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An 84 Minute Ad For Disney Parks
It's getting very difficult to tell the difference between marketing and actual entertainment these days. Star Wars Galaxy's Edge: Adventure Awaits is most certainly an advertisement for the new Star Wars themed areas in both of the Disney parks in America, with another opening in Paris in a year or two. However, they've gone a long way to make it entertaining so you will want to give big money to Disney.
You've got guest stars aplenty to show you around. I'm getting old and didn't recognize some of the younger ones, but I knew Billy Dee Williams, Jay Leno, Kaley Cuoco, and Neil Patrick Harris.
The bottom line I came away with was that the park's Star Wars characters would be much more interactive with visitors, such as Storm Troopers questioning visiting children to find out if they are with "the Rebel Alliance." Traditional "fur" characters at Disney parks (Mickey, Donald Duck, Goofy, etc.) are not allowed to speak. That rule has changed in the new Star Wars themed areas.
Sure they've got new rides, and there are stores. Oh yes, there are plenty of stores. When your precious little human larva cries for a Wookie doll, you'll be able to buy one. The smallest will run you about 40 bucks, (I'm just guessing. I didn't look). Want to quench your thirst with some blue Bantha milk? They've got you covered, provided your credit card survived buying the park tickets, (about $8 a glass). Oh, and do you want to create your own light saber to take home? You can do it. Just bring the deed to your house to cover the cost, (prices for a base unit start at about $215, out the door, and only go up from there with various upgrades).
One other item of interest here, which is not actually mentioned in this video- Until Galaxy's Edge opened, the only place you could buy alcohol in Disneyland Park was at Club 33, which you have to be very rich and very lucky to get into. Now, at Galaxy's Edge, there is Oga's Cantina, which serves alcoholic drinks ranged from $13 for a glass of wine, to $45 for a Yub Nub in a souvenir mug. If you ever wanted to see your uncle drunk at Disneyland, here's your chance.
I gave this documentary/infomercial/teaser a score of 7 out of 10 , because I like both Disney & Star Wars. But this was basically an 84 minute ad for Disney's new Star Wars attractions. If you are looking forward to those attractions, you'll probably enjoy this. If you're not a Star Wars fan, you'll want to pass on this one. Available on Youtube.
Tornado Range (1948)
Not Singin' Sandy, But Still...
This is one of the very last pictures out of Poverty Row's PRC studios, and they do nothing to improve their reputation here. If you were to watch this, you'd swear it was an early 1930's B western. Horrible, black & white film stock. Out of fashion, singing cowboy premise (thankfully, only two songs). And was anyone else but PRC putting out movies with less than a one hour running time in 1948? Oh, and Eddie Dean's horse, Copper, got second billing, which must have made co-star Jennifer Holt feel ever so happy.
This plays for all the world like one of any number of serial western shorts that played in the 30's and 40's. Handsome hero (Eddie Dean, being incredibly so-so), bumbling/grizzled/goofy sidekick (Roscoe Ates) for comic relief, and a beautiful woman to be won over by film's end. Add obligatory horse chases, shootouts, and fist fights and there you have it; a western fit for just about nobody.
Nothing here you haven't seen in many other westerns, and done much better. This was one of the last pictures of Eddie Dean. Even he was beginning to realize his time was up, although he went on to live in retirement for another 40 years. Not a horrible film, like Riders of Destiny, with John Wayne's "Singin' Sandy", but nothing here to really look forward to unless you have a serious interest in one of the stars. Copper, perhaps?
6-Headed Shark Attack (2018)
How Much Further Can They Go?
Ok, when it comes to SyFy channel entertainment, we all lower our expectations and raise our tolerance of complete nonsense. Let me put this simply; if you managed to sit though 2-Headed Shark Attack, 3-Headed Shark Attack, etc., you'll be able to get through this one as well. If you have to watch this, my suggestion is to start with a stiff drink and some Gorilla Glue #4. At least you'll be laughing at it.
The gimmick, and the spoiler on this one, is that the shark has two heads up front and two on each side which it uses as legs. Yes, it walks on land using four of its faces to chase its victims.
My favorite scene had the shark chasing two of our "stars" up onto the beach. A "hero" up on a lighthouse gallery catwalk shoots and kills one of the front shark heads. The other front head bites off the dead shark head and tosses it about 50 yards and smashes the shooter up on the catwalk. 'Nuff said.
Can it get any more ridiculous than this? Not really, but don't for one moment think they won't try.
Having read all the Potter books, thanks to my elementary school-teaching sister, and seeing all the movies, I was looking forward to this. By the title, I thought it was going to be all about Hogwarts, Harry, and all his friends. That's not quite what it turned out to be.
A documentary in style, and narrated by Imelda Staunton , who played Dolores Umbridge in the Potter movies, it features the musings of J.K Rowling and snippets of the books read by secondary movie cast members, including Evanna Lynch/Luna Lovegood, and Mark Williams/Mr. Weasley. A few bits of interviews with Potter fans is also included.
Rowling spent time at the British Library, looking at rare books on magic, alchemy, and medicinal herbs, and gives her thoughts on the subjects. The library was going to host an exhibit on magic and Potter. I was about half way through the one hour viewing time when I realized that the direction of the documentary was a little wobbly. It's as if they couldn't decide whether they wanted to do a documentary on the history of magic in general, or Rowling and Potter in particular. What it ends up doing is a disservice to both, I think. I'd have preferred they chose one path and stayed on it.
Potter fans will like it, I'm sure (I'm glad I saw it), but I think Rowling fans, and general magic aficionados, will both be a bit disappointed that more time wasn't given to their particular obsession, which breaks down to about 70% Potter and 30% magic in general. They try to weave the two together, but it didn't quite work for me.
Your mileage may vary, but I think it's worth a look. Just don't over-expect.
Red River (1988)
Hard For Me To Watch
To be fair, as a TV movie, this is barely passable entertainment. Beyond that, everything is a stretch. There is no discounting that this is a (kinda) remake of the 1948 classic, starring John Wayne. Unfortunately, while the original was over 2 hours long, this had to be cut down to fit in a two hour TV movie time slot, and to get commercials in. As such, over 30 minutes of the movie was just cut out. Further, unrelated subplots involving an ex-slave and a teen-aged boy take about 10 more minutes away from the story. Imagine if one of your favorite movies, say Casablanca or The Matrix, was remade missing 45 minutes of the story. Gives me shivers.
The original was directed by Howard Hawks, who also gave us Sergeant York, The Big Sleep, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, among others. This film is directed by Richard Michaels, whose biggest claim to fame seems to be directing a batch of Bewitched and Brady Bunch episodes. Further, as a TV movie, this was very tightly budgeted, and it shows in horrible ways. For instance, the herd of cattle they are driving is supposed to be 10,000 strong, but they apparently could only afford a couple dozen cows. How did they deal with this? By inserting stock footage from other westerns, including some grainy shots, apparently from the 1950's, that stand out like a fat lip.
Add to this that it stars James Arness, who at this point was only making Gunsmoke TV movies. John Wayne was 41 when he made his version. James Arness was 65, which is WAY too old for the character.
I could go on, but you get the point. If you haven't seen the original, you might be able to enjoy this. If you have seen the original, then no, you won't like it any better than I did.
Demanding Job And Documentary
Documentary of the barge men of the Mississippi river. A seemingly bleak and somber job leads to this rather bleak and somber documentary. It's interesting enough, but despite the fact that it can pay up to 6 figures, they do not make this look like a job one would want.
28 days on-board and 14 days off. Shifts of 6 hours on, 6 hours off virtually guarantee that no one gets a full night's sleep for almost a month at a time. Repetitive, mindless labor punctuated by periods of boredom, and the possibility that you may be aboard, and in close quarters with, people you don't particularly like.
It doesn't require a college degree, but I'd say it would take a man with patience aplenty to do this work. While watching this, I kept thinking it was like watching a documentary about a chain gang. It may be very interesting, but it's not going to be fun.
Believe It or Not #2 (1930)
How Times Change
This episode is interesting at the moment because of our current President making such a fuss over sports figures not standing during the national anthem. Believe It or Not #2 came out in 1930, a year before The Star-Spangled Banner officially became our anthem.
This is pointed out by Ripley, in a faux courtroom setting. He notes that it is just one quarter of a Francis Scott Key poem, paired with the music of a British drinking song. Not really much of a reason to stand up, unless you are going for another drink.
These early Ripley shorts are OK little trivia diversions, but Ripley himself is completely devoid of charisma and should have avoided getting in front of the camera.
Not For Me
This is a cartoon, excuse me, animated movie, from Brazil. It is called Worms, or Earthworms: The Movie, depending on where you saw it. It uses a combination of stop motion and computer 3D animation. It has an animated "look" that does not appeal to me. I think the first time I saw this look was in Chicken Run (2000). I'm not sure if this look is achieved through design or financial necessity, but I'm not digging it.
It's good vs evil, worms vs pill bugs, and the whole affair has very little to entertain an adult mind. I'm a long way off from being five or six years old, so I don't know how it plays out for them. Although, with the prominence of snot and drool, the producers are working hard to entertain that particular audience.
Originally in Portuguese, I saw the English dubbed version. No voices I could recognize here. You won't find Tom Hanks or James Earl Jones in this for sure. We are used to just about anything being anthropomorphized for the screen, and they are reaching as low as you can go regarding which creatures you wish to see acting human. I mean, it's worms doing the kissing here. C'mon.
I'm not sure how much kids will like this, but their parents watching with them will just be waiting for this thing to be over.
The Mr. Ed of His Day
A film short about a horse that can understand a few commands, and through the use of tight editing seems smarter than it truly is. Though the horse is named Bess, it's actually a gelding named Harry, or OT, depending on which story you want to believe.
Bess/Harry/OT had a short career in Hollywood and "starred" in the wartime feel-good film Gallant Bess. In this short he proves he can lie down, steal a hat, and stand on a box. If he has a human mind, it's a very simple one.
The short has cameos by one of the Lassie's and Leo the Lion. "Bess" gets put through his paces by trainer Joe Atkinson (it's spelled Adkinson here, but Atkinson everywhere else) and this is a harmless few minutes if you've got nothing better to do.
Social Acceptability (1957)
Bring On The Pig's Blood
This is a mid 1950's primer on the need to be accepted by "the group." I don't know. The group seemed like a bunch of nimrods to me, but our star, Marion, seemed to pin all her hopes on being invited to their party.
Alas, her invitation did not come, and I was waiting for a fun, pig's blood conclusion a la Carrie. No such luck. This thing just kind of ends, with Marion heading toward an empty life bereft of friends, and her mother too emotionally paralyzed to do anything to help.
So join me, won't you, to watch a depressing 20 minute educational short that has not been teaching anyone anything for 60 years now. I shouldn't say that.... It does suggest you be rich or fun to easily make friends. So, fall into a pile of money and you're all set.
Age of Turmoil (1953)
Ben Cartwright Fixes Everything
This was an unusual educational short about adolescence. I don't have a clue who it was shown to. It doesn't seem like the kind of short that was shown before new release movies. And it seemed more aimed at parents than the kids it wants to explain, so I can't imagine it was shown in schools either.
Narrated by Lorne Greene, who would go on to play patriarch Ben Cartwright in Bonanza a few years later, this short seems to be trying to explain why kids in their early teens act as they do. I thought it odd that parents would need this explanation, as I'm pretty sure teens have acted just the same way, adjusted for societal differences, for many thousands of years. Things were the same for me in the 1970's, when I thought my parents were idiots and didn't understand anything. And teens today think the same about their parents.
Young girls talk trash about other girls and their own family members, worry about fashion, and whether boys like them. Young boys fight, and talk about girls, sports and cars. No new ground being broken here that I could see. But it was rather reassuring to hear old Ben's distinct baritone tell us that everything was going to be OK.
This wasn't a bad short. It actually seemed better than many of the era. And nothing said here was particularly untrue, but I don't understand why it was needed, or who it was intended for. Young teens are moody and selfish slobs. Let me write that down for future students of "Well Duh! 101". B&W, under 20 minutes and available on Youtube.
It's Your War Too (1944)
Women For The War
Nice little War Department short from 1944 trying to encourage women to join the military, and get men to appreciate women's contribution to the war effort. Women could quite readily do many noncombat jobs held by men, thus freeing them to grab a gun and shoot at their enemy of choice.
All sorts of jobs, from mechanics, equipment testing, giving eye tests, and air traffic controllers, among others, were being given to women to free up combat soldiers.
This was mainly meant for women, as it spent time combating rumors that women could not do their hair the way they wanted, wear makeup, or wear nylons in the military. Since women have never been subject to the draft in the U.S., some PR was obviously necessary, and patriotism to the country was a big club used here. General Marshall made a short sales pitch here as well.
At just nine and a half minutes, this short goes by without boring you too badly. This was made by The Signal Corps, and they were pretty good at the technical aspects of filming, but creativity wasn't always their best thing. I would say this was one of their better efforts.
A Welcome to Britain (1943)
During World War II, the influx of American troops to Great Britain in 1942 caused a great deal of tension on both sides. Much of it had to do with women, of course. Your basic Tommy was making $15 a month, and the lowest ranked American buck private was making $50. Our brash American GI's would just walk up to British gals and say, "Hi, good-looking, can I take you out to dinner and a dance?" They were free to give out nylon stockings and other gifts, and the British guys couldn't match it. Naturally, British women (or any women) liked having money spent on them, so were happy to go out with the Americans. This led to a common lament among Tommy's that the Yanks were "overpaid, oversexed, and over here." It was like a country full of David Niven's and Hugh Grant's was invaded by hundreds of thousands of John Wayne's and Robert Mitchum's.
This sort of tension led to this film short, introducing American soldiers, headed to or in Britain, on how to behave a little more conservatively than they were used to doing at home. Some basic info about warm beer, the war rationing the Brits were enduring, the never-ending pots of tea, not throwing their money around, and basic guest manners are given.
Burgess Meredith, who is now probably best known as Mickey, from the Rocky movies, The Penguin from the old Batman TV series, and some classic Twilight Zone appearances, is our guide and narrator. He moves through various situations our soldiers are likely to run into in Britain, and frequently breaks the fourth wall to speak directly to the camera, and American troops, to give some guidance.
I think some things got too little attention, like the money thing. A threepence is how much of a half crown? A quid is a pound like a buck is a dollar, but a bob is what again? Frankly, I still have no clue how they did it, and I have access to Google.
I think this short is a fantastic piece of history in itself, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly recommended for any war or history buffs. Available on Youtube.
Let's Make a Sandwich (1950)
Mom, What Happened To Your Hair?
Not a lot to say about a 4 minute short on how to make an overly complicated sandwich. I can say, if this is how it was done in 1950, we've sure come a long way towards convenience. The process for Mom and daughter to make sandwiches here involved a stove-top double boiler, an oven broiler, tuna, butter, cheese, milk, bread, parsley and Tabasco sauce. The entire procedure must take 25 or 30 minutes, not including cleanup.
As a bachelor in 2017, I've got this sandwich thing nailed down. Bread, swipe of mayo, meat, cheese, bread. I can make and eat a sandwich, throw the paper plate away and drop the knife in the washer, all in about 5 minutes. Done and done. Admittedly, I'm just looking to fill an empty belly as quickly as possible, and the women seem to think it requires some sort of elaborate production. My way is more efficient.
Lastly, what was up with Mom's hair? I was born in the 50's and have seen plenty of family photos from the 40's and 50's, but I've never seen anything like that. I don't know if she actually did it that way on purpose or got her head caught in a laundry mangle.
Overall a fairly harmless and amusing short that isn't even long enough to give you a chance to get bored. The video is available on Youtube.
Gunsmoke: To the Last Man (1992)
Great For Old Fans of the Show
The TV show Gunsmoke ran from the mid 1950's to 1970's. If you were a big fan of that show and loved the character of Marshal Dillon, as played by James Arness, then you are going to love this TV movie from the 90's.
If you have no familiarity with the show Gunsmoke, and just come into this looking for a western TV movie, chances are, you won't be very impressed. Arness was almost 70 by the time this came out, and he was too old to be beating groups of guys in their 20's with fists and guns, but that was not the point of this film. The point was to give some old fans of an old TV show a taste of the past, and it does that job well.
If you want to see a western movie from 1992 with sensibilities of 1992, watch Unforgiven. If you want to see a western movie from 1992 that has the sensibilities of 1962, Gunsmoke: To the Last Man may be your cup of tea.
Teenage Challenge (1958)
Religious 1950's Short Subject
I've seen a lot of film shorts from the 1930's through 60's. Most have not been overtly religious in nature, but this one is. It seems aimed at Christian teenagers and I'm not sure where it was originally shown. I don't think it could be shown in public schools because of the religious tone, and it doesn't seem like the kind of thing to have been shown in general movie theaters before a large release movie either. My guess is parochial schools and/or Christian youth camps.
It involves some Christian high school kids and the dilemma they face in how they act about their faith among their peers at school. It is very well done, compared to some of the other shorts I've seen, like Social Courtesy or What To Do On A Date. This one has aged pretty well, as the issues being brought up are probably being faced by Christian kids today too. The acting was also above par for this sort of short.
I'm agnostic and won't comment on the subject matter, but it's a well assembled 28 minutes whether you believe in the premise being presented or not. The copy I saw on Youtube was a little beat up and had some sound drop-outs, but overall was very watchable.
Social Courtesy (1951)
These Are Tough To Enjoy
These Coronet "educational" films of the 1940's and 50's are pretty hard to sit though now, and frankly, I don't think high school kids back then enjoyed them either. This one is on social courtesy, but like most of them, it's adults trying to tell kids how to act, and we all know how much kids appreciate that.
The kid's "hobo party" is kinda telling too. Rich kids spend much less time these days making fun of the homeless. They still feel the same way about them, they just don't throw "poor parties".
Overall, the lesson they are trying to convey here is a simple one: If you are a jerk, no one will like you. It's a concept that doesn't really require a film, but these babies were Coronet's bread and butter. Most of the stuff they put out was pretty basic, with titles like Keeping Clean and Neat, Personal Hygiene for Boys (Yes, Wally, clean behind your ears), and What to Do on a Date.
If high school kids were to watch this today, they'd learn the same thing kids in the 1950's learned- Absolutely nothing. And where they found the kids in these films is a mystery too. It certainly wasn't acting school.
Are You Popular? (1947)
Loose Women of 1947
Girls who park in cars with boys are not popular, according to this little piece of post-war propaganda. Ginny parks in cars with boys. Do the other kids really like Ginny? Well, maybe not the girls, but dollars to donuts the boys like her just fine and she never has trouble getting a date.
But, according to this film, Ginny is not welcome at the high school lunch table with the other kids. Who is welcome? How about that new girl, Caroline, who is so tight-assed that she squeaks when she walks? Perfect. Everyone loves a prude. Caroline and her mother have figured out a way to reward a boy for entertaining her on a date: "a bite to eat" at her house afterwards. My guess is, Ginny has a MUCH better way to reward a boy.
This is a high school hygiene film intended to instruct kids how to act "properly". Even in the 40's, I imagine no end of chuckles were had as the kids were forced to watch this. Still, it makes for pretty amusing viewing today, although modern kids will find no instructions on the best place for their first piercing, or what their tramp stamp slogan should be. Available on Youtube.
Hong hai er (1975)
Shaw Brothers Strangeness
I do not pretend to be any kind of Chinese scholar, but I've seen dozens and dozens of Kung Fu movies and this is certainly one of the strangest. Although it was a bit hard for me to follow, it seems the "baby" of the title, Red Boy, (who is more like 12 or 13) is the antagonist here, who kidnaps a ruler. The Monkey King and "Pigsie" (that was actually the name given in the subtitles) a comic relief character with pig's nose and ears, try to get the ruler back.
Besides the basic Kung Fu action, this whole affair seems heavily influenced by traditional Chinese opera. Some of the interactions seem overly slow and over-choreographed, and now and again had a kind of Busby Berkeley vibe to them. People kept popping between Heaven and earth to fight, and I never did figure out why.
Weapons and people appear and disappear. Trees and statues come to life and then turn into people and fight. There's a Kung Fu centaur and flame-throwing chariots. Throw in some sci-fi theremin mixed with Chinese gongs and you get the idea. I'm not sure how accurate the subtitles were here (I caught this on El Rey), but I found it all pretty hard to follow. This movie was in Mandarin and I can never understand any inflection or tone that helps me understand things in Mandarin or Cantonese like I can in other languages. But it's basically all action, and at just over an hour I certainly can't say it was boring, just a bit confusing.
Kung fu (2004)
Even If You Don't Like Kung Fu Movies...
This film IS all over the place, but even if you are just a film buff with no interest in Kung Fu films, this is worth a watch. With tons of references and homages to other movies, from Fred and Ginger to Bruce Lee, and from The Shining to The Matrix, it's kind of fun just to look for them.
It has both comedy and serious elements, but you have to look fast for them, because this movie is fairly relentless with the action. This has a huge budget for a Chinese Kung Fu film too, and you can see right where it goes because there is CGI mayhem aplenty. And that leads to the only group of filmgoers who will not enjoy Kung Fu Hustle at all; those who do not like action films.
This is not a real talky film, and seems to let the action do most of the talking for it. You might not like it, but it never gives you much of a chance to get bored.
Robot Holocaust (1987)
I Find This Incredible
Other reviewers seem to have this movie covered well, so I won't bother. But I'd just like to point out, the writer/director of this movie, Tim Kincaid, has directed 75 movies. You read that right, 75. Now you may wonder how in the world does he make money doing these things? I wonder too.
My guess is, if you make a movie cheaply enough and get it into bargain bins across the world, you can sell a few thousand videos and stay in business. You'd have to keep bringing in non-actors, working for free, hoping for their "big break" into show business. I don't for a moment imagine that it's a very good living, and you can't possibly get a huge sense of accomplishment from doing so, but hey, money is money.
All you have to do is look at some of the names of his cinematic masterpieces to see which direction his movies lean. His movies include, and these are the real names,
Joe Gage Sex Files Vol. 1: Jack-off Party at Billy Bob's, Tough Guys: Getting Off, and Men's Room III: Ozark Mtn. Exit 8.
Yup, that's some quality work there.
Mosquito der Schänder (1977)
A Creepy Swiss Film? Yes It Is.
I was on an IMDb quest for Bloodlust, a film from 1961, (horrible movie, btw, don't bother), and came upon this listing in my search. Reading about THIS Bloodlust movie made me curious, so I tracked it down on YouTube.
This is a Swiss horror film from 1977 with the original title Mosquito der Schänder (Mosquito The Rapist). I can understand the name change because our lead never actually has sex in this film, although others do. The version I saw was in the original German, without subtitles. I don't speak German, but as it turned out, I didn't need to. This could be a silent movie and you'd understand it just fine. In fact, the lead in this film portrays a deaf mute, and there is little dialog in the film anyway, as it mostly centers on him, and his violent interaction with dead women. And the great thing about dead people is they have nothing to say.
This is a truly creepy film in many ways, but suffers a bit from a low budget. Had this been an American film, I'm pretty sure it would have received an X rating in 1977, and would still receive an R if released today. The lesbian scenes and violence didn't bother me, but the drunken-Daddy/daughter part had me squirming in my seat. I'm not sure you'd want your kids watching the scenes where he's sucking the blood of dead women with a dual-pronged pipette either.
Definitely worth a watch for adult horror fans. Frankly, I didn't know the Swiss had this kind of movie in them.
Dead 7 (2016)
90's Hearthrobs Make a Movie
If you think that a bunch of 1990's boy-band singers getting together to make a zombie/western movie in 2016 was a bad idea, you'd be right. It looks and sounds exactly like what you'd imagine; just awful.
Looking at the disparity in the votes between male and female on this one makes me think a large number of women, who were about 14 in 1995, checked in to scope out their old crushes, and they still have a thing for them (it would explain all the "10" votes for this). Nothing wrong with old infatuations, but I think their fond memories of these guys had them overlooking some very big flaws in Dead 7.
A good screenplay is the basis for any good film, and good actors are needed to get those words effectively on screen. This movie has neither of those things. In fact, this is just tough to watch all the way through. There is nothing here to draw your interest. No sympathetic characters, no witty banter, not even any fancy CGI. I'm not a big fan of desaturated color in films either, and Dead 7 really overdoes it. If you want to take that much color out of a film, just make a black and white movie.
The point is, unless you were a huge fan of the Backstreet Boys, 'NSync, O-Town or 98 Degrees, you're just wasting your time watching this.
Cowboys vs Dinosaurs (2015)
There are two writers for the script of this movie. Each has produced volumes. If you combined their entire life's work, wadded it into a ball, and held it up, God would come down from Mount Jeebus to destroy it. They apparently took the script from Cowboys & Aliens (itself pretty uninspired), changed a few words, and presto. Take away the 160 million dollar budget and good actors and there you have it; Cowboys vs Dinosaurs.
There is nothing here. It's like everyone involved said "mail me my check, I'm phoning this one in." Even for SyFy, this really sucked. No amount of effort appears to have been applied at all. If they weren't making money doing this, I'm sure it would stop, but it never does. Don't ask me how they do it.
In the realm of SyFy movies, this one falls between Mega-(insert name here) and Shark-(include anything you want here). It's a total waste of time. And this from a guy who gave Robocroc a 6. The acting, the CGI, the production values, all have been thrown out the window. I don't know what happened here, but obviously something did.
If you are stuck for something to watch, and only this is on, clean the garage instead. You know it needs it anyway, and your time will have been better spent.
Tian long ba bu (1977)
Hand Me That Piano
Prior viewer's descriptions of the action offered here have been duly attempted and I won't dispute anything I've read. I will just say, you REALLY have to be in the mood for this.
I've been watching Kung Fu movies on TV since the 1970's, and I've seen some pretty wild stuff. But this one dumps a whole kitchen sink of action and effects on you. A lot of it makes no sense and a lot of it looks terrible, but hey, like I said, you have to be in the mood. And as to those cheapy laser beams, just look at American, high-end effects in 1977. Star Wars came out the same year, and the laser effects there were not hugely better than this stuff. Production values as a whole were worlds apart, but the laser beams themselves? Not a big difference.
Thank the Red Dragon, or the deity of your choice, for the El Rey Network. It has "Flying, Five Finger, One Armed, Eight Pole, Shaolin, Exploding Death Touch Thursdays". Wonders like this one are now brought to my TV each week. Not every movie can be a classic like Enter the Dragon, but El Rey shows them all with no prejudice. Actually, thank Robert Rodriguez, for putting his reputation and cash on the line to start that channel. I don't know another network that would show us these treasures.
In a contest for the strangest Kung Fu movie, I'm not sure which one would win, but this movie, and Hong hai er (The Fantastic Magic Baby) are definitely two of the top contenders.