Saturday, February 2, 2013


Body Count (1995): Despite a promising beginning, this (kinda) action movie about Sonny Chiba and his girlfriend Brigitte Nielsen murdering themselves through a "special" police department with members like Robert Davi, Steven Bauer and Jan-Michael Vincent to find out who of them first hired Sonny to kill a gangster boss and then set him up to be arrested, soon turns into a bit of a slog. It's the kind of action movie where the sporadic action scenes are actually decently done, but in between, there's a bunch of boring and irrelevant dialogue and disinterested acting by people who could do better. The only thing that kept me awake enough to not miss the curious finale in which Chiba steals streetcar as most inappropriate escape vehicle imaginable were the horrors the film's costume department inflicted on him and Nielsen. Is that a glittering baseball cap on your head, Chiba-sensei?

Crawlspace (2012): This Australian low budget movie has nothing to do with the other movies called Crawlspace (in case you're like me and always fear an unnecessary remake). It's about some soldiers with crappy call signs crawling through the mad science base of the Australian/US governments - which incidentally only consists of various sizes of crawlspaces - and having trouble with the mad science experiments running loose. This is one of those SF/horror films that would have only needed a script that's a little sharper, and acting that's a little less clichéd to become actually good. As it stands, the movie is competently done and entertaining enough as long as you don't think too much (or at all) about it, but too often falls needlessly back on clichés and underdeveloped ideas.

Play Dirty (1969): House favourite Andre de Toth directs a war movie following a britizized (it's a real word, I'm sure) Dirty Dozen formula starring Michael Caine and Nigel Davenport. The film contains an astonishing amount of cynicism and bitterness towards war, humanity, and the British class system. Play Dirty features its share of tight action, but below the very slight veneer of "war is an adventure" lies a deep undercurrent of loathing the film likes to express with a sarcastic sneer one can hardly ignore. It's an impressively effective movie at that, and as far from any propaganda bullshit as I can imagine.

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