This past weekend I had the pleasure of visiting one of my favorite historical sites, Fort Niagra in Youngstown New York. Fort Niagra is the oldest continuously occupied military site in North America. Seeing use in the French and Indian War, American Revolution, War of 1812, Civil Wars, both World Wars, and the Korean War. Fort Niagra also happens to be relevant to the movie Mohawk, the subject of today’s post as the fort is mentioned about 5-10 minutes into the film. The film was shot in upstate New York.
Mohawk is set during the War of 1812, a conflict between the American and British Forces. It is about 3 lovers; Joshua, a British officer, Oak, a Mohawk female, and Calvin, a Mohawk male. It revolves around their conflict with a rag tag group of American soldiers hellbent on revenge after an attack on their garrison by Calvin. It stars Luke Harper (WWE) as Lachlan Allsop, one of the American soldiers.
Mohawk is a great horror/thriller film and a wonderful period piece. I’m a sucker for movies with a historical bent but this is also a really well done movie. All of the characters have motivations for their actions and it creates a great tension between the two factions after each other in a deadly chase. It had me engrossed the whole time and I was interested in their conflict. The music is exceptionally well done, creating aural tension that works alongside the imagery perfectly. It’s a brutal unforgiving film portraying violence in a blunt way that really knocks you back. If you are a fan of gore, you will surely appreciate the effects in this film. Luke Harper as Lachlan does a bang up job in his acting debut. I hope this leads to other roles for him, he really brings Lachlan to life. His knee injury showcased in the movie as part of his character happened to be real as Harper was injured around the time of the filming of this movie while wrestling. I don’t wish harm on anyone but the fact that Harper was able to work on this movie is a treat for us wrestling fans who also love genre film. Lachlan is decidedly more calm and articulate than Harper’s character on WWE television but we see a bit of his unhinged side later in the film. I really don’t want to go too much into the plot of this movie as it is a fairly recent release and I think everyone who is a fan of horror or Luke Harper should check this out. Rent it at your local video spot if you have one or if you don’t pick it up on DVD.
A few years back I bought a pack of movies from Amazon simply called 9 Action Movies starring Hulk Hogan & Jesse Ventura. I picked it up not only for the film I’m writing about today but also because the movies on the set also featured Roddy Piper and Asbjørn Riis. The icing on the cake was being able to get both Shadow Warriors films starring Hulk Hogan which are pricey separately.
Abraxas , Guardian of the Universe released in 1990 stars Jesse “The Body” Ventura (WWE). Jesse has been in a handful of films including a memorable role as Blaine, the mini-gun toting soldier in the 1987 film Predator. Jesse Ventura is probably most known as that professional wrestler who became the governor of Minnesota or that guy who talks about all those conspiracies on that one show. Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe is about two intergalactic cops known as finders, Abraxas played by “The Body” and Secundus played by Danish body builder, Sven-Ole Thorsen. Finders have a certain set of directives they must follow and are virtually immortal. Abraxas has been a finder for near 10,000 years and Secundus as told to us by Abraxas is a renegade, who he has been tasked to apprehend. Renegades happen every once in a while because as Abraxas tells us that over the many years of being a finder you see things and do things that take their toll. Secundus comes to Earth because he needs a woman’s body so he may create a comater. A comater retains the anti-life equation he desires which will allow him to be the most powerful being in the universe. Upon Secundus simply touching a young woman, a comater is conceived and born almost instantly. Abraxas ordered to kill the woman and the possible comater that is within her hesitates because of his firm grasp on the concept of right and wrong. The film then jumps forward 5 years to when Abraxas is ordered once again to kill the comater before Secundus, who has returned, obtains the anti-life equation.
The cut included on this DVD looks and sounds like it was ripped directly from an old VHS tape. I think that really adds to the experience although I would love to see a remaster released. Abraxis, Guardian of the Universe feels more like an 80’s film than a 90’s film but I don’t hold that against it, it is entertaining despite it’s ham-fisted ineptitude. Abraxas is a mess and could possibly be called one of the worst films made from technical and plot standpoints, however, it was made with heart in my opinion redeeming it from its shortcomings. The movie knows what it wants to be and does it. It doesn’t care that it leaves many questions unanswered. It simply wants to take you on a ride where these two ancient beings are pitted against each other, Secundus looking for the comater to retrieve the anti-life equation and Abraxas, hell bent on protecting the comater because of his moral fortitude. It’s a cheesy movie with decent special effects for its time. There is plenty of awkward line delivery from both Jesse Ventura and Sven-Ole but that only lends to it’s appeal to me. If you like your movies full of cheese and acting that isn’t quite the greatest I feel you will get a kick out of this film. The soundtrack is odd and doesn’t seem to entirely fit the movie but I still enjoyed it. I especially like the song Strong As Am by the Prime Movers which plays near the final showdown. Jesse delivers his lines in a robotic manner but it really works for the character, who is a total outsider from the human race despite his human appearance. If you are a fan of Jesse Venutra or just a fan of B-movies you owe it to yourself to give this a shot.
The entries this month will be a mix of everything. I originally had a theme planned for June but I’m getting such a late start that I can’t do what I wanted to with it so we are doing Junk in June. This doesn’t mean the movies I watch will be junk just that they have no central theme that links them together.
Bushwick (2017) directed by Cary Murnion and Jonathan Millot stars Dave (Batista) Bautista (WWE) and Brittany Snow (Pitch Perfect). Batista is no stranger to movies; he found his groove acting wise in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy but other films that he has starred in were also entertaining. I especially enjoyed Enter the Warrior’s Gate. Bushwick is about Lucy played by Brittany Snow who has returned to her home town to meet her folks with her boyfriend Jose. An odd announcement about the subway station being shut down is swept aside by Lucy as trains are shutdown all the time. Upon seeing a burning man run down the station stairs, however, it is abundantly clear that something is not right. Jose runs for help but is killed by an explosion. Lucy walks outside to see her home of Bushwick has turned to utter chaos, there are people clad in black military gear shooting folks. She is handcuffed by one of these mysterious men but manages to escape and get out of her cuffs, unfortunately, she is witness to two men executing another citizen. Pursued by these men she enters a basement, they attempt to rape her but are beat up by the inhabitant of the house, Stupe, played by Batista. This movie is a fine example of modern day exploitation, a trend I hope to see continue. Although it has sleek hollywood style visuals, it’s pure grime underneath. It plays to our fears as a nation, that of political unrest so great that it leads to another civil war. The music in this film is always great. It reminds me of Carpenter’s music in Assault on Precinct 13. It’s a score that really lets you know that the stuff is really going to hit the fan. Batista’s emotionally tormented portrayal of Stupe is heart felt and sincere; his action scenes as always are fun to watch from body slams and tackles to small close quarter gun skirmishes. I feel that 10-15 years down the line this will be seen as a cult classic. The story is simple but characters are developed just enough for you to really care about Lucy and Stupe’s struggle to survive Bushwick’s invasion by mysterious forces. Bushwick hits all the right notes in my opinion, it left me satisfied and unsettled like a good exploitation film should. I’d definitely recommend this one to everyone even if they aren’t a fan of films that star professional wrestlers.