Bad action flicks from the 1980s are beginning to blend together for me. They all seem to have the same plots, the same producers, the same locations, the same stars, even the same bad guys. No facetiousness on that last part. In a coincidence for the ages, the last five ’80s action flicks I’ve seen have all had Stack Pierce playing a bad guy. There truly is a bottomless pit of shitty movies, and this age of unlimited content can stress the attention spans of even the most dedicated enthusiast.
What a gloriously stupid movie. If one is going to make a shitty action movie, and one knows they are going to make a shitty action movie, rather than suffering from delusions of grandeur, why not be outrageous? That must have been the conclusion that producer Ashok Amritraj and writer/director Emmett Alston came to when they decided to make Nine Deaths of the Ninja, one of the silliest action flicks Missile Test has seen in at least…a month and a half, if not longer.
Viewers learn what they’re in for during the opening scene, when we see counterterrorist operatives Spike Shinobi (Sho Kosugi), Steve Gordon (Brent Huff), and Jennifer Barnes (Emilia Crow) ply their trade in a training exercise. Spike’s tactical outfit is a true marvel — a camo jumpsuit festooned with explosive crossbow bolts and all sorts of mall ninja blades, and a utility belt ringed with shuriken and lollipops. That’s right, lollipops. At first, I thought they were some kind of small, feathered throwing darts, but nope. Lollipops. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Nine Deaths of the Ninja”
Some film historian could write a book about The Last Boy Scout, the outrageous action flick from 1991. It’s a film legendary for its troubled production, with no less than four Hollywood egos clashing while it was made.
There was screenwriter Shane Black, who had been paid almost two million bucks for the script; director Tony Scott, who was in the midst of his peak as a blockbuster filmmaker; star Bruce Willis, who was in need of a hit after Hudson Hawk underperformed and The Bonfire of the Vanities absolutely bombed; and producer Joel Silver, part of whose legend involves massive amounts of cocaine. Silver was such a pain in the neck that when Scott later directed True Romance, he based the character of Lee Donowitz on Silver. Reportedly, Silver was not pleased. Continue reading “Empty Balcony: The Last Boy Scout”
Regular readers of Shitty Movie Sundays will know that we have quite the appreciation for Nicolas Cage. He’s past the heady days of A-list stardom and has settled into a late career of appearing in small prestige projects and shitty movies alike, to the tune of six or so productions a year. He’s not the first aging star to enter the magical land of b-movies paydays. In fact, he’s not the only actor who has been prolific in the realm of late. Bruce Willis has spent the last decade padding his IMDb page with substandard action and thriller fare, racking up eight credits in 2021 alone.
Unlike Cage, who has done nothing but burnish his legacy, to the point where he plays a fictional version of himself in his latest film, Willis’s performances of late have seemed to be nothing but a bother to him. In films like Breach or Cosmic Sin, Willis has seemed as if he wanted to be anywhere else but in the movie, and his deliveries have been dripping with sneering contempt. It would be off-putting were it not a source of hilarity for the shitty movie fan. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Fortress (2021)”
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 reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Martial Law (1990)”
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 reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: On the Edge (2002)”
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 reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Cosmic Sin”
I once did an entire month’s worth of Sylvester Stallone reviews. Dear reader, you cannot imagine how sick I was of that man, that icon, that Hollywood legend, by about the two-thirds mark. It was a struggle. So much so, that at one point I decided to take ‘Stallone Month’ literally, and not limit myself to just one member of the clan. However, I soldiered on, and that alternate plan never came to fruition. Had I done so, I would definitely have featured today’s flick. I haven’t seen all that many movies starring Frank Stallone, but Terror in Beverly Hills has to be his apex as a leading man. At the very least, it’s the silliest piece of shit he’s ever been in. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Terror in Beverly Hills”
Movie fans might be surprised that besides being a former pro football player, 1970s blaxploitation film icon, and all-around b-movie legend, Fred Williamson has 21 producing and directing credits to his name as of this writing (sometimes it’s the same movie, sometimes it’s not). The movies in his producing and directing lists aren’t all that good, but his presence alone raises the cachet.
Williamson directed, produced, and starred in Down ’n Dirty, from a screenplay by Aubrey K. Rattan. It’s a throwback movie. Despite being released in 2000, the script could easily have been used for a film in the 1970s. The only things that would be anachronistic are the cars, fashions, and the use of cellphones. Other than that, the film fits right in with a decades-old model. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Down ’n Dirty”
When I set out on this crusade to raise awareness of the merits of shitty movies, I never expected to write about two films in a row featuring Richard Grieco, but here we are. He’s not the star of today’s film. Rather, he is the most electric member of the cast. So sorry, Nicole Eggert.
From 1995 comes The Demolitionist, the directorial debut from longtime special effects makeup artist Robert Kurtzman. It’s a Robocop ripoff. There’s not much more to it than that. It is also an ambitious flick, with a decent title, some outrageous performances, and a hot lead who tries her best. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: The Demolitionist”