Shitty Movie Sundays: Martial Law (1990)

Chad McQueen is Sean ‘Martial Law’ Thompson, and Cynthia Rothrock is vice squad officer Billie Blake. They kick ass, take names, and cohabitate in Martial Law, the 1990 direct-to-video action flick from screenwriter Richard Brandes and director Steve Cohen.

Viewers may remember McQueen as the Kobra Kai with the dyed blond hair in the original Karate Kid. It turns out, the man wasn’t faking it. He has some karate skill, and turned it towards a fairly decent career in shitty movies. And, if one doesn’t know who Cynthia Rothrock is, one is still in the fledgling stage of shitty movie fandom. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Martial Law (1990)”

Shitty Movie Sundays: On the Edge (2002)

Dakota Smith (Fred Williamson) is back in yet another sequel to b-thriller Night Vision. This flick was intriguing to the shitty movie fan in me because it’s a step forward when it comes to casting, compared to other films in the series. Besides Williamson, who also produced and directed, On the Edge features blaxploitation and/or football legends Jim Brown, Bernie Casey, and Ron O’Neal. Gary Busey returns to play a different bad guy than the one he played in the second Dakota Smith flick, Down ’n Dirty, while Ice-T appears as a slimy nightclub owner and smalltime hood. What a cast. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: On the Edge (2002)”

Shitty Movie Sundays: The Flying Saucer

To spoil, or not? That is the question facing all critical reviewers of film, even those poor, unpaid wretches who operate on the fringes. Is the big twist in a film something sacred, to be preserved without forewarning potential viewers, or something so linked to even the lightest analysis of a film that it must be revealed? I imagine some people lose sleep over this. I, for one, like being surprised by a story. On the other hand, I do not like being disappointed by a poor reveal. In the end, it’s up to the discretion of the reviewer. If you, dear soul, have ended up in this corner of the internet reading about this film, then I doubt it is your first stop, so I feel I am risking little by writing that there is neither hide nor hair of an alien in The Flying Saucer, the UFO flick from 1950. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Flying Saucer”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Cosmic Sin

Bruce Willis is having an interesting stretch in this, the latter part of his career. It’s also a familiar one. Like many stars of the past, he is either unwilling, or unable, to take on parts in big budget Hollywood flicks or prestige films. Rather, he has spent the last half-decade or so in b-movie schlock. Sure, he turned up in Glass, and Eli Roth’s underrated remake of Death Wish, but this is overshadowed by his roles in films like Hard Kill, Breach, and today’s subject, Cosmic Sin.

The thing I find most amusing about this turn is that Willis always seems to play the same character in every film — a roguish antihero who joins the cause reluctantly. Watching the first act of these films, one can imagine that it mirrors the process that filmmakers had to go through to convince Willis to be in their movies. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Cosmic Sin”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Assignment: Outer Space, aka Space Men

Assignment: Outer Space, the 1960 sci-fi flick from director Antonio Margheriti, is a textbook example of why cheap practical effects are better than bad CGI. I’m no Luddite. CGI will continue to improve and become more affordable right up to the point AI takes over film production and just thinks shit up on the spot. I’m thinking more of the bargain basement CGI of this still-young century versus what Margheriti’s crew was able to accomplish sixty years ago. Both are unconvincing, but cheap model work has a charm that bad CGI does not — almost an innocence. That’s illusory, of course. Cheap effects are all about saving cash, no matter which method is used. Yet, there’s something slimy about bad CGI, as if it’s more an enabler of poor filmmaking rather than a result of tight budgets. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Assignment: Outer Space, aka Space Men”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Ice Twisters

SyFy has been performing a valuable service for the shitty movie fan for decades, now. They have been willing to purchase and show the absolute worst dogs that the 21st century has to offer, making them the inheritors of the legacy of drive-in movie theaters. Since SyFy is commercial television, these flicks are light on gore and devoid of gratuitous nudity — staples of the drive-in — but they make up for that by featuring movies with outrageous premises, and the type of shoddy production values that are near and dear to we many denizens of the darker realms of cinema. There are true believers at work at that network. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Ice Twisters”