I had the stupid pleasure of checking out ‘Kick or Die’ a karate infused thriller from 1987 I found on VHS a couple nights ago and damn was it jam packed with a boatload of dumb shit to revel at. Basically what we got here is a psycho serial rapist who’s preying upon women at college campus and to solve the ongoing problem they hire a karate expert with PTSD to come to the campus and teach the women how to kick…..OR DIE! Yeah, this one also has a secondary sub plot with one of the college girls on campus trying to become a superstar pop singer, good thing that the karate expert teacher dude who she quickly falls in love with has friends in high places! Yeah he knows another big shot karate expert who owns a powerhouse record company!
Anyway I got ahead of myself, let me back up a bit, so things naturally get a bit crazy when PTSD karate guy arrives on the campus, it seems trouble follows this guy everywhere as naturally an evil punk ass motorcycle gang arrives pretty much the second he gets there to beat everyone up in the campus restaurant. So karate teacher dude steps in on the action and “kicks” their asses and in doing so pretty much demolishes the small business owners restaurant, but it’s the 80’s and people are usually fine with that! We’ve got a ton of absurdly ridiculous characters here in this one, for instance the biker gang dudes are way way over the top and of course make another appearance later coincidentally at the most inopportune moment.
The main character karate guy is really given his share of overly dramatic layers as a character as well and his sensual “chemistry’ with the pop star college girl feels fully forced in a great way. The movie at one point seems to almost abandon the whole psycho rapist plot entirely with a new side plot of the college girl’s sudden rise to fame as a potential pop superstar. But don’t fret it’s all part of Kick or Die’s bigger better plotline that’s sure to shock viewers at the film’s stunning finale….
This one also has some plot points that clearly wouldn’t be very well received in today’s climate of things, the villain of the movie is described as early on as a “black male” and mentioned again several times again in the movie that way. The psycho guy is a vile over the top filthy talkin’ monster of a man, so much so that it’s pretty hard to take any of his words or actions presented onscreen seriously. With all that being said, things take quite an interesting turn near the third act with a bonafide d-level M Night Shyamalan style twist that turns the movie upside down in a pretty ridiculous way. Actually if you stay with it to the end you’re likely to have a completely different view of the movie’s intentions as a whole. It really does make this one stand out a little more from the sheer absurdity of it. There’s some decent, dumb, over the top action & kung fu fights along the way as well, one confrontation with the college frat boys and PTSD karate teacher guy is pretty awesome to behold. For stupid movies this one’s a gem, it’s got a good fast pace to it and rarely loses steam with it’s ridiculous plot. If you’re searching for a fun, dumb movies to watch with a group of friends this one’s worth hunting down for sure. The title too, ‘Kick or Die” I must admit is pretty damn excellent as well…
I had the pleasure of seeing Green Room last night here where the film was shot in Portland Oregon! I’ve gotta say you’re not going to find a more tense, visually stunning thriller this year. Wow, this movie had me on the edge of my seat and ready to pee my pants for nearly it’s entire duration-yep it’s that intense. If you’re a fan of punk rock like myself you’ll really appreciate this one and if you’ve ever been in a touring band you’ll dig this even more.
The story is simple young struggling punk rock band The Ain’t Rights are on tour and it’s a bit of a disaster. Low pay and cancelled shows almost stops the band’s trek cross country until they get a last minute gig out in rural Oregon at a secluded punk venue with a guarantee of $350.00. The band jumps at the chance and upon arriving to the club realize that their audience will be a freaky aggro crowd white supremacist punks. So naturally the band gets the bright idea to open up their set with a cover “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” by The Dead Kennedys. Yeah always a good idea right?
This is the least of their worries though as the band gets ready to head off to their next destination they run back into the green room to grab their charging cell phone and discover a young woman murdered there surrounded by angry skins. This is where things get crazy. Real crazy. From this point on the movie becomes so intense it’s almost impossible to look at or away from the screen. The clubs swarms with a mob of angry skinheads who’re dead set on letting no one from The Ain’t Rights out alive.
The angry gang of racist dicks takes orders from white supremacist grandmaster Patrick “Professor X/Picard” Stewart, in a role truly unique for him. The first time I’ve seen him play a truly sinister, menacing character. The movie plays like a punk rock version of Precinct 13 and is soaked with some serious grit and some seriously, serious gut wrenching scenes of survival. This one is NOT for the faint of heart. No one is safe and by the end you’ll have been through the ringer and back. Green Room is jam packed with action, totally impressive fx and great convincing characters. Anton Yelchin is excellent as well as the bands bass player who’s determined to make it through the night alive. I highly recommend this one for anyone who digs an incredible thriller that’s got a truly unique spin. It’s the perfect follow up to director Jeremy Saulnier’s equally shocking “Blue Ruin” if you’re looking for the ultimate punk rock survival flick look no further…..