Reviewed by Simon Drake
Directed by Mike Hodges
Starring Sam J Jones, Max Von Sydow and lots of British Character actors in silly costumes.
Anyone whos ever sat in front of a TV at Christmas or a bank
holiday should know the story. But for those cave dwelling readers
Evil Overlord Ming the Merciless rains havoc (and jacket potatoes) on Earth. So discredited NASA scientist Dr Hans Zarkov, along with blond lug hero Flash Gordon and token love interest Dale Arden, fly to Planet Mongo to prevent Ming crashing the Moon into Earth.
Not to be xenophobic, but the lead American actors are completely
pants. Sam J Jones had most of his dialogue dubbed as he was such a plank (and it
didnt really help). He does look the part, and has the chisel jawed blandness but I
think the problem was, while everyone else was having a laugh and overacting, he
didnt seem to be in on the joke.
Melody Andersen (Dale Arden) is the kind of annoying wet blanket you tend to get in fantasy films, although she does have a sudden kick ass Matrix style hand-stand whilst firing gun scene then goes back to whining to Flash about having "14 hours to save the Earth"
It is actually quite a good film. It is probably the nearest film
you could get to a live action comic book (it gets the Flash Gordon ambience spot on).
The script has some great lines. The acting, not good, but seems to fit the mood on the film. Brian Blessed winning the acting honours as Vultan the Hawk King, while Max Von Sydow gets the camp Panto Villain award.
The fact it doesnt make much sense actually adds to the fun, as former Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan says as he prays to be killed "Spare me the madness!" I know how he feels.
The music by Queen rocks too!
The fact that it is rubbish doesnt stop it being so much fun its almost unhealthy. The film (as Im sure many would agree, and almost as many dis-agree) has matured into something of a classic.
Theres actually loads of classic memorable scenes (everyone
remembers Peter Duncan or "Gordons ALIVE!" or mind wiping Zarkov, or Dale
Arden kicking ass or war rocket Ajax). But Im going to go with the sub
American Football scene where Flash runs around knocking over Mings Mook guards.
"Are your Men on the right pills?" asks Ming at one point. ("Maybe you
should execute their trainer?" - The Prophet)
Dale turns into a cheerleader and the Queen music pumps out.
"Go Flash Go!"
Then Flash the blond idiot gets knocked out by a flying green egg.
Production Values Great sets (sort of) great costumes (sort of) The Lizard men werent fooling anyone though 7.
Dialogue and Performance The script is good, some great one-liners. The acting varies from over acting, underplaying and a mixture of both (Timothy Dalton Im looking in your direction!). Praise must be given to Peter Wynguard as Klytus who comes across as C3POs perverted even more homosexual brother. 7 (would have been lower had it not been for Melody Andersen and Peter Duncan)
Plot and execution Not much in the way of plot, evil bald dude wants to destroy Earth for some reason, enter the blond hero. But director Hodges (who made Get Carter How the hell did he get this gig?) keeps the while thing (in)sane. 8
Randomness A load of stuff is mentioned like Klytuss "Perverted secret Police force" and what exactly Dale Arden does. But its Flash Gordon, it doesnt have to make sense!!! 8
Waste of potential Im not even going to dignify that with an answer. 0
Reviewed by Simon Drake
Directed by Richard Donner
Starring Sean Astin, Corey Feldman and Josh Brolin.
The Goonies (a group of annoying Child actors) find a treasure map owned by One Eyed Willy (Hmmmmmmmmm) and have to overcome booby traps and criminals to find the rich stuff to save their house for being knocked down to make way for a golf course.
A group of screeching pre-teens running about cracking wise for 90 minutes...Okay thats a little unfair. The comedy fat kid Chunk is quite annoying. As for the "hilarious" mentally retarded giant The less said, the better.
The film wasnt as bad as I was expecting it to be. I actually
found myself giggling at some of the jokes (mostly courtesy of Corey Feldman).
The plot, clearly inspired by Hardy Boys, is actually quite good, and all the elements are there including escaped convicts and deadly traps and last second escapes.
When Chunk and Sloth arent in it Its a fairly decent Kids adventure that sadly too often descends into puerile humour.
The opening 10 minutes that has better establishing scenes than a
lot of adult adventure films. Great theme music too.
Or Mouth (Corey Feldman) translating for Sean Astin's Mum to the Spanish housemaid about what to pack when they move. "The cigarettes are in the top drawer, the drugs are in the second drawer And the really dangerous drugs are in the bottom drawer. Always separate the drugs!" A silly treat.
Production Values As you would expect from a Speilberg production, its all pretty slick. Except for some shockingly bad back projection scenes. The music is pretty good (Cyndi Lauper notwithstanding). And the sets are okay. 8
Dialogue and performance Most of the kid actors are bearable, Sean Astin and Corey Feldman are almost endearing at times. The baddies have little to do other than look evil and suspicious. Robert Davi has a nice line in torture, by singing Opera at victims. The script has some moments of wit (from Chris Columbus who wrote Gremlins and Harry Potter). 14
Plot and execution Richard Donner (who made the Lethal Weapon series) keeps the narrative flowing admirably enough. The plot plays out like a Junior Temple of Doom (I think they used the spare sets too). 16
Randomness Other than the squid, and some other moments, not really. 4
Waste of Potential Other than deleting Chunk and Sloth, this is as good as a Speilberg version of The Hardy Boys as youre likely to get! All panic as hes proposing to remake Tin-Tin for the 21st century (Time to re-invent Corey Feldmans career? We can only hope!) 9
"The greatest race on earth for the richest prize in history."
Reviewed by Simon Drake
Directed by Willy Bogner.
Starring Roger Moore, Shari Belafonte and Geoffrey Moore (Yup Rogers son May God have mercy on us all!)
Multi-Millionaire environmentalist Sir George Ross (Roger Moore)
fakes his own death by throwing himself out of a plane, then wears a fake moustache and
fake Scottish accent for the remainder of the film. Sir Georges will stipulates that
to gain his $135 Million inheritance, the trustees (and any random corporations) have to
take part, and win, his planned Mega-Thon. Seven extreme sports type
challenges, mostly involving Skis.
Sir Georges mis-matched daughter, Lucy, and sons Alexander and Dudley, have to put aside their differences and team up to win.
But (in the Dick Dastardly role) is Victor, evil Belgian Scientist whos trying to sabotage the Ross siblings (but no one else in the game for some reason) at every turn.
Director Willy Bogner (whose name is plastered across the box and
opening credits) is famous (apparently) for making Ski documentaries and doing the stunt
scenes in Bond movies. Which explains why everything, apart from the stunt bits, are as
ghastly as the shell suits everyone is wearing.
All the characters are the worst type of stereotypes (almost to the point of racism), Germans drink beer throughout, the Buddhists float up cliffs whilst playing panpipes and the Spanish shout "Mamma-Mia" all the time.
Pounding electro rock blares out during every action sequence (which is 90% of the film).
After a while, even the ski chases get boring.
And then there is Roger Moore in a moustache with a Scottish accent
The stunts are pretty good, but they are played out like some
Extreme Sports programme on cable television, rather than film stunts.
There is a mildly amusing Spanish character who is press-ganged into entering by his bossy wife, and has to take on every challenge on his own using the energising power of bananas.
Really bad. Unless you like the idea of 102 minutes of Ski chases,
Monster trucks and Roger Moore.
Nah me neither.
Isaac Hayes and Buzz Aldrins five-second cameo. Both look embarrassed and on the verge of firing their agents.
Production Values Impressive locations and stunts aside. There isnt much else in the way of production. Lots of skies and shameless product placement "Team VW GTI" and "Adidas Team". 13
Dialogue and performance Roger Moore, not exactly noted for his emoting, is the best actor in this. Thats how bad everyone else is. Harry Belafontes Daughter is pretty, but thats it really. The guy playing Alexander is camp, whiney and annoying. And Victor the evil Belgian is mind bogglingly bad. 20
Plot and Execution Plot? Who needs a plot when we have ski chases? As for the Karaoke to win back brothers love scene is ghastly beyond words. 20
Randomness Nothing really makes sense with this film. Its all pretty pointless. 17
Waste of potential Even aiming the film at die-hard ski fans, it still could have been a bit better than this. 6