Universal Soldier: Regeneration

 Posted by at 8:58 pm  Comments Off on Universal Soldier: Regeneration
Apr 242010
 

For the few of you who are unfamiliar with the “Universal Soldier” franchise (shame on you) let me bring you up to speed. So the story goes two badass soldiers die in Vietnam, and the US military (in their infinite wisdom) decides to use the dead bodies to create an army of unstoppable (though brain-dead) killing machines. Luc Deveraux (JCVD) and Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren) are the first two “UniSols” created to combat terrorist threats. The situation eventually evolves into good Unisol vs. bad UniSol when Deveraux begins to remember his past life, and Scott attempts to stomp Deveraux out of existence. Then Luc Deveraux returned for the 1999 flop, “Universal Soldier: The Return.” This was a terrible movie and most likely the reason you haven’t seen “Universal Soldier: Regeneration” yet. Well friends, when it comes to “Universal Soldier: Regeneration” let me tell you this: last night I dreamed that I punched a man to death. A man head-butted me, and I punched him in the face until he was dead. This was no coincidence. Universal Soldier: Regeneration, you made your point.

Universal Soldier: Regeneration begins with an awesome kidnapping heist. Masked men armed with automatic weapons rush into a museum and nab the son and daughter of the Russian president. Then there is a phenomenal car chase scene, and a daring escape via a helicopter. The action kicks in at about the 30 second mark and never stops. As it turns out, the presidents kids were kidnapped by the leader of a rebel group seeking to secede from Russia. To show that they mean business, the rebels have occupied Chernobyl and rigged the nuclear power plant with enough explosives to create a blast 100 times larger than that of Hiroshima. As if things weren’t bad enough, the rebels also have UniSols, in the form of Dolph Lundgren and Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski. Holy shit! Did you click on that link? Did you see that guy? I bet it’s going to take some sort of one man army to stop these fellas.

Not long into the movie it’s revealed that Luc Deveraux (remember, from the first movie?) is undergoing some kind of rehab in Switzerland in an effort to prevent his murderous tendencies and help revive his lost memories. Due to this plot device, JCVD spends the first half of the movie out of sight. This might be my chief complaint about this movie if JCVD weren’t consistently kicking the living shit out of people whenever he was on screen. The first taste of JCVD’s martial arts fury comes at the expense of some hapless Swiss towny who’s in the wrong place at the wrong time. This scene is terrific and it establishes that Luc Deveraux is an untamable animal who’s eternally hellbent on taking lives. Knowing that old dogs don’t learn new tricks, Deveraux heads off to Chernobyl to put an end to an international nuclear threat, and to stop the evil UniSols once and for all.

Sure, die hard science nerds might argue the logistics of freezing and reanimating corpses, let alone the bodies ability to withstand numerous point-blank gunshot and stab wounds, but I say to hell with those science nerds, Universal Soldier: Regeneration is plain old, action packed, fun. By and large the acting is never too over the top, but director John Hyams wisely decided to keep the focus away from the script, and more on the action. As a result, JCVD, Lundgren, and Arlovski all have minimal lines in the movie, which just maximizes their ability to kick ass. It seems that after 18 years, Hyams finally realized what made the Universal Soldier franchise worth watching. After a brief search online, I found that this movie was made on a 14 million dollar budget. While that may seem like a lot of money, the original was made on a 23 million dollar budget, and those were 1991 dollars. So while the movie never feels like a blockbuster on the scale of Roland Emmerich’s original, it instead manages to feel like a well directed episode of “24” boiled down to all of the action, and this is not a bad thing. As far as JCVD movies go, put Universal Soldier: Regeneration on the top of your Netflix queue (oh, I almost forgot to mention how Dolph Lundgren dies. It involves a pipe and a shotgun and is probably the best death scene I’ve ever witnessed).

I give Universal Soldier: Regeneration: 8 Three Mile Island incidences out of 10 Chernobyl catastrophes

Replicant

 Posted by at 8:46 pm  Comments Off on Replicant
Apr 192010
 

Jean-Claude Van Damme can’t be expected to contain his awesome martial arts talents to just one character at a time, that’s why he’s played duel roles in not one, but two movies. In 1991, JCVD broke cinematic boundaries in “Double Impact,” playing both Alex and Chad Wagner, two brothers who were separated at birth, but reunite to kick faces and break bones. Now I know you’re thinking that nothing could possibly top two Van Dammes delivering devastating body blows side by side, but what if I told you that you could see JCVD fight himself? When you watch “Replicant,” my friends that’s exactly what you’ll get.

Replicant’s first scene features an evil JCVD kicking a woman to death. If kicking women until they’re dead doesn’t convince you that this dude is evil, his long, greasy hair should do the trick. Long haired JCVD is Edward “The Torch” Garrotte, a serial killer whose modus operandi is seeking out young mothers and burning them to a crisp. Garrotte’s been at this serial killer business for a long time, and all the while hardboiled cop, Jake Riley (Michael Rooker) has been hot on his trail. In an act of desperation the government decides to clone The Torch. Knowing that the clone would inherit all of the memories of the original, the government plans to use the replicant as a human hound dog, sniffing out all of Garrottes old haunts, and hopefully leading the feds to the maniacal killer.

Incredibly, the government decides to team up Replicant with Jake Riley, the man who above all things despises Edward Garrotte and by extension Replicant. At this point, the movie turns into an action packed version of “Rain Man,” with Rooker playing the role of Tom Cruise, and JCVD playing the role of mentally challenged killing machine. Although Replicant was able to retain some of Garrottes memories, he couldn’t remember anything else (like how to talk). Riley is forced to lead Replicant around by a leash, barking commands like “down” and “stay” as though he were a dog. At first I thought this premise was ridiculous (and I suppose it is) but about halfway through the movie I was completely invested with JCVDs dim-witted doppelgänger. I couldn’t help but feel bad for this clone, who never asked to be created and only wants to be hugged. By the time JCVD and Michael Rooker are walking through the park, ice cream cones in hand, I couldn’t have been happier.

But Replicant isn’t just a movie about a dumb but lovable clone, it’s a movie about a serial killer. While at first the action is sparse, if you wait patiently you will not be disappointed. By the second half of the movie good and evil Van Damme lock eyes and the action is set in motion. I’m not going to ruin the action, but believe me, it’s there. In the pool hall, it’s there. In the hospital, it’s there. And in the hotel with the knife wielding pimps, it’s there. Throw in a JCVD showdown, and Replicant is top-notch.

If you’re a fan of Jean-Claude Van Damme, you will not be disappointed with Replicant, and if you’re not a fan, well, I question your worth as a human being. Watch this movie and be somebody.

I give Replicant: 4 out of 5 roundhouse kicks to the heart

Tokyo Gore Police

 Posted by at 6:40 pm  1 Response »
Feb 182010
 

Question: Is Tokyo Gore Police the most awesome movie ever made?

Answer: Yes.

And that shit isn’t even an opinion. That’s a fucking fact, Jack.

I’m not even going to bother giving you a review or a plot synopsis or whatever. There’s no point. All you need to know is that it just doesn’t get any more awesome than this movie and the fact that you’re not watching it right now makes you an idiot. So go watch it. Now.

Really? You’re still just reading this? Are you being difficult on purpose or are you just a douche that hates things that are awesome?

Listen up, horse. I’ve led you to this water and so help me god, you are going to fucking drink. Allow me to explain something to you – The title screen for Tokyo Gore Police occurs 8 minutes and 48 seconds into the film. Here is a rundown of what happens in that beautiful 8 minutes and 48 seconds BEFORE THE NAME OF THE MOVIE EVEN APPEARS:

0:00 – 0:39
Filmed in association with blah blah blah.

0:40
The movie begins and we see some pretty flowers.

1:33
A dude’s head explodes.

2:45
A dude eats another dude’s organs with chopsticks.

3:42
A dude does Leatherface’s “Chainsaw Shuffle”.

3:52
A chick slices her arm with a box cutter like 47 times.

4:41 – 5:01
A dude is shot until his arm falls off and then…

5:29
…a crazy-ass bio-mech chainsaw grows out of the bloody stump.

5:36
A cop’s head gets chopped off.

6:11
A chick flies to the top of a building on a bazooka.

6:40
A dude gets a chainsaw tossed into his mouth which chops his face in half.

7:25
Arm chopped off.

7:45
Ear chopped off.

7:57
Nose chopped off.

8:04
Eyeball falls out.

8:37
Chick chops dude in half vertically with a sword.

8:48
Title screen.

Yeah. And the remaining 1 hour and 40 minutes makes those first 9 minutes look like fucking “Milo and Otis”. I give this movie two severed thumbs up and the soul of my first born child (whom I will name “Tokyo Gore Police”).

Chocolate

 Posted by at 2:47 am  1 Response »
Feb 162010
 

I gotta tell ya, folks, Chocolate threw me for a loop. I went into it expecting your standard kung-fu kick-em-up. Instead, I was one-inch-punched in the heart by the touching story of a lovable young autistic girl named Zen. And then when my defenses were lowered, I was E. Honda hundred-hand-slapped in the fucking mouth with some of the most bad-ass and creative martial arts choreography I’ve seen in a while.

Here’s the deal: So there’s this chick Zin who’s the girlfriend of a crazy-ass Thai mob boss. She falls in love with this dude Massahi, who works for a Thai chapter of the Yakuza. They have a short but active love affair and are finally exposed. Needless to say, the boss is pretty pissed about this and cuts ties with Zin, leaving her to fend for herself.  He also banishes Massahi back to Japan and informs him in no uncertain terms that his relationship with Zin is over as hell. However, unbeknownst to the now absent Massahi, Zin is preggers and she eventually pops out their love child Zen, who, as it turns out, is autistic. But wait. It gets better.

Because being the unemployed single mother of an autistic child isn’t enough, Zin ups the ante by getting cancer. Luckily, one day Zin meets a portly young street urchin named Moom and adopts him when she realizes his potential for a.) much needed  assistance with Zen, and b.) bumbling-fat-kid comic relief. (Good call, Zin.)

So we all know what happens next, right? Just as things look their worst, Massahi finds out what’s happening and his love for Zin and the daughter he’s never met is so great that in the face of death, he goes rogue and karate chops his way back to his family to prove love conquers all. DUDE I AM KIDDING THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN AT ALL.

Massahi apparently isn’t one to rock the boat, so he just chills in Japan doing Yakuza stuff. What the fuck, right? So far, despite the goofy fat kid, this just sounds like a really super sad movie. Wouldn’t it be great if all the sudden it started kicking ass?

If movies have taught me anything, it’s that autistic folks are essentially awkward super-computers. However, Zen is a little different. Sure, she’s quiet, has no social skills, and has a penchant for sorting her M&Ms by color, but she also has Daredevil-style reflexes and can perfectly mimic fight scenes from old kung-fu movies. Interesting, but when will this come in handy? Well, Moom finds Zin’s old mob ledger containing the names of crooked business owners that owe her money. He decides that he and Zen should go collect on these debts to pay for Zin’s chemo treatments. Not surprisingly, when confronted by a fat kid and an autistic girl demanding payment on a mob debt, the owners tell them to get lost. But what Zen lacks in social grace, she makes up for in tenacity. She basically goes bat-shit and kung-fus the hell out of the owner’s goons and takes the money by force. This scenario plays out many more times with various assholes and their hapless cronies, all leading to an epic showdown with the mob boss.

Do you understand what I’m saying here?

This movie is about a sweet, lovable 13-year-old autistic ninja girl beating the ever-living shit out of bad guys and taking their money to save her dying mother while a fat kid watches.

This movie is fucking amazing. I give it 10 out of 10 roundhouse kicks to the solar plexus. Watch it right now.

What’s that? Not convinced? Did I mention that the evil mob boss’ entourage consists entirely of  karate-chopping gun-toting Thai lady-boys and one mildly retarded breakdancing ninja?

Yeah, that’s what I thought. Watch the fucking movie, dummy.