Nightmare City (1980)
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Writers: Antonio Cesare Corti, Luis María Delgado, Piero Regnoli
A certain Harry Crowel (Charles “Future Emperor Ming” Middleton doing some fine mugging), now preferring to be called after his prison number 39013, has escaped from prison. He’s out for revenge on his former (legal) business partner Granville (Miles Mander) whom he makes responsible for his prison stint.
Rudy Cafmeyer (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is one of those charming rogues and cat burglars one hears so often about, though with a side-line in kicking people in the face, because he’s JCVD. Rudy’s father Oscar (Vernon Dobtcheff), a professor of archaeology doesn’t approve of his son’s lifestyle, curiously enough.
Right now, Oscar is concerning himself with a mysterious and secret (so secret, we will later learn, they’re on the TV news in Israel) sect. He seems to have found the lost final part of the group’s holy book, so off he goes to Israel where he disappears without a trace.
Thanks to the generosity of Vinegar Syndrome, now you too can delight in one of Andy Milligan’s movies in beautiful high definition without having to pay a price, or rather, without having to pay a monetary price, for watching a Milligan movie takes its psychological toll on most of us. In fact, a viewer of any given Milligan movie might never be the same afterwards.
Original title: La batalla del último Panzer
During the Allied invasion of France, at a point when Germany has been beaten back far enough that more than one soldier of their side knows which way the winds blows regarding the whole master race thing, a single Tiger tank finds itself caught behind enemy lines, and worse for the handful of soldiers involved, commanded by a Lieutenant (Stelvio Rosi) who is still a gung ho Nazi out to win a war that’s already lost.
Machete Kills (2013): Objectively, there's not much of a difference between this one and the first adventure of mythical superman Danny Trejo. Subjectively, I didn't enjoy the second film nearly as much as the first one, or really, enjoyed it at all.
Kham’s (Tony Jaa) peaceful country life is disturbed when another gang of evildoers steals his elephant. This time around, the bad guys around a certain LC (RZA, because why hire an actor and martial artist when you can get a rapper who can’t act and is shit in his action scenes presumably for free because he’s an – admirably – big martial arts fan) want to use the poor elephant to blow up some foreign politicians. The elephant bomb is not the most stupid thing in the movie.
I’m really not watching enough US westerns, despite the genre offering many obvious treasures I still haven’t encountered yet. On the positive side, this does mean that when I do watch one, I more often than not get to see very fine films like Gordon Douglas’s Gold of the Seven Saints, a film that finds Roger Moore doing a horrible Irish accent, yet still turns out to be quite fantastic, for the very first time.
aka The Liberators
aka War Fever
Original title: Il dito nella piaga
World War II, somewhere in Italy. Lieutenant Michael Sheppard (George Hilton), freshly arrived at the front from West Point, manages to bring himself into quite a bit of trouble on his very first mission, getting the shooting squadron he commands killed by sheer obstinacy, and ending up having to team up with the two men he was supposed to have being shot – Corporal Brian Haskins (Klaus Kinski) and Private John Grayson (Ray Saunders).
This film can and should be watched on YouTube right now. I don’t know about the legality of the whole affair, but then if some company subtitled this and brought it out on DVD or BluRay (one can dream, right?), I’d buy the hell out of it.
Horrible old man Arnold Burgoyne (Nicholas Hannen) summons his family to his mansion for a charming family dinner, or rather, to ruin as much of their lives as he can, and not for the first time. Some of them, like mystery novel writer Sophy (Greta Gynt) are independent enough of the old bastard to be able to assume the position of annoyed bystanders, but people like Arnold’s nephew Henry (John van Eyssen) are in the rather more unlucky position to actually need Arnold’s approval and money.
Professor Robert Elliot (James Coburn) is an up and coming star of the military-industrial complex, soon to be promoted into a highly influential US government position. Unfortunately his overlords (represented by Keenan Wynn) need him to get rid of the four people in London who helped him with his own personal, and highly effective, mix of espionage, industrial espionage (in a clever nod to realism, the film doesn’t treat these two things as independent of each other) and good old blackmail.
Original title: 鬼域
Avengers from Hell is a three story omnibus Shaw Brothers feature directed by Lee Pooi-Kuen from the studio’s decadent late period, though this one’s really more competent and routine than decadent.
The first story concerns a rookie beat cop’s (Alex Man Chi-Leung) intense obsession with a haunted house and the resident ghost of a murdered woman (Lee Yin-Yin), the sort of thing that will need an intervention by his girlfriend (JoJo Chan Kei-Kei) sooner or later.