Friday, February 28, 2014

After the World Ended

To be released in 2014; Directed by Tony Sebastian Ukpo
Starring Haruka Abe, Eke Chukwu, Junichi Kajioka

"From the dust to the great beyond, only we remain"

"1st film in a series of science fiction films from the Earth Future timeline created by Tony Sebastian Ukpo. All the films are set within the same universe and refer to each other, though differing in story, characters, and genre"

This highly anticipated Sci-fi is on my short list of must-see movies this year. In 2458 man is slowly rebuilding itself from the ruins, and out of the rubble come many different stories, and fates, like Babel. Three such fates are represented who will ultimately come together for what, well the teaser trailer and the producers are wisely mum on the details. I hate it when trailers give away the whole movie, so I'm a quick fan of the cryptic bit below. It looks a damn sight better than that Will Smith mess, anyway.

Check it out and tell your friends. And keep up with the Facebook page for more teasers and showtimes. This one looks promising.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

After Earth

Released in 2013, Directed by M Night Shymalan
Starring Jayden Smith, Will Smith

In the starring lineup of IMDB's casting, there's usually three actors listed. David Denman is listed as a starring lead, but he only appears for about 90 seconds. Maybe it's because he has the most interesting bit in the whole film. The rest is just Smith SR and Smith JR.

In a nutshell, this is a thousand years after the apocalypse that forced humans to leave Earth and survive in space. Soldiers become known as Rangers and Cypher Raige (Smith SR) is a hero and status symbol as one who feels no fear, rendering him invisible, a 'ghost', to monsters who can not see or hear, but can only sense fear. Kitai (Smith Jr) idolizes his father and gets top academic scores in the Ranger academy, but lacks the physical prowess to be advanced as a Ranger. His father takes him under his wing on a space mission, perhaps to sharpen his skills and help him realize his potential as Cypher's successor. Sounds good so far, but when the ship crash lands on Earth, on which they're told "everything here has evolved to kill humans", the rest of the movie's potential lies burning with the wreckage.

Father and son are the only survivors, and Cypher's legs are broken. Kitai is given a mission to find the tail and retrieve the distress beacon, since the ones in the cockpit were damaged in the crash. There's enough computer power for Cypher (I keep wanting to call him Dad) to stay in contact with his son and give one exposition after another so the viewer isn't completely lost. The only problem is, I'm probably making this movie sound much better than it is. In fact it's as predictable as anything Hollywood pumps out these days and it's basically I Am Legend all over again, with a lone Smith wandering around an abandoned Earth and pissing off everyone in the audience with his complete lack of wit or charisma.

Truth is I like M Night as a director, I thought the Last Airbender was great, and I was looking forward to seeing Jayden Smith play a lead role and see if he might be nearly as cool as his father, but twenty minutes into the movie you just want to smack the shit out of him. His father is the most respected Ranger on the force and Jayden, sorry, Kitai, constantly ignores his orders and nearly gets himself killed about every ten minutes. There's not an ounce of character development as he transgresses from stubborn apathetic pussy-wimp teenager to stubborn apathetic fearless, er, teenager. He relies completely on his hi-tech backpack and his father's advice, and you just wish he would improvise one damn thing for himself. After about 70 minutes, you still just want to smack the shit out of him because he still wont stop lying and disobeying the one guy trying to keep him alive.

Somehow, by the magic of Hollywood, the stubborn twat with the personality of a pizza box manages to evade a horde of baboons, giant birds, tigers, leeches, and I'm sorry am I spoiling it? Give me a break. It's a Hollywood movie from 2013. What would you expect besides a happy ending? This is a perfect example of why I prefer gritty family-unfriendly movies from before I was born. When Hollywood still had two big balls between W and D.

I'm not sure what amazes me more, the fact that M Night Shymalan could spend $130 million dollars on a barely 90 minute movie with barely two actors and one ship, or that one of the funniest and coolest actors of the 1990s could raise such an insufferable spoiled brat that he spends the whole movie coming across as nothing more than an insufferable spoiled brat. There's a reason this lost $70 million at the box office.

Still, if you're a big Will Smith fan, and he hasn't lost you in the last few years with crap like I am Legend, then you'll prob put this in your collection, on Blue Ray of course, so you can see where most of that $130 million went: into big fancy cameras and lots of compensating CGI.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

American Cyborg: Steel Warrior

Released in 1993, Directed by Boaz Davidson
Starring Nicole Hansen, Joe Lara, John Saint

Now this is fun. by 1993 cyborgs were probably the only thing on TV scarier than Vanilla Ice. Terminator II was the biggest baddest movie anyone could talk about, so Hollywood was ready to throw every cyborg script they had at the wall. Enter American Cyborg: Steel Warrior. It's a double-titled double-dose of terminator ripoff that's got everything you want: a post-apocalyptic wasteland, big guns, excessive use of the color blue, hookers who get their costumes from Pat Benetar videos, badass cyborgs who feel no pain, and of course, beautiful girls. In this case it's the loveable Nicole Hansen.

Nicole plays Mary, possibly the only woman alive who's able to give birth to a live child since the great war brought destruction and acid rain upon the world. Raised in an underground lab, the baby is still a fetus, kept in a stylish artificial womb(These underground rebels always have the best technology). They must get Mary and the baby across the city to the port, where friendly rebels from Europe will take the child to a safer place to be raised as a new beacon of hope for humanity.

Of course, it wont be easy. The world is run by the machines now, and the system employs cyborgs to enforce their rule. Since most of the surviving humans are sterile, the system has let them live out their misery until they go extinct, and then the cyborgs can rule the world in peace and play Sega Genesis forever. If it sounds too much like Terminator, well , just think of it like this: Did you ever watch the Robot War scenes in Terminator and wonder what it would be like to have to survive in that underground mess? Well here you go. Your wish is granted. There's plenty of raggedy clothes and silly street gangs to go around.

Right from the start Mary's friends have a plan to reach the port but they're wiped out by a single lock-jawed cyborg("the newest model!" one yells) who bears a striking resemblance to a certain Austrian cyborg, and relentlessly pursues Mary through the entire movie. If this sounds too much like Terminator, don't worry, there's more! This guy doesn't have any snappy comebacks, but he does get one of his eyes blown out.

Mary, who obviously can't last two minutes on her own, runs into loner rebel Austin, and together they make for the ocean. The chemistry between them could be a little better, but I put that on Hansen. Joe Lara plays his part well, and could have done better as an actor, but Hansen just seems removed sometimes, like it's hard to believe she's all there. The screenplay could've been better too, but hey, what do I know?

One of the most annoying things about this movie is not the T2 ripoffs, I was over that in about five minutes. It's the fact that everytime the Cyborg has the chance to just blow austin away as easily as he kills everyone else in the movie, he settles for man-to-man fisticuffs and ah, fuck it. It's fun to watch. And that's what it comes down to really, if you want a lot of action and a fair bit of suspense, and you can somehow reconcile this as a lost Terminator side story, then I think you'll enjoy American Cyborg: Steel Warrior. Give it a go, and thanks for reading.

If you like spoilers, or you've already seen the movie, check out the play by play at P.A.-UK with lots of pictures. million Monkey Theater also gets into it, linked through the banner below.

After the Apocalypse

Released in 2004, Directed by Yasuaki Nakajima
Starring Velina Georgi, Zorikh LeQuidre, Jaqueline Bowman

Shot in Brooklyn this movie has been near the top of my to-watch list for some time. What's compelling about this film is the actors have no lines. It's basically a silent movie, and to top it off it's in black and white. letting the actions speak for themselves. The idea is, gasses still present in the air after the Third World War prevent anyone from speaking to each other, so one woman travels with four men as they try to navigate the rubble of the old world.

I love anything daring, and anything shot in New York, so I really can't wait to see this one.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Andromeda Strain

Released in 1971, directed by Robert Wise
Starring James Olson, Arthur Hill, David Wayne

Scary, beautiful, and daring, The Andromeda Strain has a reputation for impeccable acting, storyline, and set design. While the plot of a virus that wipes everyone out save a select few who are mysteriously immune may sound as cliche as gets, this is probably the movie by which most others of that plot get their inspiration. Where 'A Boy and His Dog' inspired Mad Max, 'The Andromeda Strain' is equally influential and essential to not just the PA sub-genre, but to the Sci-Fi genre as a whole.

See, until the seventies, most sci-fi thrillers depended on bigger and bigger monsters to scare the crowd, and huge slabs of budget would be fed to these often gaudy and usually terribly designed beasts that made the movie more of a laugh-fest than a thriller. The Andromeda Strain stands the test of time and avoids feeling too dated because it succeeded in bringing a very realistic and frightening killer to the big screen: a virus. And not just any virus, but an alien life form that is so small it can only be seen by an electron microscope(which in th 70s, were pretty bulky and intimidating instruments in themselves, and leave it to the great director to surround these instruments with an equally intimidating super-lab called Wildfire).

The imagery is cold, isolating, with lots of air and space typical of seventies environments, and you really get that sense of, shit, if we don't fix this, we really will be the only ones left, and for how long no one can say.

The film is based on a story by Michael Crichton(Jurassic Park), and it's reputation marks it to Crichton as Carrie to Stephen King. So a space crew returns to Earth from a successful mission, and people start dropping like flies. Turns out they brought back something very deadly. Soon, the landscape looks like Jonestown and everyone is dead except a grumbling old alcoholic and an infant. These two are brought into the massive Wildfire Laboratory, which was built specifically for such a purpose. The casting was reportedly a determined move to avoid including too many big names and go with actors who could deliver the kind of suspense and tension this movie really needed to avoid imploding in on itself in a storm of pretentiousness. Indeed, between the great acting, Wise's direction, incredible art direction by William Tuntke(Mary Poppins, Buck Rodgers), and the palpable tension and pacing, I promise this will instantly become one of your favorite seventies films right alongside A Clockwork Orange and Serpico. It's film done right.

There was a TV series remake of this in 2008 that may or may not totally suck. So be sure you're buying the one from 1971 with the cover above, not the cover below.

This is the 2008 TV remake. Be sure you're buying the right one!


Released in 2003, directed by David DeBartolomé (as David Barto)
Starring Christopher Lambert, Kelly Brook, Lou Diamond Phillips

I love most movies with lou Diamond Philipps. He's a great actor with a really intense presence. He was one of my favorite actors in the Young Guns series. I guess he was low on work when he took this job. It's a Matrix rip, as most 80's PA films ripped off Mad Max, the Matrix was the pole to dance on after 1999.

In 2010, the population has been torn apart by a virus, and a megalo-giant corporation has an antidote, a drug called Absolon, that will keep you alive, but you must pay them, and buy it, forever. So it's not that far off from many of today's pharma-scams. like any good Hollywood trash, only one man can hope to save the world from ultimate destruction. Actually it's more like the megalo-corp kills one of it's scientists, and then gets a hair across it's ass when a cop starts to investigate (the nerve!) so they send out a bunch of hoodlums in expensive black clothes to take him down.

If you're into the 'chase me till I get to where I need to get to without getting killed by assassins or sidetracked by a stupid broad so I can save humanity', with plenty of guns and Matrix-like graphics, then by all means, jump in!

Images are snagged from, check out their review and more on this sweet sexy website: CyberpunkReview

Empire of Ash

AKA "Maniac Warriors" Released in 1988, Directed by Michael Mazo, Lloyd A. Simandl

Starring Melanie Kilgour, Thom Schioler, Frank Wilson

The namesake film of this site is incredibly hard to find. I've yet to see a copy on Amazon and it only occasionally pops up on Ebay. Thank the dustbowl gods for our friends at for providing a high quality DVD you can buy reliably, 24 hours a day.
I've linked one VHS on Ebay under the alternate title "Maniac Warriors", but this is only available until March 1st and frankly I can't afford it.

This is the synopsis from
"In a post-apocalyptic future, cities have been destroyed and the survivors roam the remaining forests. An aggressive, traveling gang of "maniac warriors", named LARD, which stands for 'Leukocytes Acquisitors for Remission of Disease' go around terrorizing and killing people. Who they don't kill, they kidnap and steal their blood so they can continue to survive. Naturally they are led by an insane, shroud-wearing preacher, and when they kidnap the wrong girl, her sister and a defector from LARD who is now a good guy team up to try and rescue her. Who will prevail - the survivors pure of blood or the MANIAC WARRIORS?"

So there it is. Not quite vampires, just big baired broads with really nice asses who love to swallow. This movie has one point of brilliance in it's production, in that they re-released the film a year later as Empire of Ash 2! I mean, why spend thousands of dollars filming a sequel when you can just release the same fucking movie all over again!? Brilliant!! There is a legitimate sequel, which of course is called Empire of Ash III: Last of the Warriors, with the fancy Roman Numerals because that looks smarter than a big 3 on the box. If your head doesn't hurt after reading this, go hunt it down for your collection. You'll curse me later. You're welcome.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Hell Comes to Frogtown

Released in 1988 Directed by Donald G. Jackson, R.J. Kizer
Starring Julius LeFlore, William Smith, Roddy Piper.

Possibly my favorite PA flick is the ridiculous and shamelessly cheesy Hell Comes To Frogtown. It's got everything I love. A dirty, late 80's drive-in vibe, the Kurt Russel-esque anti hero, low budget gunfights with bad guys who can't aim for shit, samurai swords because 'Fuck, why not?', sex scenes with a punchline, and giant mutated frogmen with chainsaws. There's even character development. Holy nukes.

After the third world war lays waste to everything, of the survivors, 60% of the male population succumbs to radiation poisoning, and most of the rest (men and women) are mutated to the point of being so undesirable they're all quarantined into run down factory cities, or what's left of them. One of these is called, rightly enough, Frogtown. What's been rebuilt of the government is run by women. Obviously, when all the still human men are reduced to radioactive eunuchs, women inevitably take the alpha role. It's not an uncommon concept in PA movies, perhaps because the idea of a world run by women was enough to scare the shit out of any Wonder Bread loving American male in the 1980s.

Sam Hell is the main man. In fact, Sam Hell is none other than super-bad-guy Roddy Piper from the WWF, the same one who went to the mat with Hulk Hogan in Wrestlemania I, smashed Superfly over the head with a handy coconut, and "beat and shaved the late Adrian Adonis" during Wrestlemania III. Not that I would know anything about wrestling. He's a fun guy to watch, even if he seems a bit dry and restrained during this movie compared to the wild man of 80s man-dancing.

As Sam Hell, it turns out he's bad enough to be arrested by the women-force in charge of seemingly everything, and for what he's arrested doesn't matter. What matters is, Sam Hell has got the strongest active sperm count in the country. He's not only immune to the radioactive fallout, he's got the biggest balls of them all. His balls are bursting, his balls are full, and well, it's enough to be offered a full pardon if he'll do one small service to the nation: Rescue the beautiful innocent women who somehow ended up in Frogtown from the nasty lizard men, and fill them up with beautiful babies. "We're gonna get them out and your gonna get them pregnant". It's like A Boy and His Dog but without the creepy underground Christians. The only catch, he's got to wear a friggin electronic garter belt that shocks his prize jewels anytime he gets too far away from his sexy, er, 'probation ladies'. And they are sexy. If you don't think this movie sounds funny yet, I'm sorry to hear about your balls. You obviously don't have any.

So off he goes on a great adventure to serve his country as only a great bell-swinger like him can. From here it's frog-men playing electric guitars, frog-women on stripper poles, and some old guy that Hell remembers from way-back-when who shows up at just the right time.

I don't want to say too much more, because I promised no spoilers and I feel like long reviews give away too much. See the movie, buy the movie, turn it on at parties when you need to embarrass a stuffy host, show it to your friends when your bong is full, and welcome to the club. As far as post-apocalypse movies go, you're frog deep in the thick of it now, baby.