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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: Project: Shadowchaser (1992) and John Wick (2014)

November 10, 2014 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Keanu Reeves - Past Midnight

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #331: Project: Shadowchaser (1992) and John Wick (2014)

It’s the 1990’s: Week 2

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has never been stuck in any kind of rat hole, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number three hundred and thirty one, It’s the 1990’s continues with 1992’s Project: Shadowchaser, and a bonus review of the badass action flick still playing in movie theatres, John Wick, starring Keanu Reeves. I had originally planned on reviewing the sequel to Project: Shadowchaser, Night Siege: Project: Shadowchaser II but I just didn’t have time, in the end, to watch it. It’ll get seen and reviewed at some point. That’s the hope, anyway.

Project: Shadowchaser (1992)

ProjectShadowchaser

Project: Shadowchaser, directed by John Eyres, is the first in a series of low budget sci-fi action flicks featuring Frank Zagarino as a killer android of some sort. There were four, although I believe the fourth one, Orion’s Key (aka Alien Chaser) is the only one not called Project: Shadowchaser in some way. The first Shadowchaser also stars the great Martin fucking Kove and the gorgeous Meg Foster, although I’m pretty sure everyone was more interested in seeing Zagarino’s android character kill people and whatnot. I’m also fairly certain that a good chunk of the people who rented this movie back in the early 1990’s thought the movie starred pro wrestler Sting, as Zagarino sort of looks like the old surfer Sting that was kicking butt back then. I know that’s what I thought until I actually read the video box.

So anyway, Zagarino stars as Romulus, a killer android super soldier created by the U.S. government that escapes from the lab and teams up with a bunch of human terrorists so they can kidnap and hold for ransom the daughter of the President of the United States. The first daughter, Sarah (Meg Foster), is being treated inside a major city hospital (the movie never says where exactly). The takeover of the hospital is quick and brutal as the terrorists kill multiple Secret Service agents and hospital security people and then detain the hospital employees and regular people who didn’t get out of the building fast enough. It doesn’t take long for the FBI to get involved and come up with a plan of attack for getting the First Daughter back. Agent Trevanian (Paul Koslo), the FBI agent in charge, decides to bring in a badass SWAT team to infiltrate the hospital and take down the bad guys. Trevanian also decides that the SWAT team will need the help of the architect responsible for designing the hospital, which is a good idea as long as the architect, a guy named Dixon, is alive and available, He’s alive, but he isn’t readily available. Dixon is in a nearby cryoprison, frozen for his crimes against the world. Trevanian gets the prison to unfreeze Dixon and bring him into the fold. If he agrees to help out (and, let’s face it, survives the SWAT assault) Dixon will get a full Presidential pardon. Dixon thinks it’s a good plan and agrees to help. However, there’s a massive problem with the plan. Dixon the architect isn’t Dixon the architect. Dixon is actually a man named Desilva (Martin fucking Kove), an ex-football player convicted of murder and sentenced to life in cryostasis.

Desilva, who really doesn’t want to go back into the fridge, plays along with the plan and hopes that the SWAT team doesn’t need his help all that much. He doesn’t know anything about architecture and doesn’t want to see anyone get killed, but, again, he doesn’t want to go back into stasis. So Desilva tags along with the SWAT team, answering questions and pretending that he knows what he’s doing. It doesn’t take long for Desilva’s obfuscation to cause a major problem and, while entering an elevator, the entire SWAT team is knocked out of commission with a booby trap bomb that sends the elevator crashing to the ground. Desilva manages to escape the elevator catastrophe and find a hiding place in the air conditioning duct work. What the heck is he going to do now?

After the destruction of the SWAT team Trevanian and his team figure out who “Dixon” actually is and flip out. What the hell is an ex-football player going to do against a band of heavily armed terrorists? He can’t save Sarah, can he? Well, if he wants that pardon Desilva better figure out how to become a Special Ops badass pretty damn quick. It’s a terrible plan, a terrible option, but what else is Trevanian going to do? It’s not like he has many viable options.

So Desilva becomes the FBI’s eyes and ears and action man inside the hospital, and Trevanian communicates with Romulus and his fellow terrorists. Romulus wants fifty million dollars or he’ll start killing hostages, including Sarah. To make sure that the FBI takes his group seriously Romulus murders and old man by throwing him out a window. That bastard!

While all of that is going on, Sarah, a rather resourceful woman, manages to escape from her room and into the ductwork, hoping to find a way out of the hospital. The terrorists go after her, as you’d expect them to, but since she’s so dang resourceful she stays away from them. Sarah also ends up running into Desilva, and it’s at this point that Desilva starts fighting the terrorists head on (well, as much as an ex-football player can). Desilva does kill a few of the bad guys, but you get the sense that he gets them via dumb luck. Sarah helps a bit, too, but she isn’t all that proficient with machine guns.

And while all of that is going on, Trevanian and his team figure out what Romulus actually is and who is responsible for creating him. Kinderman (Joss Ackland, the bad guy from Lethal Weapon 2), a top notch government scientist, created Romulus as part of the Shadowchaser Project, a super- secret super soldier program that uses advanced robotics to create a killer android that destroys with remorse. It’s a great idea if bad things never ever happened, but hey, something bad happened and Romulus escaped. Who could have seen that happen?

So then some stuff happens, Desilva and Sarah decide that it’s a good idea to tea up and fight back, and all hell breaks loose. Suddenly both Desilva and Sarah become machine gun experts and terrorists start dropping like flies. It’s also at this point that Romulus decides to weapon up and attack Desilva and Sarah head on. Romulus wants to get paid, but if for some reason he can’t get paid he will make sure that Sarah and her protector don’t leave the hospital alive.

Project: Shadowchaser, at times, has pacing issues that drag down the story’s forward momentum. The flick’s “quiet moments” seem to drag on forever at times. It’s also weird how the hostage plot kicks in rather quickly but, after that, things slow down. There doesn’t seem to be any sense of urgency from anyone, especially the FBI. Shouldn’t the FBI of the future have more than one SWAT team ready to go in the event that there’s a major event where its skills are needed? It’s also weird how, despite the mix up in the cryo lab caused by the pot smoking attendant, the FBI doesn’t have a photo of Dixon the architect. Yes, I know that, back in 1992, no one thought that the world would have access to seemingly instant information on everyone and everything, but you would think that the future would have easier access to information like who built a big, modern hospital in a major city. Wouldn’t there have been newspaper stories with pictures of the architect? Why wouldn’t the FBI have access to that?

The whole cryostasis thing for criminals isn’t explained all that well, either. When did the government start freezing criminals and, ultimately, what’s the point of doing it? Someone in the movie sort of explains what the cryostasis thing is all about but it comes off as a half-assed explanation more than anything else. And what else do future people do? Why isn’t there more “advanced technology” on display in the future? If the government can build a killer android why can’t it also build laser machine guns?

The last fifteen minutes contain a twist that, in retrospect, I should have seen coming from a mile away but it’s still a bit of a surprise. What kind of killer android decides to pout when it becomes self-aware? Why would an android ever pout for any reason? And how does an android put together a team of terrorists? Is there some sort of computer database where potential names can be brought up?

The flick’s action scenes are generally good and exciting. The machine guns sound like movie machine guns and when people get show they get goddamn shot. The fight scenes are good but they don’t go on long enough. The movie also lacks killer android bits, which is a shame because Romulus is terrifying killer android. Part of that is his penchant for walking around nude while killing people, which is just gross. He also talks in this weird drone voice that, in the right state, could give you nightmares. I do wish I knew why Romulus likes walking around sans a shirt but wearing a trenchcoat. That comes off as especially weird behavior for a killer android.

Kove is, as usual, awesome as the flick’s anti-hero Desilva. Kove is in full on smart-ass mode most of the time, but when he has to break out the machine guns he clearly knows how to use them. He also has great chemistry with Meg Foster, who does a great job as the equally smart ass and difficult Sarah. The scene where they argue about a football game is one of the movie’s highlights. It’s also great how both Kove and Foster are completely committed to their roles despite the fact the situation they find themselves in is ridiculous.

Paul Koslo does an adequate job as Trevanian. It seems as though he’s holding back most of the time, which doesn’t really work as you’d think that Trevanian would become more unhinged as the movie progresses. I mean, his entire hostage rescue strategy falls apart. Why isn’t he angrier? And when he finds out that Desilva isn’t Dixon why isn’t he foaming at the mouth? Joss Ackland, as expected, is slimy as hell as Kinderman. You’re not quite sure if he’s a good guy or a villain, but you do know that you don’t like him (you can hate good guys sometimes).

Angie Hill-Richmond is interesting as the female terrorist Jonah. She acts as though she’s the girlfriend of Romulus but, since he’s an android, maybe it’s just a show? You can’t tell. Hill-Richmond also has an interesting look in the movie (short blonde hair and a blank expression on her face). The movie should have done more with her. The movie also should have done more with Trevanian’s underlings Whiteside and Blackwood, played by Raymond Evans and Robert Freeman. They have great buddy chemistry that should have given them at least two funny scenes beyond what they get to do already in the movie. Perhaps there are deleted scenes somewhere showing this?

It isn’t perfect but Project: Shadowchaser is a minor sci-fi action classic from the early 1990’s. It’s a little too slow for its own good but it’s good where it counts. Martin fucking Kove and Meg Foster are great. They should have been in the sequel.

See Project: Shadowchaser. See it, see it, see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: At least 20.

Explosions: Multiple.

Nudity?: None beyond the “Zagarino walking around nude in the lab” opening titles sequence.

Doobage: Computer nonsense, a naked human android massacre, head through a computer monitor, wheelchair hooey, a Pepsi machine, machine gun hooey, the death of random people in a hospital, total office destruction, pot smoking, a cryo prison, a fat henchman, multiple escapes via duct work, exploding door, a booby-trapped elevator, throwing a hostage out of a window, toilet top to the back, face slapping, attempted rape, face kicking, chair breaking, electroshock paddles to the head, multiple grenade attacks, ceiling hooey, off screen hostage killing, playful finger biting, dress ripping, a quick nap, exploding henchman, exploding gurney, a philosophical discussion of the meaning of freedom, android attack, wound fixing, a double cross, metal pole javelin through the chest, finger removal, scalpel to the leg, fire extinguisher to the face, awesome “man on fire” gag, injection scalpel to the forehead, multiple exploding rooms, a nifty chopper stunt, and beer drinking.

Kim Richards?: None.

Gratuitous: Naked human android, Meg Foster, Paul Koslo, a pot smoking doctor, Martin fucking Kove, computer hacking, fax machine hooey, a silent running helicopter, a dot matrix printer, Joss Ackland, exploding henchman, a series of timed booby traps, and an awesome man on fire gag.

Best lines: “You like Italian? Italian what? Politics?,” “You’ve got two minutes to clear out this area. You now have less than two minutes to clear out this area,” “Oh, shit, someone is having a serious party,” “Anybody got a beer?,” “Say hello to your father, Sarah,” “No one is telling you do gung ho. Good, because I don’t do gung ho,” “Romulus Shadowchaser? What the hell is this?,” “I’m telling you, Desilva, stay out of our way!,” “I out a goddamn football player up there?,” “Bitch!,” “Hey, asshole, can you hear me?,” “Same old Trevanian,” “You gotta be kidding me. This psycho is an android?,” “Do I look like a goddamn terrorist? Yes!,” “But what if the creation destroys the creator? That is true freedom,” “Step down from office? You’re insane,” “Hey, sweetness, my grandmother can shoot better than that! And she’s dead!,” and “You sonofabitch.”

Rating: 7.0/10.0

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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: The Facebook Page!

ProjectShadowchaserMegFoster

Please check out The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Facebook page, which can be seen here. There’s not much there at the moment, but, as time goes by, expect to see daily questions and musings and other B-movie hooey (this really is going to happen at some point). And it would be cool if you “liked” it, too.

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Facebook page! Yeah!

And please check out my interview with director Brett A. Hart about the Ain’t It Cool internet show and more!

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Things to Watch Out For This Week: Part 1

BatmanCompleteSeries

Batman: The Complete Series: Finally, the Batman live action series from the 1960’s is on DVD. You would think that, rights issues notwithstanding, that this show would have been on DVD years ago. It’s the kind of show that DVD boxed sets were created for. There are special features and whatnot, but the big draw is the show itself. It looks like you’ll also be able to get the show in individual seasons, although I’m not sure why you wouldn’t just get the whole damn thing and be done with it. That’s what I would do.

MontyPythonLiveOneDownFivetoGo

Monty Python Live: One Down, Five to Go: I saw this live performance in a movie theatre and it was a blast (well worth the $18 ticket). It was so damn cool to see the five remaining Pythons do their old routines in front of a raucous crowd that knew it all but still had fun. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of special features, if any, will appear on the DVD as the Pythons did record a bunch of backstage stuff. It’ll also be interesting to see if, when the next Python dies, if the remaining members will do Two Down, Four to Go. I’d see that, too.

DriveHard

Drive Hard: John Cusack and Thomas Jane star in this Brian Trenchard-Smith directed action comedy that actually received a small theatrical release not that long ago. The reviews were not great, but it still looks like fun. Trenchard-Smith has done great work in the past, and it’s always interesting to see Cusack doing these somewhat weird low budget action movies. I mean, why does he keep doing them? Is the money that good?

QueensOfTheRing

Queens of the Ring: This is some sort of French comedy about a woman who wants to become a wrestler or something. It looks funny, and it features cameos by the Miz, Eve Torres, and C.M Punk, although I’m not sure what “cameo” actually means in this sense. Again, it looks funny, so based on that it’s worth renting.

TheDamned

The Damned: This low budget horror flick, originally called Gallows Hill, is apparently about an unknowing family releasing an ancient evil. It looks messed up, and that should be good enough for a rental. I think I like the original title a little better than The Damned. The Damned is a good title, too, but Gallows Hill sounds epic. Of course, it also sounds like the movie should be a western, so I guess I see why the title was altered.

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Did you watch Constantine? Check out my review of the third episode here, the second episode here and the pilot episode here.

ConstantineTVshow

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John Wick (2014)

JohnWick

John Wick, directed by David Leitch and Chad Stahelski, is the kind of action movie that Hollywood doesn’t make enough of. While it isn’t a perfect action movie, John Wick is stylish, fairly simple, and chock full of badass gunplay. It also features a fine performance by star Keanu Reeves.

Reeves is John Wick, a retired badass mob assassin who ends up getting back into the hitman business after a chance encounter with some thugs who steal his badass muscle car and kill his new puppy. The thugs, led by Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen), had no idea who they were robbing and attacking, but then Wick, since getting out of the business, has kept a rather low profile. Outside of practicing his high speed driving car combat skills at the airport (a guard lets him go on the runway and drive around), Wick pretty much stays home, mourning his dead wife Helen (played in flashbacks by Bridget Moynahan). After recovering from his beating at the hands of Iosef and his buddies and burying his puppy ( a puppy that Helen arranged to have delivered to Wick after her funeral), Wick goes to see Aureilo (John Leguizamo), an old car thief that will know what happened to his muscle car. Aureilo, as expected, knows, but because of his position within the underworld he can’t tell exactly where Iosef took his car. Aureilo can, however, give Wick a new car and some encouragement. Aureilo can’t stand Iosef and won’t cry when Wick takes care of him.

And Wick will take care of him and anyone else that gets in his way. That’s how John Wick works.

So Wick goes back to his place, digs out his old guns and suit, and decides to get back into the killing business full force. While Wick is doing that, Wick’s old boss Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist), Iosef’s father, tries to figure out what to do. Should he give up Iosef to Wick, a man with a scary reputation (people used to call Wick “The Boogeyman”), or should he stand by his dumbass son and do everything he can to keep Wick away from him? Viggo eventually decides to stick with his son and puts out a two million dollar contract on Wick, a contract that should entice the best of the current crop of killers working in the underworld. The contract killers attack Wick quickly, actually going to his home to try to kill him. However, Wick being Wick, makes short work of the killers and sends a loud and clear message to the underworld: I want Iosef. Don’t screw with me.

So then some stuff happens, Viggo calls up his old pal and master assassin Marcus (Willem Dafoe), and Wick goes to the Continental, a hotel made specifically for the underworld, a place that acts as a kind of neutral ground for organized crime figures. As hotel owner Winston (Ian McShane) makes clear, business is not to be conducted at the Continental. It is meant to be neutral ground, a place to relax and interact. You want to kill someone go outside. Wick, while adhering to the “no killing” policy, does ask around about Iosef. This information gathering, together with the knowledge of the $2 million contract, sets off Ms. Perkins (Adrianne Palicki), a well-known female assassin who really wants the big money. So Perkins attacks Wick and tries to kill him, but Wick being Wick manages to hold off Perkins and continue his revenge quest. He’s going to find Iosef and his buddies and he is going to kill them.

It’s fun watching Reeves as Wick mow through seemingly endless henchmen , shooting most of them in the face and head as he goes after Iosef. Wick is also quite good with his hands and feet, breaking limbs with abandon. That kind of thing is always cool in this kind of movie. It’s also neat how the underworld has its own rules, its own infrastructure, and that just about everyone involved in the business is interested in upholding those rules and infrastructure. How does one accumulate those gold coins that one needs to access special areas around the city, including the Continental? And how many people have them?

The movie also has an appropriately glum look about it, which is always nice to see as too many big budget action movies look too nice and clean. Even the Continental, which has a swanky night club in it full of beautiful people, isn’t all that attractive. It’s a relatively nice place, sure, but it isn’t as opulent as you would expect it to be. The pacing is a little sluggish at first, but once Wick is attacked by Iosef and his scumbag buddies the movie kicks it into high gear and never slows down. Most of the action scenes are sleek and exciting. I’m a little surprised that there isn’t much blood in the movie, especially with all of the head shots delivered to the bad guys, but then massive blood sprays probably would have been too distracting in the overall scheme of things.

The movie does have a few issues. The flick’s main villain, Viggo, isn’t as bad and nasty as he should be. Now, that wouldn’t be a problem if Viggo had an insane henchman to make up for Viggo’s overall lack of nastiness, but then he doesn’t have one of those, either. And Iosef, even when he’s hanging out with his buddies, comes off as an arrogant prick and not a bloodthirsty killer. Where’s the challenge for Wick? The movie is also missing a major set piece of some sort, some spectacular fight or gun battle that is so ridiculous that you can’t help but remember it. There are plenty of cool gun battles, yes, but the movie needs at least one really big one to be perfect. And the final fight between Wick and Viggo isn’t as epic as it should be. Again, had Viggo had a nasty henchman to do his dirty work for him the movie probably would have had the final spectacle it needs. The lack of that spectacle doesn’t kill the movie, but it is something you’re likely to notice once the movie is over. That’s what happened to me about twenty minutes after I left the theatre.

Reeves is simply iconic as Wick. Wick is coolest and most interesting when he’s in his suit and carrying a gun, but Reeves manages to make the “retired” Wick interesting, too. What does that guy really do all day? Reeves makes you want to know. Dafoe does his usual great job as Marcus, Wick’s old pal and one of Viggo’s best assassins. Dafoe and Reeves have a great “master and apprentice” type relationship that will hopefully be expanded upon in sequels (that is if we get a sequel. And, yes, I’m well aware of what happens to Dafoe in the movie, but that fact shouldn’t keep him from appearing in flashbacks).

Pretty much everyone else in the cast plays a bit part (well, besides Allen and Nyqvist). Dean Winters is funny as Viggo’s secretary Avi. The man knows how to play the weasel. Bridget Moynahan is sweet in the few small scenes she has a Wick’s wife Helen. She has great chemistry with Reeves (I wouldn’t have minded seeing more one-on-one scenes with Reeves and Moynahan). And John Leguizamo is awesome in his extended cameo as Aureilo the car guy. He will definitely show up in a sequel. And Ian McShane is smooth as Winston, the head of the Continental. What does he do all day?

And then there’s the great Lance Reddick as the Continental desk manager Charon. After this role I think more movies should seek Reddick out for comic relief parts. He has damn good timing.

And then there’s Adrianne Palicki as Perkins the female assassin. Why isn’t she more of a killer presence in the movie? Why isn’t she the scary henchman? I mean, after the big hotel fight she has with Wick shouldn’t she have become the final villain before the main villain? A missed opportunity.

And how about the great David Patrick “Luther!” Kelley as Charlie, the mob body guy? If he doesn’t have an action figure by next summer there’s something seriously wrong with the pop culture merchandise world. Seriously.

John Wick is a great time at the movies, a badass action flick that deserves to be seen on a big screen. If it’s still playing near you and you haven’t seen it you need to make the time to do it as soon as possible. You must see John Wick. Must.

See John Wick. See it, see it, goddamn see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: Lots.

Explosions: Multiple.

Nudity?: None.

Doobage: A beaten and bloody hero, multiple old videos, a badass muscle car, a funeral, puppy dog delivery, dog poop, a home invasion, dog killing, dead dog burying, floor cleaning, a chop shop, barfing, cleaning up barf, concrete floor breaking, a trunk filled with guns, knives, and gold coins, a badass suit, an armed home invasion, total henchmen destruction, serious neck breaking, heart stabbing, a dead body removal montage with shrink wrapped bodies, sniper rifle cleaning, serious leg breaking, multiple knifings, some serious point blank shooting, multiple head shots, a vicious fight with a chick, a church invasion, money burning, tape bondage, finger breaking, more head shots, attempted suffocation, a very cool shotgun, exploding trucks, a vicious beating, knife to the knee, some serious car combat, and a final fight that isn’t as good as it should be.

Kim Richards?: None.

Gratuitous: New York City, Keanu Reeves, Keanu Reeves as a retired mob assassin in mourning, Bridget Moynahan, a bad ass muscle car, Willem Dafoe, a puppy named Daisy, a puppy eating cereal, a bowl for keys, driving practice, dog killing, people saying “John Wick,” a back tattoo, David Patrick Kelley, smoothie making, Marilyn Manson on the soundtrack, Kevin Nash as a doorman, Ian McShane, Russian singing, Adrianne Palicki as an assassin, gold coins, endless revenge, and a final fight that isn’t as good as it should be.

Best lines: “There’s no rhyme or reason to this life,” “Oh, I love dogs,” “Sleep tight, bitch!,” You either kill me now or get the fuck out of my shop!,” “That’s a nice jacket,” “That fucking nobody is John Wick,” Uh, you working again? No, just working some stuff out,” “Put a contract out on John Wick. How much? Two million,” “Would you kill John Wick for two million dollars?,” “I’m retired. Not if you’re drinking here, you’re not,” “Are you scared of the fucking Boogeyman? No. You should be,” “Do you really want to die here, Perkins?,” “Fuck management!,” “Don’t worry, housekeeping will find you,” “This life follows you,” “Who is that behind us? Oh, fuck!,” “Russian cocksucker!,” and “Be seeing ya, John. Yeah, be seeing ya.”

Rating: 8.9/10.0

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Things to Watch Out For This Week: Part 2

IAmSantaClaus

I Am Santa Claus: This is not a documentary about Mick Foley and his Santa Claus “thing,” although he does apparently appear in it. Instead, the movie is about four regular men who play Santa Claus around Christmas every year. The movie is also about what these Santa players do when they’re not Santa for Christmas. I’m shocked that there aren’t several documentaries about this very subject. It’s such a great idea.

DadsTheCompleteSeries

Dads: The Complete Series: This Fox sitcom by Seth MacFarlane was cancelled after one season, which is shame because while it was a little hit and miss at the beginning it got better as it went on. The cast was superb and it was funny more often than not. The ending was damn sad. Eli really had feelings for Veronica. I wanted to see how Eli was going to bounce back from his sudden heartbreak.

Iceman

Iceman: The great Donnie Yen stars in this kung fu action flick that apparently has ancient fighters waking up in modern times in order to continue whatever fight they were engaged in back in the day. The special effects in the trailer look great, and it’s always cool seeing the Donnie Yen doing anything. The man is a badass.

Gingerclown

Gingerclown: You would think that a low budget horror flick that features appearances by Lance Henriksen, Tim Curry, Sean Young, Michael “Sgt. Larvell Jones” Winslow, and Brad “voice of Chucky” Dourif would be a bigger deal. You would think that it could get, at least, a small theatrical release (it was filmed or converted into 3D), but as far as I can tell it wasn’t released in theatres, at least not in the United States and Canada. Oh, well. It still looks fun and messed up, and, really, that’s what you need to have when your movie is about a haunted/possessed amusement park.

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Who is this week’s Douchebag of the Week? Go here and find out!

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NASCAR and Indycar thoughts

 

The NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix, the last race of the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the Championship, was a win or you’re out situation for all eight drivers left with a chance at the title. Now, obviously, there was only going to be one race winner, but with the way the points are calculated everyone with a chance at the trophy was going to have to find a way to get up to the front and stay there. Eventual race winner Kevin Harvick absolutely needed to win as he needed to get maximum points, and as he dominated the race everyone else fought for every spot. It never got truly nasty on the track, but no one gave an inch. That lack of patience generated multiple cautions, but the bits of racing between those caution periods was as good as it gets at Phoenix.

So who made it? Harvick, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, and Ryan Newman. Newman almost missed the cut, having to pass Kyle Larson to gain one more position. And that’s exactly what Newman did, running Larson out of the groove, into the gray stuff, and then into the wall so he could get the position. Newman’s tough driving knocked Jeff Gordon, who was chasing Harvick for most of the race, out of the title hunt. I really thought that Gordon was going to make it.

So who the heck is going to win the title? Harvick obviously has the momentum so he has to be the favorite. And Logano has momentum, too, as he’s been up front for several weeks now. It will probably come down to those two drivers. Hamlin, who has won before at Homestead, has a slight chance at winning the whole thing. Newman, the most consistent driver this season, is the dark horse of the four. He hasn’t won a race yet this season; can he finally get the “W” while also winning his first Sprint Cup title?

It’ll be interesting to see how the remaining Chase drivers handle the last race and how everyone else in the race “deals” with the title contenders. You just know that Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski, both knocked out of the Chase despite top ten finishes at Phoenix, will want to end their 2014 seasons with wins (Keselowski has won six times so far in 2014). And there are drivers knocking on the door for wins, like Kyle Larson Jamie McMurray, and Matt Kenseth. Will we get a relatively clean race, or will we see endless wrecks and spins and meltdowns?

Chase Elliott has won the 2014 Nationwide Series title, so that series’ final race of the season at Homestead will be all about winning the race. I have no idea how many Cup drivers are going to be in that race, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them ended up winning the event. And the Trucks? I didn’t get to see the Truck race Friday night as the lighting issue that Phoenix had made the race run too late for me to watch. Erik Jones won the race. I have no idea who has a chance at the Truck title (Matt Crafton?).

Kurt Busch was in the news last week for domestic abuse as his ex-girlfriend has accused him of assault. Busch’s car owner Carl Haas has said that he has no plans to remove Busch from the #41 during this time, and it doesn’t look like NASCAR is going to ask Haas to remove Busch, either. I’m surprised that NASCAR hasn’t come under greater scrutiny, especially since domestic abuse in sports has been in the news for several weeks now. If the investigation into the abuse uncovers video or audio evidence of an assault something will happen to Busch. At the moment, though, it looks like NASCAR isn’t getting involved.

Homestead is the last race of the season for the Sprint Cup Series, the Nationwide Series, and the Camping World Truck Series. The Trucks race on Friday night, the Nationwide Series on Saturday, and Sprint Cup on Sunday. And then the racing season will be over. Man, that’s going to suck.

 

Not much going on in Indycar at the moment, Jeff Belskus, the President of the Hulman George Company, the entity that essentially owns the Verizon Indycar Series and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has decided to retire. I have no idea what that means for the series or the speedway. And it looks like the Indy Lights Series might actually have more than ten cars in 2015 (Juncos Racing, as you can see via the image above, is set to have two Americans compete in the series in 2015). I was really expecting more fallout from the announcement that Sonoma was set to be the season finale in 2015. Why aren’t more people complaining?

**
Next week: It’s the 1990’s continues with a Jeff Speakman double feature of The Perfect Weapon (1991) and Street Knight (1993)!

**

Well, I think that’ll be about it for this issue. B-movies rule, always remember that.

If there’s anything you want to see reviewed here in this column, feel free to offer a comment below or send me an e-mail. I’m always on the lookout for new stuff to watch.

And don’t forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.

Project: Shadowchaser

Martin Kove– Desilva
Meg Foster– Sarah
Frank Zagarino– Romulus
Paul Koslo– Trevanian
Joss Ackland– Kinderman
Ricco Ross– Jackson
Raymond Evans– Whiteside
Robert Freeman– Blackwood
Kim Huffman– Naomi
Andrew Lamond– Franco
Angie Hill-Richmond– Jonah
Brian Jackson– The President

Directed by John Eyres
Screenplay by Stephen Lister

Distributed by Prism Entertainment Corporation and Turner Home Entertainment

Rated R for language and violence
Runtime– 97 minutes

Buy it here

John Wick

Keanu Reeves– John Wick
Michael Nyqvist– Viggo Tarasov
Alfie Allen– Iosef Tarasov
Willem Dafoe– Marcus
Dean Winters– Avi
Adrianne Palicki– Ms. Perkins
Bridget Moynahan– Helen
John Leguizamo– Auriello
Ian McShane– Winston
Lance Reddick– Charon
David Patrick Kelley– Charlie

Directed by David Leitch and Chad Stahelski
Screenplay by Derek Kolstad

Distributed by Summit Entertainment and Lionsgate

Rated R for non-stop violence and language
Runtime– 101 minutes

Website: http://www.johnwickthemovie.com/

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  • APrince66

    early 90s is such a special time for me action/sci fi/horror movie wise. A video store open close to my house that would rent 5 movies, 5 days for 5 bucks. You could also, for $20 rent one title at a time, return it whenever and get another, for an entire month. Basically, if you lived within walking distance, pick up a movie, watch it, immediately return it and pick another the same day. It also applied for video games. You couldnt beat it!
    Anyway, the movies you review in your column take me back to those amazing care free days when you never new anything about a movie besides what was on the box so you took a chance.
    Good times.

    • BMovieBryan1140

      Thanks. That’s always been the vibe I’ve gone for.

    • KipSmithers

      Ya DAMN right!