Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Showing posts with label movie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label movie. Show all posts

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Movie Review: See No Evil (2006)

See No Evil (2006) movie poster | Glenn Jacobs (Kane)
If you were ever going to cast a pro wrestler in a movie about a psychopathic monster who towers over everybody he comes across, Glenn ‘Kane’ Jacobs would naturally be the perfect fit.

And if you were ever going to review that movie, Halloween would naturally be the perfect time to do it.

So, here we find ourselves, gorging on popcorn as we watch The Big Red Machine stomp about a dilapidated and abandoned hotel as Jacob Goodnight, a murderous monster of a man with mommy issues and a penchant for ripping people’s eyeballs out.

Like The Shining meets Friday the 13th, nothing about See No Evil is particularly original. It’s every horror movie you’ve ever seen in which a group of good-looking young people with attitudes go to a creepy place and get hacked off one by one by an unhinged maniac.

The only difference is that this unhinged maniac carries a chain and hook rather than a machete, oh and that the kids are all juvenile delinquents forced to go to the creepy place to clean it up and get time off their prison sentence rather than to hang out, get drunk, and have sexy times.

To be fair, they drink and have sexy times anyway, but that’s only because See No Evil seems so desperate to cram every horror movie cliche you’ve ever known into one 90-minute gorefest.

Still, having said all that, it’s worth pointing out that See No Evil isn’t an entirely terrible movie.

OK, so it’s certainly not a *good* movie, but it does have some redeemable qualities.

The kills are both creative and satisfyingly gruesome. Despite never having been particularly squeamish, even this long-time horror fan found himself wincing at some of the more innovative violence on display.

Speaking of display, that’s perhaps the movie’s best quality.
Visually, this is one great-looking piece of cinema with a fantastic aesthetic that really deserved to be utilised by a better script.

If only the creators had taken these features and used them to do something that was truly their own, they might have been onto a winner. Instead, they take a stunning horror aesthetic and a stunning brand of gore and underutilise it by using it to tell the same hackeyned murder-by-numbers horror film you’ve seen countless times before.

Honestly, it’s amazing that they came out with a sequel for this, but maybe we’ll save that one until next Halloween.

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Thursday, 22 October 2020

Movie Review: Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988)

Hell Comes to Frogtown (1998) Movie Review | Poster | Rowdy Roddy Piper
It's the end of the twentieth century and mankind has blown its wad...

If you only do one good thing for yourself today, watching the trailer to the 1988 sci-fi caper Hell Comes to Frogtown should definitely be it.

Directed by Donald G. Jackson and written by Jackson and written by Randall Frakes, this goofy b-movie may not be a cinematic masterpiece but the trailer, my goodness, the trailer may be the greatest thing of all time.

I mean seriously, it’s just about the most gloriously over-the-top slice of 1980s awesomeness that you’ve ever seen in your whole natural life.

Even if you lived through the 80s, nothing you’ll have experienced in that decade will have been as epic or as fun as the trailer for this movie.

Don't just take my word for it though. Just look at it:

What does any of this have to do with retro pro wrestling?


It stars none other than pro wrestling legend, the late, great Rowdy Roddy Piper.

It's also nearly Halloween, which is the time of year when we usually post these kinds of offbeat reviews.

OK, so Hell Comes to Frogtown might be neither as good nor as memorable as Piper’s turn in cult classic They Live, but it’s certainly better than the hokey horror/unintentional comedy that was Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies.

In that film, Hot Rod had to team up with Shane Douglas to fight some zombies while Matt Hardy shagged his missus in the background.

In this one, it’s Piper that’s doing all the shagging, and saving humanity in the process.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is a film in which Roddy Piper must prevent human extinction by getting laid as often as possible.

He does this under the watchful eye of an armed guard and a doctor, both or whom just so happen to be smoking hot women who Piper also gets to shag.

So far, so bizarre, right? But there is a point to all this...sort of.

Hell Comes to Frogtown finds us in a post-apocalyptic world in which repopulating the species Is top priority for the remaining humans.

To help with this of badass, sexy nurse warrior type women track down Sam Hell (good name), who has apparently been wandering the barren wastelands and shagging everything in sight.

Chosen for his magnum dong and renowned sexual prowess, the warrior nurses simply want Hell (Piper) to impregnate a bunch of women. However, it then it turns out that the woman have been captured by a race of mutant amphibian people and taken to their base (the titular Frogtown) so that the mutants can breed them to become the new superior race.

Joined by a sexy armed guard (Cec Verrell) and about equally as sexy Doctor (Sandahl Bergman), Piper’s new mission is to rescue the kidnapped women, return them to safety, and promptly give them one.

Yes, it really is as dumb as sounds.

No, it really isn’t the greatest movie ever made.

At times it’s cheesy. At times it’s absolutely ludicrous. At times it’s just badly acted and poorly written.

But at other times it’s hilarious, goofy, and -if you’re into the sight of Sandahl Bergman in her undies- even kinda sexy.

Even if it was none of those things, Hell Comes to Frogtown gave us the greatest movie trailer of all time, and for that alone it's worth all the praise in the world.

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Thursday, 13 February 2020

MOVIE REVIEW: Ready to Rumble (2000)

To a large contingent of the professional wrestling fandom, World Championship Wrestling's later years are remembered like a really bad case of teenage acne.

At the time, it was terrible, embarrassing, and made us ashamed to go out in public. Sure, it cleared up eventually, but even now, decades later, we can't help but cringe and feel slightly awkward when we remember just what a bad time it was. 

Like the one particularly prominent zit on the bulbous, Triple H-sized nose of wrestling history, the company's foray into the motion picture business was particularly traumatic. 

It was thanks to Ready to Rumble that we got the whole David Arquette: World Champion debacle.  Sure, that would all be settled when Arquette practically handed the title to Jeff Jarrett at Slamboree 2000, but even twenty years on, many fans still haven't quite come to terms with the fact that it happened in the first place.

Then there's the movie itself; an attempt at a pro wrestling buddy comedy which many fans felt painted them in a particularly poor light. 

On the face of it, you can hardly blame them for being a little miffed.

Ready to Rumble portrays protagonists Gordie Boggs (Arquette) and Sean Dawkins (Scott Caan) in particular -and wrestling fans in general,  as hopeless oafs who are so dumb and clueless that they don't realise pro wrestling -their only escape from their terrible, nothing-happening lives- is a work.

If you're one of those fans who hated Ready to Rumble because of the way it depicts wrestling fans, allow me to offer a counter-argument:

If the characters of Boggs and Dawkins were depicted as confident, successful, high-flying geniuses, there would be no movie. 

This isn't a film about all wrestling fans. It's a film about two particular fans for who whom WCW and it's headline act Jimmy King (Oliver Platt) represent the one positive thing they can hold onto as they struggle with the monotony and drudgery of their day-to-day existence. 

And to that end, I say Ready to Rumble works. 

It tells a simple -somewhat too simple, perhaps- story about a couple of down-on-their-luck dudes who seek an escape in the over-the-top world of professional wrestling and get involved in all kinds of wacky hijinks as they find themselves becoming more and more a part of that world.

This isn't supposed to be a serious, dramatic portrayal of the gruelling, gritty reality behind the glitzy, glamorous facade of professional wrestling. If you want that, go watch The Wrestler.

This isn't even supposed to be high-brow humour.

This is supposed to be the kind of low-brow, immature humour that was so popular during the 90s. This was supposed to be the Mallrats, American Pie or Road Trip of professional wrestling. 

Sure, some of that humour is a little too immature and low-brow. The main characters are depicted as sewage workers whose main responsibility seems to be porta potty maintenance. Naturally, this leads to a few scenes which take lavatorial humour to new depths and do leave you rolling your eyes.

Yet for every "LOL Poop" scene, there are a few genuinely funny moments and even a few sentimental moments that can be enjoyed if you overlook the fact that this is a film in which pro wrestling is depicted as legit.

So yes, it's kinda dumb. Yes, it depicts a world in which, despite having the likes of Diamond Dallas Page and Goldberg on their roster, the WCW title is held by a short, dumpy man who lives in a trailer. Yes, it's a film about porta potty attendants who somehow become pro wrestling superstars, but if you were expecting anything more than a dumb, over-the-top comedy, you're clearly watching the wrong movie. 

Ready to Rumble never tries to be something that it's not. It's a silly comedy that is good for passing an hour with some cheap chuckles, and with that in mind, this fan really enjoyed it...

...Even if it did lead to David Arquette holding the Big Gold Belt.

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Thursday, 31 October 2019

Movie Review: Monster Brawl (2011)

Monster Brawl (2011) Review - Movie Poster
If you take your pro wrestling seriously, you may hate Monster Brawl. If you take your horror seriously, you may hate it even more. 

If, on the other hand, you've got a good sense of humour and can laugh at some of the more ridiculous things that pass for entertainment, then you may just find this 2011 horror comedy starring Kevin Nash and Jimmy Hart to be a great deal of fun.

Like Celebrity Deathmatch combined with the goofiest parts of the Evil Dead franchise and the most over-the-top elements of pro wrestling, Monster Brawl is ridiculous, far-fetched and at times, quite terrible.

However, it's terrible in a kind of so-bad-it's-good way, which already makes it way better than last week's movie, Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies, which was just terrible in a so-bad-it's-awful way.

The most interesting thing about this movie is that it's hardly a movie at all.

There's no real plot to speak of and certainly no character dedevelopment, but that isn't really the criticism it would be if it were applied to a different film.

You see, rather than being a traditional movie, Monster Brawl is basically a fictionalized pro wrestling show. albeit with monsters, ghouls and The Mouth of South as a hyperactive ring announcer.

As such, it's probably best if we review it just like any other pro wrestling event...

*This review contains spoilers*

Monsters Shall Shape the Fortune of All Mankind

Monster Brawl (2011) Review - Buzz Chambers (Dave Foley) and Sasquatch Sid (Art Hindle)
All good pro wrestling shows begin with an opening video package, and Monster Brawl is certainly no different.

With eerie music playing, our event gets underway by giving us a quick glimpse at the various competitors as an ominous voice tells us that these ghosts, goblins, and ghouls have been summoned to fight and that somehow, this means that monsters shall shape our future.

Yeah, I don't get that either, nor is it explained by our announce team Buzz Chambers (Dave Foley) and 'former champion' Sasquatch Sid (Art hindle).

Introducing Your Competitors 

What the duo do tell us is that tonight we'll see eight fiendish foes battle it out in two distinct 'conferences.'

Monster Brawl (2011) Review - Witch Bitch played by Holly Letkeman (Rosemary)
With such imaginatively creative names as Zombie Man, Lady Vampire, Mummy and Frankenstein, it's probably fair to say that the writers of this low-rent monster mash probably weren't at their peak when they came up with characters for the Undead Conference.

The addition of Werewolf, Cyclops, and Swamp Gut in the Creatures Conference isn't much better, though to be fair, this group does give us the wonderfully named Witch Bitch. 

Honestly, that maybe my favourite wrestling name since Razor Ramon Hard Gay.

I love it because it leaves absolutely no doubt as to what her character is supposed to be. She's a witch, right? But not just any witch. She's also -get this- a bitch!

I'm already rooting for her to win the whole thing, and we haven't even gotten to the ring yet.

Nor will we for some time.

Introducing The Mouth of the South 

Monster Brawl (2011) Review - Jimmy Hart arrives on the scene
Of course, you can't have a pro wrestling show without a ring announcer, which is apparently why Jimmy Hart was hired.

In fairness to Hart, he's hilarious here, arriving into the graveyard arena on a cart being pulled by some kind of hunchback troll.

"Come on baby, step on it. I'm gonna be late for the Monster Brawl!" he cries in a way that manages to effortlessly blend The Mouth of the South character you know from TV into a cornball horror setting.

Finally arriving on the scene, Hart can barely contain his excitement about what we're about to witness.

"Tonight, we're gonn have a blistering, bickering brawl, a devastating, disgusting donnybrook, and a freakish, full-on FRACKAS!" he shrieks with such unabashed enthusiasm that you can't help but smile.

God bless Jimmy Hart, this is great.

The Genesis of Monster Brawl

What's not so great is Jimmy's first assignment of the evening, a sitdown interview with 'unemployed, small-town wrestling promoter' Jacob Blackburn (Jason Deline) who tells us that he put together tonight's event because he loves wrestling and monsters.

I get it, this is supposed to give you some backstory to the event, but there's two problems with it:

1: It's so boring that even Jimmy Hart visibly yawns on camera.

2: It kind of takes away from the idea that this is some kind of mystical, supernatural gathering of creatures summoned by a higher power.

Still, this is a movie featuring an obese swamp creature and a werewolf, so maybe I shouldn't read too much into things.

We also get a minute of Sasquatch Sid interviewing our referee for the evening, legit UFC official, Herb Dean.

Dean tells us that there are basically no rules tonight. His job is to 'cut down on groin shots' and stop managers from interfering.

Finally, we get down to our opening contest.

Cyclops vs. Witch Bitch 

Monster Brawl (2011) Review - Cyclops vs. Witch Bitch

Well, I mean, we kind of do.

Before the bell, Monster Brawl sets up the format that will run throughout the show:

Backstories for each combatant, a promo from each combatant, and finally, some in-ring action.

In this universe, Cyclops is apparently a Scottish blacksmith who traded his eyes to Hades for the ability to see the future and has regretted it ever since. Meanwhile, Witch Bitch comes from a small town in Massachusetts yet for some reason speaks with a cockney accent.

She agrees to join the tournament after being called -and I quote- "The worst witch ever!" by the local townsfolk. 

I mean as if it wasn't bad enough being a witch, now you're the worst witch ever? No wonder she was pissed off and looking to fight something.
Monster Brawl (2011) Review - Cyclops cuts a promo on Witch Bitch
Admittedly, the promos are pretty great.

"Normally, I would not fight woman," admits Cyclops, who apparently did a Kofi Kingston and dropped his accent for no reason..."But this witch....IS A BITCH!"

Yeah! Right on!

Eventually, we get to the ring for our opening match 17 minutes into the show.

Honestly, it's like watching a mid-90sWCW show all over again. 

Both fiends come out swinging before Witch Bitch hits her foe with what Sasquatch Sid brilliantly calls 'a dirty kick to the dick.'

True to his word, Herb Dean tells her off. So, after getting her face pummelled in by a hammer-wielding Cyclops, she pulls out a rusty meat cleaver and slits the official's throat.

Alas, even a murder weapon can't save the Bitch. A few moments later, Cyclops blasts her in the face with a frickin laser beam from his eye, setting a record for Most Bullshit Match Finish that wouldn't be broken until Hell in a Cell 2019.
Your Winner: Cyclops

It's at this point that I should probably point out that Witch Bitch is played by Holly Letkeman, better known to you and me as former Impact Knockouts Champion Rosemary.

The Mummy vs. Lady Vampire

Monster Brawl (2011) Review - MILF Alert (Mummy I'd Like to Find)

Lady Vampire's backstory is that, well, she's a lady vampire who sounds a bit like the late, great Luna Vachon. Meanwhile, the Mummy (rumored to be that of King Khafre) manages to escape from a museum, prompting the local news to issue a MILF alert.

No, you misunderstand. That stands for Mummy I'd Like to Find.


Speaking of genius, if this were an actual pro wrestling show, Lady Vampire vs. The Mummy would probably pick up match of the night honours, not because it was a five-star classic or anything, but just because it contains some honest-to-goodness wrestling moves.

Monster Brawl (2011) Review - Lady Vampire (Kelly Couture)You ever wanted to see a mummy bodyslam a vampire, or a vampire hit a mummy with a running bulldog, man, this is the show for you!

Ultimately, however, it wasn't pro wrestling that wins the match for the femme fatale. Instead, she reaches into the Mummy's body and pulled out his black heart.
Your Winner: Lady Vampire

"Your Winner, black heart removal, Lady Vampire,"  says an ominious voice, the same ominous voice that would occasionally chime in throughout the matches with words like 'Majestic' or 'Brutal' like something out of Mortal Kombat.

The Action Continues...

Moving into the heavyweight division, Werewolf defeats the comically named Swamp Gut.

Imagine if comic book character Swamp Thing stopped caring and gained like 200 lbs. That's pretty much what Swamp Gut is.

Here, he gets his ass kicked by a charismatic wolf-man character who ultimately goes on to the final to face the winner of our last first-round contest:

Zombie Man vs. Frankenstein.

Monster Brawl (2011) Review - Kevin Nash as Captain Crookshank with Zombie Man (Rico Montana)

It's here where things get interesting...

...Or at least as interesting as Monster Brawl ever gets.

Zombie Man, you see, is the result of a government experiment overseen by a seven-foot tall army major who once answered to the name of Big Daddy Cool Diesel.

Tonight, Zombie Man locks up with Frankenstein, played by Robert Mallet. If that name doesn't sound familiar to you, you probably know him better as Kurrgan, a member of The Oddities who last appeared here on Retro Pro Wrestling in our Summerslam 1998 review.

Anyway, espite the best efforts of Nash's Colonel Crookshank, his Zombie Man is overthrown by FrankenKurgan, who heads into a final showdown with Werewolf.

To his credit, Nash really gets into the character and delivers one of the best performances of the whole non-movie, but even the man who once played Super Shredder is outperformed in this movie by Jimmy Hart.

I'm serious.

Monster Brawl (2011) Review - Jimmy Hart with his ring girls

With two scantily-clad ring girls by his side the whole time, Hart's unbridled enthusiasm and energy are a joy to behold, yet it's the announcers who really steal the show.

As Buzz and Sasquatch, Foley and Hindle are frequently hysterical, with their commentary more than making up for most of Monster Brawl's glaring flaws.

And trust me, this movie has more than its fair share of those.

Despite only clocking in at an hour and twenty minutes, the terribly slow pace of this film make it seem as though it just drags on forever.

Add in some questionable writing, distinct lack of narrative and the fact you can clearly tell Swamp Gut is just some guy in an ill-fitting mask, and it's easy to write off Monster Brawl as a really bad movie.

Yet to do so would be to miss the point.

No, Monster Brawl is never going to be regarded as a classic movie. Hell, it's barely even a movie, but it is ridiculously entertaining, often hilarious, and probably the most fun you'll ever have watching a Kurrgan match.

Other pro wrestling movies you might like:
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Thursday, 24 October 2019

Movie Review: Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies (2013)

Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies Movie Review - movie poster
It can't have escaped your attention that it's Halloween next week, which means that if there was ever a good time to review 2013's Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies, this was it. 

For the unfamiliar, Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies is an indie horror film written and directed by Cody Knotts and starring, of all people, The Franchise Shane Douglas in a lead role.

If that choice of casting doesn't tell you everything you need to know about this 80s zombie flick throwback, hopefully, this review will.

Of course, despite the fact the whole movie basically revolves around the former ECW Champion, he doesn't even get top billing on the movie poster.

That honour goes to Rowdy Roddy Piper. and quite rightly too.

God Rest his soul, Hot Rod tried his hardest to make this movie into something credible by delivering just about the only decent performance in the entire thing.

Yet even the guy who started in They Live couldn't rescue what ultimately turned out to be a complete mess of a movie.

*This review contains spoilers*

That's a shame too because, in theory, the over-the-top nature of pro wrestling and zombie movies should have worked well together.

Combining the slapstick dramatics of 'sports entertainment' with the guts and gore of your favourite slasher flicks could have been a riot.

We could have had the likes of Douglas, Piper, and their co-stars (including Matt Hardy, Reby Sky and Hacksaw Jim Duggan, with a brief cameo from Kurt Angle) playing up to their larger-than-life characters, powerbombing zombies into oblivion and engaging in all kinds of hardcore shenanigans with the undead.

It could have been hilarious in the kind of dark, twisted and gory way that some horror movies intentionally are.

Alas, Cody Knotts decided not to go for gross-out humour.

With Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies, he and a supporting cast of indie jobbers created a movie which  tries to be scary, disgusting, dramatic and emotionally poignant all at the same time but which ultimately fails to be any of those things at all.

The ring is the only place you can kill a man and get away with it 

Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies Movie Review - The film featured lots of unnecessary shots of SoCal Val's feet
Totally giving away the first plot point, our movie begins with a screen which informs us that if you want to commit murder, a pro wrestling show is the best place to do it.

Cut to our star, Shane Douglas, backstage at some low-rent indie show.

There, he discovers his girlfriend, Taya Parker, making out with his upcoming opponent, the terribly named Battling Billy.

I'm not certain, but I think this is the same Battling Billy who formed that famous Freebirds-style tag team with Fighting Frankie and Kick Your Ass Kevin.

As The Franchise rages about his partner's betrayal, SoCal Val is seen out in the ring, getting the thinly-sparsed crowd ready for tonight's big match between Douglas and Mr Battling.

Now, I'm not suggesting Knotts has a foot fetish or anything, but there are way too many shots of Val's feet in this opening scene and it's anything but subtle.

In between looking at her feet, we're shown lots of clips of some really fat indie jobbers while the opening credits play.

Eventually, Battling Billy battles Duelling Douglas, with Shane hitting a tombstone on his opponent and actually killing him dead.

Man, even The Undertaker didn't take the gimmick that far.

Cody Knotts - The Worst Business Man in History

Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies Movie Review - Battling Billy vs. Shane Douglas
Later, Billy's brother Angus (played by indie wrestler Ashton Amherst) visits Cody Knotts himself. Knotts, it seems, isn't only a director, he's also a pro wrestling promoter.

Anyway, Angus hands Cody a big wad of cash and asks to select a couple of wrestlers for a private show.

Cody hands him an envelope with pictures of his roster. From this, Angus picks Taya and a picture of Shane Douglas that looks to be about twenty years old.

"I just want these two," said Angus who, it has to be said, has the worst Scottish accent in history.

Now, if I were Mr Knotts, I'd be thinking I'd gotten a pretty sweet deal here. A guy hands me a huge wad of cash and from this I only have to pay two wrestlers?

Great. More money for me.

Except I'm not Mr Knotts, and I'm glad too, because the real one (or at least the fictional version of the real one) apparently has no business sense whatsoever.

Instead of taking the really sweet deal, he says "I tell you what, you can also take Piper, Hardy, Reby Sky, and a bunch of jobbers so insignificant that the guy from Retro Pro Wrestling won't even bother looking up their names."

I know you're supposed to find yourself shouting at the screen during horror movies, but that's usually when the girl is running through the dark woods to get away from the evil monster, not when a pro wrestling promoter is screwing himself over with terrible business deals.

They're Coming to Get You, Barbara

Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies Movie Review -  They're coming to get you, BarbaraThat isn't the only deal that's made either.

Knotts, revealing himself to be some kind of sex pest, interviews some woman called Sarah for a vague and unspecified job and spends most of the time rubbing up against her. Meanwhile, Angus makes a deal of his own with some demonic figure:

Gain the power to summon hordes of demons at will by killing a woman and eating her heart. To do so, Angus finds a woman at the local hospital by the name of Barbara, fulfilling the legal obligation that every indie horror film has to reference.

Welcome to the Uh-oh Penitentiary

Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies Movie Review -  Sarah and Rowdy Roddy Piper
With his new demonic superpowers intact, Angus drives the group of pro wrestlers out to an abandoned prison under the guise of having them take part in a pro wrestling show, only to reveal that it was a rouse the whole time:

He's going to set the zombies on all of them, all because Shane Douglas killed his brother.

It's at this point that the film stops being interesting.

Don't get me wrong, it doesn't stop being bad, but it does stop being interesting.

Once inside the abandoned prison, all of the wrestlers basically spend the rest of the movie running away from the zombies, stopping to fight them for a bit, and then running away again.

I say all of them, Matt Hardy spends most of the time making out wife Reby Sky until he too gets attacked and ends up having what is admittedly the best fight scene in the whole movie.

At first, I wondered why anybody would agree to make this film, then I realised that Matt Hardy got paid to basically make softcore porn with his wife and I suppose that at least makes sense.

At one point, Kurt Angle pops up. He thinks he's been booked to do a surprise run-in at the non-existent wrestling show but like Hardy, Sky, and later Hacksaw Jim Duggan, he too gets devoured and transformed into a zombie.

Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies Movie Review -  Zombie Jim Duggan
Speaking of Duggan, it's him you have to feel sorry for the most.

As they're doing the running away part of the run-chase-run thing, Douglas stops and has a heart to heart with Hacksaw, thanking him for his help when he (Douglas) broke into the business 30 years ago.

Then, in the ultimate act of heel-dickery, The Franchise then turns on his friend, running away and locking the door on him, leaving the man and his 2x4 to the mercy of the zombies.

Seriously, what a dick.

Other than that, most of the actual wrestlers vs. zombies part of the movie is all kind of samey. Piper and Sarah get close and tease at a romance despite the fact that he's old enough to be her dad, some spot monkey indie kid does a bunch of flippy stuff, but after you've seen the wrestlers run, then fight, then run away again once, you've basically seen the entire second half of the movie and there's really no reason to keep watching them do it over and over again, especially when Knotts keeps using the same small group of extras as the zombies.

It's all a bit samey and more than a bit terrible which is a shame, because, as I say, Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies could have been a really fun movie.

In fact, it even started out fun in a Wrestlecrappy this-is-terrible-lets-laugh-at-it kind of way, but after a while, this just became a chore of a film with almost no redeeming qualities outside of one really hysterical line when Reby Sky suddenly shouts "I WANT YOUR BRAINS!"

If you like your really horrible Halloween films with a touch of pro wrestling, you might enjoy this in a so-bad-its-good way, but otherwise, save yourself an hour and a half of your life.

Otherwise, you'll find yourself sitting there, as I'm sitting here now, hours after the movie is over pondering one serious question:

Was all that worth it just for Shane Douglas?

Other pro wrestling movies you might like:
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Thursday, 8 March 2018

Movie Review: No Holds Barred (Hulk Hogan, Zeus)

No Holds Barred Movie Review (WWE / WWF / Hulk Hogan)
Despite most reviews for No Holds Barred being terrible, I genuinely thought I'd enjoy this movie.

After all, I have a track record of liking things that nobody else does.

I'm the guy, remember, who enjoyed Diesel vs. British Bulldog from In Your House 4: Great White North; a match so bad that even Vince McMahon himself reportedly threw his headset down in disgust after it was over.

I'm the guy who genuinely believes that Metallica wrote some of their best songs on the Load and Reload albums, and who prefers shows like From Dusk Til Dawn to Game of Thrones or any of that crap.

So yeah, my tastes tend to be a little weird. I tend to find the good in even the worst of things, but when it comes to this 1989 wrestling-themed monstrosity, I'm sorry, not even I can find much good to say about it.

Released at the height of the Hulkamania boom in order to cash in on said boom and propel its lead actor, Hulk Hogan to Hollywood megastardom.

In that sense, you could say that No Holds Barred was a success. Hogan did enjoy an acting career.

It's just that nobody else besides Hogan enjoyed it.

In every other sense, especially a creative one and certainly a financial one, No Holds Barred was a resounding failure.

Which is a shame, because what the film initially promise sounds good:

All the this-would-only-ever-happen-in-a-movie action, sharp dialogue, and rocking soundtrack that made the 1980s such a golden age for over-the-top movies, with the added addition of pro wrestling, which was still red hot at the tail-end of the decade.

Yet if you were expecting wrestling's answer to Rocky, or, hell, even Kickboxer, then be prepared to be disappointed.

What we've got instead is, well...

Imagine pro wrestling were real (what!?! You mean it's not!?!), and imagine that Ted Turner had been unable to lure Hogan to his network with money back in the 1990s.

Imagine that Turner had instead decided to try and beat Vince McMahon in the wrasslin' business not by signing up bonafide superstars like Hogan and Randy Savage, but by launching what was essentially a glorified version of Bum Fights.

That's basically what this is.

Hogan stars as, well, Hogan basically stars as himself; a World Wrestling Federation Champion beloved by the fans and a giant box office draw.

No Holds Barred Movie Review:  Jake Bullet (Bill Eadie / Demolition Ax)
Except here, he's not red-and-yellow wearing Hulk Hogan but blue (and once white but mostly blue) wearing Rip,  a well-loved superstar who has his own hand signal that looks like a cross between a Hawaiian Shaka sign and Rip telling you to give him a call.

When we first meet the champ, he's heading to the ring to defend his title against Bill Eadie, better know as Demolition Ax but here known as Jake Bullet.

If that name sounds familiar to you, you're probably a fan of British sci-fi comedy, Red Dwarf.

Honestly, I spent days trying to figure out where I knew the name Jake Bullet from before it dawned on me that it was the name assumed by Kryten in the 'Dwarf episode Back to Reality.

Speaking of getting back to things, let's get back to our film.

No Holds Barred Movie Review: Rip meets Jake Bullet (Bill Eadie)
Hogan puts Bullet away with ease, much to the delight of the audience but the utter dismay of World Television Network exec, Brell.

It's never explained if Brell is his first name or his last name.

It's just his name. In that way, he's a bit like Prince or Madonna, if Prince and Madonna were psychopathic, bug-eyed television executives with a penchant for shouting the words 'JOCK ASS' whenever they got angry.

And trust me, he gets angry a lot.

Mostly, he's angry because his network is bottom of the ratings, and it's all because of Rip and the World Wrestling Federation.

He's angrier still when his attempts to buy out the WWF Champion with a blank cheque fail, prompting him to shout 'JOCK ASS' several times more.

No Holds Barred Movie Review: Rip meets Brell
In fact, Brell is angry pretty much all the time, until he and his two underlings go to an underground dive bar for reasons that are never explained (a common theme in the movie) and stumble across some bizarre form of no holds barred street fighting.

One of the participants is none other than Stan Hansen, who is listed in the credits -I kid you not- as Neanderthal.

Anyway, watching Stan 'Neanderthal' Hansen and his chums beat the crap out of each other gives Brell an idea:

He'll simply stick these street fighting miscreants on his network as an alternative to pro wrestling and win the ratings war.

When a solid mountain of a man known as Zeus enters -and quickly wins- Brell's ludicrously-named 'Battle of The Tough Guys,' the TV exec gets his wish.

No Holds Barred Movie Review: Stan 'Neanderthal' Hansen
Zeus' presence makes the show a hit, but for the evil Brell, that's no longer enough.

Now, he won't stop until Rip faces Zeus, and when I say he won't stop, I mean it.

As you can probably guess, we eventually get the big main event match, but not before we sit through a simple yet utterly baffling plot that basically has to do with Brell coaxing Rip into the match, but where hardly anything is given the explanation it needs.

Early on, we see Hogan in a board meeting, headed up by the cold-yet-beautiful Samantha (played by Joan Severance).

Now, Samantha may be his agent, or his manager, or even just some really bossy woman who is strangely passionate about pro wrestling merchandise sales.

We're never actually told.

No Holds Barred Movie Review: Samantha
All we know is that she's an attractive woman who somehow has a vested interest in Rip's career but definitely isn't interested in him sexually...

...At least she wasn't until the two were forced to share a hotel room and she finds herself all hot and bothered at the sight of some Hulkster booty.

So she starts swooning over our hero, or at least or hero's ass, and this angers Brell because...well, nobody's entirely sure.

We get a vague idea that Samantha was working for him, but that only poses more questions than it answers.

Was she working with Rip and then sold out to Brell?

Was she specifically hired to work with the Champion? If so, what happened to Rip's last manager/agent/random business person?

What, ultimately was Samantha supposed to do to mess with Hogan besides manage his merchandise sales?

Honestly, it makes even less sense than you think, as though a lot of key scenes have been left on the cutting room floor.

On the one hand, there is plenty of evidence that this is actually what happened.

You get the impression that at least some of the people who made this film wanted it to appeal to the Hulkamaniacs - basically kids. So including only the most essential scenes helps keep it simple and kid-friendly.

There's two big problems with this, however.

1: It's as though all the wrong scenes have been cut - so aiming for simplicity actually makes the movie far more confusing. All the stuff that tells you what's going on has been stripped from the movie.

2: A lot of the things that happen are far from kid-friendly.

Our poor Samantha is hit by a man, nearly raped and generally treated in a way that no woman (or human being, for that matter) should ever be treated, especially in a movie that is largely going to be watched by younger audiences.

The best part is that I haven't even mentioned the scene where Sam thinks Hogan is indulging in a little pre-sleep self-love but he's actually just doing push-ups in his skimpy speedos.

No Holds Barred Movie Review: Hulk Hogan's ass
Honestly, if you're planning to watch this film, be prepared to see a of Hulkster ass.

The worst part of all this, however, is that despite all the attempted raping going on, you're still never sure how Samantha is connected to Rip and Brell, or what Brell's goons tormenting her is supposed to achieve other than upsetting the champ in some vague, unexplained way.

The whole thing simply lacks any sense of cohesion, or any sense at all for that matter, and is basically a string of loosely-connected scenes strung together in a way that just about gets us to our main event:

Hogan Rip vs. Zeus.

And that in itself is odd.

You see, in most films I've seen (and I've seen a few), the bad guys don't succeed, but here, Evil Brell's one goal from the start of the movie is to get Rip on his network, by the finale, he's succeeded in doing just that.

He also succeeded, in booking a pretty good main event.

I mean it.

No Holds Barred Movie Review: Hulk Hogan as Rip
Rip vs. Zeus, as stylised and over-the-top though it may have been (this is a movie, not a wrestling show after all), was actually far more enjoyable than a lot of Hogan's matches at the time.

Plus, it takes-place in a TNA-style, multi-sided ring, so when you consider that along with the fact that this movie reminds me a lot of Turner/Bischoff luring Hogan to WCW, I guess you could say that the movie was a head of its time.

Only in that regard however. In every other way it's a simply terrible piece of cinema that not even I -bizarre appreciator of things most people hate- could learn to like.

I suppose that makes me a JOCK ASS.

PS: Can't get enough of Hulk Hogan and Zeus?

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Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.