Screenplay by Tony Kayden
Story by Bill Bauer
Directed by Steven Lisberger
Ever wonder what would happen if Mad Max was set in a world of airplanes instead of junk cars? As directed by the director of Tron? Well, you obviously have some sort of mental illness and should talk to a professional therapist, I’m just a guy who watches bad movies. Odd as it may be, your bizarre craving has been provided, and stars Mark Hamill and Bill Paxton to boot! Bob Peck from Jurassic Park appears as the Data-ish character, While Mark Hamill is a feared bounty hunter/cop named Tasker. Bill Paxton plays Bill Paxton, here named Matt Owens. Paxton has fought Aliens, Predators, tornadoes, and Terminators, but here he has his greatest challenge: acting with giant hair. My Lord that’s a big mullet. Giganto-mullet. It must be aerodynamic, helps with the airplane flying or something. Maybe he uses it as a hang glider or parachute in case of air trouble. Big hair, bad movie, actors from both Star Wars and Star Trek (hello F. Murray Abraham!) and Harry Potter (Robbie Coltrane!) make this a genre melting extravaganza. Oh, almost forgot–they filmed in Turkey! Our friend Turkey, well known at TarsTarkas.NET from their numerous additions to crazy film libraries, provides background sites and extras. Set up your prop plane to go for a ride on the Slipstream…
It’s the future! The world has been so environmentally messed up that at the turn of the century the whole thing started destroying itself, earthquakes split continents and floods were everywhere, then a river of wind wiped the whole thing clean. This river of wind is called the Slipstream. It is not to be confused with Starscream, the traitorous lieutenant of Megatron from the Transformers. Starscream guest stars on Beast Wars, but Slipstream will never guest star on anything, even Beast Machines. The lines about “split continents” is so they can use location shots from all over the world without bothering to explain how they are so close together. As well as the foreign extras, noticeably from Turkey. Heck, the whole “Slipstream” concept is so weak we probably didn’t even need it in the movie. They talk about “riding the slipstream” to save on gas, but fail to explain how they are doing it both ways. I think someone’s favorite part of Mad Max: Roadwarrior was the gyro captain, and wanted a movie full of them. With Mark Hamill. Not a bad goal in life. Director Steven Lisberger (who made the brilliant Tron and not much else of consequence) has his world set up, but seemed to run out of money halfway through, as we’ll soon see.
Weird aircraft fly in the air, oddly shaped because they are different designs of light aircraft, for one or two people, and made to be as portable and light as possible. The craft we focus on is chasing a suited man on the rocky terrain below, including a shot that looks remarkably like a shot from North by Northwest. If you are going to steal, steal from the best. That’s the motto of Slipstream, though it concludes”yet still put together a mess!” The suited man is harpooned in the arm by Mark Hamill. Harpooned meaning Hamill is armed with a grappling hook/harpoon looking weapon that I’ll just be calling a harpoon. Mark Hamill is a cop named Will Tasker, who still looks like Mark Hamill despite being bleach blonde with a full beard. We’ll just call him Mark Hamill, because he’s typecast anyway. After all, you can only make so many “Does she have any job duties? Well, let’s Task Her!” jokes. Mark Hamill is partnered with a no nonsense female partner Belitski. Belitski? Did Dr. Seuss name her? Together they take the suited man played by Bob Peck back to the local settlement, what looks like a trailer park and a local diner.
The White-Bone Sword (Part 4)
aka 白骨陰陽劍(四集) aka Bai gu yin yang jian, si ji aka Ingenious swords, part four
Written by Sze-To On
Directed by Ling Yun
American elections in gif form!
This is it, the final chapter of the saga of The White-Boned Sword, the thrilling tale of some powerful swords that everyone wants so of course it attracts a bunch of jerks! Don’t leave yet, we still got one more brand new monster showing up later in the film, but first we have the amazing battle of the undead happening! When last we left, Wong Tin-ho had been poisoned, so Wu Sheung-fung was in search of the rare White-bone Grass to save him, but there was a pack of dancing skeletons in the way! Luckily, Luk Fong-fei and Vampire Lady were also around so Vampire Lady could send her pack of hopping vampires to fight the dancing skeletons. Thus the battle is joined…
The White-Bone Sword (Part 3)
aka 白骨陰陽劍(三集) aka Ingenious swords, part three aka Bai gu yin yang jian san ji
Written by Sze-To On
Directed by Ling Yun
Me after seeing the Kong: Skull Island trailer!
It’s now SOME UNKNOWN TIME LATER, a few things have happened. Okay, mainly one thing happened, which is Black Girl ran off and possibly recovered the White-Boned Swords only to hide them somewhere else. Exactly what happened to her will have to remain a mystery as the actress doesn’t appear in the series any more and there are no subtitles, so we can only assume she got on a bus to Mars. But who needs Black Girl when we got Wong Tin-ho, Wu Seung-fun, and Luk Fong-fei to wander around looking for Black Girl and/or the White-Boned Swords? Plus, if you are a fan of Vampire Lady, you will be happy to know that she is back as well, with an even larger squadron of hopping vampires to command! This leads to some amazing fight sequences later on with skeleton men. And there is a cool gorilla, which is all you need to know that it’s time to watch!
The Black Gambler
aka 黒い賭博師 aka Kuroi tobakushi
Original Story by Toshio Nomura
Directed by Ko Nakahira (as Yasushi Nakahira)
Among the lesser known Japanese 1960s film series in the West is the “Gambler Series”, thanks to it never getting any sort of proper Western release. But thanks to the magic of fan subs, the sixth entry in the franchise, Black Gambler, can now be enjoyed by those of us who track down world cinema. The films are obscure enough it is hard to find much about them in English, but basically heartthrob Akira Kobayashi is a master gambler who gets involved in various intrigues thanks to the world of gambling. Most of them are unconnected besides the title and gambling theme, and there were eight in total. I’m not sure if every entry involves international spies and revenge by gambling, but I can guarantee this is the only 1960s Japanese gambling movie where the master villain is a Jewish gambler who used his gambling money to fund the Nazis in World War 2. I’m not even sure where to begin with that revelation, except to laugh out loud like I did when it was announced. As usual, the international gang of goons go up against the cool and suave Japanese hero, and let’s just say you should always bet on Akira Kobayashi (sorry, Wesley Snipes, pay your taxes and maybe we’ll bet on you again!)
At this point, Akira Kobayashi was more of a lone wolf bad boy, but here he is also a suave playboy gambler, which means he got to stretch his acting muscles a bit. Director Ko Nakahira/Yasushi Nakahira is probably best known in the west for Crazed Fruit, Summer Heat (basically a remake of Crazed Fruit he directed for Shaw Brothers), and the first two Rica films. He was yet another director who had trouble with Nikkatsu’s restrictions on creativity, thus leading to his split from the studio and directing film in Hong Kong under the name Yang Su Hsi.