Dark Angel: The Ascent (1994)

darkangel_6Starring Angela Featherstone, Daniel Markel, Nicholas Worth, Charlotte Stewart, Mike Genovese, Michael C. Mahon, Milton James, Constantin Draganescu, Cristina Stoica, Kehli O’Byrne

Directed by Linda Hassani

Expectations: I don’t know. Hopeful.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:

Dark Angel: The Ascent tells the classic tale of a sheltered adolescent yearning to break free from their parent’s grasp and explore the world at large. The big difference between this film and all the others that share this storyline is that Veronica (Angela Featherstone) is a denizen of Hell. There have been tons of movies with demons breaking loose from Hell to wreak havoc on Earth, but have any of them had to deal with overly protective parents? But despite how this all sounds, Dark Angel: The Ascent is played fairly straight, and where it really sets itself apart is how it portrays the relationship between God and the citizens of Hell.

Traditionally we understand that God is up in Heaven doing his godly thing, while Satan rules below, torturing souls to his heart’s content. But the entirely of Dark Angel: The Ascent is built upon the premise that everyone in Hell is actually doing the job assigned to them by God; instead of two extremes on opposite sides of a war for souls, they are needed parts of a cohesive whole. This creates moments that are unique and incredibly interesting, such as Veronica’s demon family praying to God as any devoutly religious family would before a meal. I expect a lot of things from Full Moon films, but smart, unique takes on Christian mythology is not one of them! Even if the rest of the movie was awful, this alone would highlight Dark Angel: The Ascent as an interesting Full Moon film.

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Josh Kirby… Time Warrior: Chapter 6, Last Battle for the Universe (1996)

Starring Corbin Allred, Jennifer Burns, Derek Webster, Barrie Ingham, Jonathan Charles Kaplan, Michael C. Mahon, Stacy Sullivan, Helen Siff, Charisma Carpenter, Johnny Green

Directed by Frank Arnold

Expectations: Low, but very much excited to be done with these!

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:

At long last I find myself at the end of the lengthy Josh Kirby film sextet. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t always enjoyable, but damn if I didn’t get a few quality moments of WTF joy. I’m happy to report that one of the best of these comes in this film, the aptly titled entry: Last Battle for the Universe. While it is the last film, and there is a battle contained within, don’t get your hopes up for an epic confrontation between good and evil that will shake the pillars of the Earth. Nope, here it’s more along the lines of Josh Kirby wearing a thimble/bucket helmet and trading laborious blows with the evil villain contained in the time armor.

Once again, a Josh Kirby film is fairly unintelligible. I always get through the first few minutes following these pretty well, but as boredom and exhaustion sets in, I’m unable to keep up with all the lengthy jargon-driven dialogue exchanges. What I was able to decode was this: after finally retrieving the final Nullifier component, Josh’s time buddy Irwin 1138 reveals himself to be the true villain! As I suspected a couple of films ago (I think it was hinted at in Trapped on Toyworld), the evil Dr. Zoetrope is actually a nice guy. This is a change for the better, as I always thought his character was far more interesting and likable than Irwin’s. Anyway, Irwin steals Zoetrope’s time armor and whisks himself away. Where he goes is for later, as first Josh Kirby must probe the mind of Zoetrope to prove that he’s telling the truth (Read: Full Moon gets lazy once again and shows us a few minutes of footage from the previous films). It is after this blatant offering of stock footage that we finally find out where Irwin got off to, and it is here that the film hits an absolute high of insane, mind-boggling proportions.

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