Ok, not a movie as such, but I am indulging in my annual play through of the game, which will probably take over my most of my movie watching duties for a while.
Shenmue is without a doubt my favourite game of all time and a game that still holds up today. Everything we take for granted in games today is here, open world “sandbox” environment, voices for every character, cinematic cut sequences and a plethora of things to do if you don’t feel like carrying on the story for a while – gambling, playing Sega games at the arcade, practicing your karate skills, taking care of a stray cat, collecting cassettes (it is set in 1986), even small things like buying yourself a coke from a vending machine or collecting little capsule toys…and eventually you even have to get yourself a job as a forklift driver at the local harbour. Amazing depth, involving story and a score that is better than most movie scores.
Here’s hoping that the rumours are true and an eventual HD port will makes it way to the Xbox Live marketplace soon, so those that never got the chance to play it the first time around will finally be able to experience Ryo’s quest for revenge.
It’s taken me a while to get around to this much loved slice of lunacy, but I picked up the Arrow Video release not too long ago and a few days ago I finally sat down to watch it.
Pure, unadulterated, ridiculous fun. A film that is as all over the place as one of the killers victims. Characters have no common sense, things happen for no reason (the skateboarding girl smashing through the glass…Bruce Lee clone Bruce Le popping up for 20 seconds and blaming his random violent outburst on “bad chop suey!”… What!? Haha) but it’s all packaged with a very nasty cherry on top, some well done and extremely graphic gore.
*****Minor spoiler coming up..sorta, doesn’t really matter either way to be honest.*****
My favourite portions in the movie are whenever Paul Smith (Bluto from Altman’s ‘Popeye’) pops up. His direction was obviously “Hey Paul, pretend you’re the killer. Action!”, he pretty much gurns his way through each scene, eye brow raised, clenching his fists as people turn their back on him and attacks the police for no reason whatsoever when he stumbles onto a crime scene. On the retrospective documentary on the DVD someone comments that he should’ve been credited as “Red Herring”, which sums up his overacted, sign posted but extremely entertaining performance perfectly.
The moment that really cracked me up, is where Christopher George (our resident hero cop) looks at a row of people, all of which are suspects, no-one looks too suspicious…Except Paul of course, doing his best “Oooh I’m a right murdering bastard I am” face. Hilarious.
The film moves along at a quick pace, with no dull moments to speak off. If the random nonsensical dialogue and Paul Smiths gurning aren’t entertaining you, then someone will be taking a chainsaw to the head/arms/torso soon enough.
(aka Angel Of Death)
After a friend and I watched American Hunter we decided we would check out more films featuring the tour de force that is Christopher Mitchum (Son of Robert, brother of Jim). Then I got a text from my friend that just read “Angel Of Death AKA Commando Mengele starring Chris Mitchum” and I almost pissed my pants, I figured he was joking…But of course, it turned out to be real.
So, what we have is a sort of low rent Nazi themed mercenary flick directed by Andrea “Burial Ground” Bianchi, where a bunch of guys figure out that a Doctor living in a guarded castle in Paraguay is actually the notorious Nazi ‘angel of death’, Joseph Mengele. So they, along with help from some sort of Government Agency (I really don’t know, the film does a pretty shit job of letting you know whats actually going on) they go about getting proof before storming his fortress and kicking his arse off its hinges.
We were really looking forward to this, the title alone screams “great trash”, but whilst it does have its moments, it’s far too plodding in parts and like I said earlier, you don’t even know what’s going on half the time thanks to a script, by none other than Jess Franco, that must have been about 30 pages long so the rest of the running time is made up by either shots of people walking around or needless slow motion (that looks like it was filmed on a battered cine camera).
But, i’m still giving it a recommendation for the following reasons…
- Mengele’s bizarre chimp/human hybrids that he concocts in his lab…which is basically a bloke with a mono-brow and a hairy arm and a bloke with half a beard.
- The Karate expert of the mercenary group who seems to have a mental age of 5 and ADHD. When he is given the job he is busy teaching a class, he celebrates by shouting “Yay” and then giving an unsuspecting student a running flying kick in the spine for no reason. And when he meets an important member of the mission, he shakes his hand and then gets him in a fucking arm lock (the man in question is actually Jack Taylor from Pieces, coincidentally). And anytime he’s not doing either of those things, he’s punching and kicking the air like a hyperactive child. Legend.
- Chris Mitchum as Mengele’s right hand man, named Wolfgang. He’s not in the movie a whole lot but when he is, he’s either beating someone up or calling our main hero a “Stupid Jew!”. All whilst sporting a mullet.
So, yeah there are some laughs to be had and its best to watch it with a like minded friend, but it doesn’t live up to its wonderfully ridiculous title, but then again I think I knew it wouldn’t.