Bad action movie roundup

Hi all. As you probably know by now, in between wasting time on the internet and watching Blackhawks/Cubs/World Cup related programming, I watch any number of bad movies that are not really worthy of a full review. If you know Nicole, you know that she is in love with bad movies, and we kind of push each other to watch ultra terrible films. Here are some of the stink bombs that I watched recently that I felt you might enjoy mini-reviews for:

Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)

My students begged me to watch First Blood (1982) when we discussed the Vietnam War last semester, but I made them watch Platoon (1986) which I should not even mention in the same sentence together.

Psychologically damaged vet John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) reprises his prior role, except this time he’s going back to ‘Nam. Why they couldn’t find a soldier who didn’t freak out and murder an entire small town Sheriff’s department, who can say? The U.S. army needs Rambo to rescue some POW’s. The only problem: some pencil pushing bureaucrat doesn’t want to start another war by murdering a whole bunch of Vietnameese national troops in their own country. Can’t those liberals in government ever get anything right?

After kicking ass for a while and firing what seems like three hundred rockets from an attack chopper, Rambo saves the day, telling that Washington bureaucrat to “find them [POW’s], or I’ll find you.” And do what, John Rambo, exactly? I know, let’s kill the whole government, that’s the answer! John Rambo for president.

If you can make it through the 80’s style patriotism and horrible Asian stereotypes, there are a few cheesy action shot payoffs. Better pick up a case of beer with this movie though.


Alien Hunter (2003)

At first, I thought this was some kind of SciFi Channel original, but it seems like a theatrical release, though I couldn’t find evidence of that either. It scored an ominous “N/A” on, something I have never seen in my life. That would seem to suggest that it was never reviewed, which leads me to the conclusion that this was a case of direct to DVD.

Julian Rome (James Spader, whoa, bad move my friend) is an ex-SETI member who gets called to the South Pole to investigate an alien ship that got hauled into a hydroponic corn experimentation facility (why grow corn at the South Pole? Why the hell not I guess). To make a long plot short, the aliens have a virus that will kill all life on earth, even the super corn, if it ever escapes. How do we know this? Somehow the Roswell conspiracy and a crazy bananas theory about how these aliens wiped out a civilization on Mars eons ago (how this is known by the humans is never mentioned, surprise surprise) are forwarded as reasons to nuke the whole facility. The rest of the movie is not worth mentioning, as it just gets stupider.

Oh, and I might point out that I was expecting some battle scenes between warrior aliens and soldiers (as the title would suggest) but the alien turns out to be peaceful and some dick shoots him dead while he’s trying to give James Spader the ultimate knowledge of the universe. Whoopsie daisy!


The Condemned (2007)

Stone Cold Steve Austin is on death row for a black ops mission gone wrong, abandoned by those jerks in government (he and Rambo should start a support group). Just let the military run things already. If history has taught us anything it’s that handing control of all foreign and domestic affairs over to a military despot is the only logical solution.

Anyway, this is basically the Richard Connell story “The Most Dangerous Game” done up again as a live webcast where people can watch violent criminals kill each other for sport. Last one alive wins freedom and some cash, only the whole thing is basically rigged and the U.S. law enforcement system is too locked up in bureaucratics to do anything to stop it. The manhunting plot has been done to death, and once something is spoofed by It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, it should be dead, but it wasn’t, and the movie exists. By the way, Austin cannot act at all. He did a much better job in the squared circle than this movie, by far.


The Scorpion King (2002)

Dwane Johnson plays the title role of an assassin for hire that gets involved in a simplistic plot that is almost a direct copy of Conan the Barbarian (1982). I’m not sure if the writers or directors did that on purpose as a kind of tongue and cheek allusion. One would hope so, as it cuts a little to close to the bone to be a coincidence.

The movie is solid action wise, with a lot of Sam Raimi style fight sequences that fans of cheese will enjoy. The plot and acting, both terrible as you might expect. There are the typical pre-civilization action characters: a thief/trickster, a crackpot inventor (who invents gunpowder, WTF!?! come on, really?? in B.C.E. Egypt, ugh…), some women warriors in various bikini outfits, and a delightful young scamp who gets into the darnedest of situations. The antagonist is basically the Sheriff of Nottingham in Egyptian clothes. Oh, and I forgot Michael Clarke Duncan, who cracks some skulls. I’m sorry, but he is just awesome, no matter what anyone says.

The special effects get worse as the story progresses, so don’t look for a knockout final battle. The movie as whole just fizzles slowly out of existence, but I think it’s on cable fifty or so times a week so you can catch it then if you’re desperate to know which side wins the ultimate battle for the non-existent, anachronistic Egyptian civilization.


Well, that’s it for the bad action movie roundup. For future movies, I will try to avoid any titles that star former wrestlers. I had some out of town obligations, but I will hopefully be up for writing a review of Crime and Punishment this week so as to try to get some classy material up on this blog.

Next up in the film department: Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant