The Incredible Genie (1999)

incrediblegenie_2Starring Matt Koruba, Tom Fahn, Stacie Randall, Biff Manard, George Miserlis, Amanda Fuller, Dean Scofield, Justin Brown

Directed by Alexander Cassini

Expectations: Alakazam! I wish for a good movie!

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-movie scale:
threestar


I doubt there’s ever been a genie-based film that didn’t cover the “Be careful what you wish for!” adage, so when The Incredible Genie hits those notes it’s expected. What came as a surprise is that I would genuinely enjoy The Incredible Genie for its reckless, independent spirit AND for its message of friendship and putting the best version of yourself forward. They hit the message pretty hard towards the end of the film, but in this movie it’d still be easy to miss amidst all the insanity being thrown at the screen. The Incredible Genie is essentially a family film, so don’t expect anything traditionally associated with B-Movies and “insanity,” although you can totally look forward to a Snake Man being skewered on a collapsing spiked wall in a booby-trapped jail cell. Gather ’round, kids… it’s time for a Moonbeam movie!

The Incredible Genie opens with Peter Dopler (George Miserlis), a researcher, and his Egyptian guide out a-hunting for tombs. Guess what? They found one! And you’ll never guess how they get in — Peter leans up against the stone door and it just collapses! Wow, what luck! This stone has stood tall and strong for thousands of years, warding off tomb raiders and the sands of time, only to fall when one oafish dude takes a breather. This is merely the tip of the B-Movie iceberg, and within a few minutes we’ve been introduced to “Aura-Detecting Goggles” rigged to view mystical power sources, a magic lamp, and a mummy who tries to hug Peter to death but instead has his burial wrappings unfurled and used as a rappelling line so Peter can make a quick exit from the tomb.

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Ghoulies IV (1994)

ghoulies4_3Starring Peter Liapis, Barbara Alyn Woods, Stacie Randall, Raquel Krelle, Bobby Di Cicco, Tony Cox, Arturo Gil

Directed by Jim Wynorski

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:
onestar

On the B-movie scale:
threestar


Many moons and black magic spells ago, I reviewed the first three films in the Ghoulies franchise. I purposely chose to avoid Part 4, based on my highly negative reaction to the third film and the bothersome idea that the ghoulies of Ghoulies IV were actually dudes in suits and not puppets. Five years of writing for Silver Emulsion has cured my brain towards B-Movies far more than I could have ever imagined, so I felt it was finally time to take on Ghoulies IV. I even re-watched the other Ghoulies films in preparation and didn’t completely hate Ghoulies III! (It’s still shitty, but I was able to have fun with it this time.)

Even with these multiple years of thick B-Movie watching under my belt, I still entered Ghoulies IV with trepidation. The first two films in the franchise hold a special place in my heart as they were somewhat responsible for sending me down this B-Movie path, and I feared that Ghoulies IV would further trash the Ghoulies name as the third film had. But then the film opened with an explosion that ripping a door from its hinges, thru which a leather-clad buxom female emerged, and within a matter of moments she’s thrown a ninja star into the forehead of a well-meaning security guard. I was instantly won over — explosions and ninja stars are a quick way to my heart — and I am pleased to report that the rest of the movie continued this trend of tightly packed B-Movie thrills.

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Puppet Master 4 (1993)

Starring Gordon Currie, Chandra West, Ash Adams, Teresa Hill, Guy Rolfe, Felton Perry, Stacie Randall, Michael Shamus Wiles, Dan Zukovic

Puppet Cast: Blade, Jester, Pinhead, Tunneler, Six Shooter, Decapitron, Totem Demons

Directed by Jeff Burr

Expectations: Moderate. The series has been solidly fun so far.

On the general scale:
twohalfstar

On the B-Movie scale:
threehalfstar


Puppet Master 4 surprised me right from the start, sinking its hooks and refusing to let go until the credits rolled. Maybe it was the natural high from just coming home from a short vacation, but I thoroughly enjoyed Puppet Master 4 for all its crazy and campy B-movie fun. Many, even fans of the first three films, will instantly discredit the film due to its strange, rubber-suited Egyptian demon opening, but I couldn’t rip my eyes from the screen.

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Trancers 5: Sudden Deth (1994)

Trancers 5: Sudden Deth (1994)
AKA Future Cop 5: Sudden Deth

Starring Tim Thomerson, Stacie Randall, Ty Miller, Teri Ivens, Mark Arnold, Clabe Hartley, Alan Oppenheimer, Lochlyn Munro, Jeff Moldovan, Stephen Macht

Directed by David Nutter

Expectations: Moderate.

On the general scale:
twohalfstar

On the B-Movie scale:
threestar


When we left Jack Deth in Trancers 4, he had just vanquished the Trancer leader, Lord Caliban. All was set right in the alternate dimension of Orpheus and Jack could sit back knowing he saved not only his own dimension, but his new one as well. Trancers 5 informs new viewers of the previous events with a quick retelling featuring hilarious narration. At the culmination of this, the screen literally rips apart and Trancers 5 begins in earnest with the Tunnel Rats’ action-packed, swashbuckling assault on Caliban’s castle. Damn! That’s the way you start a movie!

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Trancers 4: Jack of Swords (1994)

Trancers 4: Jack of Swords (1994)
AKA Trancers 4: Journeys Through the Darkzone, Future Cop IV: Jack of Swords

Starring Tim Thomerson, Stacie Randall, Ty Miller, Teri Ivens, Mark Arnold, Clabe Hartley, Alan Oppenheimer, Lochlyn Munro, Jeff Moldovan, Stephen Macht

Directed by David Nutter

Expectations: Moderate.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:
twohalfstar


Trancers 4 dispenses with most of the series conventions you’re familiar with and places Jack Deth in an entirely new setting, a medieval, Robin Hood-style era of all things. Surprisingly, it works well and makes Trancers 4 very enjoyable for fans of the series. Jack has become the true definition of a time cop, wiping out disturbances as they come up, jumping back in time and killing them at their source. Through narration we learn that Jack actually wiped out all of the Trancers throughout time, so he’s busy helping out with other problems such as Jack’s recently completed mission to kill the Solenoids, a race of vicious plant creatures. Soon, Jack is given another mission, but a Solenoid stowaway jumps him and the timepod rockets off-course. This Solenoid looks great and it’s a shame he only gets a minute or so of screen time.

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