Empty Balcony: Renegades, aka American Renegades

The Luc Besson action mill has turned out some of the most successful action flicks of this century, and also some of the genre’s most overwrought messes. Renegades (released in the States as American Renegades) lies somewhere in between. It has the grandiosity one would expect from a Besson-produced action flick, but the end product is something anonymous.

Continue reading “Empty Balcony: Renegades, aka American Renegades”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Bunker: Project 12

Today’s shitty film is a rare one. As of this writing, it doesn’t have a Wikipedia page, despite there being two well-known actors in it. One of those actors, Eric Roberts, doesn’t even have the film listed in his filmography page on Wikipedia. Not even as a red link. That’s some impressive obscurity in the age of the internet.

From 2016, Bunker: Project 12 was released straight-to-video under the title Project 12: The Bunker. In fact, should one watch this movie, that is the title that shows in the opening credits. Where the slightly adjusted new title comes from is anyone’s guess. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Bunker: Project 12”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Alien Warfare

I love that movies like Alien Warfare are still being made. It’s a true action bottom feeder. With the rise of streaming, I had been concerned that the ready availability of good content would leave shitty movies like this without an audience. But, I shouldn’t have underestimated capitalism. Good movies cost more for streaming services to license, and the proliferation of streaming services means that there’s a good chance the movie one wants to watch is on a service to which they do not subscribe. And on top of that, all these streaming services are desperate for content, to make them stand out from each other. All this means there is still a market for cheap schlock. The rights holders’ overprotectiveness and over-monetization of their good properties means the shitty movie lives on. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Alien Warfare”

Empty Balcony: Officer Downe

Not all comic book adaptations feature superheroes and supervillains chasing down the one mysterious MacGuffin that can either save or destroy the universe. Sometimes, all a comic book hero wants to do is clean up the streets of the big city.

Part Robocop, part drive-in homage, and part splatterfest, Officer Downe is the cinematic adaptation of the comic of the same name from writer Joe Casey and artist Chris Burnham. Casey also penned the screenplay for Officer Downe, while directing duties were handled by Shawn Crahan. If that name is familiar to some of the Loyal Seven readers, that’s because Crahan’s day job is as a member of heavy metal group Slipknot. Other members of the band get in on the fun as extras and minor characters. Continue reading “Empty Balcony: Officer Downe”

Giant Monstershow: The Host (2006)

The October Horrorshow Giant Monstershow is nearing its end. The featured films have been reviewed in chronological order. After a glut of films from the 1950s, it only took another ten flicks to get us to 2006, when today’s film was released. The ’50s were the golden era for giant monsters. Hardly a week went by without a giant monster flick in the theaters, if the movies I’ve watched for this month have been any indication. Giant monsters still show up in theaters every few years, but the pace has slowed. Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: The Host (2006)”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Cyber Tracker 2, or, Century City Bullet Storm

Sometimes miracles do happen, and a shitty, straight-to-video movie finds enough success that it gets a sequel. If viewers of Cyber Tracker were left feeling a little wanting, if they felt like they needed more Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson and more stiff androids with bottomless gun magazines, then they needn’t have feared. Wilson, director and producer Richard Pepin, and producer Joseph Mehri felt this emptiness — this animalistic need for more shitty action — and goodness gracious they filled it. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Cyber Tracker 2, or, Century City Bullet Storm”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Cyber Tracker

It’s the future! Sometime around 2015 or ’16. Professional kickboxing legend Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson plays Eric Phillips, the head of a Secret Service detachment guarding Senator Bob Dilly (John Aprea). Dilly, while not in Washington or running for reelection, has been working with mega-corporation Cybercore to develop the Computerized Justice System, whereby crimes are prosecuted by a computer, and swift justice is carried out by androids called ‘trackers.’ Should one be convicted of murder, a tracker will appear out of nowhere and carry out sentence. There’s nothing a person can do. No deals, no appeals. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Cyber Tracker”

October Horrorshow: Jason X

Jason XIt’s Friday the 13th! In October! Missile Test couldn’t possibly let the day go by without watching a Friday the 13th flick, and this one is a doozy. By 2001, the original Friday the 13th franchise was on its last legs. The producers, recognizing that the old formula had been ground into dust by overuse, decided to shake things up. And by shake things up, I mean they all contracted serious cases of the awfuckits and sent their franchise property into space. That’s right, no more summer camp and no more Crystal Lake. This film takes place in outer space…in the future. Hell yeah.

Jason X, from writer Todd Farmer and director James Isaac, is the tenth film in the Friday the 13th franchise. It’s the second to ditch the Friday the 13th moniker, after 1993’s Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. When a film franchise forgoes using its title — the most significant brand that it has — a viewer can tell that things haven’t been going so well lately. The Friday the 13th flicks were always moneymakers, but the return on investment had been going down with every film, and the franchise had earned an unsavory reputation for being cheap, exploitative schlock. Clearly the only thing to do was to double down. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Jason X”

October Horrorshow: Ghosts of Mars

John Carpenter is one of my favorite directors. He’s not on the Mount Rushmore of filmmakers, but his best films can be thought of as eminently watchable. They are respected. They are known and successful enough that a lot have been remade. But he also has some films that are not so good. It would be easy to blame Carpenter’s poorer quality films on budget, but that does not compute. Carpenter worked magic with the measly budgets he had in Halloween and Escape from New York. Rather, something happened in the late 1980s, starting with Prince of Darkness in 1987, that precipitated a steady decline. There were still sparks of life in his films, but that eminently watchable quality of his films seemed to fly away. In its place was substituted cheapness, sometimes of rank quality, and this turn was inexplicable from a filmmaker who had done so much with so little throughout his career. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Ghosts of Mars”

Stallone Month: The Expendables 3

90 million bucks. That’s how much it costs to make a shitshow of a movie. A bad film can be made for far less than that, of course, but an unofficial motto of The Expendables films has been ‘go big or go home.’ Those 90 million dollars are about all that’s big about this film, though. Sure, The Expendables 3 looks like a big Hollywood action flick, but pay close attention and one will realize that just about everything in this movie is ersatz — an imitation. Continue reading “Stallone Month: The Expendables 3”