1/29/2015

The Last Hour (1991)

The Last Hour (1991)- * *

Directed by: William Sachs

Starring: Michael Pare, Shannon Tweed, Robert Pucci, Bobby Di Cicco, Robert Miano, and Danny Trejo








Susan (Tweed) and Eric Drake (Pucci) seemingly have the perfect life. Eric’s a successful stockbroker and the two live in the lap of luxury. However, it’s all built on some shady dealings, as Eric very, very stupidly stole five million dollars from the mafia. So mob boss Lombardi (Di Cicco) kidnaps Susan, and with the help of his goons, which include Frankie (Miano) and Spider (Trejo), spirit her away to a hiding place in a big skyscraper until Eric can come up with the money in return for her freedom. But Eric is a nerdy nebbish who has never shot a gun in his life. So he calls upon Susan’s ex-husband Jeff Flynn (Pare), who, despite similarities in their names, was never a member of ELO. Jeff is a cop, a toughguy, and a quasi-belligerent meathead, so he can go in and get the job done. So despite some awkwardness about their personal lives, the two men team up to save the woman they both love. But can they do it?

Hmmm, a movie about a rugged hero who is fighting his way up a high-rise building to save someone, who communicates to the lead baddie by walkie-talkie, wears a tanktop and has to fight through goons (mainly a blonde hench-person - in this case it’s the token female baddie). Doesn’t seem familiar at all. Of course, it’s time for the video store staple, the “DieHardInA” movie, but this time they didn’t even change the location. It’s still a building. The only tweaks are that there’s only one hostage - Shannon Tweed - and there are two men trying to save her. One is a blockheaded, mullet-headed meathead, and the other’s a dweeb. They’re the original odd couple! Their squabbling is more annoying than productive, and honestly, the two dudes aren’t that likable. This keeps the audience from truly caring that much.


The main bad guy isn’t that menacing, which is a problem (the female baddie was more intimidating), and the goons are hapless. There wasn’t much of a threat for audiences to get that invested in. We’re not even going to criticize the movie for lack of originality this time. We’re beyond caring about that. It’s not that The Last Hour is bad, it’s just really, really dumb. Many brain-numbingly idiotic things happen during the course of the film. But sometimes those things lead to unintentional laffs. For instance, there’s a really flimsy excuse for Michael Pare to get shirtless, and no excuse for Danny Trejo to get, and remain, shirtless. Why these two men needed to be shirtless at all remains completely unexplained. So we laughed at that, for example.

Some more goons for Pare to kill, and more locations besides just the one building would have elevated the movie immensely, much like the many scenes in elevator shafts herein. That way all the rampant dumbness wouldn’t be confined to minimal locations, the stupidity could have run wild and free. But there is a slo-mo shootout for absolutely no reason, and the time-honored sax on the soundtrack, firmly placing it in its place and time. I.e., a video store shelf which patrons peruse by, but fail to notice.

Quite possibly the best part of the Academy VHS are the two trailers included before the movie. They are Edge of Honor (1991) and Prayer of the Rollerboys (1990), proving that the two Coreys were still livin’ the dream at this point in history. As for The Last Hour, the plot couldn’t be more simplistic - the guys have to rescue the girl. End of plot - but it seems only fans of DieHardInA movies of the day (are there any out there?) will really get anything out of this particular outing.

Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett 



1/27/2015

SAS: San Salvador (1983)

SAS: San Salvador (1983)- *1\2

Directed by: Raoul Coutard

Starring: Miles O'Keefe, Raimund Harmstorf, Dagmar  Lassander, Sybil Danning, and Anton Diffring 









In the small South American country of San Salvador, a beloved archbishop is violently murdered. This sets off an already-volatile situation with the citizens and there are riots in the streets. The culprit is found to be arch-villain Enrico Chacon (Harmstorf) and naturally there’s only one man who can stop him: Malko Linge (O’Keeffe). Malko lives in a castle of his own (not to be confused with Coffin Joe of course), and apparently takes on assignments from the CIA in order to keep up his Austrian castle, which is in dire need of repair. His girlfriend Countess Alexandra (Danning) doesn’t seem to mind. So Malko goes to San Salvador and meets up with his contact Peter (Diffring) but seems to be distracted by wooing the ladies, including Maria Luisa (Lassander). Malko is going to have to get to fighting the baddies sooner or later, but will he complete his mission?

While it does open promisingly with a cool credits sequence, SAS is really just one in a long line of El Presidente/South America slogs we’ve seen over the years. When you look at how much time has gone by as you’re watching the movie and see only about 20 minutes or so has elapsed, it feels more onerous than usual. This is because it doesn’t feel like 20 minutes of its own movie, it feels like it was just added on to Cocaine Wars (1985), Overthrow (1987), Merchants of War (1989), McBain (1991), and so many others of this ilk. The minutes just seem added on to one long movie. And the distinct lack of action really hurts this one.


The cast is interesting, but unfortunately they can’t make the proceedings all that interesting: minor fan favorite O’Keeffe has some snappy outfits and closely resembles a statue. Malko is clearly the ultimate chick magnet, and it must be his way of exiting a building that makes him such a hit with the ladies (this one particular building exit is a movie highlight. You’ll know it when or if you see it). Sybil Danning is barely in the movie but she does get one of the best lines, “are you still playing samurai for the CIA?” - since this was at the beginning of the movie, we were hopeful the idea of a CIA samurai would come to fruition. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t. Dagmar Lassander, among other European people, play South Americans of Latin descent. Of course that includes Raimund Harmstorf of Thunder Warrior 2 (1987) and The Viking Sagas (1995) fame as Enrico Chacon, not to be confused with acclaimed Cat Stevens album Mona Bone Jakon, as the evil baddie and nemesis of Malko.


Interestingly, SAS was one of the few movies directed by Raoul Coutard, the famous cinematographer who was instrumental in the French New Wave movement, having worked with Godard on classics like Breathless (1960) and Band of Outsiders (1964). But by 1983, he was reduced to focusing his lens on Miles O’Keeffe in a Speedo. Of all people, you’d think Coutard would know the importance of action and pacing, but the pace is indeed slow and instead of solid action material, he fills the time with the standard moments of civil unrest, disco scenes and what you might call video store nudity.

Released by Vestron here in the U.S. and featuring the song La Colegiala by Son Caribe, you’ll be sendin’ out an SOS if you attempt to watch SAS.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty