Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995) The Aikido Cook Is Back Again. Lock Up Your Pots And Pans

That chef with the killer culinary skills is back. After making souffle outta a bunch of hardened terrorists trying to takeover a US Battleship in Under Siege (1992) The Cook, The Drag Queen and The Booby Cake, our hero, Casey Ryback (Steven Seagal) is back ready to cook up some tasty delights. This time his savoury entrée is served up on a train in, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory. Casey has to take a small break from his much loved restaurant. Not for a happy occasion or a relaxing vacation I must add. No, unfortunately, he is meeting his estranged niece, Sarah Ryback (Katherine Heigl), to visit his recently departed, brothers grave. But to cheer things up for our Casey, he gets to cook onboard the Grand Continental travelling from Denver to Los Angeles through the scenic Rocky Mountains. And as a special pudding treat, he wasn’t expecting a hijacked train filled with classic baddies from films bygone. “Best vacation ever!…

Check out all these villains. You ready for this?…

I love a double name, Patrick Kilpatrick who played the psychopath Sandman in Death Warrant (1990) with the kickboxing policeman, ‎Jean-Claude Van Damme. There’s Peter Greene who went bonkers as Dorian in The Mask (1994) pitted against the rubber faced Jim Carrey. We get a new train driver when Jonathan Banks turns up. He’s better known as everyone’s favourite anti-hero Mike Ehrmantraut in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. You might also recall him as the moody prisoner with mirrored aviator shades in Stir Crazy (1980)? Time to calm down the testosterone with some sexy estrogen before we jump to the next selection of villains. Look out for the gorgeous Costa Rican, Afifi Alaouie, who out macho’s all the dudes. A sharp shooting, no nonsense, silent killer.

You should recognise, Henry Kingi, who played the crazy El Scorpio in Predator 2 (1990). A legendary stunt man with a face that’s been in hundreds of movies. Which brings us around to our main mercenary boss, Marcus Penn, played by Everett McGill who, lets be honest, has the perfect face of a baddie. You’ll know him from Silver Bullet (1985) and The People Under The Stairs (1991). Two cult films I really need to be reviewing here soon. However, Everett might look the part but actually, he often played good guys like his recurring role as Big Ed Hurley in Twin Peaks and the origin of prehistoric mankind in Quest for Fire (1981). But you will be pleased to now that here in Under Siege 2 he is the ultimate villain, looking more like a Gestapo Nazi officer of pain. Marcus Penn is the leader of these vicious and despicable bunch of mercenaries lusting after the promise of a cut of a cool billion dollars.

Which brings us to the character Travis Dane, the unbelievably, annoyingly bad and completely over the top, computer geek freak. I’m guessing the script and casting wanted the legend Elliott Gould? Until… “He won’t do it, not for all the money in the world.” “Shit! director Geoff Murphy gonna loose his mind. Look, go find any Jewish looking dude with a jheri curl perm and tell Geoff, Elliotts off his meds. That’s why he’s so wacky!” Somehow they managed to get away with it and in steps Eric Gogosain. His nuttiness actually suits the film to be fair. Which by all accounts is prime 90s action nonsense but all the fun for it.

Tagline – A top secret nuclear satellite. A team of international terrorists. A government held hostage. An undetectable moving headquarters. Only one hero stands in the way.

Computer genius Travis Dane is all bitter and twisted with the Department of Defense. You see he had invented a top secret military satellite weapon that uses particle beams to start earthquakes on it’s targets. When they realised Travis was crazier than a bag of frogs, he’s subsequently fired. Only for him to become a crazed super-villain. With the help of the mercenaries and his advance technological skills he hijacks a train and sets up the untraceable weapon system and welcomes the corrupt world of adversaries to fill his Swiss bank account to take out any target of their choosing. The Pentagon becomes target number one! Frantically the Department of Defense tries everything they can, all to no avail. Luckily the cook was onboard, never bet against the cook.

So our retired Navy Seal finds himself hiding in a fridge once again before making cocktails of explosives and doing those tiny quick and devastating chops, punches and knife stabs his trademark calls for. All leading up to another dagger in the kitchen showdown, like the Tommy Lee Jones one in the first film. Of course it’s awesome. But before all that he has to save all the hostages, befriend train porter Bobby Zachs (Morris Chestnut) and terrify him to not flirt on his young, feisty niece Sarah and stop her from having a teenage angst stroppy fit. Of course, Casey does it all with a pinch of salt and sprinkle of oregano. All without raising his softly spoken voice. Casey is as cool as a cucumber tzatziki dip.

Ok lets get real, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory is pretty bad. However, it is really fun bad, and expensive, and that’s all that mattered when renting an action video cassette back in the day.. It’s a very enjoyable sequel made way more so by that fantastic collection of bad guys. With Everett McGill on fine, totally serious, psychotic form. He gets some wonderful silly scenes. One using mace spray as breath freshener “Not mace, sweetheart. Pepper spray. Sold to civilians. But once you get used to it…it just clears the sinuses!“. And another with Ms Heigl digging her thumbnail into a pressure pain point on his face and he practically has an orgasm. So what you waiting for? Go revisit, or remember or watch for the very first time. And best of all, just have fun at the movies. Thanks for popping on by.

Mikey Wolf…

PS. Here’s some choice lines to end with.

  • Casey Ryback –Tits to die for, huh?
  • Marcus Penn –RRRRRRRRYBACK!
  • Marcus Penn –You know I’ve never been afraid of anybody. But that uncle of yours scares me… and I like it.”
  • Travis Dane –Yeah, go get your throat ripped out. I’ve got 8 million people to kill and a billion dollars to pick up.
  • Marcus Penn –Assumption is the MOTHER of all fuck ups!
  • Casey Ryback –Nobody beats me in the kitchen.”

Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991) Dolph Lundgren And Brandon Lee Join Forces To Fight Yakuza Boss

Johnny –We’re gonna nail this guy. And when we get done… we’re gonna go eat fish off those naked chicks!

OK, thanks for popping in for today’s review of Showdown In Little Tokyo.

All the best… Mikey Wolfman…

Me –Excuse me? What’s that? You wanted more of a review than lets eat shusi off naked girls? Oh! OK! I’ll see what I can come up with!

Two Los Angeles cops join forces. There’s the giant blond, musclebound, Chris Kenner (Dolph Lundgren) and the super chic, suited and slick Johnny Murata (Brandon Lee). Their paths had crossed when fighting breaks out in a noodle bar on the streets of Little Tokyo, an area of downtown LA. Chris, the tall American had been raised all his life in Japan and lived and breathed the culture. Whereas, Johnny, on the other-hand, was an all American boy of mixed Japanese descent and embraced everything of his country. Both were masters of their chosen martial art. Johnny eyes up Chris with confusion as he speaks Japanese and wears his favourite samurai ninja style outfit “You sure are going full out for culture appropriation bro?

Chris lives the life. He was friends with the local noodle bar owner, he speaks fluent Japanese, dresses the part and resides in a reconstruction of his old family home. A traditional Japanese style house with minimal furniture and shoji paper screens. Chris had a traumatic past. His parents were murdered in front of him by a young member of the Iron Claw Yakuza clan when he was 9 years old. Trained from an early age he’d managed to lash out with his sword and cut the Yakuza’s face as he escaped. He would never forget the killers fully tattooed torso featuring the Iron Claw emblem.One day he had vowed to revenge his parent. That day would arrive when Yoshida (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) turns up with his scarred face and kills the local nightclub owner of the Bonsai Club. Squished in a scrap car compactor!

The psychotic Kingpin Yakuza boss, Yoshida runs the Red Dragon local brewery, a front for his drug distribution trade. A place he assigns all the local hood gangs. Everything was running so smoothly. Crystal meth being shipped out in concealed beer bottles. It was the perfect operation. Apart from dishing out some decapitations here and there and the usual lunatic boss stuff, boss Yoshida was quite happy with himself. Well, that was until our fighting Fist of Fury friends turn up and start kicking his gangs ass.

Tagline – The deadliest vice-kingpin under the Rising Sun has just come to the City of Angels…where two angels of death are about to make him wish he’d stayed in Japan.

There’s a common question that often arises, along with other things, on this movie site whilst I revisit the old memories of the video store rental days. That old sage classic of legend… Will you be needing the pause button during the duration of this here movie? Well, I let you know there’s a bouncing, bountiful, abundance of booby action in this cult action film. I’d say close your eyes and randomly press that button anywhere and you’re bound to land on some joyful, eye popping scene or another.

And to counteract that abundance flashing of Dolph’s pectoral muscles poking out of his skimpy vest all the time! We get the gorgeous Tia Carrere playing hot girl, damsel in distress, Minako Okeya. She’s happy to join the flesh-fest and drops her drawers for some hot-tub, lets fix these bruised muscles, fun. Somehow her hair suddenly becomes longer in a different style and her breasts become somewhat larger? Must of been the angle of the camera? Surely they wouldn’t of used a body double with boob implants? Anyhow I digress…

Showdown In Little Tokyo is full of frantic 90s action mayhem. Clocking in at one hour and fifteen minutes it doesn’t stop. It’s relentless. Apparently, as a result of the studio being pissed at the final test screen reaction they went to town chopping it up. And to be honest to them, it’s made it a rollercoaster ride of fun. Tons of fighting in saunas and steam houses, plus shootout and kung-fu galore. Plenty of explosions and they even throw in a fun electric shock torture scene. It also features one of the greatest baddie deaths to be filmed. All I’ll say is it features a giant catherine wheel. It’s here on YouTube if you want to see it. But best of all is the buddy relationship between our Dolph and Brandon. It’s well written with all the constant cheesy macho banter between them. It’s is sad to see Brandon coming across really likable and makes you feel gutted that the son of legend Bruce Lee would be soon killed, in his prime, during the filming of The Crow (1994). Showdown In Little Tokyo is a fun way to remember him.

I’ll leave with some choice interaction between Chris and Johnny

  • Johnny – (Asking for a translation) “What did that mean?
    Chris –Roughly translated, out of the frying pan and boned up the ass with a red-hot poker.
    Johnny –There you have it.
  • Chris –Hey, she was frightened.
    Johnny –Yeah, I saw you strip down for that hot tub. I’d be frightened, too…
  • Johnny –Kenner, just in case we get killed, I wanted to tell you, you have the biggest dick I’ve ever seen on a man.”
    Chris –Thanks. I don’t know what to say.
  • Chris –Are you scared?
    Johnny – (Bends down to smell his ass then stands back upright) “Nah!
  • Johnny – (Whilst being tortured with electric) “In between cooking cycles you’re supposed to baste us!
    Chris –That’s right, you FUCKING IDIOTS!!!

Gridlock’d (1997) Tupac Shakur And Tim Roth Are Spoken Word Jazz Band Dope Fiends

When a film opens with a conversation about penis implants and, later, a N word discussion, you can’t help but think the scriptwriters were trying to channel some Quentin Tarantino vibes. Furthermore, when one of the characters feels like Pumpkin from Pulp Fiction (1994) had dumped his crazy girlfriend, Honey Bunny, and ran off to join a jazz band, you can’t help but smile. However, Gridlock’d, really is it’s own movie. It’s shot very stylish, has a frantic paced script, features a deep strong message and best of all, you get a wonderful chemistry between it’s two leads. It might slip off the rails into slap stick territory in the last quarter but it’s hard not to like it for it. It’s a quirky buddy movie. So what’s it about?

It’s New Years Eve in Detroit. Three close friends shoot the shit, heroin, jokes and their love together in their apartment. They are a trio. A spoken word jazz band called Eight Mile Road on the verge of getting picked up. On vocals is the svelte Cookie (Thandiwe Newton). On bass and back up vocals is the cool Spoon (Tupac Shakur) leaving stoned Stretch (Tim Roth) on keys. They’d just finished a gig. It had gone well. A music executive had shown a great deal of promise. Cookie was excited. She’d been slipped a bag of powder, she’d managed to keep off it whilst her two friends were constantly wasted. It was time to celebrate, she wanted to try the high… It doesn’t go well…

Cookie OD’s! Distraught and stoned out of their minds, Spoon and Stretch frantically try to get their beloved friend to the hospital. It’s Detroit, it’s New Years Eve. No one will help, no taxi will stop, they can’t call an ambulance, they don’t have health insurance, the system is broke. Eventually they make it, with everything against them. Will she live or die? No one knows…

Gridlock’d‘s fundamental message is the contemptuous government bureaucracy and mockery of a broken health care system. Based on writer and director Vondie Curtis-Hall own, early life, experiences. Being young in a band surrounded by people doing drugs, getting the idea that your creativity will become enhanced. Before you know it, you become dependent and caught in a vicious circle. “We went to try and get into rehab. Ended up wandering around from place to place, no one giving us any help. I remembered that when it came to writing my first movie.“. This is the premise of the film.

Tagline –Life is a traffic jam!

With the trauma and drama of the night before, Spoon has a moment of epiphany. He has to get clean, get off the smack and sort his life out. Stretch on the other hand is happy getting smashed. His moment of realisation hadn’t come to him yet. However, Spoon was his brother, they were tight. He’d do anything to help his friend out, even if it meant going through the pain of detox. Gridlock’d follows these two friends struggle to get that so needed help. A rehabilitation program, get help with Medicare, be given methadone, desperately any help to kick the life destructive habit. We follow their odyssey, travelling to one place to another. Met with disappointment and despair. Whilst on this arduous mission they encounter countless run-ins with the law, the homeless, other drug addicts, dealers and dope fiends. To make matters worse, they happen to upset a local hood gangster. with the cool, scary name of D Reper. Played by the director, Vondie Curtis-Hall himself. D Reper and his henchman (Tom Towles) add to the comic side of the film along with a recurring character, a blind man (Howard Hesseman) and his rottweiler dog.

It’s a great film. I really enjoyed it. We all know Tim Roth is an amazing actor but apart from Juice (1992) I’d never seen Tupac act. It’s really sad to see just how good and likable he is in this film. At the ridiculously young age of 25 he would soon be gunned down and pronounced dead on September 13, 1996. Gridlock’d would be released posthumously with the end credit dedication “For Tupac “One Love” R.I.P.

Flash backs to the three friends are filtered through the film with negative exposure fading back into colour. These give background to Eight Mile Road and I have to admit I laughed out loud seeing Tim Roth with his shades in jazz piano mode. You also get more Cookie moments with the slender Thandiwe Newton walking around in her tighty whities and showing rather more than expected. I’m a big fan of Westworld so I’ve seen it all and more, before. Hehe…

What makes this movie is the buddy angle. On paper there’s no way you can imagine Tupac and Tim Roth together. Probably the reason I never watched it at the time. But you couldn’t be more wrong, these two have such a rapport. Their relationship is rock solid, brothers. They’ve got each others backs. Getting wasted together, sat for hours sleeping and waiting in chairs, queuing forever, walking from one disappointment to the next. Even under gun fire and dodging police. They smoke a hundred cigarettes and even sword fight sharing the toilet. These two are tight. Their close frendship solidifies the movie.

Wolfman Rating 7.5/10 IMDB Rating 6.9/10

Feel free to let me know if you’ve seen this one, got recommendations or factoids or just want to say hello… 

Big love and keep watching those square shaped screens…. Mikey Wolfman

Cohen and Tate (1988) The Hit-Man, The Psycho And The Kid Go For A Drive

OK! I know I’ve been missing in action for what seems like eon’s to me. I’ve been desperately struggling to clamber my way back to do this amazing hobby I so love. Promised myself I wouldn’t keep apologising and say sorry for being away all the time, so, sorry. Doh! “Dabnamit Wolfboy! hold it together man!“. I’m just dipping my filthy big clawed foot back into the paddling pool to see if I can find a way to scribble smaller, maybe quicker reviews. Before, I tentatively look back at the drafts and try tackle the backlog of half written film articles I’d started months back.

So here we go. Following on from my last post, Blue Thunder, starring Roy Scheider you might be thinking that ole wolfy just been lazy and looked down Roy’s filmography and went, lets watch that one. In fact, I’ll have you know, I searched up great thrillers you’ve probably not heard of or something along those lines. And halfway down the list, there it was, Cohen and Tate. The article got two things right, I’d never heard of it and secondly, it was a pretty decent thriller. Me, being me, didn’t read the basic premise and jumped straight in. Those two good guys on the poster where gonna save the day in a thrilling but ultimately sweet buddy road movie kinda way, right? DOH! once again…

How wrong was I? These two are murderously despicable. Two hit-men employed by some unseen, unnamed Mafia honcho for a touch of clean up work. Waste some witnesses with a shotgun full of slugs and a massacre of bloody rain followed by a spot of kidnapping.

Roy Scheider plays Cohen, a trench coat wearing older guy, lets say seasoned. He’s a wiry assassin for hire. His sidekick, Tate, is played by Adam Baldwin. A wild, deranged and unpredictable, Terminator-esque leather bond psychopath. There’s no love lost between these two. Cohen’s been lumbered with Tate and he’s not to best pleased. Maybe it’s the professional in him or the fact if the job goes sideways his life is on the line. The job was simple. Get to the safe house, grab the kid, Travis Knight (Harley Cross), and drive across the country to the drop off point. There the kid would be interrogated and they’d get paid.

Cohen summons all his strength to tolerate the angry, messed up Tate. They don’t get along at all. His straight down the line sense of professionalism has his nerves tested with this unhinged, maniac he’d annoyingly been saddled with. Keep calm, keep your head down and get the job done Cohen, must of been flicking through his mind..

Tate –How about this? We pull to the side of the road, and I’ll do it with my bare hands. Let’s give his head a little twist, just a little pop to hear how it sounds. We dump the body and we blow out of here, hey!
Cohen –I’m not gonna warn you again. Let’s all just try to make it back to Houston in one piece. Because the way things are going, one of us won’t.

The poor kid, Travis, is obviously broken and distraught. He’s beside himself with fear. Gun shots and death had filled his ears and before he knew it, he was all alone Thrown in the back of car. Any noise he made the demented Tate shoved a shotgun barrel in his face and spat and screamed at him. He cried, he sobbed, then somehow comes to terms with his situation. For a young kid he sure has some balls on him. Slowly he ties to escape in anyway he can. He starts to feel out his abductors, little digs here and there, just enough to keep them on their toes. It’s a long journey, it wasn’t going to end well? What did he have to lose?

Cohen and Tate was a good watch. Roy pretty much walks it but is cold enough to give him a sinister edge. Roy is his usual solid stoic self compared to Adam Baldwin’s, no stranger to playing crazy and unhinged. He plays his part over the top, nutty as a fruitcake and brings his best maniacal lunatic to almost comically extreme levels. Which brings us to young Travis who was excellent as he tries one thing after another to mess with these two killer jerks. The Old MacDonald, sleepy time bit was fun and notable. Considering it’s just three actors in a car for most of the movie it’s great that the script and interactions keep your attention glued to the screen.

Tate –Hey what’s the last thing that goes through a bug’s mind when it hits a windshield?“…. “IT’S ASS!

I’m a big fan of both the two main leads. Roy Scheider, of course, is best known for Jaws (1975) and Jaws 2 (1978). Also brilliant in The French Connection (1971) and Klute (1971) and one of my first movie reviews The Seven-Ups (1973). I haven’t seen many of his 80s or 90s films so please give me a nudge if there’s any of note? Plus I adored watching him play Captain Nathan Bridger the science fiction series SeaQuest 2032 (1993/95). Ok it was cheesy and had a talking dolphin but I enjoyed myself.

Now on to Adam Baldwin (not directly related to the Baldwin Brothers I read but connected through some ancient Baldwin ancestry apparently). Animal Mother from Full Metal Jacket (1987) was my first introduction to him. Then probably saw him next in Predator 2 (1990) But it would be TV series that I’d come to love him in most, there was The X-Files but then Jayne Cobb in Firefly (2002/03) and the follow up film Serenity (2005) were big favorites. And, quite possibly, I may of been the last man on Earth, hehe, to have stayed right til the end of The Last Ship (2014-18) where he played XO Mike Slattery. It was good switch the old brain down nonsense but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Cohen and Tate was written and directed by Eric Red who’d written the screenplay for the Rutger Hauer thriller classic The Hitcher (1986) and also penned the vampire horror Near Dark (1987) with Kathryn Bigelow.

Wolfman’s rating – 7/10 IMDB Rating6.3/10

YEAH I did it!“. Feel free to let me know if you’ve seen this one, got recommendations or factoids or just want to have a go at me for disappearing for so long. 🙂

Big love and keep watching those screens…. Mikey Wolfman

No Orchids for Miss Blandish (1948) Let’s Meet The Cast That Put The Censor’s Knickers In A Twist

Miss Blandish is far removed from bland, she is a total knockout. A beauty that has all men weak at the knees. Her good looks isn’t all her good fortune, you see her father is one of the wealthiest men in the city. Worth a cool 100 million dollars. Of course, her father keeps a watchful eye on his precious daughters socialising and organised the right suitor for his treasure. Young Miss Blandish is set up with boring, older gentlemen that dote on her and promise the world. She on the other hand was cold and aloof. She desired something wild, someone rugged, maybe dangerous. As the heiress to incredible amounts of money she was bound to turn heads. Soon her life would be caught up with petty criminals, thugs and gangsters.. Lets meet them…

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The Day Of The Triffids – A Gig Theatre Adventure In Sound and Music

Searching for something different for the weekend, I glanced through the event listings at our local Arts Centre, The Lighthouse Poole. Scrolling down the page I spotted that fantastic word, Triffids!. It couldn’t be anything else could it? It had to be those pesky carnivorous human-eating plant-life! Excitedly I read the tagline…

ATTENTION EARTH-PEOPLE Platform 4 Presents… A gig theatre adventure in sound and music. An inspired take on John Wyndham’s The Day Of The Triffids.”

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