Rowdy New Year- Blind Eye

Christmas is finally over, it was a crazy year, and we’re barreling toward the year 2019. I’ve been relaxing and not reviewing everything I’ve watched but I did line some stuff up to watch, specifically some Roddy Piper movies. Roddy’s filmography is quite large and there are plenty of films to choose from. I don’t know how I ended up deciding to rent Blind Eye from 2007 but coincidentally it happened to be set during Christmas. How (R)odd(y)!

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Blind Eye is about suspended cop, Nick Browning, who is called home by his ex-wife because their daughter, Mira, has gone missing. He returns to his hometown and runs into some of his old pals, including Jay, a small town cop, one of Nick’s best friends. There is a dark secret in this town, people are going missing, and corruption seems to be the name of the game. Fred Mears, played by Roddy Piper, is the local police chief. He says he will do everything he can to help find, Mira, Nick’s daughter. Turns out he’s not a good guy after all and he’s been selling weapons, and generally being a scumbag.

This movie suffers from a low budget but it’s pretty good for what it was working with. It can be a bit cheesy, especially when Nick starts cloths lining and throwing around the Christmas tree in his ex-wife’s house upon discovering her murdered body. Line delivery was a bit odd at times as well but it was nothing too horrible. My brother, Domenic, who is the head of a High School theatre department, thought the acting was pretty good. He also said if this movie had a bigger budget, it would have been great. I always enjoy the perspective he brings to the table when we watch films.  If you enjoy cop movies, you’ll probably enjoy this film. Also if you’re a fan of Roddy than you owe it to yourself to check out his performance in it.

Roddy was really good as Fred Mears, I don’t normally see him in films as a villain, and it was off putting seeing him be so crude and vile. That’s not a bad thing, though, as it shows his versatility as an actor. I’m trying to collect most of his filmography, which will be quite the task and I hope to find some more off the wall roles while doing so.

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I would also like to plug some of my other reviews I have done over the holiday on B&S About Movies.

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Merry Christmas To All And To All A Food Night: Slaw

Christmas is fast approaching and I’m still writing reviews. I never thought I’d be able to stick with writing throughout a whole month but here we are.

I spend countless hours on the internet searching for movies that star professional wrestlers and sometimes I stumble across things I would never have come across otherwise. One of those films was Slaw from 2017.

 

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Slaw is about two brothers who torture and kill those who ruin their dining experience. It also happens to not only star professional wrestlers but the story was actually by former WCW professional wrestler, Honest John/ John Kap. John is one of the main stars of the film, as he plays one of the brothers who make people who are rude to him and his family pay. The film centers around brothers Gordon, played by John Kap, and Martha, played by Aaron Beelner and two detectives on their trail Turner, portrayed by Escalante Lundy (Django Unchained), and Hooch, played by WCW’s “Above Average” Mike Sanders. I was surprised at how much heart and soul, a movie that is basically a loose spoof on Saw, had. Now don’t think this is just a spoof as it stands alone on its own merits as well. The story is engaging, and the victims, although rude, are still portrayed as complex humans, with a desire to survive, and interesting stories.

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John Kap as Gordon

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Left, Mike Sanders as Detective Hooch

One of the major catalysts for their abduction is that Robert, played by the film’s screen play writer and assistant director Richard Tavernaro, has Gordon and Martha thrown out of a ritzy restaurant where they are celebrating Martha’s birthday. It is here that Martha has a run in with fellow diners and professional wrestlers, Kevin Nash (WCW/WWE), Martha’s favorite wrestler (He even has his poster above his bed so it is the last thing he sees before he sleeps), Amber O’Neal (Shimmer Women Athletes, Shine Wrestling, Women of Wrestling), Luke Gallows (WWE, TNA, New Japan Pro Wrestling), “Nature Boy” Paul Lee (WCW, NWA, Smoky Mountain Wrestling), and Glacier  (WCW). From there the movie kicks into high gear following the brothers and their game with the victims, as well as the detectives’ journey to search for Robert and his two female companions, the Ambers.

All of the wrestlers in the movie have good performances, but the stand out is John as Gordon. Sure, he’s given the most to work with, being a main protagonist, but he really commands the screen. He feels like a natural in front of the screen and is not over the top but very much reserved and composed. This is the kind of performance I love to see wrestlers give, where they just get what it is about to be on screen. I love my actors who are over the top just as much but seeing a role like this is enjoyable. Kevin Nash, is hilarious in his part, as are the others in the dining room scene. They all play themselves but it is fun that they are included and are not just throw away bit parts and important throughout the plot. Glacier, is a favorite of mine and I even had the chance to talk film with him when I met him at a show, I hope to continue to see him in film.

 

If you’re a fan of comedy with a heaping dash of horror, you owe it to yourself to see this movie. If you’re just curious and just want towatch a film that stars a slew of wrestlers, you should also give this movie a watch. Slaw is not only my favorite side dish, it’s a movie that I’m glad I had the chance to savor. You can rent it or buy it on Google Play, Amazon Video, and VOD so check your  Satellite or cable TV Provider. I was provided a screener link from the director by my own request but that in no way affected my review. Hopefully this sees a release on DVD, I was told it is still in the works, I’ll be buying it when it does.

 

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From left to right, Martha (Aaron Beelner), Glacier, and Paul Lee

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Background from left, Amber O’Neal, Luke Gallows, and Kevin Nash

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Roddy Piper’s Piping: Three Wise Guys

I didn’t think I would get around to reviewing any holiday films starring wrestlers this holiday season but I managed to change that last night. I’ve had my copy of Three Wise Guys for quite some time but never got around to  it.

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Three Wise Guys is about three hired men who work for a crooked casino owner, Murray Crown, played by Tom Arnold (Roseanne). They are hired to find a guy named Jake Marley who has information that could ruin his business. The Three Wise Guys are played by Eddie McClintock (Warehouse 13), Judd Nelson (The Breakfast Club, and Nicholas Turturro (The Longest Yard). They happen to run across a young lady named Mary Ann Davidson, who is pregnant. She robs them after they help her. Turns out Murray also wants her to be found as well, as she is supposedly pregnant with his child. This leads to the wise guys searching for Mary and her child much like the nativity story of the bible. Three Wise Guys also stars the late “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (WWE, WCW) as Pastor Roberts, who along with his wife gives shelter to Mary. He is charming in this part, it may be a small role but I really do enjoy Piper’s bit parts in films. He was quite an actor and I am always amazed at his ability to bring characters to life. Any chance I get to watch a performance of his is sure to be a highlight of my day. This film is a nice little made for TV movie; it’s a mostly family friendly affair, albeit it does have some violence. I found it be an extremely charming holiday film. It largely takes place in the desert as it takes place in the areas surrounding Las Vegas, Nevada. I thought with the amount of star power in the film that perhaps the rest of the aspects of the film would suffer but that was not the case. If you enjoy made for TV holiday fare, you may very well enjoy Three Wise Guys. It is available to rent through Amazon Video and can be bought on DVD on Amazon and Ebay as well for cheap. I hope everyone has a happy holiday.

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I’d also like to remind everyone that I do sometimes write for B&S About Movies. I have a few recent holiday centered film reviews available there. I recently reviewed Mother Krampus 2: Slay Ride for the site and was surprised to find out that it features Benny Benzino, a retired wrestler from Ohio,  as a bouncer. I also reviewed the film Santa Jaws, featuring a Santa hat wearing killer shark from a comic book that comes to life!

Deck the Halls with Bau(tista)s of Holly: Escape Plan 2: Hades

Covering movies that star Dave Bautista this holiday season has been a fun little project. I had no idea that he had almost half a dozen films he was in released this year! I’ll be covering Escape Plan 2: Hades today but first a little blurb about Escape Plan which was released 5 years ago in 2013. Escape Plan is about a security specialist, Ray Breslin, who is incarcerated in prisons throughout the country to test if they are prone to escapes. Ray is played by Sylvester Stallone. He is hired to test the security of a black-site prison that governments disappear people to but things go wrong. It’s a fun movie and really well done. It also stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as Rottmayer, a prisoner, who helps Ray. I thought it would be odd to just cover the 2nd film without touching on the first but Escape Plan also stars Benjamin Wood as a member of Rottmayer’s gang. Benjamin wrestled in WWE’s developmental territory OVW as Outlaw Ben Woods. Escape Plan also features stunt work by professional wrestler, Luke Hawx.

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Scharwzenegger foreground. Above Schwarzengger’s right shoulder, Benjamin Wood.

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Escape Plan 2: Hades takes place in a technological marvel of a prison, Sylvester Stallone reprises his role as Ray Breslin, now head of his own security company. His team is incarcerated one by one in a strange and highly technological prison, called Hades, where prisoners are forced to fight one another for privileges. Dave Bautista plays a former associate of Ray’s named Trent DeRosa, who is a jack of all trades privy to connections with some seedy folks. He isn’t in the movie a lot but his character is someone I would like to see more of. This may happen in Escape Plan 3: Devil’s Station which will be released sometime next year. It seems that Escape Plan 2 wasn’t very well received but I enjoyed the heck out of it. It took the concepts from Escape Plan and turned the dial to max. It was very pleasing visually, the soundtrack was excellent, and the story decent. I don’t expect every movie to be a masterpiece but if it entertains me then it has accomplished what I want a movie to do and Escape Plan 2: Hades was highly entertaining. I recommend this films to all fans of movies set in prisons, fans of action, and fans of Stallone and Bautista. I’m actually kind of eager to see what they can do with the Escape Plan 3: Devil’s Station now. For two movies I knew very little about going into this week, I came out with a renewed interest for Stallone and Scharwzenegger. As for Bautista, I’ll continue to see everything I can with him in it as he is quickly becoming a favorite to watch.

 

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I’d also like to plug some of my other writing endeavors as I write for the site B&S About Movies, a blog run by Pittsburgh wrestler, Shirley Doe (Sam Panico). Sam has become a great friend and I love messaging him about our newest film discoveries and our shared obsession with Italian director Lucio Fulci and Italian horror films in general.  This month I have a bunch of reviews up, mostly Christmas related horror film reviews but also a review of Shadow Warriors Assault on Devil’s Island, starring Hulk Hogan for lost TV week.

Deck the Halls with Bau(tista)s of Holly: Hotel Artemis

The Christmas season can be brutal but can it be as unforgivingly violent as the Clearwater Riots of 2028 as depicted by our feature today, Hotel Artemis? I certainly hope not because it was one wild night for the city of Los Angeles.

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Hotel Artemis is about a hotel that caters to injured criminals, it is run by “the Nurse”, Jean Thomas, who is played by Jodie Foster and her assistant, Everest, portrayed by Dave Bautista (Batista, WWE). They are having a very busy night at the hotel with criminals of all ilks showing up. A band of thieves, led by Sherman and his brother Lev have decided to rob a high profile bank but the vault has proved to be quite a hassle. Instead of getting into the vault they take what the common household assistants have brought to stowaway for their billionaire bosses. On the way out, one of Lev steals a fancy pen, even after being told he does not want it. They attempt to escape into the riot filled streets but are met with resistance by the riot police, one is killed and three are harmed, of the four, Lev is is critically injured. Sherman makes a call to the Artemis to bring his severely hurt brother Lev there. The hotel, usually a safe house is anything but this particular night. The pen that Lev has stolen happens to belong to a crime boss, “The Wolf King” Orion Franklin, Jeff Goldblum.  Orion has a particular way of dealing with those who steal from him, drowning them in the ocean. The hotel becomes a war zone when we find out that one of the patrons of the Artemis has come to kill an important mark. To say anymore would spoil the movie. Batista is excellent as Everest, his hulking frame more suited to being a henchman than a nurse’s assistant, but he takes his profession in healthcare seriously. Everest is also the Nurse’s right hand man at the hotel; handling repairs, unruly patrons, and anything else that might need done. Among the many colorful characters that come to take shelter at the Artemis and those already occupying it, Everest, was my favorite. He is not the main focus of the film, but in my opinion is still a major character. Hotel Artemis is a stylish film, set in the near future, with stunning visuals. The plot is interesting and I felt the whole movie came together well. I wish I could spend more time in the reality the film brings to life and I would recommend it to folks who are fans of thrillers and action flicks alike.

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From left to right, the Nurse (Jodie Foster) and Everest (Dave Bautista)

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