1/16/2020

Slash (1984)

Slash (1984)- * * *

Directed by: Jun Gallardo

Starring: Rom Kristoff, Gwendolyn Hung, Nick Nicolson, and Mike Monty




“KONG SEN!!!!!!” – Slash








Starting during the Vietnam War, Peter “Slash” Harris (Rom) and Major Andrew Scott (Mike Monty, not to be confused with Dolph in Universal Soldier) are buddies during the thick of the fighting. Later on in life, Scott becomes a CIA agent. He works with a woman named Barbara (Hung), and they go between Cambodia and Thailand fighting the commies. After Barbara steals some secret KGB files from a hidden safe, she’s kidnapped by baddies. Scott’s reaction is only natural: he calls Slash to go and rescue her and/or the files. As a one-man fighting force, Slash proceeds to mow down countless faceless nameless bad guys along the way. Will Slash be saying “welcome to the jungle”? Find out today…


Like the other Jun Gallardo films we’ve seen, Slash has a lot of what you might call “third-world charm”. We’ve mentioned this in other reviews, especially for the films by Arizal (who’s a heck of a lot more talented than Gallardo in our opinion), but the main gist is this: making an action movie under near-impoverished conditions didn’t stop them from giving it their all. Gallardo probably figured that he couldn’t deliver deep dialogue exchanges and well-thought-out plot developments to audiences, so he’d make up for it with non-stop machine gun-shooting and explosions. 




From the second the movie appears on the screen, there are shooting and blow-ups, and it basically doesn’t relent from there on in. Of course, this is yet another jungle-set exploding hut movie, where lush, verdant settings are torched into oblivion and an inexhaustible supply of uniformed assailants are continually mowed down.


There’s so much smoke on screen at the outset, the white titles are not legible to the audience. Did the filmmakers not notice this during the editing process? Anyway, all our Philippines-set regulars are here: Mike Monty, Nick Nicholson, and the rest of the gang. As our stand in for Rambo, we have Rombo – Rom Kristoff. It’s enjoyable to watch him scream, shoot machine guns, and scream while he shoots machine guns. 



His rocket launchers inexplicably make a laser noise when fired, and there is a memorable exploding helicopter along the way. Naturally, guard towers blow up and huts blow up. The villain of the piece doesn’t show up until way late into the proceedings. He should have been around earlier so as to set up the good guy-bad guy dynamic and tension. 



While not in any sense a bad movie, Slash doesn’t do much to separate itself from the pack as far as these exploding hutters go. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really stand out from the crowd even though, as noted earlier, clearly a lot of time and work went into the non-stop action scenes. 

If you just can’t get enough of this type of stuff, Slash will satisfy your machine-guns-in-the-jungle craving. However, those seeking substance or something different may come away disappointed. But the third-world charm remains.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty 


1/09/2020

Instant Death (2017)

Instant Death (2017)- * * *

Directed by: Ara Paiaya

Starring: Lou Ferrigno and Jerry Anderson












Finally in civilian life after a lifetime in the military, vet John Bradley (Ferrigno) is having a hard time adjusting after leaving the Special Forces. He feels reconnecting with his daughter and his granddaughter would do him a world of good towards that end, so he flies from New York to the UK to be with them. 

Unfortunately, Bradley was in the wrong place at the wrong time, as he inadvertently witnesses some of the bad dealings of uber-baddie Razor (Anderson) and his drug gang. In order to get to him, Razor sadistically goes after certain members of the Bradley family in some truly horrible ways (we won’t give anything away).


Now on a no-holds-barred mission of revenge, John Bradley reverts to his old ways – fighting is the only thing he knows. Thankfully, he knows it well and he’s using his “particular set of skills” to take out the trash of London’s underworld. With the police and military after him as well as the gangster baddies, will John Bradley be able to deliver INSTANT DEATH?


Thank goodness for Taken (2008). Not only is it a fantastic movie in its own right, it single-handedly made it acceptable for aging stars to return to – or join for the first time - the action fray. The term “GeriAction” seems to have been coined shortly after the release of The Expendables (2010), and everyone from Liam Neeson to Clint Eastwood to Sean Penn have been showing young whippersnappers that with age comes experience…fighting experience!



With that in mind, it was only a matter of time before Lou Ferrigno became involved. Instant Death has a lot going for it: a simple and effective revenge plot that unfolds quickly over its 80-minute running time, Lou puts on a revenge outfit and proceeds to decimate the entire baddie population, and Razor is a really bad baddie. All the ingredients are there. But why – why – must they use so much CGI?


If they were going for a gritty 80’s vibe, why not use squibs, practical effects, and real fire? That would have been so much cooler! Correct us if we’re wrong, but did we see a CGI train? The movie already has a low-budget, down n’ dirty look (which is completely fine by us and not at all a criticism), but the CGI effects were a wet blanket for us. Not so much that we didn’t enjoy the movie on the whole, but we couldn’t help but think it would have been more satisfying for the viewers without it.


Much like how Robert Rusler saved Air Strike (2002), Lou Ferrigno does the same thing here. (That must be why you read this site; you’re not going to see a sentence like that anywhere else). Sure, the fight choreography came off as a little stiff at times, but undoubtedly this is a career-best performance from Lou. He must have been thrilled to get the call to be in this movie, and he really gives it his all. It was a joy to watch his lumbering, Schwarzenegger-esque fighting and line deliveries. 

Let’s face it, the idea of Lou Ferrigno in a revenge movie against London gangsters is pure gold. We’re super happy this was made.

Despite our anti-CGI stance, we applaud director Paiaya and the rest of the cast and crew for carrying this movie off. You could tell they were striving for something good and Instant Death overall is a satisfying watch.

Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett