I’m old enough to remember that, despite being a goofy vehicle for the Brat Pack, that “Young Guns” was pretty popular and warranted its own follow up. Now shedding the whole gimmick aside, Geoff Murphy spends his movie following Billy the Kid, as he attempts to hide from the law and make a deal with a new Marshall who swears to release him and let him off without being hanged. Of course he turns his back on the deal, prompting Billy to flee with his gang and his two old friends Chavez and Doc, both of whom are re-introduced as having been caught and imprisoned. “Young Guns II” avoids the goofy opening sequence in favor of a campy shot of a very old Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez in old man make up) who calls a lawyer to meet him in a neutral zone.
This is the story of The Regulators. No wait, this is the story of Billy the Kid. No this is the story of how Billy the Kid met Pat Garrett. Oh hell, it’s all of that and essentially a remake of “The Cowboys.” Rather than a small group of boys who avenge their mentor in a dramatic finale, this group of young men avenges their caretaker in the beginning and we’re stuck with them for the duration. And they do so in a very long and cheesy Western that jumps in and out of so many sub-plots that it becomes exhausting. Christopher Cain’s “Young Guns” is really only a film you’ll likely love if you were between 13 and 19 in 1988. It’s another attempt to tack the brat pack on to a movie genre, and it pretty much fails from the moment we’re introduced to various characters in a goofy opening credits sequence. Every character is essentially some kind of gimmicky contributor to the narrative, only delivering broad Western cliches.
I think there was even some doubt by Joel Hodgson and company on whether or not fans wanted a reboot of MST3K. Sure, the merchandise sells well, but most reboots of nineties properties have either stunk or just failed to deliver, period. Plus it’s not like the show was around for a short time like “Firefly” or “Freaks and Geeks.” It was on ten years and even earned a movie of its own. Surprisingly enough fans proved that the show is just as special to them as it is to Joel Hodgson and his crew of brilliant creators that gave us the original series. Like all the other fans, “MST3K” has a very special place in my heart and I have such a deep bond with its characters and love for its formula. So naturally I was frightened the reboot would be stale.
Technology has become such a humongous part of our everyday lives it’s now become a tool that we take for granted, and use without caution. It’s embedded in everything we do now, and because of that, we’re prone to broadcasting how stupid and absurd we can be to the outside world. Peter Huang’s short anthology entitled “5 Films About Technology” is a laugh out loud funny and realistic look at how five groups of people all end up committing some kind of ridiculous act with their own technology thanks to stupidity or circumstance.
Jean-François Richet’s “Blood Father” is supposed to be considered Mel Gibson’s cinematic comeback as the action hero we all knew and love before… you know. “Blood Father” is one in the many growing titles of fifty something men displaying vigilante justice, and Gibson plays well to type. He’s that crusty fifty something man who often resembles Martin Riggs if Riggs became a convict, and attempted to spend his life redeeming himself or something. Gibson plays Link, an ex-convict working hard to live out the rest of his life as quietly as possible. But things don’t go as planned when his estranged daughter, who is involved with a vicious gangster, shows up at his door begging for shelter. But when her boyfriend is convinced she knows too much, he goes looking for her.
I would have loved to be there at the pitch meeting for “Con Air.” Take “Die Hard,” make the villain John Malkovich and make its two heroes once popular eighties stars, and you have yourself what is a tonally uneven but pretty solid action movie all around. Star Nicolas Cage does double duty camp as hero Cameron Poe, an army ranger who accidentally murders a man while attempting to defend his wife one night at a bar. For some reason this qualifies him to travel on a transport flight to a new prison alongside some of the worst criminals in the world (?). This includes rapists, cannibals, child molesters, and vicious serial killer Cyrus “The Virus” Grissom, as played by John Malkovich.
America never did John Woo any favors, did it? The man who gave us “The Killer” and “Hard Boiled” now offers us a movie where American stars John Travolta and Nicolas Cage seem to be competing to see who is a worse actor. I guess when you’re working alongside Cage, though, you either have to be as awful as he is, or else risk causing some kind of black hole. Either way, for a man who has such a skill for delivering breakneck action films, “Face/Off” is that movie so moronic, you can’t even excuse it as science fiction. It’s kind of that movie you just accepted in 1997 mainly because Cage and Travolta joining forces was a little better than when Travolta met Christian Slater in “Broken Arrow.”
Would you rather have two bad monster movies or nothing at all? I agree: two bad monster movies. Shout! Factory offers up two bad monster movies for the price of one for movie buffs that appreciate the schlock and awe of giant badly designed monsters wreaking havoc within budget limitations. First up there’s 1977’s “Tentacles” directed by Ovidio G. Assoninitis and is one of the many Jaws-sploitation movies to come out of the decade. This time around there’s an all star cast of John Huston, Bo Hopkins and Henry Fonda, all of whom reside in a seaside resort town.