Watchin’ Stuff #39

Movie of the week goes to Upgrade by a huge amount. What a great film. To be overly simplistic about it, this is like a sci-fi version of The Crow, except much more violent and with way better fight scenes. It’s a standard revenge tale, with a non-standard twist which has main character Grey looking for revenge on a group of criminals who killed his wife and crippled him, but with the help of an experimental procedure that implants a futuristic computer chip in his spine. This chip gives him great physical and tactical enhancements that allow him to dish out some truly brutal and creative violence on his enemies.

While the amazing fight scenes steal the show a bit, there’s also a pretty interesting story underneath all the blood, as well as an excellent depiction of a near-future world that seems absolutely believable. Highly recommended to anyone who likes brutal action/sci-fi and I hope Blumhouse realizes what they’ve got here and turns this into their next endless franchise, because I could watch about a dozen movies set in this world if they can keep making them like this.

Saw this back when it came out and don’t remember liking it much at all, but I was suddenly struck with the urge to go back and give Rob Zombie’s movies another chance, so here we are. This seems to be happening a lot lately. Guess it’s part of getting old or something. Oh well. Anyway…it’s a strange movie, that’s for sure. Most of the characters are pretty annoying, but on the other hand that makes you kind of glad when they get horribly killed. It’s all just so campy and surreal, as if Zombie sometimes would get randomly confused and think he was shooting a music video instead of a movie.

It’s still a blatant rip-off of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, except the last 20 minutes or so where it just suddenly becomes almost an entirely different movie out of nowhere. I feel like I should hate it for how cheesy, erratic, and hyper-edgy it all is, but I found myself just kind of laughing at how stupid it all was and I have to admit, the kills and effects are pretty well done. I don’t know, file this under guilty pleasure I guess.

Yet another modern-day straight-to-video piece of shit. Oh, I’ve seen much worse, but Feral felt borderline offensive to me since it wasn’t just bad, but was also painfully unoriginal. Cabin in the woods, shoddy fast-moving not-zombie-zombies, blah blah blah we’ve seen it all before so many times before, but done much, much better. Weak acting, weak script, tolerable effects, but you barely ever see them because the movie’s too busy packing in the filler to try to distract you from how low the budget is. Just your standard forgettable crap horror movie. There’s just no reason for a movie this poor and generic to exist.

Thanks to airlandia for the recommendation. This was indeed a fun, dumb action movie and a unique experience. The title comes from the main character being a pro gymnast who has to learn martial arts in order to…go participate in some weird deadly obstacle course tournament on a strange island because the government needs him to win the prize so they can build an early warning anti-missile system there or something? I don’t know, it’s all very strange. It’s such a cheap and ridiculous movie, and yet the fight scenes are actually pretty decent and the real gymnastic moves used in them can be pretty impressive at times. My only real complaint is that there are clearly fucking ninjas on that cover, yet there are no ninjas in this movie. Hmph.

Thanks to Universal Dork for this recommendation. The Cat is a batshit insane Hong Kong film by a director I was recently made aware of, Ngai Choi Lam, who has done some pretty crazy films as it turns out. After watching the trailer where a black cat is having some kind of elaborate martial arts fight against a dog and fighting against some crazy looking monsters, I knew I had to check this out quickly.

To be honest, it’s kind of a terrible movie in a lot of ways, and is clearly struggling a lot with a very limited budget, but this also makes it all the more impressive, as Lam pulls off some truly unforgettable action scenes and creature effects. The monsters here, aliens as it turns out, have a really similar style to early 80’s American horror movies like Evil Dead, The Blob, and even John Carpenter’s The Thing. The budget is clearly more on the original Evil Dead side of the spectrum than The Blob/The Thing, but it makes up for it a bit with sheer creativity. Definitely going to check out more of this guy’s work.

That’s all for this week. Less than usual for me, I know. Things have been a bit busy these last few weeks and it looks like my movie intake is going to be heavily reduced during this summer. My post output in general might drop a bit too, we’ll see. Stupid real life intruding on my virtual adventuring! Hmph!

2 comments on “Watchin’ Stuff #39

  1. Peter Saturday says:

    Ok, now I’m excited to check out Upgrade, but it sounds like something I’d be into, also I love Gymkata, such an excellent stupid action movie. Cool you checked out The Cat also, it’s pretty damn bonkers…been looking for a hard copy of that movie for ages…

  2. airlandia says:

    Haha, Gymkata! Now I gotta go rent that again! The Cat sounds fun too.

    Did you ever see Avenging Force with Michael Dudikoff? That was another movie I remember liking way back when.

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