INFERNO (1999)

I think the movie’s tagline says it all…

“Left for Dead. Burning for Revenge…”

I get chills just thinking about it. That and the fact this was brought to us by the same guy who made a squeaky voiced Ralph Macchio roar.

This is how we meet our hero…

Drunk and passed out. You can’t see it, but his motorcycle is crumpled up in a heap somewhere off in the distance. Maybe it was written in the script but something tells me this is just JCVD being JCVD.

Its now occured to me that the movie’s tagline “Left for dead…” isn’t exactly true. More like “Wasted Loser Life, Might Get Up Later.”

The other thing we establish very quickly is that JCVD’s best friend is a guy named Johnny Sixtoes. No one questions this last name, they just plow into the story as if we all didn’t just hear one of the silliest names in movie history.

As the movie will explain to you (through the ramblings of a drunk JCVD) he’s here in the middle of nowhere to drink himself to death over his actions while serving in the Army. Honoring his Army training, he recklessly fires shots in the air, which makes Johnny Sixtoes disappear (the name stays though) and a group of guys in a truck appears upset about JCVD’s inability to understand gun safety.

What follows is flareups of tempers and conflict that could have easily been avoided had these guys just driven away from the gunfire. But that would have been a blissfully short movie and we would have watched another 75 minutes of JCVD slobbering unconsciously.

If there’s one thing this movie has that other Van Damme movies don’t is that Jean-Claude is rocking a cowboy hat for most of it. He clearly really likes himself in said hat, because once its on, he seems reluctant to be without it.

Guns, grenades and cowboy hats….Van Damme for President 2016.

It should be mentioned…

Mr. Miyagi is in this. His role in this movie is useless, which is fantastic because its long been forgotten and he can remain a cherished icon of our childhoods. Instead, he works at a dumpy diner with this little love interest (van DAMN!)

Her acting is genuine – it says, “I’m playing a character that doesn’t know she’s supposed to kiss Jean Claude Van Damme later.”

Johnny Sixtoes comes back. He’s also Danny Trejo, pretending we don’t remember his name is actually Johnny Sixtoes.

He hangs out, soothes Jean Claude’s ego and then disappears into the night. God bless you Johnny Sixtoes. I’m hoping for the sequel where we meet his wife, Susie Fourthumbs.

You would think this movie would be about JCVD overcoming his suicidal guilt Army thoughts, but no, its just about him getting back at the guys who got mad at him for almost shooting them. So his plan of attack is, kill the guys and have Hot Waitress and Mr. Miyagi help dispose of the bodies, making this one of the darkest movies I’ve watched for this blog (please keep in mind I sat through two Insane Clown Posse productions).

I realize JCVD wants us to know that he’s a formidable force for good, but when you garble out dialog and insist on wearing cowboy hats that are too big for your head, it just defeats the purpose.

Man loves his hat. Not much else you can say about it.

He does take it off from time to time though…

Because its extremely hard to do a roundhouse kick in one. If Chuck Norris has mastered it, then he’s not showing it nor talking about it.

The lesson we learn from this is that if you’re depressed, do whatever makes you feel better. If someone has a problem with it, feel free to introduce them to Sonny & Cher (aka your fists).

“You guys, I’m really working my way through the grumpies. Thanks!”

Better than therapy, albeit way more messy. No word on how Mr. Miyagi and Johnny Sixtoes coping skills have held up.

Thoughts? Feel free to discuss in the comments or on our Facebook page or Twitter.

CYBORG 2 (1993)

I had heard of Cyborg, the quiet underappreciated performance of Jean Claude Van Damme. I had NOT heard of Cyborg 2, which is beyond me given that Angelina Jolie stars in it. Why doesn’t she talk about it?

Oh, there’s a reason. A big stinky messy reason why….

The good news about Cyborg 2 is that you can watch it without having seen Cyborg. That’s right – the rare sequel that shrugs when you ask about the plot or the Cyborg canon. It doesn’t matter. Cue it up…

JCVD doesn’t mind at all

Since I can’t give a simple explanation of the plot, I’ll let Wikipedia do the work for me….

“In the year 2074, the cybernetics market is dominated by two rival companies: USA’s Pinwheel Robotics and Japan’s Kobayashi Electronics. Cyborgs are commonplace, used for anything from soldiers to prostitutes.
Casella Reese is a prototype cyborg developed for corporate espionage and assassination. She is filled with a liquid explosive called Glass Shadow. Pinwheel plans to eliminate the entire Kobayashi board of directors by using Casella.
Casella is programmed to mimic human senses and emotions such as fear, love, pain and hate. Guided by the renegade prototype cyborg Mercy, who can communicate through any electronic device, she and her combat trainer Colton Ricks escape the Pinwheel facility so she can avoid self-destruction, something that most corporate espionage cyborgs face. They’re relentlessly pursued by Pinwheel’s hired killer, Daniel Bench.”

None of those words made any sense to me before I saw the movie. Then I saw the movie. These words still do not make sense.  So if any of you stop me on the street and ask me what Cyborg 2 was about, I’m just going to give you the plot synopsis for Tomb Raider 2: The Cradle of Life.

I’m not saying Angelina Jolie isn’t a good actress – she is. She also has something I don’t which is a few Academy Award nominations and the ability to look good in a pair of horns. This film seemed to be her finding her way, deciding on her style.

Which was to make this face the whole time…

and this…

 

You can’t accuse Angelina of not trying. She clearly is.

This is the other main character of this film. The casting call read “A Jean Claude Van Damme type. If Jean Claude doesn’t show up, then someone with the similar hairline.”

Clearly, this guy was the first to show up in the casting office.

His acting style said “Women are generally very impressed with me. I think.”

Look, I know by this point, you’re asking, “What about the hot cyborg action?”

Well…

There’s not much.

Angelina Jolie trusts Hairline McTanktop to save her from self destruction. People are mildly concerned about it.

Although this explosion does happen.

And Angelina still gets to make this face….

Especially when she’s being manhandled…

Seeing this never made me wish for a big musical number to break out more.

Lets talk about the best part of this movie.

You’d think it was the endless board meetings this movie schedules us in for, but you’d be wrong. Although, in the future, things actually get done during meetings.

You might also think it was one of the times (there wasn’t many) when Angelina did spring into action and lightly graze a guy in the upper chest. The sound effect it made was way worse.

You might also think it was one of the many times this movie liberally borrowed from The Terminator, but you would be wrong.

Here is the best thing about this movie….

Jack Palance doing his best to out Jack Palance himself. Which he succeeds gloriously.

This screenshot of Jack Palance standing next to the Mona Lisa makes me want to frame it, then hang it up next to the actual Mona Lisa. That’s how much of a treasure he and his performance in Cyborg 2 is.

Once you introduce Jack Palance in a scene, every scene that doesn’t feature him, makes you miss him.

You know how I know that the future is in good hands? Because Jack Palance is handling it.

Because of him, Angelina takes a moment, and breaks out of pretty face and gives it her all.

Meanwhile, Rogaine McManCleavage tries to save the world. He’s kind of successful.

Not successful enough though…

Try all you want, Malcolm McDowell, you’re no match for this face…

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