on 21 September 2013
Cyclone - A man named Rick has designed the ultimate motorbike, it cost $5 million dollars, is armour plated, and comes fully equipped with rocket launchers and laser guns. When Rick and his girlfriend, Teri, go out for the night to a club, someone sticks an ice pick in the back of Rick's skull. It's now up to Teri to make sure the bike doesn't fall into the wrong hands, but who can she trust?
Cyclone is ridiculous, but it's also a lot of fun. It was one of the early films directed by B movie extraordinaire, Fred Olen Ray. The dialogue is hilarious, the acting is mostly terrible despite Jeffrey Combs (Re-animator, From Beyond), Martin Landau (Academy Award winner for Ed Wood) and Martine Beswick (Thunderball, A Bullet For The General) showing up. The amazing $5 million dollar bike seems to be a lot slower than the beat up old cars the villains use to chase her, but Heather Thomas is a sexy and feisty lead as Teri. I knew this film would be really fun when the first shot of a woman is a close-up of her heaving cleavage as she uses the butterfly press at the gym, that told me exactly what this film was and I was happy to be taken along for the ride. It certainly isn't a well made film, but it's a good way to pass ninety minutes. Picture quality is pretty good, no extras.
Alienator - On a space station where prisoners are kept awaiting the death penalty, a criminal named Kol escapes and crash lands on Earth. The commander of the station sends The Alienator to earth to capture Kol. Kol ends up meeting a group of teenagers, and the group find themselves on the run with The Alienator close behind.
The Alienator is also directed by Fred Olen Ray, it's just as cheaply made as Cyclone, but I felt this one lacked the fun and pace of Cyclone. It isn't all bad, but it's certainly the worst film in the set. The Alienator looks awful, the dialogue made me laugh now and then, but nowhere near as much as Cyclone did. The acting is again poor, but Jan-Michael Vincent from Airwolf shows up as the commander, and John Phillip Law from Barbarella and Danger: Diabolik finds himself trying to protect the teens. P.J. Soles from Halloween and Joseph Pilato who played Captain Rhodes in Day Of The Dead appear in small roles. You know a film isn't great when the almost unstoppable killing machine can be taken down by a bit of chicken wire. Really cheap and cheesy but I didn't really enjoy this one, but I'm sure a lot of other people will. Picture quality is pretty good, no extras.
Eye Of The Tiger - Vietnam War veteran Buck Matthews has just been released from prison and returns to his hometown where his wife and young daughter are waiting for him, but he soon finds out that while he was gone, a motorcycle gang have overrun the town and terrorise the locals. When a nurse is attacked by the gang, Buck comes to her rescue which the leader of the gang called Blade, takes personally. The gang break into Buck's house and beat him badly and kill his wife, with his daughter traumatised and the local corrupt sheriff not prepared to do anything, Buck needs to take justice into his own hands.
I loved Eye Of The Tiger, it's a classic '80s revenge thriller that is surprisingly low on exploitation. Apart from the absolute best revenge/vigilante movies like Death Wish, Vigilante and Street Law, this is just about as good as any. Hollywood's favourite nutter, Gary Busey, is great as Buck, he really proves here that he should have been the main star a lot more often than he was. William Smith was perfectly cast as the villain, Blade. Seymour Cassel is good as the sheriff, and Yaphet Kotto is a blast as Buck's crop duster flying, bomb dropping friend. Judith Barsi was also very good as Buck's traumatised young daughter, Barsi was tragically murdered by her own father when she was just ten years old. The initial attack on buck and his family is almost skimmed over, but this isn't a film about the attack, it's all about the revenge. Survivor's Eye Of The Tiger is played in the film, more than once. It's really cool that it was used, but it's a song that instantly makes me think of Rocky whenever I hear it. It is ridiculous in parts, but it's a well acted, exciting and definitely underrated revenge/thriller that should be much better known. It's directed by Richard C. Sarafian who is best known for directing Vanishing Point, I've just seen that he sadly passed away just three days ago from the time I wrote this review. Picture quality is really good, no extras.
Exterminator 2 - John Eastland is once again prowling the streets of New York looking to waste the scum that inhabit them, starting by frying two liquor store robbers with his trusty flamethrower. He's dating a dancer and has just bumped into an old friend and Vietnam veteran called Be Gee who now drives a garbage truck. When a gang led by X rob an armoured car, Be Gee scares them off with his truck. A few days later, Be Gee lets John take the truck and the gang assume John was the driver a few nights before, they get their revenge by beating his girlfriend, leaving her crippled. A huge mistake, as X and his gang have no idea that the man they just angered is also The Exterminator.
Robert Ginty reprises his role as The Exterminator and he's great, I liked him in this almost as much as I did in the first film. Frankie Faison is really likeable and charismatic as Be Gee, Faison will probably be best known for playing Barney in Silence Of The Lambs, Hannibal and Red Dragon, the only actor to appear in all three along with Anthony Hopkins. Mario Van Peebles is fun and over the top as X, it was only his second film with him only previously having appeared as young Sweet in his dad's classic Blaxploitation film, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. Not as good as the first Exterminator, which is a film I felt was made as good as it was by Christopher George's performance. It's still a very good sequel that has always been very hard to find on DVD, especially with a good transfer and a decent price. Not only does the film look great, it also has an audio commentary by writer/producer/director Mark Buntzen and Mario Van Peebles. Another underrated film that is a lot better than it's given credit for, it's just a shame Ginty never returned for a third film.
This is a really good set, Cyclone and especially Eye Of The Tiger and Exterminator 2 are all really fun, cheesy, classic '80s action films. I didn't think Alienator was completely worthless, but it's definitely the weakest part of the set and came out in 1990, though I believe it was shot in '89 and released early 1990. The picture quality is good on Cyclone and Alienator, the picture quality on Eye Of The Tiger and Exterminator 2 is really impressive. I, like many people primarily ordered this set for Exterminator 2, but the whole set is a great deal of fun and kept me entertained for a day. What's better is the set is going brand new for a little over £6 including P&P, I would happily have paid that just for Exterminator 2. Great fun, great value. Shout Factory have done a great job with this action-packed movie marathon, but be aware that it's region 1 and will not play on a standard region 2 player.