Featuring: Alexandra “Boy Meets Girl” Turshen , Keenan “First Person” Henson , Caitlin “‘Continuum’” Cromwell
Writer & Director: Bradley “Clearly wrote his own IMDB biography” Stryker
The Evil Dead Bride and your humble narrator were perusing the alcohol offerings at NileMart the other day when we discovered that, not long after the re-emergence (and re-disappearance) of Crystal Pepsi, fellow transparent ’90s punchline drink Zima is now also back on the market. My long standing theory that the latter is just a fermented form of the former? Confirmed.
Pop culture footnote beverage humor aside, after finally conquering the world’s Russia problem with my last review (The Guardians), it’s time to live up to my promises, play a game of ketchup (“catsup” if you’re nasty) and get the circus train back on its tracks. Well, not the whole circus. It’s more like I’m about to abandon an overbooked clown car on a railroad crossing, let the 7:06 bullet from Tarker’s Mill do the dirty work for me, then all I’ve gotta do is report on the aftermath.
In the interest of transparency, I admit that I’m taking some liberties when it comes to Land of Smiles being a killer clown flick, especially when it comes to the whole “painted horrors” technicality, but if the oozing cold sore on America’s dick can give ethics the tiny middle finger by appointing government positions to his defective offspring and filling his cabinet with the highest bidders, I can bend the rules of the Republic of Tombistan. Though the movie’s antagonists conceal their faces under the visage of sinister jesters, they do so with rubber masks, possibly purchased from the clearance bin of a Spirit Halloween pop-up store. It’s not like the world’s lacking in movies out in the nebulous “there” that center on actual grease-painted murderous mirth makers, I just thought I could use a little change of subgenre scenery. It’s not as if I signed any kind of contract (at least not one that falls under the jurisdiction of any mortal justice system) saying I can’t, so just make like a shed uterine lining and go with the flow, Joe!
The basis for Smiles is nothing new. It’s about backpacking Americans whose vacation to a beautiful country they’ve never been to before leads to the reveal of a seamy underbelly that threatens to swallow them whole in its gaping maw of stranger danger, inducing increased paranoia in any members of its audience who already didn’t need any more reasons to never take a vacation beyond pitching tents and making s’mores in their own backyard. See Wolf Creek, Turistas, A Perfect Getaway, Eli Roth’s Hostel flicks and, of course, The Hangover Part II. I would’ve included The Ruins on that list, but that’s supernatural horror and thus does not fall under the “people from other countries are the real monsters” xenophobia gimmick.
Our vulnerable young travelers begging to never be heard from again are lifelong friends and overly confident American college students Abby (Aleandra Turshen) and Penny (Krista Donargo). Having planned a trip to Thailand together for the longest time (oh, oh, oh, for the longest time), Abby earns her BFF of 19 years’ ire when she backs out of their girls only vacation to stay near her boyfriend Brad (Brandon Nagle), who more than likely didn’t like the idea of his girlfriend being half-way across the globe and possibly getting peanut sauce licked off her ass by some beefcake with jungle herpes.
In a moment that can only be scripted (and poorly at that), Ab’s sacrifice of Pen’s friendship blows up in her face almost instantaneously when her attempt to surprise Brad with a candlelit cupcake (birthday/anniversary?) leads to her walking in on Brad in the middle of a Skinemax bump n’ hump session with Lacy (Charisse Bellante) – a random blonde who comes off just as “trashy party girl who’s upset she never got to be in a Girls Gone Wild DVD” in her sex making as her name would suggest. To any Lacys out there who take offense to that, I’m sorry, but maybe your parents shouldn’t have named you after a style of lingerie trim.
Blinded by confusion and rage, Abby unleashes a few shots of Cowboy Mike’s Extra Bold Red Hot Ricochet Pepper Spray upon the ocular orbs of the indignant fornicators, apologizing at first before revoking said formality and storming out in justified rage. If you think pepper spray’s a little intense, these two are just lucky Abby’s probably too young to remember the whole Lorena Bobbitt episode. However, as is all too common the case, the cupcake is the true victim of the break up. Poor thing’s probably going to be swallowed up by the foster system like so many little lost souls before it. If you would, say a little prayer for the cupcake’s well being tonight while you’re taking your pre-bedtime dump, won’t you?
Of course Abby couldn't have made this discovery before Penny’s departure, so now she’ll play some ketchup of her own and do the first leg of their itinerary solo. No idea why she couldn’t have just traveled ahead and met Nickel immediately, but then we wouldn’t have a movie. Why? Because Dime gets kidnapped. Not ready to cancel your plane tickets to Thailand yet? Well, the people who take her are dressed in those aforementioned clown masks. Calling the airline now to see if you can get a refund? I thought so. Besides, why travel when you can spend summer break crashed on your couch in your underthings (or, if you’re like myself, au natural) with the AC cranked to “Absolute Zero” as you eat can after can of overstuffed ravioli and play your favorite video games? I’m currently working through Saint’s Row IV right now. Did you know you can dress up your character in a MechaGodzilla costume?! It’s true taint-tingling terrificness!
Anyway, Abby isn’t aware of her sister-from-another-mister’s peril, so she simply does the tourist thing for a bit as intended. Her only communications from Quarter involve random pics without any accompanying messages to explain them, which our heroine chalks up to her still having rump rash about the whole “I’d rather spend summer break with the boyfriend that you’ve repeatedly informed me is a heaping piece of pooper pie than go to on a tropical dream vacation with my oldest, dearest friend” drama. Along her travels, she meets a pair of fellow out-of-towners in Ben (Keenan Henson) and Jewel (Caitlyn Cromwell/Stryker, the writer-director’s wife), who approach her under the most suspicious of methods when Ben steals her backpack. He returns it to her right after though, calking it up to a lesson that she should keep on her toes lest she be destitute (given that she’s already Pennyless *rimshot*) and giving bareback Around the Worlds to American businessmen by Tuesday.
A bit douchey, but in that “big brother tough love” sorta way, Abby accepts the advice as well as the offer to tag along with the couple. Their reason for being in Thailand is so Brad can traverse the whole of Southern Asia, shooting a wanna-be VICE style vid about the things backpackers experience while trekking through third world countries. I think. I don’t really know what his point is, because it all just looks like a tourism video to sell Thai travel packages to college kids back in the states. They also fraternize with a fellow outsider named Dale (writer-director Brad Stryker), an Aussie guy there for the nightlife, the pretty scenery, and to bang as many random prostitutes dressed in “sexy (career here)” Halloween costumes as his down under can afford. I’d advise him to make sure the females he’s bedding are actual females, given that it’s Thailand and all, but somehow Dale seems like the type of guy that wouldn’t really care either way once his Foster’s and Cialis cocktail kicked in.
And for anyone protesting that Foster’s isn’t what actual Australians drink, it’s okay. Stryker was born in fucking Oregon, so he’s about as not an actual Australian as a white person can get. His put-on accent (as in “put-on like Kris Kross’ pants – incorrectly”) will support me on that.
When Abby does finally get the confirmation video that Half-Dollar has been Taken-ed, the young lady’s clown cloaked absconders have two simple demands – (1) Do NOT tell anyone about the crime and (2) continue on with the plans to rock n’ roll all night and party every day. If Abs can ignore the anxiety of her best friend’s peril and embrace the drunken American party girl stereotype inside her that she came to Thailand to rediscover in the first place, then they’ll release their abductee and the girls can be reunited. That’s…weird. Have I been lied to my entire life and the point of kidnappings isn’t to demand ransoms, but rather force people to live the Miller High Life?! Because as much as I love some of the people in my life, I wouldn’t be willing to drink excessively of such bottled piss swill for the return of some of them.
Fortunately, it turns out that this isn’t so much the case. When Absinthe breaks the first rule of fight club and talks about fight club with B&J, Ben (last name “Dover”?) introduces her to the world of Southern Asia’s newest craze – staged abductions! Seems that there’s a whole subgenre of today’s Generation Meme culture dedicated to setting up false kidnappings for the sake of “reminding people how to have fun”, then posting the reaction videos online when the victim is told it was all for funsies. Just psychologically scarring, emotionally terrorizing, friendship shattering funsies. Fucking people and their fucking reaction videos. It was funny for about 5 minutes in the wake of the “2 Girls 1 Cup” epidemic, but I never wanna see another one of those stupid things again. Unless it involves the kind of reaction George Clooney had when he found Brad Pitt hiding in his closet. Now THAT’s a multi-million views moment!
(Today’s lesson: don’t come out of the closet to Worst Batman)
Additionally, what the frosted fucks does that ambiguous “reminding people how to have fun” description mean? In this case, “people” refers to adults and “have fun” refers to intoxicating ones self to the point of long term brain damage because your friends apparently only like you when you're making as asshole out of yourself in public, throwing up $60 in margaritas, and blacking out so you can put yourself at risk of being sexually assaulted by any horny festering pustule excuse for a human being that happens to be passing by. Given the length of that explanation, you can see the need for the “TL;DR” version provided.
And so we’re left with the mystery of whether this is a legitimate criminal situation by a Thai maniac clowning with their prey, or if it’s all just a really shitty scheme by Hay Penny to make Abby abandon the maturity of adulthood and “loosen up”. Which is just a dickhead way of Sixpence (who’s none the richer… *rimshot*) saying that she fundamentally intends to drag her friend down so she herself doesn’t need to be alone in her terror of growing up and assuming responsibilities that she’s not ready for. Could she have opted for a less vindictive, “Reverse Jigsaw” method? Maybe. But that would kill Stryker’s entire effort to make something he likely mistook as being “visionary”.
Not only does what could have been a decent little flick foil itself in the finish with a fumbled finale, but Stryker opted to be the seventy-thousandth indie movie director to think they’re the one who’s going to breathe unasked for life into the fetid, deflated lungs of the “found footage” movie, completely ignoring the Do Not Resuscitate notice the subgenre has hanging around its neck. And it’s not even some semi-reasonable bullshit like the Paranormal Activity security cam footage concept, it’s just yet another instance of the characters shooting their own videos of the proceedings, likely until they all die, never putting the camera down no matter how much immediate peril they’re put in. Once they’re dead, all of this “found footage” then gets spliced (I guess “merged” would be the modern digital version?) by some unknown editor who cobbles together a single project whose final cut just happens to be very movie-like, both in structure and length, and includes numerous clearly not found helicopter shots and professionally framed footage of the landscapes. Sounds like mister first-time feature couldn’t play it casual and stick with his own theme. I guess you can’t “make the environment a character” without pricey aerial establishing shots, eh?
Land of Smiles makes some attempt at explaining itself in the finish, but does about as well as a stoner trying to explain to their probation officer that their eyes are red because they “just have bad hay fever”. It even comes with a lazy, forced Shyamalanian pseudo-twist hanging off of its ass, metaphorically wrapping the whole thing up in a way that’s equivalent to actually wrapping a broken toaster with soiled newspapers, not unlike those I put around Bastet’s litter box so she won’t track her shit grit into my bed during one of her 2am “u up?” booty calls. I haven’t been this aggravated about such a fucking stupid, pointless, shoved-in-dry, “for the sake of getting one over on the audience” Chubby Checker conclusion since The Bone Collector (aka “That there Bone Crusher” to quote a private joke). It’s not even the whole ending, either! If you circumcised Styrker’s failed attempt at being cutesy with his end credits sequence, it would’ve been a perfectly fine ending to a mediocre thriller. As is, though, you may audibly boo it the same way I did. Try not to wake up your downstairs neighbor when you do so the same way I did, otherwise you too will have very awkward mailbox interactions for the next few days also…
All of that nonsense aside (if you can put the last minute alteration of the entirety of the movie’s story “aside”), Stryker’s other major effort goes into the “ugly behind the beauty” theme he seems to believe he himself created. In case the fact that you’re watching a HORROR movie titled Land of Smiles is too subtle for you, the guy includes numerous shots of beautiful locales populated by beautiful people having beautiful good times with beautiful beautiful party party yadda yadda blah blah inter-cut with moments of our protagonists freaking out (again and again and again) and vids of Penny maybe-or-maybe not being tortured. It’s juxtaposition overload! It’s the hallmark of a film school student who doesn’t respect their audience’s intelligence/awareness, so they spend too much time hitting us over the head with it to make sure we get the point. Though, as we all know, no one will ever truly get the deep introspective point of Mr. Stryker’s art because, well, he’s a creator while we the audience are simply refuse in his path to brilliance.
Except for those who leave 8+ star reviews on IMDB. Clearly they “get it”…
In case you require more evidence of my claim (like the police insisted on that time I accused my aforementioned downstairs neighbor of shitting on my doormat), observe the name of Stryker's self-production company as Exhibit D –
That’s not a ‘shop job, kids. He actually calls it “Stryke-Force Films”. A guy who wants us to take his very serious horror movie very seriously sticks a name like that onto the opening. For Francis Ford Fuckula’s sake, this is not a hoax, not a dream, not an imaginary tale. This is for real. He’s Tommy Wiseau without the charming Ed Wood-ian naivete. I can only hope that whichever family members he conned into putting up the money for this vacation-turned-movie are the “more money than brains” type, otherwise I fell sorry for them.
But, despite all of this fresh personal contempt I’ve discovered for one Bradley Stryker, Land of Smiles isn’t a terrible movie. It’s better-than-bad without quite reaching the lofty levels of “good” as established by Log (*from BLAMMO!™). It at least makes an effort to do something uncommon if not new (even going so far as name dropping The Game as the in-continuity inspiration for the fake kidnapping business), and the cast (excluding Stryker’s needlessly Australian Dale that is) does a well enough job conveying their fear to keep playing along while Ben urges the girls on. Whether his motivations are as altruistic for Penny as he claims them to be, or he just wants to finish his video project like the girls have growing suspicions of is never entirely clear, which works in the flick’s favor. Oh, and if you close your eyes, there are times you’d swear Keenan Henson’s lines were being delivered by a manic Vince Vaughn. It’s neither a pro nor a con, really, unless you’re Isla Fisher’s character from Wedding Crashers, in which case it’ll probably create a babbling brook down your thigh.
I have a titanium firm “no toilet sex” rule, but ever since that movie she gets an exclusive pass. Well, her and Barbara “Megan Halsey” Crampton, but she’s of an unlimited classification all her own. Don’t ask me the acts I would do for that woman, lest ye have a cast iron constitution or have long lost your soul to the dark horrors of the internet.
Oh, back on topic, as much as I hate The Blair Witch Project for its piss poor “let’s just say ‘fuck’ a lot because we can’t ad lib to save our thrice damned lives” improvised dialogue, it was at least more realistic than a lot of the supposedly “real footage” exchanges in Land of Smiles. Blame the actors for not being able to make it believable or blame Stryker for a clunky script, but either way it doesn’t help sell the lie that we’re meant to get lost in. In spite of my gripes about this, the crap ending, and a shooting style too schizo to settle on whether it’s trying to be a traditional movie or a vacation video, the movie is still oddly watchable! Weird, right?! I know! I’m as shocked to type it as you are to read it! So, yeah, there are way worse ways to wear out your eyeballs for an hour or two and if that’s enough of an endorsement for you to seek LoS out, have at it, friends.
Whether Brad (the director, not the cheating boyfriend…though Stryker could very well be the type who needs a woman to tell him he has a big dick to perform) can parlay his first feature into a career win in the long run or not, only time will tell. Whether the sparks of potential are enough to feed a flame of success, at least he can fall back on his extensive work as a bit part player in TV shows and direct-to-DVD movies. It may not make him a household name, but at least it pays the bills!… I presume.
My role as the grand marshal of this parade of fools continues next time (and four or so times again after that) with a movie that’s, well, less a movie than a digital version of a lost Hippolytus de Marsiliis torture method. While you look that name up, I’m gonna casually slip away via the escape hatch I had installed under my desk… CIAO!
“I never understood how these stupid horoscopes work. What does my having been born in the first week of November have to do with not being compatible with someone born in mid-June?! I call bullshit… So, what does mine say?
I understand that this guy’s probably doing the clown thing to work out some deeply depressing personal issues, but you may not want to do the “limp flower as a metaphor for my erectile dysfunction” bit around the ladies.
“Shit! That’s the fourth iPhone I’ve lost to the porcelain Sarlak pit this year! There goes the rest of my savings.”
Sarah and Elaine’s attempt to resurrect the “Girls Gone Wild” series with all of the drinking and partying minus the nudity and “lesbian stuff” proved grossly unsuccessful.
“Why do you need such a big backpack?”
“So I can sleep inside it at night while hanging it from a tree to avoid bears!”
“I keep telling ya, love, even if there were sharks this far inland, they wouldn’t come after ya! Just because you’re on your period doesn’t mean you’re ‘bikini chum’!”
“I don’t get it. I ask you what a ‘lemon party’ is and now you’re recording me watching a video? You’re so weird.”
“I hope you’re at least not being cheap and paid extra for a reach around, Greg.”
“Welcome to ‘Clowning Around’ with your host, Zippo VonLaughsalot. This week’s contestant is Janet, and she’ll be playing ‘What’s Crawling On My Leg?’ for her chance at a $25 Best Buy gift card!”
“I know it’s tradition to swallow the worm when drinking a bottle of Mezcal, but that thing last night… it had a face… a human face! I swear it looked at me and mouthed my name before… before… oh god, what have I done?!”
Oh jeez. I hooked up with her at last call a month ago and the bitch gave me crabs. Let’s just go before she… DON’T MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH HER! GAH! RUN!
It’s sad to know I will never be as happy as she is right now. Let’s not ruin it and tell her that every stray cat in the neighborhood makes that place their litter box.
Uh-oh! Looks like some tourists discovered their hotel’s hidden toilet cameras!
I’m not the most culturally educated man-jackal, but I can’t imagine it’s very sanitary of Thailand letting elephants just leave piles of number two in their human restrooms.
Laugh all you like, but lonely weirdos pay $200 a night just to watch her sleep on a webcam site!
“You know what I hate? Stupid assholes in goofy rubber clown masks that sneak up on people to try and scare them… Damn it, there’s one right behind me, isn’t there?”
“Wow! These Gushers fruit snacks really are bursting with fruit flavor!”
This is why I stopped going to the local beer garden during carnival season.
And this is why I started going to the local strip club during carnival season!
Anubis will return in
“The Inbred Clown Posse”
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All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.
Featuring: Georgia “Vampire Biker Babes” Chris , Joe “Experiment 7” Davison , Jack “Experiment 7” Amos
Director: Marcus “Rot” Koch
Writer: Joe “Experiment 7” Davison
You know what I hate? Ironing. You know what else I hate? Irony. Not all irony, just the kind that inconveniences me personally. Like when I’m taking bottles back to the store and their machine, which accepts brands sold exclusively by other stores, will NOT accept drink bottles of their own fucking in-house brands! Slanderman’s Amerika just started and already shit’s going to Hel in a knock-off Louis Vuitton. SAD.
I wish I could indulge in the blissful levels of cognitive dissonance that Cheeto Chiang Kai-shek’s supporters must live in to not only vote the fuck face into office, but continue to sing his praises after the litany of idiocy he continues to vomit from his ass day in and day out. Oh well, ignorance is bliss so I’ll forever be a pessimist. And pissed. And impossible to resist. But not a pacifist. Nor a partaker of the Eucharist. I prefer my flesh and blood consumption to be legitimate and not just some weak cheese metaphor for sipping wine and eating salt-free crackers. Speaking of flesh and blood, let’s review 100 Tears!
The heroes of our picture are Mark Webb (Joe Davidson) and Jen Stevenson (Georgia Chris). The duo are co-writers of made-up articles (you know, ones about “alternative facts”) for a grocery store checkout line tabloid rag called The Midnight Star. This may or may not be a reference to the newspaper Weird Al sang about in the track of the same name, but either way I’d like to clutch my heightened nerd awareness and continue with that line of thinking. It’s assuredly not to be confused with the band Midnight Star, who taught us all the dangers of parking on the dance floor. Thank you for your service, gentlemen. We salute you.
Unable to decide between the raising of the Titanic or the further adventures of Reptile Boy, the pair put their paying job on the back burner for a few days and turn their focus instead on trying to be real reporters by cracking the case of the infamous Teardrop Killer. According to the info provided to her by Jen’s sister in the FBI, Teardrop has iced in excess of 160 people up and down the East Coast over the course of the last 2 decades. Their only info about the monster? He leaves a bloody teardrop smeared at the scenes, hence the name… and that’s all they know?! A maniac violently dismembers people in the triple digits for TWENTY YEARS and all the fucking FBI have come up with is a sugar-free gum equivalent codename for him?! Herbert Hoover must be rolling in his muumuu and high heels!
As “only in the movies” luck would have it, that very night said slayer takes it upon himself to maul, maim and dismember an entire halfway house of fresh victims! What do we know that the FBI doesn’t? The killer is a big & tall guy dressed like a clown who wields a giant meat cleaver that he may have stumbled across in an abandoned slaughterhouse while looking for a place to get in out of the rain and slip in a quick gherkin jerkin’. After the facial devastation of an unfortunate gent in the basement, this Walter Paisley art expedition’s second project is a presumed ex-military dude (unless his dog tags are from Hot Topic and have pictures of Shrek on them) whose best haymakers don’t even faze the grease-painted assailant! Maybe G.I. Joey here got a dishonorable discharge because he throws punches like a Keebler elf? Gung-Ho he’s not.
(Bet you didn’t know the US Military subliminally advertised to gay children in the ’80s.)
The evisceration of a half-dozen people not withstanding, I have some quick thoughts about this killing spree. First, human anatomy. Did you know that you can kill a man instantly by jamming a meat clever into his taint? One whack and two seconds later you’ve got yourself a fresh carcass. It’s true! Speaking of truth, despite being told since childhood that seppuku resulted in literal hours of agony before the participant would finally give up the ghost (I had a good childhood), it turns out that was a lie. As one young female victim shows us, slicing someone’s stomach open also warrants an immediate need for a body bag. All the death without the wait! Additionally, despite what movies like American History X would lead us to believe, the human skull is not nearly as strong as you might think. As our killer clown demonstrates for us, a single stomp from a man’s foot (at least one encased in a comically oversized novelty shoe) causes an adult woman’s head to burst like a balloon full of crimson Karo syrup. No brains, no skull fragments, just a splatter of red goo. Slim Goodbody lied to us all! No wonder he always hid his head under that afro!
As for the halfway house itself, the kitchen seemingly double as a laundry room given the washing machines and coin-op detergent vendor stuffed in the corner. I can’t imagine that’s up to snuff per local health codes, given the risk of cross contamination between the food and shit like laundry soap and whatever microbial eldritch horrors might be living in the occupants’ bedsheets, towels and *dry heave* their skivvies… BLART! Additionally, what kind of halfway house has a big sign on its front door broadcasting that there’s an ATM on the premises? Aren’t those usually saved for corner shops and liquor stores? Unless of course it’s advertising the presence of a prostitute on the premises who offers ass-to-mouth. Yeah, that’s probably it.
Come morning, after Jen wakes up atop Mark (in their shared futon, because they’re also roommates and I guess they don’t have their own bedrooms?) and they have more wacky “fat guy and hot girl” sexual tension (including her offering to fuck him in the shower if he can do 100 sit-ups, followed by his farting in her face as he stands over her) before a hot tip about last night’s bloodbath prompts them to rush to the scene of the crime. They bribe a detective associate of theirs (Rod Grant) to let them take pics of the slaughter before the clean up crews come in to scrub the gore. Finding a terrified girl in hiding, our heroes rightly chastise the cops for not finding her themselves during their own sweep of the premises and learn from the lass that the killer in question was dressed like a clown. So, having been on the case of the Teardrop Killer for all of 15 hours, the pair have already learned more about the mofo than the FBI has in twenty years? Crow T. Robot.
J & M also learn from the attending pig that two other residents of the house are unaccounted for, prompting us to an as-yet-undetermined locale where Bloodthirsty Bozo is revealed to have nabbed the missing couple and taken them home to finish off like human doggy bags. But why? You’ve gotta imagine it’d be more effort than it’s worth to drag two live people across town just so you can kill them there shortly after. Why give yourself additional work to do disposing of them on top of getting them there rather than just adding them to the rest of the mutilated bodycount at the scene of the crime?! How has this putz successfully evaded the feds for this fucking long doing dipshit stuff like this?!
Following up on the clown gimmick, our intrepid off-brand Lois Lane and Jimmy Olson seek a lead at a nearby carnival, interviewing a foul-mouthed old bartender (whose shouting voice sounds oddly like Super Dave Osborne) named Ed (Jerry Allen) and a bite-size circus barker porn mag enthusiast named Draga (Norberto Santiago). Though both peg the pair as cops at first, once our protags ID themselves as tabloid writers hunting a lead the carnies are more than happy to accommodate. Right around here is when we focus our attention elsewhere in the neighborhood and are introduced to Christine (Raine Brown) – a thrift store Harley Quinn who professes an affinity for clowns and a violent dislike for those pesky “normies”, which is a term that Norm Petersen fanboys call themselves. Didn’t know such people existed? Sure they do! They converge for their own convention in Boston once a year, where they cosplay as the iconic alcoholic and occupy the stools of the local drinking establishments for a weekend long bar crawl, nursing beers and shouting “NORM!” every time one of them comes through the front door. No, seriously! Google it!
Oh, and since George Wendt almost never comes up in casual conversation, I’d like to take this chance to tell everyone that he played Dean Halsey in a production of Re-Animator: the Musical that The Evil Dead Bride and I attended some years ago when we still lived in the teeming, heaving mass of bodies and filth you call New York City. He was…okay. True story!
Christine will have a more important role in our tale later on, but for her first few scenes we just kinda watch her get dressed up, go to a bar, pick up some random perm-haired nerd who she convinces to go down on her in an alley (not even with an immunity to STDs and all of my taste buds burned off would I do such a thing to someone I’d just met in a bar) before slitting the chump’s throat and leaving him for a wino to stumble upon later while, she goes home to carve emo etchings on her abdomen for further jollies. Despite this portrayal, keep in mind that the majority of self-cutters aren’t interested in hurting others, just themselves. So if you should see someone with scars on their arms/legs/whatever, fear for them more so than for yourself. Anyway, yeah, now our movie has two killers. When they inevitably meet in the second or third act, do you think they’ll have a team-up or a face-off? Before we answer that…
While Mr. Webb and Miss Stevenson follow up on some other potential leads, Drags is confronted by the obese mirth murderer who threatens short legs’ tiny life until he trades Clowny his continued existence for a piece of paper containing the address of a woman named Tracy. When our would-be Woodward and Bernstein come back to check on half-pint, he spills the garbanzos on all the circustral shenanigans and gore-soaked goings-on. Roll that beautiful bean footage!
The clown’s name is Gurdy (not a great clown name…too close to “Turdy”) and he used to work with Draga at the same circus 20 or so years ago. At the time, two teenage girls named Roxie and Tracy ran away from home and joined said three ring mobile home as carnie groupies. Some ladies just love tiny hands and the overwhelming stench of month old boiled cabbage. I don’t get it either, but every relationship I’m in has to be inter-species, so I don’t judge what gets the blood flowing to your genitalia. Anyway, Roxie shacked up with sideshow strongman Ralphio, while Tracy indulged her fetish for balloon sex toys by sharing sheets with the Gurdler. Turned out that Roxie, despite getting the less nightmare inducing of the potential suitors, was still a cockblocking cunt that didn’t want Tracy being happy too. So, while Trace was getting her womb seltzered, Rox told ‘Phio that Gurds was actually raping her. You know what’s the only thing that makes the idea of being sexed by a clown worse? Being sexed by a clown against your will. The sound of his horn honking as it’s repeatedly mashed between your bodies…
Uggh, I just threw up. Not a little either. It looks like someone just dumped a gallon of Dollar Embargo vegetable soup and a sleeve of mashed up Saltines on my couch. Who wants to take bets on how long I can keep typing through the smell?
A social justice warrior for his time (not a bad thing, despite what tiny penised douche boys would tell you), Ralph didn’t take Roxie’s declaration well and laid a wall-to-wall walloping on Gurdy, stomping his ass like it was flaming bag of dogshit. And just like stomping said immolated brown paper IED, the strongman instantly regrets his actions, because Big Top Shakes responded by strangling Rox and jamming a tent stake through the back of big boy’s brain case. Citing the landmark case of Eye v. Eye, the rest of the circus folk “dealt with Gurdy for good” in a way whose specifics are never explained. Unless Gurds is a literal ghoul (which might explain why he doesn’t talk), I’m presuming “dealing with him” didn’t include killing him, as you might expect. Whatever the case, the painted madman has been cutting throats and gutting folks, following his old place of employment up and down the East Coast ever since. Draga says you could always “feel his presence” at the circus despite having never seen Gurdy in person since the incident. So, now big murderous old Gurdy has finally found Tracy, who he’s been searching for all this time…while slaughtering people for…no…real…reason.
I know it wasn’t easy to find caulrophiles back in the ’80s, but if someone had just shown Gurdy OkCupid or Craigslist or JuggaLove, he could’ve given up his desperate quest to find Tracy and a whole lot of nameless extras would still be alive today.
Speaking of dead extras, while all this has been playing out, Gurdles has been adding a whole lotta notches to the handle of his giant guillotine blade with a handle. His current crash pad is the basement of a local warehouse, and when the place’s realtor stops by with a pair of potential tenants, all three are turned into stew meat for a cannibal potluck. Not exactly smart given that the realtor’s secretary knows where the guy was when last he spoke to her, so when neither he nor the two other guys he took with him return, that’s an easy call to the police to send someone by to check the property out. She doesn’t and they don’t though, but a rent-a-cop instead finds the bloody remnants of the guy in his SUV later that night, which Gurdy just LEFT OUT IN FRONT OF THE WAREHOUSE. Again, HOW THE FUCK DID THIS GUY LEAVE THE FBI CHASING ITS OWN FUCKING TAIL FOR TWENTY YEARS?!
Gurdy’s decades long search for his lost love is all for naught though, as he finds her on the floor of her home with her throat slit! Who could’ve done such a thing? Yep, you guessed it, Christine is Tracy’s daughter and she just killed dear old mom. Rather than hanging the girl by her own intestinal tract for killing the woman he’s spent half a lifetime hunting, Gurd kidnaps Chris (seems she’s only good at killing people who don’t expect it), takes her back to his wretched basement apartment and reveals to her what we’ve all been expecting this whole time – she’s his daughter. Contrived as it is, it’s much better than the other possible outcome, which would’ve been Christine being his new groupie. Not only would that have likely resulted in an ipecac of a sex scene, but it also would’ve made zero fucking sense that a random civilian thrill killer would have known about Gurdy and been able to track him down when, again, the FBI (Fucking Bunch of Idiots) are all too busy giving themselves first-person colonoscopies.
Despite the initial horror of a big psycho clown materializing in her home mere moments after giving her own mom a botched second-chinectomy, Christine seems pretty nonplussed by her poppa’s sudden appearance. She also doesn’t seem all that confused as to why he’s a mute, nor does she question the validity of his claim, and instead just accepts the whole thing as legit. The pair have an instantaneous connection and waste no time getting to the daddy-daughter bonding stuff either, when a gaggle of convenient twenty-somethings out to rave the night away pick the absolute wrong seemingly abandoned warehouse to pass their tress…tress their pass? Whatever, Officer Leroy! (Sifl & Olly joke, so don’t feel bad if that one lost ya) Brandishing the massive slice n’ dicer and a sledgehammer between them, Gurds and Whey make quick work of the kids in their typical gory fashion. Naturally the prey are all too terrified to stop and realize they outnumber their attackers 5-to-1, or that Tweedledaughter shouldn’t be too hard to disarm while awkwardly wielding that big clumsy hammer around, but this world is generally populated by the kind of morons that always come to mind when you ponder just how the “so-and-so wouldn’t know the difference between their asshole and a hole in the ground” witticism gained so much traction.
In our flick’s big finale, Matt & Jen are clued in to the locale of our killers by FBI sister (based on the guard’s SUV discovery the night before) so they head out to investigate before the place is taken over by feds. On the way, they call in their local police squad pals (one of which just wants to bone Jen, not that I blame him) so they won’t be without some form of backup. Rather than wait for the 2 guys with the guns to show up (and it is just the two, since neither apparently thought it a good idea to call in the rest of the pig parade precinct to take down a SERIAL KILLER RESPONSIBLE FOR 200 OR SO MURDERS), our intrepid investigators search the basement of sins (that appears to be lit by some battery powered stick-up lights and a blacklight from Spencer’s Gifts) and end up face-to-painted face with Gurdy. A struggle ensues and Matt shows us that he’s never fired a gun in his life, shooting off a few rounds without so much as a scratch. All the sadder because Gurdy’s of sizable carriage. Have I mentioned that? That he’s fat? I did? How about old? Did I mention that he’s also old? I did. Okay. Just making sure.
Discount bin Crockett and Tubbs show up soon after, but in the interest of expediting these final 15 minutes, let’s leave it at this – the daddy-daughter duo are too much for the quartet. Despite the movie’s earlier exchange of the ex-military dude punching Evil Binky repeatedly in the face to no effect, Mike socks the lummox once in the mouth and fatty’s left reeling like friggin’ Glass Joe. His Tyson-like punches (less the boxer and more the frozen chicken products) notwithstanding, the illegitimate son of Louis C.K. ultimately takes a bullet in the mouth and sheds his mortal coil. The white cop gets his throat slit by Christine (who pretends to be poppa’s prisoner), the black cop (Kibwe Dorsey) gets his head lopped off by the novelty sized butchering implement, and Jen gets slashed up by Chris’ razor blade, has her spine tenderized twice via sledgehammer and finally has her face smashed into the floor multiple times before being left for dead…which she clearly isn’t, as her eyes are wide open and she’s still breathing and writhing around. Rookie mistake on daddy’s little monster’s part. Speaking of, Chris shoots her father in the head (cuz bitches be cray-cray, y’all!) before leaving the scene of the crime. She ends the flick Bill Bixbying down an empty backroad before bursting into 100 Tears‘ final splatter of hemoglobin when she’s street pizza-ed by…Jen. Do Greek women have adamantium skeletons by nature? I mean, even if she didn’t endure multiple concussions from having her face repeatedly bounced off of concrete, I’m pretty sure those SLEDGEHAMMER SHOTS DIRECTLY TO HER SPINE should’ve turned her into b-horror Ironside!
But, you know, movies. What are ya gonna do?
And that’s our movie. It’s truly an HG Lewis flick for the modern age (besides 2001 Maniacs, Blood Feast 2 and so forth). Not because it’s in any way revolutionary or controversial, just because its only real selling point is its graphic violence! It’s a gore whore’s goregasmic delight to behold. The red stuff and chunky inner bits are so prevalent that the movie was given an NC-17 rating for “extreme horror violence”. A badge of honor I’m sure those behind it are proud to display! As they should be. Said splatter showcase is one of the finest (if absurdest) bloodbaths to hit my screen since the last time I watched Evil Dead 2, which any fan of cinematic viscera will recognize as high praise. Give me practical effects for the win, Peter Marshall!
In contrast, 100 Tears‘ story is the whitest of white breads in terms of slasher fare. Think Wonder Bread dipped in a jar of Miracle Whip and fed to an albino polar bear. Whiter than the sheets the republican party wear on their weekend “retreats”. A man and a woman track down a serial killer with a gimmick? Meh. His gimmick is that he’s a clown? And he’s hunting down a figure from his past? Meh again. His murder weapon of choice is a massive meat cleaver? Okay, it’s not just another machete or power tool, so that’s fine. Sadly, making matters worse, this shoestring plot’s got more holes in it than the dozens of apple pies in Jason Biggs’ linen closet. When you’re telling us that the FBI have near-zero info on a serial killer responsible for the deaths of more than 160 people over a twenty year stretch, all of which just happened to be done along the coastal route of the same traveling circus every year over that period, it’s mentally comparable to getting a fucking sliver! It just sits there, stinging and infuriating me more and more as I gnaw at it unsuccessfully in impotent frustration.
Don’t read anything more into that last part, either! Those pills I ordered from Canada are for my liver and nothing else!
On top of that, we only ever get to see Gurdles either in full clown regalia or in the final stages of applying his makeup. Given as such, he must spend time without the greasepaint on if he has to paint himself up again. He has to have more duds in his wardrobe than just his work clothes too, otherwise that shit would’ve been reduced to tatters, cuffs and a collar after twenty years of constant usage! One would have to presume that Gurdy has a secret identity, right? A persona under which you would image he does odd jobs or something to contribute to his basic nutritional needs and travel budget? Or has he just been dumpster diving half-eaten corn dogs from the carnival’s midway trash cans, hence his constant “presence” since his disappearance that Draga refers to? And mayhaps he was just really good at hiding amid the trucks and trailers so no one ever caught him hitching a ride every time they pulled up stakes and moved on? If the devil is in the details, I certainly wouldn’t recommend this flick to any Satan worshipers…
Of which Satanists are not included, so stop being so egocentric with your ignorance to the workings of religions that aren’t your own.
The cast is every bit as amateurish as you’d expect from a homemade horror movie, with writer-star Joe Davison playing comedy relief and giving himself the best lines of the script. At least he delivers them better than I imagine most writers probably would. Georgia Chris and Raine Browne were okay. If nothing else, Raine wasn’t nearly as bad in her pseudo-Harley Quinn role as Margot Robbie was in her actual Harley Quinn role, so…there’s that. I guess. Santiago, sadly enough, seems to have been cast simply for his stature rather than his acting talent. The guy staggers over his lines as if he were a first timer, of which I’m relatively assured he was. If you told me he had even a week of acting classes, or Hel, even some high school drama club experience, I’d probably slap your mother for raising such a foul liar.
As for Amos’ portrayal of Gurdy? For starters, he didn’t have a single line to utter, so he’s off the hook there. His physical stuff was good though. His imposing size and massive cleaver did a lot of the work for him, but his use of the classic movie-killer head tilt was well done. On the downside, the way he’d fling Ol’ Chopper (my name for his cleaver) over his shoulder with a heavy cockiness to his mannerisms and a sneer on his lips just came off as silly bullshit. I’d ask for some leeway when it comes to the cast though, as I’m guessing that a number of these scenes were made under the Roger Corman “one and done” method, because if there were multiple takes and these were the best performances they opted to keep, that’s going to keep me up at night.
So goes today’s feature, 100 Tears. Come for the gory clown violence, stay for…more gory clown violence. If fake blood drenching the screen ain’t your thing, don’t bother tracking this one down, as that’s about all it has to offer. Can’t say a lot for Koch’s directing (especially the lack of fucking lighting in the last 15 minutes), but his special effects are worthy of a girthy upward pointing thumb! Good to see that’s where he’s spent most of his 20 year career.
Before we go, I’ve got one final bone to pick. During Draga’s first scene, things get jarringly goofy when Matt and Jen resort to chasing him on foot through a lightly wooded area. Fat guy awkwardly running after a midget? You betcha.
“Get in mah belly!”
It’s not the chase itself from which said bone protrudes however, but rather the accompanying music that gave me cause to pause. Why? Because it steals the opening to Gogol Bordello’s “I Would Never Wanna Be Young Again”, the 2nd track off of their 2005 album Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike! I only say “stolen” because there’s no credit accredited said band anywhere in the credits. In other words, well, it’s stolen. So here I am, making sure the lads from the Lower East Side get as much recognition for their work as, well, posting it here will give them.
You don’t wanna know where that finger’s been. Clowns are disgusting creatures by nature.
“You’re putting too much effort into the jokes actually being funny. We’re writing a sitcom about a fat guy (me) married to an attractive wife (you). Whether it’s funny or not, there’s no way one of the major networks won’t give us a 2 season deal!”
She thinks she’s on hold with the Suicide Prevention Hotline, but it’s actually one of those morning radio show prank calls.
“Heh heh. Just look at that bisection job! Damn, I’m good. Look out world, Gurdy’s coming for ya!”
If “The Truck Stop Massacre” isn’t already in production at Troma, I’ll be disappointed.
Portrait of a man who will never have sex with his hot female friend. Been there, done that, walked out of the sequel.
“Of course I’m a detective! Just look at my long coat, my taint-length tie and my dress shirt tucked into my high-waisted pants!”
Ladies, no matter how sexy it makes you feel, this is why you never go out in a skirt or dress without underwear. You never know when Aunt Flo is gonna make an unwanted visit.
“Alright, baby. Now I’m gonna show you how a real man… FUCK! YOU TOLD ME YOU’D ALREADY HAD THE SURGERY! GROSS!”
I hear they sold their original SCAT ride to a wealthy German Count.
I see somebody turned my worst Porta John experience into a logo. How fun.
“Sure, the internet may be filled with every kind of porn you can imagine, but you just can’t beat the feeling of a crinkled magazine between your fingers during ‘foreplay’. I guess I’m just a romantic!”
He’s the writer, the male lead AND he does his own stunts! Watch out Hollywood, because Joe Davison is a genuine triple threat!
“21 across – ’45th president of the United States’; 5 letters; begins with ‘P’. Any idea?”
And this, children, is why you never eat an entire package of Gushers fruit snacks at once.
“Try not to blow any of your lines on this take. We need to finish shooting this scene before the Olive Garden employees realize what we’re doing in here.”
On the drive home following Burning Man, Lisa realized that she had a lot of life choices to make that she just couldn’t put off anymore. She’d probably never be able to forget the things she saw that fateful weekend, but she preyed that somehow, somewhere down the line, she would one day be freed of those demons and learn to be human again.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Murderous Misadventures of the Crisco Kid”
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All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.
Featuring: Aaron “The Storm Riders” Kwok , Qi “Journey to the West” Shu, Collin “The Matrix Reloaded” Chou
Director: Benny “Gen X Cops” Chan
Writers: Benny “Gen X Cops” Chan & Chi-Man “Invisible Target” Ling
Origin: Hong Kong
All my life I’ve been searching for something
Something never comes never leads to nothing
Nothing satisfies but I’m getting close
Closer to the prize at the end of the rope…
The Tomb’s 3rd anniversary is October 1st. Three is the “novelty sneakers” anniversary. If someone doesn’t get me some of that groovy be-chinned footwear, all love is a lie and life is a pointless endeavor that goes on forever. Just so you know.
On to other matters, because of my many months away from The Tomb (let’s say due to a journey through alternate realities where I had to stop an evil version of myself from destroying all of existence by killing our other selves and absorbing their power to supplement his own) I’m taking a further break from the Tour de Farce so I can give higher priority to other movies that have crossed my desk since. And yes, it’s a literal desk, made of the finest polished femurs, spines, and rib bones of Rupert Murdock’s ancestors. Totally worth the hauntings.
To that end, I thought it prudent to finish this review (started in January) before putting the T de F back into its cryogenic freeze tube for a while longer. Today’s episode features the Hong Kong sing-a-long ring ding dong we call City Under Siege.
Expected a Dr. Dre reference? Nope. He’s banned from The Tomb for selling $300 headphones to stupid children with stupider parents. Anyway, before we get started, let’s mine the ancient secrets of the mystical island of Hong Kong!
On second thought, never mind. This review’s already 4 months late and my laptop is starting to give me third degree dick burns. I don’t have time to play tour guide. If you wanna know any esoteric facts about HK, its economy, its culture, its people, its impact on the rest of the world, or its dark history of horrendous crimes in the fields of drug trade and human trafficking (I’m presuming), pay your preferred search engine a visit. Let’s just get to the movie and cut to the chase…oh, I forgot to mention that a hefty portion of today’s movie revolves on an axis of knife throwing. That might have been pertinent info before making a pun like “cut”. My apologies.
Not to be confused with the Police Academy sequel (#6!) of the same name, City Under Siege is the tale of Li Fei (Aaron Kwok), whose peers call him Sunny… not really sure why, but let’s say it’s because of his sunny disposition. Or that time he stabbed a waitress to death with a fork for rupturing the yolks on his sunny-side-up eggs. Whatever pulls your lever. Anyway, when Sunshine’s parents died in a car accident (and sadly not during an armed mugging which always makes for a better origin), his uncle Tak (Wah Yuen) took him in and gave him a job as a clown in his traveling performance troupe, The Thunderbolt Circus. Though grateful not to have been cast off like the orphan he was, Sun was never happy as a colorful fool and instead wanted to live up to his dear departed daddy’s legacy as the knife throwing “King of Flying Daggers”, 26th descendant of the legendary marksman, Thousand Flying Daggers. Unfortunately for Sunny he’s more like the Prince of Flying Daggers, and even then the “Prince” part would be more an honorary family title than an earned one. This guy sucks more than a hospital custodian’s ShopVac in the middle of an ebola outbreak when it comes to the family cutlery slinging business. I wouldn’t trust him to butter my biscuits let alone let him hurl sharp lengths of steel at me while I’m strapped to a spinning wheel o’ death!
Despite his insistence that the talent in his genes will bear fruit if Uncle Tak (no word on an “Aunt Tik”) would just give him a chance to put innocent paying customers’ lives in danger, his cousin Zhang Chu (Collin Chou) refuses to give up his place in the spotlight as the show’s marquee marksman. In fact, he threatens to gut Suns if he doesn’t stop trying to horn in on his job, so don’t expect to see our hero headlining shows anytime soon. Unless maybe Chu gets a bout of the flu or leaves the circus to go on a crime spree as a psychotic hulking brute…
It feels like we’re supposed to pity our protagonist in this scenario, but when we’re introduced to him, Sunny literally (as said in Rob Lowe’s Chris Traeger inflection) goes off script during a show in Malaysia and comes within seconds of committing manslaughter on an unknowing audience dupe before cool guy Chu has to step in and put “The Prince” back in his place! Sure, as with the majority of movie bad guys, ChuChu comes off as a douche knocker. BUT, he very likely saved a woman from PTSD at best and straight up VIOLENT DEATH at worst at the hands of selfish man-child Sunny, who was willing to endanger those around him for the sake of his own fucking ego! This guy is our hero!? Holy shit. Overcoming poor self-esteem and a limited natural skill set is fine for a budding hero-to-be like Spider-Man or Kick-Ass, but they only put themselves at risk with their amateur tomfoolery. Sunny is a fucking sociopath! No matter how far this flick may go in its efforts to redeem its do-gooder over the remainder of its runtime, it’s now going to be dragging The Stone of Shame for the extent of said stigmatic excursion. For shame!
As is cinematic law, Chu and the other “too cool for school” members of their little big top clique single Sunny out as the weakest member of the social herd, and as such exercise their dominance by treating him like a red-nosed reindeer. Whilst in Malaysia engaging in their post-show chicanery, the crew catch Sunny tagging along and opt to include him as their point man (i.e. stooge) whom they can just ditch/scapegoat/murder later as the situation requires. Their scheme? The bullies are investigating a local cave rumored to be home to a cache of buried treasure! BUT (yes, there’s always a but there… much like the case of my lap), as we the audience were presented in the picture’s prologue, this cave was the site of war crime experimentation by the Japanese military in the waning days of WW2: Axis Boogaloo. Check out the Men Behind the Sun movies for more on that kinda shit. In an effort to bring an end to their protracted campaign to extend the shadow of their empire over the entire East, these army scientists were dabbling in an immoral aerosol that would induce monsterism in their P.O.W.s, turning the captives into rampaging abominations! Basically Nature’s Goodness minus the pleasing taste.
Before the mutagenic mist could be perfected, the raiders from the Rising Sun’s workspace was bombed all to shit (in a scene I’ll antagonistically analyze later) by the Red Stars, leaving any remaining stashes of the unfinished super-beast spray buried. Can you see where this is going? If not, you might need to make an appointment with the figurative optometrist to get your foresight checked. Benny Chan isn’t just leading us with a trail of bread crumbs, he’s dropping full-on baguettes shaped like arrows! For those with mental glaucoma, here’s the malnourished rendition – the gang open the containers expecting precious metal (to be fair, the first one does have a stash of the shiny stuff) and get a chemical sauna instead a la Return of the Living Dead‘s Frank and Freddy. Our hero ends up passing out on a conveniently placed fishing boat nearby, one of the gang lays dead by broken neck when his attempt to kill Sun goes fatally wrong, and the remaining quartet of super steroid saturated nogoodniks are left vomiting vanilla pudding, no doubt destined to become evil Hong Kong off-brand Ninja Turtles. Not to be confused with Michael Bay’s actual bastardized half-shell bohemoths.
Anubis Note: In case you haven’t seen Rob Zombie’s Halloween II, “bohemoth” is how we spell that shit here. And yes, it’s pronounced “bo-he-muth” in case you were wondering.
It turns out the vessel our bumbler stumbled upon is a smuggling ship, and when his hosts find him unresponsive on board, they toss his sorry ass into the South China Sea! Lucky for him it seems the naturally occurring tides are coincidentally heading back to his homeland of Hong Kong, where he’s washed ashore after a few days afloat. Finally freed from his one-man coma cruise, Sunny awakens to find his body doing its best impression of Spongebob’s stage act: The Amazing Mr. Absorbancy! Sporting an XXXXL waistline and the incessant sensation of walking in wet sneakers, he tries to find his way back to the Thunderbolt Circus home office, discovering how hard it is to hitch a ride in the middle of the night when you look like a cast off from a Ju-On movie set on a cruise ship. Fortunately for him, a lovely lady named Angel Chang (played by Qi Shu, who we recently saw in Journey to the West!) stops, requesting help with her bamboozled back tire then offering her impromptu AAA lifeline a ride home in thanks. Along the way, Sunny recognizes Angel from the local newscast and marks out, declaring his fandom for her. Of all the people in HK who could’ve happened along looking for help, it just so happens that the minor celebrity our hero’s got the awkward stalker hots for is the one. Even for a movie that’s not just stretching it, that’s hyper-extending said “it” like the arm/leg of a generic bad guy in a Steve Seagal movie. Backwards elbows and knees, people. Cringe.
Returned home, Sun bids adieu to his love interest-to-be and plops into bed like the garbage bag full of tapioca he has become. Overnight, he secretes more liquid refreshment than the entirety of the background dancers did across all four volumes of Sweatin’ to the Oldies. While he’s soaking his sleeping space harder than a gang of 3rd grade bed-wetters at a sleepover, his fellow Thunderbolt performers make their turn to a life of crime official as they rob an armored truck to the tune of 5 million dollars! I’m guessing they’re Hong Kong dollars though, so it’s more like 20k American, give or take? Meh. That’ll barely afford them one of Gwyneth Paltry, errrr Paltrow‘s vibrators and a gallon jug of Japanese whale oil lubricant. Peasants.
Fuck sake. For $15k that thing better be a piece of StarkTech that turns into a suit of portable Iron Man armor!
The armored car is just one stop on the quartet’s crime spree tour though, as they’ve been busy knocking over jewelry stores and the like too. Enhanced with telekinetic powers, super strength, and bulletproof skin, it’s been the proverbial cakewalk for the villains. Unable to stop them with mere guns and police brutality, the Mu Shu porkies call in superhuman specialist agents Suen Ho (Jing Wu) and Ching Shau Wah (Jingchu Zhang). Partners in career and in life, the pair are accused of being an adorably low key professional law enforcement couple and could be sentenced to live happily ever after if convicted. I can say, with no certain certainty, that I’m certain these two are my favorite Asian movie couple since Wild Zero‘s Ace and Tobio.
The movie (or at least the English subtitle track I had to hunt down) tells us that Ho and Wah have arrested supernatural criminals before, but doesn’t give us any further allusions to just who these enhanced do-badders were. No idea if the pairing have appeared in prior Benny Chan productions, but in all honesty I really don’t care to look any further than I have already. My dick burns are getting burns on top of them! Just to be safe, I’m going to say that CUS takes place in a cinematic Hong Kong akin to Spider-Man 3 NYC – metahumans aren’t littering the place like Captain America: Civil War, but they’re also clearly not undiscovered yet like Meteor Man.
Speaking of, Meteor Man is part of the Marvel Universe continuity. I shit you not. It’s only a matter (or meteor) of time until we see Robert Townsend’s name show up on a cast listing for Avengers: Infinity War!… maybe “NetFlix’s The Defenders”?… maybe not?… probably not. Blart.
The duo are due to exchange nuptials (or “swap nups” if you’re me, which you’re not, for which you should be praising Ra) in 30 days, so Hao vows to take the Frightful Four down in 20. Really? So he’s going to let them run roughshod on the Kowloon precious gems market for 3 weeks before he decides it’s time to put an end to their shenanigans?! Prick. Speaking of, Angel’s boss/boyfriend KK (Slider?) informers her that the higher ups at the news station are kicking her down the corporate ladder a few rungs so they can give her spot to a younger, hotter replacement named Yoyo. Yoyo? Yep yep. Not only is our lady losing her seat at the anchor desk, but it turns out she’s lost her seat in her boyfriend’s lap too, also replaced by her Duncanian rival. We learn that Angel herself got where she was by traveling the exact same path as Yoyo, but that’s different! Right? Cuz she’s a hero? Meh. Moving on. In an effort to save a shred of what remaining pride our heroine has left, Angel dumps a glass of water over K’s cranium, declares their relationship null and void, and officially hands in her verbal resignation. Whatever makes you feel less like a stepped-on piece of dog shit in the middle of the sidewalk, lady. Keep your head up and move on. Godspeed.
What’s a working gal to do in this modern age of HD media, where genetics are prized over journalistic ethics? Where looks trump integrity? Well, it just so happens that the same day old maid Angel finds herself destined for the unemployment line (or the glue factory… I’m not sure how they tackle this shit in China), her biggest fan awakens with abilities beyond those of mortal men. Indeed, just like Chu and, uhm, the other three circus performers (I’m not good with names or having to look them up), Sunny’s received his membership card to the Superhumans Society! On his way to the police station to explain his situation (and distance himself from his crime spreeing co-workers), his pathway is impeded by a hostage negotiation. Angel, having the Lois Lane-like super power to be in the right place at the right time, witnesses Sunny make the save, freeing the captive policewoman from her assailant with a combination of telescopic slow-mo “precision vision” and inhuman strength, accuracy and reflexes, with which he throws a single stick, shattering the abductor’s gun and piercing his arm from across the street! While everyone around him stares agape in awe and the press presence swarms him for a statement like ants on a Twinkie, ‘Gel whisks him away to a cab (I guess she’s just leaving her own car abandoned in the middle of traffic?!) for a “private interview”… which, despite the probable perversion with which you may have read that (ya gutter creeper), doesn’t mean they went home and swapped sweet and sour sauces. Amazing the places a pair of quotation marks can take the human mind.
With little imaginary hearts floating around his head (might wanna check your scalp for parasites, Flapjack), Sunny’s more than happy to give the newly freelance reporter her exclusive one-on-one with the Hong Kong Kal-El. Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Doom (in this instance, a lovely house in the middle of nowhere with an in-ground pool!), Chu and the others have kidnapped several biological engineers in hopes of reversing the grotesque monster mash side-effects of their genetic mutation. Despite being told there is no way of turning them from Fangoria cover models back into a Silver Ash cover band, they find hope when they see their old punchline Sunny on the evening news looking none the worse for toxic wear. A testament to the ancient healing powers of the South China Sea? Or just another use of the old science fiction deus ex machina of “some people are just genetically different and are immune to stuff!”? Either way, Chu and chums aim to find out.
Arriving at the Thunderbolt Circus locale faster than Bruce Wayne going back to Gotham after conquering The Pit (fucking Dark Knight Rises), the bad guys try to nab their errant clown mid-interview. Chu should change his name to SPF 69, cuz Angel just got Sun blocked! *rimshot* Awkwardly introducing himself to the minor celebrity while his hairline recedes and his increasingly lumpy face is painted up with Luna Vachon veins (see below), Chu confesses that he’s her number one die-hard fan and makes rapey face at her. How… flattering? You can practically hear Miss Chang’s ovaries shriveling on the vine the longer he talks to her. The expected altercation is instigated and the movie’s first real exchange of wire-fu is initiated!
No brawl-for-all by any stretch of the term, Sunny and Angel spend the time running and ducking their pursuers as best they can before finally being subdued. Chu threatens to bleed our hero in the search for the secret of his success, but his knife is halted by the timely intervention of the mutant hunting dynamic duo, Hao and Wah, sporting mirrored shades and martial arts! The battle ends when Sunny, seemingly turning into a cartoon character with his comically red “pressure cooker” face (that you expect to send steam shooting out of both ears), freaks the fuck out and throws two fistfuls of flying daggers at his prior impeder of career promotion. Chu responds in kind, deflecting the swarm of steel shards with a flurry of his own, sending razor sharp metal ricocheting all over the fucking place! Small appliances explode, glass shatters, structures collapse, one of the villains takes an errant dagger to the chest, and the rest of the antagonists beat feet while the heroes collect the unconscious Sunny and rush him to a hospital.
In intensive care, Sunny’s examined by scientists and it’s indeed determined that he bears the mythical movie MacGuffin of antibodies unique to his DNA. Yep, out of the billions of people who would have otherwise been malformed by exposure to the experimental discharge (like the other four people that were), one of the tiny group of FIVE just happened to be uniquely resistant. Not even to the formula in its entirety, mind you, but only the dangerous uglifying parts of it. Don’t think I enjoy telling movie logic to get off my lawn like this. My nitpickery is tantamount to acupuncture needles being slowly pushed between my vertebrae, or filling my codpiece (what, you don’t wear a codpiece?!) with hungry scarabs. It is my curse. Damn Tiki Gods. You put termites in their pillows one time and you spend the rest of eternity wanting to chew your fingers off at bullshit times like this!
While the white coats would rather keep Super Sun under indefinite lock and key for more in-depth observation (and likely dissection for sale to some Chinese super soldier program), the police don’t think the public would be too pleased with the smiling new face of mutant moderating being held in constabulary custody. Instead, Hao and Wah are assigned to be his bodyguards while Miss Chan picks up the role of talent agent to the city’s new cynosure for his upcoming avalanche of inevitable media overexposure. It happened when the Simpsons found that monkey’s paw, and it’ll happen to you too! Angel’s also fallen in love with the little goof already, because of course she has. Some would say she’s got hearts in her eyes, some would say they’re just dollar signs. I say it’s both. I may just be a foreigner, but fill my eyes with that double vision. No disguise, for that double vision.
The glamorous life of hocking Diarrhea Killer and prancing like a grinning idiot for publicity appearances goes straight to the hero’s head, ironically swelling it figuratively while his enemies’ domes are swelling literally. As for Hao, his plan to use the unwitting Sunny as bait to draw out the baddies has put a cramp into his marriage plans, postponing the date and drawing out Wah’s ire instead. She proposes that instead of the two of them tackling the remaining trio of mutants themselves, they train Sun to actually be a superhero rather than just play one, evening up the odds. Hao’s ego won’t let him risk someone else completing his job and taking his glory though, so sad to say, this is the exact moment you can start the countdown clock for Wah’s impending inclusion in the movie’s “in memorium” reel.
Cue the next fight, as Chu and the others make their next move, striking while Sunny D’s doing yet another photo shoot. The in-name-only slayer of sinners gets bodied hard by his nemesis, while Hao uses his uncanny acupuncturist prowess to beat Chu’s girlfriend with ease, promising to have her locked up and experimented on for the rest of whatever life she has left. She opts for what’s behind Door #2 instead, and self-immolates amid the pool of gasoline she was carelessly left incapacitated in. Back inside, Chu shows us his ignorance on human biology (specifically how antibodies work) by Dracula-ing off some of Sun’s vein V8, only to be massively disappointed when it doesn’t remedy away his uggo-itis. Before he can stomp the envy of his eye six feet under, the Heroic Duo drop in from off-screen to save the day. Rather than retreat, Hao’s determined to make good on his promise to marry his wifey-to-be on time, so he trades blows with the biggest baddie and leaves it up to Wah to keep their bait from being snatched off the hook by the last remaining member of the Chu Crew, uhm, mohawk guy.
Ill-prepared for the mutants’ continued evolution, Hao’s pride is his downfall, as his ambition to close the case distracts him from preventing his lady getting her internal organs pulverized by Mohawk. When he finally notices, it’s time for a late retreat as he escapes with Wah and Sunny in tow. But it’s too late. With tear streaked cheeks and a mouthful of blood, Wah tells her incredibly sweaty man to take care of himself, never lose himself, and never be afraid because she’ll always be watching over him. Then she dies…in the passenger seat of a stolen station wagon. Just like Han Solo… in my 2003 fan film re-visioning of Return of the Jedi.
As if this loss wasn’t enough of a shake up, the movie’s timeline gets a bit weird here. Hao sets up Sunny on a cot in a shack along a nearby river and sticks him full of needles to nurse the defeated hero back to health. When said hero comes to, he finds his savior nearby, torching his dearly departed in the flames of his makeshift pyre (i.e. he set the station wagon on fire)…in the same area she died…so…this all has to be taking place not too long after our previous scene…so whose house did they break into for their acupuncture session?! And since when can acupuncture fix broken organs and blood loss in what can’t have been more than a few hours!? OUCH! There goes another two scoops of scarabs.
And so, with both of our brotagonists having fallen hard from the height of hubris, now they must pick each other up like a pair of crane game claws. You know how much of a bitch those things can be. Forged by Loki himself, they are! Anyway, Hao vows to teach Sunny how to control his powers in his scorched fiancee’s honor, so let’s cue the montage!
With her boyfriend/client engaged in secret training for what could be weeks (or might just be a few days? The movie’s not 100% clear on it.), Angel’s left alone to mourn his perceived passing. As alone as you can get when you’re under 24 hour police protection, at least. The star-crossed lovers flashback to black & white renditions of their prior scenes together, denoting loss and longing as such scenes do. Having put the entire city under siege (we have a title!) alongside his last remaining cohort since Sunny’s disappearance, Chu (who stole Weird Al’s plastic Rambo muscle suit from UHF) uses his enemy’s pilfered cell phone to call Angel and tell her how he desperately needs her to deliver him from his personal Hell of emo teen sadness. Note to readers: listening to The Cure and other depressing music when you’re sad doesn’t make you less sad, it just reminds you why you’re sad in the first place, then piles on MORE SAD! Despite the saying, fighting fire with more fire only makes a BIGGER FIRE!
Feeling like she has nothing left to live for now (or maybe she’s just tired of needing a security detail every time she has to dump ass), Angel strikes a plan with the pigs to use her as a lure to entice Chu into a trap. She could just call him back and allow the military to triangulate his locale via the phone, but that wouldn’t put her life in immediate danger, so why bother?! Remember how well things went the last time an Asian movie in The Tomb tried to lure a monster into a trap? No? Go read my Garuda review. I’ll wait.
See? Yeah. Same thing happens here. Shit goes south faster than a racist Yankee after the Emancipation Proclamation. Just as Angel is about to see if her namesake(s) are real, guess who appears from nowhere to save her from being turned into street pizza? If you guessed anyone other than Sunny, you’re either too preoccupied to be reading this episode right now, or you’re just really really really shitty with names. Before the two heavies finally finish their feud in furious combat, Hao takes out both Mohawk and himself, using an urn filled with his beloved’s ashes to smash a light fixture and ignite a broken fuel line. An all too short-lived (no pun intended) exchange whose ultimate finale is predictable, sure, but I like Hao’s use of the urn…which probably contained more than a few leftovers from the station wagon’s ashtray mixed in with whatever he was able to salvage from Wah’s herself if you think about it.
Now for the big climax. Our final showdown is a fair mix of flashy martial arts punches and kicks, superhuman feats of tossed transportation (cars and trucks and such), both guys saving Angel from certain doom, a noble sacrifice or two, an effort to apply some last minute pathos to the villain, and a mandatory bit of the throwing knife dueling that started this whole rivalry, though not as much as you’d expect given all the hours/days/weeks of training Sunny pulled in the previous sequence. Speaking of, here’s a PSA for any fellow mutants out there: Don’t be like Chu. Take absolute care when it comes to protecting your lower back in any combat situation, as any perforation of the area has a high likelihood of causing your internal organs to violently detonate. I recommend investing in one of Lumpy Leroy’s Cast Iron Cummerbunds! Tell ’em Anubis sent you to get free shipping and $5 off your first order!
Good triumphs over evil, and just to make sure Benny Chan gets to tick off the final line of his “superhero movie tropes” checklist, Angel throws herself in front of one of Chu’s daggers to protect Sunny while he’s busy being a paragon of human decency and saving a family trapped in a flaming car. She survives though, and Sunny kills Chu, so the audience gets to go home on a high note. Such ends the ballad of Johnny Two Blades, errr, Twin-Dagger Sunny. Marge, is this a happy ending or a sad ending?
I opted to review CUS based entirely on the promise of “a circus clown gains super powers and has to fight his co-workers who have become super villains”. Little did I know that Sunny’s screen time in greasepaint would be relegated to his 5 minute introduction, thus abandoning the novelty almost immediately. Boooo. Points lost out of the gate for the misleading synopsis. Things don’t get much better from then on either. It’s not that this is a bad superhero movie. The problem is that Benny Chan tries so hard bending over backwards to emulate the Hollywood blockbuster comic book flick formula that he falls on his head and knackers himself, leaving us with one of the most generic by-the-numbers super movies I’ve ever seen.
If you and your riffmates are looking for a feature to play Genre Bingo with, CUS fills all the boxes in its category. Hapless hero? Check. Hero’s parents dead? Check. The villain is an associate from the hero’s personal life? Check. The hero’s crush falls in love with him shortly after getting to know him? Check. Said romantic interest is injured/killed during the final battle? Check. The villain’s given moments of sympathy so we’re supposed to regret his forthcoming death? Check. The hero wins his first fight, loses his second, then comes back to win in the end? Check. Pride and/or ego lead to the hero’s momentary downfall? Check. The hero overcomes his fall from grace by embracing the wise words of a mentor/father figure? Check. Training montage?! BINGO! BINGO! BINGOOOOO!
Yep. That’s my biggest beef with this movie: I’ve seen it all before. Chan tries something a little atypical of the Asian fantasy epics, but over does it on the Americanization stuff. I’m all for tweaking with the General Tso recipe, but not with heaps of ketchup. The computer generated shit’s not the best, but I don’t expect it to be from any movie born of an outside-of-Tinseltown budget. Consider my expectations tempered in that regard. Also, despite my general dislike for Sunny’s goofball demeanor (and those stupid hand motions he makes every time he refers to himself as “Twin-Daggers”), finally seeing him buckle down and become the mature good guy in the final act, despite being hackneyed, made me hate him a bit less. He’s still a heaping tub of chodeslaw though for putting that audience member’s life at risk in the beginning. Psycho. Angel’s only a smidgen further north on the moral compass, because she didn’t almost kill somebody with her fuckery. She did start her relationship with Sunny under the animus of hitching herself to his rising star though, looking out for her own best interests while also getting to stick it to her former employer for letting her go. Because again, she was being replaced by a younger, more attractive woman, the same way she herself ascended to the position in the first place!
As noted prior, Hao and Wah are my favorite part of this titular besieged metropolis. They’re cute without being overly saccharine. They’re equal parts business and pleasure without going too far to either end. Hao’s conceit leads to his greatest loss, but he earns his redemption by becoming the hero’s teacher, then gets his peace in the end, fulfilling his duty and joining his beloved in oblivion. Aces. Sadly, when your supporting cast is more endearing than your main characters, you’re doing something wrong, Benny. Write better.
I’m going to end this episode on the movie’s groaniest groan-inducer before I take off. Remember when I said I’d get back to my ire over the destruction of the Japanese army’s Malaysian Frankenstein lab? Yep. Although the attack on the lab comes from outside, a series of precisely laid out explosions erupt inside of the cave in a designated order. I’m not the type to think that anything is impossible. Highly improbable, of course, but not necessarily impossible…except this. Could the Chinese forces have infiltrated the lair the night before, laid out a bunch of C4, and simply been waiting for the right time to blow their load of shock & awe all over the faces of their enemies? Sure. Maybe. No. Never. Stop. I’ve included a little visual aid to illustrate this particular blister on my butt.
Our next two episodes will be features in name but not in length, so they shouldn’t take four months to finish. Keep your eyes peeled like the delicious delicious grapes they are for the first such installment in the next few days, with the other coming out Sunday-ish. Until then, this is the end. The only end, my friend. Always live your life like a flying dagger!
But… if it’s “Universal”, how can it be “Limited”?
“GAH! I’VE HAD THAT FUCKING ‘CALL ME MAYBE’ SONG BURIED IN MY BRAIN FOR FOUR YEARS! FOR THE LOVE OF CRONENBERG, SOMEONE HIT ME WITH A SHOVEL AND DISLODGE IT!”
“Gacy Good Times International – introducing underage boys to crawlspaces the world over!” (Coulrophobics? I’m sorry. Coulrophiliacs? You’re welcome.)
So other countries have their own Criss Angel to suffer through? Kinda nice to know we in the US aren’t alone in suffering madoucheians.
“Your milk money or your life!”
“I know you’re hungry, but we can stop and get you some fresh clam strips. Those have been sitting under my seat for at least a week.”
“This is James Chang. James came out of a 10 year coma last week and has never seen ‘2 Girls 1 Cup’. We’re going to broadcast his reaction live, tonight on ‘60 Minutes‘.”
Looks like the next Wolverine movie will be based entirely on a version of the character found in those Chinese dollar store action figure sets. Maybe this will be the first step toward finally getting that Super Man Big Alliance team-up movie we’ve been begging Marble and CD Comiks for!
Up next in the Chinatown Burt Reynolds Look-a-like Pageant: Charlie “The Gator” Zhang!
If Beavis and Butthead taught us nothing else, it’s that nothing stops a nosebleed better than a tampon.
“I want to thank you for electing me your King Dingus for the season! I will do my best to uphold the honor of the position at the sacrifice of what little dignity I have left!”
Nice shades. If they look into each others’ eyes, will it create some kind of reality collapsing infinity loop?!
Hey! He stole Meg Griffin’s power to grow her fingernails long! Plagiarist!
“Well, you know we’re gonna end up in this 3-way eventually, so we might as well get it over with so we can make our car payment on time. Paper, Rock, Scissors for position?”
“I killed my stylist for dressing me in this stupid hat. Then I formed his face skin into my corsage!”
As much as I love Elizabeth Banks, this is what the new Rita Repulsa should look like!
Excedrin headache number 245 – You’ve been exposed to an experimental toxin and turned into a raging mutant. Your brain feels like its going to explode out of your skull, and simple aspirin won’t do the trick. You need Excedrin!… or a hole drilled in your head to release the evil spirits that are haunting you. Either one works, really.
Ever cried so hard that tears came out of your whole face? If not, you’ve never known real love. Congratulations.
This is why you never try to cuddle your pet porcupine.
“So you decided to turn the car we stole into your fiancee’s funeral pyre?”
“Okay. Did you happen to look it over first to make sure there wasn’t anything else in there? I only ask because I can’t find my wallet…”
Hao’s DIY car crematorium was such a success that he decided to really up his game and turn it into a career! He’s in such demand now that he’s burning entire skyscrapers full of bodies every day!
Yes! Someone finally answered the Craigslist contract I put out on Justin Beiber! Guess I better get that $120 together. Time to turn in my bottles and cans.
I told Nosferatu not to feed on those professional bodybuilders, but at least he’s seeing some sick gains! What vampire needs the use of their testicles anyway?
The ages old geek query of “What if Venus De Milo (from the live-action Ninja Turtles show) fucked Killer Croc?” is finally answered.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Three People You Meet in Texas”
Featuring: Mathew “Samurai Cop” Karedas , Mark “Samurai Cop” Frazer , Bai “Crank: High Voltage” Ling , and a VERY special appearance by Tommy “The Room” Wiseau
Director: Gregory “Mad Cowgirl” Hatanaka
Writers: Gregory “Mad Cowgirl” Hatanaka, Rich “Sociopathia” Mallery, Tony “American Nudist” Young
Follows: Samurai Cop
Hey. So… I’ve been gone awhile. Let’s just say it was something funny like a whiskey-fueled vision quest through the Gobi Desert with the ghost of Hunter S. Thompson so I don’t have to talk about my actual problems. Groovy? Groovy.
Anyway, 2015 ended on an omega level downer with the passing of Our Lord Lemmy Kilmister, and so far 2016 has been a Hollywood hit parade of death. I won’t post the ever growing list of the lost, as we’ve all got enough to be down-in-the-dumps aboot. Prior to anybody pointing their accusation fingers, let the record show that their deaths weren’t my doing! My bosses in the Pantheon decided that they were doing away with letting vacation days roll over, so I’ve been on a break from the reaping race for the last few months with that whole vision quest thing, lest I lose my paid days cache. Nobody fucks with my vacation days, ya dig? Dunno who’s been covering my shifts since, but I’d bet my life savings (an abandoned van buried in upstate NY that’s full of empty bottles and cans) that you can direct your digital hate mail to Tuoni via email@example.com if you’re looking for someone to vent on. Those Finnish gods can be real pricks when no one’s looking. He’s the hemorrhoid who pulled the trigger on Donald Pleasence after finally seeing The Puma Man on “MST3K”!
The year kicked off on a total wet fart start and has rolled mercilessly down that same path ever since. But, let’s just see if we can’t open up a Glade Freshness Bomb© and dissipate some of this emotional flatulence with a few laughs! Before we grab our garlic buttered popcorn and our pitchers of Jack & Coke (now known as “The Lemmy”), let’s catch the neophytes up on just what a “Samurai Cop” is.
In 1991, a thistle thong bikini of a movie named Samurai Cop was let loose on the metaphorical bathing suit area of cinema seekers the world over. The penultimate picture for since-dead Iranian writer/director Amir Shervan, SC was made on a budget that would make so-called “shoestring” projects look like summer blockbusters in contrast. Known by some as the homeless man’s Lethal Weapon, the flick was an offense to the senses. At the plot’s epicenter, two Asian gangs were at war over some prime crime Los Angeles real-estate: a Chinese gang known as the Ginza and a Japanese Yakuza splinter group calling itself The Katana, who were such a tiny splinter of the Yakuza that there were only two Asian members (one of whom may have actually been half Mexican), with the remainder of the roll call being filled with black and white extras in thrift store “$5 Bag of Rags” wardrobes. The most notable of the Katana was their big white enforcer, Yamashita, whose full beard wasn’t enough to disguise the monstrous jaw behind it. Yep, it’s our dear dearly departed friend of the Tomb: Robert Z’Dar. The Maniac Cop himself. May his chin forever rest in peace.
Assigned to take the bad guys down were LAPD Detective Frank Washington (Mark Frazer) and SDPD Detective Joe Marshall (Mathew Karedas), who was flown in to help with the case given his extensive background in Japanese culture. Yep, our titular titan of law enforcement is a white guy name Joe. Such brave casting. Bravo.
Between Joe's sped-up sword fighting powers (and the poorly attached lady mop upon his brow) and Frank's penchant for indiscriminately shooting bad guys on a whim (and his arsenal of goofy facial expressions and bad jokes), the villains had no chance. The bad guys were brought down, invitations for sex were thrown around between characters more than an '80s porno, cake was served, and another awful movie slipped into the obscurity it was condemned to, not even getting a riffing aboard the Satellite of Love like fellow '90s trash bin refugees Future War, Werewolf, The Final Sacrifice, and Soultaker.
The acting, the dialogue, the dubbing, the action-free action sequences, the FF>> car chases, the FF>> sword duel, the inconsistent film quality (and tint), the unbalanced audio, the awkward sex scenes (one preceded by the seduction of a woman via birthday cake and banana hammock), the 4th grade art class wall decoration of a lion’s head, the random gay Costa Rican waiter with an affinity for cops (or “cawps” as he calls them). It all added up to a mind-boggling murder orgy for the IQ points of all who watch it. I was lucky to have the commentary track of Trash Movie Master Joe Bob Briggs hold my hand through the initial viewing, so I recommend you seek out the same DVD release to lube up your sanity sphincter rather then just trying to cornhole yourself dry with this one. Barring that, I suggest getting your wittiest friends together and ingesting some mood enhancing chemicals if nothing else, because it is a sanity train wreck.
I honestly couldn’t tell if Samurai Cop was a clusterfuck of outright incompetence, or the many-layered master plan of a diabolical genius who was crafting a legacy that would inspire others long after his death. Either way, thanks to the total corruption of humanity by the internet’s reach, some of history’s failingest failures that ever failed have been brought to the attention of people who probably would have avoided them otherwise. And thanks to another arm of the worldwide web’s spider god (crowdfunding sites), Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance was conjured from the darkest depths of The Deep Ones to rain emotional trauma upon us as like a golden shower of madness from All-Father Odin himself. That guy downs a LOT of mead too, so you know that’s gotta be a frothy, odorous, volatile shower.
So yes, my own cinemasochism aside, I place a mountain of blame for the mental meltdown given to me by watching Samurai Cop Part Deux upon YOU, the sadists who threw their disposable income at the creators of this project, thus enabling them to commit their proposed sin upon the rest of us! Speaking of, we’re two pages into this episode, so I should probably prematurely eject the pregame show and make with reviewing the actual movie whose moniker adorns the above subject line! Don’t worry, since it’s still a relatively new release I won’t be going into a lot of detail about the plot, so this is gonna be a shorter read for those with a bus to catch or a loved one waiting for you to pick them up from prison. But not for you dominatrices out there. You’re being paid to be in charge, damn it! Earn your paycheck and subject them to the sweet abuse of tardiness!
Also, ignore the irony of letting me tell you what to do if you actually took that last bit to heart. *wink*wink*
For anyone who wasn’t sure what tone the movie was going to take (like myself), here’s a hint: the opening scenes flashbacks to 1991 to focus on detectives Washington and Marshall and the tragic event (and Joe’s subsequently hilarious reaction – the greatest repeated delivery of “NO!” since Dr. Loomis lost his shit during the Halloween IV finale) leading up to their eventual separation from each other… and no attempt is made at concealing how much both actors have aged in the quarter-century since. So, yeah, this flick is gonna be intentionally terrible. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is relative to your personal preferences. As for me? It’s a fine line between dumb and fun and dumb fun when it comes to intended crappy movie-ness. That said…well, if I told you right now, you might not read the rest of the review, so let’s carry on!
25 years later, Joe and Frank are estranged. While Detective Washington has continued the civil struggle to uphold law and order (the state of social being, not the TV show) in LA, Marshall-san has gone off the grid to live the hermit life away from the temptations and torments of humanity. You know, like a “Facebook break”, but in real life. The conflict that will inevitably bring the pair back together? The Katana and Ginza are at it again! Despite being killed in the prior feature, Katana patriarch Fuj Fujiyama (Cranston Komuro) is back, older than dirt and twice as ugly. Since the slapdash “take what you can get” assemblage of random black and white guys didn’t serve his needs so well in ’91, Fuj Fuj’s since outsourced his goon hiring to one of those talent agencies that works solely in porn actors. Not to be confused with one of those video series where it’s a fake porn agency and the guy’s just pounding amateurs on a casting/blasting couch to post on his xHamster account.
Fuj Fuj’s Clitori Quorum cuntcists (“Cunt cysts”? Might wanna get to your gyno.) of adult actresses Bai Ling, Lexi Belle, and Nicole Bailey (aka Zoey Monroe – check out “Princess Peach Gets Fucked By Her Kingdom” for more of Miss Monroe’s thespianism). Ling plays Doggé, not to be confused with Doge the canine meme. Snoop Doggéy Doggé is Fuj Fuj’s current Katana enforcer, while Hera (Belle) and Tessa (Bailey) bring up her rear (much where I’d like to be) as her kinky muscle. And if you expected a muffdive-a-trois scene in a movie where a trio of porn actresses play deviant characters in roles involving power differentials, well, you’re right. Don’t get too excited though, cuz it looks like the movie’s Kickstarter didn’t make it to the “hardcore sex scenes” tier. It’s 10 seconds of 2am Skinemax at best.
A series of assassinations have sprung up in the LA area in recent weeks, with bigwig power players from the Ginza (no longer Chinese and instead now ALSO members of the Japanese Yakuza for no apparent reason) being the targets. The killers leave Katana medallions behind, so it seems we’ve got a Yakuza civil war on our hands. Not nearly as cool as Captain America: Civil War, but what is? You know what else isn’t? Batman v. Superman. Fuck you and your Christ allegories right in the gall bladder, Zack Snyder.
In their rise to power, the Katana also start shit with their other rivals, the Shinjuku, turning this tale into a 3-way war to keep the Shins and Gins from treaty-ing up against them… I think? I don’t know. Either I’m being dragged through a shit pit of a script or I’ve suddenly been stricken with ADHD. I re-watched the first 15 minutes half-a-dozen times and I still couldn’t make heads nor tails of this clusterfuck! Anyway, Frank’s investigation brings him into contact with an emaciated Joe Marshall who looks like human beef jerky. After killing an impromptu gang of pop-up ninjas, the Black Gift and the Wonder Bread Warrior re-buddy up and get down to hero business.
The remaining hour boils down to oddball fight scenes, Joe using the old Samurai Cop magic to seduce a young Joan Jett look-a-like, random cameos from returning bit characters, Tommy Wiseau in bad Black Mask cosplay shouting incoherent lines of dialogue fed to him from off-camera, and all manner of oddly shot scenes awkwardly cut together with flashback footage and unexplained clips from fake TV commercials. The callbacks and parodizing of the original movie (like the return of the random lion head!) give way to weird-ass fever dream nonsense that was either included as a film school freshman effort to “art up” the production a la David Lynch, or was the result of the movie being edited with a wood-chipper and an industrial sized jar of Elmer’s.
Whereas much of Samurai Cop was shot in generic outside settings (parking lots, presumably abandoned property, etc), Deadly Vengeance was shot almost entirely on closed sets, many of which resemble the backgrounds for any number of direct-to-video Aliens and Terminator knock-off features from the far gone ’80s and ’90s. Exterior scenes mostly consist of fly-by footage of LA and the actors standing in front of green screens… mostly. Green screens? Yeah, Executive Producer Wiseau definitely had more than one hand in this hole. My favorite instance of this? A Tor Johnsony Yakuza goon marches in place in front of a Chinatown backdrop, only said backdrop stays stationary, thus killing the illusion of movement outright. If Ed Wood were alive today, this type of screen tech tomfoolery would be one of his hallmarks.
Speaking of Ed Wood, the acting is all bad. Very bad. Very very bad. Not sure if it’s all just part of the joke (which Mark Frazer is clearly in on, if nothing else) or what happens when your cast is made up of more than a few professionals from the meat market back lots. Or back door lots if you pay them an extra 20%. Bai Ling’s performance is particularly horrendous, but she’s such a coke-fueled dynamo that it was impossible for me not to witness! She’s the type of woman you equally want to get drunk with and fear getting drunk with because you’re almost positive that she’s the 29th Lord of Chaos. You never know which direction she’s gonna take her Wonkavator in, but you should have your life insurance paid up before you get on board! Speaking of things I unironically enjoyed, I would legit pay real money for a copy of the movie’s soundtrack. Why? Because I’m a manimal.
A couple interesting tidbits of triv for y’all – at one point, Joe comments that he’d heard everyone on the force thought he was dead. Chances are this is an inside joke. The movie was originally supposed to feature Frank teaming with Joe’s daughter to fight the almost exclusively Caucasian Japanese marauders…because Hatanaka and friends didn’t realize that Karedas was still alive to reprise the title role! Once they found out, though, everything was rewritten and so we got the movie we have today instead. Also, despite his passing before he could be involved with the actual production of the movie, Robert Z’Dar’s visage plays “Where’s Waldo?” a few times along our trek to the end credits, as well as an homage drop of someone being called a “maniac cop”. Finally, were you aware that one-off 007 George Lazenby was originally enlisted to play a part in the pic? True story. Unfortunately, the geezer was a bit under the weather when he was scheduled to shoot his part, so his “shaken, not stirred” ass had to be written right off Her Majesty’s secret service and out the proverbial door. Oh what could have been though…
And that’s that. Samurai Cop 2 was part fanboy love letter sequel and part Russian Roulette of retarded nonsense. The good, the bad, and the mediocre. I came, I saw, I did the walk of shame after. It outdoes its predecessor in terms of production value and general competence, but doesn’t snag that coveted “so bad, it’s good” category that it seemed to want to be. There are hushed whispers in these haunted hills of a making-of documentary on Deadly Vengeance‘s origins rumored to see release this summer. If said fruits reach a ripened state, you can bet I’ll be throwing up my thoughts here like so much expired canned lobster meat. So, look forward to that! Or don’t. I’m not responsible for your personal expectations.
For those who tried to call me out (including one person who actually sent me a fax!) over my disdainful comments about black licorice in my last review, let me state very clearly right now so everyone knows it: I do NOT discriminate against candy based on its color nor country of origin! I’m no Reescist. *rimshot*
Oh, and on the topic of call outs, this one goes to the Donald Trump supporter who called me a “faggot” for my negative comments about said sentient anal wart Chia Pet marinated in Nacho Cheese during my Danger 5 review: I am unvexed by your lazy slur. It doesn’t apply to me, so it has no power over me. It’s about as effective as calling me a giraffe or a dining room table. If I were gay, I’d feel empowered to separate your jaw from the rest of your no doubt misshapen skull, rattling your tiny pea brain around like the stirring bead inside of a can of spray paint. As is though, your insult was flaccid. Actual gay men would probably be more insulted at you calling me a “faggot”, as I’m far from being the sexiest bear in the Yellowstone circle jerk. Either way, get your head out of your grandpappy’s ass and check your calendar. It’s 2016. If you can’t come up with something portraying a little spontaneous wit (might I suggest “shit juggler” or “coconut fuck” to get you started?), don’t waste our air oxygenating your racist, sexist, xenophobic, fetid gray matter. And you know why I can call you a racist, sexist, xenophobe? Because you’re supporting someone who is literally those things! I’d toss some more unsavory truths your way in retort, but you’ve already outed yourself as a Trump Thumper, and it’s hard to hit you below the belt when you’re so proudly wearing it around your ankles. Besides, insults coming to me from a Drumpf guzzler? You might as well be shooting spitwads at a Sherman. Hell, you didn’t even have the chutzpah to use your real email address in your feedback form! If you wanna live under the rule of a propaganda propagating penis potato (or “dick tater”), break out your Mr. Fusion and go heil Der Fuhrer with the rest of your time displaced ilk. #MyStruggle #DoTheDrumpftyDrumpf
Now, I’m off to watch “Lucha Underground” and make love to the root beer float birthday cake my Evil Dead Bride made me before she gets home from the killing fields. Will I be back soon with another mediocre episode of tepid humor and unwarranted angerlust? I make no guarantees beyond the guarantee that there are no guarantees…I gare-own-tee! Later, nerds.
I guess Troy McClure is renting his place out for porno shoots now. Here’s a screenshot from Gropers & Groupers, cumming soon!
Jeezus. I used to think I was 100% hetero, but after this I think I may be a Bai sexual. *rimshot*
Ladies, if your ass has never caused a black man to make a face like that, you need to drink more milk. Yowza!
“You’re lucky. I wanted a machine gun too, but they just gave me this weird Spencer’s Gifts disco ball piece of shit. How the fuck am I supposed to kill anybody with this thing!?”
Special guest appearance by “Strangers with Candy”’s Jerri Blank.
Holy Nefertiti’s titties. After 25 years, Joe looks like an unwrapped mummy.
Kids, THIS is why you always use a lubricant when masturbating. *The More You Know*
Tommy Wiseau’s next project? A remake of the David Hasslehoff “drunken cheeseburger consumption” video.
The lion patiently stalks his prey. As much as we want to interject and save her, we cannot interfere with nature. We can only continue filming as Joyce DeWitt’s fate is sealed.
Wiseau is not shielding his eyes to view an atomic blast or a solar eclipse. He’s simply heeding the Surgeon General’s warning for the safest way to watch Paul Blart 2.
Sure, it’s only a repainted NERF gun, but in her hands it might as well be a grenade launcher! RUN!
Don’t worry Joe, everyone’s probably too distracted by the naked lady sword fight to notice you desperately sucking in your gut back there.
One of the gaffers filled Joe’s suit with centipedes during his last bathroom break.
There are worse ways to wake up than with a woman’s nipple giving you a Wet Willy. Joe’s just upset because he was having that nightmare where he’s Chekov in Wrath of Khan.
“Yes, I am Joe Estevez. Yes, I am the brother of Martin Sheen, and the uncle of Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez. And yes, I was the villain in Rollergator. Now, if you’re done being starstruck, could you direct me to the craft services table?”
President Donald Trump with Vice President Nightman (ahhhAHHHHahhh!).
(The Nightman Cometh)
A still from Greg Hatanaka’s new Kickstarter campaign to fund his next Tommy Wiseau vehicle: Black Mask 3: Meet Joe Black Mask.
Anubis will return next time in
“Big Top Beatdown”
Featuring: Vijay “Sundara” Sethupathi , Namya “Chocolate” Nambeeshan , Aadukalam “Moogamudi” Naren
Writer & Director: Karthik “Jigarthanda” Subbaraj
Sequel: Pizza II: Villa
Maybe it’s just the casual racist in me (“casual” as opposed to “malicious”, so it’s okay), but I wouldn’t have expected a movie from India to be called “Pizza”. If anything, I would’ve thought something like “Curry” or “Vindaloo” or “Tikka Masala” to be more apropos. Oh well. So goes my Western ignorance. Speaking of India…
We all know about the rampant sacred cows strolling the streets carefree and careless, or the infamous “people piss and shit anywhere and everywhere” stuff, but did you know India is the largest democracy in the world? Well, it is. Did you know it exists in its own time zone? Well, it does. Did you know it’s the second most populous country in the world, but only the seventh largest? Yeah, if you thought Mexican stereotypes were the champions of “clown car apartment housing”, then you’ve clearly never been to India… not that I have either, but, shut up. In 2001, a Hindu religious festival called the Kumbh Mela (“Grand Pitcher Festival”) had 60 million attendees, breaking the world record for “largest gathering”! You could see the massive get-together FROM SPACE.
India is also the birthplace of chess (or “nerd checkers” if you’re the type whose respiration is an entirely oral process…and you didn’t understand what the Fuddruckers I just said there), spun and woven cotton, the decimal system, use of zero as a number, plastic surgery, Mohandas “Mahatma” Ghandi, and the following religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. It’s also the largest producer of dried beans, bananas, milk, and tea. The Himalaya Mountains (which are growing 2.5 centimeters a year!) and the Taj Mahal call the country home, as do the temples of Khajuraho. A major tourism magnet, said temples are (in)famous for their explicit erotic sculptures that portray a litany of sexual acts, including some that portray beastiality. Though I’ve never been, as a half-man half-dog god, I know where I’m going on my next honeymoon!
Now for some *dramatic pause*
tales statistics from the dark side (cue the “Tales From the Darkside” theme). India has the world’s largest murder rate, at over 40,000 per year. Sounds scary, but when you’re the second largest population in the world, 40k is a drop in the bucket (of blood). As for how all those bodies are disposed of, in order to avoid polluting the air, ground, and water, a common practice is to leave bodies in buildings called “Towers of Silence”, where vultures feed on the decaying remains. The bones left behind are then swept into deep wells at the center of the structures. Somebody needs to make a fucking slasher movie set in one of these corpse campaniles toot damn sweet!
In 2012, there were as many as 7 million abortions performed in India. That number doesn’t disturb me, as I whole-heartedly advocate for abortions. Not just because of the whole “pro-choice” thing, but because I’ve been all in on the “pro-death” kick since high school! I endorse free rides on the coat hanger express for every baby-to-be! Sure, you could be snuffing out the person who unites the world under a banner of peace, but you could also be saving the world from the instigator of a global holocaust. Think about it. Where was I? Oh yeah, it’s not the 7 million abortions that I don’t like, it’s the “one woman every two hours” death statistic that comes with 65% of these being done in unauthorized, unsanitary facilities that bums me out. That and India’s unfortunately high rate of female fetus abortions at that. Silver lining? Maybe after a few generations of “gendercide” they’ll make a dent in their overpopulation. We see how that’s working out for China.
Okay. Okay. Enough killing the mood. I won’t even get into the “Delhi Belly” epidemic (hint: it’s a mudslide of a topic). Let’s just scrounge the couch cushions for loose change and see if we can’t afford to order some Pizza!
For anyone wondering if this is a musical, given its birth nation, it is not. Musicals are Bollywood stuff. Pizza was an independent movie, so no singing and dancing to be had here. It was a massive success for its meager origins too, and in the 3 short years since its release, it’s spawned an immediate follow-up and several remakes, including (reportedly) an American knock-off on the horizon! More on that later though. For now, let’s have a tale of life, love, tragedy, torment, and Chicken Supreme pizzas.
Michael (Vijay Sethupathi) and Anu (Namy Nambeeshan) are a young, carefree couple who haven’t yet been together long enough to want to kill each other every minute they’re in the same room. Instead, they just nag and pick at each other. Ah, young love. Living in a small apartment, she works on writing a ghost novel and watches horror movies all day (my kinda lady!) while he’s a delivery boy at a pizza place called PitStop. I say “boy”, but not in the literal sense (or the racist sense…nor the Tall Man sense), as this dude’s got a headstart on some serious facial mane. The pair’s comfortable little existence living off of Anu’s passed parents’ insurance pitance is plunging toward its own inevitable demise, because she just found out she’s hosting a parasite. Or “pregnant”, as such an infection is more commonly referred to by those less infanticidal than myself. After those abortions stats I listed earlier, you can understand why she’s so upset by the prospect when she breaks the news to her husband. That’s a piping hot bowl of scary curry for any unprepared pair to be presented with, let alone a pair already desperately clinging to the poverty line.
‘Nu insists on nurturing the uterine leech, despite her own misgivings about their being able to handle the responsibility. Rather than throw her down some stairs (I think it’s a few months early for that anyway) or spend the rest of his life on the run from the child support police, Mike makes Spike Lee proud and does the right thing – he stays. Not only does he stay, but they agree that they need to be married before this hell-beast is torn screaming from her spawn hole. Since they’re light on rupees, the two decide to just have an at-home ceremony alone sans friends or any sort of officiate, where they exchange rings and half-assed vows (does that count for a legally binding union in India?!), agreeing to save up their money for a nice party later on. Their DIY nuptials are followed by a romantic montage of sitcom-esque “couple moments” they share. Cue the canned audience “awwwww” sound.
After telling everyone at work the big news, Mike’s sent to his boss Shanmugam’s (Aadukalam Naren) house to deliver some paperwork to Mrs. Boss. When he rings the bell though, their daughter Periya answers the door…while screaming and flailing and generally freaking the fuck out! Several people take her away while Mrs. Boss tells Mikey to go fetch her mustachioed mate toot sweet. Per may be feral, or she may just have mistaken our brotagonist for a Jehovah’s Witness or a political advocate. You can only take those bung weasels banging on your door so much before your switch flips to “I’m going to beat your head in with a claw hammer!” Turns out it’s none of this though, because the maniacal teen is actually possessed by a spirit calling itself “Nithya”! Yep, she’s doin’ the Regan MacNeil Bop. Actually, given the setting, I guess it’d be more on point to call it the Regan MacNeil Kuchipudi…not to be confused with the Regan MacNeil cooch, which is where Linda Blair went to 3rd base with her lord and savior.
Boss’s spiritual guru Raghavan (Karunakaran – that’s it, just one name on this guy) takes over and Mikey hangs around to watch the freakshow until Periya gives him a death stare and spooks his balls off. Raggy insists that the squatter spirit is doing this out of revenge for some unknown slight that Shan must’ve committed against the ghost in life, but boss man denies any wrong doing…except that he keeps getting this look on his face like he’s clearly lying and probably ran this Nithya girl over with his car or never paid her for some Girl Scout cookies he ordered. He sends Michael home, asking that he not tell anyone about what he’s just seen. Naturally, he runs home and tells Anu all about it. Great. Don’t ever give this guy incriminating evidence of any kind, cuz his lips are looser than a hypertrophic labia!
Google it. Or don’t, if you’re a pussy. Or are afraid of pussy. Pussy.
Anu doesn’t exactly feel bad for her mate, though. Not because she lacks sympathy, but because chicks dig irony and she just told his skeptic ass that he was going to have his face-to-face with the supernatural someday. Thus, she spends the next few days “BOO!”ing the tar out of the guy at every opportunity as a torturous “I told you so”. You know your spouse really cares about you when they mock your trauma by abusing your PTSD. Of all the times to hate it when your partner’s right, this is probably one of the worst. Right up there with “I don’t think you should have given that person your social security number.” and “You shouldn’t go up on the roof to mess with the satellite dish, because you’ll probably break your neck.” People, learn to listen to your significant other. Especially if you have a blighted track record of personal decision making on par with the father of an animated sitcom family.
One night, before he’s sent out on a delivery, Shanny requests that Mike stop by Chateu le Boss again, this time to drop off a box of candy. Despite his not-as-reassuring-as-he-intended-it-to-be promise of “My daughter will not kill you!”, our protagonist is hesitant to go and I can’t really blame him. Alas, it’s one of those boss requests that comes with the not-so-under undercurrent of “Do this or I will punish you severely as my employee.”, so he reluctantly gives in and undertakes the undertaking. FF>> to later that night, as Shanmugam shows up at PitStop to the sight of his trio of employees bloodied and battered (as in beaten up, not fried in batter)! According to Heckle and Jeckle (I forget their actual names), their ass thumping was the work of Michael, who sits inside the store in a panicked daze. When Boss demands an explanation, the haunted hero relates his scary story to tell in the dark.
When he delivered the pizza, the lady of the bungalow invited him in while she rifled through her purse for the money (note to all readers: don’t be a shithead – have your payment and tip prepared before your delivery person arrives!), only to find out that Mikey didn’t bring enough change for the large denomination note she attempted to pay with. She excused herself upstairs to find a smaller bill and, well, if our hero thought this life was turning into a “Tales From the Crypt” episode before, it looks like Ganesh had put in a full season order for him!
I won’t open my jacket and expose all of the goodies, but Michael ended up trapped in what turned out to be a spook shack. The walls were covered with weird etchings of terrified people’s faces close-up, specifically their big creepy eyes. Mike was menaced for an extended period of time by forces beyond his comprehension, narrowly escaping with his life. And no bitching about how that last bit’s a spoiler, because he obviously escaped if he made it back to the shop to tell the tale! The experience leaves him a disturbed man hanging on to the barest threads of sanity and that’s only the beginning of his downward spiral…technically it’s the first 75% of the movie and not just the beginning, given that there’s still half an hour left after, but you get my (Tokyo) drift.
The rest of the movie is… hmm…it’s really hard to refer to it without…GAH! Alright, I’ll tell you this much – Karthik Subbaraj pulls a better M. Night Shayamalan than his fellow countryman has managed to pull off himself since Unbreakable. It’s great. It took me by surprise. It was unexpected and well explained. But then he takes it too far and ruins it. If Karthik were an Olympic gymnast, Pizza would be his gold medal floor routine that ends, sadly, with him landing on his foot sideways, rolling his ankle and getting the silver instead. If he were a concert pianist, Pizza would be his opus at Carnegie Hall that wraps with him letting out the loudest, wettest shart as he’s taking his bow for applause.
In case I’m being too subtle, allow me to Big Cass for a moment and “SPELL IT OUT FOR YA!” – I do not like the ending of this movie. To be more specific, the last 3 minutes. I suggest getting yourself a copy and seeing it for yourself, as it’s a decent piece of Indian indie filmmaking. If you’re overwhelmed by curiosity but don’t have the will to hunt it down, just read the Wikipedia entry that unbags the proverbial cat instead. That whole site is spoiler central. Did you know that the Nazis lost World War II?! Not cool, Wikipedia.
As mentioned before, Pizza was such a success that two remakes have already been released with additional ones being prepped for delivery down the line. One of them, 2014’s Pizza in 3D, made its way onto my hard drive and was actually the first of these features that I watched! I wasn’t aware that it wasn’t the original movie, and thought the release year was a typo, while the completely different character names from the IMDB listing I was referencing were personally chalked up to a bad set of amateur subtitles. Fortunately, I realized my mistake before publishing the review and managed to not betray just how much of a dumbass I am to all of you. Hooray.
Since I won’t be doing an episode for Pizza in 3D, as they’re too similar to warrant stretching a full review for the remake, let’s see how said reproduction compares to the autochthonous article. Though they follow the same base plot (while changing the characters’ names), there are moderate changes that generally improve upon the recipe. Some of the fat is trimmed down (especially from Michael/Kunal’s time trapped in the house), both improving the flow and giving us a more manageable 107min runtime down from the clunkier 124min. The marriage theme is ousted since our young lovers are already bonded in holy matrimony from the start, and the focus is shifted more to the pregnancy. In fact, the overarching theme of the remake is pregnancy, as the possessed character is no longer the boss’s daughter, but a pregnant Mrs. Boss! On top of that, when our hero makes his delivery to the haunted bungalow, the woman there is also pregnant, making the moral of the story for that version, “People in India have apparently never heard of ‘pulling out’!”
The structure of the narrative gets a few slight but very important changes as well, but you’d have to know the ending to understand why so I won’t spill the beans further. Anu/Nikki’s role in things post-haunted house is changed slightly, but it’s in such a way that it makes for some radical remodeling of the second half of the flick. Remake turned up the horror show element too, using more gruesome imagery and makeup to make the supernatural stuff less realistic and more fantastic. Speaking of “fantastic”, on the topic of remake’s lead actor Akshay Oberoi? No homo, but he’s got some damn pretty eyes…okay, maybe a little homo? But damn it, dude looks like he got poked in the oculars by King Midas! Dreamy bastard. ANYWAY!
The last modification I’m gonna shine a light on is the music. Though the 2012 soundtrack is good to great, 2014 wins hands down solely based on its title theme alone! It’s enjoyably silly, opening on the appropriately punny line “All we are saying is give pizza a chance”. Brilliant. The entire front credits sequence is something not to be missed, either! A “not terrible but not great” 3D computer animated sequence that follows a ghostbusting delivery boy as he action heros through traffic, dodges monsters, and exorcises spooks with spring loaded pies. Clearly not the hero the song credits him as being though, otherwise he would’ve gotten said pizzas to the fucking customers rather than launching them at specters! The whole thing’s cheesier than a party-size triple stacked twelve-cheese heart-exploder deluxe from Benito Mussacheesy’s Pizza Regime at the corner of Taft Street and DeLuise Avenue. I ate an entire slice once on a dare! Almost choked to death getting it down and I was still shitting string cheese two weeks later.
Okay, maybe my comparison was a tad over spiced with hyperbole, but my eyeballs still felt a little constipated after watching that opening. At least it was fun though.
In the end, Pizza is the Evil Dead to Pizza in 3D‘s Evil Dead 2. Though 3D wasn’t made by Subbaraj, it feels like the product of a scenario where Subbs wanted to go back and make changes to his original product and had more money to fund it. Again, that’s NOT what happened, but it still feels like it could have. If there was some way to combine the two into one great movie, well, it’d still be stuck with that nasal nugget of a finale, but would’ve at least pulled an aggregate score of 4 hearts. Separately though? Three will cover it.
By the way, if you didn’t finish reading this review in 30 minutes or less, it’s free. We strive for customer satisfaction here at TheTombOfAnubis.com, mainly because I’d rather lose a couple bucks on free reviews than have to put up with your bullshit. “But aren’t all these reviews free to read anyway?” you ask? To which I say, take this crust and stuff it!
See you kids at Thanksgiving for my annual Turkey Day review! After whiles, crocodiles.
“Damn it! You better not have dragged me into a gods damned found footage horror movie, you dick!”
“The doctor told me to get plenty of Vitamin C. You know what has Vitamin C? Orange juice. You know what has orange juice? Mimosas. Now shut up and go buy more champagne!”
“Come on Raheed, we told you on your second day here that the hairnet requirement was just a joke. It’s been THREE YEARS! Take it off!”
“I love you dear, but if you don’t do something about your halitosis, I’m going to have to take care of it myself.”
“I told you what would happen if you didn’t fix your bad breath! Now open your mouth! LET THE REFRESHING MINT FLAVOR MURDER YOUR DISGUSTING MOUTH BACTERIA!”
(This is called “Scope boarding”)
I see Tom Savini decided to grow a sick Stalin mustache. Looks good on him.
I know how she feels. That’s how my review notes always end up looking after I watch an Asylum movie.
“I’m serious, my throat REALLY hurts! Would you just look in and see if it’s red and spotty? It could be Strep!”
This one’s called “No Child Left Behind?” from the artist’s “Republican in the White House” series.
Ketchup on pizza?! This is a horror movie!
Uh-oh. Looks like the camera guy came to work drunk again. He’s been having a hard time of it lately, but you can only do so many re-shoots before ya gotta shit can him.
Uhm… is this racist? I mean, in America this would definitely be cause for pause, but is it okay in India? I don’t have a clue, so let’s just move on!
Nasty. I bet she’s got “Made in Germany” stamped on the bottom of one of her feet. I wonder if she comes with a tube of that stuff or if you have to supply your own.
“Are you the one who wrote ‘Death to Pigs’ on the walls?! What did you use to write that, blood?! I ask because my wife and I want to re-paint and I think that color would look really nice for the walls of our bathroom!”
“Man, those Pizza Hut guys came at us out of nowhere! But we whipped ’em, didn’t we? Didn’t we… didn’t we whip ’em? WE WHIPPED ‘EM AND WE GOT IT ALL!”
Why is there a cardboard cut out of Hitler in a bowler hat yawning in their store?! What niche demographic are they marketing to, narcoleptic hipster anti-Semites!? That’s a great name for a punk band, by the way.”
Boss getting his rocks off to his favorite types of internet porn – restaurant supply store liquidation sales.
For the love of Isis’s nipple rings, why is this little making the blow job face?! GAH! HAVE I STILL BEEN IN THAILAND THIS WHOLE TIME?! GET ME OFF THIS CONTINENT!
Anubis will return next time in
“Shittin’ On the Schlock of the Bay”
Featuring: Iko “Merantau” Uwais , Joe “Fast & Furious 6” Taslim, Doni “Hearts of Freedom” Alamsyah
Writer & Director: Gareth “The Raid 2” Evans
Also Known As: The Raid
Sequel: The Raid 2
Hey kids, it’s me again! Your jackal-in-chief, your podunk punk, your Death God with dad bod, and the founder of the no-pants-on pantheon – Anubis Von Mojo! I wanted to have a heavenly chorus singing “Return of the Mack” here while pyro shoots out of a big top hat on my head, but there wasn’t any room in the World Tour de Farce travel budget for any of it. Speaking of, after that extensive layover in Spain I’m back on the proverbial road a-gain! I’m backtracking just a smidge, having realized that my last telemetry jump overshot Indonesia and put my ass in Malaysia instead. Remind me to kill that Stargate operator when I get back. Making the best (or moderately better than worst) of the situation, well, you saw my Apokalips X review. And if you didn’t, rewind 6 or 7 episodes and treat it like halitosis: Scope it! Where was I? That’s right, Indonesia. Here’s some quick trivia on the island nation. We’re still applying for some of Uncle Sam’s sweet educational stipend money, so there will be a quiz at the end of the review. As such, eyes front and mouths shut!
For sharters, errrr starters, Indonesia is the FOURTH most visited country in the world, and the LARGEST congregation of islands, consisting of 17,800 individual isles! Yes, that’s a comma and NOT a decimal. Indonesians laugh when you present them a bottle of Thousand Island dressing. Like Ron Jeremy’s dick laughing at whatever Andy Dick’s dick looks like. It’s no surprise that half the islands haven’t even been named yet. Shit, someone put me in touch with Indonesia’s Department of Naming and for the reasonable price of just $1 per island, I’ll have 9,000 names for ya by the end of the month! Speaking of geographical milestones, Indonesia has more active volcanoes than any other country in the world with 400! Actually, given that they’ve got almost 18,000 islands in their domain, 400 active volcanoes isn’t nearly as impressive a statistic. I mean, sure, 400 is a LOT of volcanoes, but on a per-island basis that’s barely more than 2%, so mentioning the volcano statistic after the island number statistic is kinda like Extreme going on after a 2 hour AC/DC set. Meh.
Indonesia is not only the largest supplier worldwide of liquid natural gas, cloves, nutmeg, and plywood (80% of all plywood, in fact!), but is also home to the largest number of shark species at right around 150 different breeds! You know which shark you can’t find in their waters? The titular man-eater of Raiders of the Lost Shark. Yep, that’s a thing that I just discovered exists and I’m so happy to spread the disease that I had to namedrop it on your collective chests as soon as possible. Continuing on the native fauna kick, Indo also lays claim to the world’s smallest primate (Tarsier Pygmy), the world’s smallest fish (Paedocypris progenetica – “Paedo” to his pals), the world’s longest snake (Python Reticulates), and the world’s only living “dragon” (Komodo, named for the island they’re native to). Yes, I have a full collection of “Zoobooks“. The anatomical illustrations are fucking metal as Hel and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re living a life unfulfilled. Make like Kool & the Gang and get down on it!
Heyyyyyy! I’m reviewing Theee Raaaaid! (sung to the tune of 2 Live Crew’s “We Want Some Pussy”) Yes! After a grueling 4 year wait, I’m finally allowing myself to watch The Raid! I spent a long time looking forward to this, which is never a good thing as despite my best efforts this practice inevitably builds some form of expectation due to overheard tidbits like “amazing action scenes that’ll make your eyes shed tears of joy before they bleed streaks of awesome from the brain explosion that watching them can cause”. Not a direct quote, but you get the idea. In my experience, met expectations are the rarest of the rare. Not just “bloody” rare, but “still grazing” rare. Sorry, we jackals are opportunistic predatory omnivores – we scavenge puns whenever the window opens. If any of you are homophonephobics, I’m going to have to ask you to leave. There’s no place for your ignorance and bigotry here. *rimshot*
In case you’ve never heard of today’s movie, its original title is simply The Raid. For some reason, “Redemption” was tacked on for international distribution, which is really odd since there isn’t exactly much in the way of redemption happening. Maybe Sony wanted to avoid any possible lawsuits by S.C. Johnson & Son over confusion with their insecticidal product Raid©. Ask me (and even if you don’t), it seems like the perfect chance for a cross promotion! “Raid: when you don’t just want to kill bugs dead, you want to beat ’em violently first and make ’em question the choices they made that brought them to this level of agony!” A bit long-winded, sure, but I imagine one of those big city fancy-pants marketing firm types could shrink my Andre the Giant into a perfectly viable Hervé Villechaize.
Sorry if the last few paragraphs feel like filler, but I seriously don’t know what I’m supposed to talk about once I actually start reviewing the movie itself! Redemption‘s only 4 years old, so it’s protected under The Tomb Accords Anti-Spoilers Law! Unable to discuss the two or three plot developments that mean anything, I’m left with very little to write about! So, yes, I apologize for stuffing a cucumber down my jockeys, but now that I’ve confessed to the true size of my schnitzel, won’t you give me a chance to attempt to get you off? I mean, we’ve already gone this far, and we’re miles from where anyone can hear you. What do you say? 🙂
Oh, and before we really put knife and fork to the entree, let it be noted that I’m reviewing the English dub of the movie (technical problems with the subtitles on the original language version), so if I quote anything that doesn’t gel with the version you’ve seen, don’t crucify me. I don’t have the “Savior Sixer” abs for something like that.
Meet Rama (Iko Uwais). He’s a rookie member of the Jakarta police force about to embark on the biggest “make or break” day of his career. More “make or die”, but who’s counting? Being from Indonesia, he’s also Muslim. Not surprising, as it’s the dominate theological faith in that neck of the woods. If you have a problem with a flick’s protagonist being Muslim, DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE. As such, may I offer another option for tonight’s entertainment? First, swallow a whole roll of Mentos©. Make it two if you’re macho enough. Then, wrap your head in duct tape until your mouth is securely closed. Next, insert a tube up your nose and have a friend or family member beer bong you with a bottle of Coke, making sure the tube is in far enough that the Coke empties down your throat. After that? Well, I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise. Just make sure your friend sends me a link to the video on YouTube! Also, you might wanna make sure your will is up-to-date before trying this. No reason, it’s just a good thing to do every so often.
Before taking part in the biggest mission of his budding career, Rama says his prayers, does his pull-ups, beats the unholy tar out of his punching bag, then kisses his pregnant wife and her big ol’ baby beer gut goodbye. He also says “I’ll bring him back.” to an older gent, who I’m presuming to be his father. From the onset, writer-director Gareth Evans is setting this up to be a tale of major triumph or crippling tragedy. Smart money’s on Rama making it to the end of the day with a still functioning circulatory system, but this could be one of those artsier flicks where the hero dies at the end. Whether that idea makes your eyes water, or you’re a psychopath who gets murder boners from watching protagonists getting popped, keep the Kleenex© handy just in case, pals and gals.
Rama’s part of a twenty man SWAT operation to take down a notorious Jakartan crime lord known as Tama (Ray Sahetapy). Tama is treated like the God of Crime in this city, and is flanked by his top henches Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian) and the not-at-all-intimidatingly monikered Andi (Doni Alamsyah). Not to be confused with the short-lived Marvel character of the same name (born from Bob Newhart’s even shorter-lived sitcom “Bob“), Mad Dog is a fitting recipient of the Dolemite “Human Tornado” Award. He’s referred to by SWAT leader Jaka (Joe Taslim) as “a maniac of feet and fists that would tear down walls for his boss” and prefers to kill his enemies with his bare hands rather than with a weapon. As you can imagine, this is gonna lead to a whole shit show of trouble for our law enforcers…unless, you know, one of these cops saw Raiders of the Lost Ark (not to be confused with Raiders of the Lost Shark) and just shoots Doggie in the fucking face from across a room. Not that real life logic finds its way into movies very often, but you never know.
And Andi? Jaka describes him as “the brains of Tama’s business” who “keeps Mad Dog in check” and “given the opportunity, he will put bullets into you”. Though I have to bite the metaphorical bullet here to avoid a spoiler, I’ve gotta say that it’s a miracle Tama’s managed to keep his operation running as successfully as he has if Andi’s really the brains behind it. Later in the film, Andi makes a glaring error in his decision making that deservedly fucks him over big time. A screw up that any remotely intelligent person would’ve considered ahead of time, let alone someone who’s supposed to be the smart one in this Three Stooges empire of the Indonesia underworld.
Now for the movie’s hook: Tama’s crime kingdom operates out of an old apartment complex. He’s got his own in-house narcotics lab, a Sliver style peeping tom closed circuit camera network, and he rents the apartments out to any thieves, pushers, killers, or jaywalkers looking for police protection at an affordable rate with all utilities included and a flexible lease. Sure, the place is a rundown shithole and the Super is almost impossible to get a hold of on the weekends, but it’s still a better deal than most of the places you’ll find in any of the major cities in this country!
Prior to the raid (we have a title!), Rama asks why this group of newbs is being tasked with taking over the Towering Dante’s Inferno of the Jakartan realty market. One of his team members, goofy-ass tough guy stereotype Bowo (Tegar Satrya) throws out the typical good-little-soldier testosterone juiced answer of “WHY THE FUCK NOT!?” and tries to alpha male our protagonist in the pooper by calling him “boy”. Hopefully his death will be hilarious, and let’s hope it includes him screaming like a little kid and pissing himself. Jaka puts Bow in a corner (he doesn’t get Baby privileges) and responds to Ramen’s query, telling him that Tama’s been challenged by rival gangs for years, none of whom was able to topple his felonious tower. None of which addresses the questions of “Why us?” and Why today?”. And why not? Because it’s an incredibly transparent plot point that I’m cursed not to address! Damn gypsies and their hexes!
The busload of blue boys reach their destination, and meet up with their head muckity-muck, Lieutenant Wahyu (Pierre Gruno, looking like modern day Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat). Wahyu isn’t happy about all of the wet-noses in their group, but given this is probably not a sanctioned operation to begin with, he’ll take all of the bullet sponges he can get. They luck out on getting past the front gate to the complex, when they nab a returning tenant and use his keys to gain entry. The mission goes well at first, with the team going ninja on the first five floors, incapacitating any and all miscreants with the precision of surgeons and the silence of little cat feet. Given that Tama’s Tower only has 15 levels, they should be done cleaning house by lunch! Or at least they would have, if Jaka didn’t have this whole morality problem about not killing kids…
Yep, a young boy gets his big red exclamation point (not literally) when he spots the aspiring Solid Snakes and sends out the warning signal to the adults. Did ‘Nam teach the world nothing? Women and children in a warzone are NOT to be trusted! If they’re not wearing C4 Underoos, they’re always within reach of a damn alarm! Anyway, shit goes south faster than a Yankee slave owner after the signing of The Emancipation Proclamation. Before you can say “pig hunt!”, everyone in the building is on high alert and out for blood, with Tama promising free room and board to anyone who brings him a fresh slice of bacon. Can a SWAT team of well-armed amateurs survive this deadly edition of ghetto “Fun House“? This obstacle course of mayhem and murder? Will Ram Jam, or anyone for that matter, be walking away from Satan’s apartment complex by the end of Act 3? Given that they’re unable to call in reinforcements, Tama’s got the whole place wired with security cameras, and they’re outnumbered something like 25-to-1, it’s gonna take a miracle for the good guys to win this one! Or maybe they’ll just escape through some conveniently placed plot holes.
The break down for the rest of the movie consists of scenes of people shooting at each other, cops running away from gangs of bloodthirsty thugs wielding machetes, Ramesses showing himself to be the deadly version of Jackie Chan as he beats his way through waves of enemies using everything at hand, Mad Dog beating ass like a spanking machine set to “Adrian Petersen”, a really tense scene involving a machete and a crawlspace, a bout of Home Ec amateur surgery, extreme fire ax remodeling, a DIY kitchen bomb straight out of the Anarchist’s Cookbook (or Die Hard 3), and… and…… STUFF I CAN’T TALK ABOUT! ARGH! DAMN MY MYSTICAL KEYBOARD AND ITS CURSED “SPOIL-LOCK” KEY!
As wrapped in anti-spoiler tape as my fingers may be, I can tell you this much: Evans telegraphs his tale like a Street Fighter character shouting the name of their special move before they actually do said move. If you watch Redemption and don’t see the twists in the road from a mile off, you’ll want to consult you physician, because you may have a crayon lodged in your forebrain. In fact, this sounds like the setup to one of those Jeff Foxworthy “You might be a redneck!” jokes. Don’t be a redneck. Buckle your safety belt. Sorry, crossed some reference wires there. I LEARNED IT BY WATCHING YOU!
Though his storytelling is very basic and his characters are generic archetypes, the Wales born Gareth Evans (“Doesn’t he run like a Welshman?”) knows how to make an action scene. Given that that’s the kind of thing you’d expect from an action movie, it’s good enough to see The Raid to its finish. Funny enough, GE has said that if you took out all of the fighting, his movie would come off more like survival horror, not unlike [REC]. I can see it. Protagonist gradually works their way up an apartment complex they can’t escape while trying to avoid their would-be killers? Absolutely. Maybe if Evans collaborated with a better writer and focused more of his efforts on the director duties, we could get something amazing out of him. Shit, I’d love to see what he could do with a Moon Knight or Daredevil movie! You never know. If Marvel can take a chance on giving the writer-director of Tromeo & Juliet $170 million to make a movie starring a monosyllabic Treebeard and Ranger Rick’s foul-mouthed cousin, I wouldn’t rule it out…
As is, Redemption still works great as a 90 minute testosterone trip. It’s brain candy. It’s a popcorn flick. A thing of beauty in its own right, and a nice accomplishment for the mere million-or-so dollars spent to make it. A budget that was made back 4 times over by its US box office alone! The fight choreography itself is worth the price of admission and Rama’s mandatory one-vs-many “tonfa and combat knife” battle ballet would give both Jean-Claude Van Damme and Mikhail Baryshnikov the green-eyed monster. Give me a movie where Iko Uwais and Tony Jaa hit each other with sticks and knees for two hours and you’ve just leased my eyeballs.
Before I wrap this up, I have a 32oz. slab of nitpicker beef to serve to the Sony advertising department. The Redemption poster promises us “1 Ruthless Crime Lord. 20 Elite Cops. 30 Floors of Hell” as the tagline, but I have two problems with that statement. #1 – It’s well established that most of the officers partaking in the mission are rookies. Skilled as they may be, I don’t think I’d ever refer to a greenhorn in any position as “elite”. Not that I have any doubt any one of them wouldn’t be able to beat the tits off of an American SWAT team member, but still. This pales in comparison to my next bit of under-the-belt irritation though: #2 – The apartment building is only 15 stories high. I get trying to oversell it for crowd hype purposes, but fuck you Sony marketing twats for straight up lying to us. Shit, even the apartment complex portrayed on the poster itself only has 20 floors! Let me upgrade that “fuck you” to a “fuck you with a Roman Candle”. I’m gonna stick my Krakatoa just east of your Java. Indonesian movie joke. It’s okay if you didn’t laugh.
And so goes the deadliest realtor walk-through since The Grudge open house. Blood and adrenaline flowed in equal measure and my four year anticipation was almost completely satisfied, if not for the poor plot development. Be on the lookout for our next less-than-epic episode, coming sooner than you think…unless you think it’ll be anytime in the next 3 days, in which case it sounds like someone needs to temper their expectations. Right now, I have preparations to make for my Evil Dead Bride’s birthday, and the custom shadow box I had made for Her signed copy of The Necronomicon has been sitting in a Daytona Beach FedEx facility for the last week. When can we finally send Florida off into the Atlantic and castrate the US’s flaccid geographical dong?
Oh, and no quiz. I was too high on blowfish toxin brownies last night. Everything I typed came out in tongues (by which I mean you’d have to have your tongue yanked out to pronounce any of it) and that’s all I remember before I lost consciousness. No diggity, I woke up in a bathtub full of V8 and cocktail shrimp this morning, with my laptop on the toilet and an open Word file that was harder to read than an Irvine Welsh novel translated into R’lyehian. Ktulu luv a duck.
Until next time, Mungkin hatimu tidak berlari lebih cepat otak Anda!
*sniff*sniff* “Uggh! Looks like it’s past time to get the old prayer rug washed.”
“You know I love you no matter what, baby, but I think you should seriously consider switching to Lite beers.”
“Okay, if whoever (Whomever?) it is that has the methane leak comes forward now, I promise you immunity from a Defcon 4 soap beating in the locker room after this. This is your last chance: cork it or pay the price!”
These Indonesian knock-off Three Stooges are kinda depressing… and scary. No like.
“Uggh! That stink is trapped in my nose hairs now! When I find out who it is with the IBS, they’re gonna be DOA!”
“I don’t mean to tell you how to do your job, officer, but your continued rubbing of my nipple is making me very uncomfortable!”
This is why you never go cheap and ask your friend to pierce your ear for you.
And here I thought I was the last person on Earth under the age of 70 that still had a LAN line!
“Hello! Machete man! I was wondering if you had any sugar cane or bamboo or coconuts that need macheting? I’m trying to work my way through night school… Hello? Well, I’ll just leave my business card on the table and if you or your friends need my services, please call. Thank you!”
Norelco© tries to appeal to the hipster market with their new Amish Shaver™. It’s disturbingly popular for something that left permanent scarring after 93% of test shaves… well, on the ones that survived, that is.
“You can’t talk to me like that! I defeated “Macho Man” Randy Savage at Wrestlemania III in what many have called the greatest Wrestelmania match of ALL TIME! Sure, my whole run as “The Dragon” was embarrassing, what with that stupid hat and those weird arm fins, but I know Mickey Rourke, damn it!”
This is why you never give a stranger unsolicited advice on why he should get hair plugs.
Anubis will return next time in
Featuring: Temeura “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones” Morrison , Nicola “The Man Who Lost His Head” Kawana , Kate “No One Can Hear You” Elliott
Director: Danny “Rage” Mulheron
Writers: Brad “RoboCop: Prime Directives” Abraham , Joseph “RoboCop: Prime Directives” O’Brien , Briar Grace “The Strength of Water” Smith
Origin: New Zealand
Today’s stop on the World Tour de Farce 2015 has the 3rd largest percentage of vehicular deaths in the world! 20% of their deaths are due to tobacco smoking, and this is actually DOWN by 1/3 from what it was in the ’90s! Their sheep population outnumbers their human population 7-to-1! If human and sheep DNA were compatible, they’d be a nation of Satyr-like hybrid creatures who could knit their own sweaters in the winter! Oh yeah, and for all you big nerd-os, they also have this thing:
Tolkienites, start your whacking, because that’s the Green Dragon Inn. Yes, you can travel to New Zealand and live out all of your Tolkien-based role play fantasies in this replica of Middle Earth’s most famous motor(less) lodge. All the furry footjobs, hobbit holing, androgynous elf orgies, and dwarf sex (with ACTUAL dwarves!) you could ever ask for. While you’re there, surprise your lady with a Stinger! It’s basically just a Shocker, but you paint your hand Day-Glo blue first, call her “Shelob”, and hum while you’re doing it.
So, yes. We’re in New Zealand. Kiwi country. The island nation’s only major contribution to my life has been Peter Jackson, who helped make my high school years a little more tolerable through his brilliantly bat guano creations Bad Taste, Meet the Feebles, and Braindead/Dead Alive. Speaking of those delightfully gore-soaked off-the-wall horror-comedies, today’s feature is in the same vein *wink*wink*.
Before we begin though, it’ll help to have a crash course on the Maori. Actually, we don’t even need a crash course, as a simple summary will do: they’re the NZ equivalent of the US’s Native Americans. They were there first, Europeans came and took over, they were persecuted and poisoned and had their land pillaged, and they’re now treated as second class citizens. I’ll never understand racism, but then I also have a fully functional set of chromosomes and just enough self-esteem and sense of responsibility that I don’t blame my problems and mistakes on others. I am forever denied the bliss of ignorance. Oh well.
Our story begins at the St. Agnes Boarding School for Young Maori Ladies. Like any school that caters strictly to those of the feminine persuasion in the sinema, St. Aggy’s is a lesbo factory, helping to keep the local population down by turning otherwise normal teenage girls into stark raving homosexuals bent on smoking jazz cigarettes and scissoring each other until their vile acts of heathenish self-indulgence summon forth the Morning Star, who will plunge the world into Armageddonous HELL ON EARTH!
Or, here’s a novel idea, it could just be that lesbians are most likely to embrace and explore their genetic disposition for loving the company of other ladies in a place where the hetero pressures of the outside world to be “normal” are minimized to be almost entirely nonexistent, and the likelihood of meeting others like themselves is increased a few hundred fold. It’s not a choice. But being a shit-ass who ruins other peoples’ lives with fear and hatred is. Now go practice not being a scumbag, otherwise I’ll turn your brain A Clockwork Orange and give you the “Full Alex” in front of an endless loop of clips from “Mister Rogers” and “Sesame Street”.
Rather than do a typical rundown of the drama to be had, I’ll be avoiding excessive spoilers by introducing you to the characters themselves first, then getting into whatever nitty and/or gritty and/or titty that remains after. Savvy? Spiffy.
Rina Crane (Hanna Tevita) – our beautiful, barely legal heroine. The opening credits give both her attitude and effort ratings of “Excellent”! She’s a sarcastic little smart-ass artist type student at St. Agnes. She also draws her own comic book characters, making her a Maori Darlene Conner and I’m a little in love with her because of it. Rina’s favorite color is pink (less like Barbie’s convertible and more like the inside of a rare steak); her favorite foods are clam, feline, carpet, and box; despite having never played a woodwind instrument she excels at fingering; and her favorite activity on the swim team is the muff dive. I’d say it’s something of a spoiler by being blunt and telling you she’s a lesbian, but LITERALLY within the first 90 seconds of the movie she’s having nekkid shower time with another girl! I’m talking bare ass and boobs faster than you can say “They have lesbians in New Zealand?”. It’s nothing exploitative either. It’s all soft touches and smiles and gentle lathering while a pleasant track of something you’d hear in Bikini Bottom plays in the background. It’s almost too adorable to masturbate to!
Rina hasn’t come out to her family and friends back home yet. For now she just drops subtle hints, like when dad asks her if she’s been keeping clear of the all-boys schools, she replies with “I’m not even interested in boys… I’m too busy!”. Ah, the words every father used to want to hear their daughter say… back in the ’40s. Speaking of dear old dad…
Hemi Crane (Temuera “Jango Fett!” Morrison) – crazy-looking (but well dressed) father to Rina. His field of study (in which the best he’s managed is an Associates Degree) is the history and traditions of their Maori ancestors and the attempt to keep them alive in the wake of the pale skins’ crushing gentrification of this, their native land. Hemi’s successfully authored 5 papers and 3 books on the subject!… all of which were self-published… and all of which were total boondoggles, selling less copies than those weird niche books you see at Dollar Fandango about the Economics of Crossfit and housewife-on-a-budget stuff where a guardian angel falls in love with the woman he’s assigned to watch over. Hem’s in a constant state of denial, but his pride won’t let him accept these failures, of which those around him are sure to point out. His obsession over their ancestors’ “savage” ways has progressed to the point of re-establishing the long dead Maori cult of the Solomonites, named for the last “pure” Maori – Tommy Solomon. Pretty sure the cult is a product of this movie only, and are named as such for the way you can almost make it sound like “sodomites”. Not unlike the quote that opens this review!
Margaret Crane (Nicola Kawana) – mother to Rina. She’s a celebrity chef with a successful TV show! Like her betrothed she’s also a published author. Unlike her betrothed she’s successful, with 15 cookbooks and an autobiography under her belt. I wouldn’t mind a trip under her belt myself *wink*wink*nudge*nudge*. Hubba hubba! Hem’s more than a little jealous of Marge’s success, and attempts to use her cooking show as a way to promote his failed writing ventures. Also, she may or may not have had a well-publicized affair with her publisher. Margie gets the unenviable task of telling Rina about the little dietary lifestyle change the family has undertaken in her academic absence as a result of their conversion to Solomanism – they’re cannibals now!
Glenn Crane (Kahn West, not to be confused with the Kanye of similar monicker) – brother to Rina. He’s still in high school, where he spends a lot of time playing cricket and… that’s about all there is to him, really. Glenn spends most of the movie in his yellow vest and pleated white pants, which has gotta be the wimpiest sports uniform you’ll ever see. He does get some of the better lines in the script though, so good for him.
Shaun Armstrong (Will Robertson) – childhood friend to Rina. Shaun’s the token white male friend who likes to say he’s “Maori at heart” and goes to excessive lengths to immerse himself in the natives’ ways in an effort to dismiss his genetic pallor and identify more with Rina’s ethnic background. He’s the Middle Earth version of a whigger. Shaun’s been holding a crush on Rina since puberty and has convinced himself that her return to the hometown will finally be the moment of their storied journey where she realizes she’s in love with him too and they live happily ever after. Awww, I remember what it was like being that naive. Medical books call it Ducky Syndrome. The years of self-delusion via wishful thinking almost make up for the crippling heartbreak when you realize that they’ll never be able to view you romantically, and that torch you spent half your life carrying finally catches your shirt sleeve on fire and turns your arm into a mangled mess of beef jerky. Though I can identify with the guy, even I would push him out of a second story window if given half the chance.
Ritchie Tan (Leand Macadaan) – life changing catalyst to Rina. Ritchie’s a big ol’ Pacific Islander lookin’ dude (everyone thinks he and his brother have “Made in China” stamped on their asses) who’s been sentenced to 12 years in prison for murder, kidnapping, and selling fruit without a license. See, I was going to make some kind of funny little comment in there about a whimsical crime he might have committed, just because it was the perfect place to slip in a finger, errrr, joke. Then that “selling fruit without a license” thing popped up and sandbagged me. Such is the problem when reviewing a horror-comedy: competing with the movie’s built-in jokes! It’s easier with common denominator garbage like A Haunted House, cuz that crap biscuit couldn’t make me laugh if it filled my pants with Cool Whip and cracked me in the funny bone with a clown hammer.
Before Mr. Tan can start his stretch in the iron bars hotel (or whatever the Klink’s called down there… and I don’t mean Colonel), his bumbling cohorts in criminal activities dynamite the delivery van tasked with hauling his ample ass to Kiwi Alcatraz. Said suicide squad consists of dipshit demolition man Johnny (Jack Sergent-Shadbolt… what the fuck is a “Shadbolt”?), Ritchie’s uzi-slinging shortfuse spazoid junior sibling Paulie (Ralph Hilaga), and ‘Chie’s shotgun happy femme-fatale girlfriend Gigi (Kate Elliot) who, as a former army cunt, has more balls in her left pocket than the 3 boys she runs with carry combined. They’re packing raisins in a hanky, and she’s wielding billiards in Lord Humungus’s studded leather jock. Fuck with her not ‘lest you’ve grown weary of respiration.
Now that we’ve met The Fresh Meat Players, on with our show!
The gang’s little pre-jailbreak hits a snafu when their getaway car breaks down, leading them to seek shelter in the Crane family’s open garage before they can be spotted by a search helicopter. And just like that, we’ve got a hostage situation…just moments after Rina has discovered a human hand marinating in the fridge…which Mum and Da do not try to pass off as a very realistic jell-o mold, the way you’d expect them to in a comedy. On the Sticky Situations Scale, this rates a “naked sorority girls wearing caramel bikinis wrestling in a bed of cotton candy, then reverse gangbanging the cycloptic tar monsters from that episode of ‘Scooby-Doo Where Are You?‘”.
Who’s gonna come out of this mess alive? Will ANYONE come out of it alive? With a house full of cannibals and killers, which side do you root for!?
Fresh Meat is an oddball of a movie to take in. It’s like a New Zealand comedy rendition of 1996’s Real Killers, without the “oh so ’90s” Dia de los Muertos harlequin skull face makeup jobs and with a lot more wacky cannibalism hijinks. If this movie had had a few dozen scenes of characters dissecting American pop culture, you could also mistake it for a Tarantino movie. Hell, the soundtrack’s even littered with beach party music and the epilogue is a big “we love horror movies too!” homage ending scene that you’re not sure you should enjoy for being just random and referential enough that it works, or give a wet razz to for jamming it’s tongue straight through your cheek and out the other side.
Jango Fett is the real stand out of the movie, as he chews scenery with almost as much aplomb as his character does human flesh. The rest do their thing with talent and competency, but I’m way too lazy right now to call out every individual performance. Sorry, folks. I’m sure you won’t need much therapy to resolve getting passed over by some unimportant Yankee in his review of your movie that will get 10 reads at best. The other few hundred page views will just be perverts who found this by Googling “Scooby-Doo reverse gangbang”, much to the disappointment of their psychologically abused libidos.
Whatever your feelings on the movie as a whole, it’s more than a little weird to watch as a left-leaning American Death God. If Fresh Meat were made in the US, the Cranes would be Native Americans and things would probably be shut down by the PC police before principal shooting started. I’d probably side with the Native Americans on this one too. I mean, Hemi’s got a line where he makes sure to point out, “We’re not Maori cannibals, we’re just cannibals who happen to be Maori!”, but even if, it still feels like kicking someone after years of already holding them down and taking everything they own, then excusing it by saying “I’m not doing this to you because you’re an Indian, you just happen to be an Indian I’m doing this to!”. Or maybe my heart’s just bleeding today and I should “get over it”. Speaking of which, kudos to Parker and Stone for their Redskins episode of “South Park”. Thank you.
Politics and liberal guilt aside, I don’t have a whole lot else to say about the movie itself. It may be a tad long in the runtime, but without ruining things for would-be viewers, I can’t really say much else. So, instead, I thought I’d ramble on for a few more paragraphs due to a lack of anything better to do. As such, let’s start with some fun firearm and human biology facts taught to us by today’s educational feature, Fresh Meat:
Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!
What’s a battle?
Did that boy just say “What’s a battle?”?
No. He said “What’s that rattle?”. It’s about the heating duct.
Hmm, it sounded like “battle”.
I’ve had a cold, so–
Oh so you would hear ‘r’s as ‘b’s?
And that ladies and germs, is why “Simpsons” exchanges aren’t nearly as funny when textualized.
Ending on a bit of random info, in case you ever land on a pink square while playing Trivial Pursuit: NZ Edition, director Danny Mulheron (who’d probably enjoy my labeling him as “Kiwi Tarantino”) was the man inside of Heidi the Hippo (take that as you will [she sure did! Wakka wakka!]) in Peter Jackson’s iconic muppet massacre of pre-mainstream depravity, Meet the Feebles! Not really much of a surprise that he’d worked for Jackson at some point, as everybody in New Zealand has at one time or another by now. Even more interesting is Mulheron’s turn as Blighty Tater in the 1989 TV series “Worzel Gummidge Down Under” which, to be honest (something my Evil Dead Bride would assure doesn’t happen often), I would have no fucking clue what a Worzel Gummidge even was if it weren’t for watching scads of OSW Review (>>>Splicey Splicey<<<) reruns. Whovians take note, though, because the titular straw golem of the series was played by none other than John Pertwee, AKA the Third Doctor, AKA the voice of Spottyman in one of my childhood favorite cartoonies – “SuperTed”! Holy shit, I gotta go see if there’s any “SuperTed” on YouTube after this…
Oh, and on a FINAL final note, before I leave this land of beauty and wonder to travel to my next stop in the Grand Prix of global movie mocking, whatever happened to Old Zealand?…
On a FINAL finally final final note: For anyone not privy to the inspiration for my alternate title on this episode, I yield the floor to Mr. Frederick Krueger circa his lauded line reading from The Bard’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. Take it away, Pizza Face!
“Deputy Head Girl” sounds like a position better suited for a co-ed school… Also, her parents wanted the doctor to put “Aloha” as her middle name on the birth certificate, but he was Chinese. Ouch.
Was the all girls school he sent her to a Stewardess School by chance? Look at that uniform!
“Didn’t you used to sell bootleg DVDs outside of the downtown Dunkin’ Donuts? You got the new Adam Sandler movie?!”
Paulie finally hits his breaking point with people trying to sell him used panties, assuming he’s Japanese.
Am I too late to make a Gigli joke? Really? “At least 7 years”? Shit. Well… I got nothin’. Move along!
“Though I admire you for your bravery in sharing your story with the world, do you think it was wise to go with your bikini photo as the front cover graphic!?”
She looks like a 5 year-old girl dressed a Barbie doll with mismatched outfits, then gave her a shotgun from an older brother’s GI Joe figures. The judges would’ve also accepted “Detroit hooker”.
“No, they didn’t let me keep the Jango Fett costume after we wrapped Star Wars. Can we please keep the interview to questions about my new movie?!”
“You ever just hang your ass over the side and try to shit on somebody’s car? I’d be doing that, like, EVERY day if I were you!”
Uggh, you NEVER wanna be on your knees in front of a fat guy wearing sweatpants. I’ve seen it from both (don’t judge!) sides and just holding your breath isn’t gonna make what’s behind those waistband ties any easier to swallow… LITERALLY!
Maori bling just isn’t “blingy” enough. Now the Aztecs, they were light years ahead of the rest of the uncivilized world when it came to personal accessories!
Don’t get excited folks, that’s just milk. In my weekly support group, we call that a “Mookakke”.
“I don’t care if a bald man wearing a shower cap is like putting gas into a broken down car! Can we go back to the Jango Fett questions now?!”
Anubis will return next time in
“Scum Yuppies Must Die!”