The story of Joss Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is about as classic a tale and about as old a tale as most other movies in development. Whedon had a vision for a new take on a horror story and Hollywood didn’t get it and kind of fucked it up. Everyone by now knows the tale of 1992’s “Buffy,” and how Joss Whedon initially wanted to make something of a darker more stern take on the vampire hunter that minced a coming of age tale with a story of a young woman coming to maturity. When Whedon was given the chance to finally bring his film in to development he kind of lost control of his creation.
The “Wes Craven Presents Dracula” series has been one of the kookiest and oddest trilogies ever conceived by a studio. Obviously the trilogy is just a hodgepodge of three vampire movies connected because Dracula. But it’s an eccentric trilogy when you take a step back. The first was a sleek action horror film with Dracula being the reincarnated Judas. The second is a goofy thriller about scientists trying to manipulate Dracula’s blood in to a healing medicine. The third is a romance with a martial arts fighting rogue priest who is trying to stop immigrants from becoming Dracula’s imported food.
Director Bruce Malmuth’s “Nighthawks” is easily one of the most eighties action thrillers ever made. It’s a teaming of various talents from the decade, and further paves Sylvester Stallone as an action hero. Stallone is quite convincing in his role as renegade street cop Deke DaSilva who goes to great lengths to stop criminals alongside his partner Matthew Fox, as played by Billy Dee Williams. Most of the concept for “Nighthawks” revolves around the uneasy pairing of Stallone’s more rough neck street cop going up against Rutger Hauer’s international villain. Hauer is excellent the villainous bomber Wulfgar who delights in terrorizing people with planting bombs and infiltrating the local populace.
Before “The Matrix” there was this wonky surreal tale about existentialism, the meaning of existence and reality, and a suited mad man trying to infiltrate worlds through concepts concerning being, matter, and dimensional travel. By way of “Star Wars,” director Kristin Rao brings us a tasty goofy bit of direct to video goodness with Rutger Hauer as an uber-Obi Wan Kenobi who helps a young man find his way as a warrior and help him learn about his mysterious past involving his father. Hauer even waxes poetic and dons his own combat attire while venturing to save our reality from interdimensional beings looking to conquer various dimensions, including our own.
There’s a moment during “Dracula 3D” where I had to look away from the screen and cringe in utter embarrassment. It’s not the scene with the giant mantis, but where Dracula and Mina Harker are pitching woo on the castle balcony in the night. In between the pillars you can see a night sky and moon light so badly composited on to the screen, with atmosphere so poorly made up of blatant CGI, that it’s shocking in its sloppiness. Dario Argento is much better than this. Hell, Asia Argento is much better than this.
In the eighties, Rutger Hauer was king. He was a man who managed to impress as both villain and anti-hero in many movies from the classic “The Hitcher” and “Bladerunner” to the not so classic but memorable “Blind Fury.” And as is the case, with every generation of bad asses, there’s always someone Hollywood is looking to peg as the next McQueen. “Wanted: Dead or Alive” is based on the excellent Western series starring Steve McQueen as a lone bounty hunter in the old west who travels along the land with his shot gun acquiring his next catch and teaching them lessons along the way while fighting the local bad guys. As is the case with the eighties, director Gary Sherman completely diminishes all of its period settings and sets its hero down in to modern times coating him with black leather, slicked back hair and teaming him against local terrorists as played by the tongued one Gene Simmons.