Movie Reviews 12

Electra (1996)
What do you expect from a B-movie starring Shannon Tweed? A lot of spandex, fishnets and boobs. Oddly enough not much of that is delivered by the ex-playmate of the year herself as the best of the above was left to other cast members (not that I’m complaining). The movie plot is more about her son in the movie and if you thought Shannon can’t act worth a dime, hold onto your hats when you see the beefcake they hired to play her son. The plot is about a serum that can give great powers and some wheelchair mad scientist who wants to get his hands on it. Needless to say there are other people trying to get their slimy hands Shannon and other things as well. Hey, its an erotic thriller, so you gotta expect that kind of thing. It’s actually a fun movie at times when the lousy acting doesn’t get in the way.

Bubba Ho-tep (2002)
This was my second attempt at watching this Bruce Campbell movie as I quit after 20 minutes or so the first time around since it did not seem to be going anywhere. Unfortunately, my second stab at the movie wasn’t much better. The movie is about a old age retirement home in which we find the ‘real’ Elvis (Campbell) Presley living out his last days after purportedly executing a successful switchover with an Elvis-impersonator years before. As he languishes his golden years in a semi-deluded state, he witnesses some strange goings on at the center and recruits his buddy, president JFK (Ossie Davis) who has been transposed into an African-American body. Hows that for a duo of conspiracy stories? But as bizzare as the movie is it never really captured me and it seemed slow going. I won’t say it sucked, but I did expect more. Especially from Bruce Campbell.

Blessed (2004)
The cover image depicting a pregnant woman easily evokes memories of Rosemary’s Baby and I fully expected to be led down that trail again as I have with so many other movies that have tried to latch on to the success of Ira Levin’s Polanski directed classic tale. But the many imitators usually fail miserably as their low budgets, bad acting and cheesy ‘baby’ effects fall to the wayside. But this movie starring Heather Graham deviates sufficiently enough to entertain. While many of the clichés from Rosemary’s baby are still present (a group/community working together to ensure the birth of the ‘evil’ child, surprising good news coming from everywhere to benefit the young struggling family, the specialized medical ‘treatment’ of the mother) there are significant differences as well. The acting is top notch and even as I knew where the movie was headed all along, I was captivated enough to enjoy the ride.

Red Planet (2000)
It’s been a while since I’ve watched an original SF movie. I finally got around to watching Red Planet about a crew investigating the problematic progress of a Mars terraforming project. Earth climate and resources are in bad shape so Mars was seeded with algae that would create a buildup of oxygen so that in the long run inhabitants of Earth could survive on Mars. But something has gone wrong and all the algae appears to have disappeared so a spaceship with 6 people are sent over to investigate. But things start to go wrong as soon as Mars orbit is achieved. First a meteorite shower hits the ship and in desperation 5 of the crew depart in the landing craft leaving the captain (Kate Moss) behind. She manages to have the main ship recover from the meteorite shower damage just as the landing craft has a less than perfect hard landing. Aside from all the damage to equipment and air supplies, one member must be left to die because of internal injuries. The other 4 members must make a dash to a supply station which they overshot in the landing, but they barely have enough air left to reach it. Once there, they discover the station in tatters and begin the wait with their final few minutes of precious air left and the inevitable prospect of suffocating once it is all used up. Two of the four set out on a short walk and a spat ensues which leads to one to guy throwing the other off an cliff. At just about the same time they all realize that the ‘air’ is breathable despite the complete disappearance of the algae that was supposed to terraform the planet. The struggles on the planet continue as the captain tries to contact the landing party so that a rescue can be made for an eventual return to Earth. There is also a ‘horror’ tinge to the film as we learn that the algae were eaten by a swarm of bugs with a taste for human flesh as well. While the intrigue and mystery is well built along with decent action scenes, there are so many holes and logic flaws in the movie that it became impossible to really enjoy. Mars is supposed to be an eventual salvation for Earth, but just getting the handful of people for this story was a monumental prospect, so how many people could be reasonably expected to escape Earth even in many years time? Even with a crashed landing and broken equipment it seems implausible that the crew did not have some instrumentation or other signs to know that despite the disappearance of the algae, the atmosphere was already breathable. The whole murder scene was just silly and unbelievable and the suspense it tried to elicit after the fact was even sillier. And finally the buildup to rescuing the landing party was shoehorned in a ‘lost love’ story at the last minute. Guess I’ll have to wait longer for an original new SF story. At least one that makes sense.


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