Tag Archives: Super Mario

From the Archive – Full Eclipse (1993)

Eclipse

 

Directed by Anthony Hickox
Starring ‘Super’ Mario van Peebles, Bruce ‘Oh the’ Payne and Patsy Kensit

Tough LA cop, Max Dire (Peebles) loses his partner in a hail of bullets, only to get him back the next day, right as rain. Then the partner starts chasing cars full of gangbangers on foot, and shoots himself with a bullet cast form his lucky silver dollar.

Enter trauma councillor, tough cop and biochemist Adam Garou (Payne), who recruits Max to his team of issue-wracked cops – including the sluty Casey (Kensit) – who sleep communally, have an acute siege mentality, worship the ground Garou treads and – oh yeah – shoot up on weird shit, sprout claws and tear into drug dealers and their mistresses while shrugging off high-calibre bullet wounds.

Turns out that Garou is a werewolf – shock, horror…Oh wait, that’s his name – and is dosing ‘the pack’ with his cranial fluids to make them his little werewolfettes. Then on the night of the lunar eclipse, he plans to off them all and move on to another city. Casey goes cold turkey and dies jumping out of a high window, and come the night itself, Max faces off against Garou, who turns into a bear – I swear to God, it’s supposed to be a super-werewolf form, but it looks like a teddy bear – shrugs off Max’s silver bullets, and finally succumbs to a syringe full of silver nitrate as the moon reappears.

Then Max absorbs his power, and starts the cycle all over again.

What’s wrong with it?

In a word, it’s bollocks. The direction is stilted, the script is crappy, the cast are planks and the sound is all mumbly. The regular werewolf SFX are cheap – dodgy claws that spring from their knuckles and some facial prosthetics – and the big finale is a let down – Garou turns into a Howling-style wolf-man, but looks more like a teddy bear.

The guy is called Garou. The sign on his fucking door says ‘A Garou’ (Garou being French for ‘werewolf, if you didn’t know’).  Of course, Max’s surname is Dire, as in dire wolf.

Bruce Payne. Super Mario. Patsy Kensit.

What’s right with it?

Not much. The concept of the dodgy werewolf cop unit is okay, as is the alpha wolf offing his pack at the full eclipse. It’s just when the film moves beyond concept that it falls down.

How bad is it really?

An absolute stinker of a film. Seriously. It really isn’t even funny.

Best bit

Max sees Garou syringing his cranial fluid out, but the werewolf hears him. He drags Garou over to the mirror, and does a little routine, with ‘this is you on my brain’ in place of ‘this is your brain on drugs’. It mostly scores because you can see how they thought it would be cool, and at the same time see how it doesn’t work, and would have been cut if they weren’t so in love with it.

What’s up with…?

  • Max taking over Garou’s schtick? Garou was trusted to run these wacky units because he had a hard-won rep and like, five PhDs. Max has a badge and an attitude.
  • No one noticing that Garou leaves this trail of dead officers in his wake?
  • No one noticing – or at least no one commenting on – the rise in savage animal maulings when Garou is around?
  • No one noticing that when his silver police medal is placed in his hands, Max emits bright purple smoke?

Ratings

Production values – Shitty. The lighting is dark where is should be moody, and the sound mumbled where it should be moody. The SFX blow, and we get a real faceful of how much; none of your tease the audience mentality here. 16

Dialogue and Performances – Here’s the pitch: Peebles! Kensit! Payne! Together at last! As an opportunity for a spree killing, sure; as a movie concept, no. On the other hand, the dialogue deserves so very little more. 17

Plot and execution – A good concept frittered away on a few naff action scenes, a gratuitous shag and some needless posing in fangs and make-up. 17

Randomness – Fairly true to itself, aside from Max suddenly deciding to take Garou’s place. 8

Waste of potential – Another intriguing concept made dull. Still; at least it wasn’t the start of a long-running ‘Werewolf Cop’ franchise. 14

Overall 72%

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From the Archive – Guardian (2000)

This cover is misleading, suggesting that Ice-T has a significant role in the movie.
This cover is misleading, as it implies that Ice-T has a significant role in the movie.

Directed by John Terlesky
Starring Mario van Peebles and Ice-T

During the Gulf War, Marine Recon officer John Kross (Peebles) locates an Iraqi missile site-cum-archaeological dig, where an American archaeologist and his pregnant wife are excavating the sarcophagus of Tel-al, to the horror of his wise old friend back home. The Iraqis are also removing jars of some valuable pink dust from the site. The moon turns red, the archaeologist’s wife has a baby and one of the Iraqi soldiers starts shouting about a prophecy and opens fire on the dig. The archaeologist is killed, and various soldiers start cackling wildly – almost as though they were possessed. Kross is shot, sees a mysterious veiled woman stealing the baby and coming at him with a knife, and wakes with weird cuts all over his body.

Continue reading From the Archive – Guardian (2000)

From the Archive – Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994)

“This time it’s for eternity.”

Directed by Andrew Morahan.
Starring Christopher Lambert and Mario van Peebles

Brief Synopsis

After four centuries trapped in a cave, the evil immortal Kane (‘Super’ Mario van Peebles) – who apparently makes the Kurgan look like a pussycat – is freed by development construction. Will they never learn?

This awakening reactivates Connor’s full powers, although we learn that he survived a fatal car wreck in the highlands which dispatched the love interest of the original film, and he and Kane kill one of the latter’s hapless hench-immortals apiece, before convening for the ultimate showdown, in which Connor wins the prize again. The twist is that, in addition to his mastery of the sword, Kane also possesses the power of illusion, stolen from Connor’s second mentor, the sorcerer Nakano, along with his head and his Quickening.

Along the way, there’s also a romantic plotline with an archaeologist who uncannily resembles Connor’s French Revolution love, and Kane kidnaps Connor’s adopted son to use as live bait. At one point they fight on holy ground, and Connor’s sword explodes.

What’s wrong with it?

The Sorcerer is essentially a rehash of the original with some extra special effects, only this time it isn’t novel and different. It’s woefully short on swordfights, and ‘Super’ Mario just lacks the camp malevolence of Clancy ‘Kurgan’ Brown. Its attempts to rationalise its own existence in the wake of the events of the original are – if less crazed than II’s – still fairly stretched. Far more of the film is set in daylight, and the colouration is better than in the original, which actually ends up detracting from the overall atmosphere.

What’s right with it?

There’s some nifty SFX, and the love interest is of a slightly higher calibre than in the original (largely because there’s a small child to do the screaming incompetence).

How bad is it really?

Unlike II, this film is at least watchable. That said, it’s still pretty abominable.

Best bit (if such there is)?

Even the swordfights are pretty dull in this one. It says a lot about the overall quality of the film that the best moment is probably ‘Super’ Mario proving that Kane is out of touch by trying to eat a condom. And no, it’s not one of those things you had to be there for; that’s really all there is to it.

What’s up with…?

  • This whole power of illusion thing in the first place? Fair’s fair though; at least this time there actually is a new kind of magic.
  • Hench immortals? Why would anyone do it? You know that you’re going to end up dead.
  • The exploding sword? OK, I buy that it’s supposed to be some sort of resistance to immortals duelling on holy ground, but since Kane attacked, why does his katana remain intact? Moreover, why doesn’t he even try to finish MacLeod off while he’s unarmed?

Ratings:

Production values – Pretty good; in fact, almost too good. The whole thing is so well-shot it actually loses the gritty atmosphere of the original because of it. 6

Dialogue and performances – So-so. The dialogue is fairly uninspired, the acting is vaguely competent. Nothing outstandingly bad, but nothing more than workmanlike really. 10

Plot – At best, the plot is patchy. In places, the film feels more like a series of vignettes than a coherent narrative, and the flashbacks to the French Revolution – indeed the entire romantic subplot – feels tacked on, and rather pointless. 14

Randomness – While it has nothing on II, much in The Sorcerer goes unexplained. The exploding sword, Kane’s hibernation, the henchlings, the reincarnated lover. 10

Waste of Potential – Less shameless than the second film, as this does not abuse the mighty Sean, but even for a Super Mario van Peebles/Christopher Lambert film, this is pretty slack. 12

Overall: 52%