Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Movie Review: Hercules (1983)

Hercules (Ercole)
Cannon Italia Srl, Golan-Globus Productions, Italy, USA, 1983.
The film begins with the creation of the world when Pandora's Jar appears in space. Jar jar breaks and forms the planets. The breaking of the jar releases also evil forces which is bad. In the battle of good and evil the humans must show what they're made of. The Gods living in Moon prepare to watch how the battle will end (only popcorn is missing). Hera (Rossana Podestà) roots for evil and Athene (Delia Boccardo) roots for good. To balance the battle, Zeus (Claudio Cassinelli) creates powerful hero Hercules (Lou Ferrigno)! He is raised in Thebes as son of King. 
Lou Ferrigno
Claudio Cassinelli
Hera's Sacred Sword is stolen and traitors working for King Minos (William Berger) murder Hercules' parents. One of the maids puts baby Hercules into boat (and so Golan-Globus tied this story to the legend of  Moses). Zeus offers a helping hand to keep the boat safe. Hera does not like that and plans to destroy Hercules. And so baby Hercules does his first heroic act by destroying two big rubber snakes. 
Delia Boccardo
Rossana Podestà
A couple of farmers (let's just call them Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru) (Stelio Candelli and Gabriella Giorgelli) find the baby and raises him as their own son. Hercules grows up and trains his strength using Conan's Wheel of Pain Fitness Method(TM). Muscles are useful for farm jobs as the family does not need an ox to plow the field. Also uprooting trees with bare hands is a good workout. Hera's bear kills Uncle Owen (as Hercules' unlucky foster parents are short-lived), so the muscleman throws the pesky teddy into space. And so the constellation of Great Bear was born. 
We do not need ox!
It becomes common that Hercules throws a lot of stuff into space. Here's a log flying through space. 
Space log
King Minos (William Berger) believes in science (Science for the sake of Science!) and asks Daedalus (Eva Robins) to help kill Hercules. Daedalus sends mechanical monsters after Hercules but Minos is clearly unhappy to see how small they are. The first monster does not hurt Hercules but manages to kill Aunt Beru and that makes Hercules angry.
Eva Robins
William Berger
King Minos
There's nothing to gain from farm life, so Hercules seeks to do heroic deeds. Hercules has to prove his strength to King Augeias (Brad Harris). After that he has to clean the stables of 1000 horses. Princess Cassiopeia (Ingrid Anderson) falls in love with him but the gods have other plans. Hera's favourite, naughty Minean Princess Adriana (Sybil Danning) kidnaps Cassiopeia with help from traitorous advisor Dorcon (Yehuda Efroni).
Ingrid Anderson
Yehuda Efroni
Not at all suspicious looking King's Advisor Dorcon
Hercules swims to Sorceress Circe's (Mirella D'Angelo) island. Old granny offers some warm tea, then demands to get a small amount of Hercules' blood. It is a fair trade as the granny turns into beautiful sorceress. Hercules and Circe visit many places and even detach continent of Africa from Europe.
Xenodama, King of Africa (Bobby Rhodes)
After adventuring with Circe, the final quest is rescuing Cassiopeia from Thera. Thera is actually built above Atlantis, so Hercules contributes to the destruction of Atlantis too as collateral damage. Oops!
Nice granny offers some tea
Mirella D'Angelo
Golan-Globus- duo produced a wacky mythical adventure with awesome cheese, vintage special effects and gorgeous women in skimpy dresses. Freely interpreted mythical story is combined with scifi-elements. It is nice that although being often clumsy, the special effects are still old school stop-motion effects. It is not Ray Harryhausen, but it has its moments. Fans of B-grade peplums find a lot of fun in this movie. Hercules fighting a laser-shooting metal centaur on a green planet with three moons shining on the sky, how awesome is that? Interestingly there is a lava pit sacrifice attempt oddly similar to "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" that was made year later. "The Incredible Hulk"-star Lou Ferrigno has Herculean physique, being one of the bulkiest actors to play Hercules, and the script gives him every opportunity to use his muscles. As often in Hercules-movies, the hero has several scenes where he is chained and the he breaks the chains. Lovably camp movie experience throughout.
Metal centaur vs a man with a club
Sybil Danning and Ingrid Anderson
Adriana and Cassiopeia
Saved from the lava pit

Rating: Very good

Starring: Lou Ferrigno, Brad Harris, Sybil Danning, Rossana Podestà, Ingrid Anderson, Mirella D'Angelo, William Berger, Bobby Rhodes, Gianni Garko (as John Garko), Yehuda Efroni, Delia Boccardo, Claudio Cassinelli, Franco Garofalo (as Frank Garland), Gabriella Giorgelli (as Gabriella George), Raf Baldassarre (as Ralph Baldassar), Stelio Candelli (as Steven Candell), Valentina Montanari (as Valerie Montanari), Rocco Lerro (as Roger Larry), Eva Robins (as Eva Robbins, Giovanni Cianfriglia, Anthony La Penna, Edward Mannix, Mindi Miller, Marc Smith, Susan Spafford
Director: Luigi Cozzi

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Movie Review: Rough Air: Danger on Flight 534

Rough Air: Danger on Flight 534 a.k.a Rough Sky
Carlton America, Tele München Fernseh Produktionsgesellschaft (TMG)  USA, Germany, Canada, 2001.
Rough Air: Danger on Flight 534

First Officer Mike Hogan (Eric Roberts) has a trauma because of a failed crash landing years ago. He is assigned as replacement co-pilot on short notice as no one else is available. Flight attendants Katy (Alexandra Paul from "Baywatch" and "Melrose Place") and Tracey (Anne Openshaw) try their best to serve the spoiled passengers. There are students, soccer player Ty (Mark Lutz) and airplane engineer Roger (Russell Yuen). On the flight there is also convicted murderer Grant Blyth (Dean McDermott) on his way to prison escorted by Detective Muldoon (John Furey). 
Eric Roberts
Mike Hogan
Alexandra Paul
Anne Openshaw
Captain Jack Brooks (Kevin Jubinville) is pompous and full of himself. Captain Jack (hey yo captain Jack!) believes in the flawless modern flight technology but Mike is an old school pilot (of the Real Men(TM) era) who believes that pilot's skills are important when the technology fails.
John Furey and Dean McDermott
Detective Muldoon and Grant Blyth
Wrongly attached shipping container gets loose, breaks cargo bay door and causes a pressure leak. Storm hits the plane and Mike must get it to safety.  Heroics await for the brave passengers too.

Although it was meant to be a realistic drama about airplane passengers in dire situation, after the accident struck it went kind of silly. When Captain Jack got concussion, he was all like "lemme fly, lemme fly!" And Mike was like "Nope." Then Jack was tied to a seat to let Mike fly in peace.

Grant tries to escape, but where would he go? Worst of all, VIP Mr. Matthews (Carlo Rota) runs of whiskey. Grant has also piloting skills so he can help Mike. But the darn computer breaks and won't let the Real Men(TM) fly! (Unrealistic? Just wait when self-driving cars decide that the shortest route goes through a brick wall!)
Carlo Rota
Mr. Matthews
I won't let you fly!
There are also Real Women(TM). Katy and Tracey use their wits to calm the panicking or arrogant passengers and Icelandic air traffic controller Sara Lundattir (Leah Pinsent) has a rough night shift.
Leah Pinsent
Sara Lundattir
Russell Yuen
Roger and Mike
TV-movie is quite light to watch, with some thrills, heroics and unintentional comedy. The traditional script could be from 1970s airplane disaster film, and it is just the type of film "Airplane!" parodied. Eric Roberts does a solid role and the other actors are decent too. As a TV-movie it goes but otherwise there's nothing too special.

Rating: Average

Starring: Eric Roberts, Alexandra Paul, Anne Openshaw, Kevin Jubinville, Russell Yuen, Mark Lutz, Sergio Di Zio, Carlo Rota, Dean McDermott, John Furey, Ryan Scott, Kelly Ivey, Susan Aceron, Eliza Roberts, Daryn Jones, Leah Pinsent, Andrew Gillies, Larissa Gomes, Alexis Cassar
Director: Jon Cassar

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Movie Review: Air Panic

Air Panic a.k.a Panic
Nu Image, Millennium Films, USA, India, 2001. 
Air Panic

Terrorist hackers remote control airplanes and cause deadly crashes. This time the culprit is not an Islamistic  fanatic but a crazy computer genius Cain (Alexander Enberg). Federal Aviation Administration analyst Neil (Rodney Rowland) tries to tell that the new Oxceelis-computer chip is easy to hack, but do his superiors believe him. Oh no they don't. 
Rodney Rowland
Alexander Enberg
Air hostess Josie (Kristanna Loken, before her role in "Terminator 3") has a last day at work. She plans to open a company selling hippity-hoppity clothes. Neil tracks the next possible target for the terrorist attack, and gets on board the plane. Unluckily for Josie it is her plane. And so Cain hijacks the plane and plans to strike Washington DC. The pilot is injured and Cain is listening every discussion in the cockpit, so how to cut the remote control is the million dollar question.
Kristanna Loken
Along the passengers are annoying besserwisser Ray (Billy 'Sly' Williams), mysterious woman Bernadette (Barbara Carrera) and workaholic Doctor Philip (Gulshan Grover) with his family. Somehow all of them become important for the survival of the passengers. Although Ray's importance vas vague to me, i must have blinked at the wrong moment.
Billy 'Sly' Williams
Barbara Carrera
Gulshan Grover
Doctor Philip
Direct-to-video Terrorsploitation was filmed in 2001 but apparently it was unreleased until 2003 in USA after 9/11 strikes. Understandably so as the airplanes striking buildings feel unnervingly prophetic. The movie is not as bad I was hoping but not nearly good enough to be memorable. Basic thriller repeats the usual tricks of airplane disaster films. Airplanes crash and some passengers are given more screentime to make them sympathetic. If there was something going in the direction of real drama, it was Captain O'Kelly (Ted Shackelford) and Bernadette getting acquainted. Kristanna Loken is pleasant to watch and Alexander Enberg boasts entertainingly as a psycho, while the other actors feel average at best.

Rating: Average

Starring: Rodney Rowland, Kristanna Loken, Alexander Enberg, Ted Shackelford, Barbara Carrera, Scott Michael Campbell, Tucker Smallwood, Billy 'Sly' Williams, David Bowe, John Bishop, Boti Bliss, Tereza Rizzardi, Gulshan Grover, Duke Stroud, Sanyogetta, Armaan Kandhari, Bob Misiorowski, Stephen David, Scott Putman, Roly Jansen, Rashmi Sharma, Brian O'Sullivan, Shaun White, Lalith Sharma, Grant Hulley, Tiger Ali Razavi, Samsher Pawer, Lucky Louie
Director: Bob Misiorowski

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