Saturday, October 12, 2013

Three Films Make A Post: Don't Forget You're Lunch

Lost Voyage (2001): Ah, the early years of SyFy/Sci Fi movies, when there wasn't a little ecosystem of companies producing movies just for the Channel, and they mostly just bought independent productions that would otherwise have landed somewhere on the farthest shelves of video stores (remember those?).
Christian McIntire's film is one of the better outings of that era, telling its conventional story about a ghost ship in the Bermuda Triangle and the fools entering it for news, redemption, or salvage with the bare minimum of mood you can hope for.

It also features Judd Nelson as a parapsychologist making surprised bug eyes at everything and Lance Henriksen being perfectly wonderful, as is his wont. There's little else to say about this one. It's the sort of thing you can watch and feel mildly entertained by, and that's about all it aspires to as well as all it is good for.

Death Race (2008): I was all up and ready to hate Paul W.S. Anderson's remake of the much superior Death Race 2000 but once I had accepted that this is a much less politically interesting, less funny, and less imaginative film, and took it as the more normal kind of cheesy low budget action fodder it was meant to be, I started to enjoy myself quite a bit. There are some nice supporting performances, particularly Joan Allen's version of the "evil woman in a business suite" cliché, Jason Statham is as dependable for this kind of role as expected, and the writing, even though (or because) it is steeped in cheese and stupid conspiracy theories, does provide a nice forward moving piece of nonsense.

Ironically, the film's weakest point are the car racing scenes, which, though exciting in a videogame-y way, use way too much shaky-cam, random zooming, and quick editing. It's always a bit of a shame when you can't actually see the stunt work that presumably goes on. Still, I had a lot of fun with this one, and at least Anderson didn't show any of the races in backwards slow-motion.

Dark Angel aka I Come In Peace (1990): Speaking of films that are dumb but fun, this Dolph Lundgren vehicle directed by Craig R. Baxley during the height of the horror that is that buddy cop genre comes to mind. Dolph is of course the rule-breaking cop (who in these films are always right, because fuck cops who respect the law), while Brian Benben gives an uptight FBI agent. Together they fight crime in form of an alien drug dealer harvesting endorphin, and killing people with a flying CD despite owning an explodo gun, and in form of the FBI trying to harvest an alien.

It's worthwhile in that typical late 80s/early 90s US action cheese way, with many an explosion, decent stunts, and one-liners and "quips" always trying to out-stupid the earlier ones. The film's a lot like a hamburger, really: dumb, fattening, and a sign of all kinds of cultural deficits, but also pretty satisfying before it kills your digestion.

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