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.