Director: Simon McQuoid Starring: Tadanobu Asano, Hiroyuki Sanad, Chin Han, Nathan Jones, Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamara, Josh Lawson, Joe Taslim, Mechad Brooks, .USA. 1h 50m
Despite the long running time, just shy of 2 hours, McQuoid and his team didn’t managed to fill in enough story to fully rewrite the Mortal Kombat universe, however they did manage to cobble together a film just entertaining and intriguing enough to keep a viewer or two entertained for the duration.
Director: John K.D. Graham Starring: Alexandra Boylan, Raquel Cantu, Christopehr Dempset, Lorena Segura York, USA. 1h 19m
While looking like a dishevelled mess, having lost her job, parents and apartment, Gwen has to try and regain some control but the bottom of the bottle keeps finding her. Returning to her childhood home after the death of her parents, she intends to confront her past and find a new direction.
AKA Mortal Kombat, The Return of the Five Deadly Venoms
Director: Chang Cheh Starring: Philip Kwok, Chen Kuan Tai, Chiang Sheng, Kuo Chui, Lo Mang, Lu Feng, Wang Lung Wei .Hong Kong. 1h 40m
Just when I was positive that the Five Deadly Venoms was the best 70’s martial arts film, it turns out that the (lose) sequel actually outdoes the cult classic. In a similar vein the film runs through a deadly storyline featuring a diabolical jaded kung fu master and a group of unlikely heroes.
When a brilliant wealthy fighter’s family is brutally attacked, his wife left slaine and his son now armless, the Tiger expert finds a way to restore his son’s arms with mechanical extensions but now with a blackened heart he bullies and terrifies his hometown. Finding pleasure in crippling those to cross his pat, Four of his latest victis form a bond and seek revenge, A hawer, who has been blinded, a blacksmith, made mude and deaf and a drifter whose legs are cut off all attempt to band together with a fighter who is known as tier “idiot friend”. While finding ingenious ways to overcome their disabilities they conjure a cunning plan to take on the evil gang and the four are tested time and time again and demonstrate strengths and abilities.
Director: Fred Olen Ray Starring: Charles Napier, Ann Turkel, Bo Svenson, Ron Glass. USA. 1h 30m
I love when the smaller budgeted movies attempt to retell bigger budgeted blockbuster style stories, and this film, that spends most of its time I’m swimming in the success of other sci fi classics like Alien (1979) in fact it’s totally an Alien rip off, but all of its good intentions, seems to be another homage to cult film but plays out like another version of the fated project, The Dark(1979), and this about s successfully thrilling as Alien 2 on Earth(1981)
Director: Juan Piquer Simón Starring: Jack Scalia, R. Lee Ermey, Ray Wise, Ely Pouget, Deborah Adair,John Toles-Bey. Spain/USA. 1h 19m
If you’re a fan of underwater horrors such as The Abyss, Leviathan, DeepStar Six etc, then this film will feel really familiar to you. Often seen as a BMovie version of the movies mentioned above due to its lack of originality in the plot, the film is often praised for providing a decent entertaining sucker punch for it’s limitations. Considering that 1989 was the sterling breakthrough for deep sea thrillers involving a host of alien and mutant creatures, it’s a strange step backwards to watch Endless Descent ride on their back 2 years later, but for all its flaws it’s incredibly watchable.
Director: Fernando Di Leo Starring: Gastone Moschin, Mario Adorf, Barbara Bouchet. .UK. 1h 42m
Well famed for being the ultimate super cool, cult hit, this is the first of a trio of virtuoso politicization films, the following movies, La Mala ordina/The Italian Connection and Il Boss/The Boss, are all based on a short story collection all using the original names by Giorgio Scerbanenco. Each film stands out for their own powerful impact with straight forward stories harnessing beautiful women, treachery and tons of gratuitous violence.
AKA Hired to Kill, Manhunt in the City, Manhunt in Milan, Manhunt
Director: Fernando Di Leo. Starring. Mario Adorf, Henry Silva, Woody Strode, Adolfo Celi. Italy. 1h 40m.
After a shipment of drugs vanishes a rather charming Corso (Cyril Cusack) settles down two confidants and describes the mood for them, Dave Catania (Silva) and Frank Webster (Strode) listen patiently while they are given clear instructions to travel to Italy, where they are to act as American as possible in order to gain the attention of their target, both men speak the language fluently and are more than capable of finding the man suspected of being responsible for the missing drugs and making him suffer. A beautiful local assistant will be waiting on them hand and foot and aiding their mission but the blundering idiot they are sent after might not be quite a useless as everyone suspects.
Small time pimp and crazy headbutting tough guy Luca Canali (Adorfi), seems pretty low key, not the shifty character you’d expect to accidentally lose such a precious cargo. The film partially opens with him spending a pleasant day with his “girlfriend/bottom bitch”in the park then beating up two douchebags using Tekken 2 tactics.But the magic of this film is that Luca is a family man, his stunning ex and beautiful daughter get all his love and attention, and pretty soon the movie shifts from the two tough guys high tailing and it turns into the “Luca show” while he tries to keep ahead of all the mobsters who are now suddenly hot on his tail and all in his slightly comedic style.
Director: Tobe Hopper, John Cardos
Starring:William Devane, Cathy Lee Crosby, Jacquelyn Hyde. USA. 1h 32m
This could have been a real contender as one of the more imaginative bold and vibrant sci-fi thrillers of the late 70’s but it fails on a few fronts which is a crying shame. The total of it’s dismal failures is all down to a ton of rewrites as the director duo of Tobe Hopper and John Cardos scramble around trying to wedge their classic into the shadow of the other highly successful sci-fi movies like Ridley Scott’s ALIEN (1979).
Director: David Twohy Starring: Steve Zahn, Milla Jovovich, Timothy Olyphant, Kiele Sanchez, Chris Hemsworth. USA. 1h 34m
There’s a lot to like about this thrilling mystery and there’s a lot to appreciate about a psycho thriller which delivers some really cool (hard to kill) characters set on the beautiful islands of Honolulu. Two couples are travelling and enjoying the Eden-like surroundings, fully aware that there are a pair of serial killers on the loose, each couple are highly suspicious of the other but it’s up to the audience to look for the subtle clues and piece together who just might be a pair of deadly psychopaths.
Director: Simon West Starring: Dominic Cooper, Austin Stowell, Gemma Chan, Connie Nielsen, Thomas Kretschmann, Tom Felton, Derek Jacobi. UK. 1h 34m
British director Simon West has a huge action highlight reel consisting of succulent titles such as Con Air, Lara Croft Tomb Raider, The Mechanic, and even the mega blockbusters, The Expendables 2. But his latest addition, a smaller scaled Brit Espionage Thriller, Stratton, seem to have all the right components of a big budget action flick but just no heart and soul, which is bound to leave many viewers feeling cheated.