Saturday, December 03, 2011

November Viewings: Killer Elephants and Naked Kung-Fu

The post-Halloween letdown combined with the pre-holiday work crush kept me from watching too much stuff last month, but at least nothing outright sucked.

The 70s blaxploitation ancestor of stuff like ANGEL OF VENGEANCE stars Jeanne Bell as an Afro'd ass-kicker (with a nifty, awfully-matched stunt double) who comes to Hong Kong to find out who killed her brother. A garish cornucopia of 70s polyester fashions, coke deals gone wrong, topless kung-fu and D-grade villains. (Part of the Roger Corman's Cult Classics Lethal Ladies Collection available at Amazon.)

"Prepare to be squashed" in this incomprehensible Thai actioner that reminded me of the TEQUILA SUNRISE/EXTREME PREJUDICE school of chums-who grow-up-and-find-themselves-on-opposite-sides-of-the-law. I think. Worth watching if only for the random scenes of elephant rampage including one poor stuntman who gets tea bagged by one of the pesky pachyderms. (Buy at Diabolik)

I'm not sure that such a promising first ten minutes has ever gone so wildly off the rails. What starts off like a fun and sleazy slasher -- complete with a drooling, knife-wielding mutant Nazi -- devolves into "dreamy" Jean Rollin territory, a mummy movie and a head-scratching scene with some old dude trying to shoot a horse… that goes on for-ev-er. Yet I couldn't take my eyes off it. (Buy at Diabolik)

Long-awaited animated adaptation of the influential Frank Miller comic tracks future police commissioner Jim Gordon as he arrives in Gotham City and makes his way up the force -- a timeline that coincides with the return of favorite son Bruce Wayne and the emergence of The Batman. Adaptation is largely faithful to the source material but crams the whole tale into a truncated 64-minute running time and suffers from a woefully miscast voice talent in the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne. Luckily, Bryan Cranston excels as the new cop on the Gotham City beat and the DVD also includes a fun, slightly adult Catwoman tale. (Buy at Amazon)

Yet another in the oh-my-god-our-boat-is-sinking/inaccessible/gone genre. Utterly disposable and unmemorable but the lead dude gets bonus points for reminding me of an Aussie version of Jeffrey Combs. Is something wrong with me that I think OPEN WATER 2 is the best of these movies? (Buy at Amazon)

These flicks are critic-proof for me… they could make one every year and I'd be highly entertained and happy. This installment is like the OCEAN'S ELEVEN of dopey car porn robbery movies with stars from all the various FAST & FURIOUS versions uniting for "one last job" in Rio as they try to heist a fortune from a corrupt businessman while trying to stay one step ahead of a relentless Fed -- played by The Rock -- out to bring them to justice. Hopefully, somebody out there is smart enough to be working on a spin-off for The Rock's tough-guy, ass-kicking Fed. (Buy at Amazon)

I remember seeing ads for this and goofing that it seemed like a leftover script from PAYCHECK-era Ben Affleck. Color me surprised that it was an entertaining time-slipping action yarn that never overstayed its welcome and made the most of Jake Gyllenhaal. Sorta like an action version of GROUNDHOG DAY taken eight minutes at a time, the flick finds Gyllenhaal as a soldier being repeatedly sent back to a Chicago-bound train destined for a terrorist attack in an attempt to find the (far too obvious) bomber. (Buy at Amazon)

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