Shitty Movie Sundays: Cop (1988)

Cop 1988 movie posterNormally, if there were a trailer available on YouTube, it would be posted here, but not this time. The trailer for Cop spoils the ending. We can’t have that.

What a gloriously stupid movie. I knew heading in that any movie produced by, and starring, James Woods as a lone-wolf detective hunting a serial killer would be an adventure. Cop is more than that, however. It is an absolute howler. It is amongst the most over-indulgent Hollywood vanity projects I’ve ever seen, from an actor who doesn’t know the first thing about nuance.

The highlights:

  • Woods, playing Sgt. Lloyd Hopkins, stakes out a suspected armed robber with his supervisor, Lt. Dutch Peltz, played by Charles Durning. The suspect pulls up to the curb with his date, Hopkins and Dutch confront him, and Hopkins blows the suspect away after he pulls a pistol on Dutch. That’s fine. But then, Hopkins takes the date from the car, who is ambivalent about the whole thing, and leaves the scene to drive her home because she has a nice rack. It’s implied he sleeps with her. I guess that means it was a good shoot.
  • Hopkins tracks down a former actress turned call girl (Randi Brooks), following up a lead on the serial killings, and, wouldn’t you know it? They have sex in the kitchen while bacon is sizzling in a pan nearby. This happens the very scene after Hopkins’ wife leaves him and takes the kid.
  • Hopkins goes to the residence of feminist poet and bookstore owner Kathleen McCarthy (Lesley Ann Warren) to follow up another lead. He’s as gruff and pigheaded as one would expect any clichéd cop from an ’80s film to be, but McCarthy doesn’t seem to care all that much. You see, she’s a feminist only because the right man has never come along to sweep her off of her feet. Lo and behold, that could be Hopkins. He talks her into a date, and later a trip to the bedroom, because he’s the first man who’s been man enough to do so.
  • Hopkins follows another lead to the home of an LA County Sheriff’s Deputy (Charles Haid) who happens to be running male prostitutes. Hopkins then kills the deputy after the deputy goes for a shotgun, but he never faces any repercussions for this, despite having broken into the deputy’s home without a warrant, while also being under suspension from the LAPD.

Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Cop (1988)”

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: Down ’n Dirty

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 readingShitty Movie Sundays: Down ’n Dirty”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Policewomen, or, Misogyny: The Movie

Sondra Currie stars as Lacy Bond, and the last name is no coincidence. As much as Policewomen, the 1974 flick from writers Lee Frost and Wes Bishop, and also directed by Frost, is an exploitation buddy cop crime women in prison gangster martial arts LA story, it’s also a James Bond ripoff. And, unlike all the Bond films, the camera keeps rolling during the naughty bits in this shitty gem.

Policewomen opens with a jailbreak. Despite the ass-kicking efforts of Lacy Bond, two inmates, Pam and Janette (Jeannie Bell and Laurie Rose) stage a spectacular escape. They get naked while they’re doing it, too, staking this flick’s gratuitous nudity claims early (this film actually has much less skin than I expected). For her above and beyond efforts, Lacy is recruited to do some plainclothes work. The squad she joins is investigating a gang led by Maude (Elizabeth Stuart, in her only appearance), an aged, foul-mouthed, dried up, wrinkly old prune of a godfather. Before we get to Maude and her gang, though, I need to write about Lacy Bond’s new colleagues. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Policewomen, or, Misogyny: The Movie”

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”

October Horrorshow: Split Second

Split Second, the 1992 flick from director Tony Maylam and screenwriter Gary Scott Thompson, has all the look and feel one would expect from low-budget Hollywood sci-fi schlock of the era. Everything is lit with colored gels, the film stock stinks, sets look cobbled together from whatever was piled out back behind the lumberyard, most location shots are dirty alleys, the original score is synthesized crap, and, in star Rutger Hauer, there is a fading Hollywood action flick veteran looking to pay some bills. In more ways than just this abbreviated list, Split Second is kin to the products of the Roger Corman gristmill, only this movie comes from England. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Split Second”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Samurai Cop

Samurai Cop, the 1991 stinker from writer/director/producer/editor Amir Shervan, has more shitty filmmaking moments than are possible to recount in any review of reasonable length. Here’s a sample:

  • Fight scenes and car chases have sped up footage to simulate quickness. It’s not subtle, either — approaching Benny Hill Show levels of speed.
  • A great deal of dialogue was recorded in post. That’s not unusual. But Shervan did many of the voices himself, dubbing the voices of stars and bit players, alike. That is unusual.
  • There are a lot of cops in this flick. Many of them wear uniforms. Some of those uniforms don’t have badges.
  • Star Mathew Karedas cut his glorious locks after principal shooting wrapped, but was called back months later for reshoots. Shervan put a ridiculous wig on his head with little regard to whether or not it looked right. It does not look right. In at least one scene, it briefly popped off of Karedas’s head.

Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Samurai Cop”

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 readingEmpty Balcony: Officer Downe”

Empty Balcony: Runaway

Tom Selleck at peak mustache, Gene Simmons, THAT Gene Simmons, playing a mad scientist who has an army of killer robots, in a science fiction film written and directed by Michael Crichton? Yes, I will watch that.

From 1984, Runaway is a look into the near future, where robots are a part of everyday life. They cook our food, wash our clothes, construct our buildings, and guard our businesses. But like all machines, they aren’t perfect. That is where the dedicated men and women of the police department’s runaway squad come in. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: Runaway”

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