Sunday, 7 February 2016

IMDb Bottom 100 Review - Number 38 Yusei Oji aka Prince of Space

Space. The final frontier. And also the setting of a lot of really crappy movies, several of which have been on this list. It’s a Korean Japanese entry on the Bottom100 list, which I think is a first. The movie was dubbed though, so I didn’t miss a second of rich and absorbing dialogue nor did I pass a single vital plot point. This movie was boring and stupid, so you might as well join me at the launchpad as I look at...

I used my mad photoshop skills, and made this for you. Because I love you. And I was bored.

We’re back in the 50s again for this one. The second ‘59 entry on the list that already features another foreign film - the aptly titled Santa Claus. I say foreign, when all but one of these so far have been foreign to me. But for all intents and purposes, let’s assume I’m American and only a few, such as Santa Claus and tonight’s feauture, are foreign. That’s two foreign films in the last 4. Our jobs and our women aren’t enough anymore? Now they have to take our movie industry too? I kid I kid. I don’t actually care. Because if foreigners hadn’t been able to make movies, we would’ve missed out on the true classic that Prince of Space could have been. Just let the title simmer in your brainpan for a moment. Prince. Of Space. Why not king? I’m sorry to say, you won’t find answers to that question in this review. You will only find despair and sadness. Hooray!

Prince of Space in his Prince of Spacecraft. See what I did there? I'll be here all week.

As with some of these flicks, writing a plot outline proves kind of difficult, because there basically isn’t any plot to speak of. Prince of Space does have something resembling a plot, but again, it could be adequately described in one sentence and so the rest of the two paragraphs I usually dedicate to plot has to be fledged out with obscure explanations as to why writing a plot outline is hard. Kind of like the last four lines you’ve read. Look, we’re almost through the first paragraph. This wasn’t so hard anyway. The sentence that would cover PoS in its entirety is ‘Alien overlord travels to Earth to steal potent fuel and possibly conquer the planet, but is stopped by Prince of Space.’ How does that grab you? Not enough? Alright, fine. I’ll spoonfeed you a second paragraph just below the jump.

His laugh... Sometimes I want to add soundbits to this blog, just so you could hear how fucking stupid it sounds. Like he was reading from a teleprompter.

The evil overlord dude from the planet Krankor has somehow heard of a new rocket fuel developed by a scientist on Earth. I’m not sure how. But there we are. He wants to steal this fuel, and kidnaps people left and right to make that happen. Prince of Space, who is really a shoeshinesman by trade, dons his superhero outfit, and fights the aliens off. There are attempts at subplots, like his foster kids being abducted and the son of one of the scientists working out why the aliens are on Earth but being dismissed. But they are both so watered down and ham fisted, I didn’t even realize they weren’t brought to conclusion or even mattered one iota in the movie until just now. How’s that for solid screenwriting?

"Help us, Prince of Space Kenobi. You're our only hope!"

There are many issues with this film, some of which are immediately apparent, and some of which kind of linger in your mind with a series of questions you can’t bring yourself to properly form. Like why the fuck would the alien dudes, who clearly have achieved interstellar space travel, want to steal a recipe for rocket fuel? This point is even raised in the actual movie, in a rare moment of clarity, but dismissed by a scientist with some explanation I had suspended my disbelief too much to retain. Also the evil overlord takes over EVERY TV channel in the world to announce that he will arrive on Earth at 8pm the following day to take over. What evil force announces time of impending death? When they actually do arrive, they are met by a few military forces, and two kids looking on. Right as they are about to kill everybody Prince of Space shows up and handles shit. And still, later on when the kids talk to a Commissioner of the police, he dismisses them as just kids with a good imagination. Like they had imagined that fucker taking over every TV station? I don’t even get why this element is in the movie. I mean I get the kids seeing weird shit at the start of a movie, get dismissed and then things turn out to be real. But after everybody already knows the thing they mention is real, why is this happening?

This fucking thing. I literally couldn't even when he popped up on screen.

Then there is the whole Prince of Space being a normal everyman from the streets of Seoul or where ever this is supposed to take place. Not only does he don the stupidest fucking outfit, but it’s also the most oblivious superhero outfit change since Clark Kent removed his glasses and nobody knew who the fuck he was. At one point PoS leaves a not in the children’s bird cage saying “Go play with your friend” only to get them out of the house so he can change. When they question the note’s validity, he is stern. “You don’t want to disappoint the note!” And of course they don’t. Prince of Space can’t be harmed by the weapons of the evil invaders. This is something he announces right off the bat and several times after. No explanation for why this is the case. Yet he is continuously shot at throughout the movie. At one point he repeats, that their weapons do him no harm, and the evil overlord’s line immediately following that is ‘shoot him!’ It seems pretty stupid, but I guess I shouldn’t expect it not to be.

"My career... WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?"

When Prince of Space flies to the planet Krankor to retrieve kidnapped scientists, he battles some huge and insanely stupid looking monster created by the evil overlord as protection I guess. Then he invades the base, and since he can’t be harmed, it’s really kind of a doozy. I don’t know if this was some kind of Superman emulation or whatever the fuck went wrong, but as a plot device it’s really too convenient. What was also convenient was the dubbing to very clear and surprisingly crisp generic American accents. It obviously reminded me of the sweet Ninja/Kung Fu movie dubbing of the 70s that had me giggling inanely as a kid. But as much as I enjoy foreign films with subtitles, I just couldn’t face watching a movie in Korean Japanese. I don’t really know, if effects in this movie were up to snuff for 1959. I feel as if they were kind of on the crappy side, even for that era, but it’s hard to say if that’s personal bias or not.

"Obey the note, kiddo. Or else..."

As for it being Korean Japanese, I suppose we all had to start somewhere. Korean Japanese movies have really come into their own in the past 20 years or so, with a few instant classics like Oldboy (the original), J.S.A. or the movie The Departed was build on, Infernal Affairs. They have some genuinely absorbing crime movies that makes watching movies a thrill. Prince of Space had kind of the opposite effect. I watched it while doing other stuff, and it meant lots of the dialogue passed relatively inhindered through my head, which is good because I don’t want it to clog up things in there. I wouldn’t want to recommend this movie to anybody ever, but as far as B100 movies go, it was far from the worst. Dull, uncompromisingly stupid and without many redeeming features, it still scored miles above some of the shittier flicks I’ve had the misfortune of reviewing. I don’t think I have to mention any names. The diligent reader will instinctively know. If not, it’s time to read back. God speed, my friend.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

IMDb Bottom 100 Review - 040 Zombie Nightmare

Zombie and/or monster movies are a pretty frequently recurring theme in these bottom dwelling movies that make my current playlist of doom. I have assumed from day one, that the reason for this trend is, that it doesn’t require a lot from the writers, producers, actors, cinematographers, camera and equipment and even us, the viewers. Or me in this case. And that assumption hasn’t been proved wrong yet. The few movies from this list I’ve not actively hated, have been attempts, however misplaced they may be, at writing actual story not involving some badly made up idiot trying to murder people for whatever reason. Tonight’s feature proves my assumption is based on sound and empirical proof. So if you’re still wondering if I’m right, please join me in taking a critical of less than enthusiastic look at…

Immediately after being raised from the dead, he is handed his legacy - a baseball bat.

God damn zombies. I should probably admit at this point, that I’m not a huge fan of them in movies. Yes, I said it. All the more reason watching these fucking abominations takes its toll on me. It’s mostly the slow walking zombies that annoy me. The fast paced stuff from the likes of 28 days later or Zombieland are fine. Perhaps I haven’t watched enough of the classics to really appreciate it. But in this movie, the one zombie present just came off as extremely stupid. Everybody around him didn’t exactly help, I’ll grant him that. At least they didn’t go balls to the walls on make up. So there’s that.

Mario impersonator and two random dudes opts to bring corpse of son to mother's lawn instead of medical facility. That's a felony.

It’s a pretty simple revenge movie when the layers of pretension and ill-placed ambition has been peeled away. Some moron is ploughed down by a car full of teenagers, and his mom, and some store keeper with an Italian accent that would make Mario and Luigi shit their wrench wielding pants, immediately takes him to the local witch slash voodoo aficionado, instead of a hospital because what the fuck is the point of modern science when you can have an undead son roaming the streets instead. Immediately he returns to undead life, this wife beater wearing growler does the only logical thing: goes on a hate fueled vendetta. Apparently he retained a full memory of all 5 people in the car, and instantly knew the names and residences. Voodoo has come a long way from when I was a kid.

This fucking kid. I know he was supposed to be a douche, but I feel like he didn't have to act much. I hated his face so much.

But it’s not as simple as just picking off 5 kids. It never is, is it? The police gets involved, and a young ambitious detective tries his damndest to solve, what appears to be, murders of inhuman proportions. His captain tries to dissuade him, until he suddenly realises the murders bears the mark of the very same witch woman that did something to him years ago, and he smells the sweet sweet scent of revenge. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a vendetta twofer! As zombie-son murders his way through the 5 obnoxious teenagers, preventing rapes and other mishaps along the way (crime fighting zombie? That’ll be the day), Captain Revenge picks up the witch and drives to the cemetery where everything culminates in a showdown the likes of which Wyatt Earp would’ve tipped his blood soaked stetson to. Speaking of Tombstone, a guy with a minor, but vital role, was one of the producers of the movie of that name. Yes. Captain is dragged into the grave with the zombie and the witch is shot in the process. Young detective is left, possibly more confused than ever, with zero answers to anything. But at least the 5 teens got what was coming to them! Their hair-dos alone would’ve sent me on a killing spree that would’ve sent Charles Manson back to the drawing board.

Beautiful! This scene was emotional for me. Tears streaming, I thanked a random deity for their benevolence in granting my wish.

This is one of those movies, where you’ll recognize an actor or a name from the crew because a lot of these assholes are the kind of assholes who just barely didn’t make it big. With one, glorious, exception. I’ll get back to that in a second. We see the likes of Tia Carrera and the dude who wrote Another 48 Hours among the actors, and a director whose claim to fame was producing lewd movies with the word ‘sex’ in the title. ‘Sex Family Robinson’ was one of his early endeavors. You can almost smell the sweat soaked suede furniture from the title alone. Be all that as it may, the one exception to all these miscreants is of course the captain, played by none other than Adam West. Now that name alone should fuel you with mirth beyond your wildest dreams. Not only did he play the Batman of the 60s that Christian Bale allegedly based his Batman performance on (don’t bother researching this. I’m a movie reviewer. Trust me.) but he also does an amazing stint in Family Guy as Mayor Adam West. I’m not sure what on earth West figured he was doing in this movie, playing a tough love Captain with a shady past and a mean streak that could have made Biff Tannen sit up and take notice. Perhaps, as we so often see down here in the boondocks, it was all about the Benjamins. P Diddy would agree with me, that it’s often about those. Thankfully Adam West ditched the shitty horror genre and gifted us laughs and joy instead of yawns and accidental razor cuts.

The typical Voodoo witch getup. What the fuck was anybody thinking in putting that poor woman on screen looking like this?

I suppose I have to give a little credit where it’s due. This movie was pretty stupid and in usual style, what it lacked in story progression and character development, it more than made up for in prolonged pointless shots and montages that served precisely zero purpose. The credit I wanted to give was, that the overall quality of the movie’s look wasn’t completely horrible. The content was stupid and shallow and lacked any kind of redeeming features. But the picture quality was surprisingly good for a low budget subpar production from the mid-80s. I hated every single character, I think. Especially what I suppose we could call the main antagonist. A skinny motherfucker with the most annoying hair since Kurt Russell. I wanted to throw rocks into his eyes within seconds of him appearing on screen, which might be a new record. He got stabbed with the thick end of a baseball bat, which in itself is pretty fucking impressive. A baseball bat, if you would care to remember, is round and pretty blunt, especially at the end with which you hit balls. Still, it was pushed through his sternum with wanton ease by the vengeful zombie. I can’t claim I smiled or chuckled, because I was ready to gouge my eyes out at this point, but it definitely was the best moment of the film.

I don't have a lot of words that can adequately describe what is happening here. I just don't.

It’s rough to watch movies where so little happens that has any interest or redeeming qualities. I guess you’d think I’d be used to it by now, but it just doesn’t happen. I’m not gonna put this movie all the way at the bottom of my so far 60 watched movies. Lord knows there are plenty of candidates for the 10 most obnoxious and annoying flicks, and this, while definitely stupid and a waste of many many people’s time, was somewhere in the bland and featureless middle. It was 80s for sure, but it could just as easily have been 90s or even made in the last decade, by people didn’t know what a story was, until they clawed their way out of feral lives among wolves in their early twenties. I can’t fathom how nobody who reads these scripts or directs people enacting them, can’t see, that so much shit is lacking to make it coherent or interesting. Like jumps on story or shit the characters do that just only makes sense because we, the viewers, are able to understand, that it doesn’t make sense. One of these days, I’m gonna write a movie that fills in blanks in all of these tropes. A movie that does the opposite of every shitty flick that doesn’t make sense. And has one of every character always lacking in other movies. One of these days...

Bonus Adam West. The most Adam West person on the planet. He didn't Adam West as much as I've seen Adam West Adam West before. But you can't expect too much I guess.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

IMDb Bottom 100 Review - Number 41 The Puma Man

Early 80s low budget super hero movie? Yes, indeed. Aztec shamans, paleontologists, evil organizations and ladies with mouths that would make Steven Tyler whimper in shame. Also yes. And you know what, it could’ve gone well. But it didn’t. It went the opposite direction of wherever well is. That’s where this went. And to add insult to injury, I could only find this particular movie with the Mystery Science Theater 3000 shit dragged over it. So not only did I have to watch a movie that sucked hard, I had to endure constant talking from two robots and some guy, making the least hilarious jokes, since Hitler attempted stand up before his evil dictator slash worst human in the history of everything ever career kicked off. So stick with me, as I take an all but casual look at…

A death star knock off that looks more like somebody flipped a vacuum cleaner upside down.

Weirdly enough, the cover of this movie looks pretty decent. A super hero looking dude, mostly resembling a less feral Wolverine, leaping towards us, arms outstretched, in front of a Death Star type space station. I never had any kind of hope, that this movie would be a perfect mix of two of my favorite things: Star Wars and X-Men. I never for one picosecond thought that was a thing that would happen. But I had no idea just how abysmally done this was. Just how incredibly stupid everything would turn out to be. You could argue I ought to know by now, but we both know, that despite having watched somewhere in the area of 60 shitty movies, each one worse than the previous, I just don’t learn. That being said, watching a shitty movie is in itself a trying thing. But with this Mystery Science Theater 3000 stuff added to it, it’s like I’m watching two movies at the same time, competing for crap superiority.
Looking as if he's shouting "Are you seriously saying I have to wear this shit?"

This movie is about a Puma Man. Nothing surprising there. What IS surprising, however, is that apparently aliens in a Death Star knockoff looking contraption, have bestowed us with some kind of gene modified Puma Man blood line. Just to make it clear right from the get go: Nothing, absolutely nothing, makes sense in this flick. The main dude, whose name I’ve blissfully forgotten despite having watched this movie not 30 minutes ago, is a professor of paleontology in London. He’s American. Not an impossible feat, surely, but he looks like he’s 25. Anyway, some South American looking dude comes looking for him, to see if he IS the Puma Man. The way he finds this out is to throw our hero out of a 3rd story window. The South American guy is a shaman apparently. Some mask has been stolen by evil people. We don’t know how, why, where or when. But it has. And Puma Man is the hero we need but never deserved. The woman with the mouth is hypotized or convinced by the evil guys using the mask, to invite hero dude to the Dutch embassy, where her father is the Ambassador. I’m shaking my head as I write this, because it literally makes zero sense. Shaman guy tries to convince hero guy that he’s the Puma Man like his father before him (why hero guy wouldn’t know his dad was a super hero, I don’t know) but of course hero guy waves him off, because he’s going to a ball at the embassy with some blond tart and has no time for Aztec shamans or ramblings of Puma Man. If only he had listened…

Mobile phones in the early 80s. They were a thing. A classy thing. Look how happy she is talking in it.

At the embassy evil men show up and nothing happens at first. They need to kill Puma Man so that nothing stands in the way of them and some goal that isn’t ever revealed to us. Probably world domination, because why the fuck not. We don’t know, and trust me when I say we don’t really care. Puma Man escapes to the roof of the embassy, where Shaman guy has tracked him, and throws this old garter belt or something to him. Puma Man puts it on and instantly transforms to Puma Man, embracing his legacy. He immediately flies off. Yes flies. He has a cape. Puma Man flies. Shaman guy shows up at his house, and trains him for five minutes. What follows is a series of seemingly unimportant and unrelated scenes, where Puma Man tries to seduce the big mouthed lady, and unravel the evil syndicate. I might’ve dozed off somewhere in here, because suddenly Puma Man is pretending to be dead, with bad guys surrounding him. They don’t shoot him, because now his death has to look like an accident. The bad guys does several double takes, as Puma Man CLEARLY moves during his feign death move. But they buy it, and go off. Shaman guy turns up and Puma Man transforms again, and kicks final ass. He recovers the mask, and the death star turns up and grabs it. Puma Man kneels in awe, and promises Shaman guy that when he has a little Puma Boy, he’ll bring him to the Plateau (Aztec I guess) and Shaman Guy will teach him some moves for the ladies or something.

This shit happened in between parts of the movie. Why the hell would anybody do this to other people?

The movie was bad and whoever made it should feel bad. It is from 1980, so I get that it being low budget and all, it’s going to look like shit. And it does. But really, the style and stuff utilized in this movie just went above and beyond shit. When Puma Man flies, it’s some weird super imposed thing, where he’s clearly suspended on some kind of string, and we see pictures of stuff moving in the back ground. It looks ridiculous. His costume is laughable. Like just random shit from a thrift store thrown together. The acting is so horrible, I wouldn’t be surprised if every single person, upon viewing this movie, didn’t immediately decide their careers were effectively over. The villains utilize the classic villain look - squinty eyes. It’s all they do. And carry guns. At one point Puma Man picks up a bad guy, flies him up in the air, and drops him to make him talk. It looks so unimpressive, the only thing that made that scene was how unimpressed the bad guy seemed with being flown 600 feet into the air and dropped. Several times. It looked about as real as Scientology. Equally real were the several times we saw Puma Man rush through a wall in his hide out / where ever he was for chunks of this movie. It was the same little scene over and over, sometimes mirrored to make it appear as if it was totally new and fresh.

Words fail me when I look at this hat or whatever the hell it's supposed to be.

I was too tired to even really hate this movie. It was stupid and pointless and lame and without merit of any sort, but I just couldn’t even muster the energy to outright hate it. I had a long day, and I was tired, but this movie just sapped me completely. The Mystery Science shit didn’t help. The dialogue from those two talking robots fill almost every silent moment from the actual movie, and the result is, you just don’t have a moment’s peace. Speaking of, there is a kickstarter to bring Mystery Science Theater 3000 back, with some new guy hosting it, and people are losing their fucking shit over this. I don’t get it. I expressed as much on their facebook post, and I was told gems such as “The right ones will get it” and “Some things aren’t for everyone.” Alright I understand, but I wanted to know why people liked it. I find it incredibly dull and unfunny. But I guess I’m a minority there. Perhaps it stems from not growing up with it? I guess so. I’ve tried my best to find versions of these movies where the MST3K people hadn’t already soiled things. Once in a while, that just isn’t an option. And I have to endure their weird little skits that have nothing to do with the movie. This time it was a dress up party or something. A lady, who might possibly be the person keeping the guy and his robots in space (I can’t figure it out. Mostly because I just don’t give a shit) was dressed up with a massive wig. And somebody else was there, who stole all her guests. It was supposed to be funny I think. It wasn’t. They also interrupt the movie a few times for commercials. The commercials aren’t there, but it’s still annoying spending 2 minutes watching countdown animations and interludes with these assholes, when really I just want to get this shit over with. Like now. 

This fucking guy.

"Oops I totally tripped" super imposed onto a picture of some stairs. If only green screen had been a thing then.