Directed by Ishiro Honda Starring Akira Takarada, Rhodes Reason, Mie Hama, Linda Miller, Hideyo Amamoto
Do you know what I haven’t had in a while? A proper bad movie night. Well, that’s what I could have answered yesterday.
UN Kongologists Carl Nelson (Reason) and Jiro Nomra (Takadara) are exploring the waters near Kong’s home on Mondo Island (Skull Island’s post-rebrand nomenclature, I guess,) in a submarine, accompanied by ship’s nurse Susan Watson (Miller). Meanwhile, the diabolical Dr Who (Amamoto) is building a robot Kong based on research stolen from Nelson, bankrolled by a never-specified Asian state which is represented by rubbish secret agent Madame X (Hama, whose character is apparently also known as Madame Piranha), who want him to use the robot to dig up a vast quantity of Element X to kickstart their nuclear programme.
Directed by Robert Schwenke Starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Jeff Daniels, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Zoë Kravitz, Maggie Q, Bill Skarsgård, Octavia Spencer and Naomi Watts
Having overthrown the fiendish academic oligarchy of Jeanine in Divergent and Insurgent, Tris (Woodley) and Four (James) find the city in the grip of a mania for frontier justice led by Four’s figuratively trigger-happy mother, Evelyn (Watts) and her literally trigger-happy goon Edgar (Jonny Weston), and opposed by almost-literal Earth mother Johanna (Spencer). Instead of signing on with the new order or attempting to moderate it, they opt to break out of the walled city of Chicago to accept the invitation left for them in the Divergent Box.
Directed by Uwe Boll (dive! dive!) Starring Christian Slater, Stephen Dorff and Tara Reid
Amnesiac PI and occult investigator Edward Carnby (Slater) discovers a relic of the Abkani civilisation. Some dude in shades tries to nick it, but after a running gun battle in the heart of Somewheresburg, he deciphers the text on the artefact and discovers… something something awakening.
“Live by the gun. Die by the gun. Come back for more.”
Directed by Andrew Goth Starring Wesley Snipes, Kevin Howarth, Riley Smith, Tanit Phoenix, Patrick Bergin, Diamond Dallas Page and Simona Brhlikova
A desert. A child in a bad wig hauling buckets of blood. A man on a horse. A body. A woman with an axe. A group of yellow-eyed, gunslinging cardinals re-enacting the opening sequence of Once Upon a Time in the West. Gruff, internal monologuing cowboy Aman (Snipes) apparently shoots four men with two shots, then rips one man’s head off.
Directed by Enik Bilal Starring Linda Hardy, Thomas Kretschmann, Charlotte Rampling, Frédéric Pierrot
New York, 2095. Central Park is an inapproachable ‘intrusion zone’ and a giant pyramid hovers over the futuristic skyline. Genetically altered humans live side by side with the unaltered, but as second class citizens, while political power resides with the CGI elite. When the Egyptian god Horus (Thomas M. Pollard) is sent to spend one last week on Earth before being executed for a crime that is never really specified, he inhabits the body of altered rights activist Nikopol (Kretschmann) – after blowing up several less acceptable bodies – and goes in search of Jill (Hardy) a white-skinned, blue-haired woman who is capable of bearing him a child.
Directed by George Dunning Starring Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Paul Angelis, John Clive, Dick Emery, Geoff Hughes, Lance Percival
When the psychadelic paradise of Pepperland is attacked by the Blue Meanies, the Lord Mayor (Emery) sends Young Fred (Percival) to recruit help. Travelling to Liverpool in a submersible vehicle of jaundiced hue, he gathers the four Beatles: John (Clive), Paul (Hughes), George (Peter Batten, uncredited) and Ringo (Angelis, whose brother would later take over from Ringo Starr as narrator of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends); not necessarily in that order.
Directed by Aleksander Bach Starring Rupert Friend, Hannah Ware, Zachary Quinto and Ciaran Hinds
Hitman began life as a series of successful computer games, in which the player controls Agent 47, the ‘perfect assassin’; six-four of shaven-headed, barcode tattooed white beefcake with the ability to disguise himself as a Chinese waiter. Using said mastery of disguise and an arsenal of weapons, the player must plan and execute an assassination to meet the terms of a contract. Some of the games have an ongoing plot i which a series of unconnected jobs add up to a conspiracy, but some are just a series of jobs, and their appeal is not story so much as the replay value inherent in trying various approaches to perfect each kill. The game series was first adapted into a movie in 2007. Hitman was a frankly appalling film in which 47 – played without engagement by Timothy Olyphant, fresh from critically acclaimed yet cancelled TV series Deadwood and with payments due on the mortgage – is betrayed by his superiors as part of an insanely moronic plot to seize control of Russia by treating the entire world as if they were idiots.
So, apparently someone at 20th Century Fox really believed in the potential of a Hitman movie, because despite a modest commercial success and critical mauling, and Timothy Olyphant going on record on the Nerdist podcast to confirm that bit about the mortgage, the collapse of a planned sequel, and the death of intended new Agent 47 Paul Walker, just eight years later they decided to reboot.
In this version, Agent 47 (Friend) is sent to assassinate the founder of the Agent programme, Petr Litvenko (Hinds) and his daughter, Katia Van Dees (Ware), for reasons that are never adequately explored, but possibly as part of a shadow war between two ideologically indistinguishable conspiracies. Katia is initially protected by international man of mystery John Smith (Quinto), before he is revealed as an agent for the Syndicate, the enemy of 47’s International Contracts Agency.
“We had twenty years to prepare. So did they.” or “We always knew they’d be back.” or “The last attack was just the first.”
Finally, a movie that knows how to tagline!
Directed by Roland Emmerich Starring Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Jessie T. Usher, Bill Pullman, Maika Monroe, William Fichtner, Sela Ward, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Deobia Oparei, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, Vivica A. Fox, Angelababy and Travis Tope
In 1996, Independence Day blew up the White House and changed the face of summer event cinema, for better and for considerably worse. It set a new standard in bombastic speeches and civic devastation, and was a lot of fun. It became the second highest grossing film of all time, propelled SF into the mainstream and made destroying major landmarks cool. A sequel was an absolute no-brainer.
Flash forward two decades…
The Late Sequel
Twenty years after the 4th July defeat of the alien invasion, Earth is putting the finishing touches to its hybrid-tech defence grid when a new threat appears in a mothership that puts down over the Atlantic like a planetary beret and tries to drill out the planet’s molten core.
Directed by John Landis Starring… Well, no one really.
This film is not so much a single film as a series of sketches, including news and current affairs parodies, mock advertisements and movie trailers and spoof pornography. The longest single segment is A Fistful of Yen, a half hour parody of Enter the Dragon which ends up as a Wizard of Oz pastiche.
Directed Tom Green Starring Johnny Harris and Sam Keeley
When alien life-forms spread from Mexico to the Middle East, the active role of US forces stationed there in combating the aliens provokes local insurgency. Four friends from Detroit are dropped into the midst of this two-fronted campaign under the command of experienced sergeants Frater (Harris) and Forrest. When a search and rescue mission goes pear-shaped, Frater and the last surviving recruit, Michael (Keeley) are trapped, surrounded by unfriendly forces.