Starcrash (Review)


aka Scontri Stellari Oltre la Terza Dimensione
Written by Luigi Cozzi (as Lewis Coates) and Nat Wachsberger
Directed by Luigi Cozzi (as Lewis Coates)

The galaxy is threatened by a secret weapon from a mad dictator – something that projects red blobs into ships! The horror, red doesn’t go with most peoples’ outfits, which drives them mad. Or maybe the red blobs themselves drive the people mad. Whatever the case may be, the galaxy is in danger, so who’re you gonna call? Obviously two random smugglers! Wait, WHAT? It’s Italy, baby!

Starcrash is one of those films that if you love bad movies, you have to watch it. It’s the law. Bad Movie Law. That’s totally a thing. Because Starcrash is freaking awesome! There’s so much to love from every direction of cheese! We got crazy costumes, scantily clad space babes, a ridiculous robot, David Hasselhoff, light sabers, model spaceships (complete with model sprues glued to the outside!), fireworks explosions, blobby weapons, giant titans, dodgy dialogue, traitorous goons, amazing amazons, kooky cave dwellers, a hand-shaped space station, and scene-chewing villains. Mix that together and Starcrash crashes all over the screen with top notch entertainment!
Star Wars that is totally not Star Wars was a brief specialty in a lot of local movie production hot zones. Italy managed to produce more than most, thanks to Italy then being a source of hundreds of cheap films pumped out. While that system was slowly breaking apart, it was still cohesive enough to produce a good amount of science fiction junk that could cash in on Star Wars. Starcrash manages to be 1000% times more 1970s while still being an entertaining film that is a lot more swiftly paced than most of the Italian Star Wars ripoffs (the rest are almost universally long and terrible)
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The Future World (Review)

The Future World

aka دنیای آینده aka Donyaye Ayandeh
The Future World
Directed by Ahmadreza Jaghtaei

The Future World

Why does the blue color in the toilet water stain my hands???

Iran’s film industry has a great reputation of producing killer good artistic flicks that light up international film festivals. Filmmakers work around the censorship of an oppressive regime to create amazing stories with greater allusions that slip past the censorship rules. The Future World (Donyaye Ayandehدنیای آینده) isn’t one of those films, this is a mainstream release that steals large portions of its look from Star Wars while giving it a kid-centric focus point. The resulting mishmash of cultures creates a bizarrely familiar film that is filled to the rim with cut rate shadows of the Star Wars originals. Basically, it’s ridiculous, but the slower pace puts it behind other bootleg Star Wars adventures like Turkey’s Dunyayi Kurtaran Adam. Still, there is just enough here that if you enjoy campy scifi stuff in a language you don’t understand with no subtitles (because at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles!), The Future World just might be worth checking out. Everyone else can just enjoy the pictures and animated gifs, secure that they’re keeping two hours of their lives for more important things. Like looking for more animated gifs.

My mom says I’m the real Sith Lord!

As The Future World is rare and full of weird stuff, it gets the longform descriptive review treatment! As mentioned, it is without subtitles, and there is very little information about it in English. I only have the names of three of the actors and the director, everything else is a giant mystery that will probably be solved years from now when more information appears online. Until that day, we’ll do what we can.

The CGI used in The Future World would look great in 1982’s Tron, but The Future World dates from 2001, so it doesn’t look that great even in context. Sure, there was all those trade restrictions for decades, but no one is going to think about that when snarking on the CGI quality. All in all, The Future World is a perfect film for TarsTarkas.NET, as it’s something you’ve never seen before mixed with something you have. And it’s ridiculous!

The Future World

Y-Wing? Y not wing?

Original Kid (Hossein Yar Yar??) – The main character who spends much of the film being worried or complaining, even though is Dad is basically solving every problem rather quickly. Not to be confused with Knocking Kid or Third Kid. Pretty sure he’s played by Hossein Yar Yar, who seems to have no other credits in English so really, it is a mystery.
Dad – Original Kid’s dad, who has his own spaceship and wears a Han Solo vest. Very good at defeating Wampas and robots with toasters for heads.
Weird Uncle (Ghodratollah Izadi) – He probably isn’t the kid’s uncle but is just a random servant for the rich family the Original Kid belongs too, but he acts so much like a weird uncle that he is now Weird Uncle. Deal with it! He’s played by veteran actor Ghodratollah Izadi.
Black Beret (Mahshid Afsharzadeh) – Female member of the Brain Trust that runs the X2 under Darth Toaster. Not a big fan of Darth Toaster. Totally not Original Kid’s Mom. Totally. Mahshid Afsharzadeh is not only an award winning actress (obviously slumming here) but also a director of 2003’s The Second Start and 2014’s A 5-Star.
Blue Beret – Female member of the Brain Trust that runs the X2 under Darth Toaster. Wears a totally different color than Black Beret because color is in this season. Seems like the one to go along with Darth Toaster because she likes it, not out of fear.
Red Cap – Male member of the Brain Trust that runs the X2 under Darth Toaster. Seems like the one who would collaborate with Darth Toaster the easiest, despite not liking him. Which makes him weak willed and a bad leader.
Darth Toaster – The ultimate villain, a robot who has taken command of the X2 and kills all that are in his way.
Royal Toaster Guards – Darth Toaster’s two loyal guards who are always with him. They do nothing during the one scene where Darth Toaster is actually attacked.
Wampa – A mysterious lady turns into this Wampa and attacks the heroes, because why not have a random were-person on your spaceship?

The Future World


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The Extra-Terrestrial Cat In Boots (Review)

The Extra-terrestrial Cat In Boots

aka O Gato de Botas Extraterrestre

Directed by Wilson Rodrigues
Written by Rubens Francisco Luchetti

O Gato de Botas Extraterrestre
Ladies and Gentlemen, TarsTarkas.NET was served. We were served by Todd at Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill, in his review of the Mexican Puss in Boots, and he danced a deadly dance of death while everyone hooted an hollered and yelled “Damn” at the backflips and foreflips and flips that were made up of tiny flips with cream filling and cherries on top. When the dust was settled and TarsTarkas.NET was critically wounded by the serving, there was but one choice. Never backing down, TarsTarkas.NET is going to serve back! The gauntlet is thrown…and by gauntlet, I mean the boot! The boot-let, if you will. Yes, we’re serving FourDK with our own live action Puss in Boots! And this time…there’s spaceships!
O Gato de Botas Extraterrestre
Yes, it’s true, The Extra-Terrestrial Cat In Boots (O Gato de Botas Extraterrestre) features a spaceship. And a robot. And other weirdo things. But most of all, it features a guy in a cat suit running around doing things. That’s weird enough by itself. The Extra-Terrestrial Cat In Boots largely follows the plot of the original Puss in Boots story by Charles Perrault (though the film erroneously credits it to the Brothers Grimm!), except for the few random goofy things that make this Puss in Boots freaking crazy. The last time we went to Brazil, TarsTarkas.NET was tortured by Os Trapalhões’ Brazilian Star Wars (Os Trapalhões na Guerra dos Planetas). We haven’t been back since, despite an ever-growing pile of Os Trapalhões and Xuxa films preparing to destroy my body and mind. But I’m back, and this time, there is a case of cat litter and a laser light acting as backup. So, Puss, get your boots…it’s dance-off time!

WR-Filmes brings us this Brazilian take, and the credits are primed to tell us that Burman Studios created the cat makeup, while Dr. D. Wes Wheadon did the visual effects of the cat’s eyes. This cat is complicated! And yet, it still looks creepy as hell.
O Gato de Botas Extraterrestre
To add more weirdness to things, director/writer/actor Wilson Rodrigues is well known for directing a bunch of softcore Brazilian productions in the early 1980s. He even brings along a pack of the stars of those films, including Puss himself, Heitor Gaiotti! This was Wilson Rodrigues’s last film.
O Gato de Botas Extraterrestre

Puss in Boots (Heitor Gaiotti) – Puss spends much of his timerunning and cheering and “whoo-hoo”ing This Puss in Boots. Puss looks like a refuge from that 1980s Beauty and the Beast tv series that starred Linda Hamilton Heitor Gaiotti is known for the softcore films Anarquia Sexual, O Guarani, and A Vida Quis Assim.
Guy (Maurício Mattar) – The third son who gets nothing from an inheritance except a cat. Because he’s a lazy bum, he does nothing while his poor cat does all the work to make him rich and famous. The lazy bum is passed off as the Marquis de Carabas, and he even scores the hand of the princess in marriage.
Princess Belina (Flávia Monteiro) – The young princess of the royal family of the land who is conned into thinking the youngest son has tons of money, so of course she falls in love with him. Flávia Monteiro is a Brazilian actress who originally gained fame being naked at age 14 in A Menina do Lado. She is also an author and had done a lot of television work.
Coffin Joe (José Mojica Marins) – Holy crapaholy! It’s Coffin Joe! For no reason! This is the greatest movie ever. We’ll give a Coffin Joe bio when we get around to a Coffin Joe flick.
The Wizard (???) – Instead of an ogre, we have a crazy wizard who looks like a homeless man cosplaying Harry Potter! Meets the same fate as the ogre in the tale.
Darth Vader (???) – Darth Vader here is the man who built Puss in Boots and returns to change his creation’s batteries. He has a gun. This is the second Brazilian film I’ve seen with a dimestore Darth Vader.

O Gato de Botas Extraterrestre
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James Band 007 (Review)

James Band 007

Directed by ???

James Bond ripoffs seem to exists in every culture’s movie repartee. Some countries churn out dozens of them, especially during the boom years of the 1960s and 1970s. So it is only fitting the comedians get in on the act. Spy spoof films also seem to show up in every country. Spy films are a genre ripe for spoofing, because they are usually freaking ridiculous on their lonesome. James Bond even approached self-parody with cheesy ridiculous entries like Moonraker. So it comes to no surprise that we have a Thai James Bond spoof. The surprise is the film has survived to the point of hitting VCD, which pretty much means we will have at least a low-res version of it forever. Hooray for low-grade film archiving.

Now, I originally got this film off the eThaicd website as a whim, looking for something to fill the order up enough. I didn’t expect this to be anything special, I didn’t even expect it to be a comedy. I was surprised when I opened the package and looked through my vcds, just to notice that the cover to this one included a tiny C-3PO and R2-D2 at the bottom of the film poster. I expected that I would scan in the VCD cover, make a joke about how I liked those droids and couldn’t wait to see them, then get all mad when they never showed up. But the movie punked me. Because…C-3PO and R2-D2 are in this movie! Seriously! Sure, generic Thai knockoffs, but it is them and that is who they are supposed to be! It is one of the most awesome movie discovery I have made. Of course, I included clips of the droids in action. Just stay put. I did some research on the cast, since the only thing written in English about James Band 007 is the order page on the eThaicd website.

James Band (Thep Tienchai) – A bike cabbie who takes over the mantle of James Bond when he is killed in his taxi. Thep Tienchai gained fame in the 1970s using his bad looks and missing teeth in his comedy act, but he has since passed on. He can also be seen in the films Pher Jorm Pern, Tah Tien, and Yod Manood Computer (where snot flows from his nose.)
The Villain (Lor Tok) – The Villain of the piece (I never caught his name) is evil and wants to destroy the world. He has robot goons, and lots of henchmen. Lor Tok was born Sawong Supsamruay, and eventually became one of the greatest comedic actors in Thai cinema. His film debut was in 1933 in Wan Chakayan. Among his over 1000 films roles he starred in the comedy horror Dracula Tok, which had a cartoon series based on it after his 2002 death. He established his own production company in 1969 called Tok Boom Parpayon.
Contact (???) – The contact James Bond was supposed to meet and James Band now meets instead. She may be named Pani Ka. Incredibly thin. Not afraid to tromp around in a bikini.
Thai Moneypenny (???) – James Bond means lots of hot chicks, so of course one of them will work for the secret agency that James Bond works for. Thus we dub her Thai Moneypenny because we didn’t catch her real name. The actress seems very prolific, I have spotted her on several posters.
Thai M (???) – The Thai M heads the secret agency that the James Bond of Thailand works for. His agency is so powerful that some random rickshaw guy saves the day.
James Bond (???) – Thailand has their own James Bond, except he isn’t very good at dodging assassin’s bullets and ends up becoming 00Dead. Luckily, James Band takes over!
A2B (???) – The C-3Po droid of our evil Villain. Gold skin, evil laugh, short temper, he is every bit the C-3PO we all know and love.
A2A (???) – The R2-D2 droid of our evil Villain. I believe his name is A2A, but I am not sure so don’t yell at me for my less than fluent Thai. A2A likes to peep, and argues with A2B about everything. Their battles can get violent. A2A is made out of a bunch of vents, filters, and gauges.

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Legend of Eight Samurai (Review)

Legend of Eight Samurai

aka Satomi hakken-den

Directed by Kinji Fukasaku

A classic Japanese tale gets a reworking and then is dubbed and imported into America. Like many Asian epics, there are a lot of characters and a complicated plot, which is made more confusing with the bad dubbing. Even worse, this is an adaptation of an epic tale that is condensed into a film so huge chunks of back story are either disregarded or glossed over in less than a sentence. Any movie boasting giant centipedes is worth a look. Unfortunately, the 80’s soundtrack does a wonderful job of dating the film, despite it being a period piece. Originally I thought that the songs were added by the American importers, but with the release of the Japanese language original since I originally wrote this review over a year ago, it has become known that the songs where already added in the original version. It’s a deadly blow, imagine the worst of hair bands and love ballads, more deadly than any martial art. The film loses some of the fun factor as the emotion turns to hating the soundtrack. This version of Legend of Eight Samurai that we are recapping is the full screen original American dub, one day we will try to get a hold of the Japanese widescreen version for comparison.

The story is a Japanese mythology that originated in China (like many things Japanese, including the Japanese writing scripts (the kanas are simplified versions of the kanji they “borrowed” from China.) The story of a princess, the last of her clan, given eight warriors to protect her, selected without their knowledge. Magic crystals are found by those selected, the crystals created by a dog (thus giving the story its name:Hakkenden or “Dog Warriors.”) Each crystal has a different Confucian virtue, which is only used in this film as the kanji symbol on each crystal (we have gone through the trouble of translating each one.) Takizawa Okikuni (also known as Kyokutei Bakin or Takizawa Bakin) created the version used in this film from 1814 to 1842 (Edo era) a 106 volume story called Nanso Satomi Hakkenden that took 28 years to complete. Almost as long as the Wheel of Time series is taking. The serial was then updated in 1982 by Toshio Kamata in a novel called Shin Satomi Hakkenden. Many of the stars are part of the Japanese Action Squad, a group founded by Sonny Chiba that practiced martial arts and seemed to star in many movies together. In fact, they previously starred in a futuristic version of this very same tale called Message From Space over here (Uchu kara no messeji in Japan) that even featured the same director!

These are the eight who have Confucian Virtue Jewels:

Daikaku (Minori Terada) – (Gi – Duty or Justice.) Loyal sidekick to Dosetsu, hides Princess Shizu at his mother’s house, only to find his mother has been replaced. Killed in the final battle.
Dosetsu (Sonny Chiba) – (Chuu – Loyalty.)Sonny Chiba gained massive fame from the original Streetfighter film, and had a long career before and after, with many ups and downs. His recent inclusion in the first Kill Bill rocketed him back to fame, and lead to many of his films being released again in better editions. Has been seen here before in Sister Streetfighter, which also stars another of this movie’s actors. Killed in the final battle.
Shino (Masaki Kyomoto) – Brother of his sister (well, duh!) who just happens to be in love with his sister (not blood sister) but as she is getting married it is impossible for him. Until her groom-to-be is killed, but then their forbidden love results in her death and his revenge upon his family. Eventually given a crystal and ends up dead in the final battle. (Kou – Filial devotion/piety.) Played Ryo in Cutie Honey.
Female Assassin Keno (Etsuko Shiomi) – An assassin who disrupts Shino’s sister’s wedding in order to kill the groom. Eventually gets a crystal as well. (Rei – Knowledge traditional/proper form. I think they may have altered her kanji character.) Killed in the final battle by a killer who was hounding her the entire movie. Etsuko Shiomi became famous after the Sister Streetfighter films, and was Japan’s only all-around female action star. She retired after marrying singer Tsuyoshi Nagabuchi and now runs marathons under her married name, refusing interviews about her action star career.
Soldier (Kenji Oba?) – A servent of the demons who kills for them, before given a crystal because of his disgust for what he is forced to do. Killed in the final battle. I believe the soldier is played by Kenji Oba (who is credited as Genpachi in the credits.) Kenji Oba was another Japanese Action Club member who also starred in Kill Bill recently. (Shin – Faith.)
Kid (??) – Some kid who lives in a cave with a Big Dude. He gets a crystal, making him awfully close to Kenny territory. Luckily he doesn’t say or do much at all. Killed in the final battle. (Chi – Wisdom.)
Big Dude (??) – A Big Dude who lives in a cave, where there is also a kid. Both he and the Kid are basically tacked on and don’t do much. Not much except die in the final battle. (Tei – Brotherly affection.)
Shinbei (Hiroyuki Sanada) – Shinbei is a punk kid who goes around pretending he is a swashbuckler until he finds out the Princess has a reward on her head, then tries to capture her repeatedly. Eventually forced to be evil, then gets his own crystal after he dies but returns to life and has sex with Princess Shizu. You’ve heard of STD? Well, that was STC, Sexually Transmitted Crystal! Not killed in the final battle. (Jin – Sympathy, inclusive of all virtues. Jin is the top virtue in Confucianism, thus the main hero gets it.)

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Eragon (Review)


Directed by Stefen Fangmeier

I have just seen the greatest film of the last 50 years: STAR WARS!!! Unfortunately, it was buried beneath a train wreck of a movie called Eragon. Eragon is based on a book written by Christopher Paolini, who started on it when he was 15 and got it published by age 18. When reprinted, he became a best-selling author at age 19. Sadly, his novel is not unique, and is in fact just Star Wars meets Lord of the Rings, with a few references to Dragonriders of Pern and Robert Jordan novels. It is less of a theft and more of a wholesale rape, as what he does take isn’t turned into a brilliant work of fantasy, but just some fanboy wankery hardly worthy of posting on bad fan-fiction sites on the internet. Paolini managed to pimp out his age (due to finishing home schooling early he was free to do a book tour of schools while dressed in some knight costume) to successfully get his book republished. This shows us that you don’t need originality to succeed in the world, only ambition to promote yourself and your repackaged ideas. Sure, Star Wars borrows from Kurasawa and mythology canons, but it melds together into an interesting story that reshaped science fiction movies. Eragon becomes a mess, complete with shots identical to those in Star Wars and others, and manages to even screw up copying from Star Wars correctly. George Lucas never ruined Star Wars this bad with Jar Jar Binks, but Paolini enters new territories. So in a way it is ground-breaking, nothing has ever sucked so much like this before.

Eragon (Ed Speleers) – Luke Skywalker at your service! This orphan blonde whiny farmboy is thrust into the world of being a generic hero when his uncle is killed and a crazy old man teaches him the way of Jedi Knighting by Dragon. Totally not a self-insertion of Paolini. Ed Speleers went on to become a construction worker.
Brom (Jeremy Irons) – Obi-Wan Kenobi, or KenobIrons, or Obi-Wan Irons. Crazy old man who knew about Jedi Knight Dragonriders, because he used to be one. Killed due to Eragon’s stupidity while rescuing the Princess. Is Irons making up for Dungeons and Dragons? Because he was the only thing good in that film, a feat he doesn’t manage here.
Arya (Sienna Guillory) – Princess Leia here is for once not Eragon’s sister (at least not yet!) An Elf, despite the film forgetting and making her human. I only read she was an elf online. Probably still his sister, anyway, or at least he wants her to be. You can find photos of actress Sienna Guillory naked on the Internet, and looking at those is better than watching this film any day of the week.
Durza (Robert Carlyle) – Darth Vader! Sort of. Sort of like Darth Maul, in that he’s only in one film and killed. Flies a TIE Advanced Smoke Bat. Can teleport like Nightcrawler, except he doesn’t use it to fight at all. Durza’s name sounds very close to Dozer, which were the green creatures from Fraggle Rock that built stuff all day. Except Dozers were cool, and Durza sounds like he was named by a three year old with a mouth stuffed with crackers.
Galbatorix (John Malkovich)- Emperor Palpatine! Like the Emperor, wasn’t in the first chapter of the trilogy, except the producers seem to think that audiences have gotten stupider over the last 30 years and insisted on inserting him in, because otherwise the audience would never know who is giving orders. Well, if they liked Eragon, they probably ARE that stupid.
Murtagh (Garrett Hedlund)- Han Solo! Except in this trilogy, Han Solo is the brother of Luke, unlike Leia. Nice try, we still see what you’re stealing from. Namely, Christian Slater’s character of Will Scarlet from Robin Hood – Prince of Thieves! Besides dressing up the character identically, and giving him the same hair style, they also make him Eragon’s secret brother (reveled in book 2) just like Will Scarlet was made Robin Hood’s brother in that movie. Named after Danny Glover’s character in the Lethal Weapon franchise.
Uncle Garrow (Alun Armstrong) – Uncle Owen! Farmer adoptive father of Eragon killed by the Emperor’s men looking for what the hero has, just like Uncle Owen!
Roran (Chris Egan) – Eragon’s cousin, doesn’t have a Star Wars counterpart in this movie, maybe Wedge. His character does something other than wander out of the film after 20 minutes in the second book. Looks like a clone of Eragon, both of which are walking Nazi Aryan propaganda. Remember, blonde hair is good, black hair like Han Solo/Murtagh is bad.
Ajihad (Djimon Hounsou) – Lando! Not really. Why name a black guy “A Jihad”? RACIST! Obviously he isn’t really Lando, as Lando doesn’t show up until part two/five. A Jihad is leader of the Varden (the Rebels), which would make him sort of like Mon Mothma or Admiral Ackbar. No word on if A Jihad had promoted suicide bombings.
Hrothgar (Gary Lewis) – Chewbacca! Not really. The King of the Dwarves, except no one involved in the movie bothers to point this out at all, or even give his name, which Paolini ripped off from a video game called Icewind Dale, originally a reference to Danish King Hroðgar from Beowolf. Not that Paolini would borrow anyone else’s work. I didn’t know he was supposed to be a dwarf until I read it online.
Saphira (CGI and Rachel Weisz) – Jedi Lightsaber! X-Wing Fighter! Is blue, just like Luke’s first lightsaber. Gives Eragon the power of the Force. Born of a blue Jelly Belly. Makes snappy comments trying to endear her to us as one of those tough girls, but fails. Gives Eragon ringworm. Somehow makes dragons boring and uninteresting.

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