There seems to be an ebb and flow in the Universe around these things: I’d had another stressful and exhausting two weeks, the midpoint of which was the Fort Bend International Festival, a nice 11 hour day with only two minor fifteen minute breaks. I should feel lucky – I was totally expecting 12 hours. This was followed by a holiday on the following Friday, Good Friday, but that only meant everything had to be done a day early. I really didn’t feel rested until a week after the Festival, and a day after Crapfest.
Two could not make it – David and Erik – and we added a newb, Mark, who, like me, works at a college but has a much more elevated position than I (realistically, the janitors have a much more elevated position than I). Paul and Alan arrived after their commitments; I had beaten Rick to Dave’s house by mere minutes, giving us sufficient time to curse each other and the screen, because I had burned another compilation of horrible things from the Everything Is Terrible website. Here is one of the least offensive, in case you were ever wondering what happened to Madness after that “Our House” money ran out:
I’m still trying to figure out how to rip that and make it my ringtone. Apparently some memories of this song gave Rick problems in church Sunday morning.
Dave wanted me to go first, but although I had a stack of discs in front of me, I pointed out that we had been promising Paul we would show Sonny Chiba’s The Bodyguard for months. “What? Is it Be Nice To Paul Day?” “Sure, why not?” So we finally watched The Bodyguard, which is, unfortunately, no Streetfighter, but hey – it is Sonny Chiba.
It is quite literally Sonny Chiba, as Sonny Chiba plays a guy named Sonny Chiba who is a world-famous karate instructor. After a gangster is machine-gunned on the steps of St. Patrick’s, Sonny is hired to be the bodyguard for the dead gangster’s (wouldn’t you know it?) Japanese girlfriend. Yes, it’s Sonny Chiba vs the Mafia, and there are lots of broken bones sticking out of arms before the evening is out. The girlfriend is trying to do one last drug deal in the gangster’s honor, or something, and Sonny comes along for the ride as he goes between slapping the crap out of her and falling for her. Mark’s utterance of , “Boy, I hope this ends like Get Carter” is sort of prescient, but only sort of. And Paul sits there with a big grin on his face for most of it.
Our hopes were, however dashed in that Kevin Costner never showed up so Sonny could punch his lights out. Also: I had no idea that Sonny Chiba is in the Book of Ezekiel, but there it is, right at the beginning. This movie was educational, too.
Well, that clip kind of let you hanging, didn’t it? Here, the trailer picks up where that left off, and gives you a glimpse of the Enno Morricone-wannabe soundtrack, which was pretty hot:
After this, I discovered that it was also “Be Nice To Alan Day”, which is where things began to go horribly wrong. Alan had been doing actual research, tracing filmographies of people like Pamela Jean Bryant (Miss April 1977, says resident Playboytologist Paul), mainly known in these parts from H.O.T.S. and Lunch Wagon. And what does his research uncover but this… thing from 1993 called GetEven, re-titled to Road to Revenge, possibly because the original title was too suggestive of what anybody watching it should consider. (Actually, it seems to be the opposite – GETEVEN seems to be the current title)
Here is your set-up: first, realize there is a lawyer named John De Hart (the emphasis is apparently on the “De”). He is also apparently a very successful lawyer. So naturally he decides to become a movie star. He writes, produces, stars and co-directs in an action movie titled Get Even. He also has a musical number. I am not lying about this:
Yes, that is Pamela Bryant at the bar, proving what a good actress she was by looking like she’s enjoying herself. She also should have won awards for the two sex scenes she had with De Hart. Yes, he gave himself two sex scenes with a Playmate. And before you ask, yes, he sings the two songs under the sex scenes. Really awful flashbacks to The Room surfaced under these conditions.
If you were really sharp, you saw Wings Hauser dancing during the clip. Here’s our plot, such as it is: Rick Bode (De Hart) and the unlikely-named Huck Finney (Hauser) were LAPD cops under William Smith (who packs the even more unlikely name of Normad). Normad frames them for drug charges – and about the worst thing to come from that is they lose their jobs – which somehow then makes him a judge. The passage of time in this is oddly (some might say ineptly) fluid, so I guess he got elected to that position somewhere in there. Now, not only is he William Smith, crooked cop and drug-dealing judge, no, that is insufficient for our needs, he is also a baby-killing Satanist. Bryant witnessed a baby sacrifice years before (or maybe it was minutes before), but Smith doesn’t decide to kill her until De Hart marries her. Which of course leads us to our Road to Revenge, perhaps the shortest Road to Revenge ever. Less than a block, or so.
De Hart’s baggy face rarely ever changes expression, though he is really good at looking directly into the camera. Wings Hauser is obviously improvising his dialogue, and it does serve to pad out the running time to feature-length. There is one speaking role – a nun – who is so mind-blowingly awful, she is in the movie twice, just to make De Hart look good. And yes, our hero is guilty of several counts of murder by the time the movie is over, but that’s okay, right?
You, too, can go to geteventhemovie.com and purchase your own copy for a whopping 10 bucks. I do not personally recommend such a thing – but then, when have you ever listened to me?
Paul takes his position as Designated Wuss very seriously, and left, before we put on Mark’s offering: The Black Six, the tale of a motorcycle gang made of six NFL football players. And if you know me and sports, you know I had no real idea what was going on, cast-wise, even though the opening credits were good enough to tell us what team each guy played on. Anyway, the Black Six are traveling the country after serving in Nam, generally being cool except when they are hastled by the man (ie., rednecks stupid enough to mouth off to six black men over six feet tall and in good shape). Until one of them finds out his kid brother was beaten to death by a white motorcycle gang.
That would be Gene Washington, chosen to be the main actor from our other pro players, who get distracted by such frippery as women on the street until they’re needed for backup.
The actual mechanism of Washington receiving this news by General Delivery at a post office during their wanderings led to a spirited discussion of exactly how much money Washington’s mother spent on postage, to send copies of this letter to every post office in America, just to make sure he got it.
Anyway, the Black Six arrive in town, get called “The New Uncle Toms” by Washington’s Angela Davis-lookalike sister, find out the cops cain’t do nothin’, and wind up in a big nighttime showdown with the murderous motorcycle gang, unaware that the spiteful honkies made a deal with an even larger motorcycle gang run by “Thor” (Ben Davidson, who I was helpfully informed was another football player). This is actually a pretty good final scene, as the six gather all the bikes in a circle and fend off onslaught after onslaught, finally ending in a huge explosion and conflagration, leading us to believe the Six are dead, except the titles assure us that everytime a brother is hassled, the Six will be there.
I’m not sure if the Black Six actually “waste 150 motorcycle dudes” – it gets a little hectic there – but it’s a pretty good finish. Up to that point, it’s obvious the Six aren’t martial artists at all, but they’re game, by golly. Matt Cimber directed a bunch of low-rent action flicks and blaxploitation movies, and his experience shows; it certainly had the most comprehensible plot of the evening.
Mark took his leave, his damage done, leaving myself, Dave, Rick and Alan. And while Alan took a nice nap, Dave started up Mission Stardust.
Perry Rhodan is a weekly pulp series started in Germany back in 1961. It is pure space opera pulp – two-fisted astronauts, alien races, hairs-breadth escapes – it was glorious to young teen-aged me. Ackerman’s English versions were successful enough to keep the series running in bi-weekly paperback form until the new head of Ace Books decided it was “too juvenile” and cut it off around issue #120. Ackerman did keep it running in a subscription-only model for another twenty issues, but that was pretty much it for America. In Germany it kept going until 2011, when reportedly it got rebooted for a new audience.
So in 1967 Mission Stardust was made (aka 4…3…2…1…Death!) and the fact that no other Perry Rhodan movies were made should clue you in how successful it was amongst Rhodan fans.
Perry Rhodan (Lang Jeffries) is in charge of Earth’s first Moon landing, where the crew of the rocketship Stardust finds a disabled alien ship with two living occupants from the planet Arkon: the elder scientist Arkin (Pinkas Braun), and the ship’s captain, Thora (Essy Persson). Arkin is looking for younger civilizations to freshen up the Arkon’s genetic pool, which means Perry will be sucking face with Thora by movie’s end (Spoiler: it took like 18 books for that to happen) even though she doesn’t like these primitive screwheads. In the meantime, Arkin is suffering from a mysterious disease that turns out to be leukemia.
The thrust of the movie then becomes getting a doctor who has developed a new treatment for leukemia from Mombassa to the Moon without revealing that there are aliens camping out on said Moon. This is accomplished by landing a smaller spacecraft in the desert and hassling all soldiers that come their way.
Rhodan and his sidekick, Mike Bull (really) (Luis Davila) sneak into Mombassa with a handful of diamonds (of course, worthless to the Arkons. Their money is mercury), unaware that a Blofeld-level bad guy has a mole on their ship and is planning to hijack the spacecraft. In other words, in order to escape our run of bad action movies, we blundered right into the arms of a bad action movie.
But it was at least a bad action movie with spaceships and robots. That was different. Sort of.
Here’s Your Scorecard:
Best Fight Scenes: The Bodyguard (which should tell you something about the quality of the others)
Easiest Plot to Follow: The Black Six
Best Score: The Black Six
Best Playmate: Road to Revenge
Best Space Vehicle That Looked Like A Dildo: Mission Stardust
Best Song: Jesus Is My Friend
Lesson Learned: We will never be nice to Paul and Alan ever a-fucking-gain
I was fearsomely buzzed on caffeine and willing to do another movie. But Alan went home halfway through Mission Stardust and Dave and Rick wanted to have lives, or something. So I went home, logged the movies and sent rambling e-mails for the rest of the evening. And at some point, realized I had horribly disfigured my Letterboxd.com profile page with this rogues gallery: