On the latest episode of the MOVIE MELT podcast we cover one of my personal all time favorite martial arts flicks, 1992’s Operation Scorpio! I’m willing to bet there’s a big chance that you’ve never seen it, so if you’re a huge fan of stuff like The Karate Kid and Cobra Kai and Chinese food, particularly noodles, then you’re certainly likely to love this this incredible little film! I’m certain film buffs like Tarantino took notes from this one.
Think a higher stakes version of The Karate Kid with lots of yummy noodles, crazier characters, a legion of muscle men, epic styles that make the crane kick pathetic and a villain so bad ass he’d annihilate the whole damn gang of Johnny, the Cobra Kai, Kreese, Chozen and Terry Silver all in the bathroom of the school Halloween dance.
There’s lots to love here and we cover all the juicy details, it’s the very first Hong Kong film ever on the podcast & it desperately needs a BIGGER cult fan base.
Check this shit out as we go deeper into 80s Hong Kong cinema with the crew, as well as a “Battle of the Movie Bands” and a boatload of more insane cinematic info than a human brain can possibly handle!
Grab a drink and a hefty doobie to smoke tonight & get hyped for a wild ride ‘cuz Operation Scorpio delivers the fucking goods and then some!!
Oh yeah and you’ll probably wanna order some Chinese take out food – I’m NOT kidding-LISTEN RIGHT HERE!
I just watched what I consider to be a true bonafide lost 1980s gem, at least to me this movie was something I’d only found and watched by sheer chance. I frequent thrift stores quite often and upon discovering director Paul Lynch’s ‘Bullies’ a 1986 Canadian genre mash up of horror, thriller, action and revenge on VHS, I was most certainly intrigued, while realistically not getting my hopes up too damn high.
I’m pleased to report that ‘Bullies’ delivered the damn goods and then some in nearly every way I’d been hoping! Like I said in the title, this movie is essentially a mixture of The Karate Kid and Deliverance. I guess we’d categorize it as “Hicksploitation”. Sorry all you lovable hillbillies out there, but it’s kinda like if The Karate Kid’s Cobra Kai were evil messed up psycho mountain men! And when I say evil I mean evil with a capital E!
We follow the simple story of a teenage boy who moves with his mom and stepfather to a cozy little mountain town smack dab in the middle of the woods to run a family business. The only problem is some of the locals are restless and don’t particularly like the new arrivals in town…at all. A wicked gang of family hicks are on the prowl to fuck with anyone they please and no one seems to give a damn, not even the cops- imagine that huh?!
Luckily our teenage equivalent to Daniel Laruso befriends a cool local Native American man, who he establishes a strong bond with and like Mr. Miagi he teaches him some serious life lessons, survival and even a few nifty combat techniques. Something his stepfather whom he somewhat loathes and views as a useless coward doesn’t seem to have ANY interest in being part of. Of course he meets the beautiful Olivia D’Abo, and of course crushes out hard. I mean what are the chances he meets a babe like her in this po-dunk town? Lucky guy! Or is he?
As it just happens to turn out that she’s the sister of one of the insane maniac hillbillies who who threaten the town folk on any whim. But that’s not gonna stop the teen romance though as the two are immediately lovestruck. So the pissed off hillbillies up the ante with their evil shenanigans and the boy’s step dad is too chicken to stand up to them. These guys not only terrorize the teenagers but also go on the war path against the parents too, leading to a truly shocking rape scene that ups the stakes to deadly proportions and drastically shifts the tone. Be warned! ‘Bullies’ takes some dark twists and turns but by the final act you’ll be rooting for revenge with all of your damn heart. Even though it does go to some dark places it oddly has a lingering light feeling to it somehow, an 80s charm of something like The Karate Kid or My Bodyguard. Most importantly are how, for the most part, endearing the characters are in this grimy little banger. It makes the journey one worth taking.
I’d say this is the perfect coming of age revenge flick, filled with genuine heart, romance, comedy and some pretty wild and crazy action sequences. You also get served some gory kills and some intense explosions that put this one in a league of its own as a intriguing lost 80s gem. Bullies exists on VHS only and is just begging to be cleaned up and released on a slick blu ray. It really deserves far more attention from cult movie fanatics, if you get a chance check this one out, but beware, these “Bullies” are playing for keeps!!
Ok so first off, Cobra Kai ‘Season 4′ was my second favorite of the series and I’m a HUGE Karate Kid fan. That means somehow the damn show is still fully on the right ass kickin’ track! So I ‘ve been thinking quite a bit lately about just where it’s plot might go, particularly wondering about it’s iconic villain John Kreese (played by the legendary Martin Kove) who has ****SPOILER ALERT**** just been arrested!
Of course this has led me down the wild rabbit hole of Cobra Kai plot ideas, as we heard in an earlier season that former Cobra Kai bad-ass bully “Dutch” was reportedly in prison. The show’s creators originally of course wanted to feature Dutch (Chad Mcqueen) in the reunion episode where Johnny and the rest of the old Cobra Kai gang went on their raucous booze-laden motorcycle road trip. However McQueen was not available to film any of the scenes due to prior engagements from his moto racing company which occupies the majority of his days these days.
However, from what they’ve said, it still sounded to me like a Dutch appearance is NOT out of the question for possibly a future installment/season of the show. This would be the perfect opportunity for Kreese to enter the slammer to meet his former student Dutch for his official appearance on Cobra Kai?!
How cool would it be for the fans to finally see Dutch again and even stranger witness the reunion between him and his former sensei in the flesh within the walls of dangerous prison life? I think this just might be a real possibility and I’m certain in my gut that the creators of the show might indeed have this planned out for a sweet surprise in season 5 (hey just throwing it out there!). There’s quite an interesting tale to be told if indeed Kreese gets locked up and even more so if his former Cobra Kai student is there with him! It’s anyone’s guess at this point how that would go down..but you tell me, what do you think about this possible story arc?! A season side story of Kreese in prison with Dutch would surely be a treat for us die hard Karate Kid fanatics!
Ok as a HUGE fan of the first two Karate Kid movies and fan of the third installment for all the wrong reasons, I’ll admit that up until recently I’d never given ‘The Next Karate Kid’ from 1994 a watch or for that matter a fair chance. I’d always wrote it off as some irrelevant, unrelated knock off of the franchise. However, as I’d rewatched some of the first season of Cobra Kai, once again I’d realized just how much I missed Mr. Miagi and how even more awesome the show would have been if he was still with us. I thought what I’d give for just one last adventure with the character.
Then I’d read in an interview with the creators of Cobra Kai that they’d addressed the 1994 sequel as cannon in the series and slightly teased how all of those movies characters are on the table for possible appearances in future seasons of the show. It dawned up me quickly, after all these years there was indeed one last adventure out there with Pat Morita in his legendary role that as a Karate Kid fanatic I’d ignored for all these years. It was finally time to put my snobby Karate Kid purist attitude aside, to see a movie 27 years in waiting!
So I’m here to report that not only is ‘The Next Karate Kid’ a way better film than ‘Karate Kid 3’ but I think it’s imperative that Hillary Swank return to her role as Julie Pierce in Cobra Kai. Clearly she has a story to tell Daniel with her history with Miagi and she also shares his karate style, something that would make for a great plot element in the series. As far as the fourth installment of the Karate Kid franchise goes, it really was so sweet to see Mr. Miagi in this role, in a movie I’d put off for some reason for so long. It felt like a rare treat to see it when I finally did as I was also surprised at how wrong I’d been, the movie was by no means the flimsy carbon copy sequel I’d guessed it was. Nope quite the contrary, Hillary Swank and Pat Morita both kick ass here in a movie that has a true heart of it’s own and explore more into the history of the Miagi character.
We delve into his past as he heads off to Massachusetts to accept a prestigious award for Japanese American soldiers of WWII & also meets back up with an old friend, Louisa Pierce, the widow of his commanding officer. At Pierce’s home, they catch up on old times, war stories and there he meets his next student, Julie Pierce. The troubled teen is taken under Miagi’s wing and she even finds time to care for an injured hawk at her school. Miagi sees quite early on that she, like Daniel has got some true karate potential and also anger management issues of her own to take care of. She’s also got some problems with some weirdo violent militant Frat boys that need taking care of, something Miagi is happy to help with! The great thing here is that it goes a lot of different directions, we don’t have Daniel’s story for Hillary Swank retold like a “Force Awakens” Karate Kid sequel. Instead she nurses a bird of prey, visits a Buddhist monastery where she befriends a group of charming monks, learns karate and also finds time to fight an elite group of assholes not in a tournament either but in a real damn bare knuckle brawl!
So yeah, I was wrong The Next Karate Kid is a cool movie that not only adds to the Karate Kid legacy but it also expands the story of the late great Miagi. It’s a sweet 90’s sequel that seriously deserves a second chance from Karate Kid purists and fans of Cobra Kai alike. Let’s face it, if the Netflix show can snag Hillary Swank, who’s an incredible actor to come back as Julie Pierce, they’re going to be utilizing the secret weapon of the franchise. I’m sure we’ll be seeing her in the near future on Cobra Kai but in the meantime I think the fans need to give this little 90’s gem a re-watch. There’s so much fun to be had in The Next Karate Kid and I’m glad I finally saw it almost three decades later for my first viewing! A welcome slice of epic lore that makes the Cobra Kai series missing character, Pat “Mr. Miagi” Morita that much more special and severely missed by all the fans….
How excited are you for season 3 of Cobra Kai?!! Well we don’t have too much longer to wait, very soon the first two seasons will be on Netflix and I’m about due for an epic rewatch. I honestly have a tough finding much of anything to watch on the streaming service these days so this is most definitely great news. The upcoming Season 3 has a lot of people speculating on nostalgic plot points, like Ali’s return, Daniel returning back to Okinawa, the return of Chozen and maybe even Mike Barnes from the third film coming back?! So many fun ideas out there for fans of the Karate Kid mythos.
Well for true fans here’s a new poster from Netflix and if you haven’t already check out Cobra Kai Theory on Youtube, he’s got some super fun interviews with some cool guests some of them obscure in the best way possible. Here’s a fun one with Sean Kanan (Mike Barnes) from Karate Kid III!
Also a sweet interview with Darryl Vidal, who’s legendary to fans as one of Johnny’s top contenders in the “All Valley Under 18 Karate Tournament” from the first movie!!
I just checked out VFW, the latest from director Joe Begos (Almost Human, The Mind’s Eye) who returns with, in my opinion his best film yet! This sweet little gritty love letter to John Carpenter, which calls back to his classic ‘Assault on Precinct 13’ in big way, is also a blood soaked love letter to some older actors/action stars of yesteryear. We’ve got icons Fred Williamson, William Sadler, Stephen Lang, Martin Kove & even George Wendt from ‘Cheers’ to make this bar room brawl even more authentic!
The story kicks off on a special birthday night for VFW bar owner “Fred” and his tight knit gang of bad ass war veterans. The evening quickly turns into wild all-out battle for their lives when a teen punk rock girl crashes their party with a sack full of ‘hype’. This new drug basically turns people into demented maniacs, with a hunger for more hype at any cost. The evil punk drug dealer, desperate to get his valuable stash back, sends his gang of gnarly addicts on a rampage to get it back. When these mutant punks on a rampage storm the bar looking for the teen, the old vets along with a younger soldier get to relive the gory glory years of war one more time. They unleash their pent of rage and fury using every weapon they can get their hands on to protect the girl and try annihilate the horde of drug addled maniacs. However these messed up punks have hype running through their veins and want more, risking anything to their grimy paws on it.
If you’re a fan of old school action flicks from the 70’s & 80’s you’re going to really get a kick out of VFW. The gore is pretty over the top, done in a such a cartoony way that people literally explode on screen. As a fan of practical fx Begos always delivers the goods with some wild splatter, he also keeps the vibe placed firmly in the golden days of the action era, with not a cell phone in sight. It also feels like an 80’s flick, with stunning neon lit sets within the walls of the cool old dank dive bar.
The real highlight of this is the cast of old codgers who do the majority of the ass kickin’. It’s absolutely delightful to see the likes of Fred Williamson & The Karate Kid’s Martin “Sensei” Kove in full on action mode as well as Stephen Lang, William Sadler and the younger soldier played by Tom Williamson. They’re all great here and give this film the cred it deserves proving age is just a number when it comes to cinematic butt kicking. I really enjoyed VFW, it’s the perfect modern midnite movie and gets so much praise for bringing in some old icons into the mix of onscreen mayhem. Check this out if you’re a fan of 70’s/80’s cult action horror flicks- And here’s to hoping VFW gets a sequel bringing even more of the bar’s patrons into the fold, hand picking some more old nearly forgotten bad asses to do some damage one last time!
I was super duper pumped about the recent news of ‘Ghostbusters 3’, that’s being directed By Ivan Reitman’s son Jason. It’s going to be a direct sequel to the 80’s franchise and after literally decades of talk about a third movie it finally seems like things are back on track. We got a new Ghostbusters reboot in 2016, which to me turned out to be another forgettable remake. The 2016 version to me was about as memorable as recent remakes, the likes of Poltergeist, The Thing, Fright Night, Total Recall & The Karate Kid etc. etc. So now we’re lead to believe we’re getting a true sequel, however as more info is being released it’s starting to feel more and more like soft reboot territory.
What we’ve been told so far is that it’s going to focus on four teenagers, two boys and two girls who’re set to become…..the new Ghostbusters. The movie is again being called “a passing of the torch” by many. Now I get that Hollywood wants to restart the franchise with young actors so they can make a bunch more sequels and make a big cash, however there’s good way to do this and another more risky way, which Hollywood seems to be unable to resist trying over and over. I’m gonna be honest and straight forward here, fans want the third Ghostbusters film to focus on the remaining living cast from the 80’s. I fear Hollywood just doesn’t understand this and is on it’s way to make the same mistake that the latest Star Wars trilogy has made.
‘Ghostbusters 3′ can go the way of “passing the torch”, I’m all for that. But this third film really needs to center around the characters people have been waiting since 1989 to see. Plain and simple. We need Bill, Ernie and Dan back for one last adventure. This should indeed pass the torch to a younger team, those new characters in this installment should start out as supporting ones and by the movies end, get in on the action to help the old cast defeat whatever spooky threat has materialized. I think the latest Disney Star Wars made a big mistake by not focusing more heavily on the iconic characters from the original trilogy, rather they put them as secondary characters, pushed to the background, getting very little screen time. It’s almost like they were completely clueless about how much the fans wanted more of those classic characters just one last time. We all wanted more Leia, more Han, more Chewy, more Luke hell we wanted more of some damn R2 & C3P0 too! I think by ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ the newer characters could’ve become much more beloved by fans had they slowly worked their way into the plot rather than feel forced upon us. Continue reading
Hot Damn!! Did you all watch the latest YouTube Red series ‘Cobra Kai’ or what?! Talk about a surprise hit show, it’s still blowing my mind that somehow they completely pulled this show off and then some. Who’d have thought a sequel series to The Karate Kid 34 years later would have turned out to be a bonafide hit show? I’m going on record though to say this series not only exceeded my expectations but is one of my favorite TV shows of all time.
So it got me thinking, what other 80’s movie franchises could they give a similar treatment to after the surprise success of Cobra Kai? Here’s five other 80’s franchises I think if given the care of ‘Cobra Kai’ might work in a similar way as tv series. Obviously the movies have to have had memorable characters that we wonder what are up to today! So here we go…
ROMANCING THE STONE (1984)
Like The Karate Kid the original from 1984 is one of my all time favorite movies. It spawned a lackluster sequel called ‘Jewel of the Nile’ and I think is the perfect franchise to revisit if done with respect of the original franchise. The movie captured people’s hearts back in 80’s and struck a chord with people longing for some real romantic adventure in their normal everyday lives. I always wondered if Joan Wilder & Jack Colton lived happily ever after? Well this series could revisit Joan & Jack today who’re obviously much older but also catapult their now normal lives into one last adventure.
Teaming them up with their children, who somehow are pulled into another bizarre treasure hunt that reaches exotic places of the earth that are little traveled or perhaps even completely uncharted. Michael Douglas is in his early 70’s and Cathleen Turner in her 60’s but adding their younger children or single child into the mix could make for a surprisingly fun exotic action adventure. Hey they’re still both younger than Harrison Ford and he’s getting another Indiana Jones movie! Handled the right way I think a Romancing the Stone series would be a blast. Probability of this happening: Highly Unlikely.
WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT (1988)
I think a Roger Rabbit series could be totally insane & a ton of fun. Imagine Toon Town 30 years later? What hell is going on there? The show could take place in the 1980’s or even in the same time period as the first movie. Because most of the characters are cartoons it’d be easy to bring them back for another adventure and you could even pull a great new cast for this second adventure and really flesh out the Toons.
As far as a storyline it’s interesting to know that there are actually a trilogy of Roger Rabbit books the first one being written in 1981 ‘Who Censored Roger Rabbit’, the second in 1991 ‘Who P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit’ and in 2013 ‘Who Wacked Roger Rabbit’. So as far as material there’s a lot to pull from. I think this would be a great franchise to revisit in a series and again like it was in 1988 there’s nothing out there today quite like it. Probability of this happening: Unlikely.
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986)
Ahhh…now here’s a great one that could be taken in so many fun directions. People have wanting a proper sequel to ‘Big Trouble’ for decades and it’s even been given a sequel treatment in comic book form recently. So why the hell not kick start the further adventures of Jack Burton in current times? Bring back Kurt Russell as the character and let him get into more trouble all over again. He certainly doesn’t need to stay in “Little China” this time around but let’s find out just what the hell he’s up to these days.
Let John Carpenter write, direct or do both even but fill it to the brim with more of the amazing monsters, adventure and 80’s fx that made the cult classic so damn beloved. Kurt Russell looks as bad ass as ever too and he really wouldn’t even need to be paired up with a bunch of young hip side kicks for the first season at least. Theres’ so much potential here for a great series and I think fans would eat it up if it was handled with the same respect and care as Cobra Kai. Probability of this happening: Good. As a reboot has been talked about for years with Duane Johnson.
THE GATE (1987)
Ok so I know this will NEVER happen but a seed has to be planted somewhere right? Cuz you just never really know? However I had to add this one because it’s a truly great 80’s franchise I hold dear to my heart. The Gate from 1987 is one of the best 80’s horror flicks ever and I think if some place like Shudder was looking for a horror series to kickstart The Gate would be the perfect choice. It’s got a cult following and it’s two main stars Stephen Dorff and Louis Tripp (Who also starred as the lead character in The Gate 2) are both only in their 40’s at this point.
What if The Gate was opened once again by one of these guys in modern times, Maybe Louis Tripp’s kids find one of his old demonic metal records and set things into motion? I’d imagine it’d be amazing to see one of them have to make the call to the other to save suburbia from complete evil again. Maybe Stephen Dorff has a family of his own? Maybe Louis Tripp, the heavy metal obsessed kid from the first two movies is in a once popular but now failing metal band of his own? Whatever the case I always thought it’d be cool to see these two guys later in life as Dorff still stars in plenty of movies and we’d have to get Louis Tripp out of acting retirement! Probability of this happening: Between slim and none but now with this post slightly better!!
THE GOONIES (1985)
Ah…ok so now we get to an 80’s movie that I think has got a decent chance of being revived as a tv series! How awesome would it be to have a Goonies TV show in the works? I mean who the fuck doesn’t wanna know what the damn Goonies are up to now that they’re all grown up?!! Imagine them all now settled down in their normal boring every day lives, some may have families and some may be in completely different places but one thing remains true Goonies never say die! Through some strange turn of events the grown up Goonies become involved with their most incredible adventure yet. Something none of them ever imagined would happen ever again. The cast is still relatively young and the possibilities are endless.
There’s a so much heartfelt drama and adventure that could be explored between these characters as they’re now all grown up and longing for the nostalgia of their childhood, well what happens when that nostalgia gets dropped directly onto their laps? It’d be time to see if The Goonies still have what it takes decades later. You could incorporate their kids into the mix as well if they wanted to pass the torch but I think ‘season one’ would be great to get the old gang back together for a more adult, but still fully comedic adventure of a lifetime. This show could work on so many levels and a tv series is fully the way to go with it. That would all be true if it had a truly great story and writers behind it as it could also easily turn out to be a full on disaster. So many great characters and I think it’d finally give Corey Feldman the adult role of redemption he’s been looking for all these years. Probability of this happening: Likely!!!
So last night I got a sneak peak of the first two upcoming episodes of Youtube Red’s new series ‘Cobra Kai’ AND ‘The Karate Kid’ side by side on the big screen! Yeah, I’ve been super pumped about the new series as The Karate Kid still remains in my top five favorite movies of the 1980’s and maybe even of all time. I like it that much, so as a big fan I’m gonna give it to you straight. The first two episodes of Cobra Kai are everything you’d hope them to be and then some especially if you’re a fan of the original 80’s classic. If you’ve somehow never seen The Karate Kid, you really should do so first to fully appreciate this series, but if not I still think it’s got just as much to offer to those who don’t know the history of the franchise. Here’s some of the basic story set up in the first two episodes without spoiling anything, as a good deal of the stuff I’m about to tell you about the plot is in the trailers for the show…
Original stars/rivals Ralph Macchio as ‘Daniel LaRusso’ & William Zabka as ‘Johnny Lawrence’ return and both look amazing in 2018. In fact they look so eerily similar to the way they did in the 80’s at times it’s a bit surreal. The story here picks up in the present day & former high school mega bully karate champion Johnny is no longer the rich “cool guy” he was back in the 80’s. He’s a jaded, down on his luck alcoholic who still spends a fair amount of his days reminiscing about the glory days of his high school years. Despite all of that from the very opening he also displays he can kick ass just like he used to just as well. He ends up accidentally saving a high school kid from a major ass kicking from a bunch of bullies. Not out of the kindness of his heart but because they’ve possible messed up his 80’s sports car in the process of doing so. Continue reading
Oh shit! Here’s another short little trailer for thew upcoming Karate Kid sequel series ‘Cobra Kai’! It’s still a bit surreal for me that this is actually really a thing. Karate Kid (and actually part 2), for me is easily one of my all time favorite movies of the 1980’s.I mean really who’d have thought we’d get to see what Daniel & Johnny are up to in 2018?!
So far the two teaser trailers look pretty damn great, this latest one show’s that Johnny is likely up to no good again with his former sensei’s “teaching” style creeping back into modern times! Oh boy… Gotta love the little joke at the very end too, I may just have to get Youtube red-dammit!!! I can’t wait!