A near-future fascistic USA is focused on an annual cross-continent murderous road race. Scattershot but sprightly, this exploitation effort (a Rollerball mockbuster) juggles media satire, cartoony splatter, 1984 riff, and car-chase comedy. Full of ideas, though, and hugely influential. A remake – spawning several DTV sequels – followed.
Assassin Fallon is lying low in Malta, but trouble follows from London. A superior sequel, its simple story a set-up for an escalating series of well-shot and choreographed fight sequences balanced with slapstick violence. Deliberately cartoony, foregrounding a keen stunt team and solid location work throughout. Recommended.
An orphaned prince, now a mercenary, battles the usurper who murdered his parents. Okay sword and sorcery flick with some ripe performances, daft ideas, and a commitment to rubbery gore and sweaty flesh throughout. The promised sequel – Tales of an Ancient Empire – emerged in 2010.
An outlaw warrior helps a princess regain her throne from an evil sorcerer. This self-aware sequel is an improvement from its predecessor, going for swashbuckling laughs and camp in equal measure. No classic, but it’s clear that there is a joke and that the cast and crew are all in on it.
An outlaw warrior quests to reunite three fabled artefacts also sought by an evil magician. Tatty and at times po-faced sword and sorcery exploitation piece, albeit with intermittent amusing asides and a couple of fun lo-fi John Buechler monster effects. Three sequels followed.
A struggling movie star takes a personal appearance gig, finding himself in the midst of a CIA operation. Goodnatured meta Nic Cage flick, with the star gamely playing different aspects of himself. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves, even if the flick wobbles trying to stick an action movie ending. It’s right about Paddington 2 though.
Thor and Jane Foster reunite: a god-killing nemesis must be stopped. Self-indulgent fourth Thor flick (with added Guardians of the Galaxy): there’s some funny stuff, but way too much padding, and not a scintilla of drama or jeopardy. Still, Russell Crowe has fun as Zeus.
A hitman with Alzheimer’s disease struggles to make things right. Odd mix of character drama and potboiler thriller: it doesn’t really cohere, but there’s pleasures along the way. A solid cast, efficient direction and cinematography, and very effective use of Nu Boyana production facilities all help though.
A down-on-his-luck LA vampire hunter races against time to save his family. Splashy hybrid of horror-comedy and buddy thriller: From Dusk Till Dawn and John Wick are key influences: the plot is an excuse to hang a series of fun fight sequences on. Scott Adkins and Snoop Dogg (it’s that kinda film) pop up for good measure, and there’s even a Hellzapoppin gag.
A space ranger tries to rectify the error marooning his vessel and crew. Contrived Toy Story spinoff – purportedly the film spurring merchandise – that starts well and looks great throughout, hampered with a stupid plot reveal. Also, Buzz here isn’t the toy character. Some good gags and shoutouts, but an empty movie nevertheless.