November 30, 2017 § Leave a comment
Oh boy. Well, given that Thor: Ragnarok came out this month, I thought I am glad that I’m reviewing this because it’s the last Superhero movie made by TomCat Films (or Summer Hill Entertainment since they now acquired those movies) but I’m not glad because it turns out I’m a dumbass by forgetting that there’s also one more movie I didn’t check which is The Black Knight Returns. Uh, what can I say? I might be confusing it with The Black Bat Rises but it’s two different movies so yeah, I am stuck with TomCat Superhero Cinematic Universe for one more movie.
I’ll get to that one sometime next year but for now, let me look at what is possibly the most schlocky, low-budget superhero movie I’ve seen to date. And really, that’s expected since I already seen the other movies but as much as The Amazing Bulk is a work of weird as fuck and few others have their own sense of quality, this one is cheap from start to finish and it’s laughably bad. To obviously know how bad this movie is, it starts with five minutes of opening logos and the slowest opening crawl with a narration that sounds like it’s recorded in the bathroom.
Following the opening crawl that makes the one in Alone In The Dark start normal, the movie then cuts to Asgard looks like it’s located in Aurora Borealis?!? Anyway, Odin (Jurgen Vollrath) and Thor (Brett Kelly) appears as floating heads talking to each other even though they look like they are talking to us the audience. They explained that Ragnarok is coming and it’s caused by a group known Dauoi Raisa/The Death Risers as led by Evan (Jody Haucke) who’s tracking down three amulets to make up that Dragon’s Cross that brings Hel (Gabrielle Mackenzie) to Earth and be less over-the-top than her counterpart in the better Thor movie.
Meanwhile, Grant Farrel (Ray Besharah) and his friend Earl (Randy Kimmett) are working on a government suit that looks a bit like dollar-store version of War Machine suit with horns. Grant himself got struck by lightning by Thor because he is a current descendant of the God of Thunder and decides to take the mantle as the hero. The new Thor (or Thunderstorm which the movie should have been called Thunderstorm: The Offspring Of Thor or something) is trained by Earl with controlling his powers and got noticed by Detective Glenda Bronski (Celine Filion) who she and Grant became a “buddy cop” type duo defeating Hel, The Death Risers and a CGI Dragon that looks like James Nguyen is secretly involved in this.
In terms of superhero origin stories, it’s okay but felt like I’m watching a loose origin of Firestorm at one point and loose origin of Iron Man on the other. Granted, it’s a Thor movie and there is Norse mythology involved. The acting is atrocious but is fine as Hel right down to probably the only character wearing a probable outfit. The action scenes and effects is meh and lastly, the humor felt forced with Grant trying out his own superhero catchphrase but it didn’t work.
My say to this is if you wanna see an obscure bad superhero movie, this is up there but if you expect so-bad-its-good, expect elsewhere so now I am on to one more Superhero movie and then I would say I am done with TomCat Films but there’s a bunch I want to look at so yeah, no escaping that one.
October 13, 2016 § Leave a comment
Getting to Avenging Force: The Scarab and I do have to wonder if that is a good name for the team of heroes that appeared in all those TomCat Films I reviewed that involves them. It might make sense but upon watching this movie, the case is that the team involves the characters within this movie and not Metal Man, The Black Bat and Agent Beetle. Come to think of it, why is the version of Blue Beetle called himself “AGENT Beetle” since he’s actually a former cop who has no agency backing him up so um, would Codename: Beetle be a better title for that movie?
I am so going off a tangent but going back and I do wanna discuss a bit more about Brett Kelly. The first thing is that he himself is a actor on his own movies and I don’t mean by “director cameos” standards, he is listed as the star of his movies like My Dead Girlfriend and Kingdom Of The Vampire. The second is that he has his own company called Brett Kelly Entertainment which is cute but there is hardly entertaining value in Agent Beetle. The third and last thing is that he has a extensive list of movies that I looked at and it makes me wanna say this so fuck it, I’m making a separate category tag involving his name because I have yet to look at Jurassic Shark… and SpyFall which is now a running gag so sunuvabitch.
Now we get to the movie and we start the film in space (no, I’m not doing capital letter screaming), we have a mysterious narrator talking about space and whether aliens existed before it cuts to Cairo in 2600 BCE being hit by a small CGI asteroid. Following the long credits, we meet Professor Joab (Jurgen Vollrath) in modern day South America as he gets away from the mob of bounty hunters who shot Joab’s collegue in the jungle. As Joab got away and traveled back to his home, we then gone to N.E.D.O.R. Headquarters when Rose (Alix Pasquet) has been contacted by General Carter (Mark Redfield) who gave her a mission to stop The Sphinx (Jody Haucke) from retrieving the Scarab and rule the world with his two partners – Mystic (Jennifer Barnes) and Lady Satan (Angela Parent).
We then meet up with the movie’s hero, Professor Peter Ward (Mark Courneyea) who has stumbled onto the action after he meets Joab and Joab’s bodyguard Bart Hill (Andre Givogue). He is saved by Rose who goes by The Woman In Red and together they want to unravel the mystery and retrieve the Scarab while not getting into the Sphinx’s thugs including hired bountry hunter The Black Terror (John E. McLenachan) who later decides to work with Peter and Red. After discovering the scarab, Peter becomes the hero himself and the three fought off The Sphinx and the thugs before the movie ends with The Sphinx being sentenced to an eternity of pain in space and The Scarab, The Woman in Red, The Black Terror and Bart Hill who becomes mute and go by Double Dare (because Daredevil is already a named character in Marvel) and thanks to Carter whose codename is Fighting Yank, they form themselves as Avenging Force and fight crime.
Earlier this week, I brought up if this movie is as equally boring and bad as Agent Beetle and my verdict is this – it is bad in a low-budget superhero movie manner but it is however not boring. In fact, this is probably the most consistent superhero movie that TomCat and Brett has ever done. There is a bit of filler sequence here and there but the funny thing is that the movie is only seventy minutes long with credits so taking those out, this is the shortest superhero movie I ever reviewed. And Brett at least give The Scarab and other public domain superheroes previously published by Nedor their moment to shine, even Bart Hill who may be hardly in the movie but he did have good fighting style and didn’t half-ass his acting.
The other actors in fact did well and the best ones are Alix who gives good exposition, Jody because he chewed the scenery big time and John who is a funny but unintentional mix of The Punisher and Captain Boomerang right down to acting a bit like Australian, he’s one of the best parts of the movie. And Mark did try his best as The Scarab, at first I thought he’s gonna be monotone and it shows during his introduction but he manage to act his way in so kudos to him for that. The story is usual Superhero fare, the script has few funny dialogue and it felt like I’m watching a proper superhero movie so this is worth checking out.
However, the movie may be worth checking out but only by seeing-it-once kind of deal because there is better ways to interpret Nedor superheroes even by crossing over standards, comics like Alan Moore’s Terra Obscura and Alex Ross’ Project: Superpowers featured them and in a good storytelling feel. My proper suggestion is to check these comics first and then look at the movie because I read Tom Strong and Terra Obscura and know these characters first and Alan Moore did justice because he knows superhero history like the back of his read. I read a bit of Project: Superpowers as well and Alex gives his unique take so go by the comics and the movie. There, I’m done with this and I got one more left but it’s gonna be a while so next time… I have to watch Sucker Punch! I hope whatever after this might be a good Halloween fodder but then again, I don’t have much planned so this might have to do unless I thought of something so until next time.
October 9, 2016 § Leave a comment
Given that there are only three superhero mockbusters by TomCat Films that I have yet to see and criticize, it gives me time to think which one I should look at for this “Nostalgia Lookback” review. On one hand, I’m thinking the one with Thor but since Thor: Ragnarok will be released in the future, I thought of saving that one and maybe that other Thor movie with that Home Improvement kid. So it now with two left, is the one focusing on the golden age Blue Beetle that is used by DC comics but not a whole or The Scarab which is not the weapon used by Blue Beetle but a totally different public domain character.
Hmm, both this week? Makes better sense since after this and Thor, I would be free of TomCat films that involves people in mask and costumes (but not free of other crap). So going with Agent Beetle first, let’s look at the director of this piece. Uh, not much about Brett Kelly really since well, he’s the director of movies I brought up in past reviews. Really, I mention his three directorial works Avenging Force: The Scarab, Thunderstorm: The Return of Thor and… uh, SpyFall! Come On, that’s the second review I mention that spoof. He did do other stuff including an Iron Man knockoff known as Iron Soldier and I might not be looking at that one because it may be distributed by TomCat Films but it’s not made by them.
After getting caught, rookie detective Dan Garret (Daniel Lavigne) is in prison and presumed dead to the public but he instead became one of the subjects to a program set up by Dr Lilith (Jennifer Vallance) that involves convicts given powers and strength by chemicals but only if the convicts work for the doctor. After accepting to the experiment, he escapes from the company and decide to don the suit of The Beetle to stop Lilith and her goons which includes Widow (Christine Emes), Roach (Duncan Milloy), Mantis (Celine Filion) and Stinger (Mike Kosowan).
Meanwhile, Beetle’s actions drew the attention of Julie Spencer (Emanuelle Carriere) who was Dan’s ex-girlfriend and reporter who wanted Beetle to be brought into justice but finds that Lilith and her pharmaceutical company H.I.V.E. are well, you get the picture. Now, it looks like another typical superhero movie with the usual origin set-up and the villainy. However, this brings something that I should point this out. I am very glad I’m not gonna watch this movie after this review because oh god, this might be the worst one TomCat has ever done so far and a very boring one as well.
It has similar beats to the previous mockbusters like the schlocky production, the hammy acting, reused shorts (including a CGI animated scene of the city) and weak costumes. It even includes a bikini contest scene which I have to wonder, have I already seen that in The Black Bat Rises? Huh, I bet The Scarab or Thor might involve stripper bar as well. And look at it this way, I didn’t hate the movie. I brought up that it’s boring and it really is but not for the fact that it looks like any other TomCat film but for the fact that it’s very slow and dragging along that the bikini contest scene went on for like five minutes. For a movie that’s near its 80 minute mark, it felt like I watched it for three hours.
But I hate to say this, there is a few positives here. One is that some had tried to act including Daniel Lavigne but they are overshadowed by others who act hammy including and Christine Emes. In fact and this is just me but Christine has the strong Amazonian look going and her character’s attitude of seducing either man or woman really is something here. That, and I think I have my first mockbuster celebrity crush so that’s strange.
Overall, this movie is not worth it even if you wanna binge-watch all those superhero movies done by the company so skip this one even if you’re a massive Blue Beetle fan like Lewis Lovhaug. So now, I got The Scarab and the only thing I should wonder is I hope it’s not boring and bad but I can be wrong on this.
March 23, 2016 § Leave a comment
It’s me looking at the clumsy experiment that is TomCat Films Superhero Cinematic Universe and given that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is hitting the cinemas this week, why not look at one obvious knockoff of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight franchise. The movie of course is The Black Bat Rises (aka Rise of the Black Bat) and it’s the second movie I’ve reviewed that’s based upon a public domain superhero character. Funnily enough, The Black Bat made its debut in comics the same month as Batman himself so if you think about it, there might be an alternate universe out there where I reviewed a movie called Rise of the Bat-Man.
And it’s not a good sign so far since we have Scott Patrick in the helm and he gave us that awful Twilight mockbuster that is Blood Red Moon. The writer of this film, Trevor Payer, however fared a bit better since he wrote for other TomCat Films involving superheroes like Avenging Force: The Scarab and Thunderstorm: The Return of Thor and I really need to look into those films. Then again, I need to look at his written James Bond spoof called SpyFall which stars uh… nobody that we know of! Actually, do I need to look at it? Uh whatever, let’s just move on before I found out Top Secret gets a lazy referential reboot that nobody wanted or something.
The movie begins with two guys waiting for something before The Black Bat appears and attacks them. He also fights against other henchmen before his narration leads to an origin story… which starts off with The Black Bat fighting two rapists attempting to get their woman. Unusual start for the origin but his origin finally starts with his civilian identity of district attorney Tony Quinn (Jody Haucke) as he encounter Silk Kirby (Richard Groen) who warned him that an henchmen of notorious crime boss Oliver Snate (Leo Frost) is coming to kill him. As the henchmen is about to shoot Tony in the bed, Tony then appears shooting him instead and Silk got out of bed (?) before Tony asked him to call the cops because he said that the guy is bleeding all over his carpet.
The following day and Tony is about to present his court case against Oliver but surprisingly, his assistant Roberta (Celine Filion) blinded Tony with acid betraying her boss with Oliver watching the action. While living his life being blind, he then meets up with Carol Baldwin (Dixie Collins) and she mentions that Oliver killed her father whose a judge. She also throws in a proposition that would regain his eyesight and he accept only to find out that he gained night vision senses. So the first thing he’s gonna do is going undercover as a hustler while paying a thousand bucks to a guy who knows what Snate’s going to in a stage full of bikini-clad woman having a contest.
Tony finally decides to be a vigilante and fought criminals before he gets to Snate, we get to see the first five minutes of the movie repeated again and then face Snate himself. A bunch of goons have been shot and The Black Bat pushes Snate outside before throwing the dynamite in the building and that’s about it. Well, there is a drawn comic art montage explaining the hero’s existence but the movie ends on this note and in the most anticlimactic way possible.
Okay, back when I reviewed Metal Man, I was in the mindset that I disliked the idea of superhero movie mockbusters and it was a pet peeve of mine. I didn’t like that movie back then and right now, the movie is a tad bit watchable but that’s pretty much all there is anyway. And I followed it up with The Amazing Bulk and Captain Battle and those two have a sense of entertaining values. This movie has no redeeming qualities, no so-bad-its-good acting, no cheesy effects and it’s nothing but a boredom that wastes our own time even if the time is us trying to sleep after being awake for several days.
The only positive I could give is the costume and the disguise but the costume might as well be originally taken from an Batman replica costume and the disguise is so dumb that nobody question the dated qualities of it. The acting is overall dull, the story is lifeless and unoriginal mishmash of Batman and Daredevil’s origins, it has noticeable bad lighting and there are sequences that drag on and on like a montage of him putting on the costume for the first to the stalking a woman sequence. Had it been constantly edited into a short film, it would be still be bad. In terms of reviewing TomCat’s superhero movies, this is so far the worst one for all and I’m not ashamed to say that Scott Patrick should really quit while he’s ahead.