Amazons & Gladiators (2001)

Inflicted by Zachary Weintraub,
Patrick Bergin is in it.

    Marcus Crassius (Bergin), having defeated Spartacus and got way too popular, gets banished to some obscure province, where he kills people just so he can feel good about himself. In one raid, he victimised a plucky child, then has her sold as a slave.
    Flash forward 10 years, and the girl, Serena, and her friend Brianna have become a popular interpretive dance act. Then she kills a senator who tries to have his way with her, and they escape to join the Amazon freedom fighters in the woods. They train; Serena gets laid; there are some fights. Then our plucky heroines are captured trying to assassinate Crassius and forced to fight in the arena.
    The Amazons bust in on the act, and Serena kills Crassius. Then she delivers a stirring speech about women's rights, and goes off to destroy Rome, with the incidental aid of the Goths and the Huns.

What's wrong with it?

    Make no mistake: Even by my standards, this film is an execrable, dog turd of a movie. It's like Xena - without the class - meets Gladiator without any of the talent.
    Patrick Bergin plays Crassius - who seems to have traded Tony Curtis for Serena's soppy tart of a sister when he stopped being Laurence Olivier - as the bastard love-child of Christopher Biggins and Chris Tarrant, only not as menacing. The Amazons - a curious mish-mash of talentless-but-busty English, American and Australian bints - ponce about in their battle-bras, showing such an incredible dearth of combat skill that they'd be screwed if the legions of Rome were any better.
    Serena and Brianna are at times completely indistinguishable, save that Brianna sometimes has an English accent.
    It's entirely unclear which pissant backwater Crassius has been dumped in, for as much as anyone might care.
    There's gratuitous movie sex, and some half-hearted Hollywood sapphism that makes Lust for a Vampire look daring and interesting.
    The acting is universally bad.

    Oh yeah; and the entire film is ripped off from somewhere else. Examples include:

What's right with it?

    Bog all really.

Best bit?

    Crassius decrees that Serena must continue fighting her lover until the hourglass is empty, otherwise they'll both be shot. Serena smashes the hourglass, and points out that the glass is empty, to which Crassius pretty much ripostes by having her lover shot.
    It's not that good, but at least it gets shot of the scrawny, Shaggy-from-Scooby-Doo-alike love lack-of-interest. If only he'd shot Serena as well.

What's up with...?

    Oh, where to start?


Production values - Weak. The costumes are silly - very silly - the sets tacky, and the camerawork shoddy. Even the swords are all blatantly plastic, and everyone stabs under the cloak. When people are required to bleed, there is a trickle of blood, that apparently stains like red wine; no wonder a wineskin worked to fake a death. Even the final coup de grace on Crassius didn't warrant any greater spending than a blood pack in Patrick Bergin's hand. Everything about the production reeks of cheapness. 19

Dialogue and performances - This film rips off Star Wars dialogue, and makes it even more trite and pointless. It isn't helped by the absolute woodenness of everyone in the film. Pretty much the entire cast seems chosen on the grounds of bra-size instead of acting ability; including Patrick Bergin. Absolute 'worst performance ever' award goes to the kid who plays Young Serena, who manages to make one yearn for the level of performance achieved by Jake Lloyd. 20

Plot and execution - Five monkeys, two typewriters; ten minutes. Actually; five monkeys, a glue stick, a copy of the script of Gladiator and a selection of cut-out quotes form Star Wars. The direction is everything that the material deserves. 20

Randomness - The whole damn film is so random. Marcus Crassius? Patrick Bergin as Christopher Biggins as Laurence Olivier as Marcus Crassius? It's like the Comic Strip presents... gone horribly awry. The Amazons in general. The claim that the Amazons brought down the Roman Empire. The classically-educated slave dancer.
Help me; I've fallen and I can't get up. 19

Waste of Potential - I'm in two minds on this rating. On the one hand, you don't expect much from what is basically a Gladiator cash-in with more cleavage (and that's just from Patrick Bergin). On the other, this falls so very far below even those low expectations, that a pretty decent score is earned. 18

Overall 96%


Cradle of Fear (2001)

"It's Not If They Die... It's How"

Reviewed by Tim Deegan

Director: Alex Chandon
Starring: Dani "Cradle of Filth" Filth, Eileen "Razor Blade Smile" Daly, and a bunch of other equally useless folk.

BMM Keywords: So bad it hurts, Boring, Egregious violence and/or gore

    A series of salutory cautionary tales: Don't beat old men to death with candlesticks or you'll be slaughtered by the walking dead. Thieving other people's limbs is frowned on in polite society. Anyone foolish enough to sleep with Dani Filth deserves all the disembowelment they get. Internet voyeurism is the first step on the slippery slope to a hammer-related death. That sort of thing.
    Meanwhile, a gritty policeman (you can tell he's gritty, because he swears a lot) links the murders back to the mysterious hypno-satanist serial killer he put in jail all those years ago...

What's wrong with it?

    The tedium, mostly. The obvious fate which awaits each evildoer is left hanging until you feel the need to go and make a cup of tea. Not a one of the "it's behind you" moments is surprising. The policeman's shambling deductive (and expletive) powers quickly become tiresome. Overall, it could lose about half an hour.

What's right with it?

    The hilarious special effects. Blood, guts, and vomit on an "Evil Dead II" scale. One of the cheesiest cheap-ass Photoshoppings of a car-chase on film. The enthusiastic disembowelment of a clearly stuffed cat. Dani Filth cutting people up with a HUGE knife.

How bad it it really?

    Pretty poor. I have to admit I was laughing out loud, but I spent more time wishing it would just get on with it. Any time that there isn't blood all over the place, the script and the acting come to the fore, and that's bad. Frankly, even as a three-beer movie, this sucks. Watch "Quicksilver Highway" instead.

Best bit

    Maybe the voyeur-murder website with its the Cluedo-esque menus (Colonel Mustard, administering a Fatal Severing with the Chainsaw), and ads for gibbon porn. Or maybe the serial killer's cell, with its crazy-paved padded walls.

What's up with...


Production values: They manage to hold the camera steady, and not put the lights in the picture, but it lacks any sparkle. Cheap'n'cheerful special effects make up for a lot, though. 13

Dialogue and performances: Woeful. Not an actor in the bunch; and character cliche laid on with a trowel. 18

Plot: Re-hashed Tales from the Dark Side, and an appalling attempt to tie it all together with the cursing policeman. 16

Randomness: The four subplots are basically unconnected with each other, or anything else; sex and nudity have been sprinkled on as an afterthought; and Dani Filth just pops up and is all satanic every now and again. 15

Waste of potential: Sure, it's been done better (Quicksilver Highway, I tells ya), but the string-of-evil-retribution schtick doesn't have much going for it. And what did we expect from a Dani Filth vehicle? 5

Overall: 67%


Full Eclipse (1993)

Directed by Anthony Hickox
Starring 'Super' Mario van Peebles, Bruce 'Oh the' Payne and Patsy Kensit

BMM Keywords: So bad it hurts, Egregious gore/violence, Gratuitous sex.

    Tough LA cop, Max Dire (Peebles) loses his partner in a hail of bullets, only to get him back the next day, right as rain. Then the partner starts chasing cars full of gangbangers on foot, and shoots himself with a bullet cast form his lucky silver dollar.
    Enter trauma councillor, tough cop and biochemist Adam Garou (Payne), who recruits Max to his team of issue-racked cops - including the sluty Casey (Kensit) - who sleep communally, have an acute siege mentality, worship the ground Garou treads and - oh yeah - shoot up on weird shit, sprout claws and tear into drug dealers and their mistresses while shrugging off high-calibre bullet wounds.
    Turns out that Garou is a werewolf - shock, horror...Oh wait, that's his name - and is dosing 'the pack' with his cranial fluids to make them his little werewolfettes. Then on the night of the lunar eclipse, he plans to off them all and move on to another city. Casey goes cold turkey and dies jumping out of a high window, and come the night itself, Max faces off against Garou, who turns into a bear - I swear to God - shrugs off Max's silver bullets, and finally succumbs to a syringe full of silver nitrate as the moon reappears.
    Then Max absorbs his power, and starts the cycle all over again.

What's wrong with it?

    In a word, it's bollocks. The direction is stilted, the script is crappy, the cast are planks and the sound is all mumbly. The regular werewolf SFX are cheap - dodgy claws that spring from their knuckles and some facial prosthetics - and the big finale is a let down - Garou turns into a Howling-style wolf-man, but looks more like a small bear. 
    The guy is called Garou. The sign on his fucking door says 'A Garou' (Garou being French for 'werewolf, if you didn't know'). 
    Patsy Kensit.

What's right with it?

    Not much. The concept of the dodgy werewolf cop unit is okay, as is the alpha wolf offing his pack at the full eclipse. It's just when the film moves beyond concept that it falls down.

How bad is it really?

    And absolute stinker of a film. Seriously. It really isn't even funny.

Best bit

    Max sees Garou syringing his cranial fluid out, but the werewolf hears him. He drags Garou over to the mirror, and does a little routine, with 'this is you on my brain' in place of 'this is your brain on drugs'. It mostly scores because you can see how they thought it would be cool, and at the same time see how it doesn't work, and would have been cut if they weren't so in love with it.

What's up with...?


Production values - Shitty. The lighting is dark where is should be moody, and the sound mumbled where it should be moody. The SFX blow, and we get a real faceful of how much; none of your tease the audience mentality here. 16

Dialogue and Performances - Here's the pitch: Peebles! Kensit! Payne! Together at last! As an opportunity for a spree killing, sure; as a movie concept, no. On the other hand, the dialogue deserves so very little more. 17

Plot and execution - A good concept frittered away on a few naff action scenes, a gratuitous shag and some needless posing in fangs and make-up. 17

Randomness - Fairly true to itself, aside from Max suddenly deciding to take Garou's place. 8

Waste of potential - Another intriguing concept made dull. Still; at least it wasn't the start of a long-running 'Werewolf Cop' franchise. 14

Overall 72%