Thursday, December 16, 2010

Road House 2: Last Call (2006)



Take it outside.

Back of DVD:

From drunken fist-fights to all-out brawls, the Black Pelican is known for its rough and rowdy atmosphere. But for one local drug-trafficer, it's prime real estate. Determined to make the road house his personal office by any means necessary, Wild Bill (Busey) starts a war with the Pelican's owner Nate (Patton). But when things turn sour, Nate enlists help from his nephew, undercover DEA agent Shane Tanner (Schaech). Seeing the opportunity to make the biggest bust of his career - and exact a lethal dose of revenge along the way - Shane takes over the Pelican for his battered uncle... but he's about to discover this local drug ring is bigger than ever imagined.


Movie Review:

In the comments of a Michael Dudikoff movie Black Thunder over at the DTV Connoisseur, Matt and venom discussed briefly Road House 2. Venom was a fan of it but Matt thinks it's a "sack-of-asscrack DTV cashgrab". Now somehow I've managed to never seen the original Patrick Swayze movie, like many "classics" of 80's action that I am catching up on. The other week I was trawling for a non-bootleg bargain in Chinatown when I tripped over this DTV sequel for only a few bucks. Thinking back to Matt's hilarious comment and vow to never review the movie, I knew I had to take a gamble and give it a go.

After the old owner of the Black Pelican bar, Nate Tanner (Will Patton), turfs out some wannabe drug dealers who insist he sells his bar to the local drug lord (Wild Bill), he receives a strange phone call saying his staff aren't loyal and for the full details he should go meet this mysterious stranger. It of course turns out to be Wild Bill who sends his grunts in to fight and get their arse handed to them, impressively, by Patton. Wild Bill gets the upper hand and his Go-Go style sidekick girl throws knives at him, then throws him into the lake.


Elsewhere at a strip bar a drug deal is going down between Shane Tanner (Johnathon Schaech) and a token spanish guy. Just as the deal goes through, a busty barmaid busts out her weapon (by that I mean sidearm) and puts the two under arrest for trafficking. She cuffs Shane, takes him into the back room and straddles him. All the boys in the audience cheer (I assume). Shane is freed and we realise he is an undercover DEA agent. He get's chewed out by his boss (of course) and then receives a phone call about his uncle Nate Tanner in hospital. Deciding to find out what happened Shane travels to Louisiana to get revenge and run the Black Pelican bar. The first thing he does is throw out the trash at the bar and take over running the joint.

I'd never heard of Johnathon Schaech before this. He is in slasher Laid to Rest that I've been meaning to check out for ages now, and also in it's upcoming sequel. He did an all right job as Shane Tanner and kicked a fair bit of arse when it was called for, and helps pretty blonde girls change their car tyres as well (Ellen Hollman playing Beau). Beau is quite hot and quickly gets into Shane's pants. When she hears that Wild Bill is planning on killing him at the bar at night she keeps him away from the Black Pelican with sex. It only keeps him away so long though and in the end they both go. This is a good thing as Beau (a school teacher who is, you guessed it, ex military) gets into a full cat-fight with Wild Bill's crazy sidekick girl! That's what the punters want to see! There's also a pretty funny fight in the hospital between the still-injured Nate Tanner and Wild Bill's thugs.


The action dissipates a bit by the middle before the end movie climax, and normally this would really annoy me. Surprisingly I felt the story was strong enough to keep me interested when the action quotient was low. Also the overacting of Jake Busey kept the whole thing cracking along as well. It all ends in a big old fashion shoot-em-up and more bar room brawls as Shane cleans up this town.

The bar room fights were all quite good, though with the excessive back-of-the-head viewpoints shown I have to assume there was a lot of stunt double action going on. There was a bit of zooming in sometimes but mostly you could see the fights pretty clearly. I was also happy not to see any MTV-style ADD editing. Actually the whole movie, whilst looking like a standard Sony DTV movie (think Connor's War or any Seagal/Snipes of late) still felt quite old school, which was refreshing.


Jake Busey really is hilarious as Wild Bill, and yes, he is Gary Busey's son (that reminds me, I really need to do some Gary Busey movies here) and just like Machete he gets the ladies - a great lesbian spa scene is included for those who are interested (all of you). His deal in this is that for some reason the location of the bar would be perfect for hosting drug deals. That's all really, and he just wants the bar. I had wondered where I had seen this guy before and it dawned on me; he was the crazy religious nutter in Contact that blows himself up. He was frightening in that movie but is just ridiculous in Roadhouse 2. He reminded me a bit of the white kid in your street who wants to be a "gangsta" like his idols and spends his whole time overacting and holding a pretend gun sideways. He's never really frightening as a drug lord. In fact it feels like he has daddy issues. I could be reading into something that isn't there, but either way, Wild Bill is no Kill Bill.

Here's the bait-and-switch however. Richard Norton doesn't turn up till the half way point and then only has a few lines on an expensive boat. He does eventually land in Louisiana when Shane has made life tough for Norton's cronies - and yes there is a reasonable fight between him and Schaech - but still he doesn't do much else. His accent is all over the place too. If I hadn't known beforehand and you had told me afterwards that he was Australian, I wouldn't believe you. It's like an ungodly mix of American-South African-New Zealand.

So there you have it; it's not brilliant but in the end I was entertained. There were fights that weren't half bad, a few boobs and even an explosion (just a car smashing into two others). I'm sure that if I had see the first movie and was comparing the two, it would not come off so well, but that just isn't the case. Sorry Matt, it's two to one in favour for this now.


The Video:

Sharp, clear and vibrant like most modern DTV affairs. Clear, punchy surround audio. Runtime 83 minutes.

Sourced From:

Some random shop in Chinatown for $5.


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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dragon Hunt aka Dragon Kickboxers (1990)



When the game turns deadly, the hunters become the hunted.

Back of VHS:

Mad man Jake and his People's Private Army set the captured twins loose on an island with three shifts of killers hot on their trail. Out-numbered and out-gunned, the twins are in trouble. But Mic and Martin, always the underdogs and always with a reputation to fight to their last breath, soon take the upper hand. The hunters become the hunted as the game takes a deadly turn.


Movie Review:


Oh wow. Wow wow wow. This is some inept film making right here. I haven't seen such bad overacting in a long while, but somehow this train-wreck of a movie is strangely alluring. I can't say I was laughing my arse off the whole time - I think some mates with beers would be required for that - but I did watch in complete amazement that this thing actually got made.

The plot is one any reader of this blog would be well aware of by now from countless similar movies. Brothers Michael and Martin McNamara (their real names, what a stretch for them) - collectively known in and out of this movie as The Dragon Twins - are out on a weekend date in the Canadian forest with two blondes, doing all the usual wholesome Canadian outdoor activities like shooting clay pigeons from the back of a runabout boat. When they return to their cabin a bloody arrowhead is embedded in the door, a message from the twins' sworn enemy Jake. Thinking nothing much of it the twins go inside to retire and each have a glass of wine provided by their date. Little do they know they were just drugged.


The best thing in this movie, by far, is the bad guy Jake played by some dude B. Bob. We are treated early on to a flashback of Jake's, perhaps to the first movie (yes, this is a sequel of sorts to "Twin Dragon Encounter") I am not sure, of him fighting the Dragon Twins in another forest. They get the upper hand and shoot an arrow into his hand. The injury must have been more severe than the atrocious special effects led on, as when the flashback is over Jake is shown with a steel glove for his left hand. When I say steel I obviously mean a bad styrofoam prop sprayed with silver paint.

The twins wake up in a cage being laughed at by Jake and all manner of mercenary types to which we are introduced. Firstly there is Jake's little gang, The People's Private Army, who consist of a handful of guys in camouflage with machine guns. Along with them are some ring-ins: "The Fat Man", "The Dumb Man", some Ninjas and an evil poodle called Apache. If you hadn't guessed yet, the name of the game is for these mercenary types to hunt down the Dragon Twins for prize money. No guns are allowed by anyone except the People's Private Army so the Dragon Twins have to contend with rednecks attacking them with chains, crossbows and the evil poodle. The movie plays out like the first Rambo mixed with the the later-released and infinitely superior Surviving the Game or JCVD flick Hard Target. Each group of mercenaries take on the twins, ultimately fail and are replaced by the next batch.


B. Bob is easily the best (worst) over-actor in the flick, truly hamming up the 'evil bad guy' role so much that he spends much of the movie touting lines such as "The twins think they are going on a Summer vacation... some vacation! MWA HA HA HA HA!" off screen, in voice overs declaring his overwhelming evilness. In fact, with that steel glove and that laugh you could mistake him for Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget. If only he had an evil cat.

The 80's style pop music in this movie was written by a guy called Billy Butt. No joke.

The fights are pretty hilarious, though I guess we do get to see the skills that brothers McNamara actually have to some degree. They are apparently relatively famous martial arts instructors in Canada and run/ran their own training schools, even franchising them out to former students, so they must be good at what they do. Acting isn't one of their skills though. In fact it's no-one's skills in Dragon Hunt. If any movie was proof that you can get your friends to act as thick mercenaries and ninjas by paying them with beer, this is it. And B. Bob never stops with his terrible lines and sings children's nursery rhymes to torment the twins.


The cinematography in Dragon Hunt is just bad. A lot of the fights are so zoomed in you can only see limbs flailing. One scene started with a fade in from black with the actors just standing their looking around until the Director obviously yelled "aaand... action!", the scene then commencing. I did laugh my arse off when Apache the 'savage bear-like dog' was unleashed on the twins with repeated scenes of the loveable dog just running through the forest having a whale of a time, and with savage barking sounds laid over the soundtrack.

I thought I had seen these guys before and I have. Checking IMDB they are listed as 'stunt men' on the fantastic Billy Blanks / Roddy Piper action movie Back in Action. They were the twin henchmen in matching blue singlets, matching zebra pants and matching moustaches that get their arses handed to them by Blanks in a fight in his own house.

I can't recommend this movie as 'good' but if you and your drunken buddies enjoy some serious overacting and awful, awful moustaches on bare-chested kick-boxers, give it a shot. It could have been better if the run time was shaved to 72 minutes to get rid of some of the fluff. I noted in the end credits the first line "This movie was in no way assisted by the Ontario Film Development Corporation". That was blatantly obvious.


The Video:

Decent quality tape and the film was represented well enough. That's not saying much. Runtime 90 minutes.

Screenshots borrowed from this French review; there's a few more smaller photos there.

Sourced From:

In a bulk score of tapes, about 50c if you divide them up evenly.


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