Magic Island (1995)

magicisland_1Starring Zachery Ty Bryan, Andrew Divoff, Edward Kerr, Lee Armstrong, French Stewart, Jessie-Ann Friend, Oscar Dillon, Abraham Benrubi, Sean O’Kane, Schae Harrison, Ja’net DuBois, Terry Sweeney, Martine Beswick, Isaac Hayes

Directed by Sam Irvin

Expectations: Magic on an island.

On the general scale:
onehalfstar

On the B-movie scale:
twostar


Going into a Moonbeam film, I’ve come to expect a few elements to almost always be present. Things like a trip back in time, a castle, and a kid with an absent or neglectful family, an obsession, and a desire to runaway. I didn’t actively think about these aspects when I started Magic Island, but they’re always hovering somewhere in mind whenever Moonbeam films come up. But get this… Magic Island breaks the mold! There isn’t a castle! It’s not even set in medieval times!

Magic Island is the story of Jack Carlisle (Zachery Ty Bryan of Home Improvement fame), a kid who loves video games, pirates and hard rock. His mother is a professional businesswoman up for a big promotion and all the money that goes with it. Jack isn’t impressed, because even though he’s 13 and he acts like he doesn’t care, it’s pretty plain that he’s lonely and in need of some parental attention and affection. Jack decides he’s had enough, so in preparation for running away he packs a bag with little more than some Rhino Bucket CDs and a Super Soaker. Only the essentials! His Haitian nanny (Ja’net DuBois) persuades him to stay home and have some of her jambalaya instead, also gifting him with a book called Magic Island that quickly sucks him inside its world of pirates and buried treasure.

Continue reading Magic Island (1995) →

Stealth Fighter (1999)

Stealth Fighter (1999)
AKA Mercenaires, Nighthawk

Starring Ice T, Costas Mandylor, Erika Eleniak, Sarah Dampf, William Sadler, Ernie Hudson, Andrew Divoff, William G. Schilling, John Enos III, Alex Meneses, Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister, Steve J. Hennessy

Directed by Jim Wynorski (as Jay Andrews)

Expectations: Super high. I’m more pumped about this one than any other Ice Fest movie.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:


In the first of her two scenes in Stealth Fighter, Erika Eleniak asks her husband, “You want some ice tea?” Her husband and I both responded to the affirmative, but unfortunately Stealth Fighter is a lot lighter on Ice T content than I would have liked. This saddened me, but the footage that remains is absolute gold, and the rest of the movie when Ice T isn’t around is filled with all kinds of explosions and craziness that only legendary B-Movie director Jim Wynorski could pull together so well. Sure, the majority of the action footage is taken from much larger budget films such as Diamonds are Forever and Flight of the Intruder, but the resulting bouillabaisse lends Stealth Fighter an air of being much more than it actually is. There’s just nothing like giant explosions on-screen, even if they are re-used.

Stealth Fighter opens in the best way possible: a slow-motion shot of sweaty hands coming together for an arm wrestling match. The hands belong to Ice T and Costas Mandylor, a couple of hotshot, rival fighter pilots. Before long they get the call to action, but while in flight Ice T goes rogue, kills his co-pilot and downs the plane. The military and all of his squad mates label Ice as K.I.A. and continue on with their lives, but like a spider waiting to strike, Ice steals the F-117 stealth fighter over 10 years after his supposed death. He’s working for a Latin American terrorist who plans to use it to threaten the US President (played by Ernie Hudson!) into releasing his political prisoner friends. The plot is overly convoluted, but it keeps one cardinal rule close to its heart throughout: awesome explosions always equal shit-eating grins.

Continue reading Stealth Fighter (1999) →

Oblivion 2: Backlash (1996)

Starring Richard Joseph Paul, Musetta Vander, Maxwell Caulfield, Julie Newmar, Jackie Swanson, Andrew Divoff, Meg Foster, Isaac Hayes, George Takei,  Carel Struycken, Jimmie F. Skaggs, Irwin Keyes, Jeff Celentano

Directed by Sam Irwin

Expectations: Moderate, I enjoyed the first one. Hopefully this will live up to it.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-Movie scale:
threestar


Oblivion 2: Backlash starts out pretty slow for a movie with an eighty-three minute runtime. The first ten minutes are filled with a fairly detailed recap of the first film for those who either didn’t see it or weren’t paying attention. This does set the stage rather well for this film, but it goes on a little long. This leads into roughly ten minutes of lazy exposition explaining where everyone is and what they’re doing following the calamitous events of Oblivion. Really? The first quarter of the runtime is padding? This can’t be a good sign for the rest of Oblivion 2.

Continue reading Oblivion 2: Backlash (1996) →

Oblivion (1994)

Starring Richard Joseph Paul, Jackie Swanson, Andrew Divoff, Meg Foster, Musetta Vander, George Takei, Julie Newmar, Carel Struycken, Jimmie F. Skaggs, Isaac Hayes, Jeff Moldovan, Mike Genovese, Frank Roman, Irwin Keyes

Directed by Sam Irvin

Expectations: High, this looks awesome.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-Movie scale:
threestar


For fans of science fiction westerns, there aren’t a lot of options. You’ve got Westworld, Back to the Future III and a few others, including the soon to be released Cowboys and Aliens. There’s also Oblivion, Full Moon’s entry into the genre, which also manages to wrangle some horror and comedy elements into a hoot of a genre-bending time waster. When the evil alien Red Eye kills the Marshall of the town of Oblivion, the settlers can do nothing to stop his pillaging ways. What Red Eye didn’t count on was the Marshall’s coward son Zack coming back into town. Along for the ride is Zack’s native friend, whom he rescued from a badass twin-tailed stop-motion scorpion about fifteen minutes in.

The world of Oblivion is interesting unto itself. It’s a mixture of future-tech, Old West, post-apocalyptica and varied alien creatures, resulting in a very unique and engrossing world. Grisled prospectors might wear calculator watches to compute their earnings, but revolvers are still the guns of choice. They never seem to reload said revolvers though, which may be a technical advancement of this mash-up world, or simply an oversight during production. As this is a Full Moon movie and they need every imaginative element working in their favor, I’ll go with the former.

Continue reading Oblivion (1994) →

Subscribe via Email!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,610 other subscribers

Ongoing Series

Top Posts & Pages

Shaw Brothers Martial Arts Films
The Films of Jackie Chan
Raw Iron: The Making of Pumping Iron (2002)
The Shaolin Avengers (1976)
The Ghost Story (1979)
Emperor Chien Lung (1976)
The New One-Armed Swordsman (1971)
The Thunderbolt Fist (1972)