Tuesday, December 31, 2019

ANGEL HEART (1987)

New York City, 1955. Low-rent private detective Mickey Rourke is hired by the mysterious Robert De Niro to locate a man who did not fulfill his contract with De Niro due to a neurological injury he suffered during WWII.  An injury that's exactly like the one that Mickey Rourke also suffered in WWII...which caused him to lose his memory!  What are the odds?!!!  Anyway, the clues soon lead Rourke to New Orleans where he snoops around and a number of people end up dead.  One dude with his ping-ding cut off.

I love Satan as much as the next person, but ANGEL HEART really takes the viewers intelligence for granted.  I would find it hard to believe that anybody could not correctly predict the ending of the movie within the first 10 minutes.  But whatever, it's still a mildly entertaining ride.  Chickens, nice photography, boring nudity, glowing eyeballs that looked dumb as hell, okay pace, unbelievable story, style over substance, good acting, mediocre script, promises of violence that's never shown on screen, disappointing ending.

I'd really like to see somebody take another shot at this story.  It's a good idea.  In the correct hands it could be creepy and disturbing as fook.  Unfortunately, this version is just a solid "average".

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

THE KARATE KID (1984)

"Go find the balance."

When twenty-something year old teenager Daniel Larusso's (Ralph Macchio) mother upends his life by moving from New Jersey to Los Angeles for a job, Daniel bitches and complains, but makes the best of it by (literally on his second day in town) hanging out at the beach with the dude from FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI: JASON LIVES and mackin' on Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue).  Shue's ex-boyfriend, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and his gang of karate buddies come rolling up on their motorcycles all pre-THE LOST BOYS style and bring the ruckus.  Daniel ends up getting kicked in his pretty face.  This violent behavior helps push Ali into Daniel's arms.  At the same time, Daniel befriends his apartment complex's handyman Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita), who's a secret karate badass.  The tensions between Johnny and Daniel keep rising (another more brutal beat down, Daniel pushed down a hill, Daniel destroying Johnny's weed, etc.) until finally they agree to fight it out once and for all at a local karate championship in two months.  Unfortunately, Daniel doesn't know karate.  This is where Mr. Miyagi steps in.

THE KARATE KID is a great movie.  Yes, it's dated and anybody with mild intelligence can correctly predict the ending, but it doesn't matter because the journey is so much fun.  Multiple memorable characters that became 80's cultural icons, perfect pace, impressive photography (that long shot when they enter the championship was bad ass!), excellent acting, awesome music, wonderful onscreen chemistry between the entire cast, beautiful California locations, cool skeleton Halloween costumes, tons of memorable scenes and quotes, a masterful script that blurs the lines of good guy/bad guy and creates characters that are very human, a number of interesting actors as supporting characters, skeleton getting kicked in the nards, one of those rare endings that leaves the viewer equally satisfied and wanting more.

Highly recommended.  Anybody interested in 1980's American culture (or just wanting to see a good movie) should watch THE KARATE KID.  If you need me, I'll be out in the backyard painting the fence...both sides.

[Post-review side note: If you like THE KARATE KID, then you should watch "Cobra Kai".  It's an amazing show that is so good, it actually makes the original film better!  Check it out.]

Part 2 - The Karate Kid Part II (1986)
Part 3 - The Karate Kid Part III (1989)
Part 4 - The Next Karate Kid (1994)
Remake - The Karate Kid (2010)