Chopping Mall

“Where shopping can cost you an arm and a leg.”

Made in 1986 and blending themes from science-fiction and slasher films this is honestly one of my favorite movies. The poster art, the plot and the title are very reminiscent of the young adult book series Fear Street by R. L. Stine.

The Park Place Mall is the cutting edge in security. Patrolled by 3 security robots at night equipped with tasers, lasers and plastic explosives. The entrances are also sealed off by super titanium walls or some such nonsense. Some teenagers who work at a few of the various establishments decide to have an after hours party in the furniture store. Drinking and boning in the showroom beds is the plan. Unfortunately the same night lightning strikes the master computer on the roof causing the robots to malfunction and go on a murderous rampage.
They may be having technical difficulties but the killbots haven’t lost their sense of humor or irony. Uttering, “Thank you. Have a nice day,” every time they kill someone is proof of that.

Linda: “I guess I’m just not used to being chased around a mall in the middle of the night by killer robots.”

Among some of the famous faces in this awesomely bad movie are Kelli Maroney from Night of the Comet and Barbara Crampton. Like her role in Re-Animator Barbara Crampton shows her boobs and has a subsequent breakdown when shit starts to hit the fan. If I was a preteen boy in the ’80s I would’ve had such a huge boner for Babs. Unlike her co-star Suzee Slater, Barbara has nice yabos.

Rick: “Let’s go send those fuckers a Rambo-gram.”

One of the first to die is a janitor played by Dick Miller who has been in almost everything and, I fear, is vastly under appreciated. The worst thing in the entire movie has to be the insufferable gum chewing Mike. A walking stereotype who whose final word is “Dude.” Next to go is his equally terrible girlfriend Leslie (the aforementioned Suzee Slater), a living Barbie doll who doesn’t allow cunnilingus.

Ferdy: “What’s that?”
Rick: “Robot blood.”

The formula for this movie seems to be, “You’ll only survive the night if your significant other does.”

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The Stuff

“Are you eating it…..or is it eating you?”

With a DVD cover reminiscent of a Fear Street book the Stuff is a 1985 horror movie in the spirit of the Blob and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. This movie has one of the best trailers of all time. Beware, the annoying commercial’s theme song might get stuck in your head. There’s actually a lot of reputable actors in this movie. Garrett Morris, Paul Sorvino, Danny Aiello, Patrick O’Neal, Michael Moriarty, Andrea Marcovicci, and Abe Vigoda.

Ice Cream Dude #1: “Are you sure we want to get mixed up with industrial spies?”

Ice Cream Dude #2: “Yes, I suppose we do have to keep the world safe for ice cream.”

A man sees some white goop bubbling out of the ground a’la the Bog of Eternal Stench and decides he’s gonna eat some. Surprise! It’s delicious! Now it’s the yummiest food in existence and the world can’t get enough of the Stuff.

Trouble is it turns you into….a zombie type thing. Sorta. Don’t get all excited because I’m not talking Romero-esque zombies here people. Director Larry Cohen was going for an Invasion of the Body Snatchers type of secret hijacking of an individual’s conscienceness and being taken over by an alien entity.

The best part in the movie is when Jason, an 8 year old boy who’s one of the few people who knows the truth about the Stuff, goes berserk in a grocery store. Sadly his destruction of the supermarket displays doesn’t last long enough. And where the hell did he get that baseball bat from anyway???

There’s multiple locations and displays of the Stuff in the grocery store scene mentioned above, take-out franchises, street corner vendors, one character almost gets run over in another scene by the Stuff van. Finally being sold like drugs by seedy dealers at the end. Fail.

Moe: “Everybody has to eat shaving cream once in awhile.”

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Dragonball: Evolution

“The first rule is…there are no rules.”

For the record I was never a Dragonball fan. My brother, however, was obsessed with it so I know a good deal about it. When I first heard about a live-action Dragonball movie I was as ecstatic as I’m sure my brother was horrified. The very idea is just laughable to me.

So many questions. Why would anyone attempt such a thing? Why is Goku an American teenager in high school? Where are the dinosaurs?

When it comes to movies based off of comics casting is real important to us fan freaks.

Justin Chatwin (who was also the lead in another terrible movie the Invisible) plays Goku. He does have a slight anime’ish profile and I appreciate how Hair&Makeup tried to make his hair spiky. He’s the weird outcast at school. Goku has no friends and has to suffer the abuse of bullies.

Chi Chi is played by Jamie Chung from the Real World: San Diego. Chi Chi is the rich popular girl, dating the football player. Goku admires her from afar, unbeknownst to him that they share the same secret.

Chi Chi: “You used your ki.”
Goku: “Wait. You know about ki?”
Chi Chi: “Just because my name is Chi Chi doesn’t make me a complete idiot.”

Serious Dragonball fans must have freaked when they watched this movie. The plot, the characters, the crappy dialogue. It truly is a treasure trove of bad quotes, especially if you have a juvenile sense of humor.

Bulma: “This can detect and locate the signature wavelengths emitted by the dragonballs.”

Emmy Rossum is pretty cute as Bulma and I suppose she is the most similar to her manga counterpart. Hair&Makeup let me down in her case. They must have been like, “Eh, we won’t dye all your hair sky blue. Just one little streak of blue should be enough.”

Then there’s Chow Yun-Fat as Master Roshi. No white beard, no bald head, no sea turtle. He does however wear a tropical Hawaiian shirt which, I believe, he had a penchant for. How did Chow get talked into this mess? I have to wonder…

Master Roshi: “Believe it, punk. You are getting your clock cleaned.”

Yamcha speaks his lines with a horrible ’80s surfer/Bill & Ted affect. Puar sadly is nowhere to be seen. No adorable floating blue cat creature in sight. Sifu Norris (who I know absolutely nothing about) is the one and only Ernie Hudson.

“Hey. We still have our Dragonballs.”

The thing that gets me the most is James Marsters (otherwise known as Spike from the Buffy TV show) is Lord Piccolo. The concept itself is so upsetting to me it borders on blasphemy. I didn’t even recognize him with all the green makeup. No white turban or antennae.

My favorite part of the movie is when Master Roshi resuscitates Goku via Kame-Hame-Ha to the chest. A muscle spasm subsequently causes Goku to do an impressive dancer’s crotch thrust.

Goku: “To be at one with myself, I must be two. [Screaming] [Roars]”

I also mightily enjoyed Goku’s final Kame-Hame-Ha, sounding as if he has constipation, that finishes off Lord Piccolo and saves the Earth.

Or so it would appear.

The end credits start. Some random J-pop song is playing. I see, “Executive Producer Akira Toriyama” appear on the screen and my brain explodes. What?? How could Akira let this happen? How could he have had a hand in creating this garbage?

But it’s not over yet. Halfway through the credits there’s another scene where it’s revealed that *dramatic reverb* Piccolo survived and is being nursed back to health. Do I smell a sequel??? I hope they put Vegeta and his massive eyebrows in the next one.

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Dragon Wars

Let me just say that whoever edited the trailer for this film is a genius.

The story goes something like this. Ethan (Jason Behr) is a a dude living in Los Angeles and Robert Forster, who plays an antique store owner, told him when he was a kid that he’s some reincarnated warrior who has to protect some Yuh-Yi-Joo, a reincarnated princess chick, from Buraki. Buraki is just an evil Imoogi with an army of dinosaur type creatures right now but if he eats the Yuh-Yi-Joo he’ll become a celestial dragon and I guess destroy the planet or some other such nonsense. It almost sounds like something out of DragonBall Z.

My favorite part is when Robert Forster tells the young Ethan the legend of the Imoogi, dragons in Korean mythology. The story is so rushed it’s no wonder the little boy doesn’t understand what the hell the weird antique store owner is talking about. Forster’s horrendous acting doesn’t help.
Bad casting, terrible acting, rushed screenplay, stiff dialogue, lame effects, stupid idea all around really. Director Shim Hyung-rae actually went over budget for the sake of the CGI. There’s a few laughable scenes with evil knights riding saddled dragon/dinosaur beasts, a failed attempt at an epic Lord of the Rings/Star Wars feel. Dragons with rocket launchers? Is that really necessary?

Another favorite part of mine is at the end when Sarah, the Yuh-Yi-Joo who Ethan’s been trying to save this whole time, dies and the good Imoogi doesn’t do anything about it. He’s like, “Yeeaah, I’m an all powerful celestial dragon now but I’m not gonna bring your dead girlfriend back to life. Pfffffft.”

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Pocket Ninjas

“The fiercest fighting force under four feet.” That’s a lot of effs.

The poster art is extremely misleading. It’s even worse than it appears. Those aren’t even the ninja outfits they wear.
Not to be confused with that other early ’90s kids movie about the three kids who are crime fighting ninjas. This set of ninjas has a girl in the mix. *gasp* A curve ball.

Also like other films of this unique genre three preteens become Pocket Ninjas when their sensei gives them brightly painted masks and gives them a mission to bring down local mob boss Cubby Khan. For some reason these little idiots can’t figure out their sensei is the infamous crime fighting ninja White Dragon that’s been in the newspapers lately. The sensei is played by Gary Daniels who is an actual kick-boxing champion and in the upcoming live-action Tekken movie.

For a villain we get Cubby Khan who is possibly even younger than the Pocket Ninjas and whose idea of getting ready for a war is kicking the shit out of half his small group of henchmen. The majority of the movie is training and stretching montages with the same recycled footage to some really awful music.

The balloon factory fight scene has to be the worst piece of cinematography ever created. Apparently to get the sweet job of “Balloon Inflator” you have to be a clown. Robert Z’Dar as Cobra Khan actually bounces on one regular balloon and it doesn’t pop. The second sign of the apocalypse. You know who I’m talking about because him and his giant chin have been in EVERYTHING. Kudos to any director who can fit his entire punum in one frame.

This movie is absolutely ridiculous. In one scene the Pocket Ninjas roller skate up to some muggers and commence doing high kicks. It currently holds the number one spot on IMBd’s Bottom 100, a list of the worst films of all time. Trust me, it really deserve the ranking.

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