Wednesday, April 29, 2015

FIREBALL 500 (1966)

There might not be a beach in sight, but FIREBALL 500 definitely has a Beach Party series feel to it. Plus a number of the same cast and crew.  Including director/writer William Asher.

This time around, Frankie Avalon is a up-and-coming race car driver.  After arriving in a new town and beating the local champ (Fabian), Avalon is offered a job trying out a new car for a upcoming cross-country race.  Being gullible (and having the hots for the race tracks sexy owner, Julie Parrish), he agrees.  Ends up the car is loaded with moonshine.  Before long, Avalon is catching stress from all ends: he's being blackmailed by IRS agents, catching heat from the moonshiners, being a professional racer, knocking boots with Parrish, getting into multiple fistfights and he sings 5 songs!  What a guy.

While F500 does have a "Beach" feel to it, the tone of the film is more adult.  There's moonshine drinking, an on-screen death, endless references to sex, fighting, a guy catching on fire, implied stripping, a "beaver" reference, car wrecks, Parrish grabbing Avalon's butt cheeks, etc.  I doubt most people would care for it at all, but I enjoyed FIREBALL 500 from beginning to end.  The story is goofy, but it was a lot of fun watching Avalon trying to be serious.  I also enjoyed all the familiar faces in the background.  I didn't care too much for Fabian's hair though.

Recommended for fans of the Beach Party movies.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

THE ROCK (1996)

A disgruntled general and a bunch of military dudes take over Alcatraz Island.  They lock all of the tourists in cells and then threaten to kill everybody in San Francisco with a deadly chemical gas (launched on missiles) unless they get 100 million dollars.  That sounds like the set-up for a fairly entertaining film: highly trained dudes in a highly fortified position, super badass dudes gotta sneak in and rescue the day...but then you see the credit "Directed by Michael Bay" and you know that you're gonna get all of that plus loads of crazy, illogical, fucked-up silliness.  Exotic cars, wailing guitars, explosions on top of other explosions, a ridiculous car chase, people barking orders, manly camera angles, patriotism overload, the Sun, helicopters, military jets...and then you add on Nicholas Cage's patented overacting!!! Wow!  That's a surefire recipe for entertainment.  Entertainment like a motherfucker!!

In order to sneak into Alcatraz, the FBI forcefully recruits escape artist/ex-spy Sean Connery (the only man to have successfully snuck out of Alcatraz) to lead a group of Navy SEALS and FBI chemical weapons nerd Nicholas Cage into "the Rock".

Even all these years later THE ROCK is still an entertaining ride.  Dumb story, impressive cast, fast pace, worried girlfriend looking all worried, Sean Connery channeling James Bond, a runaway coal mine cart chase.  Recommended.

If you think about it, it's kinda funny because Michael Biehn and Ed Harris' roles from THE ABYSS are now reversed: now it's Harris who is the bad guy and Biehn is the good guy. Also, I'm kinda surprised they haven't remade this with Dwayne Johnson in it.