That’s Blaxpolitation! 5: The CLEOPATRA JONES Saga


cracked rear viewer

cleo1

Standing six-foot-two, the beautiful former model Tamara Dobson was Warner Brothers’ answer to Pam Grier. The first female action star, Grier was killing it at the box office with hits like COFFY and FOXY BROWN, and Warners’ cast the Amazonian Dobson in the title role of CLEOPATRA JONES (1973). While Dobson made a foxy badass mama in the role, she wasn’t a very good actress. Which is alright in the world of action films, as long as the violence comes fast and hard, and CLEOPATRA JONES delivers in that department.

cleo2

Our girl Cleo is a special government agent in Turkey helping to wipe out some large poppy fields (“Thirty million worth of shit”, says Cleo). This causes drug smuggling crime boss Mommy to freak out and seek revenge. Mommy is played by Shelley Winters in one of her patented over the top roles, wearing a series of bad wigs and screeching at…

View original post 446 more words

Turkish Film Fest: Turkish Mad Max/Ölüme son adim (1983, dir. Çetin Inanç)


I didn’t think it was possible, but they did it. This movie is even better than Turkish First Blood. Again, you can stop reading now if you want to and just go watch it. I won’t blame you. The only downside to this movie, if you can call it that, is that I think the tie-in to Mad Max might have been an afterthought. It’s feels more like they had an action packed script for the three leads to star in, then decided to throw in a few Mad Max elements such as the leather outfit and weapon from the Mad Max poster. I could be wrong, but it’s the impression that I get. Let’s dig in!

The movie begins on this shot of Kaan or Kagan (Cüneyt Arkin) climbing up onto the top of a building. He makes his way to a stairwell where bad guys start to flow in. He lights some dynamite and appears to chuck it onto the angry no arms and no legs dummy from Turkish First Blood.

Regardless, it kills some of the bad guys. Kaan beats on one guy, then takes him around by the neck and begins to lead him down the stairs. Cut to title card. Arkin is once again in badass mode for this movie. However, this time around we get to see him do some more acting.

Then we meet every slimy businessman and bikini girl from every Turkish movie of this era. Arkin says hi the Arkin way. By shooting him in the hand.

Jeez! Where’s Buddy with his Healing Hands when you need him?

Turns out Kaan was delivering a small package for this guy. It also turns out what was in it was used by a girl who subsequently died before his eyes. Kaan isn’t happy to say the least. Especially after this guy says “they were destined to die”. Kaan says “and so are you”. He makes the guy eat the whole package of heroin and watches him die.

Now we cut to Kaan dealing some cards onto a bed. Then guys start to come into the room. I think the first part of this scene is only to remind us that Arkin is going to be doing more of that knife throwing to kill guys in this movie. Seriously, he kills a lot of people by simply throwing a knife that flies like a projectile. You’d think he worked in a carnival for many years before taking up whatever his job is in this movie.

After dispatching those bad guys, the main guy comes into the room and has a job for Kaan. He wants Kaan to bring a professor who has, or is, developing a new medicine. Kaan takes the job, then cut to another room where we are introduced to the second member of Kaan’s team.

This is Ali played by Yildirim Gencer. Yildirim Gencer is the one who played Kilink in Kilink In Istanbul, Kilink vs. The Flying Man, and Kilink: Strip And Kill. This is when a strange old man bursts into the room.

This leads to a rather comical little scene where this old man appears to be having a lot of trouble firing this rifle. In fact, eventually they just end up starting to fight. After Ali pins the old man we find out that the old man is really Kaan in disguise.

This is how we learn that two of them are friends, and have a rather unique relationship. This is one of the things that makes this better than Turkish First Blood. This isn’t just one scene, but something that develops over the course of the film.

Now for another call back, we meet the third member of Kaan’s team played by actress Emel Tümer. Emel Tümer played the girl in Turkish First Blood. Except this time she’s going to be kicking butt and blowing people away right along side Arkin. We meet her during this scene where she is having a drinking contest with this guy. Of course she wins, but then the surrounding guys pin her down as if at the very least they are going to feel her up. This is honestly a great scene because of this.

Kaan and Ali enter the room and Arkin gets this smile on his face as if to say, “Hi boys! Hope you enjoyed what little you just got because I’m about to even up the odds and you won’t like what me, my friend, and she has in store for you.” And beat the crap out of them they do.

During this whole fight they are also talking to each other to catch up. We find out that she has at least been in a relationship with Ali at some point and probably Kaan as well. It ends with them taking a little breather and enjoying a drink with each other.

Then we get a sequence that I’m not sure of the plot purpose. However, it does give the film a chance to have her get shot in the butt, which is kind of funny. But more importantly, it introduces us to the coin flipping thing that Kaan does in this movie. He’ll flip a coin to see whether he or Ali will do something, Ali always calls heads, and loses every time. It also gets in something else that will carry throughout the movie. That Kaan and Ali really are fond of her. Next she gets behind the wheel and proceeds to tell Ali she didn’t appreciate being shot in the butt by his friendly fire.

I love the back and forth here between Ali and her, which does end up like it should because she isn’t paying attention to the driving while doing all this talking.

Of course she’s gonna need some help pushing that car. Heads or tails?

Now is when the action largely takes over the movie. I’ll try to hit the high points here.

Arkin is ready for his Mad Max poster now.

I didn’t expect Turkish Mad Max to be the one where Arkin wields a bow and arrow.

At this point, they find the professor and his wife. Arkin gets some nice poses in here too.

Then there’s a conversation between Kaan and Ali. I didn’t pick up the in joke till I looked up that Ali was played by the same actor who plays Kilink, but I get it now. Kaan tells Ali: “You’re a celebrity nevertheless. Twice even. At being a crook and at scoring ladies.”

Now comes a humorous action sequence where they have obviously returned to the set of Turkish First Blood. It’s funny because during the majority of this scene they are doing battle with stock footage.

This is where we find out that the guy who hired Kaan has double crossed them. Big surprise there. About as much of a surprise as the fact that they return to the quarry set of Turkish First Blood and I believe the set of Turkish Star Wars where Arkin punched rocks.

Of course more action ensues and Ali once again loses the coin toss and has to carry the professor who was shot during the battle. Next we return to what I assume are the caves from Turkish First Blood. We also get this great shot.

Then we get what is probably the most insane action sequence in any of these Turkish movies I’ve watched so far. After everyone but Kaan goes down the side of a rock face on a rope, Kaan tries to go down. He’s got people at the top and on sides of him. The scene is hilarious as Kaan switches between shooting and many knife throws to deal with the bad guys. There is no way I can do this over the top action sequence justice. Just take my word for it that it’s pretty cool in it’s lunacy.

Once they are safe, we get a nice little scene where Kaan gives Emel Tümer’s character a flower. Ali then asks him where his present is to which Kaan gives him his cigarette. “A cigarette for death”. Then they’re off to battle some more stock footage. We get some more action, then Ali finally finds out that Kaan has been using a coin that is tails on both sides this whole time.

Now all the friendship stuff between Kaan and Ali comes to a head when Ali is left trying to get to the truck Tümer and Arkin are in while bad guys close in behind him.

He honors his friend’s plea and shoots him. After some more action, Arkin and Tümer return to the guy who hired them and do him in for lying to them that it was medicine when it was drugs. It ends with this look on Arkin’s face.

I really enjoyed this one. Aside from the Django one, these were fun for me to watch and write about. I hope you had a good Thanksgiving week.

Review: Ash vs. Evil Dead 1.4 “Brujo”


Pablo (Ray Santiago), Ash (Bruce Campbell), and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) in Ash vs. Evil Dead

Pablo (Ray Santiago), Ash (Bruce Campbell), and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) in Ash vs. Evil Dead

With this being a week full of birthdays and holidays, it took me a while to finally get around to watching Brujo, the fourth episode of the Starz original series, Ash vs. Evil Dead. However, I’m happy to say that I just watched it and here are a few thoughts.

Hopefully, these will be coherent thoughts. As I sit here typing this, it’s 4 in the morning and I’m only half awake. But then again, Ash vs. Evil Dead is the perfect show to watch when you’re only half awake. First off, the show itself is wonderfully uncomplicated. The Deadites spend their time chasing Ash. Ash spends his time saying anything that pops into his head. Pablo spends his time idolizing Ash. Kelly spends her time wondering how she got stuck in this mess. Whenever things do get complicated, it’s because Ash has done something stupid. To quote Brujo, when it comes to Ash, “the flame is dim, but it flickers.”

Secondly, Ash vs. Evil Dead is pretty much nonstop mayhem. This episode, for instance, opened with Ash in a car chase and then moved on to Ruby (Lucy Lawless) stomping on the head of a Deadite. In doing so, Ruby saved the life of Fisher (Jill Marie Jones), the state trooper who was previously left handcuffed in harm’s way by Ash. Among other things, this episode revealed that Ruby is the daughter of Professor Knowby and blames Ash for the death of her family in Evil Dead 2. Ruby, it turns out, has also been hauling around Ash’s possessed hand in the back of her car.

Seriously, how could you sleep through that?

The majority of tonight’s episode dealt with Brujo leading Ash on a drug-fueled vision quest. We got to see the inside of Ash’s mind and … oh my God. Seriously, it was everything I was expecting it to be and more. Ash’s mind was revealed to be a cluttered collection of 80s music, 80s porn, 80s television, 80s cars, and nonstop retail employment. It’s a world where every magazine is Playboy, every song has a lengthy guitar solo, and there’s way too much neon.

When, as a part of his vision quest, Ash found himself blind, he heard the voice of Brujo telling him to calm down.

“Stop being a little bitch,” Brujo told him.

“You’re being a bitch, dude!” Ash snapped back.

Oh, Ash – don’t ever change.

During Ash’s quest/trip, he not only found himself in his ideal location – Jacksonville, Florida – but he also suddenly once again had two hands. “Brujo!” Ash exclaimed, staring down at his two hands, “I need two beers!”

While all this was going on, we got a fun scene of Pablo and Kelly making Ash a new prosthetic hand. Up until this point, Pablo and Kelly have both existed in Ash’s shadow but, in these scenes, they both got a chance to establish their own characters and their own chemistry and it was charming to watch.

Unfortunately, we then discovered that Kelly was possessed by Eligos, the frightening demon that Ash made the mistake of summoning during the last episode. If you’ll remember, it originally appeared that Kelly got rid of Eligos by hitting him with The Necronomicon. At the time, I felt that was a bit too simple of a way to banish Eligos and it turns out that I was right. Instead of returning to Hell, Eligos entered Kelly and eventually, he showed up in Ash’s trip. Suddenly, Ash’s idealized dream world of Jacksonville, Florida turned into the nightmarish stockroom of Value Mart and Ash had to do battle with Eligos.

And, to his credit, Ash appeared to have the upper hand on Eligos. However, defeating Eligos in his mind also meant that Ash was strangling Kelly in the real world. Pablo came to the rescue, hitting Ash in the back of his head and apparently knocking him out. As this episode came to a close, Ash was still unconscious, Kelly was still possessed, Fisher and Ruby was still driving around with Ash’s hand in the back seat, and nobody seemed to be doing much about the Deadite invasion…

Hmmm…actually, I guess Ash vs. Evil Dead isn’t quite as simple as I said.   Seriously, things are starting to get downright complicated.

Anyway, as for the episode itself, I liked it but then again, I’ve liked every episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead. I’ve read some complaints that the series has yet to settle on a consistent tone but quite frankly, I think that’s one reason why Ash vs. Evil Dead is so enjoyable. It is joyfully and unapologetically messy and inconsistent. There’s no way you can predict what’s going to happen because literally anything can happen and probably will. The show is completely insane and totally excessive but it’s anchored by Bruce Campbell’s lead performance. In a world where there is no logic, Ash Williams is king.

You don’t watch a show like Ash vs. Evil Dead because it makes sense. You watch because it features Bruce Campbell saying things like, “You’re a bitch, dude.” So far, Ash vs. Evil Dead has totally delivered.

Enjoy Jacksonville, Ash.

Enjoy Jacksonville, Ash.

Down and Dangerous review


Down and Dangerous review. (2013)

Writer and Director: Zak Forsman

Stars:

John T. Woods as Paul Boxer

Paulie Redding (Credited as Paulie Rojas) as Olivia Ivarra

Judd Nelson as Charles

Plot:

Paul Boxer (JTW) A less-than-gun wielding smuggler has to confront his past and future in one single moment. Having to bring several kilos of cocaine over the border, he is confronted with his nemesis…..or villainess! Many decisions insue, right or wrong! Hooded and on his knees…..BANG!! …Jobs done, you take it from here….And I won’t spoil the rest of it for you! But a bigger choice comes.

 

Review:

From a small Kickstarter campaign in 2011, Zak Forsman pulled off an amazing movie! I got to give it up that I love Indie movies, and when one is done this well!…*tips hat* To Zak Forsman!  John T. Woods was great! I do have a couple minor complaints, but minor, and I will never let those get in the way of me seeing a great movie!

 

You can see the trailer here!

 

If you don’t have the time to watch the movie; recount the amount of time you have! This is a great Indie movie!