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Action U.S.A. (1989)
7/10
Hilariously bad, but packed with stunts
18 January 2020
One of the many cheap action movies to come out in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This film is in the territory for MST3K, but despite the hilarious acting, editing, and camerawork, we are treated to a nice series of car chases with over-the-top stunt work. The story-line follows two FBI agents (very Riggs and Murtaugh-esque) assigned to protect a murdered drug dealer's girlfriend from thugs and run into trouble in every direction. With cheesy performances by Ross Hagen, Hoke Howell, and William Smith (!), you can't go wrong with this.
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Birds of Prey (1973 TV Movie)
9/10
Entertaining helicopter chase movie
30 December 2019
This 1973 TV movie starring David Janssen and Ralph Meeker really pays off thanks to its amazing helicopter chases. Janssen is Harry Walker, a helicopter pilot who works for a Salt Lake City radio station who witnesses a bank robbery in progress. The robbers kidnap Theresa Jane (Elayne Heilveil), who happens to work at the bank as a teller. After the police chase their getaway car to a parking garage roof, they take off in another helicopter. Walker chases after them through the Utah mountains and eventually rescues the hostage when she manages to escape from their clutches, but when the remaining robbers eventually track them down, Walker must defeat them or die trying. Available on DVD, but its soundtrack has been changed due to copyright issues.
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7/10
Suprisingly, a good starring vehicle for Hasselhoff
23 December 2019
After Knight Rider and before Baywatch, David Hasselhoff starred in this B-movie actioner about a bumbling trio of bounty hunters (along with stuntmen Tony Brubaker and Thomas Rosales) assigned by a slimy bail bondsman (Charlie Brill) to locate the kidnapped daughter of a millionaire. Their journey takes them all around Los Angeles and eventually to Mexico. Some car chases and gunfights are present, but this is mostly a showcase for the comedy style of the three lead characters. Directed by Max Kleven (who worked as stunt coordinator for many 1970s action pictures).
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2/10
Well...you get what you pay for
21 December 2019
This film was made by Austrian-born Anthony Kramwhether, who was most famous for the the three bizarro movies he produced from 1979-83, Mondo Strip, Mondo Nude, and Mondo Macho. He decided to built a movie around this concept by adding stock footage from those three films. The end result is a mess and what's worse is this was Jim Carrey's acting debut (the movie was shot in 1980, but not released until '83). He only appears for a full three minutes and has no speaking lines, but you do see some backside nudity of him. The movie was co-written by Rick Green, who would later work on one of the best Canadian TV series of the 1990s, The Red Green Show. If you see a DVD copy, with Jim Carrey's face plastered on the front cover, don't be expecting much.
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Rubberface (1981 TV Movie)
6/10
Decent short film featuring a young Jim Carrey
21 December 2019
Many of the previous reviews for this film are given one star because of Jim Carrey's limited screen time in it. This short isn't bad for what it is, even if it does play out like an After School Special (the run time is the same as a regular episode) I do agree that it was foolish for Vidmark Entertainment to originally capitalize on Carrey's later success with Ace Ventura, The Mask, and even Dumb and Dumber by re-titling it Rubberface for its 1995 VHS debut (the original film's title was Introducing, Janet) and disguising it as a typical Jim Carrey comedy. They pretty much did the same for Babes Ahoy, a 1989 independent film that starred a then-unknown Adam Sandler and issued it under the title Going Overboard (no relation to the 1987 comedy with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell).
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6/10
Decent scare comedy, but has pacing issues
14 December 2019
The first of four two-reelers to feature former professional boxers Max Baer and "Slapsie" Maxie Rosenbloom. They open a detective agency, where client Emil Sitka hires them to investigate his greedy relatives, who all want his grandfather's money he left behind. Though a half-decent effort all in all, the short takes way too long with its character development and most of the action/scares don't happen until the last 5 minutes. It's great to see Sitka playing dual roles, but I just wish it would have lasted longer.
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9/10
Shemp's last great short, with a grim backstory
11 November 2019
This 1953 Stooges entry is the last of the great comedies they made and it was also the last film written by Clyde Bruckman. Bruckman started out as a gag writer for many of the screen's best comedians, W.C. Fields, Buster Keaton, etc. Unfortunately, in later years, Bruckman's alcoholism had worsened and had a tendency to "borrow" gags from several other movies, that sometimes resulted in lawsuits, particularly Harold Lloyd, who had successfully sued Bruckman in 1946 for borrowing a gag involving a magician's coat in the 1942 Stooges short Loco Boy Makes Good. As a result, his career was affected by it and it never bounced back, but did find work writing for The Abbott & Costello television series in the early 1950s, but again continued to borrow plot elements from other films that he was subsequently fired. In January 1955, a despondent Bruckman borrowed a pistol from his longtime friend Buster Keaton, claiming he needed it for a hunting trip, but instead he drove to a restaurant in Santa Monica, went inside a restroom stall and shot himself with the gun. A sad farewell to a once-legendary comedy writer.

All that aside, this is still an entertaining short, where the Stooges try to install a television set and instead destroy the entire house in the process. The first half where they clean up the house is the best, thanks to a pesky bar of soap and numerous buckets of water. This short actually reworks the plot from the 1949 Columbia entry Let Down Your Aerial starring Wally Vernon and Eddie Quillan.
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9/10
Hilarious short with an odd premise
11 November 2019
Shemp is mostly the showcase for this bizarre outing who is suffering severely from hallunications, so much so that he thinks his ugly nurse Nora (Babe London, a successor to Dee Green, who always played ugly characters in the Shemp shorts) is a beautiful angel. The supporting performances by Emil Sitka as a near-sighted German doctor and Vernon Dent as Nora's hot-headed father add a lot of belly laughs to a typical Jules White-directed short.
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8/10
Slicker than an oil slick
11 November 2019
Another great Shemp-era Stooges short that has them as undercover detectives working as gas station attendants to catch a gang of crooks robbing several of them in the city. A number of great gags are included, most of them courtesy of Emil Sitka as a dim-bulb customer and the famous popcorn sequence. Stanley Blystone is great as the gang leader and Gene Roth has a great cameo in the beginning as the owner of the gas station chain.
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10/10
A backstory for this unfinished film
8 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
In 1987, Toby Halicki had wanted to make a true sequel to his car chase classic Gone in 60 Seconds. Denice Shakarian, who was an executive for New World Pictures and was also dating Halicki at the time, helped him develop the script, along with Toby's brother Ronald and Ronald Moore (who would gain critical acclaim for penning the later Star Trek movies for Paramount). The basic premise is that Halicki's character Colt, a master car thief, must steal 60 exotic cars from around the world, as well as avenge his friend's death, also a car thief.

Filming began in Halicki's hometown of Dunkirk, NY in 1988, but it was very evident that problems immediately began. First, co-writer Ronald Moore's constant fighting with Halicki over the script caused him to be fired from the movie. Second, the city of Dunkirk reneged on their cooperation and made Halicki take out an insurance policy, which in Toby's case, was the ultimate stab in the back. When a news crew came to interview Halicki during filming. He, at the point of insanity, screamed at the camera and promised to sue the entire city after the movie was finished.

The big chase scene with the semi-truck is the major highlight. Halicki had bought 400 cars to wreck for this one sequence alone. However, something major went wrong. The telephone pole that was holding up the water tower at the abandoned warehouse snapped and everybody ran for cover. Sadly, Halicki never got of the way in time and the water tower collapsed on him, killing him instantly. Moore stated in a later interview that his death was considered to be karma for him, due to his unpleasant working relationship with Halicki.

In 2003, a 33-minute excerpt of the incomplete film was released as an extra on the DVD of Halicki's third movie, Deadline Auto Theft (see my review for that). In terms of entertainment, the footage is spectacular. In terms of editing, it's a total mess, as stock footage featuring shots of police cars from 60 and The Junkman are added to think every single cop in the United States is out to get Halicki's character. The extra also includes another chase scene that was shot several years later featuring a custom-built car appropriately called Slicer that can destroy any car in its path.
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All Gummed Up (1947)
7/10
Emil Sitka steals the show in a mediocre Stooges short
4 November 2019
Emil Sitka was always the glue to hold together a lot of middle-of-the-road Stooges comedies in the later years. The one thing that Sitka didn't like about Jules White was how he always wanted to play his characters in an exaggerated manner, but this was one of the very few times where White allowed Sitka to develop his old man character Amos Flint, the crotchety landlord of the drugstore the Stooges run. Though not given much screen time (save for the beginning and near end), he does add a lot of comedy to an otherwise plain Stooges outing.
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6/10
John Candy as you've never seen him before
4 November 2019
Another early film role for a then-unknown John Candy in this psychological drama/horror film about a kidnapping prank gone horribly wrong. If you're expecting Candy to be funny, look elsewhere. His character is a pathetic wuss who is caught in the middle of the situation, but his acting is pretty good in a non-comedic role. The film itself is decent, but goes in several directions, throughout.
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5/10
Half-decent, but far from a comedy classic
22 October 2019
This movie is most famous for Peter Sellers' original involvement with the production, but when he was suddenly hospitalized with a heart condition, the producers replaced him with Bob Dishy, a comic actor who made many one-shot appearances on various TV shows. Dishy does give it his best with a script provided by Mickey Rose, a frequent collaborator for Woody Allen films and wrote and directed the original slasher spoof Student Bodies. The supporting cast of Bill Dana (aka Jose Jimenez), Vito Scotti, Richard Libertini, and a pre-Mr. Miyagi Pat Morita make it watchable, though the movie is not exactly laugh-out-loud funny.
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5/10
Standard marital farce, Jules White-style
22 October 2019
Shemp Howard and Early Cantrell basically reprise their roles from their first solo Columbia Open Season for Saps, a remake of the 1937 Charley Chase comedy The Grand Hooter. The standard plot is another "mistaken identity" story involving Shemp getting mixed up with another woman, played by Christine McIntyre. Tom Kennedy also appears as Shemp's pal who gets most of the brunt of the slapstick gags, along with Symona Boniface as a nosy neighbor and Cy Schindell in an over-the-top performance as McIntyre's serviceman husband. Not much else to say, but not one of Shemp's best.
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Idle Roomers (1944)
8/10
The Three Stooges meet the Wolf Man
22 October 2019
Another wonderful scare comedy from the creative mind of Del Lord. The Stooges are bell-hops who spend most of the run time evading a wolf-man terrorizing the hotel. Plenty of visual gags and a funny script. Despite being made in 1944, the production values are pretty solid.
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6/10
A exaggerated Smokey and the Bandit cash-in, but not very boring
22 October 2019
Another Roger Corman car chase movie, but it actually works thanks to its picturesque setting of the Florida Everglades. David Carradine again plays the hero who tries to stop a moonshining operation led by his girlfriend's father (Roger C. Carmel, wonderful in The Mothers-in-Law TV series) who's using the front to market it under the Honey Dew soda pop brand, apparently it's a favorite soft drink in the regional south. Of course, a series of car chases between the heroes, the crooks, as well as the local police follow.

I've been in contact with William Hjortsberg (R.I.P), the writer of this film on Facebook a couple years ago and he admitted he was pretty proud of the finished film, as well as his first produced screenplay.
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7/10
A hokey, but highly entertaining actioner
9 October 2019
Yes, it's another typical shoot em'up '70s action opus, but it actually is pretty entertaining given the production values of this film. Essentially, it's about a diverse group of Vietnam veterans who go up against the mafia and a group of crooked cops. Plenty of violence, mediocre acting, and some amazing stunt work. The only minor quibble I have with the film is how the marketing people behind this had the nerve to compare the film's climatic car chase to The French Connection's. It doesn't even come close. Oh, well. It was the '70s, after all.
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7/10
A decent caper film with a wonderful action scene
9 October 2019
Nothing much can be said about this thriller starring Kirk Douglas as an aging safe cracker/ex-con who plans one more big heist in Hamburg before going into retirement. The film's big highlight is a crazy car chase between Guiliano Gemma and Romano Puppo through the city. Easily, the best non-American car chase I've ever seen. Coordinated by the famed Remy Julianne, both cars go through all sorts of hell and of course, there's always a wall of boxes to plow through, at one point.
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Mr. No Legs (1978)
6/10
An outrageous, but average action film
9 October 2019
This is indeed a bizarre action film shot entirely in Florida about Richard Jaeckel and Ron Slinker as cops who investigate a drug smuggling ring that may have ties to the police department itself. The anti-villain in the film is a wheelchair-bound assassin named No Legs who actually has shotguns built onto the arms of the chair and shoots anyone that gets in his way. It's pretty silly for the most part, but we do have cameos by John Agar as the shady police captain, Lloyd Bochner as the criminal mastermind behind the operation, and Rance Howard and Luke Halpin as Bochner's flunkies. There's also a lengthy car chase to close the film courtesy of Joie Chitwood and the Danger Angels.
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Samurai Cop (1991)
9/10
Thrilling? No. Hilarious? Yes!
9 October 2019
Amir Shervan is no Orson Welles, which explains the horridly-made action movies he churned out in the late '80s and early '90s. The films were supposed to be straight hard-core action, but instead they become unintentional laugh-fests. Samurai Cop is indeed a walking cinematic disaster on-screen, but the incompetent direction, clunky editing, laughable acting, ineptly-staged fight scenes, and an inane story make this a comedy masterpiece. You can point out a lot of mistakes in the movie, especially Matt Hannon's so-called "long flowing hair".
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Matri-Phony (1942)
5/10
Has its moments, but very disjointed
9 October 2019
This had the great ingredients to be a funny Stooges short, but the end result is pretty disappointing. First off, a lot of great gags were removed during post-production, with a lot of awkward cutting away at certain scenes. Second, the director Harry Edwards, who had written a lot of Columbia shorts before, just didn't know how to work with the Stooges. Reportedly, Edwards' alcoholism and erratic behavior dampened the entire production of this short: him berating and insulting the cast by saying they can't act, nixing a lot of great material in the script (courtesy of Monte Collins, who has a small role in the film as the emperor's aide, and Elwood Ullman), etc. The shooting schedule went over two weeks due to these problems and Del Lord was brought in to direct additional footage.

But there are still a few funny scenes with Curly interacting with a snake charmer and a seemingly endless scene with the Stooges roughed up by the hard-nosed palace guards, and the emperor flirting with Curly disguised as a redhead. It's no wonder the Stooges refused to work with Edwards again. He did direct them a year later in Three Little Twirps, which is a major improvement, but still falls short.
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You're Next! (1940)
7/10
Not too bad of a "scare" comedy
24 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
From 1934-1940, character actor Walter Catlett made a series of two-reel comedies for Columbia Pictures. Catlett is best known for the voice of Honest John Fox in Walt Disney's Pinocchio, but his Columbia output was mostly weak, but one 1940 effort You're Next!, co-starring Monte Collins does flow along nicely thanks to Del Lord's creative direction.

Catlett and Collins are two bumbling private eyes who are hired to come to the aid of a nervous millionaire who is menaced by a mad scientist. Of course, the millionaire is kidnapped by him and the two men, along with the millionaire's loyal servant, played by the always reliable Dudley Dickerson, must rescue him at the scientist's house, where they run afoul of trap doors, spooky objects, and a bloodthirsty gorilla.

One wonders if this would have worked as a Three Stooges short, but Catlett and Collins handle the material nicely.
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Las Vegas Bloodbath (1989 Video)
3/10
As bad as shot-on-video movies get
20 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
David Schwartz must have had a reputation as the world's worst director. The same year Las Vegas Bloodbath was shot, he directed another shot-on-video film was called American Revenge, which featured a pre-Samurai Cop Matt Hannon as a coked-up drug dealer named Angelo. Even that film was terrible.

Las Vegas Bloodbath is a 80-minute opus that goes so slow with its plot. Basically, your run-of-the-mill psychological character study about an average joe who is cheated on by his unfaithful wife and kill kills her and her lover in their bedroom, but the film is padded with too much time of the so-called scenic videotape footage of Las Vegas (we don't get to see much in the way of the famous city strip). There are some random moments that make no sense, when the husband goes into a bar with a dead hooker's severed head and shoots the bewildered bartender's forehead and a tedious 30 minutes of a group of women gathered for a baby shower (which sets up the film's climax) where they eat pizza, bad-mouth each other behind their backs, play party games, and watch themselves on a TV showcasing them as a hot oil wrestling tag-team.

It's clear that none of the people in this movie can act and there's one scene where one of the girls glances awkwardly at the camera during the baby shower sequence. Bad movie lovers may like it, though.
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Mr. Nanny (1993)
7/10
Cheesy, but not a bad movie
3 September 2019
I grew up watching this film countless times on Showtime in the early '90s. Hulk Hogan is no master thespian, but it's funny to see him take a lot of pratfalls involving a series of booby traps (he gets smashed on the head with a bowling ball in one scene). Sherman Hemsley also offers a lot of support as Hulk's loyal, but temperamental pal, Burt and David Johansen as an over-the-top villain. Kind of a bizarre take on Mr. Mom and the Home Alone movies.
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9/10
Hilarious Chris Farley vehicle
14 August 2019
I admit that I wasn't too fond of this movie when it originally came out, but I have to agree it gets funnier every time I watch it. Chris Farley plays a simpleton of a man who is raised to be a ninja and eventually goes to America to investigate a smuggling operation involving members of the underworld. Of course, Farley leaves a infinite amount of destruction in his wake and plenty of slapstick situations. It's no masterpiece, but it's a great way to kill 90 minutes.
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