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Showing posts from July 19, 2020

Review: Hawk the Slayer

John Terry stars as the title warrior who gathers a band of varied adventurers to help out an Abbess kidnapped by the evil, helmet-mask waring Voltan (Jack Palance). Voltan happens to be Hawk’s older brother, who murdered their father (Ferdy Mayne) after he refused to give Voltan his secret powers (which included a sword). Instead, those powers have been inherited by Hawk. Bernard Bresslaw is the ‘giant’ Gort, Ray Charleson is Crow the Elf, and Peter O’Farrell plays dwarf Baldin. Morgan Sheppard plays wounded warrior Ranulf, whilst Shane Briant plays Voltan’s vile son Drogo. Harry Andrews (as High Abbot), Roy Kinnear (as a petrified inn-keeper), Warren Clarke (burning a witch and picking a fight with Hawk), and Patrick Magee (as a priest) all have bit parts. An early sword-and-sorcery effort with a large debt owed to Tolkien, this 1980 fantasy flick from Terry Marcel (“Prisoners of the Lost Universe”) and co-writer/producer/composer Harry Robertson (“Prisoners of the Lost Universe”) i…

Review: The Debt Collector

Scott Adkins plays a martial arts instructor whose dojo has run into financial trouble. A friend (Michael Paré) suggests a gig as a debt collector for loan shark Vladimir Kulich. With no other choice, Adkins (whose character is also a war veteran) accepts. He’s teamed with the more experienced but largely burned-out Louis Mandylor, and after a couple of early botches they make for an alright team. Well, Adkins does most of the heavy lifting since Mandylor seems a bit jaded and lazy, but still they make it work somehow. Complications arise when Tony Todd turns up as a formidable gangster named Barbosa, who hires the men to find an ex-employee who has been ripping him off. Adkins and Mandylor find the culprit, but something seems fishy about it. Director Jesse V. Johnson (“Triple Threat”) and co-writer/Scott Adkins’ childhood best friend Stu Small get quite a few things right with this hardened action-comedy from 2018. Unfortunately, witty/clever dialogue is not among the film’s arsenal…

Review: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino’s look at late 60s Hollywood, as we follow fictionalised fading TV actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), during the last years of the Golden Age. A former star of his own western TV series, Dalton is now a boozing, insecure mess reduced to villainous guest roles on other people’s hit TV shows. Brad Pitt plays Dalton’s loyal, long-time stunt double Cliff Booth (also fictional), who has an erratic reputation of his own. They need each other – Rick would be an even bigger mess without Cliff, Cliff’s dodgy past pretty much rules out most solo employment opportunities, but Rick is also starting to have trouble getting Cliff gigs alongside him. Meanwhile, in the corners of the film we notice young Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), the real-life star of “Valley of the Dolls”, and pregnant wife of filmmaker Roman Polanski. The Polanski’s live on the same street as Dalton. One day, Cliff (who lives in a trailer, by the way) picks up a young hippie (Margaret Qualley, satisfying QT…