5/21/2015

Indio 2 (1991)

Indio 2 (1991)- * * *

Directed by: Antonio Margheriti

Starring: "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler, Tetchie Agbayani, Dirk Galuba, Frank Cuervo, and Charles Napier









Marvelous Marvin Hagler is back in this sequel that should answer all your questions from the first Indio. This time around, an evil corporation (of course) wants to build a road through the rainforest. Seems logical enough, but it turns out they would be destroying the indigenous land of the Indios. So the head Indio in charge, Ugadi (Cuervo) does the only logical thing you can do in that situation: he turns to Marvelous Marvin Hagler for help. Sorry, Sgt. Iron. Iron leads the local tribes on a massive revolt (hence the subtitle) against the evil mercenary baddies put in charge of building the road. But it all comes to a head when IMC President (that’s all he’s credited as) (Napier) shows up, and then Sgt. Iron goes mano-a-mano with head builder/baddie Vincent Van Eyck (Galuba). Will the revolt be successful, or just plain revolting?

Just the fact that there’s an Indio TWO is a testament to the grandness of the video store era. Shelves needed filling, and customers were hungry for product, so, why not? Especially when master director Antonio Margheriti is at the helm once again. The guy knows action, that’s for sure. The movie is very well-shot, and the professional look adds a lot. At first, it may seem like slow going - and at 104 minutes, that is a more than reasonable thing to think - but Indio 2 is like a river in the rural jungles where it was shot. At first it may seem leisurely and rambling, but at some point it becomes rapids and then a waterfall - that really is what happens here. The final third of Indio 2 is simply great. It just takes a little time to get there.


Marvelous Marvin Hagler (he legally changed his name to Marvelous Marvin Hagler, much like how Mr. T’s legal name is Mr. T - and for those who don’t know, T’s middle name is legally a period) certainly gives Louis Gossett Jr. a run for his money. Why didn’t they play brothers in a movie? When he speaks to members of the local Indio population, he calls them “man”. Of course, he faces off against an evil German. Halfway through the movie, we’re told he’s supposed to be South African, but his accent is pure baddie. It’s a baddie accent, more than anything. A badcent? His sidekick is a beardo who strongly resembles Mick Fleetwood. So that is scary. We were on Charles Napier watch, and he doesn’t show up until 71 minutes in. That’s a long time. And his screentime is almost Center of the Web-style quick - it’s a glorified cameo.

Napier basically plays the role Brian Dennehy did in the first Indio, but gets much less time in the sun. Besides that, you can tell Margheriti and the gang didn’t want to do a complete retread of the first Indio. The surprising fate of that movie’s hero, Daniel Morell, would certainly indicate that. Under-the-radar action movie regular Tetchie Agbayani also returns from the first movie, which was nice to see, and added some continuity. Of course, there are the time honored beat-ups, blow-ups, exploding huts a-plenty, and even a rare form of exploding helicopter - not only is it a double ex-heli, but both are on land and not in the sky at the time. You never see that. George H.W. Bush’s photo is on the wall, and in another scene, there’s a picture of Stallone next to a picture of Jesus. That pretty much sums up the spirit of Indio 2 in a nutshell.

Indio 2 is a movie that gets better as it goes along. It all ends with a killer climax, and, despite some slower moments early on, it’s quite good overall and very worth seeing.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty 


5/19/2015

The Hard Truth (1994)

The Hard Truth (1994)- *1\2

Directed by: Kristine Peterson

Starring: Michael Rooker, Eric Roberts and Lysette Anthony









Jonah Mantz (Rooker) is a hardworking, brave, and honest L.A. cop, who, thanks to his rogue ways, gets suspended from the force. Seemingly instigated by his girlfriend Lisa (Anthony), Mantz embarks on a scheme to steal a ton of money from Lisa’s boss, a corrupt city councilman who is on the take from the mob. In order to pull this off, the two enlist the help of the smug Dr. Chandler Etheridge (Roberts), a guy who looks as arrogant as his name. Henceforth, a bunch of capering goes on, with plenty of twists, turns, and double-crosses along the way...will this love (?) triangle turn deadly? Will we ever find out the...HARD TRUTH?

The truth is that this movie is pretty hard to watch. Looking at the VHS boxcover (released by Live Home Video), we see fan-favorites Rooker and Roberts holding guns, while some sort of fire/explosion occurs behind them, complete with a helicopter above them, adding extra production value to the scene that does not ever materialize (could those be different heads pasted on bodies?). While something of a bait and switch, The Hard Truth is not really an action movie. There is an enjoyable and impressive action setpiece in the beginning, and that’s pretty much all we get, and that hurts. What follows is a bunch of gobbledygook about city council members and whatnot. To be fair, there’s a little more to it than that, but that’s how it felt. There are plenty of boring parts where the audience doesn’t care about what’s going on. There should have been more action scenes like the one that kicked off the movie so well.


Rooker was engaging as the lone cop good guy, and it was nice to see him as a protagonist. He even has the most amount of hair we’ve seen to date. But he can’t save it. Roberts was also good as Etheridge, but, again, this whole outing is a waste of the two talents. At 100 minutes, it becomes a slog, and the inexplicable overabundance of Rooker nudity and sex scenes surely contributes to the overlong running time. The whole thing is indeed classic 90’s - the type of thing you’d see on HBO or languishing on a video store shelf - complete with a WYC (White Yelling Chief) demanding Rooker’s gun and badge, sax on the soundtrack, characters yelling “Nooooooo!!!”, some light shootouts, etc. Judging by the evidence, it was a time when ads for Bugle Boy jeans were rampant. But in 2015, The Hard Truth doesn’t have the same watchability factor as it might have back then.

Director Peterson went on to make Kickboxer 5 (1995) the next year after this - perhaps she wasn’t satisfied wasting a once-in-a-lifetime (so far) acting “dream team” like Rooker and Roberts, and wanted to over-extend an already over-extended movie series. If the action setpiece is on Youtube, watch that, and then you’ll have no reason to sit through all 100 minutes of The Hard Truth. A 100 minute documentary about wrestler R-Truth would be more satisfying.

Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett