Saturday, June 18, 2022

Junesploitation 2022 Day 18: Cannon!


  1. My trillogy of Cannon pic reviews won't appear, Blogger flat-out refuses to post 'em. :-( Cannon day ruined, for me! :'(

    1. That happened a lot in the past. Have you checked out some words, that could trigger an automated ban?

    2. Have you tried posting the reviews individually, J.M.? I have found condensing the writing to be helpful in getting the software to accept posts. I know that it can be frustrating to not fully express what you want to, though.

    3. Just tried it right now, not letting me post an individual modified review. BLEEPING TECHNOLOGY!!! :'(

    4. The software has been a challenge this month. It seems like all of us have had at least one day when our posts were not accepted.

  2. Cobra (1986 –George P. Cosmatos)
    Sylvester Stallone must be one of the most interesting movie stars of the past century. He had several big standalone hits, led several successful franchises, produced a lot by and for himself. His behaviors can be described as pretty difficult (especially on this project), he is often considered to be not great and/or interesting in his own flicks, yet a lot has become classics for several reasons. There is a great piece on Cobra by Patrick from the year 2012 – I wonder if he would write it the same way 10 years later, because I have the feeling that in the meanwhile Cobra has become more and more “truly great” than just a trashy, yet fine looking action flick.
    I do see why it is problematic. There is no real story, the bad guys are stupendous mysterious, dashing their axes together (though I thought that Brian Thompson is a great looking, sweaty, remarkable villain). I also think the movie is way funnier than given credit. I liked it… a lot.

  3. The Hitman (1991, dir. Aaron Norris)

    Chuck Norris goes undercover as a hitman for a criminal organization. Norris seems extremely uncomfortable going full bad-guy (albeit acting undercover) and delivering threatening, profanity-laced dialogue. Also there is a laughably terrible and silly subplot where Norris befriends a young kid and teaches him how to stand up for himself against bullies. Michael Parks is the villain so bonus points there. Middling Norris for sure, but still highly entertaining.

    Two wannabe detectives, who have only ever read cheesy old private eye novels, run afoul of the mafia. Allegedly, the filmmakers wanted to do a throwback to the Three Stooges with broad comedy and big slapstick. These guys are pretty low-key, though, lacking the Stooges' manic energy. It's an incredibly dumb movie, but I must admit I chuckled a few times at the dumbness.

    Bonus Lloyd Kaufman-sploitation, day 18: APOCALYPSE SOON: THE MAKING OF CITIZEN TOXIE (2000)
    The word of the day is anxiety. Because that's what you'll feel while watching this. It's two and a half hours of cringe, as nothing goes according to plan on set of Toxic Avenger 4, and all anyone can do is fight about whose fault it is. The main narrative is the growing tension between Kaufman and Toxie actor David Mattey, climaxing at a point when a fed-up Kaufman replaces Mattey with a stand-in for one scene. I'm surprised punches weren't thrown (on camera, at least). Nonetheless, a fascinating peek at the non-glamorous side of filmmaking.

  5. Runaway Train

    Brilliantly directed - and a prison-break movie to boot! Unfortunately I found the 2 prison escapees insufferably annoying. But your mileage, if you'll excuse the pun, may vary and it's otherwise a very fun time at the movies.

  6. The Delta Force (1986) on VHS

    Like many others, I think that the first half of this movie is totally awesome while the other half is lame. So that puts in squarely in the middle!

    first time viewing

    STREET SMART (1987)
    first time viewing
    Olive Films BluRay

  8. Dangerously Close (1986) dir. Albert Pyun

    Right-wing, fascist, wannabe cops attempt to control the other students at a high school with a really nice cafeteria. Seriously awesome subject matter that kinda drifts with some Pyun-logic, but honestly a slept on banger.

  9. Cobra (1986) dir. George P. Cosmatos

    ”He looks like a fugitive from the 50s but he sure is great at catching psychos>/I>

    Look maybe you can resist our guy Sly looking like he walked off stage at CBGB’s ready to light up a bunch of murder-cult members in between dropping wry observations, but I just aint’ built that cold. For his bizarro timeline Beverly Hills Cop Stallone is definitely worshiping at the temple of the thin blue line of police brutality and borrowing heavily from its patron saint, Dirty Harry- but like a lot of this era’s copaganda, they stretch “by any means necessary” to include such absurd levels of violence that it can almost feel like commentary rather than glorification if you squint your brain just right- though we all know that if Stallone’s driving and George P. Cosmatos is riding shotgun, whatever criticism we detect is entirely unintentional.

    That all said- Cobra is a hell of a lot of fun. Though it’s not far in structure from any number of Golan-Globus “one guy and many rounds of ammunition against the world” outings, It’s set apart by a Stallone performance that’s right in the sweet spot of his star power, before he became consumed by his own torso, and a choice to lean heavily on a look and feel more horror/thriller than straight up action. Often set in shadowy locations in the dead of night, Cobra often feels like a slasher where we follow the cop instead of the victims and killer- and that cop is Sylvester Stallone in mirrored aviators with a shit-ton of bullets.

  10. Mannequin (1987, dir. Michael Gottlieb)

    A department store employee builds a mannequin and falls in love with it, so she comes alive, but only he can see her move. Together, they design the best window displays in town, so a rival store kidnaps her. Oh, and did I mention she's a magical time traveler from ancient Egypt?

    A lot of the comedy is, if not laugh-out-loud funny, amusing and sweet, but every now and then the movie stops to laugh at blatant sexual harassment or a flamboyant gay character, which really rubbed me the wrong way. It's an 80's comedy, all right.

    Kim Cattrall is delightful and James Spader is excellent at playing a snivelling villain. G.W. Bailey (Police Academy's Lt. Harris) basically plays Police Academy's Lt. Harris. And the male lead... is also there.

  11. Runaway Train (1985, dir. Andrei Konchalovsky)

    A prison break movie turns into a disaster movie that doesn't stop and wait for you to catch your breath, it just steams ahead like... I can't think of a good metaphor for something that steams ahead relentlessly.

    Jon Voight plays an old-timer convict with a zen attitude who feels more like a masterless samurai than the lead of an American disaster movie (or am I just imagining it because I saw Kurosawa's name in the opening credits?). Eric Roberts plays the most annoying movie character I've seen in a while.

    One of my favorites of the month so far.

  12. Masters of the Universe (1987)

    First time viewing. I never watched the cartoon, never played with the toys, and had no expectations going into this movie, and I found it to be surprisingly, and pleasantly, ridiculous. We start out on Eternia, and everyone's, like, "He-man, I show .84 chromons until moonrise at Grayskull," and I'm, like, "okay, whatever that means." But then, everyone gets teleported to Earth - TO EARTH - by way of the cosmic key, which creates the unique situation where we can have a scene between two characters, one named "Gwildor, the Thenurian," and one named "Kevin." And, look! There's Courteney Cox! Wait, Courteney Cox AND Christina Pickles are in this? Why was there never a "by the power of Grayskull" reference on "Friends"? I get the sense that Frank Langella is emoting like crazy in this, but honestly, who can tell in that mask? By the way, the "cosmic key" is so central to the plot here, I'd be curious to know what ELSE He-man and Skeletor actually fight about in the cartoon.

    1. My favorite thing about MotU is that Langella really loved his character and has repeatedly called it one of his favorite roles. Most actors would see it as a paycheck, he did it for the love of the craft!

  13. Breakin' (1984)

    A strong contender for the most 80s movie ever made.

    Kelly is a gifted dancer but she's torn between the serious, respectable world of Broadway/music video dancing and the dangerous, unruly world of street dancing, represented by Ozone and Turbo, two spunky dudes with the moves to match their spectacular clothes. The three of them need to learn to put aside their differences in order to take the LA dance scene by storm, one ferocious dance battle at a time, all to the tune of big-sounding 80s pop and rap (featuring young Ice-T on the mic, in person, in multiple club dance-off scenes).

  14. Sinbad of the Seven Seas (1989)
    If there was ever a movie that checked off nearly everything that I’m looking for in a movie, it would be this, which is an even better sequel to Luigi’s Cozzi’s Hercules than The Aventures of Hercules.

    I knew that I would love it from the moment it started with an image of Edgar Allen Poe and the claim that it was based on his story The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade, even though that’s complete bullshit. God bless the filmmakers of my people. I mean, both stories have a hot air balloon, so I guess that’s good enough.

    Daria Nicoliodi plays a mother reading a bedtime story to her daughter and prepare yourself for Italian to English dubbing. She tells her of how Jaffar (John Steiner) has taken over the city of Basra from its kindly caliph (Donald Hodson). He’s put Princess Alina (Alessandra Martines) into captivity until she agrees to marry him instead of Prince Ali (Roland Wybenga) and you know, normally I wouldn’t ask if they were brother and sister but this is an Italian movie.

    Sinbad (Ferrigno) and his crew — which includes Ali, Japanese (or Chinese but definitely Asian because he quotes Confucius and dressed in kabuki gear) warrior Cantu (Haruhiko Yamanouchi), the small Poochie (Cork Hubbert), the cook (Cannon utility fielder Yehuda Efroni) and a viking (Ennio Girolami) — sail on in to town and are captured by the soldiers they once called friends.

    What follows are a series of episodic moments — which makes sense, seeing as how these were all going to be episodes of the TV show — like Hercules tying snakes into a ladder to escape a trap, an attack by the undead Legion of Darkness, a battle with rock monsters, Amazons that act like sirens and nearly kill the entire crew before Sinbad exposes the true nature of Queen Farida (Melonee Rodgers), the Ghost King and Knights of the Isle of the Dead, a Swamp Thing looking beast known as the Lord of Darkness and finally a battle between a good and evil Sinbad that uses the same laser effects that Cozzi throws into all of his movies and we’re all the better for it.

    Man, there’s so much more, like Hercules meeting his true love Kira (Stefania Girolami Goodwin) and escaping the Isle of the Dead by inflating a hot air balloon by blowing into it like he’s Jon Milk Thor. There’s also a great villainess by the name of Soukra who is played by the muscle-bound Teagan Clive, who we all know as the Alienator.

    This movie is non-stop fun, featuring scenes where Ferrigno bursts out of chains, throws dudes into alligator-filled pits, fights himself, defeats a laser trap, beats up numerous monsters and rips out a zombie’s heart, which has a face on it, and squeezes it while it screams.

    Sinbad was intended to be a kid TV show, remember, so you may be surprised to know that this is an Italian movie through and through with blood, guts, impaling and all sorts of muck. It also looks like the cast is having an absolute blast filming it with everyone going over the top. I’d love to have had this be a full series, just like how Yor Hunter from the Future has even more Yor once you track down that miniseries.

    Full article:

    Five-part interview with The Cannon FIlm Guide author Austin Trunick:

    To catch up on the 145 — so far! — Cannon reviews on the site:

  15. Lifeforce (1985)

    I just could not settle on what I wanted to watch today. So I just rewatched Lifeforce because it rules.

  16. THE NAKED CAGE (1986, dir. Paul Nicholas)

    I was hoping to watch two films in for today, but it was just not going to happen. In any case, I was very happy with my lone watch.

    If you like your women-in-prison films trashy and super sleazy, The Naked Cage should be right up your alley. It begins as a crime spree story and makes a quick transition to the prison action as a young woman faces doing time. Kudos to this prison for offering designer uniforms with matching earrings to the inmates. There is a great hair stylist there, as well. In any case, the film offers the typical menu of corrupt officials, fights, showers, Lesbian attraction, and criminal shenanigans for the genre. The cast put a lot of energy into their performances, particularly Angel Thompkins as the warden and Christina Whittaker (a very Lethal Lady) as the violent inmate on top of the prison food chain. For me, a film like this is what Junesploitation is all about.

  17. Runaway Train (1985). Jail escape turns into a thrill ride on a runaway train. As others have said, the one criminal is one of the most annoying people ever, but otherwise very enjoyable. I was hoping annoying guy would get launched from the train at one point. One of my favourite things is that it's set in Alaska and there are lots of scenes of the train just flying through the wilderness.