Category Archives: Action

Exit Speed

Title: Exit Speed
Year: 2008
Got It For: $2.50 ($9.99 four movie set)

Whew, it’s been a while. Since I now have some time to marathon some movies, I thought I’d dust off the ‘ol blog and write some more clearance bin reviews. So let’s jump right back into it.

Exit Speed came on the same DVD 4-pack that includes The Octagon and another Chuck Norris flick, A Force of One, which may see a review here eventually for it’s amazing plot about karate serial killers and the champion who trains the police to fight karate and- oh right, Exit Speed.

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This film is actually a nice little low budget action thriller. A group of ten people get on a coach headed straight through the heart of Texas (and as movies have taught us, any road trip through Texas is a terrible idea). But instead of a chainsaw weilding maniac, our heroes are harassed by a motorcycle gang straight out of Mad Max. Things heat up when the gang comes after the group after the bus driver accidentally runs over a few of their members. Barricading themselves in an abandoned junk yard, these folks from all walks of life have to band together and use their skills to try to survive the night.

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There’s a lot to like about Exit Speed. The action starts with a tense chase scene and rarely lets up from there. The characters are likeable and dynamic, and even the ones who start out as annoying stereotypes eventually grow into their own as they learn to stay alive. There’s an army deserter on the run from her seargent, a divorced dad and single mom, a high school sports coach with temper issues, and even a LARPer (Live Action Role Player) who turns out to be a crack archer.

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The action is fun and makes you root for the good guys and despise the bad guys, but there’s still a dash of humanity. We know that most of these people are just everyday folks thrust into a kill or be killed situation. While the film has a good share of action violence, there are a few grisly scenes that are pretty effective. The heroes are often sickened by what they have to do, and the villains are made out to be sadistic and disgusting people.

Overall, I say this movie is worth a watch for action fans.

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The Octagon

Title: The Octagon

Year: 1980

Got It For: $2.50 ($9.99 four movie set)

 

Watching The Octagon really shows how far action movies have devolved over the years. Oh, it’s a silly movie with cheesy acting and ludicrous characters, but it’s a look back at a time when something could be considered an action movie even if five minutes went by without something exploding. Even with its problems, it’s more gritty and graphic than much of today’s PG-13 (or 14A as we call it here) fare.

Chuck Norris plays Scott, a former martial arts competitor who was trained as a ninja throughout his childhood. When people around him start dying, Scott suspects his former “brother” may be training an army of terrorists as ninja assassins. When his best friend goes off like an idiot to take down the camp by himself, Scott finally decides he has to fight one more time to protect the people he cares about.

In spite of the hilarious plot and sub-par acting (which can’t be placed on Norris alone), the story mangages to create some suspense, as we really begin to wonder whether Scott can kill the man he considered his brother for the entirety of his formative years. However, certain elements of this film just put it too far over the top. We’re treated to Scott’s inner monologue (we know this because the voice is all echo-ey) throughout the movie, and the interspersed ninja training sequences are just too goofy to put any stock in. Oh, and no less than three women have the hots for Norris’s character over the course of the picture. There’s literally one for each act of the movie!  As one love interest is killed off, another immedietly takes her place.

The Octagon may feel a bit slow to today’s action movie audience, but if you want an early example of what made ‘80’s action movies awesome, this is a perfect example.

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Double Feature: Fantasy Mission Force/Fire Dragon

Titles: Fantasy Mission Force, Fire Dragon

Years: 1982, 1986 respectively

Got Them For: $1.25 each, $5 set of four movies

There are a couple of friends I have who only get together every couple of months, as the one common friend that links us – the one whose house we use a vast majority of the time – attends school in another part of the province. For a few meetings, one of these friends told me the tale of the “Jackie Chan Action Pack,” which he had picked up for five dollars God knows where. None of the movies had Jackie Chan in any soert of leading role, and my friend had managed to sit through one movie, Fantasy Mission Force. Naturally I was intrigued. For months I demanded to see this set of DVDs. Finally, my persistance was rewarded and he gave me the set free of charge.

Oh boy. This set is a cheap bargain title and it shows from the minimal menu (stating the titles of the two movies on the disc and playing a twenty second clip of music that sounds suspiciously like “25 or 6 to 4 over and over again) to the hilariously poorly written synopsis of each movie on the back, two of which give away the endings of the movie.

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We’re just going to cover two of the movies here; though honestly they’re almost the exact same thing. No literally. Fantasy Mission Force is probably the most bizarre comedy I’ve ever seen in my life. It apparently takes place in World War II, where a group of rag-tag fighters with over-the-top personalities are recruited to find a case of money stolen by “the Japs.” Their words, not mine. Along the way they encounter a haunted house, a village of warrior amazon women led by Tuxedo Mask, and Nazis driving Mad Max style muscle cars. The movie is completely insane and completely entertaining (if you can take some light hearted racism and violence against women). Jackie Chan plays a theif who ends up helping our main heroes a few times along the way, and even defeats the big baddie at the end.
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Our second movie on the docket is Fire Dragon. I had no idea what was going on throughout quick cutting and murderous midgets hiding in cakes, so I’ll just let the back of the box explain it.

“During a war, the intelligence group of the country several members of the commitee to form a team to steal the seret file from the enemy’s army base. Among the members of the team are prisoner, famous theives and great fighters. Their destination is the Island of the Women Warriors. Unfortunately they are trapped on an island. Will they be able to succeed with their mission? Or will they discover something so unbelieveable about their own intelligence group?”

Sound familiar? It should, 80% of Fire Dragon is stock footage of Fantasy Mission Force, making it almost impossible to review this movie on its own merits. The filmmakers spliced in shots of two other actors and some body doubles and very poorly tried to disguise the fact that some of the actors in were not the same as those in other parts of the movie made from the butchered FMF (including a shot from behind “Jackie Chan”). It’s so horrible that in one scene the FMF characters meet up with the two being shot for Fire Dragon and even through the silhouette disguising their faces it is obvious the Jeep the FMF chracters are riding in changed colour.  Ugh, I’m getting confused again…it’s hard to believe a movie that’s made almost entirely of a movie I’ve already seen is so hard to understand.Image

Fire Dragon is absolutely painful, and the only redeeming qualities are the hilariously awesome dub done for the hero (the one actually shot for Fire Dragon) and hearing the Psycho shower music during a flashback scene.

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