Catman in Lethal Track (Review)
Catman in Lethal Track
The following characters are from Movie B – Generic Thai Action Film:
Even with the breakdown, it’s still a confusing mess, but much, much less confusing than the sequel. For starters, the film’s title screen says “US Catman in Lethal Track” making one wonder if Catman is an interstate highway or something. Catman talk will have to wait, as we jump right into a Thai film already in progress. Heck, the bus we are following gets hijacked for robbery during the opening credits, and the entire robbery fills their space of time. To better describe what is going on, we will be dividing the two films Godfrey Ho combined together into Movie A and Movie B. The Thai film will be known as Movie B. If this movie wasn’t labeled “Catman”, it would be Movie A. Instead, it gets second billing, while it would be like 164th or something when listed with real movies. Movie B follows the general axiom of sending a bunch of Thai people into the jungle and shooting a lot of people in the end. That’s a special bonus, as you grow to hate many of the characters out of frustration from not knowing who they are or what they are doing. The satisfaction from watching the cast thin out is indescribable, but comes far too late to make sense of parts of the film. After the credits depart us, we jump to a military compound hidden in the jungle of Thailand. A truck arrived, driven by gun runner Archer, no relation to the Starfleet captain of the same name. Archer’s latest batch of weapons are for the gang here, which is lead by a One-eyed man. A one-eyed bald man, but not in the dirty way. Though his character is one of those as well. He is Bull, leader of this faction, despite having a goofy-looking eyepatch. Seriously, no pirate alive would ever be caught wearing that. Maybe fashion is different in Thailand. Archer is giving him this shipment of weapons for free, because Archer wants Bull to do him a favor instead, involving kidnapping the famous general Chien Hua. Or Ching How, Chen Ho, or however the various dubbers pronounced his name during the recording session.
We jump to Movie A, where two softball players are walking the streets, while one announces he is joining the CIA tomorrow. He is Gus, while his companion is named Sam. Two delivery men are in their truck discussing their latest cargo, a radioactive cat which has had all sorts of experiments done to it. The rumor is that if you drop the cat, it will explode, so both our driver hope that won’t happen. One of the drivers has to take a leak, which turns out to be his last for a while, as two punks rob the truck, beating down the peeing driver and threatening the non-peer. The two softball players decide to help, but Sam manages to beat the driver accidentally. As Sam and his opponent struggle, Gus is having much less trouble beating down his opponent. Gus returns to help Sam as Sam has fallen backwards, hitting the cat cage and having the cat scratch him on the back. Gus knocks his opponent upside the head, winning the fight. Sam and Gus then leave, even thought he truck drivers are unconscious as well, and Gus has nice claw marks on his back he’ll have to explain to his girlfriend. Soon he’ll also have a strange craving for raw tuna.
Movie B is interrupting for a bit, as Bald Bandit and some other bandits raid a celebration we’re later told is a wedding banquet, and steal the bride to be. We then jump back to Movie A in a cemetery, as a Soviet Agent approaches the local pastor, Father Cheever. The Agent tells Cheever that the new plan for Soviet influence in the Asian Sphere is to create a United Nations-Asia to consolidate power. They must be careful, as not to enrage the population like Afghanistan. That’s remarkably politically astute for such a lame movie, and the Soviet Afghan invasion reference dates the film while giving a dreadful foreshadowing of US action in the region. The Soviet Agent mentions using General Chin Hu’s troops. I’m guessing General Chin Hu is Russian for General Chien Hua. This part seems to imply that the General is working for the Soviets, and will support an overthrow, while later in the film he is painted as a patriot. The Soviet plan is to arm the local gangsters so the populace gets upset at the government, and support a revolution. This is to explain why they are starting with Thailand, as it’s small enough things could happen without rousing suspicion. Seriously, do you even know who is in charge of Thailand? It could be Robocop for all I know. Actually, that would be cool, with President Robocop of Thailand riding Roboelephants, blowing away criminals and balancing the budget. Expect that sequel around 2020 at the rate Hollywood has ran out of ideas. The Soviet Agent also mentions the spy Tuan Ho who will help make it happen. I have no clue who the crap Tuan Ho was, if they ever named him is was during several other thugs and he never stood out. That may be good for a spy, but terrible for action movies.
Hey, let’s jump back to Movie B. A Sergeant Q has captured a bandit named Ricky, part of a group of Bull’s that were robbing a bank. Bull threatens to go rescue Ricky, but after that no one mentions him again. General Hua is riding in a car headed to interrogate Ricky, but is ambushed when his jeep stops to cut down a man who is hung by the side of the road. We don’t know at the time it is General Hua, and don’t find out until two scenes later. One thing about this film, is that it makes Thailand’s military look like complete buffoons. Their top general is a guy not even in a uniform, who is driving round with three other guys not in uniforms and gets captured by a simple trap. From the looks of it, six kindergartners and a blind yak could take over Thailand in less than a week. Well, unless they are stopped by CATMAN!!! Catman doesn’t exist yet, and when we swing back to Movie A, Rookie Agent Gus is being told he’s the best agent the CIA has got and must stop Father Cheever’s evil plans. Gus is the best agent? He’s been working for you for like two days! Did every other agent die in a hotel fire? Is the CIA so understaffed in Thailand they have to resort to a “One agent at a time” policy? Maybe Gus is that good….naw, it must be the CIA Boss is on crack.
Movie B returns with a vengeance, as General Hua is beaten by Bull, and a girl on a motorcycle drives a guy in a truck off the road. The Girl on the Bike is named Frederick, and she sasses the Truck Driver before speeding off, and then into a hotel. No one in the hotel seems to mind much she just parked her bike in the dining room, and they give her a room. At this point, everyone seems to think Frederick is a male, despite the actress looking far too feminine for anyone who hasn’t lived in a cave to make the mistake. And if you had been in the cave, you’d probably be too desperately lonely to care. Frederick also gains an admirer in fellow hotel guest Gigi. The man who was driving the truck is named Frank (or Franco depending on which dubbing actor is talking) and he is leading a resistance movement against the bandits nearby. That’s not explained well until toward the end of the film, but we might as well bring it up now to save you the trouble of remembering who Frank is when he returns later in the film. Also, the hotel owner is named Jack and is dubbed in as the humorously gay hotel staffer, in a desperate attempt to spice up the film. Though Queer Eye for the Catman probably would have produced a better costume, one look at the dingy hotel betrays the fact the owner isn’t stereotypically fruity. Bald Bandit and some other bandit attempt to press Frederick and find out who she is. She refuses to give them what they want, and a brawl breaks out in the hotel bar. The bandits are scared off when someone fires a gun, but threaten to return.
Movie A returns, and Sam is having a rough night, infected with cat scratch fever. He begins to do things that only cat can do, such as command the TV to change channels. Gus stops by to chat, and Sam wows him by lighting his cigarette by using his laser vision. Laser vision with no optical effects that will never be mentioned again. Catman even wears goggles that go over his eyes, which would prevent use of laser vision as they’d just melt his goggles. Catman is no Batman. Catman has laser eyes; he knows what you’re thinking. It comes as no surprise, Christmas lights are blinking. Catman can punch through walls, and does so. This is another thing us cat owners know cats do, as my cat is constantly punching holes in the kitchen wall. When is Catman going to get real cat powers, like projectile hairball spitting, or the power to shed ten times his own bodyweight in hair each hour? That’s what I want to know. Will Catman be foiled by his arch enemy, the Milkman? Can Catman survive Dogman? Or will he lose all nine lives? Movie A will return, same Cat Time, same Cat Channel.
Movie B has truck driver Frank finding Frederick demanding payment for damages. She refuses, so he tries to take her shotgun! That starts a fistfight, which also involves the Bald Bandit and his companion who are sneaking around outside the hotel. The two bandits soon run off, and Frank leaves, so Frederick is alone, until Gigi comes, so enamored that Frederick fought that she jump her bones, practically raping her. We don’t get to see any action, but it’s never mentioned in such a way that Gigi wasn’t disappointed that Frederick was a girl. Hmmmmmmm…. Bull then goes to where the kidnapped girl is kept, and we get a long, loathsome scene where he justifies his raping of her because he’s evil and she’d just be raped more by the other guys in the camp. The whole thing is just horrid, and represents a new low in cinema repulsiveness. Not only do you want Bull to die horribly and slowly, you also want Director Godfrey Ho and producer Joseph Lai to share the painful fate. It’s a blatant example of how movies can influence people’s feelings, as the scene destroys all feelings you have that aren’t pure, concentrated rage at the creators of such dreck.
We can only go up, but Movie A takes us on a long journey to Confuso-land, as Agent Gus is reading the newspaper at a construction site, focusing on an ad reading simply “Desperately seeking someone to light a cigarette!” Why? Why not! We all know Catman will be filling that job. Some gang members pull up in a truck, two of which were the ones that hit the government truck where the radioactive cat was kept earlier in the film. They are unloading some sort of poison to be delivered into the water supply. Their plans are interrupted when Gus strolls up to ask for a light, thus keeping with the mysterious want ad theme. The punk at the wheel looks at his own copy of the newspaper and the ad, gives Gus a light, then all the punks chase after Gus. Gus is about to be blown away when… CATMAN! Catman emerges from the off-screen area where the actor was waiting to interrupt the gang members. His idiotic appearance shocks the gang members for a few seconds, before they begin opening fire. The only cure for stupid is death by bullets, but Catman is fighting back, using his bullet-proof bracelets which he uses to deflect the bullets with his cat-like reflexes. Cats have wrists of extraordinary power that can resist breakage under multiple bullet strength stresses, so it is no surprise that Catman doesn’t break his wrists. Catman’s dorky goggles have the Catman logo on them, as well as part of Catman’s upper chest. Catman also seems to have much greyer hair than Sam ever did, his blonde locks now more grey-filled than a San Francisco sky. The punks are sick of dealing with a costumed freakshow, so toss some dynamite at the two heroes and run off. Catman and Sam (the Boy Blunder) grab the blasting cap and decide to look for clues on it with their Cat Computer System! Just what is the Cat Computer System? It’s never shown, but is probably a TRS80 duck taped to a Tandy. It might even have a 2400 baud modem! The using of the Cat Computer System takes enough time that Movie B can take over for a while…
Bull demands some documents from the General, which the General has on him but won’t give to Bull, despite the fact the General is tied up and Bull could just grab the documents off of him. The General is mad his troops will be used as pawns in a civil war. More of Bull’s bandits are acquiring more weapons, but the trade is interrupted by Frederick on her motorcycle. She sasses them, then kicks some of them, and drives off. Luckily for her, the eleven or so bandits forget they are all armed with guns until she’s driven a good distance away from them, and then hop into their two cars to chase her. She drops her backpack at one point, the camera notes it, but I was expecting it to explode or something, and NOTHING happens. The cameraman was just noting the actress’s mistake, and Godfrey Ho (or whoever the original director of the Thai film was) kept the shot. The chasing bandits couldn’t hit the broad side of a battleship, but Frederick turns her bike around, and can make pinpoint shots with her shotgun from 300 yards! Frederick moves her bike toward them, using one of her feet to keep the gas pressed. She manages to drive right between both cars, hitting several bandits who are unable to hit her even when she’s less than a foot away. She presses her luck by trying it again, but this time she Whammies out as one of the bandits hits her…with a knife! She falls off her bike, a knife handle sticking out of her shoulder. The pursuers get out of their cars to finish her off, but their recreation of The Most Dangerous Game is interrupted when Frank appears, tossing Molotov Cocktails at the bandits. Molotovs that explode like grenades when they land. He blows most of them up, then grabs Frederick and escapes.
Outside the bandit’s compound, a Soccer Referee is taking photos and notes of the layout and guards’ movements. I’m guessing he’s going to give Bull a Red Card and eject him for the rest of Second Period. The Referee is captured by one of Bull’s men before he can issue his ruling.
Movie A rears it’s ugly head again, as Gus and Catman ask a wino about the Holy Cheever Church, getting information in exchange for a coffee, cheeseburger, and fries. The HCC is evil, and anyone who isn’t Catman should have already figured that out, since Gus’s boss told him as much. I guess the Cat Computer System failed again!
Movie B responds to Movie A’s distress call, kicking in again as the Referee refuses to tell Bull who he is or why he is there. Bull tells the Referee he is a born murderer, for he killed his own father at age 15. His father was screwing his girl in his own bed, so Bull blew his brains out, but Bull’s father took an eye with him. I guess you could say Bull had father issues, but they are settled now. Just think, if his father wasn’t such a lecher, we wouldn’t have this movie. Damn you, Bull’s father! Bull’s origin speech is interrupted by the survivors of the Girl on a Motorcycle Massacre, who tell their tale of being beaten by a girl and a guy with beer bottles. Bull takes men to the hotel to kill Frederick, but she’s not in her room, and after beating the hotel owner Jack, they find out she hasn’t been back in a while. Bull also knows she’s a girl at this point, despite no one figuring it out in a big revelation yet, except every member of the audience and Gigi. Frederick herself is lying unconscious at Frank’s hideout, just waking up. Frank gives her some sass, and tells her he knows she’s a girl now, which enrages her as he saw her naughty bits. Gigi also shows up at the hideout, and a badly beaten Jack the Hotel Owner. The whole gang is together again! Um…. yeah. So there. Yep. Take that, Bull, some dudes are together. CATMAN! Wait, he’s not in Movie B.
The Captive Bride tells the Referee and the General to give Bull what he wants, but they refuse. She then cuts the Referee loose so he can escape and contact the General’s men. He sneaks out at night, killing a few of the bandits on his way, but it’s mostly too dark to see clearly what is going on. But the sound effects seem to indicate much action and death as the Referee escapes. The Referee then runs into Frank, who he thinks is another of the bandits, and they fight for a while before a character I don’t even recognize interrupts them to tell them they are on the same side. So thank you, indistinguishable actor who will never appear again! You did what the rest of the film couldn’t, find some sense. Referee reveals he works for the Security Organization. Which one? Probably the CIA, but they never specify, so it could even be a security organization named Security Organization! That would be cool, especially if you were undercover. Wait, that’s not cool! Never mind, then! Bull is enraged by the escape, and kills some guy I don’t recognize by falling bamboo spiked cage for helping the Referee escape, even though he didn’t unless it happened in the dark and he’s another spy the movie didn’t bother to tell us about, which could be likely. What is probably what happened is this mysterious guy was in charge of the guards, and was killed for being a failure, but the dubbers messed up the translation, making the film make less sense. Perhaps even Bull is a great Thai actor, but we’ll never know, with his terrible overdubbing being more hammy than a pig farm. A tragic tale of acting ability lost to the ages.
Movie A limply returns, and takes the path more surreal. In the basement of the Holy Cheever Church, Father Cheever enters, passing his gang of thugs practicing for their terror craft. We got a kickboxer, a guy making a spray can flamethrower, a juggler (uh..), a headbanger(Beavis?), a girl washing her hair (um…), and a girl dressed as Cyndi Lauper chained to the ceiling. The greatest gang ever assembled against CATMAN! Also, the only gang ever assembled against CATMAN! The HCC has a skull logo with devil horns, a large painting of which is on the wall behind Father Cheever as he gives his motivational speech. Cheever uses his wand o cause fire to jump up, and then reminds them of their holy mission for the Devil: “Kill as many as possible, rob the poorest man, and f–k whatever moves!” Surely the Devil’s own commandments. Cheever then announces the girl that’s chained up will be executed for betraying their organization. A punk prepares to knife her as part of a ritual, when CATMAN arrives, punching him in the chest! The punk had a “Fat Man” shirt on, but was no match for Catman! Catman strikes with hairball speed, using his catnip attacks to make Karate Kat look like Karate Kan’t! Gus also arrives, brandishing lots of guns to use to shoot at the gang members. Catman let’s loose the girl who was to be sacrificed, as Father Cheever says “Hey, relax guys, don’t take it serious, it’s only a ritual!” The girl the rescued then sprays both Catman and Gus with sleeping spray, knocking them out. They awake in the center of a spray-painted bull’s eye, which tells them not to mess with Cheever. That’s all that happens. Nothing else, as the movie cuts away. Catman’s greatest strength is his enemies’ utter stupidity. When you have the hero unconscious, you KILL HIM!!!
Movie B tries to redeem the inanity by having Bull take the General for a prisoner trade, while in his absence the bandit hideout is surrounded by the General’s many many troops….all six of them! The entire Thai army is six guys and a General? They open fire, and show that they are six guys not to mess with, their deadly accuracy mowing down the bandits left and right. They’re backed up by not only Referee (in a non-referee shirt) but Frederick and her motorcycle, which now has a machine gun attached to the handlebar! She also mows down bandits left and right. There’s a whole lot of mowing going on! Mow mow mow, all day long. Mow mow mow, gonna sing this song! The kidnapped bride grabs a weapon amidst the chaos and goes after Bald Bandit, shooting him dead, as he shoots her as well. She dies in Referee’s arms.
Movie A haunts us again, Catman drawing pictures of the gang members of Cheever’s evil church, but is distracted when Father Cheever gives an interview on the television about his mass baptism against evil. Could it have something to do with his gang members putting something in the water supply? It probably did, until Godfrey Ho forgot about that, as you’ll see in the big finish. Father Cheever expects 200,000 people to attend (to get baptized by a weird church? What planet is he from again?) This small reminder that this is a movie about Catman is enough for now, and we jump back into Movie B.
Bull is going to exchange General Hua for someone called Chief of Army Hu. So there is a cabinet post to watch over the seven man army, eh? Controlling Hu will allow Bull to control the entire Thai army, despite the fact they will know their leader is kidnapped and won’t obey his treasonous orders. Ignoring that small detail, it’s a flawless plan! Frank just happens to be the guy who will drop off Chief of Army Hu, trading him by car. Inside Frank’s car is a guy wrapped in a blanket, so we all figure out it’s a trick, but Bull is a special kind of idiot who suspects nothing. The arms dealer Archer from the beginning of the film is there as well, and Frank identifies him as a traitor. Why Archer had to be there is another Mystery of the Ages! Archer is blown away by the guy under the blanket after Frank gets the General back. The Guy Under the Blanket is not anyone I recognized, but is named Glen and may have been in the movie at some point, but who knows? Now Frank and Blanket Guy are fighting what’s left of Bull’s bandits (who don’t know their camp has been wiped out) as Frederick rides up with her machinegun bike to duel with the Guy Who Threw A Knife At Her. He tries to throw more knives, but gets impaled on a stick. Don’t bring a knife to a motorcycle fight! Bull runs into a bar, and Frank follows, finally shooting Bull who is hiding in the ceiling. Archer turns out to not be entirely dead, and shoot Blanket Guy in the back, killing him. Frank hears Archer’s final words, where he requests to be buried in a military cemetery, and says “I should have succeeded because my plan was so perfect!” So perfect indeed. Three-ring circuses are more organized! And would have better chances of succeeding in taking over Thailand! They already have the jugglers, which are so critical to Father Cheever’s evil plan. Movie B is pretty much finished at this point, so let’s end on a high note with Movie A!
As high as we can get, with Catman stinking up the joint. Someone needs to change the litter box for this movie. Catman and Gus try to find the location of Cheever’s mass baptism (Catman is dressed as Sam for now) and can’t see anyone. They finally locate a woman, who turns out to really be the wino from earlier! They beat the location out of him, and rush over to the empty campsite. Catman takes this opportunity to change into his costume. You’d think 200,000 people at an event would be easy to see, but Godfrey Ho doesn’t have the money for 200,000 people, or even 20 people. The dingy campsite with a few tents (one with spray paint devil!) is the location, and Father Cheever is doing a meditation prayer outside. The Catman Theme begins to play, the keyboardist having hooked on of the keyboard keys up to the sound of a cat yeowling, giving the music a weird sensation. That’s the limit of the creativity, as the rest of the theme is just like 6 bars repeating. Cheever threatens Catman with “I’m gonna burn you alive, I’ve always liked hot pussy!” and uses his Father Cheever Mind Powers to cause the campfire to jump forward a little bit. Cheever’s men begin shooting, but Gus stops them by kicking. Father Cheever then sends a Never Seen Before Asian Priest to fight Catman. He seems to be an even match for Catman, as the two spar on equal footing for a while. Gus, however, gets the upper hand on the goons he was fighting, shooting them dead, and then shoots the Never Seen Before Asian Priest in the back as well. Cheever will not be stopped, and pulls out a big machine gun with a grenade launcher, and blasts at the two heroes. They run for their nine lives, and the surrounding woods explodes as grenades hit everything. One even hits Gus, and he falls over, dead. Amazing that Gus was killed so close to the end, but Cheever is after Catman. Catman pulls the Cat-emblem off of his goofy goggles, and tosses it at Father Cheever, which hits his chest and kills him instantly. The screen fades to the THE END sign before Cheever even finishes his death scream!
That’s the end!
Just like that.
Well, it plays better in writing. The Thai movie spawned a sequel, or at least a film with a few of the same actors, which was enough to warrant a sequel for Catman. Catman in Boxers Blow also has the surprise revival of Gus, who got better from his injury of being dead. Perhaps Gus should share his secret with the world, he might be able to make a buck or two. Godfrey Ho’s method of combining movies into spectacles of messes is a blight on the cinematic world. Though he focused on Ninja movies, he spread out into other areas. Robo Vampire‘s entire B-plot was just an unrelated movie thrown in to pad the scenes of the guy walking around with aluminum foil for a costume. Both Robovampire and Catman were featured in two movies, revealing that Godfrey Ho probably filmed enough scenes for one movie, and split it into halves, thus cutting costs and doubling profits for himself and Joseph Lai. That may seem like a good scheme, but audiences suffered in many horrible ways, the massive amounts of pain caused by such schemes vastly outweigh the few extra dollars gained from such efforts. Practitioners of this method must be weeded out and blackballed from the movie industry. The threat presented to movie-kind was only superseded by the threat of cheap digital cameras and DVD equipment on the Direct To Video market. So movie combiner projects blighted the 1980s, terrible home movies on DVD will darken the early 21st century. What new threat will emerge after that? Hopefully CATMAN will be there to protect us!
Next: Catman in Boxers Blow!
UPDATE August 31, 2010: Frederick’s actress has been identified as Suriwan Suriyong. I have not discovered which of the 30 films Suriwan Suriyong made this is, but maybe by 2014!
Rated 2/10 (Dropped Bag that meant nothing, cat scratch of destiny)
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