Thursday, 31 March 2011

Lazy-arse DVD review round-up

Pardon me getting the violin out, but man... this whole movie review blogger gig can get tiresome. You do your bit. You take a look at whatever comes your way, and do your utmost to give it careful consideration, even though you don't know that your opinion necessarily counts for much in the eyes of many. But now and then, you're faced with films that you really just don't give a toss about. Such is the case here. They're not necessarily the worst films I've ever seen; that would be something. If you really, truly despise a film, you've got just as much to write about as if you truly love it. But these films inspire almost no reaction beyond... meh. Hence I'm dismissing them with a paragraph each, as follows.

Cobra Woman from Odeon Entertainment - in fairness, I didn't dislike this film at all, I just wasn't particularly excited by it and find it hard to imagine many people will be, unless they happened to see it as kids. It's an old-fashioned matinee adventure made by Universal in the 40s. Don't get too excited by the presence of Jack Pierce in the make-up department and Lon Chaney Jr in front of the camera, for there are no monsters to see; the Cobra Woman of the title is the evil high priestess of a snake worshipping cult on a remote tropical island, whose power is threatened by the arrival of her twin sister, both in the not-unappealing form of Maria Montez. There's some nice location photography and jungle adventure antics, but it all feels a bit mundane, small scale and terribly dated; the abundance of casual racism doesn't help in that regard. Oh, and Chaney Jr's role is so small you hardly even notice he's there; barely a whisper in the man's sad downward spiral.

The King Maker from Anchor Bay Entertainment - no, this isn't a biopic of Nick Clegg, nor the second most popular band to come out of Hull in the early 90s (...anyone? Anyone?). Rather, it's a bizarre blend of martial arts movie, historical epic and swashbuckler, apparently based on a true story. However, I'm at a loss as to quite what that story is, for this thing is so badly put together it borders on incoherence. Seemingly a Thai/US co-production but shot in English, its cast are either hopelessly lacking in charisma (leading man Gary Stretch) or struggling to perform in what is clearly not their first language (the largely Thai cast). Or they're John Rhys-Davies and they're just slumming it, because every old British actor does. Melodramatic and silly, this may garner a few so-bad-it's-good giggles here and there, but on the whole it's just tedious.

Primevil from Revolver Entertainment - riddle me this. What looks like a cheap and tacky Predator rip-off with a bit of The Descent thrown in, sounds like a cheap and tacky Predator rip-off with a bit of The Descent thrown in, smells like a cheap and tacky Predator rip-off with a bit of The Descent thrown in, and tastes like a cheap and tacky Predator rip-off with a bit of The Descent thrown in? Nuff said. Revolver: this shit is beneath you. Lance Henriksen: surely you don't need the money that badly...

Universal Squadrons from Kaleidoscope Entertainment - look, no matter how hard anyone tries Iraq just isn't as fertile a breeding ground for soldier movies as Vietnam was. It doesn't carry the phantom of defeat, and the desert just doesn't look as cool in action movies as the jungle does. Okay? Just saying. Anyway, this movie does nothing to help the status of Iraq-related action films, telling of soldier coming home from an uneventful tour of duty only to learn he's been experimented on by the military to be a computer-operated super soldier. Yes, it's as dumb as it sounds. No, I didn't like it at all.

None of this matters because last week I saw the best damn action film of the year so far. It's Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins, and my review is at Brutal As Hell. Make damn sure you catch it when it comes out in May. As for the aformentioned 'meh'-fests... they're all out now on DVD, if you really must. Rather you than me.

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