Shitty Movie Sundays: No Escape No Return, or, Three Riggses and No Murtaughs

The early 1990s were very much a weird time. It was an extended hangover from our experience of the ’80s, and movies reflected that. As important as music was in redefining style, and giving the younger Gen-X slackers senseless purposelessness, there was still a fair amount of big hair and mullets out there alongside the flannels and unkempt coiffures. In shitty cinema, sharp suits, tight skirts, and cocaine were still the rage, while out in the real world, alternative rock had rediscovered heroin. Movies were playing a game of catch-up when it came to popular culture, resulting in some films looking like anachronisms.

1993 saw the release of No Escape No Return, a cheap buddy cop flick that takes all the well-worn clichés of the last decade-plus and stirs them into a shitty mush. Charles T. Kanganis handled writing and directing. More importantly, Joseph Merhi, a Shitty Movie Sundays Hall of Fame inductee, was one of the producers, adding this film to an impressive list of subpar accomplishments. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: No Escape No Return, or, Three Riggses and No Murtaughs”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Deadly Prey

What a gloriously stupid movie. I loved just about every minute of it. Writer/director David A. Prior made a shitty movie, but in giving it a solid pace and an absurd amount of violence, he made something entertaining and watchable. I defy anyone who watches not to laugh during multiple parts of this film, usually when the star, David’s beefcake brother Ted, stabs someone with a Halloween store plastic knife, or spouts out one-liners that would have left Sylvester Stallone blushing.

From way back in 1987, Deadly Prey is a direct-to-video Rambo ripoff. Ted Prior stars as Mike Danton, a Vietnam vet whom David places into an arena and allows to go kill crazy. Danton’s antagonist is Colonel Hogan (David Campbell), his former commanding officer, who has set up a mercenary training camp outside of Los Angeles. Ted Prior may play the main character, but he doesn’t get top billing. That goes to Cameron ‘Discount Shatner’ Mitchell and Troy Donahue, who were slumming it for an easy paycheck. Their scenes in this film looked as if they were filmed in a day. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Deadly Prey”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Alien Rising, aka Gemini Rising

What a bottom-feeding pile of garbage. This reviewer has seen many bad movies — enough bad movies that I’ve ruined any arthouse bona fides I may have had — yet, sometimes, I’m still surprised that something so amateurish manages to get made. This is one of those shitty movies where no one involved, even the professionals, seemed able to capitalize on their work.

Alien Rising, from 2013, is a direct-to-video shitfest brought to viewers by screenwriters Michael Todd and Kenny Yakkel, and director Dana Schroeder. This was Schroeder’s second directing effort, and, if his IMDb page is any indication, it will be his last. Thank goodness. We shitty movie fans may be into flagellation, but everyone has limits. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Alien Rising, aka Gemini Rising”

Empty Balcony: Taps

Back in 2014, Missile Test held Arnold Schwarzenegger month, where I watched and wrote about every significant Arnold flick. There was no abiding reason for featuring Arnold movies for an entire month, other than I just felt like doing it. I followed that up in 2017 with a month of Sylvester Stallone reviews. Then I got the bright idea to do a month of Tom Cruise flicks, but my soul ran dry after watching Rain Man. Anyway, I’ve had ten reviews of Tom Cruise movies sitting in a folder for years, now, collecting digital dust. So, since Cruise month isn’t likely to happen, for the next couple of months I’ll be posting these old-ish reviews on Wednesdays. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: Taps”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Battletruck, aka Warlords of the Twenty-First Century

When is a shitty Italian Mad Max ripoff not a shitty Italian Mad Max ripoff? When it’s a shitty American/New Zealand Mad Max ripoff!

Battletruck, also released under a number of different titles, comes to viewers from Roger Corman’s New World Pictures stable, although his name is nowhere in the credits. From 1982, it was written by Irving Austin, John Beech, and Harley Cokeliss, with Cokeliss also sitting in the director’s chair. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Battletruck, aka Warlords of the Twenty-First Century”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Hands of Steel

The importance of the Italian contribution to Shitty Movie Sundays cannot be overstated. Many of the most outrageous and joyfully incompetent films featured in the Watchability Index hail from that land of ancient art and culture. I’m sure that way back in the day, before the miracle that is recorded media, there were countless shitty penny operas and circuses for the masses to enjoy. For all we know Verdi had a secret passion for sleaze. My point is, shitty Italian cinema didn’t just come from nowhere. The DNA had to be there already. For every master filmmaker such as Federico Fellini, there has been an Enzo G. Castellari. For every Lina Wertmuller, a Bruno Mattei. And for every Bernardo Bertolucci, there has been a Sergio Martino. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Hands of Steel”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Shanghai Fortress

How do I know China is a superpower? Besides the massive economy, the massive military, the massive population, and China’s massive effect on world politics? It’s because the Chinese are now making alien invasion movies where they save the day. That is when a nation truly arrives at the forefront — when they can make jingoistic popcorn cinema of the world-saving variety. And, like most American forays into such material, it stinks.

Shanghai Fortress is an adaptation of the sci-fi novel by Jiang Nan, wherein, in the near future, a new energy source called Xianteng has been brought back to Earth by astronauts. It’s a self-replicating energy source, and clean. A new day has dawned for humanity. Except, some aliens get wind of us having Xianteng, and a gigantic spaceship arrives, Independence Day-style, to rain hell on the earth. After five years of conflict, only one major city remains: Shanghai. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Shanghai Fortress”

October Horrorshow: Dead Trigger

What a putrid mess. Dead Trigger, from 2017 but resting on a shelf until this year, is an adaptation of a video game. It’s not the worst video game adaptation I’ve ever seen (that title belt is, and very well always could be, held by House of the Dead), but, it is a properly awful movie. It’s a good thing for the shitty movie fan that this film stars Dolph Lundgren, who has been gracing productions like this for over 30 years. The man is a shitty movie legend — the Tom Brady of bottom feeding dreck. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Dead Trigger”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Turkey Shoot, aka Escape 2000

At first glance, a viewer could be forgiven if they thought Turkey Shoot, also released as Escape 2000 in the US, comes to us via an Italian master of shitty cinema such as Enzo G. Castellari or Alfonso Brescia. Turkey Shoot has the same look and feel, but it hails from Australia.

Directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith, from a screenplay by Jon George and Neill D. Hicks, Turkey Shoot takes place in a near future where an unnamed fascist regime has control over vast swathes of humanity. Like in all good totalitarian states, citizens who insist on holding onto their personal freedoms are sent to reeducation camps. Turkey Shoot follows the tribulations of the three newest detainees at Camp 47. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Turkey Shoot, aka Escape 2000″

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 readingEmpty Balcony: Renegades, aka American Renegades”