Tagged: female action stars
Needs to be BLU: Brigitte Neilson’s 90s Sci-Fi Ass Kicker GALAXIS!
Today I’m starting a new series on U-Dork called “Needs to be Blu” Where I’m going to start documenting all of the movies that I’ve seen that most desperately need a fancy ass blu ray release! There are still some real gems out there that just aren’t getting the attention they deserve, are out of print on dvd or have only EVER been released on VHS format.
Today my recommendation to all those fancy labels out there like Vinegar Syndrome, Culture Shock, Arrow video, Visual Vengeance etc is Brigitte Nielsen’s sci-fi actioner GALAXIS aka Terminal Force released in 1994. Brigitte Nielson stars as a inter-galactic space babe who kicks a lot of ass coming across like Dolph Lundgren’s lady action counterpart. Check it out:
I wish she’d have had more cheesy roles like this(I’ve got to check out BODY COUNT still), she’s such charming presence and iconic femme fatale. In this particular film she really looks the part too, she dwarfs most of the men in height and doesn’t take a lick a shit from a single one of them. It’s a bit of a mix between The Terminator and Highlander and feels like it was shot in the late 1980s. It hits all the right beats for me- the fish out of water, light romance, charmingly idiotic characters, some genuinely fun special fx as well as a good sense of humor throughout. Plus Moll here who’s a great B-movie villain (check out ‘Dungeonmaster’ from 1984 for more proof of that) is of course a lot of fun to watch ham it up!
A cool little sci-fi “run for your life in a big city” adventure where Brigitte is your guide and Richard Moll reprises his “bad guy” role again as a sort of Darth Vader type villain. Top top it all off Sam Raimi even shows up for some of the fun early on and so do some stop motion robots thankfully. Lots of lasers, dark steamy alleys, ridiculous bad guys and of course Nielsen looking all sexy as the amazonian leather clad lead, just legit dumb fun that I’m always all in for.
Aside from Brigitte the co-lead John Brennan plays a charismatic numbskull treasure hunter who’s on the hunt for some strange artifact, one that Brigitte and Moll are on the hunt for as well. Along the way he of course gets mixed up in a boatload of shenanigans that Nielson usually has to solve by kicking someone’s ass.
The lucky guy gets to join forces with Nielson, and the two slowly fall for each other, too bad the evil Moll always seems to arrive before anything can ever really happen for the two! As far as dumb bad guys go too there’s a really over the top mob boss guy played by Fred Asparagus who somehow manages to be a major player in the action all the way up to it’s boiler room style finale. Obviously this is prime cheez, it’s fun, fast paced and largely forgotten- Someone release this on blu ray!
Cynthia Rothrock’s Butt Kickin’ 1980’s KFC Commercial?!
Now this was welcome surprise to brighten up the dark days here, a recently unearthed Cynthia Rothrock KFC Commercial from the 1980s! I just saw this today and just having watch the ultra weird 1990 Hong Kong adventure fantasy flick “Prince of the Sun” she starred in made my day!
Anyway if you don’t know who Cynthia is and you’re a fan of 80’s & 90’s action movies or someone who thinks the “strong female lead” in movies is some new phenomenon, you’d better track down some of her movies. You’ll get a heavy dose of wild martial arts action and plenty of bone breaking stunts! She did some sweet lesser know Hong Kong productions early on in her career that are also a blast. Anyway check her out as she sells her soul to Colonel Sanders!!!
Forgotten 80’s Cyborg Mayhem: Step Aside Robocop Here Comes MARIA!
So way back in 1988 Hong Kong had their own awesome version of Robocop, an ass kickin’ lady cyborg named Maria! Yes, the action/sci-fi flick ‘I Love Maria’ aka ‘Roboforce’ is easily one of the best 80’s movies I’ve seen coming from that region of the world since I started going down the rabbit hole of odd ball Hong Kong cinema a while ago. I must admit, a lot of Hong Kong films during that era are usually pretty hit or miss, many with confusing, nonsensical plots & often weird slapstick potty humor that likely loses something in the often rudimentary english translation provided. However ‘I Love Maria’ definitely hits the right beats on the humor, action & plot to make it stand out as not merely a foreign remake of Robocop but a uniquely charming little sci-fi adventure all of it’s own. The plot’s indeed pretty outrageous, but to a large degree that’s what makes it a so much damn fun. It’s also filled with some memorable characters that at the end of the day, leave you with some warm fuzzy feelings about friendship & the importance of true camaraderie. So what’s it all about you ask?
So the vicious “Hero Gang”, is a downright nasty criminal terrorist organization (I know odd name for the gang then huh?), hell bent on wreaking all out havoc upon the streets of Hong Kong with their unstoppable killer robots: Pioneers 1 and 2! While Pioneer 1’s a giant hulking armored unit, Pioneer 2’s been modeled after “Maria“, the Hero Gang’s devious second in command. When Pioneer 2 gets damaged during a secret assassination mission, it’s taken into the custody of a curious hi-tech weapons inventor employed by the police force named “Curly”. He secretly repairs & reprograms her with new coding that triggers changes to her logic center. Pioneer 2 begins to develop her own unique heroic personality and soon Curly finds himself caught in the middle of a deadly battle against The Hero Gang. Banding together with a drunken ex-gang member named “Whisky” & “T.Q.”, a bumbling news camera man, the four of them embark on a dangerous mission with the fate of Hong Kong in the palm of their hands!
‘I Love Maria’ is a must see for fans of odd 80’s sci fi, the three main human characters have some great chemistry together, one of which is cult director Tsui Hark (Detective Dee, Double Team, Once Upon a Time In China), who hams it up thoroughly as the heroic alcoholic ‘Whisky’. The special effects work is pretty stunning as well, especially when it comes to Maria battling the ‘Pioneer 1’ robot. They bash though walls, fire rocket launchers for their arms and fling eachother around like rag dolls on the streets of Hong Kong. They never skimp on spectacle here either as there’s a plethora of explosions, Hi-tech weaponry, martial arts battles, car chases & of course awesome robot beat downs to behold here. There’s also a pretty interesting duo of villains, the brother & sister leaders of The Hero Gang who also happen to be in love. Throw in “Mr. Vampire” himself, Lam Ching Ying in the mix to showcase his always amazing kung fu and you’ve got yourself a frenetic sci-fi action flick here that never lets up.
That all being said the real star of the show is clearly the charismatic cyborg Maria, who not only lights up the screen with her robotic butt kicking but also with her curious charm. A largely forgotten rad 1980s female action hero that more people need to discover. Hunt this one down, especially if you dig over the top, 80’s, sci-fi action stuff that really fires on all cylinders: unique characters, stunning practical fx, sets, locations and just pure cybernetic mayhem a’ plenty . Stick around all the way through the end credits as well, where you’ll some of the sweetest scenes of the movie. Someone needs to jump on releasing and cleaning up some of the amazing Hong Kong horror/sci-fi stuff out there from the 80’s & 90’s, there’s so many forgotten, rarely seen gems for fans of cult cinema in the USA. Until then this one’s actually pretty hard to find, but definitely worth the effort!