Friday, November 18, 2022

Worth Mentioning - Summon Your Power

We watch several movies a week. Every Friday, we'll talk a little about some of the movies we watched that we felt were Worth Mentioning. 

Cody watches a couple thrillers and a Full Moon superhero movie.

FAIR GAME (1986)

If you’re a fan of action thrillers who has watched the Mad Max films umpteen times and would like to see something else with a touch of that specifically Australian brand of insanity, the revenge thriller Fair Game is a great one to check out. Originally released in 1986, Fair Game recently got a theatrical release in the U.S., courtesy of Dark Star Pictures, which was followed by a Blu-ray release... which is how I got the chance to watch the movie for the first time. Better thirty-six years late than never.

Cassandra Delaney stars as Jessica, a woman who runs an Outback wildlife sanctuary by herself. Jessica is just driving into town one day when a trio of kangaroo hunters (played by Peter Ford, David Sandford, and Garry Who) come speeding up and mess with her for no apparent reason, driving her off the road - and nearly off the cliff. So when Jessica crosses paths with the men at a store later that day, it’s perfectly justified that she retaliates by dumping flour on one of them (especially since he happens to be looking up her skirt at the time) and slaps an anti-kangaroo-hunting sticker on their truck. But that just causes the men to come after her again. And again. Their back-and-forth getting more dangerous with each encounter. Jessica destroys almost all of the guns the men have at their trucks. They tear her clothes and strap her to the front of their pickup while they go speeding through the countryside. Of course, it’s only a matter of time before Jessica is going to start using deadly force to defend herself.

Directed by Mario Andreacchio from a screenplay by Rob George, Fair Game is a wild ride, and Delaney - who was briefly married to John Denver and had a bit of a musical career herself - makes for a great heroine. Sometimes it’s good to watch a movie about a bunch of bastards getting their deserved comeuppance, and this movie definitely delivers that.


A lot of people mistakenly believe that Charles Band’s company Full Moon once held the rights to make a film based on the Marvel Comics character Doctor Strange, and that when they lost those rights they just changed the name in the script to Doctor Mordrid and made the movie anyway. This is something I believed myself for a while. But Full Moon never actually had the Doctor Strange rights. Band, who is a huge Marvel Comics fan, did have a production deal with comic book artist Jack Kirby for a while at his previous company Empire Pictures, and one of the projects Kirby started developing at Empire was a Doctor Strange riff called Doctor Mortalis. It’s Doctor Mortalis that eventually got reworked into Doctor Mordrid in the early years of Full Moon.

Directed by Charles Band and his father Albert Band from a screenplay by C. Courtney Joyner, Doctor Mordrid stars Jeffrey Combs as the Strange-esque title character, and Combs does a terrific job in the role. This seemingly ageless wizard has been waiting a long time for a showdown with the evil sorcerer Kabal (Brian Thompson of Cobra fame), also known as the Death’s Head. When Kabal steals a shipment of platinum in Rio de Janeiro, the first of several elements he’ll need to gather to carry out his plan to unleash demons on the Earth and enslave the human race, it’s the first sign for Mordrid that their showdown is finally about to happen. Right in the middle of New York City. While Kabal secures backup from a pair of lackeys played by Keith Coulouris and Julie Michaels (who appears fully nude, so this movie is not as family friendly as the Doctor Strange movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe), Mordrid runs into trouble with the police... and the only person who shows support for him is police consultant Samantha Hunt (Yvette Nipar), who happens to be the neighbor Mordrid has been getting to know recently.

Doctor Mordrid is, as you would expect, a bit more low-key than the average superhero movie that has been released since this one hit video store shelves, but it’s also a step up from some of the low budget and TV movie superhero projects that preceded it. It does play out very much like a comic book story, and builds to a cool sequence that’s set inside a museum and involves dinosaur bones that are brought to life through stop-motion animation. It’s not quite as exciting as I would like a superhero movie’s climactic action to be, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless.

Doctor Mordrid isn’t really Full Moon’s Doctor Strange movie, but it is an admirable attempt at a superhero movie. And it all wraps up in just 74 minutes. It’s worth checking out for some low budget thrills... and if they had ditched the nudity and the F-bombs, it might have caught on with the kids of 1992 more than it did. I’m a lifelong superhero fan who was a kid in ‘92 and have been a Full Moon fan since around that time, but it still took me years to get around to watching this one.


Directed by L. Gustavo Cooper and scripted by Jacob D. Wehrman, Crawlspace is a quick and simple thriller that begins with a pair of criminals – Bradley Stryker and C. Ernst Harth as Sterling and Dooley – disrupting a bigger criminal enterprise in a search for quick cash. They kill a man at a cabin in the woods, unaware that plumber Robert Mitchell (Henry Thomas) happens to be in the crawlspace under the cabin at the time... and the cash Sterling and Dooley are after also happens to have been stashed in that crawlspace. So the majority of Crawlspace’s 90 minute running time focuses on Robert fighting for his life against these dimwitted bad guys who want to eliminate him as a witness and get the money he’s stuck under the cabin with.

The movie occasionally cuts away from the situation at the cabin to show the authorities investigating the bigger criminal doings in the area – a side plot that allows for a bit more action to come into the picture, as well as some extra twists and turns. This is also another way for Robert’s wife Carrie (Olivia Taylor Dudley) to be involved with the story, because she happens to be employed by a business that’s being investigated.

There’s not much to Crawlspace, but it does the job when you’re in the mood to watch some thrills.

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