10/18/2017

Cyber-Tracker 2 (1995)

Cyber-Tracker 2 (1995)- * * *

Directed by: Richard Pepin

Starring: Don "The Dragon" Wilson, Anthony De Longis, Stacie Foster, Tony Burton, Nils Allen Stewart, Steve Burton, Peggy McIntaggart, Jim Maniaci, and John Kassir











Fan favorite Don “The Dragon” Wilson is back cybertracking once again for the explosive sequel which is classic PM and classic 90’s. This time around, Eric Phillips (Don), a Secret Service agent in an L.A. of the near future, has his hands full when a super-evil baddie named Morgan (De Longis) creates “Kill-Trackers” in his underground lair (judging by other PM movies such as Executive Target, PM really loves baddies with underground lairs). Morgan has twisted cyber-tracker technology for his own evil ends. He even goes so far as to make Kill-Trackers that are doppelgangers of Eric and his wife Connie (Foster), who proceed to rampage around the city killing everyone in sight, including plenty of cops. The husband-and-wife duo is now on the run and fighting for their lives, so they team up with the loopy Tripwire (Kassir), the solid Swain (Tony Burton) and awesome-dude Jared (Steve Burton, probably no relation to Tony). There’s a good-guy ‘Tracker named #9 (Maniaci) who looks nothing like Robocop. Will our heroes stop the chaos and destruction? Will Eric get home in time to finish his leftover Pizza Hut pizza? Find out today!


Cyber-Tracker 2 is fast-paced fun and a near-constant stream of shooting, blow-ups, fights, and car chases. It’s PM doing what PM does best. There are even multiple iterations of their trademark “car flipping over another flaming car and blowing up in the middle of the street” stunt which we all love and enjoy. And the movie wouldn’t be complete without at least one exploding helicopter. It all starts with a great warehouse-set counterfeit-money-deal-gone-wrong which not only includes copious amounts of gun-blasting and explosions, but – because it’s the future – LASERS as well. You know you’re in for a treat when you see the lasers come out.


You also know you’re in for something special when you see noted meathead Nils Allen Stewart and his hairstyle – completely bald except for a braided rattail. He then proceeds to get into a fight with Don and we’re on our way to total entertainment. Don is as likable as ever, and De Longis as Morgan puts in a wonderfully scene-chewing performance as the over-the-top bad guy. Don even has some rather deep conversations with his wife, who, perhaps presciently, doesn’t trust cyber technology. That causes conflict because not only does #9 save Don’s life, their holographic maid (is that what she is?) from the first movie, Agnes (McIntaggart) returns, who makes their lives easier and better. Don even tutors a young girl in Martial Arts, who proceeds to strap on a VR helmet and kick the heads off of cyber-ninjas (or, to be precise, virtual ninjas). If this doesn’t scream 90’s, we don’t know what does.



Naturally, this reminded us of Comeuppance Classic The Protector (1999), which also had a robotic female helper, in that case named Gertrude, and also featured VR ninjas. But Cyber-Tracker 2 has at least two things The Protector doesn’t – exploding Mr. Potato heads (made of plastic explosive), complete with the yellow glasses, and an evil Kill-Tracker made in Morgan’s lab that strongly resembles This Old House star Bob Vila. This fearsome creature can only be described as “CyberVila”. Unfortunately, CyberVila doesn’t get as much screen time as he so richly deserved. It’s never too late for Cyber-Tracker 3, however. We think Lou Diamond Phillips could be involved.


When you get right down to it, movies like Cyber-Tracker 2 are what this site is all about – classic 90’s DTV with explosions galore and a VR-infused ‘gotta love the 90’s’ vibe. Long live Don “The Dragon” Wilson, long live real, non-CGI explosions, and long live PM! We remain your humble servants, and thank you for all the enjoyment you’ve provided over the years.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty

Also check out write-ups from our buddies: DTVC and The Video Vacuum!

10/11/2017

Apocalypse Mercenaries (1987)

Apocalypse Mercenaries (1987)- * *1\2

Directed by: Leandro Lucchetti

Starring: Karl Landgren and Vassili Karis












During World War II, a special team is assembled to fight the Nazis, their mission eventually leading them to a cave in Yugoslavia where they are to find and kill more Nazis. There’s Felipe Hierro (Landgren), the musclebound Rambo guy with heavy duty weaponry, Abraham Bridges, the explosives expert who blows up bridges just for practice, whose nickname is Priest because he carries around a Bible and makes up verses of his own, Mikhail Hertz, a surgeon who is also a German translator, Liam O’Connell, AKA Flyer, who can fly any plane and also is a radio expert. They’re all commanded by Captain Tony Hale (Karis), whose nickname is simply “Mister”. Along the way they get into plenty of scrapes with the baddies, but will their unique brand of teamwork win the day – and World War II? 


The whole thing starts with a montage of shooting and blow-ups from this, and perhaps other, movies, then begins the beloved “assembling a team” structure we all know and love. It was nice seeing that during WWII, which we don’t see too often. Speaking of that, Karl Landgren as Hierro was the type of guy we’re used to seeing in the 80’s – a meatheaded, unkillable hero with big guns and snappy one-liners – but this time he appears in the 1940’s. So that was nice to see. In other words, instead of an Italian jungle-set Vietnam movie, just relocate that to WWII, and there you have it.


While there are plenty of blow-ups, shootings, and guys with flamethrowers, there are also some moments that are underlit and hard to see. Also, there are slow moments – we think this is because our heroes are fighting random, faceless Nazis, and there’s no one, lead, super-evil baddie. There should have been one of those to help focus their mission. Consequently, there are scenes where not much happens, which are interrupted by other scenes of one of the heroes looking through binoculars and seeing footage from another movie. But there is some nice cinematography in the current footage, and the Stelvio Cipriani score, as usual for him, enhances the proceedings.



At least the heroes have their own, individual personalities, which lead to some pleasantly quirky moments. Perhaps the best is when the elderly troop leader, commanding our heroes from a secret bunker, gets confused and demands to know, and we quote, “what the fradge is going on”. It’s a reasonable request and one that we all have the right to know. Perhaps it’s like a cross between a refrigerator and fudge.


After the film came out in 1987 and had a subsequent VHS release in 1988, it only came out in various European territories and, of course, Japan. It never had a U.S. release at the time, but came out here only in 2009 when it was featured on the very confusingly-titled “Inglorious Bastards 2 Hell Heroes 4 Inglorious Film Collection”, put out by Video Asia. This is the same company that released the similar “Mercs” box set, and the quality level is about the same. We’re not complaining about that, because VHS quality never bothered us (we actually treasure it), and we’re lucky to see these rare films to begin with. Like a lot of the other movies in these collections, it has Japanese subtitles. Speaking of that, the Japanese VHS box art  strongly features Karl Landgren as the main star/hero in the fashion of the 80’s, and downplays (if not downright erases) the team aspect of it all. Perhaps they were hoping Landgren would become the next George Nichols.


In the end, Apocalypse Mercenaries is fine, decent, not bad, and fairly middle of the road. It won’t blow your mind like an exploding hut, but you certainly won’t hate it either. It has enough good moments to keep it afloat, and fits in well with other Italian-made, low-budget war epics of similar ilk.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty