Sunday, December 6, 2009

Review: The Legend of Billie Jean

For one of the more popular films from the 1980's (popular enough to be able to be featured on VH1's "I Love The 80's 3D"), it is sad that this film hasn't recieved a DVD release, especialy since we are already at the dawn of a new generation which uses a new medium - the blu-ray disc (though Helen Slater has said she had recorded a commentary for the film). The film is "The Legend of Billie Jean" and is one of the better films of the 1980's.

The plot revolves around Billie Jean and her brother, Binx (Christian Slater). One day, a bunch of teenagers decide to investigate the situation and mess with Binx's most loved possession: his motor bike. The situation gets out of control and the teens steal the bike. After going to law enforcement, Binx gets the bike himself - though the bike is in poor condition and Binx is all bloodied up. Peacefully, Billie goes to the shop which the teen which stole the bike works and presented a bill of $608. After refusing, the teen gets a kick in the nuts and the father comes in. Billie tries to talk to the father, only learning that he wanted her to do him sex favors for the cash. Binx and company come into the store and find the hidden gun in the cash register and in a tight situation, Binx shoots the father.

All she wants is the $605. Fair is Fair. And through the goose chase to capture her, Billie Jean will become an outlaw legend if there ever was one.

This is a rocking movie. You got such artists as Pat Benatar and Billy Idol on the soundtrack - very good rock singers from diffrent genres, specificaly punk in the case of Billy. The acting is great. There is just so much gold in this film. Plus, with me being sixteen, I like the teen angst message of the film which goes hand in hand with the "fair is fair" theme.

First, I got to talk about Hellen Slater. She was nominated for an award for her preformance in "Supergirl", which was her first theatrical feature. She seems to be a golden child when it comes to preformance. In this film, it is no exception. She gives a great preformance. She is like an 1980's Megan Fox, except she can act unlike Miss Fox. Christian Slater is also in this film, and his character is so unlike anything else he has done. I have seen him in "Interview with the Vampire" and even the awful Uwe Boll film "Alone In The Dark" and this is just diffrent for him, but he does a good job for early work. I also found the includion of Keith Gordon very nice, especialy since I love him in John Carpenter's "Christine", based on the Stephen King book. Very nice.

The direction - specificaly the camera angles - leave some to be desired. But it gets the story through. The script is awesome with it's themes and such. Though there is no real allegory - only themes - there is a nice message to the film. And the music score is heavily influenced by the Benatar contribution, but that is alright.

I give this film a 8/10. The pacing is slow once you hit the one hour mark, but it picks up. Very awesome film which I hope gets released soon.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Review: Remo Williams - The Adventure Begins (1985)

I remember when I first saw this film. It was on most probably the worst but yet best night of my life (that was not related to kaiju eiga). The thing that made it the best/worst part of the night was me seeing for the first time the film "John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness", a film which royally screwed me up. Though I did see a film before that, one which my late father decided to show me. And out of all of the negative things he did in the past, this kind of makes up for it. This has to be one of the most underrated films from the 80’s, underrated because people compare it to the book series it is based on so much. The film is "Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins".

The film starts with the abrupt death of a cop. Turns out that though he is legally dead, the cop - renamed Remo Williams (a name assembled from the bottom of a bed pan) is actually alive, having gone through massive plastic surgery. He is now part of a small organization of four people. Their mission: right the wrongs which American bureaucrats and company owners do. Their particular mission for the year of 1985? Stopping an arms dealer for the US army who is making faulty equipment and is messing around with the Star Wars program.
I am going to say it right now, this blog may be hated since I love a lot of bad films. This is one of them. And as I said, this film is hated because people really think this film failed when being a film adaptation of the novels it is based on, "The Destroyer" series. But having never read the aforementioned book series, it has helped my appreciation for the film.

When it comes to acting, it is really an all star cast if you like cult entertainment. We have Fred Ward doing martial arts. Fred Ward is famous most for his appearances in the TREMORS series, ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ, and a cameo in JOE DIRT. Joel Gray, an award winning businessman who has worn many, many hats in the entertainment industry is under heavy make up to convincingly portray the Korean master of Shinanju (a fictional martial arts). We have Kate Mulgrew, who is most famous for playing Capt. Janeway on STAR TREK: VOYAGER. We got other people - character actors mostly. The guy who Donald Pleasence (playing as Dr. Loomis) chews out at the beginning of "Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers" makes an appearance in this film. The fat guy with glasses who is in the film THE FIRM with Gene Hackman and Tom Cruise and those diabetes testing supply commercials is in this film. . The actors all act in a fairly well manner. Nothing is unrealistic but nothing is exactly noteworthy, unless you love Joel Gray’s acting as the Korean master Chuin. There are accouple of more faces, but let’s get on with the review.

The plot is basically a spy film. There is nothing too original in the film, except that the "spy" figure in this film is more martial arts-oriented, kind of like Bruce Lee from "Enter the Dragon". But there are some sweet parts of the film. I have to give kudos to the scene in which hit men have to try to kill Remo atop of the Statue of Liberty. Another scene I would have to give kudos to is when Remo attempts to tackle a giant contraption which tests one’s ability to balance themselves and endure jumping and last but not least, heights. The last scene which I must give kudos for is the scene which Remo, with some help, tries to sneak into a warehouse holding a rather strange satellite for the Star Wars program.

The score for the film is one of the more original parts of the film. It is, to put it, just awesome. Defiantly containing some synthesizer pieces, the rhythm and style of the music really do give heart to a lot of scenes of the film. The opening theme is one of the best I have heard which doesn’t get stuck in your head. Sadly no one on youtube as posted it yet…

The only real negative I can find with the film would have to be the pacing. The film is 2 hours long, and I bet that you could cut a good 15 minutes out. There’s nothing too spectacular about the film but there is nothing that is bad.

Overall, it is a good film to watch if you want something different, though do not be expecting too much. 4/5.