Well after a crazy crazy summer Dan and Ben are back on the Bond good and proper! and this week they’re going to the ONE place that hasnt been corrupted by capitalism…SPACE!
Well! as part of my exploration into the life and career of J.R Bookwalter I sat down with some VERY pleasent people and we took a look at “Chick Boxer” one of the most notorious films in the “SOV Six Pack” collection. it was a real blast hanging with these guys and I really hope we get to do it again soon!
If you enjoy hearing my friends screams of pain you can find much more of their work at the below links:
Lets not beat around the bush, this IS definitely a James Bond movie. heres my evidence:
*Bond theme – Check
*James Bond is actually in it – Check
*James Bond does the gun barrell thingie – Check
*James Bond tries to shag everything that moves – Check
* James Bond uses the phrase “This fellow reckons himself a fighter, what a stupid jerk.” – Check AND check.
I will be taking no further questions on this, if anyone has any issues with this clearly factual claim. talk to my co-host.
Greatest. martial arts film. ever.
So this halloween marks my 5th anniversairy of doing halloween specials and literally ever since my 2nd set of reviews i’ve REALLY wanted to cover the films of Vincent Price. BUT! I decided it was probably best to save such a series to films to cover until a milestone, something to help really push the boat out and celebrate with. and so! we’re here! and kicking things off we have 1953’s “House of Wax” which is a more than exemplary watch that more and more people seem to be finding each year.
I really enjoyed this one and equally I do have a bit of a soft spot for the remake which, while not having the “class” and attention to detail that this movie has, is enjoyable in a grindhouse and exploitationey way. they’re very different films, but I enjoy them both in spite of their diversity.
Of course, with it being such a big special occasion I realised I couldnt do this one alone! and so I drafted in help from my good buddy Chris over at Channel 83 to help me really give this film the love it deserves! and I highly recommend checking Chris’s work out! you can get to his site here and im sure you’ll find plenty to love 🙂
Anyway! pop a black cat on your shoulder, eat a pumpkin and strap yourself in for the start of our month on Vincent Price!
Now this. This charts the point where I feel that J.R and what was left of the cast and crew realised the SOV six pack project was well and truely on a hiding to nothing. Not only did the budget get DRASTICALLY cut to a little under $1250 PER PROJECT. but it was still the middle of a freezing Ohio winter and deadlines for these projects were rolling closer and closer.
Its understandable after the work on Chick Boxer and Maximum Impact pretty much lost J.R most of his crew, a chunk of his cast and at least a writer or two that the cart was now pulling the horse and not the other way around. I dont doubt J.R’s proficiency as a director one bit. These films would have never seen the light of day if he wasnt short of legendary in the directors seat. But it’s clear to see at this point that the project was running away with itself and things were starting to reach a head.
I mention in my review that I had a similar experience to J.R when it comes to this movie as I to made the stupid STUPID mistake to go and make a movie outdoors with a skeleton crew in the middle of a freezing winter for about a week with minimal to no supplies, and honestly the stress and the weather damn near drove us all away from ever doing anything film releated ever again. So I can only IMAGINE what J.R was dealing with when not only was he dealing with that level of craptitude but that he also had Home Cinema Video breathing down his neck to deliver a finished product. I mean, I can only compare his experience to mine, and I at least had the relief of not having to work to deadlines.
Anyway; Galaxy of the Dinosaurs is a cheap but cheerful affair. it really did give me “Red Dwarf” vibes based on the script, and I think this movie may actually be my favourite script purely from a tone and dialogue standpoint out of any of the movies featured in the six pack.
Given that Maximum impact was recorded in the same block as Chick Boxer its not surprising to hear that the film suffered similar issues to Chick Boxer. now it’s not a technical disaster like Chick Boxer is, but it DOES suffer from the issue of it being recorded around christmas time. So even though the “Professional” film makers had all piled into this project to get the job done. they were still having to deal with the uphill battle of having to contend attention wise with chirstmas and everything that came with it.
That not only mean dealing with actors who were too busy shopping to remember their lines, but they also had to deal with crew who had the same issue and plummeting tempratures across the board. it really was a terrible time to decide to make 2 movies back to back. But…these guys did it. It means that, no matter how bland or just…not quite there this film is. they still managed to power through and deliver an end product thats actually not that bad. looking back on the set i’d say that Chick Boxer was the definite low point of the set in terms of production quality. but if we plotted a graph it would show a “V” shape almost. and Maximum impact would be on the other side of that sharp dip. the films that came after this. in their own way are entertaining (if not technically lacking) but this movie? I can at least applaud it that its TRYING to be good. J.R and crew hadnt thrown in the towel, they wanted to make this work and despite its GLARING flaws. I think I have to applaud a film that tries over one that doesnt every time.
I had a rather pleasent surprise while these reviews were going live. JR Bookwalter the man himself was doing a live stream Q&A for a new release for makeflix and I dropped in to ask a question about whether he’d ever consider getting back into directing (his answer was “never say never!” so here’s hoping for the SOV 12 pack in 2024!) but while watching he mentioned in passing that he’d actually been checking out a couple of these reviews as they dropped! which…well I was honestly quite beside myself as, while I have had the odd director, DOP, Cam Op or in one specific case producer drop by to tell me about how their movie sucked, or that they were grateful for my honesty. i’ve never had someone say that live, on video. TO ME.
Anyway; I mention that because this was the review he referenced specifically when he said he’d seen a couple of the reviews I’d done. and…if you’ve seen my review of this in advance of reading this post. you’ll know that I was not a fan of this movie…didnt care for it at all…hates a strong word but I do believe I said this movie was “The kind of film you take to a bad movie night when you dont like anyone in attendence.” which was then quoted in a tweet by J.R Bookwalter himself. POSITIVELY I might add!…but still. he hates this movie. I…didnt care for this movie. most people i’ve shown this film to (Because im an evil fuck) hated this movie. this is not a good movie. the poster and title is about as good as it gets.
In my minds eye I imagined Chick boxer to be a kind of gritty “Rocky” type flick. y’know, a young girl is bullied or harrassed or…I dunno SOMETHING happens. and she decides to “Get tough” cue several training montages and eventually said weedy girl is now a martial artist taking on the scum of the streets vigilante style, with the papers and police not really knowing what to make of her. almost like what was done in “Robot Ninja” but without the super hero costume and the scene where a guy removes and inserts weird tubes into his arm.
Instead we got…well I’ll let the review do the rest of the work.
Zombie cop is problematic but it is my favourite film in the SOV six pack. There isnt really much more I can say about that. Honestly, I thought the film was going to go one way and it surprised me very much by going in a different direction. based on the title and rough plot outlines I saw floating around online before I got into this one. I was thinking that the “Zombie” element of zombie cop was going to be played on a lot more. I was expecting visual gags of him losing limbs or having to fight the urges to eat brains to get justice served, or other things like that. hell I was astounded at the restraint of the writer/director for not doing a scene where our hero ends up in the same shape as the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I was envisioning something a bit more in line with “Dead Heat“. But instead this is kind of closer to “Robocop” with just a dash of Voodoo magic thrown in for good measure. the zombie aspects definitely present, but it’s more Aesthetic than anything else. it isnt really played on too heavily and instead a more action driven narrative is played up which I really wasnt expecting and honestly I was quite delighted in the direction it chose as I think the risk of it falling into campy oblivion by doing comedy zombie tropes would have been all be inevitable otherwise.
On a technical level this is possibly one of the best SOV movies I’ve ever seen. it’s proficient, professional for the most part and has some quite big set pieces which, given the budget, were quite the spectacle. is it perfect? no. but is it bloody good fun? absolutely.
Continuing our journey through the life and times of J.R Bookwalter, we’re following up 1989’s “The Dead Next Door” with “Robot Ninja”, quite possibly my all time favourite Bookwalter film. I just, REALLY enjoyed this one. it feels big, daft and aggressive and it just gives off this tone that I find quite honestly wonderful to sit through.
And, as I mention in the below review, I am just…Captivated by the restoration work done on this thing. having jumped from a VHS transfer to the new widescreen fully remastered version, it’s crazy to me at just HOW much attention to detail and love has gone into bringing this “Direct to video” campy action horror film into the realm of full HD. Theres an extra feature on the Bluray release of this that goes into detail around the work involved in restoring this and Its astounding honestly. J.R often says this is a film he wishes he never made (I mean…he says that about almost all of his films…) but honestly? I think the world is a better place WITH Robot Ninja in it
You can find copies of Robot Ninja here, but hurry! supplies are limited and I guarentee you wont want to miss this!
Season 9 was one of those seasons that feels “Right” to me. I mean that very much in a spiritual sense. theres no real metric that can be used to measure whether something is objectively “good” or “bad” but what I mean is that to me, it feels like all the pieces fit together perfectly, it feels like each review contrasts or compliments the other. with every season I do I often feel like there’ll be at least 1 or 2 episodes out of the two(ish) dozen I make where I either dont feel I got a grip on exactly HOW I wanted to present the review, or I’ll feel like technically I was a bit off the mark.
But this season, every review I feel like I got exactly what I wanted out of it, we had some stinkers, we had some hidden gems. but, to me, it feels like the work I’ve put in to slowly reshaping the series somewhat (Work that first began waaaaay back in Season six) has finally matured into a format that, for now at least, im pretty happy with. I feel a lot more confident about this run of reviews than I have with any other previous run, and I feel a lot happier with my work load management and attitude towards how I run the process. genuinely, the last 12 months worth of writing and releases have been some of the most enjoyable I’ve done in the 4 and a bit years of working on the channel.
Personal highlights of this season for me were “Nutbag” a film that genuinely caught me off guard for just how amazingly bad it was. this is one of the few times where BBFC suggested edits have actually massively enhanced what would otherwise be a fairly drab affair, Deathrow Gameshow a film that totally surpassed my expectations, and I feel utter remorse that I didnt crack this one open much MUCH sooner as it’d been sat on my “To Watch” pile for WAY too long. My special video essay on a recent Bootleg Video Nasty haul was a definite highlight for the year and got quite a few people talking about their own experiences with Nasty’s which was nice. and the opportunity to collaborate with old friends like Raymond and new faces like G.G Graham were frankly an absolute delight.
This season for me will probably be fondly remembered as a time capsule of a 6-8 month period where things, while still rather grim beyond the walls of my house, were alright. and I hope that comes across in these reviews.