Friday, April 07, 2006

Delta Force 3: The Killing Game

For years, I avoided this film. No Chuck Norris = No Nathan Martin! But as a true Cannon aficionado (granted, I'm not a huge fan of the post-Golan Cannon films, of which, this is one), I eventually got around to watching it. Sam Firstenberg's direction is a definite plus. Firstenberg nearly patterned the Cannon Films' action mold, so how could I truly pass this up? Any film should make an early attempt at grabbing it's audience's interest and this film does a fine job as we are treated to a topless female. From that point, no longer was this film just playing in the background. I then promptly took a front row seat.

Before Nick Cassavetes (son of Gena Rowlands and John Cassavetes) became the accomplished filmmaker we now know him as, he starred in a slew of "b" pictures. Here he heads the JOYRIDE* style cast of fellow second generation actors, Mike Norris, Eric Douglas and Matthew Penn. Unfortunately, the film suffers from a horrible score (which incorporates and butchers Alan Silvestri's terrific theme from the original). I'm no composer for certain, but I've done much better pieces on my Casio.

I'm always looking for film connections and since both Nick Cassavetes and Matthew Penn are in this, could this have been the introduction of Nick to Matthew's brother, Sean Penn, thereby resulting in SHE'S SO LOVELY? I'd like to think so, and therefore, this film deserves mention.

Not too thought-provoking and surely nothing in the classic sense, yet overall, DELTA FORCE 3 serves as a nice time killer. Naturally, this is nowhere near the fun of THE DELTA FORCE or DELTA FORCE 2: THE COLOMBIAN CONNECTION (a.k.a. DELTA FORCE 2: OPERATION STRANGLEHOLD) and Chuck Norris' absense is surely felt.

The DVD is one for the "bare bones" pile, offering one more feature than that of a "Universal Selection"... an actual menu. I'm sticking with my laserdisc.

* JOYRIDE is a Joseph Ruben film which coincidentally features second generation actors in the four lead roles: Desi Arnaz, Jr., Robert Carradine, Melanie Griffith and Anne Lockhart.

Monday, April 03, 2006

John Carpenter's "Cigarette Burns"

To me, the best thing about Mick Garris' MASTERS OF HORROR series is the return to form for some of my absolute favorite horror filmmakers.

CIGARETTE BURNS is a great example of all the right elements falling into place and giving a great showcase for a director who deserves just that. Some will say this film is a return to form for Carpenter. I disagree, simply because I am a devout Carpenter fan and have appreciated all his films. SO THERE!

Norman Reedus is always good (even in the insane SIX WAYS TO SUNDAY). The plot itself is an obvious parallel to Roman Polanski's highly underrated THE NINTH GATE. Another connection I noticed was that the main character's mission in each film is assigned by a former Dracula, Frank Langella in THE NINTH GATE and Udo Kier in this film. Aside from these similarities, the story works quite well. I have to say that while the premise may seem ridiculous in theory, I've always followed the logic of trusting filmmakers and there are some who have betrayed that trust. Brings to mind my fear/fascination of certain films and/or the legends behind them and their filmmakers. SALO being a perfect example.

Without giving anything away, there's a particular moment where a character stabs himself in not one, but both eye sockets, with a seemingly six-inch-long instrument. That's fine. But to portray the moment as if the same instrument would not penetrate and kill the brain, instead leaving the character continuing to speak, is completely absurd and, for me, hard to overlook. That's my "oh well" gripe for today.

Note: Cody Carpenter (son of John Carpenter and Adrienne Barbeau) makes his film scoring debut here and it's a nice, subtle work.