Eye Of The Tiger (1986) Busey, Biker Gangs, Dynamite And A Heap Of Lube

As the opening scene began I started to wonder what I was getting myself in for? Two men slowly getting dressed in close up! Shoes, belts, zoom in on zippers going up and then a quick dude junk grab rearrange shuffle! Looked like these two had just got jiggy with it! But no, these are inmates just released from the slammer. One looks like Tony Montana in his all white suit and gangster strutt confidence. The other, with that legendary big goofy toothed grin we all love, is our hero, Buck Matthews aka Gary Busey. The prison gate opens and the Rocky III signature theme tune begins. This is Eye Of The Tiger and we are in for one rocky ride…

Buck Matthews was a Vietnam war veteran trying to settle down back down in his small town with his wife and daughter. He worked construction and enjoyed it. A few years earlier he’d been wrongly jailed for standing up to thugs at the local bar. The town’s sheriff (Seymour Cassel) was sadistic and incompetent fool and had a chip on his shoulder against Buck, for no apparent reason. “Doing that time in there didn’t do a damn thing for you, did it? You were an asshole then and you’re a ‘bigger’ asshole now!

Lucky Buck had a friend in J.B. Deveraux (Yaphet Kotto), a police deputy who did his own thing on the force. JB had fought alongside Buck in Vietnam. He had his back, however, not for too long. JB was retiring! “This town is losing its greatest black man, I’m retiring. Lay on the beach, work on my tan. HAHAHA” he informs his friend.

Now our Buck could deal with the Sheriff being an arsehole. Besides he would soon turn out to be the less of his concerns. As a lunatic murderous biker gang steam roll into town like an army of invading ants. All dressed in military green and identical black crash helmets. They caused absolute havoc and terror. At the helm of this devil pack was the psychotic bald leader called Blade (William Smith) who orchestrated the carnage from afar. When the gang unleashed an outrageous attack and attempted rape Busey has no choice but to go into overload rage mode. Not on his watch! Blade explodes with menacing stern outrage. “You made a big mistake, Buck Matthews. Never scratch dry shit!” Say what?

Tagline – Nam was hell… Prison unbearable… But coming home meant murder.

Buck Busey to the rescue would return unimaginable pain for our hero. With the biker gang focused on destroying his life, home and unfortunately his family. The terror would get worse. Buck needed to level the playing field. He dug in his pocket and brings out a scribbled note. It read “Anytime, Anywhere, Anything” with a phone number. Now I don’t know what those two got up to inside their prison walls but Tony Montana owed Buck Matthews big for saving his life. Desperate to repay the debt he promised to settle up. Buck calls the number. Tony delivers. BIG! “We all square now” as a giant cargo box is delivered. It’s a missile launching, machine gun firing, bulletproof monster truck, courtesy of Scarface’s IOU.

Buck Matthews is just a man praying for vengeance with a tough will to survive. What’s an army of psychotic murder biker gangs have when you have that mantra, that goofy grin and a super truck filled with killer treats?

As the carnage grows we get heads being lopped off, exploding mannequins, coffins dragged across the floor, arm wrestling with scorpions and, brilliantly, everyone’s favorite, Yaphet Kotto, flying a crop-duster whilst grenade blasting holes out of bikers to the sound of James Brown’sGravity“. And he’s loving every second of it.

But Wolfie!” I hear you say. “What is the best death scene?” That little death nugget goes to Blade’s brother. Strapped handcuffed to a hospital bed, our Buck disguises himself as a doctor with a novel way to take his patient’s temperature! Half a jar of vaseline smothered on the top of a stick of dynamite and ramped up big beardy baddies clenched A-Hole! Lighting the fuse, “You got 25 seconds to tell me!“. The heart rate monitor he’s hooked up to goes into overdrive…

Nice to see Gary Busey in a good guy role. And not totally deranged or wearing female clothes and fake boobies in hilarious fashion like in Under Siege (1992) The Cook, The Drag Queen And The Booby Cake

Eye Of The Tiger was directed by Richard C. Sarafian who has many films and a whole heap of television titles under his watch. A few I have reviewed already over the years like Lolly-Madonna XXX (1973) Kidnap, Moonshine, Screaming Piggies & Happy Families and Fragment of Fear (1970) David Hemmings Freaks To The Johnny Harris Funky As Hell Soundtrack. He also directed the brilliant road movie and the one I really need to review one day soon, Vanishing Point (1971).

Be sure to pop on over to fellow cult film reviewer Mike’s Take On The Movies who did an article on Gary Busey Man Of Action and see in the comments it took me 5 years to get round to Eye Of The Tiger and I’m glad I finally got to see the crazed madness.

Eye Of The Tiger was on Amazon Prime at time writing and let’s be honest it’s an authentic watching experience. The video quality was as bad as a much watched and loved original VHS video rental of the time. Filled with glitches, tracking lines, grainy cuts and a whole heap of sound issues. I loved every second of it.

All the best

Mikey Wolf

In the Line of Duty: The FBI Murders (1988) True Crime TV Movie Carnage

Bill Matix (Michael Gross) and Jerry Dove (Bruce Greenwood) had very different life choices. Whatever fate their decisions had mapped out for them, one thing was true, their paths were destined to cross. Jerry dreamt of joining the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI was his calling card, his life’s ambition. He would lovingly stare out to sea with the Miami vapour-waves casting a soft focus across his thoughtful face. When he snapped out of this spellbinding trance he’d race his labrador along the water’s edge and enjoy a sweet embrace reminiscent of best buddies, Rocky and Apollo. His dream was to come true.

In contrast, Bill Matix’ life couldn’t be further removed than the morally righteous and upstanding Jerry. Bill was bitter and twisted, psychotic and murderous. Worse still was his friend, Mike Platt (David Soul) who, somehow, was even more deranged. This angry man wore ridiculously too short cutoff jeans and hulked out at pinball machines. Each time he bent over that machine poor Bill got an eyeful that flashed backed the horror’s of working on a turkey farm in his youth. “For the love of god man, put some proper trousers on!” he whispered to himself.

Bill and Mike were insanely dangerous, violent and packed to the hilt with enough firepower to take down a small army. They were savage and ready to start a series of murders and robberies. Starting with the cold killing of young man just to steal his car. Without no real planning, they embark on a series of armoured car heists and bank payroll attacks. Dressed in military combat gear, heads covered with black balaclavas’ and armed to the teeth with semi-automatic rifles, shotguns and smoke grenades. They were relentless, soulless and wildly out of control.

Jerry Dove’s dream job had become a reality. Assigned a position with the FBI and getting to work directly with one of the most seasoned special agents on the force, Benjamin Grogan (Ronny Cox). As the robberies and body count grew across the state the Bureau stepped up their investigation. Soon all the pathways would align to one of the most violent episodes in the history of the FBI. A ridiculously stupid ill-advised shootout that would lead to numerous deaths and is said to have become a law enforcement training course of how not to do it! It would also become a turning point for the FBI and many police departments to upgrade to more effective firepower, after being outgunned and undertrained.

Tagline – It’s 1986 and a small, tranquil Florida town is being rocked by a wave of vicious serial murders.

This incident would be known as the 1986 FBI Miami Shootout. Reading the historic case after the film it really fathoms, beyond all believe, how these, truly despicable twosome, actually made it through to that fateful day at all. Especially when it transpires that both had very likely killed their wives in horrific ways, years prior, and somehow escape innocently. Then there’s the shootout, which is almost comical in design, the way they follow them, the actions they choose to take. Which in turn leads to this, almost unreal, close-up firefight. It’s shocking to see the aftermath of events because it just seemed such a rookie chain of mistakes, it looked unbelievable? Until you see the actual carnage of the real footage photography. They had played it out verbatim and it’s shocking to see.

In the Line of Duty: The FBI Murders (1988) was a made for television movie production. It sounds like it was the first of a series of 12 “In the Line of Duty” FBI, police and other emergency services, case studies. Nine of which were directed by Dick Lowry and starred many famous faces like Rod Steiger, Mario Van Peebles, Bruce Campbell and Dean Stockwell to name a few cast players. The films pan out as such, Blaze of Glory (1997), Smoke Jumpers (1996) Kidnapped (1995) Hunt for Justice (1995) The Price of Vengeance (1994) Ambush in Waco (1993) Street War (1992) Siege at Marion (1992) Manhunt in the Dakotas (1991) The Race for Gus Farace (1991) A Cop for the Killing (1990) and The FBI Murders (1988) possibly being the best out the bunch. Let me know if you seen any of the others. I’m pretty positive I’d seen Street War. Seem to recall it being released and billed as a Mario Van Peebles film vehicle in the video stores.

So is the film any good? It’s dated pretty badly. Feels like a late 70s production rather than late 80s. It popped up on Amazon Prime and caught my attention with the cast. Bruce Greenwood is always ace in whatever he appears in. Fan favourite Burt Gummer (Michael Gross) from the Tremors series is always a big delight, though not here I must quickly add. David Soul gets to rid his good guy Hutch persona and go superbad, once again. Plus you get sharp shooting Ronny Cox, just don’t break those glasses! DOH! Also the great Richard Jenkins fills up the excellent assembled cast. Watching these great actors work their way through a TV movie is great to see and if you can get past the slow build up, then the payoff is worth it. Just for that moment of realisation of that was FUBAR! if real… It was!

It looks like on a quick search that most of the 12 In the Line of Duty TV movies are on Youtube. Here’s The FBI Murders for starters.

Thanks for popping on by. Feel free to comment if you wanna but best of all thanks for reading.

Mikey Wolf

House of Games (1987) Shrinks, Stings And Scams In The Shady Shadows

There I was sat in a Travelodge. Shoes kicked off and socks still steaming. I drooled at my prize. A 4 Piece Colonel’s Meal for one. Pillow placed on seat for maximum buttocks comfort. I winked at the four real ale bottles lined up awaiting to go. You see, I had deserved this treat. Friday and Saturday I’d danced non-stop til the twilight hours. Tonight, I’d danced again. The mind was willing but the legs were tired, shattered if I tell no lie. Like an old fool, I carried on. Still, I knew I’d finish early and treat myself. So you now see why my socks were steaming, honestly, they didn’t hum. My ears did, still do, ha. The bass still rattled around in my chest. I was content but now I had hungry eyes. Mikey does loves me chicken.

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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.

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My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) Thatchers Britain With Gay Love and Soap Suds

The 80s was a weird and wonderful time. My era. Generation X. Born in the 70s and grew up in the 80s. Video rental, smoking cigarettes behind the school bike shed, underage drinking, sniffing glue!…… and those dreaded “Thatcher Years“! Good old Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher dividing the nation. Tory rule went on forever. It always felt bleak times. Constantly surrounded by the threat of nuclear destruction, the narrative of pop culture at the time. Music videos and TV shows were awash with images of the triad of superpowers. America, The UK and Russia, all with itchy trigger fingers ready to push the button… Sniff some more glue! Vast unemployment swept across the land. Three million and counting were numbers said to be out of work and claiming benefits on the dole. The miners strikes, Greenham Common CND protests and the AIDS epidemic filled the news cycle… Pass the Evo-Stik!

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Night of the Juggler (1980) Thanos’s Dad Rips Through NYC To Find His Kidnapped Girl

Lieutenant Tonelli (Richard S. Castellano) raced up the steps as fast as he could for a round man like himself. Out of breath he took charge of the crime scene. What now? You could see it washed over his face, he’d seen it all, it was a constant in his life. Crime of New York City coming at him twenty four seven. “What’s it this time?” he shouts. The duty cop replies, “It’s another bomb threat from those Puerto Rican National Liberation Front lot.” “You gotta be kidding! Not them again!” He takes a deep breathe, exhales, and shakes his head whilst rubbing his temples. “I gotta feeling it’s gonna be another goddamn New York day!” He wasn’t wrong. Lt Tonelli would soon be caught up with the carnage about to hit his New York streets.

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