March 29, 2014 § Leave a comment
Well, we come to the close of the RoboCopOut month and why not end it by getting out of the 90s and get into a knockoff that cashes in on a remake of RoboCop this time around which is obvious given the image I made above. And with Michael Jai White and Charles S. Dutton in this one, it might be better than the other one even though RoboCop is basically a cyborg and not an android. I wonder if The Asylum knew the differences. Also, it’s my 100th article so that’s timely (as long as I don’t count two articles I deleted for my own reasons).
And oh boy, we’re not in a good start with the director (and screenwriter) for this movie. This one is done by Mark Atkins who brought us such Asylum fares as Princess of Mars, Battle of Los Angeles and Alien Origin. All of them that receive not-so-great acclaim (especially Alien Origin). It doesn’t help that he was the cinematographer for 2012: Doomsday, The Terminators and Alien vs Hunter so uh, I sincerely hope Android Cop is good one.
The movie beings in The Zone, a forbidden section of Los Angeles in the year 2037 (not 2045 according to blurbs and various sites) and we follow Hammond (Michael Jai White) who’s involved in a shootout that killed his unnamed partner. What happens next will be told as we jump straight to months later as Hammond and other police officers making their negotiations in The Zone that includes a gun-crazy grandmother. And then Andy (Randy Wayne), an android cop appeared and is it just me or does his helmet resemble Superman’s 1990s villain Conduit?
Nothing going on besides few shootouts before Hammond gets back to the headquarters and is so unhappy that in the tradition of buddy cop movies, he and Andy are assigned as partners on the case. They first went to save a jumper which is a short one since Andy connects to the jumper’s girlfriend and the incident is averted. And then, they went to the home of Mayor Jacobs (Charles S. Dutton) and investigates a “missing person”that involves his daughter Helen (Larissa Vereza) in the bed in critical condition while her mind is linked to her android counterpart that’s hiding out somewhere. The two went to the bar and did a good cop/bad cop situation which again, is a short one as they again go back to The Zone.
Helen appears and reveals to them why she’s here and it turns out that the civilians of The Zone weren’t suffering from radiation since it was all her father’s ploy to be a corrupt Mayor and made them sick with delivered foods and drinks. Shootouts happen and Hammond realized that Sgt. Jones (Kadeem Harison) were working for the Mayor. Oh, and remember that prelude story involving Hammond in The Zone in the beginning? Well, you’re not gonna believe this but Hammond is also discovered that he himself is an android copy of his human counterpart who’s also in critical condition in the hospital.
It’s now up to the three to get to the Hospital to save Helen’s human life before Mayor Jacobs pulls the plug. There’s car chase involved which ends with their own car crashing to a part of the Hospital building and… Hammond’s human self died which collectively ended his android personality. It’s only up to Andy to stop this but oh no, the plug has been pulled for Helen. But wait, it turns out she’s being sedated by her android nurse the whole time and the whole ordeal has been exposed which leaves her father killing himself.
The movie then ends with Andy getting in the cop with newly resurrected Hammond android and as usual buddy cop movies, they end on arguing with each other. Okay, the movie turns out all right and have a few laughs here and there. Michael pulls a good performance as well as Charles and Randy did try to pull off his monotone android police officer act there which kinda works. The story is usually there and it is watchable even with the movie using an “buddy cop” trope. The effect is also good and nothing cheesy to that effect (with the exception of Lens Flare that’s not as hurtful as Total Recall but is dumb anyway). Mark Atkins, you get a gold star on this one and hope you might continue that road.
March 22, 2014 § Leave a comment
So after Cyborg Cop, we gone back to a legitimate RoboCop rip-off and this time, it’s 1995’s The Demolitionist. Now, I don’t know how to explain the amount of casting there because one IMDB reviewer said it’s basically “Cult Horror Actors: The Movie” and that person is dead right on that. No really, how cool would a movie be if you put Tom Savini, Jack Nance, Heather Langenkamp and few others together? Well, you get a VHS that is best autographed in various horror conventions but as an entertaining schlock movie itself? That’s really a good question.
As usual, director’s check time so let’s see what Robert Kurtzman’s body of work is like. Well, he is not known much except he wrote some story known as From Dusk Till Dawn. Okay, I kid about not knowing the Gecko Brothers kicking vampires ass so I’ve seen the movie anyway. He is known for directing a few as well like Wishmaster (one of the movies which has that “Wes Craven Presents” in the title) but beyond that, he is more notable for being a well-known makeup artist and supervisor for movies like The Green Mile and… uh, The Animal! Maybe he lost a bet or something at that time so moving on.
The movie begins with prisoners Mad Dog Burne (Richard Grieco) and his brother Little Henry (Randy Vasquez) awaiting for their execution. After meeting up with Father McKenzie (Jack Nance and yes, that’s an reference to Eleanor Rigby) and its warden Thomas (Reggie Bannister), Mad Dog escapes death but his brother on the other hand got accidentally electrocuted to death. Over at his base in some biker warehouse, he gives a speech with everybody including Roland (Tom Savini) and undercover police officer Alyssa Lloyd (Nicole Eggert) before having a party.
Meanwhile in the City Hall, Mayor Eleanor (Susan Tyrrell), Higgins (Peter Jason) and Professor Jack Crowley (Bruce Abbott) got caught by a group of incoming criminals but Jack stopped them and they all survive while Eleanor greenlights his Lazarus Experiment because of it. Back in the warehouse, Alyssa got easily caught by Mad Dog while they shoot her partner Daniel Dupre (Andras Jones) and both are left for death. It’s Jack to the rescue and he resurrected Alyssa while Daniel is a comatose state. And then, Higgins went to the church and is actually working for Mad Dog. Alyssa is resurrected and montage ahoy as she is trained to be tough while having weird nightmares and put Daniel out of misery.
She escapes but returned shortly after and becomes the title character as she fights for justice (including shooting a window to a wedding store for no reason except having flashbacks). She gets a little bump but decide to take on the big bad. Meanwhile at the warehouse, Bruce Campbell won a raffle and killed Higgins. Yeah, Bruce Campbell is in this and that’s really his motivation for the movie. And then The Demolitonist appears and there are shootouts happening before Mad Dog died by having her injecting him. Oh yeah, they wanna rip-off the gruesome transformation of Emil on RoboCop so yeah, it makes sense.
She nearly died but Jack faked her death to the public and well, that’s how the movie ends. Eh, the movie is alright but not great in my opinion. I do admit that the casting is interesting and odd (seriously, Nancy Thompson as a ditsy news reporter?) and there is some good to the story but there are problems as well. It’s mostly pretty slow and not much action-packed as the other two. It did however have satirical notice and there’s cheesy camp involved so of anything, this movie is worth checking out for that while it’s recommended for completists of any actors who starred in it.
March 14, 2014 § Leave a comment
Continuing the RoboCopOut Month, we jump to the movie that serves as a reason why I decide to do this. Just recently, I brought SFX’s Complete Guide to RoboCop special because really, a magazine dedicated to the original movies and television series (and the remake) is enough to say “I’ll buy that for a dollar”. And in this special, Cyborg Cop is literally the only knockoff to have an article of its own as well as the only one mentioned. Yeah, this movie and not R.O.T.O.R. or Kickboxer RoboCop amongst others. Also, SFX is the only publication to give a positive review back when the movie was released and is said to be described as “one of the all-time great straight to video action flicks”.
Now this movie is directed by Sam Firstenberg and he really doesn’t need any introduction. Why do I say this? He’s the guy who brought us Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo so yeah, this is the guy who made a movie with the subtitle that became a running joke to other bad sequels. Given that Sam also made Cyborg Cop 2, maybe he needed that “Electric Boogaloo” subtitle in this movie as well but instead, it goes by an alternate title that is Cyborg Soldier instead. He is also known for few 1980s Cannon Film classics like American Ninja for example so it is about time I’m reviewing a movie that’s made by one who worked with Golan and Globus… years before this movie is made! Eh, close enough.
The movie revolves around former police officer Jack Ryan (David Bradley) whom after losing his job for killing an publisher’s son who’s gone insane, decides to go to St. Keith Island to search for his brother Philip (Todd Jensen). Unknowingly, Philip is one of the soldiers whose purpose is to stop crime-lord Kessel (John Rhys-Davies) and while other soldiers are killed, he’s the only one left alive until he saw Kessel’s cyborg henchmen Quincy (Rufus Swart). Philip is subjected to Kessel’s cyborg experiment as he became… a missing member of Kraftwerk!
As Jack got into the island, he bumped into news reporter Cathy (Alonna Shaw) a few times enough that she became his love interest instantly. He searches for his brother’s whereabouts from a club with a music band playing to a mortuary that’s owned by a rastafarian mortician known as… Rastaman (Kurt Egelhof)! Oh, and he’s a comic relief character so yeah, he’s now part of the storyline now. And then, Jack, Cathy and Rastaman got involved in massive shootout in the mogue by Quincy and all except Cathy escaped before the two got caught by Captain Hogan (Anthony Fridjhon) and his police squad. Jack later tricked Hogan by leaving him, Rastaman and some police officer in the streets while taking the car to Kessel’s domain and rescue his brother and Cathy. Oh, and Rastaman convinces Hogan to go against Kessel.
At Kessel’s base, Philip became active and suddenly recognizes Jack that the brothers reunite and take down Kessel and his posse. Philip sacrifices his life battling against Quincy and Kessel got shot in the head. The movie ends with heroes winning and… abruptly cutting to Jack, Cathy and a kid going to the car and that’s about it. Now Jack will return for the sequel of course but not Cyborg Cop 3 so I might look into the two soon enough. Other than that, this movie is pretty good as a knockoff to Universal Soldier but it’s hardly a knockoff to RoboCop.
It’s a cheesy 90s action flick through and through and worth watching it for fun. David Bradley did an alright job as the hero while John Rhys-Davies hamming it up as the villain (he even uses a toy plane that explodes as a weapon in the start of the movie). He says lines that is so ridiculous that I wish was heard in an episode of Sliders and even has his own villain speech that is okay but overall ridiculous as well. The other actors did alright, even Kurt which puzzles me to why his character is part of this movie. It’s worth checking out really but it’s not “one of the all-time great straight to video action flicks”, it is a good movie but not in that league to be honest.
March 5, 2014 § Leave a comment
Well, here we are with the start of RoboCopOut Month, where I take a look at nothing but rip-offs and mockbusters to one of the best movies to come out in the eighties (and remade recently as well). Now I did mention that I was originally gonna do a month of horrible remakes and such but there is time for those any of those movies to be reviewed. Also, the original plan for the theme month itself stems from the remake to RoboCop since I know that it either sucks or will divide the audience. So now, I decide to start it off with 1990’s obscure classic that is Lady Battle Cop and see if a woman does a good job as a cybernetic police officer.
First a little fact on director Akihisa Okamoto and going by IMDB filmography, this is the last movie he directed. Granted, he is listed with six other movies in his credit but here’s the strange thing – those previous movies he directed (or assisted directed) were released in the mid-to-late 1970s. Lady Battle Cop however came out in 1990. And I did look up other places on the guy and yeah, it says pretty much the same thing and that’s how it goes. It is strange that for a person who did few films in the age of Disco come back for one more film a bit over a decade later. I mean, who does that really?
The movie takes place in Neo Tokyo as the city are getting noticed by a terrorist organization known as The Cartel as owned by Henry Ohba who also goes by as The Phantom. At that time, Kaoru Mikoshiba (Azusa Nakamura) is a tennis champion whom along with her two friends – scientist Naoya and police detective Sanjo – got involved in an attack at the laboratory base by The Cartel along with an telekinetic brute-like android known simply as Amadeus. Sanjo escapes thinking the two have died. Cut to six months later and he is now down on his luck with The Cartel winning the crime war and police officers left and right either losing it or getting fired including Mr. Yoda.
Sanjo however wants it to end and then got caught up with The Cartel but then, a hero rises known as Lady Battle Cop who took them down one by one in any way possible. Sanjo later realizes that Kaoru is the mechanic avenger herself and wants to see her face before he himself died at the hands of Amadeus who was impaired by a metal but still walking angrily. Kaoru killed him and decides to get to the big boss whom actually killed himself so yeah, she kinda wins by not killing the big boss and the movie ends on a sequel hook note for some reason.
The movie is honestly good and worth tracking down. While it has not much satire or commentary, it is action packed and there’s a bit of humor in there. Few notable things I could say about it is I think it’s also kinda a little homage to Akira since it both takes place in near future Neo Tokyo and both has a character with massive telekinetic powers (even if Tetsuo, a character in Akira is human instead of android).
Another is that one of the members of The Cartel is really an African American dude who only speaks English and I honestly find it clever that they went on to do that. The only flaw on this movie is the whereabouts of Naoya following the incident since after he saves Kaoru and revitalise her as the title character, he flat-out disappeared without any resolution and I don’t know if he lives or not to be honest.
Other than that, do get this movie even if it’s hard-to-find (even with english subtitles) and it goes prove that even a tennis player can kick some asses in a metal suit even if the tennis player is a he or a she. Hmm, now I’m thinking of John McEnroe as that… with Adam Sandler involved. Eh, that’s an unthinkable kind of imagery so let’s just ignore that.