Demon Knight (1995)

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Directed by Ernest Dickerson.
Starring Billy Zane, Jada Pinkett and William Sadler

    Brayker (William Sadler) is on the run from a hideous Demon master from the depths of Hell (so that’ll be Billy Zane right?). Holding up in a Church turned seedy Hotel, Brayker, with a bunch of rednecks, prostitutes, crazed postal workers and winos, becomes trapped inside as Billy Zane unleashes a horde of rubbery slimy demons. Brayker and co have to battle the forces of darkness to prevent a mysterious key (containing Christ’s blood) falling into the Demons hands thus preventing eternal darkness and Hell on Earth.
    One by one everyone gets pegged off, except sassy ex-con/dishwasher Jada Pinkett, who kills Zane and takes over the mantle of keyholder/Demon fighter.

What’s wrong with it?

    It starts, and ends, with the mega annoying Crypt-Keeper (That tagline is pretty much the pinnacle of the Crypt Keeper's 'humour' - The Prophet). It’s all fairly dopey, extremely gory, and the hardcore metal soundtrack grates.
    Billy Zane (either a huge plus or minus point depending on your views) doing a substandard Beetlejuice impression.

What’s right with it?

    It’s a fairly low budget horror flick that everyone has actually made an effort in writing, direction, characterisation and acting.
    Billy Zane.

How bad is it really?

    A perfectly acceptable Saturday night horror rental.

Best Bit?

    Lowlife slimeball ‘Roach’ who hands over the sacred key to Zane which will destroy Mankind: -
    "You know this "Hell on Earth" Business? Big Fucking deal - I’ve got haemorrhoids!"

    How about the Collector offering to restore the arm his demons tore off if the landlady, Irene (CCH Pounder) gives up the key. She holds out her stump.
   
Collector: Is that a yes?
   
Irene: No. That's me giving you the finger.
    (The Prophet)

What’s up with…?

Ratings:

Production Values – The director makes the most out of essentially a one set film. Special effects are good (if a little sparingly used), the Demons are nasty and gooey, and there’s a ton of fake blood. 9

Dialogue and performance – The acting is solid, everyone being deadly serious in the most ridiculous circumstances (except Billy Zane overacting wildly!) and facing ridiculous over the top gore. Pinkett goes from sulky ex-con to bad-ass Demon butt kicker with aplomb. Sadler explains what the hell is going on (just about) and CCH Pounder spends half the film with her arm missing…Then blows herself up with a grenade. The script has some great ideas, several moments of what could almost be called wit and sort of makes sense. 7

Plot and execution – Well handled tension narrative and pace. The opening and closing segments with the Cryptkeeper are distracting, and (more than?) a little annoying. 8

Randomness – There’s a few moments of "Huh" but most of the time you don’t care as you’re waiting for someone else to get splattered. 11

Waste of Potential – With a shred of originality and thought, it’s a damn sight better than a lot of bigger budget horror flicks I’ve seen (although I’m not really a big horror fan) (And leave us not forget that we have seen some pretty Godawful horror films) Its tongue-in-cheek style and hyperkinetic gore makes it a rental of quality. Just don’t expect to remember any of it afterwards! 5

Overall 40%

 *

Pearl Harbor (2001)

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Directed by Michael Bay
Starring Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett and Jon Voight (Uh-oh)

    Childhood friends Rafe (Affleck) and Danny (Hartnett) have to go off to war. The day before they are due to leave Rafe falls in love with Nurse Evelyn Johnson (Kate Beckinsale) and promises to return to her after he’s fought for his country. Then he is shot down and presumed dead, so Danny breaks the news to Evelyn, not before falling in love with her himself. Danny and Evelyn end up going out, and Evelyn gets pregnant.
Then (surprise!) Rafe shows up again.
    Heartache all round. A bunch of stuff gets blown up, and conveniently Danny gets killed in a heroic self-sacrificing way (whilst crucified to a wooden cross…Hmmm?), leaving Rafe free to foster the newborn Baby, and they call it ‘Danny’.
    Hurrah!
    Oh! Danny and Rafe win the Second World War too. (And somewhere along the line, I believe the Japanese bomb pearl Harbour - The Prophet)

What’s wrong with it?

    The three-hour bit between the beginning and the end.

What’s right with it?

    Admittedly the Dogfights and action scenes are incredible. Planes swoop through explosions, and for once it is almost impossible to tell which are real, models or CGI. Although the battles are played out like X-Wing rip-offs, which is ironic as the X-wings dogfights were based on Tora, Tora, Tora. Even parts of the script from Star Wars are lifted blatantly "I can’t shake him…I can’t shake him!" and the shocker "Stay on target!"
    Affleck's callsign is even Red 5!

How bad is it really?

    I don’t use the term ‘putrid bile’ often. However in this case…

Best bit?

    The Bombs eye view camera shot. The camera follows it in one long take as it drops from the plane, all the way down to landing on the USS Arizona. That would have been a real ‘Wow’ factor, if it hadn’t featured on every TV and cinema advert.

What’s up with…?

Ratings:

Production Values – Too good. The entire film is shot like a Calvin Klein advert. Everything caked in a golden hue, the actors bronzed and dripping with sweat (ewwww!). It’s all so slickly done you could almost forget how crap it is. But we at the BMM are made of stronger stuff than to be bowled over by the superficiality of a Levi Jeans advert. You can’t polish a turd! 5

Dialogue and Performance – With a script of quite startling ineptitude I almost felt sorry for the 3 leads, as they have all proved they can act in previous films. However Affleck is toe curlingly awful as a short-sighted, dyslexic ‘ace’ with a penchant for misty-eyed pouts at the camera "Don’t take my wings from me Doc!" he bemoans during an eye exam. Hartnett scrapes through with some degree of dignity. Beckinsale has nothing to do other than look concerned, and she doesn’t even do that well. But it is Ewan Bremner (Spud from Trainspotting) who embarrasses the most as the stuttering ginger nerd with a caricatured American accent who can’t tell his crew there are Japanese planes approaching as he’s stuttering like Arkwright from Open all hours.
    Writer Randell Wallace (who also wrote Braveheart) has managed to crowbar in as many clunking lines as is humanly possible. The lines "Let’s get them Jap Suckers!" and "Here come the Sons-a-bitches!" are used about 10 times during the 30 minute middle battle sequence.
    "I’ll never look at a Sunset without thinking of you" "There’s nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer" and "Our boys are flying blind on empty tanks…God help them all!" are personal favourites. 20

Plot and Execution – There is no plot to speak of, just three hours of treacle to wade through. Michael Bay can handle the action scenes, but if required to do anything other than a ship exploding he flounders like a child in a swimming pool without waterwings on antibiotics. 19

Randomness – Yeah…I’ve covered some of the random bits, and after a while I just stopped caring enough to even write them down. 19

Waste of Potential – With a budget of $135 million, an epic wartime romance full of explosions, emotions and heartbreak with a cast of capable actors this could have been a real class act. But rather than being Gone with the Wind for the new generation it was more Gone in 60 Seconds for the redneck generation. 20

Overall 83%

*

Escape from DS3 (1981)

"YEAR: 2045 - PLACE: Detention Satellite 3, Maximum Security Prison - MISSION: To Get Out Alive!!!"

Directed by Allan Sandler and Robert Emenegger
Starring Jackson Bostwick, ‘Guest star’ Bubba Smith and ‘Special guest star’ Roger Cornthwaithe (who he?) (Ah; special guests stars. Sign of a bombed TV pilot - The Prophet)

    Space federation agent Andy Lavette (despite being called Andy Lavell on the back on the video box) is falsely convicted of blowing up ‘Starbase 14’ and is sent to DS3 (Detention Satellite Three) a prison that orbits the Earth.
    He teams up with three other convicts, British Petro-Chemist ‘Jesse’, hulking lifer ‘Mac’, and Anarchist electrician ‘Gwen’, and sets up a plan to escape.
    From then on it gets a little confusing. The four prisoners plan an intricate plan to escape that involves running around in yellow pyjamas, making pieces of art, short-circuiting sexdroids and shooting the guards with hairtongs.
    Then after piling into a spacecraft full of antiques they drift into space saying, "We’re on vacation".
    The End.

What’s wrong with it?

    The film (produced by Steven Speilberg's sister ‘Anne’ so at the start it says ‘A. Speilberg production…Gotta love the marketing strategy) obviously has the budget of about 37.69. The entire film takes place in what looks like leftover sets from Blake’s 7 where the 4 prisoners talk and plan every dull minute detail of their escape for about 80 minutes.
    The space scenes are of the ‘model spaceship on string floats past black backdrop’ variety.
    Jackson Bostwick (little bro. of Barry) is a complete plank with silly hair and the rest of the acting is laughable.
    There is also the voice of reason (or paranoia) that each character experiences as a voice over, which is baffling and very stupid.

What’s right with it?

    Not much. The Doctor Who standard effects gives it a vaguely endearing quality.

How bad is it really?

    Terrible really…And very very boring.

Best Bit?

    There isn’t really one.

What’s up with…?

Ratings:

Production Values – Laughably poor. Wobbly sets, silly costumes and hair dryer laser guns. Probably filmed in Spielberg's garage (which would explain the Stepladder). The sound quality is mumbled, so much so I could barely hear the plot. Although I don’t think it would matter much anyway. 18

Dialogue and Performance – The acting is complete guff, you can actually see the actors reading cue cards. Bostwick is as wooden as Julian Sands, Bubba Smith can barely articulate a sentence…And the others are instantly forgettable. 19

Plot and execution – The plot to escape is dull and it’s so cack-handedly done you just don’t care…And takes itself oh so seriously! 18

Randomness – Oh loads. What’s with the kindly prison warden cum art critic? Why do they bother framing Lavette anyway? What’s with the thermostat dial fiddling? "Not only are we framing Lavette, but now his house is going to be freezing too…Ha ha ha" says government welder. The film was so mumbled and jumbled I lost track of the gaping plot holes. 19

Waste of potential – This could have been a nice little sci-fi camp classic. But it’s too damn dull. 16

Overall 90%