Junesploitation 2019: Cars: Death Racers (2008)

I’m a few days behind on Junesploitation but day 8’s category was cars. I chose a film I had seen before but never got around to writing about. I chose Death Racers because it stars not only Scott Levy, better known as Raven (ECW, WCW, WWE) but Insane Clown Posse as well. ICP is the hip hop duo of Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope. The cool thing about ICP in my opinion is in addition to being rappers they are directors, actors, and wrestlers.  Violent J and Shaggy were part of their own backyard wrestling federation called Tag Team Wrestling in the 80’s. They later would wrestle for independent promotions in Michigan then go on to appear in ECW, WWE, WCW, and TNA. Juggalo Championshit Wrestling was created by them in 1999 and after a name change to Juggalo Championship Wrestling in 2007 still operates to this day.

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Death Racers was The Asylum’s way to cash in on the movie Death Race which also came out in 2008. However, they are drastically different. Death Race and Death Racers both center around a game-show like race with freedom as a prize and although they both star wrestlers in some capacity, Death Race including a small cameo by Brock Lesnar (WWE), they have no other similarities.

Death Racers is about the government trying to get rid of the Reaper, played by Raven. The Reaper is trying to poison the water basins with an explosive type of concentrated Sarin. This makes absolutely no sense but I don’t always require scientific accuracy in my prison game-show racing movies. To get rid of the Reaper, Governor Black decides to have a savage run. Unfortunately, they were made illegal so they just change the name to death race.

The death race offers prisoners trapped inside the Red Zone a chance at freedom if they can kill the Reaper. The teams consist of the Severed Head Gang, Homeland Security, Vaginamyte, and Insane Clown Posse. They’re let loose in the Red Zone, where they run over, hatchet, shoot, and whack criminals to rack up points on the way to the Reaper’s lair. If you kill the Reaper you get 200 points and if you catch him alive it’s worth 400. If you reach 1000 points you win your freedom.

This movie is absolutely bonkers. Its dialogue is crass and juvenile, it’s plot although fairly straight forward is muddled by the insanity of it all. It has some special effects that are CGI, the red stuff is splattered, but the editing is a bit too over the top at times. There are rewinds, mirror images, and some of the dialogue is ADR.

To be honest this movie is an absolute mess but I really enjoyed the heck out of it. Word is that Violent J called it a terribly shitty movie and although that might be true from a production standpoint I think it is pure gold. Raven does well being a menacing terrorist with no regard for humanity whatsoever. He doesn’t get to do a lot of physical stuff such as fight scenes but his presence is great. He has one fight scene with Violent J and although it’s short and poorly lit it gets the point over that both of these wounded men are trying their hardest to end the other’s life.

I am almost completely convinced that the addition of ICP to any low budget genre fare is a smart move. Just let them be themselves and you get some goofy ass dialogue. Now this is largely untested as besides this movie and their two movies, Big Money Hustlas, and Big Money Rustlas, they haven’t been given the chance to shine that I feel they should have gotten. They may be the most hated band in the world but they sure do know what makes entertainment click.

Apparently ICP did this as a favor for the director who had previously directed them on a prior project the duo had in the works. I’ll forever be thankful for that move as I plan to enjoy Death Racers as often as I can. It might pair better with copious amounts of alcohol or a few bong loads. But if you are a fan of absurdist fare or are as drawn to movies that star bands and rappers as I am movies that star wrestlers you’re in for a decent time.

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Scott Levy (Raven): right

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Right to left: Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J

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Junesploitation 2019: 90’s Action Film: The Ultimate Weapon

I’ve never participated in F This Movie!’s Junesploitation shenanigans but I noticed some friends on twitter participating. I think I’m cheating since I technically started on day 6 with my viewing of Look Out, Officer! since I missed the first 5 days. However, I’ve decided to use Junesploitation as a writing exercise and use as many days as I can to cover the list’s requirements by choosing stuff that stars wrestlers. Today is day 7 and the requirement is a 90’s action film. I scoured my collection of films that star professional wrestlers for an action film from the 90’s and chose 1998’s The Ultimate Weapon which stars retired professional wrestler, Terry “Hulk Hogan” Bollea (WWF, WCW, TNA, NJPW) . Hulk Hogan was not the first wrestler to appear in films but he’s probably one of the most famous.

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The Ultimate Weapon from 1998 is about a mercenary name Ben “Hardball” Cutter played by Hulk Hogan, who is hired to do a mission for his old friend “Top” Drummond. He is assigned a partner for his mission who happens to be the son of one of his old partners, Cobra. At first he is hesitant to have Vince Dean along but after a brief run on the training course, he agrees.

Cutter has a past that troubles him, in the beginning we see a scene where Hardball fails to save his daughter while on a mission but Hardball wakes up and it is revealed to be a dream. It is never revealed if this happened in real life but it is revealed he has not seen his daughter in 20 years. The chapter listing on the DVD does, however, say that his daughter is kidnapped.

His mission, Operation Shamrock is to neutralize hostiles in what the chapter listing says is Serbia. There Dean and Cutter neutralize the hostiles and the UN lead by Roarke comes in. These guys are clearly not UN soldiers which upsets Cutter. Turns out they are part of the IRA and the weapons which were to be retrieved by the UN are now going to be used in IRA’s operations. Cutter is having none of this and he blows those weapons the hell up!

Cutter’s actions anger Roarke which in turn angers his boss McBride, a crazy millionaire with a penchant for arms dealing. Cutter tries to reconnect with his daughter who has become a stripper at a bar where the owner’s muscle is actually Ed Leslie more known as Brutus the Barber Beefcake (WWF, WCW). His daughter Mary Kate is offered a job as an escort. She takes the job because she has some money issues (Her grandma’s house is about to be foreclosed on). Unfortunately, her dinner date is none other than McBride.

After almost being raped by McBride she steals a drive on a necklace. This sets off the rest of the plot which includes hitmen out for Mary Kate, Cutter, and even Dean. This is of course a perfect chance for Cutter and Dean to beat some folks up and eliminate those who are after them.

This movie connected to me in a strange way. It’s a run of the mill action film but something about Hogan really got me this time. I’ve watched some of his other roles before and I liked them well enough but his portrayal of Cutter was excellent. He stepped into this role unlike some of his other stuff. He looks like an action star and at no point was I thinking this is ridiculous Hulk Hogan can’t be this big of a bad ass.

The action was great, I really miss the days when if you wanted characters to fire guns, you actually had to have some blank firing guns. So much of what I see nowadays is CGI when it comes to firearms firing. That and of course some very shoddy looking airsoft guns. I’m not sure what the budget was for this film but I imagine it was decent since Hulk Hogan was such a bankable name at this time with his crazy popularity in WCW’s NWO faction then again I can’t find actual numbers so I may be totally off the mark here.

If you like Hulk Hogan you owe it to yourself to track down this movie, it is on Amazon Prime at the moment and it is available as a Multipack DVD. I purchased an import DVD that has the movie on it’s own but that is not an option for everyone sometimes. It is also worth buying as well if you like action films. All in all I had a blast with The Ultimate Weapon and hope this Junesploitation viewing an review gets a few others to check it out.

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Center Background: Brutus the Barber Beefcake

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Android Apocalypse (2006)

Tonight is All Elite Wrestling’s Double or Nothing PPV. One of the wrestlers on the show is Chris Jericho (WCW, WWE, AEW). Chris has been in a few movies throughout his career so far including , Albino Farm (2009), MacGruber (2010), and Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (2015). Chris had a small uncredited role in Immortal Combat (1994) according to my research but I have yet to watch it despite owning it on VHS. Android Apocalypse is Jericho’s first credited role.

 

Android Apocalypse

 

Android Apocalypse is a made for TV movie produced for the Sci-Fi Channel. It is a post-apocalyptic film set in a desolated Phoenix, AZ. Phoenix is the home of one of the last domed cities. The area outside of Phoenix is plagued by malignant robot probes that try to kill anything they find in the wasteland. It centers on an android designated as Dee Cee, played by Joey Lawrence (Blossom, Brotherly Love).

Dee Cee is part of a task force that is sent into the wasteland to retrieve a child who was exploring outside the city limits. He along with the android TeeDee (Chris Jericho) and another android rescue the child. Back in the city Jute played by Scott Bairstow (Wild America, The Postman) is replaced by androids at his work place and heads to the bar.

Jute goes to the bar and meets up with some friends.The bar is hosting a do you think you’re tough fighting tourney. Tee Dee is fighting there and Jute goes to fight him because he is mad that he lost his job to an android. Androids are not supposed to be able to fight but this one can. The cops show up and Jute runs away.

Jute and his buddy encounter Tee Dee while outside drinking and they get into a fight with him again. This time however, Jute kills the droid. Upon returning to his home he is arrested.  The rest of the film deals with Jute and DeeCee in the desert when their transport is attacked by probes then with DeeCee being reprogrammed and Jute being enslaved at the prison settlement Terminus.

The budding friendship between DeeCee and Jute is fun to watch and feels genuine. Jute goes from absolutely hating androids to understanding that they aren’t as useless as he has been lead to believe. They are forced to work as a team if they wish to survive.

I was really bummed that Chris Jericho was in this film for a small fraction of its run time. Chris does a fine job as TeeDee and although overall the androids are just people doing monotone voices and jerky robot movements, it works. Joey is especially good as DeeCee and Scott puts in a great performance in what would be his last film to date. Chris gets to show off some of his physical abilities in the tough tournament and his fights.

I really enjoyed this movie and think it is much more entertaining then the recent slew of SYFY’s TV movie offerings, it’s also really well done. If you are a fan of post apocalyptic movies, it is definitely worth a watch. It’s just an added bonus that I got to see Jericho act like a robot that kicks ass. My only complaint is that I’d like more of Chris Jericho in the film. Give this one a watch for sure if you miss the Sci-Fi Channel and it’s older made for TV films.

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I Am Vengeance (2018)

If there is one thing that pro wrestlers lend themselves easily to when it comes to film roles, it is action roles. Action roles don’t always call for lots of talking which is good for those who are just getting a foot hold into the acting world. You don’t always have to have the best speaking skills when it comes to action films, because, let’s face it we’re here for the punches, kicks, guns, and violence.

I am Vengeance

I Am Vengeance is an action thriller from the United Kingdom. It was written and directed by Ross Boyask. It stars professional wrestler Wade Barrett (Stu Bennett), known to many from his stint in World Wrestling Entertainment as well as the being a host on Season 3 of Ultimate Beastmaster. He was in a few movies prior to this one; Dead Man Down (2013), Eliminators (2016), and Fanged Up (2017).

I Am Vengeance is about John Gold (Wade Barrett), a former soldier turned mercenary who learns that a friend of his has been killed in his old town of Devotion. After discovering his friend, Dan Mason has been murdered, he sets off to Devotion to discover who was responsible for the death of Dan Mason and Mason’s parents.

John shows up to town, enters the pub, and loudly states that he is there to find out what happened to the Mason family. After an extended silence, he is told by a young woman, Rose, that she knew Dan and his parents who often visited her cafe. He tells everyone that if they have a problem with him they can meet him outside. A group of ex-special forces soldiers show up to fight him but with too many spectators they leave.

One of the bartenders, Sandra, informs Gold that she was friends with Dan, and Gold asks her to tell him more. Sandra and Gold become embroiled in a back and forth with the ex-special forces who have now entered into the drug smuggling business.

The action in this film is excellent, the ex-special forces members do a fine job of intimidating the locals and causing problems for Gold. When they are sent after Gold, bloodshed ensues. I really enjoyed the gun play in the movie and there is just as much hand to hand combat as there are shoot outs.

Barrett as John Gold makes me miss the heyday of action movies, and gets me wondering how well he would have fit in then. I’ll be looking forward to more roles where Barrett gets to showcase some more badassery. I’m aware that there will be a sequel to I Am Vengeance or as it is known in the United Kingdom Vengeance and I’m excited for it as I feel I Am Vengeance hits all the right notes need to satisfy me when it comes to an action flick. If you are a fan of action you should check this one out. It is easily found on Netflix in the United States.

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March Madness: Beast of the Water

I popped into my local Family Video today to return some movies and browse a bit. I had been there a few times this past week but somehow missed a lone copy of Beast of the Water. I noticed a familiar face on the cover, Tyrus (Impact Wrestling, WWE) and immediately picked it up to read the back. I also noticed that EC3 (NXT, WWE, Impact Wrestling) was in it. I somehow missed the fact that he is also featured on the cover. I don’t know how it had escaped me so many times before and I was wondering how I didn’t know of the movie prior. I did know the movie albeit under its original title Enuatti.

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Beast of the Water is about a small team of researchers, headed by Dr. Grey who are studying an area of Ohio where the Ininkwe, a lost first nation tribe were believed to live. The legends tell of water with interesting properties that may be the fountain of youth. They also warn of a water spirit known as enuatti. Dr. Grey unfortunately loses the funding for his anthropological expedition and is forced to cooperate with AESIV. AESIV is a strange corporation with it’s hands in many aspects of military and civilian enterprise. Dr. Grey and a handful of the corp’s security detail head into the Ohio forests to collect samples but things go FUBAR.

Beast of the Water happens to be directed and written by some of the reality show Face-Off from SyFy’s contestants. Face-Off is a special effects make up competition where participants show off their prowess in effects work. It’s really interesting to see what all they are capable of on the show and this film gives them a chance to showcase their skills not only as SFx artists but as directors and writers as well.

EC3 and Tyrus both play AESIV security in the film. EC3 is Harris the team leader, who is a real piece of work, he is known for accomplishing missions by any and all means necessary. He isn’t the most enjoyable person to work with according to his fellow security member, Bateman, played by Tyrus. Bateman is a much more likable character in the film compared to Harris. The security detail is made up of three other individuals, Torres, Evans, and Febles. Out of those three Torres played by Christina Fuentes was my favorite. Her dynamic with Bateman is well showcased and her and Bateman are much more developed characters than the rest of the security guards.

The researchers who assist Dr. Grey are interesting characters as well but that’s not usually the draw when it comes to a creature feature, which Beast of the Water largely is. The creature effects are well done and so are the rest of the special effects. It’s hard to forgive a film like this when the creature isn’t well done but Beast of the Water doesn’t have to worry about any of that.

EC3 does a fine job portraying Harris, who mostly glares at other characters, and throws his weight around with a cocky attitude. He’s perfect at this as is evidenced by his work in Impact Wrestling and now WWE. He looks the part as well. EC3 also did some background work as an extra in House of the Devil from 2009. Tyrus is imposing physically as it is so to see him play the sympathetic Bateman was an interesting angle. Tyrus has been in other movies such as No One Lives (2008) and the more recent Supercon. He also has a small part in the Netflix original series G.L.O.W. He is excellent here as Bateman and gets to show that although he is more level headed than most of his co-workers he can also beat the crap out of someone when the need arises.

I enjoyed Beast of the Water but I can understand why some people may not. There are some interesting narrative choices in the film and it is fairly low budget. That should not deter you from seeking it out though as it’s a fun little B-movie that is well made with fun special effects. You can find Beast of the Water on Amazon and other streaming outlets such as Vudu.

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EC3 as Harris, center

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Tyrus as Bateman

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March Madness: Stormageddonv

I had found out about Stormageddon which stars John Morrison( WWE), last year and bought what I thought was the U.K. DVD of it. Even though SYFY UK had the rights to broadcast it in the United Kingdom it was never actually released on DVD there. The movie I had picked up was a movie starring Reggie Bannister whose English DVD title was Stormageddon even though it’s original title was Disaster Wars: Earthquake vs Tsunami. It’s even more confusing since the two posters both feature storms on the front. Stormageddon was released in Germany and Japan on DVD. I was gladly surprised when I came across Stormageddon on Amazon Prime because this meant I didn’t have to import it to watch it. 

 

Stormageddon is a made for TV film directed by Nick Lyon. Nick Lyon is no stranger to films with wrestlers in them as he directed Isle of the Dead (2016) which stars former WWE Diva champion Maryse and Hercules Reborn (2014) which also stars John Morrison. I reviewed Hercules Reborn before here. When US owned drones start to mysteriously attack cities and government buildings, Molly, a scientist’s daughter receives a mysterious package from her deceased father.  Inside the package is a piece of jewelry she was given when she was younger, and a VHS tape that instructs her to find Thomas Kelso. She is to refer to Kelso as Adam which will let him know who has sent her to find him. A computer program, Echelon, has gone rogue and is planning to destroy humanity by controlling the weather. The program is behind the drone attacks and only Adam knows what needs to be done to stop Echelon.

Thomas Kelso/ Adam is played by John Morrison and is along with Molly, the main protagonist. He seems to know more about Molly’s father than she herself knows. It turns out he helped her father during the Echelon project. He was murdered by the government when the project was shut down after his partner sold him out. Adam is the only hope for shutting down the program.

The movie sees Adam and Molly racing against not only the US Government but also a mysterious robot who masqueraded as a government agent, Cain Smith. The government wants her because of her link to her father who created the program and Cain wants them because he is the one who is behind the Echelon takeover and acknowledges that Molly and Adam can stop him.

John Morrison is great as Adam and is given the chance to showcase his physical abilities in his fight scenes with Cain. Morrison is becoming a bit of a staple in low budget outings made for TV. I own a few movies he has been in so I’m bound to review some more of his work. I enjoy seeing him in movies and he plays the character of Adam well. I can’t even think of a replacement for him in this film as it feels like a natural fit for him.

This film, despite what I imagine to be not the largest budget, manages to look great. The effects for the robots and storms are more than passable to me. So many times a movie like this will have large aspirations and no way to visually portray them in a believable manner when it comes to CGI or practical effects.

The storms don’t seem to have much purpose in the plot. It’s supposed to be a race against their landfall to stop Echelon but so much of the movie takes place inside that I didn’t feel like they were a significant enough threat. Other than that I really enjoyed this movie. I will be picking up a copy as soon as I get the chance to because I’ve watched it two days in a row already. I’m a big fan of direct to video and made for TV films so that may have played a factor in my enjoyment, however, if you enjoy films with killer robots, government failings, and pro wrestlers you’re in for a good time.

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John Morrison as Thomas Kelso/Adam

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March Madness: Leprechaun Origins

I absolutely love the Warwick Davis fronted Leprechaun films. I was so obsessed with them that I decided that I was going to hate the reboot Leprechaun Origins no matter what because you can’t have a leprechaun film without him. On my first viewing of Origins when it hit VOD in August 2014, I disliked it so much I referred to it as Leprechaun Snor-igins. I wish I could go back in time to tell myself that I was being unfair but at least now I’m a bit wiser and more understanding when it comes to movies.

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Leprechaun Origins is about two couples; Sophie and Ben, Jeni and David,  who travel to Ireland to see the sights. They come across a small village where they are offered to be taken to see the Clocha de na Naithe by Hamish while enjoying a few pints. These Stones of the Gods are located in a cave a ways from the pub so Hamish and his son Sean take them to a small cabin for the evening.

Unfortunately, for our protagonists, the village harbors a dark secret. The folks mined the cave for gold and the creature had been terrorizing the villagers, who find the only way to keep it at bay is to offer up outsiders for food. Hamish and Sean lock the four teens in the cabin and as the couples soon discover something is outside.

They find a way out of the cabin when the creature gets in and make a mad dash all over the countryside in an attempt to survive the night. Gold earrings are ripped off ears, tongue studs tore out, and legs are chomped. The couples are pretty dysfunctional so that’s an interesting dynamic as well.

That’s not really what draws me to this movie though, the leprechaun is played by former WWE wrestler, Hornswoggle. Dylan Postl’s portrayal of Hornswoggle in the WWE was mostly comedic with very few words spoken  He largely relied on his silly antics in the ring. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Hornswoggle a few times at Absolute Intense Wrestling shows. He’s always happy to talk about his work in film, with him playing the leprechaun in this film and his role in Muppets Most Wanted. I would enjoy seeing him do more film work in the future.

It’s kind of funny that Swoggle was a light hearted leprechaun in WWE whereas he is a bloodthirsty creature in this film. The creature does not speak and portrays it’s emotions through physicality mainly through its facial expressions. I mostly get a vibe that the creature is curious throughout the movie but it is also always a very real threat. 

Dylan’s leprechaun is not the comedic type and is more of a feral creature. I really like the creature in Leprechaun Origins, I just wish they didn’t obscure it so much through out the movie. There is a feature on the costume and special effects on the DVD that show the costume better and I really enjoyed that.

This is a fantastic creature feature and if I could smack the old me and tell him to stop being an elitist idiot about films I totally would. There is plenty of gore in this film and although most of the movie is dark it is well displayed. The action in the film is usually under the moon light, head lights, or flashlights, which adds an eerie feel to it all. What is lying past our field of vision? Is it one of the villagers or the creature itself? Both are large threats to the teens.

I’d also like to point out that the actor who plays David, Brendan Fletcher, was also in Freddy Vs Jason. This is interesting to note as Rey Mysterio does stunt work in the film as Freddy himself. If you enjoy creature features you should definitely check out Leprechaun Origins. If you happen to have not seen the Warwick Davis fronted films perhaps watch Origins first and then original franchise so as to not have the bias I ran into.

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Hornswoggle, practicing his movements for the film

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Swoggle and I at an AIW show, November 2018

 

March Madness: Selling Stupid

I’m glad that I started collecting movies with wrestlers in them because it’s forced me to watch stuff that I used to shy away from, I probably wouldn’t have even given a film like Selling Stupid a shot 5 or 6 years. However, nowadays I’ll give anything and everything a shot even if it doesn’t star a wrestler. It’s really enriched my life.

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Selling Stupid is a small budget film about two women in advertising who are thrust into a competition with two male co-workers to see who can come up with a better campaign for a well known designer’s game, One World. The problem is they don’t know the first thing about video games! These two women are Sloan, played by Roni Jonah and Evie, played by Tonia L. Carrier.

I had no expectations coming into Selling Stupid, mostly because I had just found out it existed last month due to a gif of the movie Roni posted on Facebook. I purchased a copy this month from the director and watched it today.

Tonia and Roni are not only the stars of the film, they co wrote the film along with Amy Austin. Tonia directed the film and Roni edited it. Roni Jonah is a former pro wrestler and current director and actor. I’ve covered her acting in Shark Exorcist before on this site and I’m excited to see more of her work, especially the upcoming Powerbomb which has had two premieres, one in Cleveland and one in Toledo.

Sloan and Evie work with a real special bunch of guys, by special I mean 98% of them are assholes. Their boss Eddie is a sexist pig, Chris has no clue how to treat women like human beings, and Dan is basically an incompetent lackey most of the time. Their wildly gay friend Jonah and Evie’s crush Joey are pretty much the only tolerable men in their office. The girls want to start their own advertising firm but Evie isn’t quite ready to leave her job at Eddie’s firm behind. Their journey to understand what makes video games so appealing not only brings them closer as friends but brings them a greater understanding on why people love video games!

Roni and Tonia are extremely likable as SlEvie and seeing their characters fumble their way through the film as they try to beat the boys is a joy to see. Tonia is especially charming as her interactions with her interviewees in the film are as heartfelt as they are awkward. Roni is hilarious and inappropriate as Sloan. I love her little interaction in the coffee shop when Sloan after realizing all the men in the shop are playing video games performs a saucy striptease in an attempt to see if one of the male patrons will even notice. He eventually does and her oh so smooth quip of, “Is it hot in here or is it just you?” had me laughing out loud.

This movie is full of laughs and infuriating idiotic male characters. I was either laughing, smiling, or ready to punch a dude through the film’s entire run time. Jason Crowe is one of my favorite dudes to see play a character because he takes a role and runs with it. His portrayal of Jonah is silly but endearing and he was one of my favorite parts of the movie. There is a very interesting scenario with roofies in a bar in this film that ends with some karmic comeuppance.

If you’re a fan of low-budget comedy or character development in movies, you should check out Selling Stupid. The DVD also includes a music video for the title track Game Over which I’m sure will be stuck in my head for a week and a drunken commentary that is pretty fun! Selling Stupid is a “FONTING” good time and I have a feeling I’ll be pulling it out to show some friends as well as just enjoying it by myself in the future.

 

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From Left to Right; Roni Jonah as Sloan, Tonia L. Carrier as Evie 

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Jason Crowe as Jonah, left

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March Madness: The Refractor

Back in 2016, a few wrestlers from a promotion near me called Real Action Pro Wrestling appeared in a movie called The Refractor. The director Kwai Daniels also appears in it as The Refractor. To promote it they had an in ring appearance by The Refractor who had a altercation in the ring with one of the actors. It was a really cool thing to see live and I’ve been wanting to see it ever since. I didn’t get a chance to make it to the premiere in November of that year but I did finally get the opportunity to see it when I bought my copy from the director himself, this month.

 

The Refractor is about a man, who, after an accident at a steel mill where a furnace blows up, gains super powers that allow him to withstand great physical stress. He stops a major drug deal in the 80’s but retires. He comes out of retirement to clean up the city once again when a tragedy that hits close to home for him occurs.

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Refractor is a beautifully shot movie, I was blown away by the quality of the visuals throughout the film. The story is well done and it made me care about the character of Refractor and his buddy, Billy Bob. The action is fun to watch, especially the flashback to the 80’s that features RAPW’s stars, Bouncer, Curt Fury, Joey Vincent Martini, Flea, Aftermath, and Danny Doyle. They play a bunch of thugs and they square off one by one against the Refractor. Flea is barely seen but I believe he is the driver for one of the baddies. One of my favorite parts is when Curt Fury starts doing what I’ve decided to call his Curt-rate taunt.

The movie has a nice balance of action, heart-rending story, laughs, and some violence. The part where Jim Gessner’s character visits a very rich man from India who is obsessed with Hollywood seems out-of-place but is hilarious and helps break away from the serious tone the film shifts to in its second half. The actors are all believable in their roles and it feels and looks like a lot of passion, love, and dedication went into this film.

The film was shot entirely in Youngstown, Ohio if I am not mistaken and there is supposed to be a sequel as well. All in all I had a lot of fun with The Refractor. Its concept of a hero that arises from a steel town tragedy is unique and I like that it has that comic book feel without it being completely removed from reality. If you are a fan of independent films, I recommend picking up a copy.

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Curt Fury on the left holding a pistol, Flea to his right, Bouncer with chains. Aftermath on far right holding a pistol, to his left is Danny Doyle, and behind him is Joey Vincent Martini

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Doyle, Bouncer, and Aftermath among a group of criminals

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Curt Fury, far right, Flea is the Driver in the background

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Kwai Daniels as The Refractor squaring off against Danny Doyle.

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Bouncer

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Aftermath

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Curt-rate!

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Joey Vincent Martini

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Rowdy New Year- Legion: The Final Exorcism

I guess I’m just sticking with the theme of movies that Rowdy Roddy Piper starred in this month. I have been wanting to see Legion: The Final Exorcism for a while, mainly because not only does it star Piper himself but his daughter Ariel Teal Toombs is in it as well. I was not prepared for what I was about to put myself through.

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Legion: The Final Exorcism was originally titled Costa Chica: Confession of an Exorcist and was released in 2006. I’m not entirely certain if it was actually released in 2006 or just had a premiere then as the DVD of the film didn’t come out until 2011. Legion is written and directed by David Heavener, he also happens to be its star. I hadn’t heard of David Heavener before this film. Apparently he not only makes low budget films, he is also a singer, song writer. He performs Christian music.

Legion is about Tatiana McMurter, a troubled girl, played by Roddy’s real life daughter Ariel Toombs. She is being afflicted by evil spirits. These spirits we are lead to believe are the very same ones that were cast into pigs in the New Testament concerning the Gerasene demoniac. Ariel is good in her role and I am eager to see some of her other roles.

The film is also about Michael San Chica (Heavener), a priest, who has been plagued by demons his whole life. He can apparently see into the future and the past which is a very odd thing for a priest to possess as in most instances theologically these are considered to be gifts that are not from God.

Roddy Piper plays Tatiana’s uncle Lucas. He does an extremely good job at portraying this character, plagued by alcoholism, demons, and his past horrific actions of molesting his niece. In fact the whole reason for the demonic infestation happens to be that Lucas, possessed by demons, upon molesting his niece, passed the infestation to her. This is too much for my mind to comprehend. I studied theology in college and none of it makes a lick of sense.

This movie centers around religion but it never quite decides whether it wants to be an out and out religious film, straight up horror film, or a TV special about demonic possession. It in fact manages to fail at allof these things. Mixing Baptist theology with a very confusing view of Anglicanism, the message of the movie, if there even is one, is so muddled that it is lost on me as a viewer. Perhaps if I hadn’t studied theology or been involved in paranormal research of demonic afflictions prior I could have enjoyed this more.

The only redeeming quality of the film in my opinion is Piper’s performance. If you need to see every role Piper was in than I suggest renting it through a DVD service or on Demand, unless you can get it for very cheap, other wise this movie is a complete pass.

 

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Left, Ariel Teal Toombs as Tatiana McMurter

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