Sunday, 29 November 2009

Going It A ... Sloane


‘‘This is getting good. Just like a Humphrey Bogart movie’’

When a business mans daughter is kidnapped, and her husband is killed in Manila, who do you call to bring daddy’s little girl home safely ?. Sloane !.

Robert Resnik is the one man militia Sloane, a Tae Kwon Do expert who knows how to take out the trash, and not just once a week for collection like regular folk. Mr. Thursby sends for Sloane and offers him a blank cheque to rescue his daughter Janice. One time love and prospective wife, Janice and Sloane were split apart by Thursby in the past. Thursby knows that for this engagement Sloane is definitely the best man to win back his daughter !. With a steely answer Sloane agrees to accept and do it for Janice, but for Thursby it will cost him plenty !.
Sloane hooks up with an old buddy named Pete, a guy always down on his luck but someone Sloane can still call upon for local insight. Feet and fists introduce themselves to three thugs about to put a beat down on Pete at the back of a club. Sloane tips the outcome in favour of his friend as once again his ability to take opponents out with quick reflexes proves superior. To repay his friend, and not for the first time, Pete is only too willing to be put to good use and is soon out using his local knowledge with an ear to the ground for information.
With a venomous cobra now as a back seat passenger to also contend with, whilst being hotly pursued, Sloane has to act fast !. The snake gets a unique cobra clutch from a voracious Sloane, who in quick turn pulls a manoeuvre that sends the chasing lackeys snaking off the highway like extras from ‘Mad Max’.
A garage fight scene delivers some fine fighting Action and more than a dose of violence as one unfortunate gets his face introduced to the fan belt of a cars open boot running engine. Filipino face fricassee !. Sending a body filled garage to hell in an explosive inferno the intensity of the situation leaves a pumped up Sloane delivering the line, ‘‘They finally pissed me off !’’.

Sloane comes well and truly into his own when he kits up in combat fatigues, muscles up with a mighty machine gun, and stomps a mud hole in Manila big enough to mess with the main man holding his objective captive. Give him a big gun and he makes a big difference !.
It’s a mishmash of mayhem that’s infectious enough to warrant your time, and most enjoyable when its star turns into the ‘Sloane’ ranger.

Review Paul Cooke / Source Japanese NTSC VHS
Sloane (1984)
Director Daniel Rosenthal
With Robert Resnik, Debra Blee, Paul Aragon,
Ann Milhench, Carissa Carlos & George Mahlberg

There’s just about enough Action to keep this one watch able, including many a quotable line in witty dialogue, along with the bizarre appearance of marauding midgets with seemingly cannibalistic overtures !?.

Richard’s sister Cynthia, a pesky writer too inquisitive for her own good, is immediately situating herself around Sloane wanting to know about her brothers death, and sister in laws abduction. Sloane has always found her irritating and no more so when she reintroduces herself into his life. It is not long though before Sloane and those around him, including Cynthia, attract attention of the unwanted type. The returning problem solver is soon putting his martial arts skills to good use however. Saving Cynthia from two locals who invade her home and try to rape her. Sloane learns that the man who he needs to seek out is an Asian crime boss named Chan Se. Richard double crossed Chan Se in an underhand deal and kept the money for himself. Money sizeable enough that Chan Se wants, and intends using Cynthia as collateral to get it !.

The hero for hire flies immediately out to the Philippines. Having lived in Manila for seventeen years he has connections and a great bearing for the region. A long way from his new life in California, but back in Manila he is still remembered. An old police friend shows him the body of Janice’s deceased husband Richard, and Sloane calls in a favour to look over recent case files of criminal activity in the area. He believes Richard has been caught up in under hand deals for quite a while and figures this time it has cost him his life.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Spaghetti Western 'Noose'

Cutthroats Nine To Be Remade
Prepare For 'Gore'

One of the most infamous and nihilistic Westerns ever made is due the remake treatment, and with Harvey Keitel signed up, along with Mads Mikkelsen, the 'X' rated western may well herald the way for a new swathe of gritty pistol packers to come.

The original Cutthroats Nine hit European cinemas back in 1972 and was part of the 'savage seventies' cutting edge, no nonsense cinema of that period. A Spanish made film from Director Joaquin Luis Romero Marchent, a veteran of Action and western movies from the fifties and sixties through into the seventies. Claudio Undari aka Robert Hundar, stars as a cavalry sergeant who, along with his daughter, are part of a military escort for seven cutthroat prisoners. The cavalry caravan is attacked by bandits , leaving the sergeant and his daughter alive, along with the prisoners. Amongst the band of killers and thieves is a man who brutally raped and killed the sergeants wife, but his identity is unknown. The movie follows the plight of the sergeant, along with his daughter, as together they must escort the prisoners to their final destination. Their trek is by foot, across treacherous terrain, in the middle of a harsh winter. What follows is a brutal fight for survival and an Agatha Christie type storyline as to who the killer / rapist is !?. The violence is realistic and the characterisation is coarse. Throw in a beautiful but harsh back drop and horror film ladled gore and Cutthroats Nine is a rare find for the spaghetti western genre.

This is an interesting choice for a remake, but a very welcome one nonetheless, and with both Keitel and Mikkelsen on board the casting is already spot on. Since his leading performance as the bad guy in Casino Royale (2006) Mikkelsen has been catapulted into the public eye of moviedom around the world. Famous in his home country of Denmark in productions such as the Pusher movies, Mikkelsen adds great credibility to his characters, and his ability to define the bad guy role with a consummate air of chilling calm is highly creditable. Keitel, presumably will take the role of the seasoned sergeant ?, and bring an experienced grittiness to proceedings perfect for the role.

Rodrigo Gudino, the Founder and publisher of Rue Morgue magazine, will direct, and production of the film is due to begin in 2010.

Looking forward to more news and hopefully in the new year some on set production stills and further word as it becomes available. Cutthroats Nine may just slay them at the box office come Fall 2010. No skimping on the red stuff please Rodrigo and please reserve us all a Directors cut, special edition DVD just as soon as it shoots its way out of the multiplexes.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

The Tournament ... Kill Or Die !

The Tournament

''Are you out of bullets ?. Here have some of mine !''
Every seven years, in an ordinary town, there is a tournament, a Battle Royale. The very elite of killers from around the globe gather for the thrill of the kill, the right to be crowned number one. It’s kill or be killed. Last one standing claims the right to be revered as the greatest killer of them all. The prize $10,000,000. The goal, to stay alive in order to spend it. To reap the benefit you have to cull the competition, and killing season starts just as soon as The Tournament begins !. Seven years later, Middlesborough, United Kingdom, The Tournament is about to begin !. An industrial backdrop of mountainous stone chimney construct, spewing out the ashen remnants of its labourers as a smoke strewn cloud climbing upwards into a sky choking on its charcoaled bile, desperate for a surgical mask to protect its once naturally blue hue. Below an unsuspecting populace is about to become collateral damage as part of a battleground taken to by the planets killer elite.
The suburban slumber of Middlesborough soon turns into hells highway of gun totting, body breaking, death dealing highly trained killers all looking to be number one. Robert Carlyle is a fallen priest, lost in the bottomless pit of a bottle and about to scrape the very lowest ebb betwixt life and death as he unwittingly gets embroiled into The Tournament. Drink may be his misbegotten angel of self despair but his darkest hours are soon upon him as a cruel twist of fate has him targeted as one of the competitors after one of the entrants manages to cut out his tracking device. Carlyle’s Father Macavoy is at the mercy of those within the game until Kelly Hu’s feisty femme fatale Lai Lai Zhen as his guardian angel. The lord may well have mercy upon his soul as this babe is as fiery as a ninja nymph from Hades but as pretty as an angel posing for Playboy. If Hugh Heffner be the guardian into the gates of heaven, in an alternate universe, then may Kelly Hu be the field to furrow on route.
The Tournament is an adrenalin fuelled free for all that pays out like a one armed bandit being mounted by a porcupine dosed up on Viagra. An unashamed ‘B’ movie High Noon of an epic where a stare down is brief, and a mono brow comes compliments of a .45 burn just before the bullet nestles into the cerebral cortex, on its way to exiting the back of the skull. Purchase a ticket, place your bet, and reap the rewards as The Tournament delivers.

Review Paul Cooke

The Tournament (2009)
With Ving Rhames, Kelly Hu, Robert Carlyle,
Ian Somerhalder, Scott Adkins, Liam Cunningham,
Rachel Grant & John Lynch
The CCTV main frame is up-linked to a controlled pay per view satellite feed for an audience rich enough to afford their kicks at the expense of others. An underground magnate of gamblers willing to bet hundreds of thousands of dollars on a roster of thirty cold blooded killers, all a part of a dangerous game where stepping onto the playing field means you are not a member of any team !. Thirty combatants are entered into this tournament, each electronically tagged so that both viewers and fellow contestants are able to lock into there position. There is no where to hide. These professional killers elite have twenty four hours to take out the opposition, remain the last one alive and claim the ten million dollar prize fund. Each individuals odds come down along with each kill that takes place during the game of death.Joshua Harlow is the very first retired returning champion to The Tournament. His purpose for return is not the defence of his title, but for revenge. He has been informed that the murderer of his wife in recent months is a competitor in the event, and that is reason enough for him to step back into the most savage arena to apply his trade one last time with personal intent. It’s a darkly delicious double dose of Escape From New York (1981) spliced with The Most Dangerous Game (1932) in this lethal cocktail where the bullets have twenty nine potential names etched into their very casing.

Lai Lai Zhen soon figures out that the fallen priest is not a part of the tournament’s faithless flock. Her ultimatum from her overseeing sponsors is to carry him or kill him !.Tarantino-esque stand offs and one particular blood bath face down plays out in a titty bar, where nine killers are gathered. When all is exposed the bullets fly and the bar tab is filled with pints of blood. It’s time to ‘rack’ and roll. Winner takes the booby prize !.Body parts fly and the arterial vino bursts forth with great regularity with ever audacious rapture. The abandonment of belief is gleefully put to one side by Director Scott Mann in crowd pleasing preference to entertain. This is an Ebola filled balloon filled to burst and readily induced by a stumped at the wrist proctologist eager to fist for all its worth.
Beginning at the end of the last tournament, Ving Rhames character, Joshua Harlow, takes out the last two competitors in a blood drench slaughter house. He leaves one mean hombre with just some twitching neck cartilage, as a shot gun blast blows his head into smithereens from close range. Harlow has run the gauntlet and remained last man standing. In his wake lays a trail of dead bodies in varying degrees of remain. The only recognisable competitor is Harlow and that suits him just fine.