Tuesday 21 February 2012

Triple Bill Mini Musings: Going Old School...

I used to see the cover for this on video in the horror section of my local video shop back in the day - it formed part of a wall that stood like a mural of alluringly graphic cinema, and now all these years later I finally got around to giving it a spin on The Horror Channel. I think it would have made more of an impact if I'd seen it all those years ago during my formative years, because as it stands now in my late twenties it's a decent flick but nothing that particularly grabs me. The kids getting picked off one-by-one are cannon fodder at best, but the main reason to watch is for the creepy atmosphere (the flick gets off to a great start) and the titular beastie itself - a glorious testament to practical effects wizardry (suitable then that this flick directed by Stan Winston). What's more, fans of Lance Henriksen will be well served here.

Red Scorpion:
Joseph Zito (who directed Friday the 13th Part IV) rocks up with this 1988 guns-and-explosions fest. Dolph Lundgren plays a KGB agent sent to Africa to take out an anti-Communist rebel leader, but ends up taking the side of the massacred villagers when he sees the horrors perpetrated by his own side. It's overlong with some really dull, drawn-out portions of under-heated character work that doesn't contain enough emotional payoff, or isn't efficient enough, to suit this kind of a flick. However, whenever there are explosions and guns going off it's great 1980s action fun ... it's just a shame the talky and introspective bits don't work here. Appropriately enough I saw this on Movies4Men - the sort of flick you'd watch with mates and a few cans.

Like an old school 1970s action revenge picture, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson stars in this surprisingly good muscle-bound shooter, which wisely never outstays its welcome, gets right into the meat from the-off, relies on big guns, big cars, and bigger muscles, and interestingly leaves you unsure of where certain characters are going to go and where they'll end up. Imagine a high-end B-Movie which delivers on genre thrills, but also has the sense to change things up a bit with a cast of characters who are all varying shades of grey, and who all don't have to go to the ends of the earth to round out their character arc as you'd otherwise predict.

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