Tuesday 28 December 2010

Post Apocalyptic Ferrigno ...

Desert Warrior

‘‘Law is meant for man, not man for the law’’

It is twenty years following the Third World War, and the planet has been plunged back into an age of barbarianism since the nuclear holocaust. Scavengers roam the desolate landscape, preying on whatever they can to eat, including each other !.

One bright hope for the future of mankind emerges. The Drones. Civilised survivors intent upon reviving order from chaos, and rebuilding a new civilisation. A noble cause, threatened by the nomadic savages.

In a world with no law the strong rule and under their tenure those that dare oppose the regime of Baktar, leader of the Tyrogs, must fight for their lives in a makeshift arena in a battle to the death. Like gladiators before their Roman Emperor, in an open domed basic construct, akin to that in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985), those foolish enough to cross Baktar have to stand against his champion in combat. That champion is none other than classic TV’s The Hulk, Lou Ferrigno. An eye patch wearing goliath of a warrior named Zerak.

Baktar’s self prophetic legacy is to spawn the first newborn free of infection from radiation poisoning. His opportunity comes along when the feisty Racela, from the race of Drones, patrols with her male companion beyond the designated safe perimeters of their underground community. Their advanced tech all terrain craft, replete with laser weapons, is attacked by the savages and Racela is taken hostage.

With news of Racela’s disappearance reaching the Drone high command, her father General Cortaz beseeches with the governing council permission to breach protocol and send out a search party. His request is immediately denied, only to be overturned on the strict adherence to the ruling that should he choose to leave the confines of the Drone domicile, then he, and whomever volunteers to go with him, may never again return.

Clearly green with envy at the scavengers having a pure and clean female specimen, and under order from Baktar, warrior of the wasteland Lou Ferrigno gets astride his retro three wheeled motorcycle, and along with his men roars to the rescue. It’s not long before he clashes with the scavengers as they go head to head with all manner of old fashioned weaponry. Top trumped only by a grenade launcher and of course Zerak wielding his mighty sword. Well it’s only to be expected when you make him angry !.

Zerak saves the girl but is injured in the process and only a grateful Racela can assist him in getting back to his own people, the Tyrogs. Unbeknownst to them whilst they struggle across the desert terrain, Racela’s father and two companions are not far behind, following their tracks in order to rescue her.

Back in the bosom of Baktar’s domain Zerak soon realises that he has feelings for Racela, and she for him. He cannot allow Baktar to force himself upon this innocent who in turn saved him from surely dying alone in the wilderness. In order to save her he must turn against his own people and align forces with General Cortaz to escape the clutches of Baktar.

Ferrigno fulfils his role as the resourceful anti hero pretty well in what is clearly a low budget outing, and his ‘B’ movie bravado comes into its own when he is allowed some clobbering time.

It’s a struggle to get back to the Drone complex, and to share in the news of a breakthrough by their scientists regarding the radiation poisoning, and an even greater one to overcome the mandate of the no return policy !. A battle ensues outside the underground complex as the location is compromised. The fight for dominance prevails as guns and knives go up against laser beam weaponry and organised tacticians, but the shear number of barbaric Tyrogs is more than enough for the Drones to cope with. It is up to General Cortaz, Racela and the hulking Zerak to bring order from chaos between the fighting factions. With Lou Ferrigno leading the way the planets future surely must be green.

Movie Rating: 6/10

Review Paul Cooke / Source Japanese NTSC VHS

Desert Warrior (1988)

Director Jim Goldman
With Lou Ferrigno, Shari Shattuck, Mike Cohen,
Anthony East & Mike Monty

Monday 20 December 2010

Seasons Best Wishes ...

A Very Merry Christmas
& A Happy New Year

To All The Die Hard Action Fans
And Friends & Followers Of

Ballistic Blood Bullets

Thank you one and all for your support and continued readership. Here's looking forward to a Filmtastic 2011 where even more huts will explode, scenery will be chewed up & quirky one line delivery dialogue will send us into fits of hysterics.

The mystical worlds of Asian film to thrill and astonish, and the mind bending banality that is Indonesian cinema to perplex and dumfound in equal measures of delirious wonderment. To amaze and flabbergast even the most seasoned of viewer.

Be safe, be well, be good, and be kind to one another.


Saturday 18 December 2010

Project UFO: The Phillip J. Roth Files

Rapid Exchange

When high tech thieves Ketchum and Brooks are out trumped by rivals, seeking to steal a nine million dollar sceptre from a museum, they have disgruntled employer Lance Henriksen to answer to. He reacts by giving them the opportunity to work off the loss incurred by making them part of a select criminal crew, with a far loftier assignment involving millions of dollars. Star Lorenzo Lamas and Matt O’Toole go from being Hudson Hawk (1991) partners in crime to sky jacking wing men , in a daring heist of a governmental 747 transporting a multi million dollar money cargo.

The slick production values are immediately and rewardingly evident as is the quirky nature of the unravelling events, all snappily edited together under the stylish Direction of Tripp Reed.

The audacious heist is planned down to the finest of detail, akin to a Reservoir 'Sky' Dogs. Colourful in character if not in names the eclectic crew each have their own individual skill they bring to the collective table. The presence of team leader Daltry is a moot one for Ketchum and Brooks though as there is a distrusting history between them. Daltry is the consummate thief who thrills in the high life of a criminally recompensed playboy lifestyle, founded off looking out for number one. Reliant on team work but with so much to gain can they all rely upon each other to see the job through to completion !?.

It is with Mission Impossible (1996) smartness that they work their way aboard the aircraft with all manner of disguises and clever ingratiation. Lorenzo Lamas is clearly relaxed in his role and having the most fun since freely allowed to roam the byways in his heyday as televisions Renegade. Starlet Aviva Gale also stands out as the very cute young lady thief Sophie, a choice role for a cute face and a personality to watch out for in the future.

The excitement value takes off with the bodacious retrieval unit of operations riding the undetectable slipstream behind the 747 in their own jet. The hook up between the two planes is a neat sequence to behold and one which is cleverly played out, as the special effects crew get to deliver a thrilling visual. James Bond meets Air Force One (1997) in an exciting transfer of Ketchum, Brooks and companions from jet to jumbo without the aid of a safety net.

Aboard the plane both parties work their way into the code locked on board vault with an ingenuity that is seldom thought out for a major Hollywood Blockbuster let alone a low budget gem such as this. Without any force the industrious crooks outsmart the on board treasury guard whilst in uninterrupted flight, and even forgo the on board tutorial detailing safe exit ways as they bag the swag to jump ship. With the alarm raised though and old scores resurfaced its time to find out who jumps first and who jumps farthest. There’s a very well paced twist or two before the final pay off, as Rapid Exchange proves to be another first class production from the Unified Film Organisation studio.

Movie Rating: 7/10

Review Paul Cooke / Source Region 1 NTSC DVD

Rapid Exchange (2003)

Director Tripp Reed
With Lorenzo Lamas, Lance Henriksen, Aviva Gale,
Matt O’Toole & Wayne Pere

Sunday 12 December 2010

Infectious Brit Flick Horror Bites Back ...

Devil's Playground

‘‘They bite you, and then you become one of them’’

London becomes the plague playground for ravenous victims of a purported life enhancing super drug, that proves to be the harbinger of death and the catalyst for a metamorphosis to exist beyond life as the un-dead !.

Pudding Lane may have sparked the Great Fire but Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later (2002) ignited the film furnace that enabled many a contemporary British made Zombie movie to follow, and Devil’s Playground smoulders in its back draft like an old flame rekindling that spark of interest.

RAK 295 is a modern day lifestyle pep tablet designed to eliminate the stress and strain of everyday life. Produced by N-Gen Industries for the purposes of giving the populace a performance enhancing boost to their lethargic lives. Thirty thousand volunteers undertook the testing programme over a two month period. After just one month extreme side effects became evident. Multiple organ failure, vomiting, vascular collapse and external excretion of blood.

The doctors after just one week of the study decided to quarantine the very first test subject due to his obvious allergic reaction. His physiology and cellular makeup altered, and only a test viral suppressant keep the maliciously malignant toxin from fully manifesting, this test subject fully transforms once his anti viral injection is withheld. What follows is an aggressive reaction and the test subject transforms into a feral being with super enhanced strength and great agility. Throwing himself at doctors and N-Gen assistants he rips and tears at their flesh with his nails and razor like teeth. Leaping high into the air from a standing start, and bouncing off the walls like a gymnast high on Beta Blockers. This is no longer a human medical test subject, it is a vicious monster in human guise, hungry for flesh and thirsting for blood !.

All but one volunteer, a young woman named Angela Mills, was unaffected in any shape or form. Every other intern to the N-Gen programme eventually dies.

N-Gen Industries want the whole experimental undertaking results kept quiet from the government, and the public in order to instigate a cover up and escape a crippling lawsuit. They call upon head security and company problem solver Cole (Craig Fairbrass) to take care of loose ends, but most importantly to find Angela Mills and bring her back to the facility, as she is the only living antidote known to this cause and effect. When Cole himself gets bitten he only has eighteen hours to locate the girl before his self inject able suppressants can no longer keep him, human !.

With the outbreak all over the news panic and pandemonium hits the streets of London and amidst it all is Angela Mills trying to escape with a friend to a rural retreat. Their objective is to meet up with her brother who is in the police, and has a colleague who is a helicopter pilot. They know the whereabouts of a four person helicopter and its location is secluded away from general notice.

Danny Dyer plays the role of Joe, his wife to be was Angela, until their lives were turned upside down by events affecting Joe’s position as a police officer. Now a disgraced cop having been deemed irresponsible in the act of detaining a young man involved in dealing drugs, who is killed in the line of duty. Joe is released from prison on bail, eaten up by the guilt of the incident but determined to prove his innocence and dedicated to winning back the love of his life Angela. They are thrown together again in the spiralling events that overtake their lives in the combined need to stay alive. They reunite at a friends car auto repair shop on the outskirts of London, where joined by an American and his wife, they are soon attacked by the infected and are defending their retreat against the blood crazed inhuman creatures.

Assistance arrives in the form of Cole, having tracked Angela Mills to the location, and he immediately takes charge. Securing the ramshackle repair shop, and despatching the remaining rabid infected in brutal and bloody fashion, Cole unites the fractious group into putting a plan of survival in place. The helicopter being the objective, but knowing that it has room for literally four occupants self preservation within the group becomes an evident issue that has to be dealt with. Cole’s priority is to get Angela to a medical facility, anything and anyone else is unimportant. She discloses that she is pregnant however, and with Joe the father, his objective is precisely the same !.

What transpires is a battle to ensure the safety of Angela, and a fight for survival against the growing hordes of those infected by Rak 295. The Action is pretty much full on from the start, but the overall fraught tension plays out during the second half of the movie as everything plays out at night. The streets of London are ablaze and the feint flicker of optimism is never far from being snuffed out.

Craig Fairbrass turns in a strong and dogged performance that injects depth and believability into the character of Cole. When he runs out of bullets he uses whatever is available to fight his way through the flesh craving infected denizens, bludgeoning and pummelling with his bare fists at times, smashing skulls and breaking limbs. The blood quota is pretty high and mostly well done. Reliance on old school make up and stunts make redundant the usual over domination of CGI to enhance the overall enjoy ability, of what is essentially a budget movie doing its best to cleverly mask its shortcomings. It does it well and achieves its primary objective, and that is to deliver a solid if somewhat unoriginal story with a decent impact upon a willing audience.

Zombie movies are in abundance but when they are done right, and still deliver entertainment like Devil’s Playground, there’s life in the Dead genre yet.


Movie Rating: 6/10

Review Paul Cooke / Source Region 2 PAL UK DVD

Devil’s Playground (2010)
Director Mark McQueen
With Craig Fairbrass, MyAnna Buring, Danny Dyer,
Jaime Murray, Sean Pertwee, Colin Salmon,
Lisa McAllister, Shane Taylor & Craig Conway

Sunday 5 December 2010

Japanese VHS Goodness Hits The 'Bay


Ballistic Blood Bullets followers and those that know me well will appreciate my love for All things Action. From the likes of Antonio Margheriti to Enzo G. Castellari & Bruno Mattei, to list just a very small example.

Over a very long period of time, including over ten years of dogged determination and last second computer key pressing in high anticipation of snagging a rarity on Ebay, I have amased many hundreds of Original Japanese VHS Tapes. Even these in their hundreds are but a small part of my movie collection, but amongst all of the films I have acquired these Japanese Tapes most definitely represent some of the very most rare & highly collectable movies. Most are still not, and indeed many most likely never will be, available on the shiny format of DVD. I recall spending many years desperately trying to get hold of Ferdinando Baldi's Action movie Ten Zan: Ultimate Mission, and one day finally the Japanese VHS appeared on Ebay. I spent many a fraught moment anxiously anticipating the close of the Auction and praying against fellow last minute bidders. I did manage to secure, but of course at quite a price, but it was finally mine. I must have watched the movie about five times in the first month of receiving, but it sure was worth it and that movie never showed up anywhere again for a very long time. When it did eventually show up again on Ebay it went for an even higher price. A further long while later, amazingly a second opportunity arose for me to grab a second Tape of the movie, in the early hours of the morning I stayed up and Incredibly no one else seemed to know it had been listed. I did feel kinda bad at gazumping the bidders already in place, suspecting that at 4.00am in the morning it was a little too much for them to stay up and last second bid like the crazy fool I was. A very happy crazy fool mind you come closure. That second Original Ten Zan: Ultimate Mission Japanese VHS Tape in a marginal Widescreen presentation is just one of the movies that I now offer the opportunity to someone else to have and to hold, and to proudly place amongst their own treasured collection.

The purpose and reason behind offering these movies now for Auction you may ask ?. Well, perhaps like the great Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry delivering his infamous line ''I know what you're thinking, did I fire six shots or five'' (paraphrased but applicable), in all the years of excitement there were many times passing on such rare movies, even when that rare gem had already been snagged, I just could not resist ensuring I had an extra version ... you know, just in case !.

With the safety measures now of the fabulous format back up security of DVDr I can rest at ease and so now give a little something back to the collector community. Please, if you will take the time to check out my Ebay Auctions in the coming weeks and months as there will be many a Rare tape and Fabulous Japanese VHS Original Tape on offer. ALL of my Tapes have been genuinely cared for and cherished. Every single one of them I took the time to carefully clean of rental stickers where applied by the stores and also thoroughly cleaned the cassettes of all dirt and sticky labels. These Tapes look as near perfect as the day they were first produced. The insert card artwork is almost exclusively blemish free and I promise each potential interested fellow film fan and collector that what you receive upon securing a bid is a trouble free exchange and a bonified VHS Movie Tape to be proud of in your own collection.

Currently up for grabs on Ebay are All of the movies listed below and the scans shown are the very inserts from the films that are on offer. Please do check out the Auctions and thank you in advance for doing so and for your consideration in acquiring. The very best of luck to any and all interested bidders.

Prepare for Action ... as the Great Brent Huff would say ... It Can Be Done.

Thank You