Assault of the Killer Bimbos (1988)

assaultofthekillerbimbos_2Starring Elizabeth Kaitan, Christina Whitaker, Tammara Souza, Nick Cassavetes, Griffin O’Neal, Jamie Bozian, Mike Muscat, Patti Astor, Arell Blanton, David Marsh, Clayton Landey, Jeffrey Orman, Eddie Deezen

Directed by Anita Rosenberg

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover — or a movie by its title — but I wouldn’t hold it against anyone if they did so with Assault of the Killer Bimbos. It’s just one of those titles that lets you know exactly what you’re in for, and if you venture past the “looking at the box” phase, it’s really on you if you don’t enjoy yourself. You can’t complain that you thought it would be great, because if you have high expectations going into a movie called Assault of the Killer Bimbos, well… you might be a bimbo. And I say that with all due respect.

Assault of the Killer Bimbos tells the thrilling tale of Lulu (Elizabeth Kaitan) and Peaches (Christina Whitaker), a pair of go-go dancers on the run from the law. Well, Peaches is a go-go dancer, while Lulu is a waitress aspiring to be a go-go dancer, but whatever. What’s important is that one night in the Los Angeles burlesque club where they work, a hitman named Big Vinny, who works for Dirty Louie, kills the girls’ boss, Shifty Joe. (And yes, I constructed that sentence specifically so I could include all those hilarious, dumbass and mostly irrelevant character names.) Lulu and Peaches walk in on the murder, and before they can even grasp what’s just happened, Big Vinny is pushing the gun into Peaches’ hand and running out the door. This, of course, leads everyone who comes around the corner in response to the noise to immediately accuse the girls of murder. I guess they thought nothing of the sleazy dude rushing away from the scene, but I guess if the gun’s in your hand, you shot the man.

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Mini-Review: WarGames (1983)

Starring Matthew Broderick, Dabney Coleman, John Wood, Ally Sheedy, Barry Corbin, Juanin Clay, Kent Williams, Dennis Lipscomb, Joe Dorsey, Irving Metzman, Eddie Deezen

Directed by John Badham

Expectations: High, this is one of those catch-up films from the 80s.

WarGames is one of those 80s movies I never saw as a kid. I’ve been told I saw it, but it must have been before my brain was laying down permanent pathways for memories to set up shop, as I don’t remember a thing. It turns out all the hype and the general love thrown towards this film is actually warranted as it’s fun, exciting and still damn entertaining even today. It’s not without its faults though, after the first false alarm does no one ask the computer guy to see if it’s another game? This seems like the first question I’d ask, and I can’t imagine that the people in power would be that clueless. (Insert your anti-establishment jokes here.)

I finally watched this film because of Ernest Cline’s novel Ready Player One. That book is a fucking thrill ride of awesome for anyone that grew up in the 70s/80s and WarGames figures into it pretty heavily, so naturally I wanted to watch it after finishing the book. The book actually follows a good number of the plot points of the film, ripping off details both small and large. The nature of the novel makes this dissection and reassembly of pop culture vital to its success, so I can’t complain about it at all without completely ripping the book apart. And I wouldn’t want to do that to what is easily the most enjoyable book I’ve read in the last couple of years.

In any case, I absolutely loved the first half of WarGames when Broderick’s teen hacker is at center-stage, hacking passwords and systematically dialing phone numbers phishing for a data line. When the film’s stakes get raised, it all starts to get a little too hard to believe for me to fully commit to it. As I said above, did everyone forget about the computer until the end? These are issues I never would have had as a kid and it makes me somewhat sad to realize this. I can’t imagine how they’ll make the story plausible enough for modern audiences in the inevitable remake. The film also starts to drag after the halfway mark as the general nature of the conclusion is fairly obvious to careful viewers, so a lot of the tension that should be there just isn’t.

Regardless of any issues, I had a blast watching WarGames and I think it’s a true gem of the 1980s. Despite its Cold War themes and lime-green computer displays, it maintains a level of modernity and relevance to make the film absolutely worth watching. Matthew Broderick pulls off the cocky whiz kid routine to perfection and Barry Corbin plays military honcho better than most could in their dreams. Director John Badham shoots the film with a gorgeous eye for color and balance, with especially great uses of steadicam to evoke the military efficiency of the opening scene. If you’re like me and you somehow avoided catching this one, definitely give it a go.

Laserblast (1978)

Starring Kim Milford, Cheryl Smith, Gianni Russo, Ron Masak, Dennis Burkley, Barry Cutler, Mike Bobenko, Eddie Deezen, Keenan Wynn, Roddy McDowall

Directed by Michael Rae

Expectations: Low. The boring pace of End of the World leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:

Laserblast reportedly had a budget of $280,000, and producer Charles Band knew just where to spend it. Virtually every penny was sunk straight into entertainment and a finale that delivers slow-motion explosion after slow-motion explosion, further proving that the worth of a movie can exist on explosions alone. Add in some killer stop-motion aliens and a giant laserblaster as cherries on top and we’ve got ourselves a movie!

Laserblast opens as a crazed freak with a giant laserblaster on his arm jumps around in the desert. An alien ship lands and two upright-walking turtles without shells get out and pull their own, smaller laser guns. A short fight ensues, but the aliens are too clever and end up singeing the dude into fine black ash. They board their ship and set out for the far-reaches of the galaxy, but they forgot one thing. The human’s giant laserblaster!

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