Sunday, September 7, 2008

First Review: Ninjas, 80s Teens, Miller High Life and Olde Fitz Killed My Hangover





Films: 

Silver Fox and Ninja Terminator

Dangerously Close


Booze: 

Miller High Life Chelada

Olde Fitzgerald 1849


I settled down to watch this bargain bin Kung Fu DVD "Silver Fox and Ninja Terminator" on a hungover afternoon with my health drink: Clamato and cheap domestic beer.  They are apparently called “Chelada”s and Budweiser now sells pre-mixed canned varieties that are very disgusting and are only sold in Austin and Northampton.  I learned of this magical mixture while visiting my old buddy Jayck Deez in Tucson, AZ.  He was tending bar at a dog track and the Mexican patrons seemed to enjoy the Clamato and light beer quite a bit.  I tried one and found it delicious.  Its like a light Bloody Mary.  A perfect hangover elixer, easy on the pipes and full of lycopene and clams.  I enjoy mine with pepper, salt and jalapeno slices.  I find it pretty amazing that clams and tomatoes can grow together, like in that Tomacco episode of the Simpsons.  Well, in this age of the internet and cellular phones, I guess anything is possible!  

The DVD has a “Hardcore Instructional Supplement” where Grandmaster Hwang Lee teaches Tai Kwan Do.  This extra has little value to the non Chinese speaking audience, as the entire thing is in Chinese and consists of Grandmaster Hwang yelling stuff.  His two female assistants and him don’t do much but jump back and forth and yell.  I wish I could have gleaned more knowledge from this supplement.  I felt sort of disoriented at this point in the game, and it was only going to get worse.  This turned out to be a good drinking movie, mainly because it is so disorienting that you can only hide from it in your glass and try to enjoy it on a strictly visceral level.  

The film obviously originally had a different name.  The title credit was pretty obviously added later on.  There is funky, lo-fi disco music playing and shots of shiny weapons.  And, as my notes tell me, it is worth mentioning that the A.D. (Assistant Director, for you non-Hollywood types) goes by the name of Joseph Poon.  

The opening scene shows a ninja master putting together a golden statue of, you guessed it, a ninja.  When the three pieces of the statue are put together, the ninja master becomes invincible.  His minions, who we later find out are named Harry, Baron and Tamachi (Harry and Baron are white and wear black eyeliner), try to kill him, but their swords have no effect on him.  Then, a bunch of red-suited ninjas invade.  There are many shots of ninjas bustling around, obviously sped up.  The deaths are unfortunately pretty bloodless.  Tamachi gets killed.  

There is an oddly touching funeral scene.  So far, the film is from the 80s.  All of a sudden, we meet “Tiger”, a bad guy with a platinum blonde wig and a white suit.  Now the film looks very 70s.  I didn’t quite realize this yet when initially watching the film, but this film is definitely two different films edited together to resemble one film.  It really starts to fall apart about halfway through, where it becomes obvious that one film, the one with the white Ninjas, is from the 1980s, and the other film, the one with Tiger and a badass good guy named Jaguar, is from the 70s.  They are both pretty hilarious and awesome films, and the way they are so sloppily combined makes for a very strange and disorienting viewing experience.  The type of film that is best viewed with a drink very close by.  

As the film got more and more confusing, I decided that the health Clamato drinks I had consumed already had done a good job of wearing my hangover down and it was time to give it a swift overhand right to the temple and knock it down to the canvas.  (Bad metaphor made worse by the fact that I was watching a karate movie so I should have written something like “I decided that I had rabbit punched my hangover enough with my health Clamato drinks, so I decided to dispatch with a swift chop to the neck.”  Oh well.) 
I grabbed a bottle of
Olde Fitzgerald’s 1849 Kentucky Bourbon and poured myself a glass over ice.  This bottle is 90 proof goes for $17 at Fuller’s Package Store in Orleans.  I had drank the cheaper varieties of Olde Fitzgerald in Louisville, where it sells for about $10 a fifth.  The 1849 is one of the venerable Louisville distillery’s top shelf brands.  It definitely isn’t the smoothest bourbon, with lots of smoky, woody spice and a good deal of burn.  Well, these tasting notes are nothing like the real thing, and the two beers I’ve drank while writing this have definitely knocked my hangover down a bit, so I’m going to pour myself a short one right now.  Please standby, and feel free to make yourself a drink while I make mine.  (I recommend listening to The Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” while doing this, as that is what I am listening to right now and its a great song for getting in the mood to drink.  What the hell am I doing?  I have to get up at 4 a.m. tomorrow.  Shit. No one ever said being a drunken writer was going to be easy.)  

This whiskey is very good, with a strong flavor more suited for the advanced whiskey connoisseur (ie: drunkard).  

It tastes very smooth initially, then burns for quite a while afterwards.  Definitely makes me grimace a little bit, but in a good way.  I like to know that I’m drinking 90 proof booze.  If its too smooth or sweet, there is something missing from the equation.  You have to pay a little bit for the bliss of whiskey, while its going down and the next morning.  

Back to the film.  The movie has a “Silver Fox” in the title, and this character never appears.  There are many shots of the white, mustachioed ninja, Harry McQueen, chopping up watermelons and the other white ninja, Baron, twirling fireballs.  There is a scene where Harry McQueen’s girlfriend brings crabs home to cook for dinner.  She drops the bag on the ground and starts screaming as the crabs start moving around the kitchen.  Harry kills a crab with a throwing knife.  At this point, I decided that there was no reason to try to follow the story of this film.  It was too be enjoyed with childlike whimsy.  Or drunk.  

Basically the film makes no sense from here on out, and I can assure you that it wasn’t a ‘chicken and egg’ scenario where my own drinking made me not understand the film.  The film really made no sense.  So, I will merely list some of the highlights.  

-Jaguar kicks a baseball out of the air which bounces off of one bad guy’s head and into another bad guy’s head.  

-The ninjas have mist jets and flame throwers in the handles of their swords.  

-Random sex scene with a girl named Lilly.  

-A guy that looks like a little Asian David Crosby runs a pawn shop.  

-Cheesy remote control robot toys deliver death threats to the white ninjas from the Ninja Empire.  Harry McQueen tells the Ninja Empire to go to hell.  

-The editing is so bad that people’s costumes change from shot to shot.  

-Harry is an awesome hero, he’s like a Tom Selleck ninja.  

-Another, extremely awkward sex scene with Lilly.  

-Harry turns invincible, cuts more watermelons.  

-The white guy ninjas look goth in their ninja hoods with their black eyeliner.  

-The Ninja Empire sends VHS tapes that have clips from other ninja movies, narrated by The Ninja Terminator, who threatens them.  

The only other thing I can remember is that the Jaguar movie, the one from the 70s, looks really good, and I would like to find out what its called.  If anyone knows, hit me up.  Jaguar is a badass goodguy in the Terry Siguri tradition (Sonny Chiba’s character in the “Street Fighter” series).  He fights dirty, throws sand in people’s eyes, even throws dice in a bad guy’s eyes.  Awesome.  

Overall, it was a fun way to kill a hangover, but way too bizarre of a film to recommend to anyone who isn’t drinking while watching it.  Drunkards only on this one.  The Olde Fitz 1849 isn’t the smoothest whiskey in the world, but it packs a strong, clean buzz, which is fine by me.  

This turned out to be a pretty long afternoon/evening of movie watching, and I continued to chip away at the Olde Fitz and popped in a VHS of Albert Pyun’s 1986 film “Dangerously Close”.  




This movie is about a group of teenage vigilantes called “The Sentinels” that are hired by the principle of their high school to help out around campus and secretely hunt down and terrorize members of a group called the Magnet Project.  The Magnet kids are apparently students from less rich areas that are allowed to attend Vista Verde High, a rich kid school.  It is worth mentioning that the Vista Verde sports team is called the “The VV Lazers”.  I bet their logo was awesome.  The main character is the editor of the school newspaper, Donny.  He has five alarm clocks and they all have to go off to wake him up.  His wacky mo hawked buddy Krueger picks him up for school in his wacky hot rod.  Krueger smokes weed, bumps reggae, offers a cop a hit of his joint and narrates the proceedings in an over the top narrator voice.  Needless to say, he’s pretty awesome.  

We can see the conflict between Krueger and the Sentinels right away, as he blatantly disrespects them to their faces.  The first half of this film shows a great deal of promise.  It has a decent premise, it resembles my ideas of what high school was going to be like when I was 6 years old, and like most great 80s teen movies, all the actors playing teens look like they are about 30 years old.  

About a half hour into the film, I starred something in my notebook.  I normally only star things that are really important.  This starred note read: “* Albert Pyun.- Good movie from a bad director?”  

Albert Pyun is a horrible director.  He has made so many bad movies that it is actually pretty outstanding.  To be that bad at something but continually get work is sort of impressive in a somewhat sad way.  To look at his IMDB credits is like looking at a rogue’s gallery of cinematic sewage.  This was only his third film, so maybe he didn’t discover his own crappiness till halfway through the thing.  I haven’t seen his first two films, but I would wager that they suck.  So, that kind of kills the theory of him realizing he sucks halfway through this one.  I think he was given a decent script with a great potential and he managed to fuck it up, because he’s Albert Pyun.  This man made “Cyborg”.  Remember that piece of crap?  Remember when Van Damme was the next big action hero and you were 10 and you managed to convince your dad to rent “Cyborg” and it was like the worst piece of shit ever and you actually felt bad because you had put alot on the line convincing your dad not to rent some good movie and rent “Cyborg” instead because Van Damme was a good martial artist and you were a yellow belt at Villari’s Karate School?  Like it would actually be educational?  Hmmph.  

Ah, I was about to be let down by Mr. Pyun yet again.  What starts as a fun, very smart high school thriller just turns....bland.  There’s no other way to describe it.  There is very little action, the direction is stale and lifeless and the best character, Krueger is absent for most of the second half of the film.  This was an early night.  I had a decent buzz from the Olde Fitz and I had to get up very early the next day, so I didn’t watch Steven Seagal’s “Today You Die” and went to sleep.  I remember my hangover the next day as not being too bad, so I can recommend Olde Fitz for the experienced whiskey drinker.  I can’t really recommend either of these movies, but if you are drinking away a hangover, the non-congruent insanity of “Silver Fox and Ninja Terminator” is worth a look.  

Thanks for tuning in to my first Fermented Flicks entry, check back for more soused reviews.  Thanks to Jay Furrey and a bunch of other quality folks for helping with the name.  I have three more beers to drink, its 9 p.m. and I need to get up at 4 a.m.  Salud.  


1 comment:

Denzel said...

I have no words other than "awesome" to describe how awesome this awesome thing is. In portland we drink beer in our movie theaters but nothing as awesome as this.