Archive for the 'B-movie Reviews' Category

Oct

Comments Off on Phoenix the Warrior

Tagline: Sexploitation Sinema Has Never Been So Fun!

Year: 1988 Runtime: 89 min

Director: Robert Hayes

Writer: Robert Hayes, Dan Rotblatt

Starring: Persis Khambatta, Kathleen Kinmont, Peggy McIntaggart

Phoenix the Warrior is also known as She-Wolves of the Wasteland. I mention this partially for thoroughness’s sake, but mostly because it sets expectations exactly where they need to be. This is a very simple movie: put scantily clad, or preferably topless, women in front of the camera for roughly 90 minutes. And that’s exactly what the film delivers.

The story, such as it is, goes like this: a bacteriological war killed most of the world’s men and left only a handful of women.The Reverend Mother (think female Emperor Palpatine) rose into power, both in government and in magic. Don’t know how, it’s just vomited out in the opening exposition. Somehow—I’m going with Science Magick™—she creates all the post-war people, which are all women. Thing is, she is powered by draining the life from others, and women don’t have as much juice as men. Problem is, she’s killed all the men “working” them in the sperm banks. So…

The final seed is stolen by The Breeders, a group of women who want to breed more humans, and used to impregnate Keela, some woman. And by the grace of the Goddess it’s a boy.

(And there was much rejoicing. Yay.)

Phoenix comes along just in time to save Keela from the Reverend Mother and her goonettes. Then the passage of time goes all quantum retarded. The day after they escape Skyler, the boy child, is born. I assume that this streamlined procreation process is due to the lack of men. Whatever. Doesn’t matter. There’s lots of topless women in the tribe that takes Phoenix and Keela in.

The Reverend Mother has the power of Baby Birth Detection with Slight Baby GPS, which gives her the location to send the goonettes, led by Cobalt (Persis “Ilia” Khambatta). Unfortunately only the Topless Ones are killed in the raid. Phoenix, Keela, and newborn Skyler escape.

The next day Skyler is about 5 years old. Nah, just kidding. He’s five because it is five years later. Robert Hayes is terrible about conveying the passage of time. Just when the audience is completely confused, he falls back on exposition in order to set things straight. Keela: “No one has seen us in 5 years.”

Oh. Ok. Thanks. That cleared that up. Not much has changed in 5 years. Everyone looks the same. Clothes are the same. Hair’s the same. What the hell? Maybe it’s that good dessert air. Show some breast and all is forgotten.

While on the run Phoenix, Keela, and Skyler find a ramshackle shack. They bed down for the night only to wake to a gas masked interloper standing over them. Phoenix kicks her in the va-jay-jay and Keela busts her in the head with a rock. Down she goes. Under the gas mask is…

A MAN! Named, conveniently, Guy.

Realization sets in. Oh, noes! He’s broke! “There’s nothing more useless than a man that doesn’t work.” Preach on, Phoenix. (She’s talking about his pee-pee.)

Meanwhile, a drifter brings a toy to Cobalt who takes it to the Reverend Mother. Using her powers as an object empath, she determines it is the boy child’s toy. And again she uses her power of Slight Baby GPS to locate the boy child.

In their lust to satisfy the Reverend Mother, the goonettes rush in all half-vaginaed. Their plan? Crash their truck through the shanty where he’s hiding. Nothing could possibly go wrong, amirite? Luckily Guy has an escape pipe which he, Keela, and Skyler manage to get through. Unluckily Phoenix gets captured.

Here there’s the obligatory “gladiator fighting pits” scene. Phoenix makes a friend of Neon, one of the gladiatoresses. Phoenix then kicks some butt. Keela and Guy come to her rescue. Weeeeee!

Back together and with some sweet post-apocolypse wheels, they make a run for the Badlands in order to find some place safe to live.

This is an even better idea than the goonettes running their truck into the shanty. The Badlands are the home of the Rezule, TV worshiping mutants. Honestly they don’t seem very tough or frightening. Considering they don’t have guns, and Phoenix and crew do, I can’t understand why they were worried. It’s like being worried by Romero zombies or 70’s Daleks. You can walk by them, but it was in the script so the Rezule are fearsome.

To insult our intelligence Phoenix says, “End of the road,” when they make it to the Badlands. The end of the road is a slight hill with dead bushes. There’s no way they can drive a car though that, so they set off on foot. Hayes couldn’t think of something more realistic like running out of gas? Sigh.

The Doofus Crew promptly gets captured. Magically, out of the dead bushes, comes Cobalt and the goonettes. They take Guy and Skyler. The Rezule get to deal with Phoenix and Keela.

Now is the Reverend Mother’s moment of glory. She has Guy to refill the bank. She has Skyler to refill herself. Perfect, right? She starts off by telling Skyler to prepare himself. Really? Prepare himself? What is the boy going to do? Ask for a blind fold and a cigarette? Pray to his God? Eat his final meal? He’s five. He just stands there looking at her.

Guy, whose chained nearby, tells the Reverend Mother to take him instead. Naturally he won’t do, plus he’s got a bank to fill. Being a nice lady, the Reverend Mother gives Guy the option to watch.

At this point you’d think the Reverend Mother would dig in, right? Everything she’s been waiting years for is right there. She’s told Skyler to prepare himself. Guy’s watching. Well, not so much. What she does is sit there. She waits, giving Phoenix and Keela time escape (with the miraculously timed arrival of Neon, remember her?) to make it to her, set up a pointless diversion, kill her goonettes, and ultimately kill her. Too bad intelligence wasn’t one of the Reverend Mother’s powers.

The movie closes with the same inexplicable scene that opens the film: Phoenix, horseback, on the beach.

roadside attractions

  • Witness the Topless Dance of Birth! Goddess be praised!
  • Thrill at the vicious fight choreography!
  • Boobs! ‘Nuff said.
  • Marvel at the Rezule, TV people in the badlands who read from the scriptures of TV Guide!
  • Fill your eyes with Bikini Babes with machine guns!
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

There are a few good shots, but for all the burlets spent there’s not much blood spilled.

10

blood

BREASTS

The one thing this film got right: lots of breasts to keep the audience’s attention.

5

beast

BEASTS

In a dystopian world you’d think there would be more mutants. Sadly there’s only the Reverend Mother and the Rezule.

6.66 OVERALL
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Oct

posted by Doktor | October 11, 2013 | 60's b-movies, 60's movies, B-movie Reviews, Review by Doktor, Sci-Fi

Comments Off on Journey to the Seventh Planet

Tagline: You’re in Space beyond Space.

Year: 1962 Runtime: 77 min

Director: Sidney W. Pink

Writer: Sidney W. Pink (story), Ib Melchior (script)

Starring: John Agar, Greta Thyssen, Carl Ottosen

Journey to the Seventh Planet starts with a voiceover: “There are no limits to imagination.” That may be true, but there are limits on talent. Journey to the Seventh Planet is less a movie and more one giant plot hole.

Year is 2001. The U.N. is the sole government of the world. Humanity has advanced to a point where “man has learned to live with himself.” Unfortunately this means mingling with the Irish. Without war or famine or anyone of color (smooth move there, Adolf!), man’s only concern is space travel. Specifically making a trip to Uranus.

Note: Uranus is pronounced your-AHN-us. No poo-poo jokes here, kids. This is serious business.

Just as it is in the real world, scientists are the übermensch of this brave new world, none more than the astronaut, or Spacetronaut in the parlance of the kool kids. Five of the top Spacetronauts are sent on this mission: Commander Eric, Captain Don Graham, Karl, Svend and Barry O’Sullivan (ugh!). Science is especially strong in these men. Where a normal person would be nonplussed by the bizarre things they are exposed to, these guys are barely apathetic. That is, until it comes to women. Basically this is a bunch of drunk frat boys on Saturday night.

Of the five, Captain Don, or Happy Harry Hard-on, is the biggest pervert. Not five minutes into the trip he’s spouting, “Boy was she biological. I wish I could have taught her my kind of biology.”  In fact, when they finally make it to Uranus and they find women (FROM EARTH) who couldn’t possibly be there—Space Hallucinations™—, his first thought is to hit on them. In Happy Harry’s defense, when he meets a girl he’s being trying to date (ON EARTH) he asks if she’s real. I mean, Space Hallucinations™ wouldn’t lie about that kind of stuff, would they?

Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself, much like the movie.

Here’s the thing, Uranus is inhabited by a Space & Time Brain Creature™. I understand what a Space Brain Creature is, but this one is also described as being from Time. That is… I have no explanation, nor does the movie. So, suffice it to say it’s a Space & Time Brain Creature™ and leave it at that.

A similarly inexplicable plot point is the weightlessness the Spacetronauts experience—ONLY—when they establish orbit around Uranus.  While weightless they are more susceptible to the Space & Time Brain Creature’s™ mental powers. Not that it matters, all it does is hypnotize the Spacetronauts for a couple minutes. During this timeout it admonishes them for their folly and lays out his evil plans to destroy them. Or not.

Thing is, the Space & Time Brain Creature™ can’t make up it’s mind about the humans. One minute it’s going to destroy them, the next minute it needs them. What could it possibly need the humans for? To escape Uranus. Why? It needs to take over one of their bodies. At which point it can escape in their ship.

Something else I failed to mention in my haste, it can create matter. Anything. Case in point, when the ship lands, the Spacetronauts see a lush, verdant forest outside their ship. When they investigate, they find that there is a breathable atmosphere. As Commander Eric reminisces about home, the village he grew up in magically appears in the distance. There they find the first of the Space Hallucinations™ that gets Capt. Happy Harry all tumescent.

Assuming you’re not a wet rutabaga, you’re probably asking yourself, “Uhm, why does the Space & Time Brain Creature™ need the humans again? Can’t he just make a spaceship? And a body to possess?” To which I would answer, I dunno.

Putting that aside, as the Spacetronauts are exploring they find the edge of the force-field bubble the Space and Time Brain Creature™ has made for them. Commander Eric knows that the answers lie on the other side, so high-ho it’s off they go. The Space & Time Brain Creature™ starts blubbering on about how it knows the humans are coming through to kill it. It loves it some exposition.

“But wait,” you might be thinking, “aren’t they just going through to get some answers? Isn’t it their mission to explore Uranus?” And you’d be right in wondering about that. I would even go further to remind that the Space & Time Brain Creature™ telepathy. Moreover, it’s been using it’s telepathy to search the Spacetronauts minds. That is how it’s been creating the forest, the village, and the people. Sufficiently confused?

I can only raise my shoulders, dumbfounded, and smile in answer.

Let’s move past that bit. Get to the good stuff. When the Spacetronauts finally see the Space & Time Brain Creature™, and it’s wavy-blue mental-radiation-hypnosis-thing, Commander Eric, the heretofore level-headed leader, decides they have to kill the Space & Time Brain Creature™. If they don’t they won’t be able take off.

Sigh…

I know. I said move on to the good stuff and all I’ve done is present more greasy whale vomit. This time you’re asking yourself, what the hell does a wavy-blue mental-radiation-hypnosis-thing have to do with taking off? Also, is another of the Space & Time Brain Creature’s™ powers clairvoyancy?  I throw up my hands in frustration and answer, “Everything?” and “Yes?”

Like I wrote earlier, this isn’t a movie, it’s a plot hole.

Now that the Space & Time Brain Creature™  knows they Spacetronauts are out to kill it, it has to protect itself. Given all it’s powers why is it a problem to destroy the humans? It can make monsters, women, a town, forests, whatever. It doesn’t even have to do that. It could simply wait until the Spacetronauts are walking around in the forest or town, which they do without space suits, and make the atmosphere disappear. Problem solved. But it doesn’t. I can only assume the filmmakers were under the impression that by this point in the film you would either be knuckle deep into seventh base or passed out in a puddle of your own brain sauce. Either way you wouldn’t be paying attention to what’s going on.

I guess I’ll just power on blindly, too.

Laser burlets won’t kill the Space & Time Brain Creature™. I don’t know how they know this, they never really tried, but moving hastily along— The only way to destroy Space & Time Brain Creature™ is with a special acetylene torch gun. That they have to make. From scratch. Luckily there’s a blacksmith’s shop in town with all the necessary tools and materials. Zip, boom, bah, they build it. Tuckered from all the work, they decide to call it a night and leave the ONLY MEANS TO KILL the Space & Time Brain Creature™ in the blacksmith’s shop. Of course, the Space & Time Brain Creature™ uses the Space Hallucinations™ to sucker young Karl in order to steal the gun and replace it with a fake. This further begs logic in that, why does the Space & Time Brain Creature™ need to steal the gun? Because the fake won’t work? Because the Space & Time Brain Creature™ can make the gun disappear? Come on, Pink and Melchior. You’re killing me here. Did you sneeze out mouthfuls of Alpha-Bits on a page and call the mess a script?

Before I stroke out let me finish this. Despite stealing their special gun, the Spacetronauts manage to kill the Space & Time Brain Creature™. They freeze it with liquid oxygen. Frozen, their laser burlets work. Phew. Done. Thank Christ!

Or am I?

Sadly, I’m not. Nor were Pink and Melchior. Once the Spacetronauts finally kill the Space & Time Brain Creature™ the world around them starts falling apart, cracking and erupting like an uranusquake-volcano. At the ship they come across Gretta, Commander Eric’s girl—whom he’s been eschewing the whole film. Suddenly Commander Eric changes his mind, decides she’s real, and brings her with them. WHAT? Seriously? Before they break out of the atmosphere, she disappears.

I can’t take it anymore. I give up.

roadside attractions

  • Marvel at the life-like matte paintings and 1/10 scale rocket ship!
  • Feel the deep camaraderie bordering on bromance between the five courageous Spacetronauts!
  • Learn what it means to serve, to love, and what chronometer means through dialogue and context!
  • Fight to maintain your sanity while being hypnotized by the telepathic Space & Time Brain Creature™!
  • Listen as the Space & Time Brain Creature™ pontificates like a proper arse!
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

There’s not much, but when Giant Space Spider gets squished, it’s like the condiments at a NYC hotdog cart are all squeezed out simultaneously.

3

blood

BREASTS

There were some scantily clad Space Hallucinations, which is as close as you get in 1962.

9

beast

BEASTS

Cyclopean Rat Monster, Giant Space Spider, and Space & Time Brain Creature™.

5.666 OVERALL
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Oct

Comments Off on Pieces

Pieces
1983 – Unrated – Grindhouse Releasing

Grindhouse Releasing is responsible for distributing the most sadistic, trashiest, violent and perverted films known to man and that’s why we love them. There’s something about films filled with unnecessary gore and nudity that really captivate you. It’s like it fills an arcane void, satisfying your darkest needs so you won’t lash out at the public. Take the film Pieces, for example. It’s permeate with buckets of gore, murder, nudity and hokiness any everyday Samaritan who is about to detonate with rage could need.

It’s 1942 in Boston and although the Patriots pennant on the wall won’t exist until the 60’s, a young lad sits deliberating, solving where the next piece to his nudie puzzle should go. His mother enters and instantly starts slapping him like she’s Chris Brown and grabs a garbage bag (from the future apparently, since those weren’t invented until the 50’s) and tosses the puzzle in there. Like any rational young boy, he axes her to death, out of nowhere, severs the body with a saw, grinning away the whole time. This is just in time for the cleaning lady and the police to show up and find him, and his mother’s head, and call his aunt with a push button phone from the 70’s. Wow, you could call this a period piece… Period Pieces… ahem.

pieces_2Forty years later, a pair of black rubber gloved hands, presumably the young boy all grown up, starts to piece the puzzle back together. After a moment of that, the movie decides to show you a college girl on a skateboard crash into a giant mirror being carried across the sidewalk by two movers, which I thought they only did in cartoons. This scene is irrelevant to the movie, but it’s warming you up for what’s in store. Next, we see another young college girl studying on the grass, played by the same actress oddly enough (and no, I don’t know if it’s supposed to be the same girl) as someone covered head to toe in a long coat, scarf and fedora is doing some light gardening with a chainsaw. What other attire would be proper to garden in? Rather than cut down some branches, he decapitates her, spewing gallons of blood! Hope you aren’t squeamish, because it only gets better from here.

Have no fear, Lt. Bracken (played by the favorable Christopher George) is on the case, usually chewing on what looks like a Slim Jim. On campus, he meets with the dean, played by Edmund Perdom, who seems to be overly pointing the finger at the groundskeeper, Willard, a large oafish man, reminding you of Bluto from Popeye. He seems innocent enough, even if he is chuckling to himself while passionately cleaning a chainsaw. Overcompensating for something, Willard?

pieces_3This is when we are introduced to campus stud (the movie’s words, not mine), Kendall. He’s like if you crossed Steve Guttenberg with Richie Cunningham. The babes are on him so thick, he has to peel them off like wet bologna stuck to aluminum siding on a hot summer day. He’s about to secure himself a dip in the pool with some hot bitty, but someone dressed like The Shadow hacks her up. But as fate would have it, Kendall’s paths cross with Lt. Bracken, who recruits Kendall to be his “inside guy,” because it’s not like he has a whole station of cops who are paid to investigate and track down the murder suspect. Endangering the welfare of a college student for free is a better suited idea.

After much Slim Jim chewing, Lt. Bracken decides maybe he does actually need some type of law enforcement personal working undercover. He pairs Kendall up with Mary Riggs, played by his real life wife (say that five times fast), Lynda Day. Her resume boasts, Pro Tennis star/Cop, which I’m sure are two skills that are often used simultaneously.

On a side note, that would make an awesome show, Pro Tennis star turned Detective. It could be called Justice Served!

Anyway, it feels like several minutes since a woman has been brutally butchered, so while doing some solo aerobics one evening, random girl #3 gets the feeling she is being watched and dashes for the elevator. She hops on, along with a man shrouded completely in black clothes and hat, thinking nothing about that could be suspicious, until her arm is lopped off by his chainsaw. First a head, then a torso and now arms… what could the killer possibly be doing with body parts in a movie called Pieces?

The next night, or that same night, or it really doesn’t matter, Kendall, just having finished bumping uglies with some random skank, hangs one out for the ladies and spots Mary walking in the dark from his window. Mary can’t help but hear someone is creeping up on her. Just then, the assailant jumps out of the bushes and does Karate kicks at her! Terrified, she slowly backs up, just as the intruder doubles over with indigestion. This is when Kendall rolls up on his hog (wimpy dirt bike) and introduces Mary to his “Kung-Fu Professor.” He apologizes for his random lashing out of sporadic martial arts, blames it on some bad chop suey and goes about his night. Kendall gives Mary a ride home, hoping to get lucky. Nobody speaks of this scene again.

pieces_4By now, you may have caught yourself asking, “What the hell does that scene have to do with anything?” The answer is nothing. It doesn’t have anything to do with anything, but that’s a part of Pieces‘ charm. This scene was thrown in because apparently producer Dick Randall was working on a martial arts film with Bruce Lee imitator, Bruce Le and added that scene because… he couldn’t wait to show you his movie? There are a few other scenes that feel out of place, like the girl crashing through the mirror, but you already know you’re in for a wild ride.

To be fair that last scene did serve as a transition to another scene, as a reporter from earlier is knifed to death on a waterbed. I could have mentioned her earlier, but she goes by so fast, you barely notice. This is leading into the final piece of the puzzle, so to speak, as the chainsaw wielding maniac carves a young girl in half after a tennis match… which leads to one of the greatest reactions from Lynda Day, as she shrieks into the air and curses the villain with a clenched fist, like she’s auditioning for Super Friends. Interesting little tidbit, they actually used a pig carcass for the grisly scene! Well, that’s enough victims and this film’s been going on long enough.

Kendall works at digging through personal files with the police as Mary heads to the dean’s house. Everyone seems to be zeroing in on the killer, who has all the body parts he needs, but what for? Just wait until you see, as they reveal the killer to be… exactly who you think it is! Especially if you know your film history, this seems to be a bit of typecasting. Oh and I’m sure the ending will still surprise you.

Pieces
To reiterate what I said earlier, Pieces is the crowning example of what people generally think of when they think of Grindhouse or Drive-In Classic. The premise is basic, yet with its twists and filled with oddball characters making daffy choices, packing enough macabre imagery soaked in blood and exhibiting some fine 80’s T & A. You’ll chuckle at the dialogue and line delivery, as characters seem to be taking it perhaps a bit too seriously or not enough. And let’s not forget scenes that seem to come completely out of left field. It may leave you scratching your head at parts, but for the most part, you’ll be jumping back in your seat with disgust or laughter. In every definition of the word, it’s a riot. It’s exactly what an exploitation film is defined as. It’s worth every penny to see.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Extreme gardening!
  • Piecing the puzzle together.
  • Skinny dip massacre.
  • Give her a hand… or arm!
  • Half-off tennis players.
  • Campus Stumped.
  • Franken-woman.
totals

10

blood

BLOOD

Color this campus red!

8

blood

BREASTS

Topless option college. And a little something for the ladies.

7

beast

BEASTS

As if The Shadow with a chainsaw isn’t bad enough, you have to look our for Kung-Fu Professors and Willard.

8.3 OVERALL
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Oct

posted by Doktor | October 3, 2013 | 70's b-movies, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Review by Doktor, Sci-Fi

Comments Off on Message From Space

Tagline: Where Fantasies are Real & Reality is Fantastic.

Year: 1978           Runtime: 105 min

Director: Kinji Fukasaku

Writer: Kinji Fukasaku (story), Shôtarô Ishinomori (story), Masahiro Noda (story), Hirô Matsuda (writer)

Starring: Shin’ichi Chiba, Vic Morrow, Philip Casnoff

I swear I intended to steer clear of sci fi for a few reviews, but this is Japanese Star Warsploitation. I couldn’t help myself. The movie is 90% Rent-a-Center versions of Star Wars characters, vehicles and music, but that’s what makes it so ALMOST actionable on copyright infringement grounds. And totally AWE-some!

The movie opens on Jillucia (pronounced Jill-OO-see-ah), a once beautiful and verdant planet. It’s peaceful inhabitants, the Jillucians (pronounced Jill-OO-see-ahns) were slaughtered by the evil Gavanas. The battle is described by a narrator, “The Jillucians were no match for the steel-skinned Gavanas.” Which is mostly misleading. Actually, the Jillucians were no match for the Gavanas’s laser burlets. Jillucians are pretty much the Tiananmen Square tank guys of space. Except the Jillucians are Tree Huggin’ Space Hippies™. And the tanks stopped for the Unknown Protester. And we still remember and care about the Unknown Protester.

With the Jillucians almost extinct, Wise Grandmaster Grandfather the Green lets loose eight Magic Space Walnuts™. They have a special tracking power which homes in on the Eight Heroes who will save Jillucia from the evil Gavanas. Once loosed, he realizes that it would behoove them to have someone go along to explain what in the hell the Magic Space Walnuts™ mean. Wise Grandmaster Grandfather the Green chooses his granddaughter for the job. She and one brave volunteer jump in the Space Schooner and leisurely float off whichever way. They’re nowhere near fast enough to follow the Magic Space Walnuts™, so why strain, right?

Then there are some lovely scenes of the Gavanas, a race of war hungry Rent-a-Center Power Ranger Villains, being menacing. Glower. Ominous. Black. Oooooo. They’re angry because of their Emperor, Rockseia XLL (pronounced Rock-SAY-ah-X-L-L). Rockseia XLL is angry because of his confusing biology—his mom is a dude. Kind of like Eric Cartmen. Except Emperor Rockseia’s mom is a Native American Power Ranger Villain. And Liane Cartman is a crack whore. And, most importantly, we still watch and like Eric Cartmen.

Then some smashing scenes establishing the characters of the Eight Heroes. Rent-a-Center Princess Leia tapping on the window of her space ship to get the attention of passing Space Hot Shots. Space Hot Shots buzzing through an asteroid field running from the Space Police. A Space Vegas Show. Space General Garuda’s touching funeral for his personal robot, i.e. sending a junked robot into space in a Vikingesque funeral aboard an expensive rocket. Swimming through asteroid fields to catch Space Fire Flies. Et cetera.

Then there’s a bunch of moaning and groaning. The Eight Heroes don’t want to be the chosen ones. They throw/give away their Magic Space Walnuts™. Boo-hoo. Then they do want to be the chosen ones. Then some get their Magic Space Walnuts™ back. The one who doesn’t throws the Emo Pity Party™.  Then a couple of them get kidnapped. It’s a hot mess. Et cetera.

Eventually Emperor Rockseia XLL decides to go on a Space Road Trip™. They fire up the engines on Jillucia and head to Earth. At this point Jillucia becomes a Rent-a-Center Death Star.

At Earth Rockseia XLL destroys the moon as a warning to humanity that he means business. Wilzyx and millions of frolicking Orcas suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. Powerful. Heart breaking. An inspiring scene to end all inspiring scenes.

If there’s a Rent-a-Center Death Star there has to be a Rent-a-Center trench run. Kinji Fukasaku ups the ante. Message From Space has two trench runs! The first comes when the Space Hot Shots go to Jillucia to team up with the Jillucians. The Space Hot Shots rig their ships to join, ala the God Pheonix of Battle of the Planets/G Force/Gatchaman, but much less cool. The main ship in this junkyard Voltron is a Rent-a-Center Ebon Hawk from KOTOR. When they approach Jillucia they split up, fly through a bit of the trench, then join back together before landing. What does this accomplish? Nothing. It’s not even particularly cool. So, yeah, why not?

The second Rent-a-Center trench run is the Final Boss Battle. It’s a mix of the rebel attack on the Death Star and Tron vs MCP. The Space Hot Shots fly through the exhaust port tunnel thing down to the reactor. There, they shoot the spinning thingie, stopping it, which uncovers the opening they have to target. Pew… Pew… Pew… Boom… Exploision.

Meanwhile, as the space battle is raging (i.e. before the pew… pew… pew…  boom… explosion), there’s the Rent-a-Center Vader vs Obi Wan fight. But this time Vader gets a mud hole stomped in him. It’s because Vader is played by a milksop and Obi Wan is played by Sonny Chiba. The problem is, because Chiba wrecks shop, there’s no touching moment where the old guy sacrifices his life empowering the next generation to seek their glory.

Oh, wait. There is that moment. Wise Grandmaster Grandfather the Green deliberately misses the Space Schooner to Valinor. The Jillucians have one more Space Schooner in dry dock collecting Space Spider Webs. It’s so old that they have to literally crank start the reactors. While the suspense completely ruined my pedicure (I chew my nails when I’m nervous, a’ight), I’ll let you in on a little secret… They make it. Yay! You’re mani/pedi can thank me later.

Message From Space ends with is shot of the Jillucian Space Schooner flying past Earth propelled courageously by cheesy Spaghetti Western music. Toei Company, LTD really knows how to go out with a bang.

You can watch Message From Space in it’s entirety for free, here.

roadside attractions

  • Delight in the continual consumption of Space Tomatoes™!
  • Hearken to the music which sounds suspiciously similar to Leia’s Theme!
  • Marvel at the final 50 Jillucians! (Kinda shallow for a gene pool, innit?)
  • Witness Aaron the Space Hot Shot’s contribution to Haute Couture: Rainbow Suspenders!
  • Revel in the courageously “out” robosexual couple General Garuda and Beba Two (pronounced babe-AH 2)!
totals

8

blood

BLOOD

There’s a couple fist fights and a couple busted lips. Most of the killing is by laser burlets, but the effects are futurific.

0

blood

BREASTS

I don’t know if I should penalize the movie for this though. The movie came out in 1978, and breasts wouldn’t have been invented in Japan for another couple decades.

10

beast

BEASTS

Lots of groovy Power Ranger style villains.

6 OVERALL
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Oct

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In post-apocalyyptic America international border disputes aren’t settled with trade embargoes, they’re solved with giant robots and laser beams while guitars blasts “They’re coming to America” over the loud speakers. Yes, It’s Robot Jox the biggest game of rock em’ sock em’ robots ever made. This time it’s the Russians turn as the evil super power trying to steal our land and likely pipe vodka through Alaska, but not if team USA can stop em first. Gary Graham stars as Achilles, the cocky and illiterate champion robot jox who leads a team of trainee that like to yell out “Crash and Burn” whenever someone needs a high five. His killbot career is going well until a match against a Russian named “alexander” makes it the biggest U.S. Russian brawl since Rocky 4. Unfortunately there’s no training montage and Achilles accidentally crushes a crowd of fans while diving in front of a wayward missile.  Have we learned nothing from Nascaar accidents? Achilles retires in shame taking on a full time bar stool warming job at the local cantina drinking away his shame. Meanwhile a genetically engineered and uncomfortably manly looking pilot trainee named Athena is climbing jungle gyms while her classmates fall to their death . She and Achilles have some awkward romantic moments in the hallway so when he learns that Athena was selected to battle Alexander, he decides to come out of retirement to protect her.

RobotJoxAthena  is furious with Achilles for taking her spot so she kick punches his face and drugs him at his apartment and disguises herself in his space suit instead. He awakens later not very upset since that’s usually how his first dates go anyways. Meanwhile, his managing cowboy “Tex Conway”  is discovered by their team engineer rigging the fights for the U.S. to lose. Tex shoots him in the head but forgets he was being recorded so tosses himself off a balcony to his death, cowboy hat and all. Back in the battle arena, Athena is getting pummeled by the Russian robot and Achilles has to jump in and try to save her. After battling the chainsaw crotched mech, Achilles crashes to the ground and the two pilots have battle man to man in a Star Trek staff fight with some robot shrapnel. Achilles gives a speech about world peace and good sportsmanship which leads to an awkward fist pump as the two become best buds, I kid you not.

Obviously not a lot of plot to get in the way of the action. Basically it’s just 2 robots tossing rockets and lasers at each other while at some  point one of them gets dry humped with a crotch chainsaw. Definitely check this one out, I give it 4 out of 5 Pacific Rims.

roadside attractions

  • Referee smashing
  • Crotch chainsaw
  • Crowd smashing
  • Jungle gym of death
  • Flying fist of robot fury
  • Gratuitous use of the term “Crash and Burn”
totals

4

blood

BLOOD

Not much gore in this one but plenty of heavy metal damage.

5

blood

BREASTS

No breasts shots, but we get some hinder shots in this one.

9

beast

BEASTS

Giant robots and a burly russian.

8.5 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for “Robot Jox”

trailers

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