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Article, Asian Cinema, DVD, Funny, Horror, Movie Review, Random, VHS

Moving Pictures I’ve Viewed Lately

Revisiting a decent remake, and delving into some Peter O’Brian movies I’ve never seen.

The Last House On The Left [2009]

This, along with Zack Snyders ‘Dawn’ remake, are the only two worthwhile films to come out of the barrage of turgid “re-imaginings” that cinemas have been infested with for the past 10 years.

For me, the ‘Last House’ remake takes everything that was bad about Cravens original and fixes it. Now I know that this might be blasphemy to some, but I’ve never really been a big fan of the original, I agree that it has its place in horror history and that it’s certainly powerful and disturbing in places, but as a whole it’s far too flawed and uneven.

Here we have no annoying comedy cops, parents that aren’t cardboard cut outs and a revenge section that actually satisfies. And shockingly, this actually still manages to be quite harsh and disturbing…Something I never thought i’d say when I first read that this was next on the remake conveyor belt.

But there is one thing that the original has that this doesn’t and that’s the presence of the great David Hess. Garret Dillahunt does a fine job as Krug, and probably portrays him in a more sadistic way, but unfortunately he’s no Hess.

The film actually looks great too, with it’s own style. Unlike the Platinum Dunes remakes which all look exactly the same…why they bother hiring different directors is a mystery.

I will say though that one moment almost ruins the movie…the final scene. It reeks of a re-shoot brought on by a test screening audience who demanded some ridiculous splatter. Nothing wrong with splatter, but it doesn’t belong in this movie.

So anyway, If you’ve avoided this like the plague due to your loyalty to the original (which I understand completely) give it a try, you might be surprised.

And now some more Indonesian magic from Arizal and Peter O’Brian

Double Crosser [1990]

Although not as fun as The Stabilizer or as shameless The Intruder, Double Crosser still has plenty of great OTT Peter O’Brian action. I’m not really sure what the plot was, but O’Brian gets a bit miffed with a french mobster and goes to war with him. Or something. Oh and people get double crossed. Numerous times. Even the audience.

Either way, O’Brian is basically the same character he was in the the other two aforementioned movies, and again demonstrates some stellar under and over acting.

One thing is missing here though that made Stabilizer/Intruder so much more fun, and that is the presence of Craig Gavin, who always seemed really at home playing horrible villainous bastards. Yeah the villain here is fine with his comedy french accent and obsession with scorpions and feeding chickens to crocodiles, but he’s not a patch on Gavin’s Greg Rainmaker or Mr White.

Keep your eye out for the ending…not because its amazing, but because it seems to have gone missing. Seriously, this film either has the biggest anti climax of all time, or they just forgot to shoot the last 2 pages of the script. As I said earlier, even the audience gets double crossed.

But either way, a good time for trash aficionado’s and O’Brian fans (I know you’re out there)

American Hunter (aka Lethal Hunter) [1988]

More great trash fun from Arizal and O’Brian, although this time O’Brian only appears in a small role and he dies after about ten minutes. Shame. But he does get a suitably over the top death scene.

Our hero this time is Chris Mitchum (son of Robert)…the story centers around the search for a piece of microfilm, the bad guys are looking for it, so is Mitchum, we never find out what the hell is on the microfilm, only that its important and its the only copy of whatever it is, as explained to us in a wonderfully straight forward exposition scene before the credits….right before a guy decides that the best way to break into the 25th floor of an office building is to drive your car from an adjacent buildings roof and just smash though the window. Fantastic.

Bill ‘Super foot’ Wallace is one of our main villains, snarling his way gleefully through the movie as he beats the crap out of people just because he can and because he’s a mentalist. He’s a lot of hammy fun is Bill, playing pretty much the same character he was in Chan’s ‘The Protector’…but with this being Indonesia, a more over the top version.

As with ‘The Stabilizer’, the film is pretty much one action scene after the next with little concern for plot or character development, but that’s why these movies are fun. Yeah, the fight scenes weren’t exactly giving Hong Kong any serious competition at the time, but the general enthusiasm the Indonesian flicks of this era have just add to the enjoyment.

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