Redline AKA Deathline AKA Armageddon (1997)

Reviewed by Mant

Director Tibor Takacs
Stars Rutger Hauer, Mark Dacascos, Marina K. Katya

Bad Movie Mecca Keywords: Bad Movie Superstars, Gratuitous Slow Motion

    Hauer and Dacascos are high-tech smugglers (that is, they smuggle high tech goods) in a collapsing near future Russia. Dacascos betrays Hauer, shoots him and his girl friend and leaves them for dead. The twist is, they are, but that's OK, a Russian general with the technology to bring people back from the dead wants to quit the military life, and muscle in on the Russian mob. A resurrected Hauer seems like a useful tool (the girl is SOL) and is brought back to life.
    He then sets about tracking down the people who betrayed him, along with a CIA agent under cover as a prostitute. There is lots of cross and double cross, and people shooting in slow motion.

What's wrong with it?

    Apart from wooden acting, and low budget its biggest offense is the slow motion. Now slow motions can be cool, but if the fight sequence looks incredibly naff anyway, slowing it down does not help at all, it just prolongs the agony.

What's right with it?

    Some of the sets/locations are nice.

How bad is it really?

    Lousy.

Best bit (if such there is)?

    The bounty hunting, where the current reward for a fugitive is publicly broadcast, and goes up.

What's up with...?

Ratings:

Production values: Cheap, it looks like the Russian military will hire their choppers out for a nominal fee. The near future looks amazingly like the present. Still, they manage to get a few nice locations, presumably on the cheap too, so its not wobbling set time. 12

Dialogue and performances: Dacascos is deeply unconvincing as a bad guy, Hauer does his standard "snarling through a Sci-Fi B movie" thing. The supporting cast are nothing special, not terrible but not great. 11

Plot and execution: It's the old 'my partner double crossed me and left me for dead' one. Sure in this case he was actually dead, and brought back, but they don't really go anywhere with that, you could drop it and keep the whole story as is. 8

Randomness: Now maybe the fault is the cutting by the TV editors, but when a topless female boxer suddenly jumps on our hero and tries to garrotte him, for no readily explained reason, that's pretty damn random. Dacascos' Kung Fu is pretty random, sure its his thing, but nobody else in the movie does it, certainly not the people he is fighting which would be more interesting. It seems to be put in purely to go "look, this guy does Kung Fu"). 14

Waste of potential: Given the people involved, it was unlikely to ever be a good film. 6

Overall: 51

*

Double Team (1997)

"They don't play by the rules."

A BMM double team review by Mant and The Prophet

Directed by Tsui Hark
Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dennis Rodman and Mickey Rourke

BMM Keywords: So bad it's good, Gratuitous slow-motion, Incomprehensible.

The Prophet: Jack Quinn (Van Damme), a top anti-terrorism agent with the...well, maybe the CIA, but who knows, is brought out of early retirement - promising his pregnant wife, Catherine, he'll be back in thirty-six hours - to take down his nemesis, Stavros (Rourke). He buys some guns from weird-looking fixer Yaz (Rodman) and hooks up with a Delta Force team to try and take Stavros at a funfair in Antwerp (and where else).

Mant: It all goes wrong when one of the animals, the tiger, gives Stavros the nod and points the delta force guys out with a head gesture. Yes folks, the giant cat is a plant. People die, including Stavrosí young son, and Quinn is injured protecting a baby.
    He wakes up very confused, and so he should be as suddenly he is in the Prisoner. Actually its called the Colony, and ex-spys, agents, and bad guys, thought dead are instead forced to wear snazzy watches and drive around in golf carts. Oh yeah, and analyze terrorist activity one-handed (the other being on a hand scanner). The whole place is escape proofed with laser beams under water (although sadly not attached to sharkís heads).

The Prophet: Here he receives a coded 'terrorist atrocitagram' from Stavros, telling him he has Catherine.

Mant: Quinn does some exercises, and after some painful training (to watch if not to do) he does his daring escape, triggering Goldsymthe (Paul Freeman), his guardian at the Colony, who then has to leave and hunt him down and kill him. He sets of after Stavros, who has lured his pregnant wife to Rome with offers of an art exhibition. On the way he teams up with Yaz, the oddly dressed arms dealer.

The Prophet: And then they go chasing around Rome after Stavros, with Jack finally having to rescue his son by fighting the tiger mano-a-fango in the middle of a mine-strewn Coliseum. As you do.
    Oh; and his Goldsmythe is still after him, but that's not really important.

What's wrong with it?

Mant: Way too much Van Damme working out for a start. Canít we just have a training montage and get it over with? We all know he can do the splits. The whole waiting for him to escape bit is dull, and when the film slows down you start thinking about how mind-numbingly stupid the whole thing is. Its very stupid. Plus most mooks canít even do kung-fu, so Van Damme just knocks them around. Even in the final fight he is clearly just much better than Stavros, rather anti-climatically.

The Prophet: Double Team plays like a Hong Kong action movie, right down to the dialogue sounding like a badly-translated dub-track. The film cuts violently from one set piece to the next, narrative flow clearly taking second place to getting to the next action scene as quickly as possible. The acting is crappy and the story inconsistent. Freeman disappears for half the movie, and a Colony agent whom Jack thought he had killed bizarrely shows up during his escape attempt to try and thwart him, all kitted out for scuba and everything, for no reason whatsoever.
    Rodman's hair keeps changing colour, which is distracting, as are the occasional height cracks and constant basketball jokes. He also can't act, but is at least in company on that point. Van Damme is his usual wooden self, and Mickey Rourke looks pissed off just to be here.

What's right with it?

The Prophet: The film does rattle on at a cracking pace, I'll give it that. Also, Rourke's clear annoyance at the director gives him a suitable menacing sneer if nothing else.

Mant: Well the tiger is well trained.

How bad is it really?

The Prophet: Bad. Watchable, but very definitely bad.

Mant: Some of the fights are OK, and a few times the action manages to be engaging enough to keep you entertained. When that stops though the realization of just how astonishingly stupid the movie is comes crashing back in.

Best bit?

Mant: On entering a monestry Quinn finds out Yazís brothers are just that, monks with some funky super computer.

The Prophet: Yep. Nothin' says quality like an order of net-savvy Franciscan archivists who talk like gangsta rappers; but in Italian.

What's up with...?

Ratings (fractions rounded up):

Production values:
The Prophet: Pretty good really. The exploding Coliseum is pretty slick, although points off for blowing up the Coliseum. 5
Mant: Pretty good. The stunts are good, the action sequences pretty good and the effects, such as they are, pretty good. A couple of effects shots show they are effects, but that happens in even the best movies. 2
Average - 4

Dialogue and performances:
The Prophet: Phe-ew! What a stinker. As noted, the film sounds like a badly dubbed Hong Kong movie, yet the actors are speaking English. 19
Mant: Absolute 100% corn delivered with a totally straight face. In fact the faces are so straight they hardly ever move throughout the whole film. Van Damme is always wooden, Rourke turns in his standard bad guy routine, some villains snarl. 16
Average - 18

Plot and execution:
The Prophet: Pacey, but very badly fragmented. 15
Mant: Stupid, stupid, stupid. In makes no sense, stuff is unexplained. Sometimes I like to joke about the quantity of mnokeys, typewriters and drugs required to come up with a bad movie's plot. This one is so aggressively stupid that I can only ascribe it to a human being and possibly some kind of bet or challange. 17
Average - 16

Randomness:
The Prophet: Well, yes. Franciscans and tigers and basketball players; oh my. 17
Mant: Horse riding policemen mowing down people with automatic weapons for no reason, undercover big cats, the whole Colony. Oh yes, an abundance of randomness 18.
Average: 18

Waste of potential:
The Prophet: Van Damme, Rodman; together at last! Okay; not expecting much. 4
Mant: Its been a long while since the last good Van Damme action flick. Still, clearly a fair budget went on this one, some expensive effects and stunts. At least it could have been not so crushingly stupid. 14
Average - 9

Overall Average 65%

*

The Killing of Satan (1983)

Reviewed by Mant

"What Power Should a Man Possess to Challenge the Prince of Darkness?"

Director Efren C. PiŮon
Stars Ramon Revilla, Cecile Castillo, Elizabeth Oropesa, Charlie Davao

Bad Movie Mecca Keywords: So bad its good, unintentionally hilarious

    So, this evil guys rules this island. Next to it is an island of good people, protected by a good magician. He is shuffles of his mortal coil, and they go off to the city to get his nephew and replacement, Lando (Ramon Revilla), a big guy whose son has been killed. He takes his family to the island, and then goes out on a boat and gets attacked by the remains of the old magician, who bites his arm and gives him a magic elbow (I kid you not).
    While this is happening the evil guys attack the island and make up with the women folk. So, Lando and his new buddy from island go off to rescue them. The have to face the evil magician, shape changing women and finally Satan (Charlie Davao) himself in ridiculous make up and outfits. Its OK though, because he has a magic elbow, Kirk-fu fighting skills, then God and baby (well, young child) Jesus show up too. God give him his righteous stick of whoop ass, and when the silly bugger doesnít keep misplacing it, itís pretty good with the smiting.

What's wrong with it?

    It kinda reminds me of what we made in drama class in secondary school (thatís high school for you yanks). Now, consider we had the worldís crappist drama teacher who, in three years, never taught us any drama. Itís a cheap mess made with much enthusiasm and little talent. Actually, thinking about it I think our stuff was actually better.

What's right with it?

    Its enthusiasm and silliness makes it actually quite fun if you are in the right mood.

How bad is it really?

    On a technical level itís just phenomenally bad and amateurish. On any others level, well itís bad there too.

Best bit?

    Apparently inspiration failed here - The Prophet

What's up with...?

Ratings:

Production values: No. Seriously it looks like it was done on a budget of ďEe will work for food. Cheap foodĒ. The costumes are laughable, the makeup spectacularly overused and the (really not) special effects are drawn on the film. Iíd give it a 20, but a read the review of Ankle Biters, so I know worse does exist. 18

Dialogue and performances: Kinda hard to tell with a foreign film, still the evil guys were very campy, although Iím not sure it was intentional. The good guys were very wooden. Iíll be generous and give it the benefit of the doubt, and only a 14.

Plot and execution: It starts off with a basic plot, guy looking for fresh starts, offer of being the magic savior of an island, and then needs to rescue the womenfolk from evil. When the rescue starts it just get weirder and weirder. Where do the shape changing women come from? Whatís the deal with the little statue and the storm effecting the island of good people? 15

Randomness: Magic elbows? Godís smiting stick? The devil in lycra? Oh yes. 16

Waste of potential: ErÖ Iím not sure what the standard is for Filipino films about killing Satan. At the very least on the same budget they could have not looked so stupid. 12

Overall: 75%