Category: Reviews

Altared Carbon: Season 2 Review

Adam M. Wilcox
Adam M. Wilcox
I loved the first season. Watching the second season took a while to get going, but it felt like a completely different writing team took over. It felt like this piece of glass was being shoved into my back.

Altered Carbon short review:

Season 1: Amazeballz! Joel Kiddaman’s acting really impressed me. You could tell this was very expensive to make. Great cyberpunk! The sets would make great paintings that I would hang in my home. It’s a great noire thriller similar to Matrix meets Bladerunner!

Season 2: Woke trash, over reliant on exposition. First they explain what they are going to do. Then they explain what they are doing, and then they explain what they just did.

Women are in charge of absolutley everything because 2020 yo. Most of them are horrible people, so not sure what that is trying to tell us about our future. It gives me mixed signals. Most of the men characters cannot complete a single task without a woman coming in and fixing literally everything. Season 1 was actually more diverse, because men and women held equal positions, and screen time. In this one, all white men are evil. The only two male leads who are Asian, and African American, are allowed to be heroes only when the women tell them it’s ok to do so.

This season was significantly lower in budget. Anthonly Makie does a pretty good job, but if I say that Joel Kiddaman’s performance was better I will probably be branded a racist asshole or something. Which is not fair, because you should not be able to hide poor quality of entertainment behind a shield of race, and genders. The action scenes were ok, but they are sparse when shoved between hours and hours of endless exposition. What ever happened to more show, and less tell?

2 out of 5 cheese curds.

Undecided if I will come back for season 3 at this point. I am not saying no, but I am not saying yes either. I doubt a third season will even happen. Wow science fiction TV is truly awful these days.

I am going to watch The Orville now, and maybe give The Expanse a third chance, because I really miss good science fiction.😥


Uncut Gems – A Raiders of the Lost Flicks Review

By Adam M. Wilcox

Adam Sandler is one bad decision away from the rest of his life, in this fast paced thriller directed by Benny and Josh Safdie.

Sandler gives an outstanding performance as Howard Ratner, a fast talking Jewler from New York’s Diamond District, who is one bad day away from permanent retirement due his outstanding debt and gambling addiction. Ratner may be a jeweler by trade, but he’s a hustler at heart with his mind focused on the next big score. His life is set forth on a downward spiral as he comes upon a rare Ethyopian Opal which he believes will solve all his problems. What transpires over the next two hours is Ratner trying to fix one mistake by replacing it with an even bigger mistake.

“Seriously though, stop looking at me ferbee!!!”

He is not inherently evil, but you can still understand why he’s in so much trouble all the time. Sandler’s portrayal of Ratner is like the guy in a bar late at night trying to get approval from everyone. Nobody feels threatened by him, but most people would like to see him go away. His life is absolute chaos, mostly due to a series of bad decisions. This is not a story that is new to anyone. We have all seen the tale of a degenerate gambler that just can’t stop when he’s ahead, but for this A24 film, it’s all in it’s delivery.

Julia Fox delivers a stellar debut as Sandler’s love interest.

Uncut Gems opens up on Ethiopia where the mcguffin of the movie is first discovered, and then we are literally introduced to Howard Ratner from the inside out. Once Sandler hits the screen the movies pace goes into warp speed, which is by design, but also to the film’s detriment. Uncut Gems wants to give it’s audience angle on the wall feel, without over use of exposition, but we are not given much time to introduce many of the other characters, nore the relationship they have with Ratner. When we are introduced to Julia Fox, she works in Sandler’s jewelry shop, but then she could be a girlfriend, or a call girl. Its really hard to figure out. One thing for sure is people will be talking about how well she fills out a black lacy teddy while teasing Ratner with some racy selfies.

Just admit this is what you wanted to do to Sandler’s face after you watched him in Jack And Jill. No matter how much you like him in Uncut Gems, that movie still happened. No free passes here.

The movie has a lot of overlapping dialogue and people shouting lines over one another so it is hard to figure out where it’s going. It took me about a good 45 minutes to figure out where we were, and where the movie wanted me to go. An old couple in front of me in the theater left about half way through, and that is probably because Sandler hasn’t dropped this many f bombs since his debut comedy album, “They’re All Gonna Laugh At You”. That’s not necessarily a problem I personally had with this movie, but I AM saying this is an A24 film, it’s not for everyone. The movie wants to go out of it’s way to show you how much stress, and pressure this guy is under, and wants to drag it’s audience into it at a thousand miles per hour. I personally feel this two hour run time needed a moment or two to slow down and give the audience time to breath a bit. It doesn’t really slow down until the 3rd act, and that was probably my favorite part of Uncut Gems. When the tension builds in the third act, and Ratner is on the verge of a full blown breakdown, that’s where Sandler really goes all in, and delivered the performance of his life.

I really kind of dig this Puff Daddy Sandler mash up!

Ultimately Uncut Gems is a decent movie with some breakout performance that unfortunately suffers from some pacing issues, and lack of character development, and overlapping dialogue that makes it hard to follow in the first two acts. I am giving this one a 3 out of 5 cheese curds.

A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood Review

By Frank Rivet

First off, let me preface by saying that I liked this movie. That said I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about it. I went in to this expecting a bio pic like the documentary that came out last year. It isn’t. Let me start at the beginning.

Before the movie even started, I had to sit through a trailer for Episode 9. That would have been annoying enough except it was the ONLY trailer. Then the movie starts, and it starts like an episode of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Then the door opened and Tom Hanks appeared. I have always enjoyed Tom Hanks, he was and is a great actor, but here my immediate impression was that he was uncomfortable playing the role, and this impression was reinforced throughout the whole movie by two things: his eyes and his voice.

In his later years Tom Hanks has developed a squint like Clint Eastwood, and this is at odds with Mr. Rogers. Roger’s eyes were always open, expressive, and kind. Hanks looks like he’s deciding where he wants to stab you. Next his voice. Roger’s voice was a light, pleasant tenor with a lilt, the kind of voice that kids and adults would feel totally comfortable listening to; Hanks’voice is lower and just sounds like his normal self. These two things made it impossible for me to suspend disbelief and just see him as Mr. Rogers.

Then the story itself really threw me off. It’s inspired by an article written for Esquire magazine back in 98, so the movie follows a fictionalized version of the reporter who is wrestling with emotional baggage involving the death of his mother and his anger at his estranged father. Mr. Rogers helps him to get past all this and reconcile with his father before the old man dies.

Sounds like a nice movie, right? It is. The problem? Mr. Rogers is a tertiary character in what should have been a story about himself. When he was there, all I could see was Tom Hanks saying things Mr. Rogers would have said, the rest of the time we’re with the reporter, Lloyd, going through his issues with his past.

As I said, I liked it, but I don’t know how to feel about it.

Would I go out of my way to see it again? Probably not. Do I recommend it to others to see? Yes. If you grew up watching Mr. Rogers like I did and you want to catch a further glimpse behind the curtain of his personality, give this a watch and form your own opinions. Personally I’d rather watch the documentary. Enjoy!

Terminator Dark Fate Review (*Spoilers)

Groovinator, and ETEP talk about the Dark Fate of the Terminator franchise with this latest attempt at rebooting it.

Rambo: Last Blood, A Raiders of the Lost Flicks review

by Adam M. Wilcox

It is difficult to spoil a movie with an 89 minute run time. As you may have gathered, most of the movie is explained to you by the awesome trailers. I still don’t like to do spoilers, so if some of my descriptions seem vague, it is by design.

This movie is not Shane. Shane wore a white cowboy hat.

What does the trailer tell the audience? Rambo has assimilated himself back into rural society. Some shit goes bad, and there will be Hell to pay. The movie wastes absolutely zero time of it’s 89 minute run time setting up exactly what you would expect from a movie like this. That is both blessing, and a detriment at the same time. Allow me to explain. Stallone has been successful all of these years by being able to come to terms about what he is capable of, his audience’s expectations, as well as the motivations of the characters he has created over the years. Rocky Balboa, is the loser who got a second chance at life, and went against all odds to prove a point, and won over the hears of many as lovable goon with a huge heart, and a winning spirit. Rambo, is a killer Green Beret Vietnam vet who was unable to rejoin society after the war. In a last minute split decision, it was decided not to kill off Rambo at the end of the movie First Blood, and that paved the way for a series of sequels. All of them dealt with his inability to live a normal life. Whether he was killing Caucasian mountain sheriffs, Vietnamese prison guards, Russian military men, or Burmese military, one thing we can all agree on is that Rambo is an equal opportunity murder machine. So why should murdering a group of Mexican sex traffickers be any different? Only the internet seems to know for sure.

“For that last time Hugo, I told you…it’s only technically a “man bun”, if I take it up another inch vertically! And I don’t drink White Claw!”

I don’t like to read or watch any reviews before I watch a movie, because I often find myself trying to see what others saw in a movie, and now I am no longer looking at it from my eyes, but rather trying to see it from somebody else’s perspective. I hate that I think that way, but it’s impossible to shake, and most of the time I fail to see where others are coming from anyways. So this time I did something different for my review. I ignored the articles, avoided the videos, and just went to the show. However I DID unfortunately glance upon a few headlines on the way out the door, so I agreed to read them on a live stream on my channel as soon as I got home from the movie. I read four separate single star reviews with very outrageously click bait headlines. I refuse to acknowledge, or cite those sources, but I will leave a link to my video below this review. One thing I saw in common among all reviews is that “it’s 2019…(enter any problematic hot spot you wish here)”. So what these critics are telling film makers is that you have to be sensitive now, because 2019 said so. Motherfucker, this is RAMBO, not Creed, not The Shape of Water, not Dora The Explorer either. May I remind you that this whole world existed before 2019, pre-MCU, and action heroes ruled the wastelands of entertainment. Bigger than life heroes doing unrealistic things while spitting out bad one liners faster than you can say “he’s dead tired!”. Many of the people that enjoyed those movies are still in fact alive, and maybe even miss some of that 80’s machismo. Rambo was one of the big ones that dominated that era. This movie is made for THAT crowd, not the hypersensitive cancel culture. Also, don’t mind the 12 thousand robots outside waiting to call my review “problematic”, pay no attention. Don’t feed the trolls. Now that I have got that shit out of the way, let’s move on to an actual movie review.

It’s called Rambo! It is not going to win any Oscars. It’s going to evoke some masculinity like the franchise it comes from! It is not for everyone!

Last Blood waists no time setting up the third act. If you have seen movies like Death Wish, The Unforgiven, or even Home Alone, you kind of get where this is going. The downside to this, is that other characters that are in this film exist as plot points, and do not actually take on any personality to speak of. There is sadly just no development here. This is where I would have preferred the movie to be a bit longer, at least give us some time to know these people. The good guys, OR the bad guys. We already know Rambo from previous films.

“Where in the wild world of sports is Crocodile Dundee when you actually need him?”

The western vibe that you got from the trailer is a bit of a ruse. He is working on a ranch, and much of the action does take place there. But if you are waiting for a proper western which I honestly was kind of hoping it would be, you would be better to stick with Logan, or The Unforgiven. Like I said, this one is a bit more Death Wish, but somewhat shorter. So pacing is very fast, story is very light, and all of it is only to service the final act.

“Think Tough! Ram Tough, or Chevy Tough! Whatever! I was never good at commercials!”

The final act is where the movie actually pays off. If it has been a long while since you sat with your friends at the latest Friday The 13th sequel to watch the “awesome kills”, then you are in for a shockingly good time. It is at this point where music plays, and I refuse to tell you all what song is playing, but I will give you a hint, it is NOT Drowning Pool’s “Bodies”, but most will recognize it. I recognize that this is the director’s subtle way of acknowledging his true audience, those that came for the kills, so buckle up the ride. And killing is what Rambo does best as he slices, dices, and blows heads off in graphic gory glory. Some audience members were actually laughing at this, and I found no problem with that. This is pure escapism folks. It’s not pro Trump, anti-Mexican, (the focus of the film is the rescue of his very Mexican niece after all), or “toxic masculinity” which I believe is code for 80’s machismo murder boners make me feel icky, so I will call it problematic on the internet. In other words, some of the BS in these reviews is really stretching. Although when you spend 75% of your life bitching on Twitter about all of the alleged “problematic” talking points I listed above of course your going to see these things if you are really looking for them. So what passage in Moby Dick did you highlight today? (Ten brownie points if you get that reference, FUCK I AM OLD!)

When Kevin McCallister approached his 70’s, he began to realize that micro machines were no longer available since Toys R’ Us closed, so he was forced to improvise.

So I am saying it’s not great, it’s also not bad. That being said, I can’t cheat myself, or my audience, so my review is going to be a three out of five cheese curds. It is definitely worth a look. It is perfectly serviceable entertainment that actually makes me more excited that Tango And Cash, and Cobra sequels might be coming, so I hope that this movie makes all of the monies in the world so we can get more movies like this. Maybe a trip back to 80’s Machismo is exactly what we are missing in 2019, and Robert Rodriguez is listening folks!

Watch as I address questions in the chat, and from my panel of talented idiots! Also forgive my webcam which keeps kicking off my studio mic. Sorry in advance for the shitty sound on my end.

IT: Chapter 2, an honest review (some spoiler-ish stuff in there, nothing serious)

by Arnór H. Wikström

There’s not a lot that hasn´t already been said about this film, so I won’t pretend I have any kind of unique take. I´ll just review it out of my own experience.
I have a nine year old stepdaughter who absolutely loves cinema. Her dream is to become a film maker, and she loves watching movies of all genres. Even horror. Despite her young age, horror films do not scare her much, though she definitely got quite chilled while watching the American remake of The Ring.
The first real horror movie she saw was 2017’s IT: Chapter 1, so as soon as trailers for the sequel started rolling in, I knew she had to see it as her first theatrical horror experience.
Here in Sweden, the age limit for an R-rated film is 15, or 11 in the company of an adult, but when it came time to check our tickets, the usher hardly glanced at her.
So, armed with a giant tub of popcorn, we sat down in the dark to watch a horror film. As this was her first time watching an R-rated film at the cinema, she was completely mesmerized by the trailer that preceded it. Wall to wall violence. She’s never seen a proper action movie, so here she got her first glimpses into a hitherto untapped genre.

IT2 opens with a very brutal scene, depicting very real contemporary hate crime violence, setting a tone of grit that never really returns to the film again. The horror in that scene is not supernatural, but very real and heartbreaking. I have seen some voices be vocal about this scene, saying that, even though it’s present in the source novel, it feels misplaced in this movie.
Well, they’re not wrong. It does feel a bit out of place, but when you look at what Stephen King’s IT is about, and what themes he often strews among his works, it’s very much in the King spirit. The first IT also tells the story of vicious bullying, as the Losers Club are relentlessly harassed by a bully called Henry Bowers. If we look at IT2, not as a standalone film, but as the second part of a long film, the opening suddenly makes much more sense. We are being reminded that Derry isn’t just a cute little town being beset by evil forces; the town itself is fundamentally broken. It’s a dreadful place. An absolute rural American hellhole shitburg, full of awful people that treat each other like shit.
Derry is such a recurring place in King’s work, that the town almost has a character of its own. It’s a cursed place, from top to bottom, be it the monsters that besiege it, or the people living in it, nobody’s happy, and everyone yearns to leave.
The opening scene seems to say to us “Welcome back to Derry, people. This place sucks, with or without cosmic demon clowns”.

“Missing cosmic killer clown. If found, please return to the Derry Losers Club.”

And speaking of cosmic demon clowns, if you came to see Pennywise, you might leave the theatre disappointed. Bill Skarsgård’s iconic jester gets roughly 10 out of the films 170 minutes, but that also helps make his appearances memorable, since too much of him could easily prove tedious. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t a constant barrage of creepy stuff going on. We must remind ourselves that Pennywise The Dancing Clown is just the favorite form of a much more complex being. An almost omniscient hell-beast that thrives on fear and can take on any form it wishes.
The almost three hour runtime blows past unnoticed, as there is always something going on onscreen, raging from silly to scary to gory to funny to dramatic to sad to heartfelt to empowering to nauseating. Crying baby-faced flies hatched from fortune cookies, and zombie heads bobbing around a fish tank might not scare you, but it sure as hell will entertain you, and the chemistry between the lead cast is so strong it really makes you believe that these are the same kids you saw in the first movie, and that they really know and love each other. Just like in the first movie, the character of Richie Tozier owns every single scene he’s in, whether he’s played by Finn Wolfhard or Bill Hader. James McAvoy can pull off desperately terrified to such a degree that you can’t help but feel for him. Jessica Chastain and Jay Ryan echo their child counterparts remarkably well, which says something about the acting of Jay Ryan, as older Ben Hanscom is purposely meant to not resemble the younger one too much as he’s supposed to have gone through a tremendous physical transformation since childhood. Then there’s Isaiah Mustafa as brooding ringleader Mike, and James Ransone as the hypochondriac Eddie, who sometimes serves as second comic relief to Bill Hader’s Richie.

“A couple of scenery chewers.”

The movie is full of Easter eggs for the Stephen King diehards. There’s a recurring joke about people generally liking James McAvoy character Billy’s books, but that he can’t write endings, a common criticism directed towards Stephen King, and especially towards otherwise acclaimed source novel IT. The joke is made even funnier when a very special cameo performer gets to take part in it.
The film also recalls The Shining, Christine, Carrie, Stand By Me, and pays homage to other classic works of horror not penned by Stephen King.

The monsters in the film can seem downright goofy, as the character designs seem to take certain details a step too far, and in doing so cross the line from scary to plain weird. This problem was already present in the first film, with the leper and the lady in the picture both being just a bit too off on their details to be completely scary. However, the movie relies heavily on the element of surprise, and you never know just what the hell is going to come bursting out of the darkness next. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. The jump scares are not many, but still quite efficient, and I admit that I jumped in my seat on a couple of occasions. I’m usually not a big fan of jump scares, as they often kill the creepiness of a film, but since IT2 has already given creepy up for the sake of weird and extreme, you find yourself being pleasantly startled at times.

As foreshadowed many times throughout the film, the ending is vastly different from the book. This is a good thing, as the book’s ending involves friendly cosmic turles and eleven year olds having a sewer orgy. Even though I found the way they thwarted the villain to be a bit silly anyway, it still plays well with the overarching theme of the movie. A theme of friendship and love, and sticking together as a team. Wholesome stuff. Stephen King is hella wholesome (and over time he himself has also gotten better at writing endings).

I probably enjoyed the movie a bit more than I might have done on my own, since I was also seeing it through the imaginative eyes of my kid. As and adult with plenty of experience watching horror, I could easily roll my eyes all the random over-the-top shark-jumping, but The IT movies play out like adventure movies. A rag-tag group of friends out on a mission to stop a chaotic magic evil. Like a gory Goonies, or an ET full of murders. So if you’re like me, and want to introduce your kid to the glorious world of horror movies, the IT movies are a perfect place to start, and I promise that there’s a lot of fun to be had if you lower your most critical glasses and decide to roll with the punches. It’s (pun intended) the perfect family horror film.
I can’t wait to marathon these movies with my stepdaughter in the near future.

🎈🎈🎈out of 🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈

Once Upon a Time In…Hollywood, A Raiders of the Lost Flicks Review…sort of…

Margot Robbie is the plot of the film. Reject this hypothesis…

by Groovinator, The Cynical Cyborg

Video reviews are more reactionary. Especially something that’s still new in a movie theater. For the old movies on Cynical Cyborg Cinema, there will only be minor alterations between video and written, because I’m usually going for a series of feelings, and jokes, rather than try to convince you to see this movie. This one will be a little more different than my video material.

I tend to avoid reading, or watching other videos when I write a review, because I want that reaction to be as genuinely fresh as possible. I did that, and then I decided to watch some reviews on YouTube after I uploaded my own just to see if I happened to say the same things as other critics. So far the only thing I repeated was that Once Upon a Time In…Hollywood is a Tarentino style love letter to Hollywood, and that Brad Pitt, and Leonardo DiCaprio had very good on screen chemistry. It’s true about it being a love letter to Hollywood, as a snapshot of a bygone era. Tarantino is coming close to the end of his career (he has committed to doing only 10 films), and that’s damn impressive considering all of his movies have been either critical, and or, commercial successes. 10 seems like a nice round number. Point I’m getting at, is he doesn’t have to take shit from anyone, doesn’t have to prove himself to anyone, and doesn’t have to make any apologies for anything. So when I see clickbait trash journalists poke him with a stick, it gives me a great feeling of satisfaction to snap back at one of them without hesitation.

Splish splash I was drunk off my ass…

One of the complaints I hear about this one is feet, and I am kind sad I didn’t mention it, but as I stated in my video review…the movie left me with an uplifting positive feeling of satisfaction when I left the theater. That’s what stayed with me between yesterday and today. Yes Quentin has a foot fetish. It’s in all of his films. It never really distracts from the movie, but he does have a thing with feet. Dirty feet. In this one he makes those feet as prominent as possible. Nasty dirty feet right in the center of the damn screen as if it’s Tarantino’s way of saying “take THAT audiences! How you like me now?”

So then she asks me if I was circumcised…

The other complaint I hear is some people feel the length. I can understand that criticism. For the past ten years the most popular movies at the box office have been Marvel Studios Cinematic Universe, or MCU. We’ve gone from having one of those a year to 2 or 3 in a given year now. Not saying those movies are bad, but they do have a very similar formula in that every single one of them has a familiar cadence to delivery of dialogue. Every scene has to count. Every single scene in the movie has to check a specific demographic. Most movies have tried to replicate this formula in hope of replicating the amount of revenue that those movies bring. Most average people see about 3 or 4 movies in a theater a year. Chances are, at least two of those are probably Marvel Movies. So what I am saying is that audiences have been trained to except a certain type of delivery. They expect to see revelations after the credits. They expect a certain number of jokes. The Marvel formula you will! A lot of people seeing movies now might not remember Tarantino movies, where you get long discussions about piercings, elaborate descriptions about milk shakes, hamburgers, or Madonna’s Big Dick. Also this movie is a bit of a throwback film as are many of Tarantino’s earlier releases. This one has long establishing shots of people eating, dancing, or driving a car for 10 minutes while listening to the radio. There is one scene where Pitt and DiCaprio are watching a scene on an old TV set. Not sure why, but I enjoyed the Hell out of those scenes, because I am old enough to remember those kind of movies and what they were like. In other words, I remember what movies were like before the MCU cannibalized the cinaplexes around the world.

Dirty feet, in your face. Smell my feet, audiences!!!

This one is admittedly less violent than most Tarantino movies which was a massive surprise, but it was also refreshing to see that he wasn’t putting these scenes in a movie just to tic a checkbox for people with short attention spans.

I am so not falling for this “Black Friday Door Buster” bullshit again. Not even…

I mentioned that I sat through 20 fucking minutes of trailers I’ve either already seen, or movies that I don’t care about. This movie didn’t make me bored or uncomfortable, or impatient. I was falling in love with a good movie. Something I haven’t felt in a long time.

Show don’t tell. Tarantino shows you where STDs come from, he doesn’t have to tell you…

The last complaint I heard was that the “story” isn’t necessarily resolved as far as Brad Pitt’s motives. I think that’s open to your own interpretation. Some people may have forgot a movie called Pulp Fiction that is basically an assemblage of vignettes made to look like footage that was cut from a bigger movie, and deliberately shown out of sequence. I personally have to admit that I like a movie that is shown in order. There is a story here, and everything does happen in order, and things are set up for a reason, and I admit that not ALL plot points are completely spelled put for you with flashy lights and arrows, but I didn’t walk away confused. I was deeply satisfied by the resolution of this Hollywood fairy tale. I still feel after at least 24 hours of reflection, that my perfect score of 5 out of 5 cheese curds is justified and true.

So this asshole who calls himself Chuck, says he pissed into a truck’s gas tank once, and created Optimus Prime?!

In an age where movies are announced with powerpoints that show roadmaps and “phases”, for movies that will be coming out long after I am dust and rust. I am getting instantly bored out of my skull knowing every single movie coming out for the next 25 years or so. Sooo…you will have to forgive me if I might have glossed over dirty nasty feet, long scenes of driving, talking and eating, and plots that aren’t explained with crayons and lights. I went to see the kind of movie that I’d been waiting for, and am left with both a deep satisfaction, and a melancholy feeling, that Hollywood has changed so much that I don’t recognize it anymore.

Groovinator Reviews latest Tarantino Film.

Megaforce (1982) – Cyncial Cyborg Cinema

A classic tale of stunts and thumb kisses.

by Groovinator, The Cynical Cyborg

Oh Megaforce, I have a love hate relationship with you. An unhealthy one. This movie fails the Turing Test on so many levels, I don’t even know where to begin.

Megaforce is the brain child of Hal Needham, the guy responsible for such cigar chompin’ Skoal spitting, ball scratching classics as Smokey and the Bandit, Hooper, and The Cannonball Run. So basically movies where rednecks explain the plot in between stunts by yelling exposition at each other through “CB radios”.

Apparently he wanted to make a franchise movie that was epic like Star Wars, with multiple movies, and lots of franchise money could be made with merchandising. Of course it might of worked, since the plot was similar to G.I. Joe, but this pre-dates it by a couple of years. More on that later.

Ponch and John’s little known stint in the “phantom army” known as Megaforce!

So we open up with some loose explanation of the super secret army known as Megaforce is basically fighting the forces of evil from a hidden base. Sound familiar? The opening crawl is actually pretty cool and reminds me of an early 90’s KMFDM video. The first scene establishes our villains, the worst I have ever seen since…nuclear man. Again, this pre-dates that too. Maybe this movie is from the future, I doubt it. More on that later too. Some schmuck is reading some kind of statement, and actually saying “comma, and period” in between, and after sentences. Worst Cobra Commander ever. I hope his ass get’s Serpentored, by season 3. (G.I. Joe fan deep cuts anyone?) Guerera played by Henry Silva is the tank commander that has had quite enough of commander Not Cobra’s shit and decides to fire the tanks at a model of a factory while the worker’s look on. Guess lunch break got extended.

So tell me good sir, does spandex ride up your ass in the dessert while shooting missiles at balloons?

We then quickly meet Zara, (Persis Khambatta), and Byrne-White ( Edward Mulhare), or as I like to call them, “Vger, and Chuckle Fuck P-0”. Who must seek out the help of Megaforce to stop the evil Guerra from blowing shit up. A limo drives them out to the middle of a desert, and a rattlesnake almost bites them during one of Chuckle Fuck P-0’s rants. Introducing Dallas ( Michael Beck We then quickly meet Zara, (Persis Khambatta), and Byrne-White ( Edward Mulhare), or as I like to call them, “Vger, and Chuckle Fuck P-0”. Who must seek out the help of Megaforce to stop the evil Guerra from blowing shit up. A limo drives them out to the middle of a desert, and a rattlesnake almost bites them during one of Chuckle Fuck P-0’s rants. Introducing Dallas (Michael Beck), who informs us that there is no rank in Megaforce, except for one commander. Well that must have a great retention program. No advancement opportunities? No employee of the month parking? Surely there has to be some reason to want to succeed in the Megaforce? Worst military since the Coast Guard!

Anyways Dallas shows Vger, and Fuck P-0 how holograms work, and then take us to meet the infamous leader of the Megaforce. After witnessing a spectacular dirt bike sequence that shoots missiles at balloons, one single dirt bike jumps over a truck, and lands. Once the helmet is removed, the locks flow out that would make Barry Gibb’s heart skip a beat. We meet “Ace Hunter”, (Barry Bostwick), well there goes MY PORNO NAME, thanks…Megaforce!

That’s right ladies. More package than any small country could even handle. MEGAFORCE!

We get the nickel tour, and Dallas introduces us to budget “Q”, and shows us the giant underground facility that has all of the high tech equipment that the world has never seen. Supposedly leaders of the world secretly contribute to this phantom army to solve world problems….wait….nah forget it. That’s all the explanation we get. We see some actually pretty cool matte paintings, and then we go dinner. Megaforce shows up wearing these really hilarious blue bell hop uniforms which really don’t make sense since this is supposed to be a “phantom army” why wear uniforms at all? Of course it is so Barry Gibb, I mean Barry Bostwick can show off his camel toe, or package, depending on which scene we see next.

Guerera stole his lighter. That’s the plot. Still more plot than Suicide Squad.

At dinner, Ace reveals that he knows everything about Guerera, and they used to be buddies, until something bad happened. He stole Ace’s lighter. I can’t make this shit up! The post dinner scene is yet another hologram showing Ace’s retarded plan to basically blow the shit out of all the units in 4 minutes, and then get Guerera to chase them into another territory. The plot is really thin, and doesn’t make a lot of logistical sense. Just know they show us a thing, and they will blow up a thing, to get Guerera away from the thing. Clear as mud? Good. Speaking of logistics…The entire time Dallas has a confederate flag on his uniform. This is probably the part where I am supposed to make some statement about racism or whatever, but fuck that, we got twitter for that shit. I am more concerned with the logistics of the confederate flag. Assuming this takes place in 1982, is it…an alternate reality 1982, where the south won the Civil War? Or is this the future? And if this IS the future…how did THAT recruitment speech go? “Hey guys, sorry about the Civil War, but we totally got this….this time around! My guess is it’s just that Hal Needham made Smokey and the Bandit, and thinks rednecks are funny. But seriously though, if this is a “phantom army” why even represent your country if they don’t know you exist? Oh fuck it..

Uniforms provided by Mattel. No, seriously.

Vger then informs Ace that she is coming along too. After an awkward training montage that ends at Dave N’ Buster’s, it is revealed that Vger has a perfect score. Yet anyway Ace reveals that bringing in an outsider would jeopardize the operation of 60 men who have trained to work together as a unit that understands each other’s every move. Well…then WHY IN THE FUCK, would you waste time and resources on this, if the answer was going to be no to begin with? No wonder gas prices are so high…thanks a lot, MEGAFORCE! That still doesn’t stop the worst love story in cinematic history from trying to happen. Even though Ace basically just man splained Vger from going out with the boys, she still loves him, they kiss and do this stupidly awkward thumb kiss thing…that creeps me out, and happens multiple times in the film. It’s just super weird! Anyways, now that THAT bullshit is out of the way…we can get to the plain, and have us some action. FINALLY!!!

How do I quit you?

This is where the most of the movie’s budget goes. The vehicles and uniforms are stealth black, and Megaforce blows the shit out of everything while a counter at the corner of the movie screen counts down. A nice touch to be honest. After this is all settled….something truly weird happens. Guerera choppers into the make shift camp, and shares a few moments and stories about lighters with Ace as they hug and kiss. What in the legends of FUCK is even going on in this movie anymore? The “evil” in this movie is basically and old flame? Fuck The Turing Test, I don’t even know what planet I am on anymore.

Know where this is going? Right up the doo da!

The next not so chocking reveal is that General Fuck P-0 has played Ace, and made his actions look like an act of war. Not surprised at all. I was just starting to like that general too. The stick up his ass, had a stick up IT’s ass. We share some more awkward thumb kisses, and several close ups of Barry Bostwick’s package, and buttocks. They are practically characters in the movie at this point. And Hal Needham has some massive homoerotic aggression pent up inside of him. Jesus Murphy!

Rednecks. Essential to any Hal Needham movie.

So Commander Ace Freeball’s grand plan is to basically split up the army, and go in separate directions, and then dump the expensive vehicles, self destruct them, and then meet up on a plane? Of course we get this lovely chase sequence of colored smoke, that doesn’t make any combat sense, but paints a lovely rainbow color across the desert floor. Unfortunately, Ace has an accident, then he goes to the tank that Guerera is in, and bangs on the hatch with his toy gun. This allows him to make the most wonderful cinematic quote in history: “The good guys always win, even in the 80’s”

The good guys always win, even in the 80’s! _Commander Ace Hunter

It’s the best part that sends this movie from being full blown trash, to a bad movie masterpiece. The transport plane had to take off, but Ace jumps back on his dirt bike and races towards it. He presses a couple of buttons, and two wings fold out of the back, and he flies up into the air like Buck Rogers. I can’t make this shit up! As he rides the motorcycle into the landing bay, he jumps off the bike and does a little sashay, and throws his hands up in the air as his men cheer him on.

It’s a bird. It’s a plane? It’s flying Bee Gees!!!

Movies like this are one of a kind. Terrible, yet charming! For all of the stupid shit I ripped on from the first sentence, such as lame villains, lack of any kind of tension, or violence, Hell almost no conflict even, it is still entertaining enough to be a cult classic. This movie failed at the box office, and never saw a sequel, but that doesn’t stop people from talking about it, or even ripping off of it. Power Rangers Megaforce, G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, AND Team America all ripped off this movie years after it’s release. Mattel made all of the spandex costumes, with grenades, I can’t help but think that given a few years time, and just a different license from Hasbro would have just made this a G.I. Joe franchise. It probably still would have sucked, but it would have been better than the last two G.I. Joe movies. For as much as I fault it, I can still give this 3 out of 5 cheese curds, it has problems, but nothing about seemed to be mean spirited. I recommend watching this one in groups of people with popcorn. And remember, knowning is half the battle, I mean “deeds, not words”. MEGAFORCE!!!

Megaforce (1982) – Cynical Cyborg Cinema

Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance

by Adam M. Wilcox

Some of the best worst movies come from what we like to call “happy accidents”. It usually involves a director who’s ambitions are greater than the some of the budget, or lack of knowledge. In 1991, Amir Shervan made a happy accident called “Samurai Cop“, a direct to video knock off of Lethal Weapon, which has become a cult classic in recent years.

Movies like these are fun to watch for sure, but the “problem” is that these happy accidents are exactly that, happy accidents. You can’t plan a disaster, and have it always work. You can’t always have your cake and eat it too.

Samurai Cop was so bad, that actor Mathew Karedas (billed as Matt Hannon) tried to get fired from the production, especially after extensive re-shoots, however…the director used these scenes anyways. That is a tale for another article. Right now, let’s get back to the movie at hand. The sequel to the happy accident that was funded by a Kickstarter campaign.

I think Ian Malcolm said it best in Jurassic Park; ” Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” While it is a joy that a sequel to Samurai Cop seen the light of day, nobody stopped to think of what a movie like that would look like. All I can say is well…it exists.

Samurai Cop 2 looks like the way an REO Speedwagon tour bus probably smells; Full of stale sex, crotch sweat, spilled bear, and thousand year old cigarette smoke.

Samurai Cop 2 looks like the way an REO Speedwagon tour bus probably smells; Full of stale sex, crotch sweat, spilled bear, and thousand year old cigarette smoke. This is not a jab at Matthew Karedas, Hell, I WISHED I looked that good at his age right now. The problem is the execution of this movie. We all get it is supposed to be bad, but how much can your senses sustain the cinematic equivalent of a stroke happening in real time? I digress.

Amir Shervan met the choir invisible in 2006, so this one is “directed” by Gregory Hatanaka , who funded the release of the now widely popular original. I am using air quotes as I type this, because “directed” is a relatively loose term here. I am by no stretch of the means, a director, but I have been watching movies and videos long enough on this mortal coil, to know what works, and what does not work.

Everyone was in such a hurry to get these people back together, that nobody stopped to wonder if they should.

Samurai Cop 2 is a movie in the sense that….um…there are people on the screen that say words, and do stuff. Eventually it stops, and then there are end credits. The plot? I have no fucking clue what this movie is about. I swear I have top men working on it right now. Who? TOP…MEN… From the best I can make of it, Joe (Matt Karedas) lost his wife shortly after the first movie, when she was gunned down by a child, he then went into obscurity. His partner, “not Danny Glover”, Frank has been working as a detective ever since. Some nonsense about some not so oriental gangs are about to start a gang war, and Joe is called back out of retirement to go on “one last ride” with Frank again, to go take down the bad guys. To be fair, Joe and Frank are the best parts of the show, but we have to make room for the elephant from The Room , I mean the elephant IN The Room…Tommy Wiseau, yes the “your tearing me apart Lisa!!!” guy. He shows up as a guy named Linton, who I guess is a bad guy…. but well…most of his scenes are solo monologues where Tommy is recreating what having a stroke looks like in slow motion. You know, being Tommy! I am guessing that Hatanaka just gives Tommy an outline, turns on the camera and says….”ACTION”, and what you get is the end result. That was funny in The Room, but it’s been almost 10 years since that one came out…this is getting painful to watch, and I am a guy that LOVES Miami Connection, in the way that film snobs gush on about Citizen Kane!

This is Tommy Wiseau, yeah the guy that made “The Room”, having a stroke in slow motion….in every scene…for the entire movie!

Let’s get back to Gregory Hatanaka’s “direction” for a moment. Did you ever blow your nose so hard, that everything starts spinning. Ever get something slipped into your drink at a bar? Ever been drunk, stoned, or all of the above? THAT…is how Hatanaka does action scenes. I kid you not, The action scenes in this movie all look like you just got shitfaced. Which is a bit of a bummer, because it looked like most of the actors were actually trying, at least with the action scenes. It would have been nice to see some of them. Especially now that Matt Keredas actually gets to do more Samurai stuff in the movie this time. Damn.

Nobody bothered to tell Bai Ling that this is not a “real Hollywood picture”, not even Tommy Wiseau.

Speaking of missed opportunities, the most famous jaw in movie history, Robert Z’Dar died before this movie started filming, and technically died in the last movie, if we are even CONSIDERING CANON for Samurai fucking Cop. So the bad henchmen roll this time is played by Bai Ling, who still thinks she is a high profile babe from the 90’s. Nobody bothered to tell Bai Ling, that this was not a real Hollywood, picture, not even Tommy Wiseau. She’s still hot, but she frightens me. Pretty sure she would rip my balls off and dip them in BBQ sauce and eat them off of a party tray, and that’s only because craft services didn’t show up fast enough. She chews through scenery, like the way a Great White shark chews through a chum line in the middle of July. Is that a good thing? I don’t know, still trying to come down from those last few fight scenes…give me a break will ya?

What you don’t see in this scene, is the hand up Gerald Okamura’s ass making him talk. Still a better Mandarin than Iron Man 3.

The most impressive part of Samurai Cop 2 was the fact that they DID manage to get most of the actors and actresses back from the original movie’s line up. There is enough Botox and Bronzer in this movie to make Pam Anderson and Tommy Lee consider reconciling. Some of these people look beat to shit, and no that is not meant in a nice way. Gerald Okamura looks like his lines are operated by having somebody’s hand shoved up his ass like a weird sock puppet. Still, kudos to the Kickstarter who probably raised enough money to drive down to West Hollywood in a pick up truck full of dime bags to honk and get these lovely people to show up again. Of course that is basically the movie too. A virtual who’s who of cast members, and extras. Anyone who wasn’t alive or replaced with Bai Ling was filled with resident has beens such as Ralph Garman, and Joe Estevez, Joe fucking ESTEVEZ?! No offense, but I didn’t know this guy existed before this movie. At first I thought I was having a stroke, because he looks like Martin Sheen, and Danny Divito DeVito had an illegitimate love child raised by Abe Vigoda on a mushroom farm.

Matt Keredas gets to do way more Samurai stuff in the movie this time, but you will never see any of it, because the camera man is drunk, and wants you to be drunk with him.

The version I watched I believe was censored for nudity, but doesn’t really matter, we have online hubs for that sort of thing. I came to see another Samurai Cop, but as I feared, you can’t recreate these moments. Happy accidents are not planned. They just happen, and you get something fun out of it. I can’t be completely cynical, if people paid money to get all of these people together in a movie, then it delivered that, even if…most of it is Tommy Wiseau having a stroke, or various Hollywood nobodies standing in front of a green screen shouting expansionary dialogue. The soundtrack was brought to you by “check my soundcloud bruh”, and “yo buy my mix tape brother” productions. It’s all over the place, punk, dubstep, trap music, pick whatever you like, and dilute it with enough water to where it tastes like La Croix, or whatever kind of piss water the hipsters are snorting now days.

My face every time somebody tells me they’re “favorite unintentionally bad movies” are Sharknado.

Samurai Cop 2 is like staying at the bar way too long, and some schlubby Journey song starts playing, and there is an old drunk lady dancing by herself in the corner saying “this…this is my song….”, then pukes on the bar. Do you keep watching out of some sick morbid curiosity, or does that mean it is time to call an Uber? The director doesn’t know either. It’s just weird, and awkward, but not necessarily in a good way. I am giving this unhappy accident a 2 out of 5 cheese curds, just for being impressed that this one managed to cram as many “has been” entertainers into one movie as much as the next Sharknado. If you watch it, watch only for the morbid curiosity of what it would be like to get the cast of Samurai Cop, a direct to video movie made in 1991, into another movie. Otherwise, show yourself to the door, and try to step on anything sharp on your way out, if you know what I mean, and I think you do!