface in their submarine and take part in fisticuffs. Of course good beats evil in front of a wrinkly backdrop. Although Batman is saddened when he realizes that Catwoman was Miss Kitka, oh the horrors of love or something like that. The caped crusader and his partner return the powered people dust to their chairs (after a sneezing incident) and add liquid but things are slightly off. Oh, well they are out of time so roll the credits.

I have seen this film at least 30 times. It’s a real hoot. You also need to hear the Adam West and Burt Ward commentary with it as well.

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Guns

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1990

Erik Estrada as Juan Degas (the S is silent) a gunrunner and all around not so wonderful fellow.

There are other people in this film, but no one that important for Danny Trejo who plays what else a nasty looking guy with an equally nasty disposition. It’s an Andy Sidaris film so the woman run around half dressed trying to act tough and spouting out cornball lines, the villain’s henchman act stupid and die while the good guys smile and show off their hair while they  normally get saved by the woman or by just dumb luck.

So Degas shows up under his fake hair helmet, I mean the fuzzy rodent on his head um very natural looking hair. Anyways he wants this one female agent dead. So hires these two goons-one looks like French Stewart only with his eye open while the other looks like a young John Saxon (only not nearly as cool). The above ugly hit men become even less cool when they dress as even uglier women to pull off their hits. Back to the star, Degas sets up to buy some weapons from a Chinese weapons dealer. We know the weapons are great because our villain uses tone to set stuff on fire, huh huh huh cool! The hit men kill the wrong girl in Hawaii then everyone goes back to Las Vegas because these Andy Sidaris movies seem to happen in bright colorful places. Guess the film wouldn’t work as well in the winter in Minnesota or something. Anyways there are some airplanes tossed in here and cars driving wildly to fill in time of some sorts. Degas gets tense over the female agents still being around and Estrada does some hammy eyeball popping moments to emphasize this for his character. Degas girlfriend kills some of the good people but then she gets it. Eventually of course the hit men in drag bite the dust as well. Despite the fact that the women in these films can’t run very fast and hold their weapons as awkwardly they still always manage to take down some tough customers. Degas captures this woman and threatens the heroes to get what he wants, but one of the female agents blows him up with what looks like a couple of caulk guns together carrying red and blue cardboard rockets. Yet it’s enough to blow Degas to a million pieces and do no damage to the agent who was just a few feet away. Oh well roll the credits.

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The negatives-The film isn’t big on plot and if you expecting witty dialog then you need to search elsewhere.

The positives-Estrada tries and he’s decent enough as a villain. There are plenty of explosions and gun fights too. Nice locations as well.

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Poster postings-Call him Mr. Shatter aka: Shatter

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Not a horror film, but it was one of two joint ventures between horror studio Hammer and martials studio the Shaw Brothers. This 1974 martial arts – action film stars Stuart Whitman and Ti Lung. Peter Cushing also shows up for a minute or two. A very mediocre film, but a decent poster. I bought this one sheet probably ten years ago for $5 and it’s in very good shape.

Mysterious Island

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1961

Who’s in this?

Herbert Lom as Captain Nemo of the Nautilus. The late Herbert Lom had a career that spanned over fifty years with over 100 credits.  He was in Spartacus, The Ladykillers and  plenty of horror films including the Dead Zone, Asylum and Hammer’s Phantom of the opera. He is perhaps most known for playing the Chief Inspector in the Pink Panther films. There is no mistaking his powerful voice. He passed away in his sleep last fall at the age of 95.

Michael Craig as Captain Harding of the Union Army. Craig worked started working on film in the late 40’s and has a credit as recently as 2011. He has also worked on stage quite a bit over the years. In the 1970’s he moved to Australia and much of his work since then has been there.

Joan Greenwood as Lady Mary a shipwreck victim who washes onto the island. She got into acting in her late teens and most of her more known work came shortly after that.

Michael Callan as Herbert Brown a young Union soldier. Callan had a singing and dancing background, but mainly played a guys with girl troubles in TV and movies.

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What’s this about? A few Union soldiers escape from a prison camp by hot air balloon taking a along a reporter and a Confederate soldier. Unfortunately luck is not on their side as they take the balloon into a terrible storm that blows off to a remote island in the Pacific Ocean.  Eventually they run into a giant crab (the one with the claws not a big, grumpy person). Later they find two woman who survived the sinking of their boat. There is a run in with a giant bird which they eventually win. So this island is just full of giant thingies. They also deal with pirates and giant bees. Then just when you think this little island is crazy it gets even more so as Captain Nemo shows up saying he’s been helping this group all along and he has a submarine nearby, but it’s in rough shape. Nemo also says the volcano on the island will soon erupt and kill them if they don’t find a way to get away from the island. His idea is to pump up this pirate ship that he just sunk, patch the whole and boom they’ll be out of here. It doesn’t work quite that smoothly as Nemo doesn’t make it but the rest of them do get away in the ship. Roll the credits and so long to the Mysterious Island that’s now be covered by icky lava.

The negatives-Actually I have no gripes. However I should mention some complaints I’ve heard about it. So this movie is based on Jules Verne’s book of the same name, but the book is very different. There are no giant monsters or shipwrecked woman so some snoots growl at this movie for taking liberties and making it so different from the book. Ray Harryhausen said when he was a approached with the idea of doing a film of this book he felt it would be tough because there wasn’t enough there to make an action movie so we got giant monsters and shipwrecked woman.

The positives-I think this is one of Harryhausen’s best films with some great creations. It’s also a strong action movie as well. I first saw this when I was 12 and was mesmerized plus I still love it. The action is good enough, the locations are great and the pace is steady. A strong movie indeed that has stood up very well over time.

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