Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

Superman 4 Moon Fight
Look at them fighting on the Moon.

Remember when they used to make Superman movies all the time, and none of them were reboots?  It was a golden age, of sorts.  Like Batman and Robin, which is also a 4th movie (and the last one we would see for a while), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace shits all over whatever dignity the previous films had.  Unlike Batman and Robin, though, this movie does not drag on forever, and the ridiculousness of it all makes it fairly enjoyable.  This probably has a lot to do with the fact that Golan-Globus produced it.  Hooray for Golan-Globus.  Some of their other movies are already on my list, if you are just now tuning in.

Superman 4 Mariel in Space
Ridding the Earth of Mariel Hemingway once and for all.

Needless to say, Golan-Globus Golan-Globused the hell out of this movie.  This is apparent even in the opening credits, which take up about 20 minutes of the film’s run time and look really cheap.  The special effects are outstanding(ly bad), Superman suffers from radiation sickness (but gets a 1-Up), he moves the Moon without any consequences here on Earth, and Gene Hackman is Lex Luthor.  He is also the voice of NUCLEAR MAN.  Where to even begin…  Superman gets called out by a little boy for not doing something about all of the nuclear weapons in the world, so to save face, he mans-up and catches all nuclear missiles in a giant space net and hurls them into the sun.  Meanwhile, Lex Luthor breaks out of jail thanks to Jon Cryer, steals some of Superman’s hair, jerks off on it, and launches it into the sun, thus creating a fully formed, fully conscious, fully COSTUMED Nuclear Man.  Thanks to the hair, he has all of Superman’s power, and thanks to the semen, he has Lex Luthor’s voice.  Lex also made it so that if Nuclear Man does not have a SINGLE ray of sunlight touching him, he powers down into hibernation mode.  Sure, why not.

Check out this deleted scene:

Incredible, right?  They may as well have just left this in the movie, who cares?  This clip features the Nuclear Man prototype, which they took out of the movie entirely, but the final cut really isn’t much better than this scene.  Superman repairs the Great Wall of China with his Great Wall Fixo Vision, and Nuclear Man is able to make people float around in the air for no reason, plus both of their capes flap around in space like fabric would do in space (it wouldn’t), and this is on top of Mariel Hemingway in space, lazy fight scenes, and Superman getting rid of Lois Lane’s amnesia and then giving it back to her.

Superman 4 Vasedick
Supes shows off his new cod-piece.

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace gets wrong enough to be amusing, and is mercifully short thanks to 45 minutes of god-knows-what being cut from it.  This probably saved it from ending up like our next movie…

Get it on Amazon.

Batman and Robin

Batman and Robin Mr. Freeze gets a diamond
One for the money, two for the SNOW.

Ugh.  Surely you have seen Batman  & Robin by now.  It is famously bad, and I have seen it more than a few times.  I think that this time, though, may have proved to be one too many.  While the movie is awful in many ways that I love, it makes 2 hours seem like an eternity.  How much bad can you cram into a single movie before it becomes totally awful?  Batman & Robin tries its hardest to find out.  This movie is like the imagination of a couple of kids with an armload of action figures and play sets turned into an actual reality, with living, breathing people.  Living, breathing people you do not care about, except for maybe Alfred, who is dying of MacGreggor’s Syndrome, just like Mr. Freeze’s wife- I bet you can’t guess where that plot point is headed.

Batman and Robin BAIN
Enjoy Bain Cereal. It’s got toxins children crave.

People usually focus on the fact that Batman and Robin’s suits feature nipples, but this should be the least of your concerns.  Batman has ice skates is his boots, Mr. Freeze has a rocket ship, and Bain communicates in slightly varying intonations of his own name, just like a Pokemon.  It’s like the makers of this movie had been dared to out-camp the old Adam West Batman, and out-camped the shit out of it.  They out-camped it so hard that the guy who dared them to do it imploded.  This is out-and-out buffoonery.  I just used the word “buffoonery,” and I feel bad about it, but there are not too many other words I can throw at this movie to drive my point to you.  Goddamn buffoonery.

Batman and Robin Credit Card
Oooook, we’re done here.

Batman has a Batman credit card.

Batman and Robin and Coolio
Hey, there’s Coolio. Great.

Alicia Silverstone is here, too, as Batgirl.  She is an underground motorcycle racer and computer expert.  She exclaims “HI-YAH” while judo flipping what’s-his-face, the guy who played Robin.  Chris O’Donnell.  She tries to access Alfred’s encrypted files by guessing that his password is Alfred.  Robin gets FROZEN SOLID, but he is ok because Batman thaws him out with a vat of water that he heats with a laser.  Alfred designs a very form-fitting costume for his niece just in case she wants to be a super hero, too (hinting that there’s probably a reason he has encrypted files, and his password isn’t just “Alfred”).  Poison Ivy makes everyone want to have sex with her then gets eaten by a plant.   George Clooney plays himself.

Batman and Robin and Batgirl
Batman and Robin and also Batgirl, more like.

This is a big budget debacle.  I remembered it being good-bad, and to an extent, it is, but it is too long.  There are too many one-liners, too many stupid plot points, too… it’s just stupid.  It needs about 45 minutes shaved off of it to make it acceptable (incidentally, I wrote this before I learned that Superman IV was trimmed).  The magic wears off, and before you know it, you’re bored, and Mr. Freeze hasn’t even teamed up with Poison Ivy yet.  Forget about it.

Get it on Amazon.

Monster Brawl

Monster Brawl. Buh.
Nope. Keep scrolling.

Forget about it, this movie is not “so bad it’s good,” it is so bad it’s boring.  There is nothing redeeming about it.  Eight monsters fight in wresting-style matches to win some monster-fighting tournament.  Most of the movie is announcers commentating on the fights, and occasional moments of Lance Henriksen’s beautiful voice.  Dave Foley is here, as is Jimmy Hart, Kevin Nash, and Herb Dean, but who cares?  I couldn’t.  Look, I will give just about ANYTHING a chance.  I watched at least 4 episodes of Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time before I gave up on it, and I will somewhat defend Hellgate (1989), too, so my tolerance IS pretty high, but Monster Brawl…  The IDEA is there, but it makes 90 minutes feel like a thousand boring lifetimes.  Move along.

It’s on Amazon,  but don’t watch it.

Wishmaster

Wishmaster Genie Suicide
Genie’s got a gun.

Hey, great, a Wes Craven movie.  What could go wrong?  This time, we get an evil genie who sort of grants wishes, but in evil ways, and they don’t even have to be wishes.  You can just make comments sometimes, and the genie will grant them.  Other times, he does not even listen to what you are asking for, he just does his own thing.  At one point, the protagonist, Alexandra Amberson, wants to know what the genie is, or what he’s all about, so he teleports her inside the fire opal he lives in.  How does that grant her wish?  It doesn’t.

Wishmaster Cool Party
This party is made better by the fact that Candyman is the bouncer.

So, a genie is wandering around the city, killing people and granting wishes statements, while Alexandra hangs out with Robert Englund and tries to figure out how to stop a genie.  This movie is pretty lazy, the exposition is face-punchingly expositional, and everything follows the formula this sort of movie follows- there is nothing new here.  I bet you can’t figure out, within the first 5-10 minutes, HOW Alexandra will beat the genie in the end.

Wishmaster Fire Opal
If I weren’t a scientist, I’d say there’s a wishmaster living in this rock!

That said, I have seen this movie more times than I should have.  It’s not even very good!  It has some sort of appeal, though.  Somehow, Wishmaster spawned 3 sequels, although I’m pretty sure they were all direct-to-video.  That does not mean you should not watch them.  I saw bits and pieces once during a Wishmaster marathon, and I will probably watch them all in full, eventually.  At the same time, this does not mean you SHOULD watch them.  You could totally skip Wishmaster and be ok.

Get it on Amazon.

Hard Ticket to Hawaii

Hard Ticket to Hawaii Poster
Is it Hard to Get to Haaaaaawaaaaaiiiii?

This is my movie of the month. I know I don’t do a movie of the month, but Hard Ticket to Hawaii is, anyway. Made by Andy Sidaris as part of a 12 movie project, it is brilliant from the first lines of dialog to the last bit of action. Hopefully, the other 11 movies are anywhere as close to as good as this one, and I can buy them in one big collection. It is one of those “the less I say about it the better it is” type films. I don’t want to give anything away, and while you can find some great clips on youtube, you should really just consider watching the movie itself, because Andy Sidaris knew what he was doing. I want this movie in my collection.

Hard Ticket to Hawaii Best Guy
Oooooooh yeeeeeeeah

The least you need to know:

  • Frisbees can be dangerous.
  • Ladies just get naked, that’s fine.
  • If you have a rocket launcher, you may as well use it.
  • Watch out for [contaminated] snakes!
  • You can watch it on youtube!

 

Double Impact

Double Impact Two Twins
Two Brothers

Ok, here we go. Jean-Claude van Damme stars as both protagonists. Two twins, separated as babies after the Triad killed their parents. One brother runs an LA-based martial arts business, while the other is a criminal in Hong Kong. Geoffrey Lewis reunites them, and together, they must commit crimes and also stop crimes and also revenge, because their parents died by murder from the Triad, and revenge happens.

Double Impact Identical Brothers
A hotdog makes him lose control.

van Damme plays Chad and Alex, two totally different twins, with different personalities and motives (and the exact same accent, despite one being raised in the US and the other in China). Critics considered this a gimmick, sticking two van Dammes into a mediocre action movie, but critics are jaded nobodies, and you should watch this movie, anyway. Commercially, it was a pretty big success, largely because movie-goers know a good movie when they see one. Van Damme actually wants to make a sequel, even though everyone forgot about this movie 50 years ago, and I hope he gets the green light. Two twin movies about two twins, Double Impact Double Feature. We have 4 Expendables movies and only 1 Double Impact. Absurd.

Double Impact If Ya Know What I Mean
Llllllllllllllllllllladies.

Bolo Yeung is in this movie, too. He goes around being Bolo Yeung at van Damme, who is going around being two van Dammes. Although the movie lacks any kind of tournament, this is probably one of van Damme’s better films. We actually watched this one on accident- out intent was to watch Double Team, a van Damme movie where he also plays Dennis Rodman, and stars alongside Micky Rourke, which sounds brilliant. Double Team is not Double Impact, but we watched it anyway. Incidentally, van Damme was in Breakin’, which spawned Breakin’s 2 Electric Boogaloo and Rappin’.

Double Impact Two van Dammes
They didn’t clone him, these are just special effects.

You want some advice? Take your fancy clothes and your black silk underwear and go back to Disneyland.

Amen to that.

Get it on Amazon.

Basket Case 3: The Progeny

Bast Case 3 Belial
Belial Spaghetti Party

Congratulations, me, I watched this movie. Basket Case 3. The Progeny. The whole thing. I haven’t covered Basket Case 2, and this movie is a direct sequel to it, but just watch Basket Case, and then stop. While this movie has some merits, you are better off, your time better spent, watching Freaked. Even if you have seen Freaked 10 or 12 times, just watch it again.

Basket Case 3 Cop Killer
This makes the movie seem enticing, but…

OR, watch the original Basket Case, which successfully succeeds at being the kind of movie it needs to be. Then, if you must, hop over to youtube and find a short collection of clips from Basket Case 3, like the murders in the police station. DO NOT, however, mistake these scenes as a reason to watch the whole movie, because aside from a few good mutants, baby Belials, and a Belial mech, there are better ways to spend your night. BUH-LYLE.

Here’s the link, in CASE it shows up on Amazon.

Starcrash

Starcrash Opening Scene
The movie starts, unfamiliarly, like this.

Starcrash is Best Choice Star Wars. There is nothing I can say about it that the movie itself doesn’t say 10 times better. I found it via Gary Arthur Brown, who said “It’s like if Star Wars and Barbarella had a baby and then dropped it on its head.” A lot of people use the “baby dropped on its head” analogy, but in this case, Starcrash really is that baby. The Italian title, Scontri stellari oltre la terza dimensione, translates to “stellar clashes beyond the third dimension,” which is what they should have called the movie in English. Watch this movie and tell me it may as well not be called “Stellar clashes beyond the third dimension.” Just try. Someone opted for Starcrash, though. The US title was actually “The Adventures of Stella Star,” which is okay, but not great. Stella Star is the protagonist, but never totally feels like one.

Starcrash Amazon Guard Robot
Then this happened.

So, the movie does not start out like Star Wars at all, and the plot is totally different. Stella Star, a smuggler, and her sidekick are on the run from the Imperial Space Police, and they use hyperspace to escape, which never happens in Star Wars. Stella’s sidekick is NOT a Jedi, but he can use some type of strange… force… and he has a… I don’t want to call it a light sabre, but it’s a sword with a blade made out of energy, I guess. After being hired by the Emperor of the Galaxy (Christopher Plummer) to track down his son, David Hasselhoff, Stella, the not-Jedi, and robotic space sheriff Elle travel to a bunch of planets no one cares about, all with silly themes. There is an ice planet, an Amazon world, and a tribe/cavemen planet. Oh, and a weapon the size of a planet, but it is not a Death Star.

Starcrash Light Saber
Not the droid he was… no, wait, that implies Star Wars…

Then, the whole thing wraps up with space fortress battles. Space fortresses have single pane glass windows, and when you break them, no one gets sucked into space. The Emperor can also stop time for a while, which should make winning really easy. I would be a bad person if I didn’t recommend this movie. Plagued by financing problems, and the production company it was made for DECLINED to release it after they saw it. Fortunately, another company did release it, and now, here we are, 35 years later, and you have probably never heard of it. While a little dry in places, the movie is, overall, worth watching, especially if you have seen Star Wars because it is a really original space adventure movie. The special effects are impressive, too.

Starcrash Head
I’m not totally sure who this head is, but he’s in the movie.

Here’s the link, in case it shows up on Amazon.

Never Too Young to Die

Never too Young to Die Poster
Get it on laser disc today.

So, Condor didn’t work out, but that’s ok, because Never Too Young to Die exists.  You can watch this one on Youtube.  Also made in 1986, Never Too Young to Die is much better than Condor.  John Stamos stars as Lance Stargrove, a gymnast in college or boarding school or something, whose father is a secret agent trying to defeat an evil hermaphroditic Gene Simmons.  When Lance’s dad is KIA, he must pick up his dead dad’s slack, and become a world-famous super agent.  I don’t want to spoil too much about this movie, because it is pretty fantastic.

Never too young to die Stamos and Vanity
Action Boy.

Simmons plays Velvet Von Ragner, and he is actually pretty good in this role.  Ragner intends to poison the city’s water supply FOREVER, unless LAnce can stop him.  Although Lance initially rejects his destiny, he soon finds out that being a super-agent is awesome.  Together with Danja Deerling (played by Destiny) and his Asian roommate (surprise, he’s a tech-wiz) Cliff, Lance proves he’s worthy of his father’s legacy, while Stamos shows off why he’s not really known for being an action star.

Never too young to die Rob and Gene
The people of nightmares.

Also, Robert Englund is here!

Never Too Young to Die has its own theme song, too.  It may get stuck in your head because it’s entirely great.  Unfortunately, this movie is not available on DVD.  When it is, though, this is one I’d like to have in my collection. Hopefully, it remains on Youtube.

Condor

Condor Chris Proctor
Ray Wise as CONDOR

Who knew that a movie starring Ray Wise could suck?  Well, here it is, the made-for-TV Condor.  This is not a promising way to start a movie write-up, but I am not going to sugarcoat it for you.  To be fair, I guess, this is not a theatrical film, it is essentially the lengthy pilot episode of a TV show that never happened.  It has all of the pilot episode tropes you could hope for.

Condor Arm Wrestling
Proctor’s solution to everything: Arm Wrestle

Wise plays Chris Proctor, who lives in the futuristic future Los Angeles, 1999.  1999 as 1986 saw it… so, you have cars that drive themselves, ’80s clothes, jet packs, car phones, droids…  You can even call a fast food place ahead of time and place an order, so your food is ready when you get there (?).  Proctor is a grumpy guy who works for an organization called Condor (because “there just aren’t that many of us old birds left.”).  He is grumpy because his partner just died.  We don’t know how, exactly, nor do we ever know what his partner’s name was.  So, you can imagine how angry Proctor gets when his boss reveals his new partner… and she’s a WOMAN!

Condor James Avery
James Avery is Cas the Computer Guy. He’s not a computer.

She’s not just a woman, though, her name is LISA!  And also she’s a robot.  At least, they say she’s a robot.  Well, grumpy old Proctor doesn’t like this one bit, so he challenges the robo-lady to an arm wrestling match to decide whether or not he actually has to partner up with her.  After being humiliated by a woman/robot, Proctor goes into detective mode, dressed in future clothes, to find out what his arch-nemesis, the Black Widow is up to.  She escaped prison using a jet-pack during the overly long opening scene of the movie.  Her plan revolves around using the sewers to hijack drones and blow up the city.

Condor Jail Break
Future Robo Prison Guards

The least you need to know:

  • Condor is a ridiculous vision of the remarkably ’80s-inspired future
  • Proctor keeps almost falling in love with Lisa
  • Proctor hates dames and tries to dominate them by arm wrestling
  • Computer hacking!
  • This movie overestimates Google’s development timeline

Should you watch this one?  Eh, it’s fairly milquetoast.  I don’t regret watching it, but it may bore people with a lower tolerance for this sort of thing.

Get it on Amazon.