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Kung-Fu the Legend Continues (1993-1997). What the Hell?

We here at JPFmovies previously reviewed “Kung Fu” the 1970’s cult classic which branded David Carradine as Kwai-Chain-Kane the Asian priest wandering the old west.  Decades later Kung Fu the Legend Continues (1993-1997) was aired also starring Carradine.  So let’s take a look at the Kung-Fu reboot “Kung -Fu he Legend Continues.”

We here at JPFmovies (in case you didn’t notice) are big fans of the 1970’s T.V. series Kung-Fu (1972-1975) starring a young David Carradine, Keye Luke, Philip An and an assortment of guest stars including Jody Foster and Harrison Ford.  However, 1975 was not the end of Kung Fu as Warner Bros. tried a few times to bring it back.  First was Kung Fu: The Movie, a made-for-TV special that aired on CBS in 1986, with Carradine as Caine, and co-starring Brandon Lee (yes, that Brandon Lee) as his heretofore unknown son.  That was followed in 1989 by another TV movie, again on CBS, entitled Kung Fu: The Next Generation, set in the present day and again starring Lee, but this time as Johnny Caine, the great-grandson of Carradine’s Caine (who doesn’t appear).

Kung Fu: The Next Generation didn’t go anywhere past the pilot stage, but four years later, Warner Bros. tried again for syndication, this time bringing Carradine back as well as preserving the contemporary setting.  As a result, in 1993, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues was born, made in Toronto, Canada, it was truly a strange conglomeration of various plot devices/and ideas.  The show’s premise had Carradine again playing Kwai Chang Caine, this time the grandson of the original Caine, who tries to keep the old ways of the Shaolin alive — all the while solving crimes with his police detective son Peter (Chris Potter, also the voice of Gambit on Fox’s X-Men, appearing in Silk Stalkings and Queer as Folk) and a motley assortment of supporting characters.

Throughout the show, Caine dispenses aphorisms like “I am Caine, I will help you” while his son gushed clichés like, “I’m a cop! That’s who I am, that’s what I do!”  Not sure what demographic they were going for with this series.  The show used the slow-motion martial arts device that the original Kung Fu pioneered as well as the truly tired cop stories and low budget production values, while Toronto as an obvious stand in for San Francisco to reduce costs.  That said, The Legend Continues made it 88 episodes after 4 seasons and was not canceled due to low ratings but the studio Prime-Time Entertainment Network, simply going out of business.

We here at JPFmovies believe that is why the enigmatic Legend Continues series remains off most people’s radar.  The bastard child of the original Kung Fu and the tired cop themed shows that have plagued our airwaves for decades.  Most of the writing was done by Michael Sloan, the show’s producer, who obviously found many of the scripts on the internet or via outright copyright infringement of other media.  Some of the lines are so contrived that you wonder what they were thinking.  If you don’t believe us just take a look at the clips we’ve provided.

Here is the problem JPFmovies has.  We are Kung Fu junkies so we are having a really hard time complaining about the show since it stars David Carradine as Caine—albeit a distant character altogether.  On the other hand, if it were any other show we would have come down pretty hard on it.  You see our dilemma?

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2017 in Movie Reviews

 

As everyone knows we here at JPFmovies love our guest reviewers. So here is our latest guest reviewer Tom V. looking at Maximum Overdrive (1986) written and directed by Stephen King. Don’t watch it sober.

“The video game says “play me”
Face it on a level but it takes you every time on a one on one
Feeling running down your spine
Nothing gonna save your one last dime ’cause it own you
Through and through

The data bank know my number
Says I gotta pay ’cause I made the grade last year
Feel it when I turn the screw
Kicks you round the world, there ain’t a thing that it can’t do to you”

AC DC Who Made Who (1986)

The concept of this movie was truly extraordinary.  Artificial Intelligence and the Revolt of the Machines.  Starring Emilio Estevez, Pat Hingle and Laura Harrington, directed by Stephen King and featuring an exclusive soundtrack by AC DC what could possibly go wrong?  Well, pretty much everything.  There is no logical explanation why anyone would want to stay sober during the viewing of this film.  From a stunning lack of directing, to editing which seems to string together scenes that vaguely relate to one another, to laughably abysmal acting — Maximum Overdrive provides a cornucopia of disappointment. Aside from cocktails and good company, why watch this movie?  This is the first and last attempt at directing by Stephen King.  Who can pass up that kind of milestone?

The Plot:

As the Earth passes through the tail of a comet, previously inanimate objects suddenly spring to life and turn homicidal. In a pre-title scene, a man (King in a cameo) tries to withdraw money from an ATM, but it instead calls him an “asshole”, and he whines to his wife (King’s real life wife Tabitha). Chaos soon begins as machines of all kinds come to life and begin rampaging and murdering all available humans.

The machine carnage spreads as humans and even pets are brutally killed by lawnmowers, chainsaws. Our gang of actors gather at a roadside truck stop called “The Dixie Boy Dinner” just outside Wilmington, North Carolina, where a waitress is stalked and then badly injured by an electric knife.  Classic video games electrocute another victim. Employee and ex-convict Bill Robinson, played by Emilio Estevez, begins to suspect something has gone very wrong with the machines.

Robinson’s belief is reinforced by the marauding big rig trucks, which have formed a gang.  The Big Rig Truck Gang is led by a Western Star 4800 Rig sporting a giant Green Goblin mask on its grille.  Apparently, Stephen King bet bank that the Green Goblin would induce fear in the viewer.  Honestly put, the Green Goblin looked like something Carnies use to promote small block parties with machines of questionable repair and safety.  No matter how many times Green Goblin goes around the truck stop or chases down a hapless survivor, it’s just not invoking the fear factor.  Truth be told Carnies are typically much more scary.

At any rate, as if being menaced by the Carnie-like Green Goblin wasn’t enough, Robinson rallies the truck stop survivors; they use a cache of firearms and M72 LAW rockets stored in a bunker hidden under the Dixie Boy Diner and destroy many of the trucks. The Big Rig truck gang fights back in the form of both a Caterpillar D7G bulldozer, which drives through the Dixie Boy Diner and a M274 Mule, which fires its post-mounted M60 machine gun into the building, killing several of the Truck Stop Survivors.  The Mule then demands, via sending Morse Code signals through its horn, that the humans pump the truck’s diesel for them in exchange for keeping them safe; the survivors soon realize they have become enslaved by their own machines.

Reneging on the fueling operation, Robinson sneaks a grenade onto the Mule vehicle, destroying it, then leads the party out of the diner via a sewer hatch to the main road just as the trucks demolish the entire truck stop. The survivors are pursued to the docks by the Green Goblin truck — which manages to kill one more trucker after he steals a ring from a female corpse in a car — before Robinson destroys the truck once and for all with a direct hit from an M72 LAW rocket shot. The survivors then sail off to safety.  Oddly with all the machines revolting, from electric carving knives, transistor radios to video games to big rigs, the movie gives no explanation as to why the expensive motor boats have not also become blood thirsty man killers.

As Robinson and the survivors sailed off into safety, I began to realize that I would never get that time back in my life.  Fortunately, Brandy Old Fashioned(s) made the entire experience, using the recently released 30th Anniversary edition, palatable.  Oddly enough, the trailer doesn’t contain any AC DC Music, the one redeeming quality about this movie.

This film was nominated for a Razzi award—and rightly so.  It was also Stephen King’s only foray into directing films—again rightly so. Maximum Overdrive is the Sharnado of 1980s films. Speaking of which, JPFMovies will soon be reviewing Sharnado–stay tuned.

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2017 in Movie Reviews

 

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John Carpenters’ “They Live” (1988). Sort of a Sci-Fi Film but Definitely a Cult Classic.

Well JPFmovie fans here is a blast from the past that’s been under the radar for most of the population: John Carpenters’ They Live (1988).  Despite its age, this film was recently in the news because neo-Nazis and anti-semites took to claiming on various white power websites that Carpenter’s paranoid sci-fi action flick was an allegory for “Jewish control of the world.” When we here at JPFmovies read this nonsense, we had the same reaction as director Carpenter who said in a tweet ““THEY LIVE is about yuppies and unrestrained capitalism.  It has nothing to do with Jewish control of the world, which is slander and a lie.” The morons who believe the film was created for some white power fools are possibly the stupidest people alive.

That said, They Live reached cult classic status more than a decade ago because that is exactly what it is—a cult classic.  The film stars the recently deceased Roddy Piper (1954-2015) (the former WWF professional wrestler) as a no-name wonderer who is down on his luck living on the street while looking for any kind of work.  As the wanderer arrives in Los Angeles (arriving from Colorado) he is initially rebuffed by an employment agency but his luck changes a little when he stumbles onto a construction site and after a little groveling is given a job.  After a hard day’s work, the wanderer is approached by another laborer who directs Piper to a shanty town located in some vacant lot.  During his stay in the shanty town, the T.V. shows are hacked by some bizarre person talking about the masses staying asleep and the population is being breed as “livestock.”

 

The wanderer realizes that the man on television is in a local church where he discovers that the church it is actually the headquarters of an underground organization.  The shanty town is subject to a violent police shakedown and Piper starts to believe that something is rotten in the state of Denmark so to speak.  To learn more, he re-enters the church and finds a box full of sunglasses that allows his to see the world as it is. Though sunglasses found by Piper appear to be worthless, they actually provide him with the greatest gift of all: The Truth and the truth is shocking.  After discovering the truth, Piper gets really pissed off and grabs a shotgun and starts shooting aliens.

After the aliens realize that the wanderer can see through their disguise, they immediately alert the authorities saying “I’ve got one that can see.” Being able to “see” is obviously frowned upon by the aliens – they do not like to be exposed.  Piper says the profound and timeless words: “I don’t like this ooooooooone bit.”

 

Upon learning the shocking truth about the world, the wanderer needs to get others to see the truth as well and shares this vital information with his friend Frank Armitage.  However some people do not want to hear about it.  When Piper asks Frank to put on his sunglasses so he can see what he sees, Frank firmly refuses and calls him a “crazy motha…”  But Piper replies with another classic line “Either you put these sunglasses on or start eating that trash can.” What comes next is arguably the longest one-on-one fight scene consisting of eight minutes of punching and kicking, which is dragged out for so long that it becomes comical.

 

After convincing his friend that the world is not what it seems to be, a shooting spree ensues.  While at a bank, Piper says the famous line “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum” and then starts shooting every alien he sees.  During his shooting spree, he meets Holly Thomspon, a Cable 54 network executive that always somehow brings trouble.  During a resistance meeting she poses as a sympathizer and claiming that where she works–Cable 54–“was clean” and not the source of aliens’ signal, which was false and misleading.  The wanderer and his friend Frank however attack Cable 54 anyways where Holly appears again, claiming that she wants to help him. However, she is simply trying to kill him before the mission is accomplished.  She is simply another human that sold out to the aliens being used to disrupt non-corrupted humans attempting to liberate themselves and others.  Despite the odds against him Piper manages to take down the aliens’ transmitter and saves humanity.  His heroics get him killed, however, as a policeman inside a helicopter shoots him dead, but while dying, the wanderer gives the alien/cops the proverbial finger!

What a film!  Aliens, statements about America’s consumer culture, shotguns classic one-liners and flipping the police the bird before dying—frankly it doesn’t get much better than this.  This is a JPFmovies must see film that will hopefully make you part of its “cult.”

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2017 in Movie Reviews

 

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Ok Folks as Promised Our Look at Scy-Fy’s Ascension the Mini-Series (2014).

Our last look at Science Fiction (for now): Ascension—the miniseries.  Once again Netflix comes through with programming that we here at JPFmovies would not normally watch.  Netflix’s algorithm that provides the viewer with entertainment ideas suggested Ascension so we took a look and were not disappointed.  There’s a lot of Battlestar Galactica (2003) in Ascension, beyond the simple fact that they’re both high-production SyFy miniseries set on giant spaceships.  And anyone who’s familiar with JPFmovies position on BSG knows this is a good thing.  Like BSG, Ascension has a population that is confined to a life in transit—living in a transient space ship as they travel to their destination of a new world.  And like in BSG not only is there the gritty reality of living in a world of very limited resources with danger lurking around every corner (in BSG it’s the threat of Clyons and in Ascension it is the rigors of deep space travel).  The viewer is also treated to the familiar face of Tricia Helfer, who played the seductive Cylon No. 6 in BSG, here she plays the head “stewardess” showing us her long back every chance she can.

The show starts with the space ship 51 years into its 100-year journey to “Proxima.” Launched in the early 1960’s right out of the “Father Knows Best” period in American social history, the 600-odd people living on the ship missed such society changing events as “the summer of love,” “civil rights” and “The Clash.”  Making the population “pure” so to speak and ripe for study.  Things get a little more complicated (as any good series would) when we find out that the inter-generational space ship was not actually launched but instead is a huge black-ops structure-experiment simulating a deep space journey.  The Ascension program is credited with such scientific advances as “complex polymers” “MRI’s” and some forms of birth control.  The program’s director states that “when you take the best and brightest” and isolate them from any outside influences such scientific advances are inevitable.  We here at JPFmovies were rather surprised to find out that the Ascension program was not an actual space ship but a simulation experiment still here on earth.  Such a premise provided the story with many avenues to go down, including the massive effort and lengths one would have to go through to keep the 600-odd people believing that they were in deep space and not still home on their home planet.

Another similarity to BSG was the cut-throat political scheming and factionalism fighting for control of the ship.  In Ascension, sex is the main form of currency which is literally controlled by Tricia Helfer’s character as the head “stewardess” whose underlings are plainly charged with satisfying the desires of the men on the ship.  Marriage is determined not by love but a computer applying a mathematic formula to ensure ideal genetic matches i.e. a quasi-eugenics program.  And like in BSG, there is also a touch of the mystic through a young girl who represents “punctuated evolution.” She sees the “globus” which is the brand of camera hidden throughout the ship used to monitor every move of Ascension’s population.  The evolved girl in the last scene also transports one of the main characters (the ship’s executive officer) to some alien world that unfortunately leaves the viewer hanging in space raising more interesting questions than it answered.

Much to many people’s dismay, Ascension the mini-series was only that, a mini-series lasting 6 episodes played over three nights on the Sci-Fy network.  Unusually we here at JPFmovies agree with the many, another season was in order not only to answer the questions left as its end but also because an entirely different and interesting Sci-Fi story could have continued.  Ascension is actually a fine science fiction show, and one should catch the series on Netflix.  However, be warned that you will need to be a little patient with it.

What does JPFmovies contributor SJ have to say about Ascension?  One slang word: “meh.”  Different strokes for different folks.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2017 in Movie Reviews

 

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Hello Movie Fans JPFmovies Has Updated the Movie Index Page Complete With Hyperlinks for You.

JPFmovies has updated our movie index page 3 to add all of the movies to date. Feel free to take a look and read any reviews that may catch your eye!

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2017 in Movie Reviews

 

JPFmovies final look at the Sci-Fi Series Star Trek Voyager (1995-2001). The first female Captain in the Star Trek franchise—while acted well we think the series was a bit of a bust.

Again, thanks to Netflix, JPFmovies has been able to “binge” on various T.V. series that, for whatever reason, were not watched over the years.  Without giving away our age, the JPFmovies’ crew had just started law school when the Voyager series began its run and our T.V. watching was at a minimum.  So, reviewing series that are twenty something years old will hopefully give a fresh perspective on the eve of the next Star Trek franchise move “Discovery.”

Voyager had a lot of potential but just seemed to leave it in the Alpha quadrant so to speak.  Running when Star Trek was at the height of its popularity, Voyager managed to sink whatever gains TNG and DS9 made for the Star Trek fans/franchise.  Many blame producers Rick Berman and Brannon Braga for letting a potentially great story-line turn into milk-toast—which is what Voyager was at best—milk-toast.

Reading many many other reviews of Voyager on the internet, JPFmovies realized that while we thought Voyager was a bust, Trek fans were ruthless in their criticism of the show.  One site went so far as to have a mock-trial of the court martial of Capital Janeway.  Now that is some hardcore criticism—we here at JPFmovies can be ruthless, but have yet to be that ruthless over our 5-year run.

After reading many of those blogs about Voyager, we here at JPFmovies pretty much have to agree with the Star Trek consensus on the value of the series.  Forget that there is a completely politically correct cast (in the mid-to-late 1990’s when PC was at the height of it power) there is the native American, the female Captain (which was a good idea), the African American security officer, the female engineer and the white guy, Tom Parris, a convicted criminal who is basically on parole when assigned to Voyager.  The picture of the cast is a multi-cultural rainbow.  Ok we can get beyond that if the characters are well written, good stories are followed and the acting is even satisfactory.  With the exception of a few fine episodes sprinkled throughout each season, the vast majority of the series was mired in inconsistencies which anyone knows will drive Star Trek fans crazy.  And though we here at JPFmovies are clearly not Sci-Fi fans, but the sheer number of story inconsistencies even got on our nerves.

So much potential:  a mixed crew of outlaws (the Marquis) and the spit and polish Star Fleet personal is abandoned really after the first couple of episodes; gritty themes about energy and supply shortages necessary for survival also abandoned after the first couple of episodes with an annoying alien (Nelix) supposedly acting as a cook-tour guide through the Delta quadrant; and let’s just say it when having to choose between survival and the prime directive, throw out the prime directive—to be fair this was addressed in a few episodes very very early on in the series.  So what did the producers do to keep the series afloat to that magical 100-episode syndication threshold?  Brought on a blond in a cat suit, discovered that the holographic doctor could actually act (but then used him a crutch) and the Borg.  While the show limped through its 7 seasons, it also set up Enterprise (previously reviewed) to fail.

There is just too much to write to fully explain all of these points.  One thing JPFmovies did read that we could not believe, was that the studio was receiving hate mail and BOMB THREATS as a result of its decision to go with a female Captain. Take it easy, it is just a T.V. show after all.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2017 in Movie Reviews

 
 
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