Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Triple Bill Mini Musings: Killer Teens, Frozen Soldiers, and Punching...

It was before my time when this flick originally threw a knockout punch upon it's release, but even after almost 25 years it remains a gloriously-pitch-black dark comedy that skewers the social groupings and peer perceptions of high school life with a bloody knife. It would never get made today, not with the depressing number of tragic incidents that take place in schools (particularly in America), but just for what it is, it's well worth watching - even if you're from a later generation, such as myself - after all, social frustration and exclusion are timeless themes.

Universal Soldier Regeneration:
I'm a big fan of the original movie, ever since I first saw it on television (in a cut, pan & scanned form, no less), and it remains a hugely enjoyable action fest. Fast forward basically twenty years, in which there have been two in-name-only sequels and one kinda-naff-real-sequel, we get this new flick. I thought it was a bad idea to begin with, and figured it was going to be a real crap-fest, but - surprisingly - it wasn't too bad actually.

It kicks off with a suitably gruff car chase, before getting into a plot about a group of rebel fighters of one (fictional) nation seeking severance from their oppressive parent-nation - by threatening to blow up Chernobyl. UniSols have been deployed in aid of this cause, and naturally fire needs to be fought with fire - but it all goes arse up and Van Damme's Luc Devereux from the original film returns to sort out the mess.

When the action is going it's good fun, and while the plot is serviceable, the characterisation isn't up to an awful lot - so there's little in the way of investment, and as a result when bullets aren't flying you find yourself twiddling your thumbs ... but then someone starts shooting and it all picks up again. It's no secret that Dolph Lungdren makes a reappearance (via some handily advanced cloning techniques), but the promised rumble between the two original UniSols is all-too-brief, unfortunately - but the kicker of a full-stop to the sequence is rather fun. Despite some flaws, it's a surprisingly decent action flick all-said-and-done.

Road House:
Another example of a Family Guy running gag that I didn't really get until now - Road House is decidedly 1980s, but in all the right ways. Directed, appropriately enough, by a dude named "Rowdy", Patrick Swayze plays a hard-nut dude who helps keep bars safe from lots of punching and broken bottles - by dishing out roundhouse kicks and looking very brooding with his shirt off.

It's all good fun - indeed one of the vehicles driven by the henchmen of the big bad guy is a ruddy Monster Truck! - and what's more it's got Sam Elliott in it doing his fightin' Southern Gentleman thing, and what's not to like about that?

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