21 July 2008

Ninja Hunt

Ninja Hunt
1983 – Hong Kong
Director – Joseph Lai
AEE, 1992, VHS

No doubt this is going to be a shit fest, Joseph Lai is as far as I’m concerned essentially a pseudonym/alter ego for the notorious Godfrey Ho, thief-master frankenfilmmaker extraordinaire. In any case the name Joseph Lai certainly carries it’s own stigma of shit.

Some ninja, knowing the lasting virulence of the magnetic tape format, steal a secret formula recorded on video tape, which it is rumored can give soldiers a morale boost/bloodlust. They bring it to their goofily yellow clad boss, White Man #1.

Richard Harrison, in the trying role of White Man #2 is called in to investigate the disappearance of the formula cassette. In lieu of appearing in the remainder of the film, White Man #2 calls on his Asian assistant, Aaron who will never appear in the same frame as WM2, to do the legwork and dangerous investigation part of the dangerous legworky investigation. Clearly, this indicates that this is a strictly Asian film with nuggets of white meat haphazardly deep-fried in it for overseas marketability.

Aaron quickly befriends a pint-sized hustlin’ street kid who’s down with all the top Asian gangsta’s in Hong Kong, including Campbell, who’s sleeping with Billys mother. Aaron is repeatedly mugged by Campbells goons, and then there is a dance-club scene with stolen Michael Jackson music.

Suddenly WM1 and his white-man ninjas appear again in silly costumes, muttering administrative business and plotting against WM2. WM2 appears at Billys moms home and confesses to fathering the runt, followed by an inter WM ninja fight.

There is a rock/paper/scissors match at a dance club which devolves into a slapfight and crap, crap, unintelligible crap.As WM2 and his imperialist ninja administration team plan the colonial crackdown on the other Asian four fifths of this film, Billy suffers the culmination of emotional trauma at the hands of his mother who has insisted his whole life that he refer to her as “Auntie” and wear hideous plaid sportscoats.
Finally, heaving themselves bodily from behind their fiercely monolithic mass produced oaken administrative desks, the WM scuffle heartily over the videotape and eventually the winner gets a soft-on.

This means there were at least 20,136 other tapes belonging to the club:

A slightly less crappy poster version of the cover image:

15 July 2008


Rats : Night of Terror
Italy - 1984
Dir. – Bruno Matei (as Vincent Dawn)
Anchor Bay, 2002, DVD

Low budget Italian post apocalypse crap, introduced by some really grainy scrolling text & narration followed by prolonged shots of a dirty but fashionably dressed (for 1984 Italy anyway) gang driving about. Arriving in some kind of abandoned village/town they descend cautiously into the subterranean buildings where they find a welcome cache of food, much of which they proceed to throw on the floor in celebration. At the same time they discover a great deal of equally meat hungry fanged rats, who only take one kind of lip.

Behaving like an 80’s slasher movie version of the Scooby Doo gang, we know we’ll get some fluffy “horror, but we’ll also not only get boobs, but (since it’s Italian) also sausage. Here now, the film begins to cycle through it’s basic shot rotation; shot of “scary” rats, people reaction shot, gory aftermath, broken up occasionally with some banal vapid dialogue.

During the first night of Mattei’s requisite synth-goth soundtrack, we get less than frightening death of lovers while at the same time, another member of the group is attacked and gnawed by a few rats and, in a stroke of merciful genuis, his friends set him on fire to ease his suffering, everyone feels bad and is finally, if a little suddenly, terrified of the rats, despite their otherwise unmotivated rodent performance.

Soon the rats have driven a psychological wedge between the group who’s internal rivalry leads them to a near re-enactment of Night of the Living Dead’s climactic survival tactics argument. Nevertheless despite flamboyant, exuberant fearmongering hyperbole, the rats remain unconvinced of their own powers, requiring a scattering of food on the floor to keep them in place for each shot.

Soon after more rats/reaction/gore shots it becomes rapidly evident that we’re going to run out of rubber rat chewed corpses, so the plot we’ve been waiting for until now is quickly recited by a found voice-recording and concluded by a corny but good, twist in the cheap-but-sincere Mattei (Hell of the Living Dead) style.

Watch the Rats trailer at CultTrailers.

Awesome (if innacurate) Poster/One Sheet included as an insert in this DVD version.

Cover for an Anchor Bay Mattei double feature DVD and a Region 2 DVD respectively.

10 July 2008

My Tutor

My Tutor
United States - 1983
Director – George Bowers
BCI Eclipse Company, 2007, DVD
School Dazed 8 movie set

It should come as no surprise to me now that an 80’s movie, much less a teen sex comedy would start with anything but an aerobics class scene set to jammin’ new wave beats. Nevertheless, I am headshakingly amazed by the consistency.
After said pelvic thrusting, we are introduced to our main characters, the painfully aware Bobby and Jack, played respectively by some guy who looks like a young John Travolta and Crispin Glover, weird as usual (even at this age). Too nerdy to score with real women, the buds (with help from Jacks brother?) try a whorehouse where the requisite innocuous sex humor element of this film is factors in.
As seniors they are on their way out, but Bobby fails his French final, and thus entry into Yale, his fathers alma mater. So his pops hires a live-in French Tutor, Terry.

Once again in the process of trying to get Jack and Bobby laid, the film runs afoul of some base redemption via boobs when the boys attempt to solicit the help of a slutty waitress whose biker boyfriend shows up just in time to ruin everything but the boob shot.

Back at his parents mansion, Bobby pouts and then peeps at his tutor swimming sans-suit in the pool, this elicits a short-lived fantasy sequence, and a great deal of disbelief from me due to Bobby’s spineless behavior. Nevertheless, Terry engages her “homework concentration outfit” in an effort to focus Bobby’s deceptively fey effeminate passivity.

When Terry’s stereotypically 80’s overly jerky ex re-exes himself, Bobby finally occupies the last-ditch-lay category and Terry really settles into her role as Tutor.
At long last, the true raison d’etre of this stridently overcompensating boob-fest reveals itself. Not that it was hiding, we’ve just been getting impatient waiting for the mildly nerdy loser to score with his French teacher.

As a straight male I can see how all the egregious older woman sex-mentor fantasy is mildly entertaining if predicable. A young Crispin Glover is a real treat, as is a cameo by Kitten Natavidad of Russ Meyer fame, and there are a few really good moments of humor in here; the rich vs. the servant stuff is worth it, but the main thrust of it, pun intended, is base and simple.

The DVD set cover art: