7/27/2015

The Executioner, Part II (1984)

The Executioner, Part II (1984)- * * *

Directed by: James Bryan

Starring: Chris Mitchum, Aldo Ray, and Renee Harmon









A vigilante the press have dubbed “The Executioner” is running around L.A. dealing with punks in his own inimitable way. When Police Commissioner (Ray) (that’s all he’s billed as) demands answers, Lt. Roger O’Malley (Mitchum) is on the case. Meanwhile, O’Malley’s daughter Laura becomes addicted to drugs, and, needing money, turns to her loud-voiced, giggly friend for help. She naturally suggests she go into prostitution, but to watch out for a sadist named “The Tattoo Man”, who may abuse her in the process. Some sort of gangsters are involved and putting pressure on the local pimp, and only a delusional Vietnam vet (is there any other kind, according to low-budget actioners?) holds the key to it all. Will O’Malley stop the O’madness? Or will he let it continue as long as The Executioner is cleaning up the streets? Find out today!

The Executioner, Part II is a gem. Essentially a 78-minute, incoherent, incomprehensible mess, it’s easy to love a movie that’s this disjointed and sloppy. In the grand tradition of Surf II (1984) and Leonard Part 6 (1987), there is no Executioner, Part I (just the fact that there’s a comma, a space, and a “part” after the title is a major clue to the insanity/inanity going on). Clearly the structure (?) of the movie was modeled after The Exterminator (1980), complete with a Vietnam-set battle intro, which segues into a modern urban environment. It seems so obvious that 21st Century Film Corporation was trying to trick distracted theater patrons/video renters, but, hey, it was the golden age of exploitation, and if this is the end result, it can’t be all bad.


Try to imagine a cross between Rescue Force (1990)and Death Promise (1977)- complete with straitlaced, unnecessary narration, poor lighting, non-editing, and the star of the show - the dubbing. The dubbing this time around is laugh out loud funny. TE, PII (as all the cool people call it) is one of those “another planet” movies - the filmmakers seem so out of touch with the way human beings actually talk and behave, it seems like it was made in some far-away world. This was director James Bryan’s first in a trilogy of films he did with the great Renee Harmon - the follow-ups being Hell Riders (1984) and Lady Street Fighter (1985). Brilliantly, the movie was released on a big-box double feature VHS with Harmon’s Frozen Scream (1975). Apparently Continental Video was really gunning for that rich mine of Renee Harmon fans. Well, we still remember it fondly. Only in the 80’s, we tell you. Only in the 80’s.

Fan favorite Chris Mitchum is in full effect here as well. Sporting dark hair and a dark mustache, he fights Middle-Aged Punks (MAP’s) with the best of ‘em, featuring some of the best (?) fight choreography in recent memory. He even has what has to be the first beeper of all time. But while the Executioner has an ace up his sleeve in the way he deals with the epidemic of punks, the punks have their own means of intimidation - pouring milk on people’s heads.  No wonder Aldo Ray wants answers.

Featuring one of those classic, funky soundtracks (much like the aforementioned Death Promise), The Executioner, Part II certainly marches to the beat of its own whacked-out drummer. There comes a point when cinematic ineptness becomes a treasure. This is that point.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty 

Also check out a write-up from our buddies, Cool Target and Bleeding Skull!

7/23/2015

Battle Rats (1990)

Battle Rats (1990)- * * *

Directed by: Ben Yalung

Starring: Jack Gilbert, Corwin Sperry, Mylene Nocon, and Louis Katana








During the height of the Vietnam War, Real American Hero Captain Rosenblatt (Sperry), who is the ultimate badass hardass, corrals the best men he can find to become tunnel rats. If Captain Rosenblatt wants you to do something, you sit up and take notice. For this amazingly dangerous mission, his top choice is Sgt. Bruce Burns (Gilbert), a young and talented soldier. While Rosenblatt has specifically warned his men not to get involved with the women of Vietnam, Burns and translator Kama (Nocon) end up falling in love. This shouldn’t distract from the main mission - find and kill the baddie of baddies, Commander Van Dram (Katana), who has been capturing, torturing, and killing Americans. He even has a special torture technique that will make your eyes bug out...on top of all this, Rosenblatt has to defend himself against charges of being involved in something called the “Ling Nam Massacre”. Prepare to enter the tunnels of hell...who will get out alive? Find out today!

To quote the name of the great website When the Vietnam War Raged In the Philippines, here the Vietnam War is raging...in the Philippines! Anyone who just can’t get enough gun-shooting, hut-exploding jungle action where countless Asians in those triangular rice paddy hats get shot in the head, this is the movie for you. But this one concentrates on what was going on underground while huts exploded above them on the surface, so that sets it apart. Another thing that sets it apart is the majesty of our new favorite human being, Corwyn Paul Sperry (AKA simply Corwin Sperry, with no “Y”). A constantly yelling, cursing, emotionless, mustachioed war leader, he makes Sgt. Slaughter look like Art Garfunkel. If we had more men like him in our military, we might’ve actually won the war.


While Sperry has also appeared in the classic Phantom Soldiers (1987) and The Expendables (1988), sadly, Battle Rats is the only film role to date for Jack Gilbert. A shame, he could’ve been the next Richard Norton. Also worth noting is the presence of one David Giberson, who plays the immortal role of Kerbie. His line readings are worth their weight in gold. He also was in Savage Justice (1988) and Saigon Commandos (1988). The 80’s were truly an amazing time, and if you were lucky enough to be in the Philippines then, you might have ended up in one of the many, many war movies that were being made there. It was a golden era never to be duplicated.

Clearly whoever wrote the movie, if indeed any of this was written down on paper, was not American, and, we presume, had a limited grasp of English. Hence, they - and the actors - stumble accidentally into some killer dialogue. It’s hilarious to think that this is what anyone believes Americans sound like. Most of the “Americans” on the tunnel rat team have some kind of thick accent or another. We know we had some international cooperation in ‘Nam, but this is ridiculous - ridiculously entertaining, that is. However, and this may seem like nitpicking, the movie probably doesn’t need to be 93 minutes - 85 to 88 would have sufficed. There’s only so much skulking around in poorly-lit tunnels and machine-gun shooting anyone can reasonably stand.  That said, overall this movie is a winner, thanks to the personalities involved, mainly the great Sperry.

Also featuring the time-honored barfight (this time, interestingly, with no music - especially when the soundtrack is pounding away most of the rest of the time), some highly-informative tunnel training, and the  ever-evil hair of Van Dram, chalk up another winner for Davian International, the company primarily known for the vast majority of Dale “Apollo” Cook’s career. They also made a clutch of non-Apollo movies, and this is one of them. Copyrighted in the golden year of 1989 but released in ‘90, Battle Rats is another for our case file of why the 80’s ruled - and “Namsploitation” fans will surely get a kick out of it.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty