Tagged: review

MOVIE MELT: The Best Worst 90s Irish Kung Fu Cinematic Bonanza!

U-Dork teams up again with the Movie Melt podcast to cover 1997’s moronicly bad ass Irish martial arts flick: Fatal Deviation!

Oh Yeah! We lost some serious brain cells here as a 19 year old Van Damme obsessed filmmaker puts himself in the lead role to constantly lose his temper and kick trailer park gangster ass!

Yes another vanity project that would make Tommy Wiseau jealous jam packed with patheticly enjoyable “acting”, mindnumbing ^plot” twists and some impressive indie ass kickin’ kung fu! Take a listen here for a ton of debatably useless cinematic info to get your mind off the stresses of the damn daily grind! Fatal Deviation is a movie that will surely bring a smile to your face if you’re feeling blue!  Check out the new episode right HERE!

The DESCENDENTS Find a Time Machine & Bring Back Their Lost 80s Album!

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of The Descendents, so you can imagine how damn stoked I am for their latest release ‘9th & Walnut’. Long story short, all of these songs from the new album are from the late seventies and early eighties. Lost tracks the band demoed but never released, instead produced a batch of new songs that became their iconic album ‘Milo Goes to College’. 

Well in 2002 the original line up recorded this lost album and in 2020 lead singer Milo Aukerman finally recorded the lead vocals for it. What we end up with is a bonafide classic brought back to the future, literally a lost punk rock time capsule. It oozes of eighties goodness with the sound and type of songs that I feel have been missing largely from the band’s last two albums. 

It also Clearly is oozing with teen angst, nowhere to be found are songs about getting too old or not being able to eat the greasy food you want anymore. Instead we get a batch of snotty love songs and angry punk ragers clearly fueled by a hefty dose of caffeine & french fries. This is the exact way that I love my Descendents, drenched in the 1980s sunshine and no filter.  It’s also notable that the sound comes full circle with the original lineup intact even though sadly guitarist Frank Navetta passed away not long after this was recorded.

Jam packed with classic guitar riffs with plenty of their nostalgic attitude & the sweet melodies of their original bassist Tony Lombardo bring me back to simpler times. This  album IMO is an absolute dream come true for hardcore fans who grew up listening to them in the 1980s. The anthems of those awkward teen nerds come alive one last time with this latest release from the Descendents! Mmmm…TOTALLY!

V-FORCE Trailer: Low Budget Superheroes vs. Billy Zane in PDX!

Well I just discovered that ‘V-Force: New Dawn of V.I.C.T.O.R.Y.’ a superhero flick that was filming way back in 2017 here in Portland Oregon has finally got a trailer up! Why do I care about some low grade superhero movie that’s been in post production hell for nearly four years? Well, one of it’s scenes was filmed in my shop, Hollywood Babylon, here in Portland Oregon with none other than the legendary Billy Zane. I might add that when they filmed it I was there and ended up spending a little time chatting’ with him about my favorite Zane films like ‘Demon Knight’, ‘Dead Calm’, ‘The Phantom’ & yes of course ‘The Titanic’. You can check out my experience that day right HERE as I blogged that shit up the same day it happened!

However no matter how stoked I was by this whole scenario it turned out the film was put on hiatus due to some sort of loss of funding to pay the crew. Well randomly I decided to do my yearly “V-Force” check up to see if any damn updates were out there on it, because let’s face it, if you filmed most of a movie with the likes of not only Billy Zane but also Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Bruce Dern & Keith David you must at some point be planning to get the funding to release the damn thing. Oh yeah and here’s a picture from that day, with me on the right and of course The Phantom in the center!

Well it seems my “Billy Zane fantasy filming in my vintage shop” just might be seeing the light of day sometime soon? I dunno, because I see there is now an official trailer up and that’s about all, the thing only has a few hundred views and virtually no press out there on it! Well U-Dork is here to give it some internet fire power with this post, so yes folks check out the latest trailer for V-FORCE!! A movie bound for Redbox and just maybe the like of SYFY?! Who the fuck knows, if it ever gets a release I’m going to push for it to be showcased on an episode of the Movie Melt podcast! Oh yeah I also noticed this trailers been up for almost a year now too-WTF?!! Release the shit now!! I want the whole world to see Billy Zane hanging out in my damn shop already!!!

I Was Wrong For So Long: 1994’s ‘THE NEXT KARATE KID’ Kicks Ass!

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….

Anthrax’s ‘Among The Living’ Coming to a Comic Shop Near You!!

Anthrax’s 1987’s thrash metal epic ‘Among the Living’ was always one of my favorite albums of the genre! I used to listen to it all the time back then and it was the soundtrack to many skateboarding sessions I’d have with my friends. I even had the Among the Living t-shirt with Judge Dredd on it, who they had written a song about on the album. So now Anthrax & Z2 comics have developed a rad new way to explore the album with an original anthology graphic novel comic book! Come July 6th, each song on the album has been given it’s own unique story from an impressive creative team, with a new NOTMAN design by Greg Nicetero of Walking Dead fame!
The album is infectiously catchy, with choruses that stick in your head for years and iconic metal riffs galore, It’s an album of anthems and most uniquely known for it’s songs bases heavily in pop culture of the time. So I’m stoked to take a journey with this when it comes out and give the album a spin while I jump into these new stories.

With big names like Brian Posehn, Corey Taylor & Rob Zombie involved it’s certain to be worth a walk down metal memory lane. The album which a fan favorite, definitely deserves a new audience and I’m ready to mosh like it’s 1987 one more time!

Hong Kong Horror Gems: 1985’s ‘Those Merry Souls’!

Here’s a sweet little Hong Kong horror/action/comedy hybrid from 1985 that really put a BIG smile on my face, ‘Those Merry Souls’. Yeah this all but forgotten flick has some serious star power, featuring the likes of martial arts legends like the charming Yuen Biao & the late horror icon “Mr. Vampire” himself Lam Ching Ying (RIP) together for one spooky comedic action packed romper. 

Now as you can see the poster here. makes it look maybe like a full on comedy, and in many ways ‘Those Merry Souls’ plays out like one. However it also has a serious supernatural aspect and threat that slowly rears it’s head to the final genuinely creepy action packed finale. This one tells the story of two stuntmen one a wildly talented martial artist and his bumbling whiny cousin who’s obsessed with a beautiful local club singer. Oh yeah and their uncle has recently developed a rare creepy ability to astral project and has been helping people who die find their way to the other side. He helps those merry souls but during his waking life doesn’t remember a lick of it ever happening.

The two bosom buddy stuntmen spend most of their time trying to ridiculously find romance and getting into trouble while doing so, one of the best scenes takes place on a beach where Yuen Biao shines showing his kick ass martial arts skills taking on a gang beach bullies in only his skimpy little swim suit. Biao really should have been an international star, he’s got the skills and a similar raw charisma of Jackie Chan. Things do get a bit dark and scary here though and what starts off like the perfect 80’s Hong Kong buddy comedy morphs into a pretty thrilling little supernatural tale.

This happens when their uncle, while in his astral form is instructed to take the soul of his own nephew when he’s injured doing a wild stunt on a movie set. At the moment of truth though he decides to let him live & spare his soul a mistake that costs him his own life and sets forth an evil entity upon them. In a way it’s a tiny bit Final Destination and when they employ the help of their other uncle, played by Lam Ching Ying, who’s of course got some secret magic skills of his own to ward off evil, things get really interesting.

The film’s finale is joyous as the whole gang along with their girlfriends all face off the evil entity along with their taoist priest uncle in an action packed final showdown. The stakes get high and the action is off the rails bonkers in true Hong Kong fashion as the entity possesses members of the group and soon things erupt into a crazy supernatural kung fu battle.

We even get to see Lam Ching Ying and Yuen Biao go at it full force, which is treat to behold. Bottom line here, ‘Those Merry Souls’ is a damn good time balancing out the comedy, kung fu & supernatural elements in all the right ways, something I’ve noticed many Hong Kong films of this era seem to fail at in my opinion more often than succeeding. If you’re looking to get in 80’s Hong Kong Horror I highly recommend ‘Those Merry Souls’ as the perfect party movie to share with a hungry gang of movie maniacs!

And for fans of Yuen and LamChing Ying check this out too..

The Crazy Killer Muppet: Benny Loves You!

I just checked out this wild little trailer for what looks like promising horror comedy-Benny Loves You! What if your childhood stuffed animal had a mind of it’s own and didn’t handle being rejected well when you finally outgrew him? Well Benny is here to show you just that as he goes on a rampage when he’s thrown away by his longtime now grown up friend.



“After the accidental death of his parents, Jack’s comfortable lifestyle comes to an end and he must sell his family home. Desperate to improve his life, Jack throws out his childhood belongings including his beloved plush, Benny. It’s a move that has disastrous consequences when Benny springs to life with deadly intentions!”

It definitely looks like something else is going here as well in this one as we see a killer doll and what looks like a toy robot battling Benny. This looks like a super fun little crazy ride, I’ll definitely be checking this one out soon. Benny Loves You was written and directed by Karl Holt who also stars in the film. This one’s out on VOD beginning May 11th.

 

Comic Cover of the Week: Barry Windsor Smith’s EPIC Machine Man!!

I recently pulled out my old ‘Machine Man’ limited series from 1984, some thing I do pretty regularly because it’s just that damn awesome. The series brings Machine Man into the future of 2020 where he faces off with the evil Arno Stark, the next Iron Man! The thing that sets this series apart from a lot of the stuff back then is the fact that Barry Windsor Smith showcases how much of a bad ass he is with his stunning artwork on not only the cover but the inside as well. The series of 4 covers is pretty amazing as it shows his circuitry transforming him into his original form. Here’s issue #3:

They reissued the series again a decade later and then issued a trade paperback with yet another amazing cover by Barry!!

 

Willy’s Wonderland: Nic Cage vs Evil Chuck E. Cheese = Cinematic Food Poisoning!

So I was at 7 Eleven the other day and thought it was the time to finally check out the most recent effort from Nic Cage, Willy’s Wonderland. Yes it was RedBox time yeeehaw!! I’d been looking forward to this movie for a while now, I mean Nic Cage spends the night at a haunted Chuck E. Cheese style pizza place funland and battles the animatronic cartoon band? SIGN ME THE HELL UP!



Well this little horror flick most definitely did NOT bring anything remotely wonderful to the damn party! Just like the 2019 ‘Banana Splits’ movie, 2021’s Willy’s Wonderland makes another attempt at a live action “Five Nights at Freddy’s” and somehow manages again to deliver a shit sandwich. I mean how can Nic Cage battling killer cartoon robots be so fucking boring? It’s almost like you have to be working hard to make this concept suck so bad. Plot? Barely any, but basically Nic Cage is a “cool guy” who drives around a lame sports car really fast (you know cuz that’s what bad asses do) & gets a flat tire. He then has to get it fixed (tuff guys can’t change tires), but the city has no ATM so he makes a deal to work off the car repair by working a graveyard shift cleaning ‘Willy’s Wonderland’ which is basically a low rent version of the much sweeter ‘Showbiz Pizza’.

Ok so Nic Cage’s character also apparently doesn’t speak, I’m not sure why, maybe tuff guys don’t like to talk or more likely Cage didn’t want to waste his time memorizing lines for a movie he knew was giant steaming turd. Everything about this movie basically sucks. Willy’s Wonderland (the actual place) should have been the major draw of the creepy fun, but here this funland restaurant looks like it was cobbled together in 15 minutes with bad props found in some dipshit’s garage. It’s a boring, ugly, sterile set piece that should have been a uniquely awesome creepy place for a horror adventure to take place. The acting also sucks and not in a good way. It tries way too hard to be edgy & make Cage’s character some sort of cool ass modern horror icon but instead just makes him look like some mega lame ass middle aged numbskull. If you like seeing Cage beat up furry robots over and over and over and defeating with no effort while drinking generic energy drinks this one is for you. Zero tension and zero shits given for any of the annoying characters easily make this one of the worst & most disappointing movies I’ve seen in quite some time. 

Like I said, the battles are super duper boring and while the cartoon robot monsters don’t look particularly bad, any chance of them being a threat is ruined early on by showing how weak they are when Nic Cage easily “beats them up” early on. They at least try to weave in some lame recycled plot they stole from ‘Child’s Play’, but by the time that arrives in the movie it’s just too late to give a damn. Then they decide to try even harder to make Cage’s character memorable by having him do a lame “sexy” dance sequence while he plays pinball but it’s just so pathetic that it almost tarnishes his brilliant more recent performance in ‘Mandy’. I know Nic takes pretty much any role he’s offered these days, but I personally thought he was on some sort of sweet comeback? Nope Cage still makes plenty of horse shit and Willie’s Wonderland is a prime example of just that! Please, for the love of God, no more ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ themed “horror” flicks! Let this put the nail in that coffin! 

The ‘SHANG CHI’ Trailer From an Old School Fan’s Perspective!

Sometimes I feel like I’m just raining on everyone’s MCU parade! I really don’t want to be THAT guy. However as a fan of the comic book as a kid in the 1980’s I can say if you’d shown me the trailer with no mention of what I was seeing I’d probably wouldn’t have guessed it was Shang Chi “The Master of Kung Fu’ I’d grown up to love!