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Posts tagged “Fred Williamson

Children of the Corn : Fields of Terror

midnighthorrormovieposterRight off the bat I’m pretty sure in trouble when I see the title of this Children of the Corn sequel is“fields of terror”. Also, I see that Alexis Arquette is starring.  Seeing Fred Williamson and David Carridine billed towards the end gives me a little bit more hope though, and I actually do usually enjoy Eva Mendez, but I’m not getting my hopes up considering how uninspired the opening is. Ethan Wiley has his work cut out for him here if he want’s to creep me out, and I don’t think this little Elliot-from-ET looking kid walking towards the green screen is gonna pull it off. I want blood to kick this thing off, not lasers and lightning and adobe after effects. The kids look too non-descript, and I’m only 10 minutes out. Our corn children in this film dress and very contemporary clothing – and that detracts from the creepiness. It’s not just enough to have a shadowy kid pick up a scythe to make it scary. Thankfully we do seem to be at the tail end of the 90s, so the embargo on blood and gore from that era seems to be lifting. The kills aren’t particularly original, but they are visceral.

Children-of-the-corn-5-fields-of-terror-kidsThe clothes are only part of it – our protagonists talk about how bad the town smells, they try and make a point of describing how boring the place is. That’s funny, considering it’s a farming community, and everything looks so clean and crisp. The clothing is too nice and trendy – it just doesn’t fit the narrative. Equally out of place is David Carridine’s cameo as the leader of a cult – it’s the first time in a Children of the Corn movie that we have seen an adult that seems to be the head of our corn children and it feels very out of place.

I have to admit though, it passes the watch test. It moves right along at a good steady 81JvVEaNr2L._SL1500_pace and never really drops my interest. There is a clumsy attempt to expand on the mythology of he who walks behind the rows from the original Children of the Corn,  But it seems more thrown in for styles sake rather than story and is gone too quickly, failing to impact the mythology at all.

I got to admit, I wonder if I’m being too hard on this but at the end of the day, this is a very by the numbers sequel. A group of strangers blunder into the town – discover corn children, and murder ensues. It might be alright if you’re just looking fora midless horror flick, and I probably won’t change the channel if they were running this on the Syfy channel.


Black Cobra 4?

franchisebannerRight from the start you can tell Black Cobra four is going to be bad. It’s weird and grainy and the sound feels awkward– the music sounds like it comes from a 1940s film, despite being filmed in 1991.

I use the term “filmed” loosely by the way, considering this film was patched together from outtakes and redubbed clips from previous films with a little bit of new footage added. Williamson himself didn’t even know this movie existed until somebody confronted him about it at the grocery store – he didn’t shoot any new footage for it.

His Detective Malone has always been a bit of a one note character as it is – very standard action cop but in this overdubbed patch job, he feels even less developed than ever before. Because of all the useded footage, he ends up not having a lot of dialogue – and those long stretches of silence, add a far more brooding feel to him. It’s out of character, and we end up completely losing all of the charm that makes Fred Williamson a star. Williamson’s Detective Malone ends up entering a scene from the side, then vanishing for long stretches – almost disconnected… Like Bella Lugosi in plan nine from outer space.

The villain and the gang from the first movie are back (though now, there Islamic terrorists screaming “Allah is with us! “) kidnapping a brilliant computer programmer help them make better weapons. I suppose I should be relieved to see the return of the studded black leather, but really I’ve been enjoying the sequels a lot more than the original and this feels like a step backwards – a desperate step. At least they’re not so rapey in this film. The dialogue is clumsy, the music is canned, The dubbing is awful, and everything here is just a misfire.

It’s not just the dialogue, it’s the delivery – Fred’s side kick in this movie never shares the screen with him – although he does telephone him at one point. We only have the sidekick’s  side of the telephone conversation because of course, Fred didn’t actually film this movie. We have the detective wander in the room again when he hears a blender or a TV go on, and the dramatic acceptance when the witness offers him a milkshake. It makes for a rough viewing. By the halfway point, I was ready to give up but stuck around because sometimes the third act will make all the difference.

It didn’t, but at least it was least talky so I could use the fast foreword more often. We have our  rescue missions that thematically should be run by the hero… But again, Fred Williamson isn’t an actually here! at 12 minutes to go, I was just watching the clock. Even for mediocre low-budget action series like this, I wanted better for it.

Shockingly, it may just be that this entry didn’t completely kill the series! IMDb reports a new production, the Black Cobra Returns in preproduction right now! We’ll see if this actually happens, I think I might just be down for that!


Black Cobra 3

franchisebannerBlack Cobra 3 starts off with a very ramboesque action sequence in what I can only assume to be the Manila jungles. I’m searching my mind try to remember any mention in the previous Black Cobra movies at any Vietnam experience or military training. Because really at this point I just don’t understand where this series is going. The whole globetrotting cop thing doesn’t quite fit – but that does appear to be the idea. I almost wonder if this started off life as a completely different movie (or script) and was rebranded because somebody had Fred Williamson.

Malone is in the Philippines at the request of an old one buddies son – an interpool agent in an investigation. I kind of find myself missing Nicolas Hammond here – our new young sidekick is fine but it feels very much like a seems like a missed opportunity to create some semblance of continuity from these movies.

It ends up being a very by the numbers action film. In a way it seems to be confused as to what kind of film it wants to be.The middle section is very much a martial arts kind of action film – with Fred employing his fists and feet. However once we get to the third act we are back in full and Rambo territory with M-16 and guns over the place. Fred let’s fly his share of bullets as well, and it’s dumb fun with big guns, full ammo belts and a secret installation deep in the jungle to do battle at.

Altogether, it’s every bit as fun as the second one , Perhaps even more so with an increased scope-though it doesn’t play pass the watch test


Black Cobra 2

franchisebannerI’m going to admit, I like this one better than the first one… Action films frequently work this way – where the character gets a little bit more established and the pace of the film just runs better in the second instalment.

In this film, Williamson’s character is transferred to a special mission in the Philippines. As silly as that sounds, it actually helps the movie establish it’s own identity and distinguish Williamson character as more than just a generic action hero

He’s still a bit of a loose cannon, with a  style that is deemed too reckless by his partner – this time around played by Nicholas Hammond, of both the Sound of Music and the Spider-Man television show. There is chemistry there though, and the buddy cop format is a good match.

In retrospect, this may well be my favourite instalment of the Black Cobra series… The format is running on all cylinders, and Fred Williamson is at his best here.


Focus on Black Cobra

franchisebannerI spent some time last year exploring Blaxploitation cinema… While my intent was really to just catch up on the shaft films, I stumbled onto the black Cobra movies… I’m a big fan of Fred Williams in in general, and this seemed like it might be a fun series.

The point of the title is that this is supposed to be a rip-off of Sylvester Stallone’s “Cobra” I wouldn’t know, as I’ve never actually seen the film, but from what I can see it’s a standard, by the numbers action film – with Williamson as the loose cannon cop. There is nothing special here, but it’s great fun to watch Williamson chomp his cigar and blast his way through the film. The occasional martial arts seem weird, I suppose somewhere in the back of my mind I knew he had training but it feels in incongruent as his character takes out the drug ring…

Standard for the time, but I still enjoy it. I’m not sure how this thing warranted a sequel, much less two!

Maybe it’s time to check them out.