Feb 22, 2013

Brucesploitation flick review: Image of Bruce Lee - 1978

Image of Bruce Lee
Director: Chuan Yang

Some counterfeiters are about to expand their market. But not all are pleased with the deal. Soon there’s internal fighting within the gang(s) and of course with the police that wants to stop all of the crime lords business in Hong Kong. All of the above are highly trained in the art of Kung-Fu…

I don’t really know what to make of this. It’s obvious that they tried to cash in on Bruce Lee’s name when they made it but it's a big fish to swallow. This is so bad that Bruce Lee never would have been interested in appearing in it anyway. The only connection with his is in the title really …and there’s someone who think a cabdriver looks a little bit like Bruce Lee. There you have it! There isn’t even an attempt to edit in some genuine fight scenes which could have saved the movie to be honest.

This release is about as good as an old VHS quality wise. I can live with that but I want some charisma to make it interesting. Perhaps it would have been better if they weren’t so eager on exploiting Bruce Lee. The story could have made it on its own if it were done right. But as it is now it’s so confusing that it’s very hard to figure out what’s really happening; who’s fighting against whom and why. I’ve seen it three times by know and I’m still not certain!

They’ve thrown in some dude called Bruce Li to make the deception complete. I wouldn’t say that he’s a very good lookalike to Bruce Lee though. You could say that this is like a bad Bruce Lee flick…without Bruce if you know what I mean. On the other hand we do have a charismatic actor playing a bad guy. If there’s any point in watching it at all it’s because of this role by Bolo Yeung during a time when he appeared in lots of movies.

Continuing on the negative path I must add that the fight scenes aren’t very good either. It’s rather bad choreographed and not very entertaining to watch. Still I will consider the effort when I’ll grade it. It still has something that makes it worth my will even if I’m not sure if I can pinpoint it. Something more than Bolo Yeung that is…


Feb 21, 2013

Horror flick review: Smiley - 2012

Director: Michael J. Gallagher

The urban legend says that a masked killer will appear behind the person you’re chatting with over the internet if you type “I did it for the Lulz” three times. Ashley is about to find out just how real the legend are when she witness one of the murders. She gets obsessed with Smiley, as the masked killer is called, and investigates what’s really going on. The more she discovers the more terrified she gets. Is it really true?

This is the movie you get if you mix Candyman with A Nightmare on Elm Street and then top the cocktail with some of Wes Cravens Scream. It’s not all bad but the part before the opening credits which I suppose is there to make us ask for more, is very weak and not very interesting at all. I feel that the acting is quite bad in this teaser but thankfully it gets better later on.

I expected a slasher of some sort and that’s partly what it is too. But since the urban legend revolves around an internet phenomenon the killer is only visible through the video chat. For the victims he kills he’s real enough though. The kills are quite boring but there is something about the movie that is actually quite scary. It’s something I can’t really put my finger on but as one of the main aspect of the movie also is mental illness or at least the human psyche it does a lot for me. I like it when you can’t really tell what in the imagination of the main character and what is actually real.

This is where A Nightmare on Elm Street comes into the picture. Obviously there’s no Freddy Krueger but Smiley seems to exist only in fantasy too, just like Freddy. But when the dreamer awakes there are still some evidence of the dream – like torn cloths and such things. It’s not as prominent as in A Nightmare on Elm Street of course but it gives a nice touch.

It’s quite entertaining but what really makes the trick is the involvement of the twists of Scream. This is not very prominent either but still makes the movie a success. The twists and turns that comes when the film is about to end might not come as a total surprise but is still not what you’re expecting. It’s a straight forward film with a twist or two towards the end but they do make a difference! Oh, and the Candyman part is obviously that you need to repeat “I did it for the lulz” a certain number of times. But I guess that isn’t uncommon for an urban legend anyway.


Feb 13, 2013

Art House Flick Review: Goodbye Little Betty - 2013

Goodbye Little Betty
Director: Ronny Carlsson
Art house

As a major Alice Cooper fan I can’t help but think about the song Dead Babies from the early Seventies when I see the title of this. It’s a song about child abuse and negligence, at least that’s my interpretation of it. Having seen all of Ronny Carlssons previous films I figured that this would be about something like that. I was wrong! In fact, I can’t even say what it’s all about; there are no conventional storyline to be found! Yet I’m immediately hooked by what I see. I’m envious of Ronny as it seems so very easy for him to create suspense. Nothing really happens and still I’m so curios to what’s going to happen next and what the bottom line might be. Is there a message to be found? What is he trying to tell us? What deranged mind wrote this script?

It’s a very provoking film in the way that it’s made, maybe not as much as the pitch black sequence in Regissören but it’s close! And it’s all the way through too! As a viewer and reviewer I’m forced to watch this very unorthodox solution on how to tell a story. First we get all the events, then we get the metaphor and finally we get the storyline. Maybe the storyline and the metaphor are one and a same when I think of it…

I’m sorry to say that this approach was a bit of overkill for me. I liked the idea to be sure but after a while I find it hard to focus. It would have needed some relief in my opinion. I won’t go into to detail on which way I find it unconventional since I consider that a major spoiler in this case. Let’s just say that the way the film is made seems to be more important than what it’s really about. I have no problem with that but as I said before, some relief would have done it for me, maybe halfway through the film.

It’s still a good picture though! It has a beautiful black and white picture and it has a lot of suspense. But I find it a little bit too slow. I don’t necessarily want to wait the entire film before I get any answers. Yet I find it so brave a movie that I feel that I must commend this in some way. During the first half I was convinced that this was going to be a total fucking awesome flick (to be frank).After the second half? Well, it has flaws…


Feb 3, 2013

News: "ZOMBIE ED" is out on DVD now!

Loser Ed has a lame job, a beater car, a crappy apartment and no hope of a girlfriend. Ed doesn’t think things could get any worse for him until the day he woke up and found he had GONE ZOMBIE. Can Ed become the zombie he was born to be?

Starring: William C. Cutting, Kelly Petering, Trista Robinson, Myles Mclane, Melissa Bacelar, Kim Sønderholm, Pedro Mendoza, Tom Nyman, Marcus Proctor, Devorah Lynne Dishington and many, many others.

DVD Special Features:
-Deleted Scenes
-Zombie PSAs
-And More!

Buy the DVD at the Brain Damage webshop here  

Or buy it via Amazon.com here