Friday, 31 July 2015

BEYOND FURY (2016) Please Help Make It Happen


Director Darren Ward began making films in 1989. By 1991 he had made over 12 short films. In 1994 Ward made a short action film called BITTER VENGEANCE which received a 'Highly Commended' judges award at BAVA (British Amateur Video Awards), which were hosted at BAFTA in London. Ward wanted to expand on the characters of- 'Walker', 'Jimmy' & 'Randall' and so Ward based his first feature film SUDDEN FURY around those characters.


SUDDEN FURY (1998) marked the last starring role of the late David Warbeck (star of many Italian horror and action films) and was the beginning of Ward's crime thriller trilogy.  SUDDEN FURY has been released on DVD around the globe and has played at many International film festivals. Ward continued with a multi-award winning short film called NIGHTMARES (Super16, 2004), which featured at the LA International Short Film Festival, with the world premiere being held in Hollywood. NIGHTMARES has also featured on TV, being aired on SKY many times as well as receiving a Silver Remi Award at the Houston World Fest in Fantasy/Horror.


In 2010 Darren Ward's A DAY OF VIOLENCE was released giving audiences one of the most uncompromising and gritty Independent crime films in recent years. ADOV also featured Italian horror legend Giovanni Lombardo Radice (City of the Living Dead, Cannibal Ferox, House on the Edge of the Park) and came complete with a thumping electronic score by Dave Andrews. The film has been presented at many festivals around the world (UK, US, Germany, France, Portugal, Brazil, Mexico, Netherlands, Canada and many more) and went on to win 6 International awards including Best Feature, Best Special Effects and an honorary mention for the contribution to the genre.

NOW IS YOUR CHANCE TO HELP FUND THE LATEST CHAPTER IN THIS TRILOGY

Director Darren Ward is shooting the third chapter in his 'Crime Trilogy' (and a direct sequel to SUDDEN FURY, no less) as we speak. But (as with most genuinelly passionate film-makers) funding is a big setback. Undaunted by this, he has managed to get around 30 minutes 'In The Can' (as they say) but is in need of more funding. Making movies for the fans, sometimes requires likewise help. So please support this unique (unsung) talent by contributing anything you can to:

contactus@giallofilms.com 

Reknowned actor Dan Van Husen has already filmed scenes for what promises to be the most explosive crime thriller to come out of the UK. And more international actors are scheduelled to appear. I shall keep you updated as they are secured (but trust me, it'll be a exploitation movie fans dream come true) and with help from the audience they're created for.....This dream can be realised sooner, than later. So please contribute as much or as little as you can. Thanks for reading, and please fel free to check out the aformention movies (either through my own blog reviews) or by purchasing them from reputable sources.

 Below are some exclusive stills from BEYOND FURY

(Darren Ward directs Dan Van Husen in the upcoming BEYOND FURY)



(Nick Rendell returns as hard-as-nails 'Walker' in BEYOND FURY)


(Lady in danger...a tense moment from BEYOND FURY)
(Down.....But never out. Walker returns in BEYOND FURY)

Please help support this great director, and for further details contact the man himself at:

https://www.facebook.com/darren.ward.5

All donations are appreciated and extra generous donations  may lead to an on-screen 'Thank You' in the finished movie credits


(Better the funds go to Darren Ward....Than another Richard Curtis rom-com-shit-fest, I say)



Tuesday, 19 May 2015

MERCENARY - ABSOLUTION (2015) Steven Seagal


After nearly a two year absence (on my own blog) what better way to return...than with a review for the 'Stout Sensei's' latest (which despite a limited '10 screen' run in the U.S.) went straight to nearest supermarket shelf in the UK.......I've been away for 2 years....Seagal has been away from cinematic lead roles since Half Past Dead (The parallels are there, however flimsy)
Ladies and (the few) Gentleman (out there) I bring you
MERCENARY - ABSOLUTION
(Don't call it a comeback for either one of us...)


The Plot

John Alexander (Steven Seagal) is an off-the-grid government hitman ('The Best') who takes out the garbage that the shadowy organization no longer need. Tired of the endless killing (of which he's 'The Best' at) he seeks redemption for all his sanctioned killings. He needs to readdress the balance of the bloodshed, and perform a good dead to counterbalance the carnage.
Basically, if you haven't fucking figured it out yet.....He's the Mercenary seeking Absolution (He's previously been a Mercenary for plain old JUSTICE in the past) I dare say that his answer-phone message is probably "Hi this is Steven Seagal....I'm not in right now, I'm OUT...either FOR JUSTICE...or A KILL....But the bottom line is I'm OUT OF REACH, right now"


(A Good Man meets a good Mann)


Anyhow, Alexander's sidekick Chi (Byron Mann) accompanies him on 'jobs' (their latest assignment being in 'DTV-Budget-Friendly' Romania) After wiping out some scummy Afghan Terrorist motherfucker, our heroes hold out in a bar, and await a safe exit, through their shadowy 'Handlers' 
Alexanders 'Absolution' comes in the shapely form of Nadia (Adina Stetcu ....who is a step up from the usual generic eye-candy of the DTV genre) Terrified and screaming, it transpires that Nadia (and her sister) have run afoul of sadistic mob Boss (Vinnie Jones) who has a sideline in torturing and murdering women. Nadia has fled his clutches (but her sister has been given the 'Deluxe-Ike-Turner-Workout' by the former footballing thespian)  With his minions in tow, trying to retrieve the girl, Alexander seizes his chance to do the right thing and intervene.
 
 
("You put your left arm in...I pull your left arm out...In...Out...In...Out....And shake it all about")


Both Alexander and Chi beat up the gangsters and flee the scene (with girl in tow) Unbeknownst to them, the girl has has stolen a video camera containing footage of her sisters murder (filmed in Vinnie Jones' mini-porn-snuff-dungeon) However, this sadistic mob boss has shady links with the very Handlers that are safeguarding Alexanders safe passage back to the good old U.S....Making escape from Romania for our 2 heroes, near impossible. Cornered (but never scared) Alexander (and Chi) must take the fight to the bad guys.

(Hitting a cinema near you...Maybe? Lionsgate pull out few stops, in returning Seagal to cinemas)


Review

Whilst lacking the big budget spectacle of earlier movies like On Deadly Ground or Under Siege 2, Absolution succeeds over more recent releases by having a clear narrative (and not much 'filler' plot) If the movie had a bigger budget, then this could have easily held it's own against any action blockbuster blocking up the multiplexes. As it stands, the movie is technically proficient enough for a DTV release (hampered only by limited locations and scaled down set-pieces) Compared to the likes of heavily padded affairs like Black Dawn or Flight Of Fury, the movie is a triumph in it's simplicity. Director Keoni Waxman uses the low budget wisely and gives the fans want they want to see.....Seagal in full-on badass mode. The movie goes from A to B to C, in an efficient manner, ticking all the genre boxes where they count. By now, the audience must be in on the joke, as we watch a succession of bad guys foolish enough to incur the wrath of Seagal (and we must laugh, as he returns their once working limbs to the bad guys, either broken, or not at all) Sometimes it's predictability is comforting. Regardless of it's limited cinematic run...I tend to think the big screen has missed Seagal (and vice-versa)

("Anything George Segal can do...I can do better....I can do anything better than him")


Seagal (looking a little older, but wiser) whispers a lot of his dialogue in his usual world-weary manner. However, given his character's motivations (or lack of them) this performance works in his favour. He seems to have slimmed down a little (since Force Of Execution) and remains imposing in his fight scenes. Co-star Byron Mann compliments Seagal admirably (and performs the more acrobatic fight scenes) If Seagal wishes to take a back-seat in future movies, he could do a lot worse than share centre stage with Byron Mann more often. They have good chemistry together. 


("I'm a little teapot, short and stout...Tip me up, and pour me out")


 Whilst Seagal won't be giving the stunt team of The Raid series sleepless nights, he acquits himself well (for a guy in his 60's) the rapid edits in his fight scenes are not to cover any inadequacies in his skills, but sadly an unfortunate bi-product of  keeping up with the Hollywood 'standard' of fast paced (rapid) action (a big 'fuck you' to Matt Damon and Co. for effectively ruining action-cinema as we know it)   Make no mistake (Like for example, mistakingly using sandpaper instead of toilet paper) Seagal is still fast and furious with his hands (and a few limited kicks) However, given his assassin credentials in the movie, he executes a lot of targets utilizing gunplay (shooting/fighting take a 50/50 split of the action on display here) At his age, size and appearance, Seagal still looks more convincing as a badass than (the worn-out cliché that is) Liam Neeson.


("I a-wrist you in the name of the law")


As with A Good Man, I especially liked the rumble between Seagal and Ron Balicki. There is a sense of mutual respect for each other (an almost swordfighting sense of 'parry') lending an intense calm before the storm build-up to their combat (their fights, being the action highlights of both movies) Vinnie Jones in comparison, gets tossed around like a rag doll (hardly a spoiler, at this stage of the game) which is a shame, but  it's enjoyable to hear Seagal refer to Jones as "Bitch" before and throughout their brief rumble. A little more of the final showdown wouldn't have hurt anyone (apart from Vinnie Jones, that is)


(The executive at Lionsgate that green-lit the cinema release...Was suitably rewarded by his bosses)


As previously mentioned, the plot is straightforward enough, and doesn't contain filler scenes, story or actors (unlike say, Out For A Kill or Shadow Man) Seagal seems purposely 'lethargic' (but never bored) the action is spread out evenly across the running time, and there's nary a dull moment. Seagal is on-screen throughout the movie (no long periods of inactivity, unlike stuff like Force Of Execution) Editing is top notch, and the soundtrack sounds semi-orchestral (and cinema worthy in places) Seagal might have been back as an A list star, had he made more films of *this* standard 10 years ago.

(Producers are hoping that Seagal's 'Gone-To-bed' eyes, might bring in the ladies?)


However, before I go on a full-on Fanboy gush-fest, the movie is not without faults, and as usual it's down to the usual culprit of many modern Seagaldom (namely 'Doubles') The 'body doubles' for Seagal are noticable, but not entirely his fault. I know the 'Stout One' is rarely on set these days, but maybe if Waxman didn't feel the need to film inserts that link all of Seagal's filmed scenes, they wouldn't be so apparent? The bottom line is, I can guess that Seagal gets into a car...I don't need to see a badly shot 'double' doing such (I don't need to see ANYONE do such trivial stuff) I'd also like to semi-gripe that however brutal the fight scenes are, Seagal (who surely possesses a huge repertoire of moves and techniques) could do with mixing it up a little from his usual punch, chop, kick combos of his recent movies. I know these kinds of movies have brief shooting periods, but a little more fight coreography wouldn't go amiss.


("If my ponytail has to go......so does yours!")


Purportedly part of a trilogy of 'Mr Alexander' movies (following on from Force Of Execution and A Good Man) Despite the character name staying the same....The traits (or timelines) couldn't be any different (so I don't think it's panned out as the three-part saga that director Keoni Waxman had envisioned?)

(The FX budget for Marvels 'HULK MEETS SHE-HULK' movie had shrunk considerably)


Mercenary - Absolution (whilst not a world beater) is action packed (and coherent) enough to qualify as an above average DTV movie. It might have worked on the big screen, but a lack of big budget CGI spectacle and limited location work, may have left mainstream audiences checking their watches (and maybe even their calendar's, to check it wasn't 1994 again?) As it stands, it's an old school biff em' up, with no pretensions to be anything else. It's not Out For Justice, nor should we expect it to be. Seagal is still the 'Baddest Man On Planet Action'...but would/could benefit from a shift in gear (and a change in directors and crew) Whilst hardly likely (at this stage in the game) to win any new converts....longtime fans (who have endured some really shitty movies in the past) should enjoy the movie on it's own limited terms. I enjoyed it immensely (because I'm a pervert) but would like to see something a little different with (the upcoming) Code Of Honour (hopefuly a change in director might lead to a change in direction?)


(Here's a poster I created in the build-up to this movies release)

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Opened up my own DVD shop!


 First of all....HAPPY CHRISTMAS to anyone reading this.

Apologies for not posting in nearly 6 months, but staying true to my love of 'Straight-To-DVD' movies....I've only gone and opened up my own shop (chock full of the bastards) called:
MOVIES MOVIES MOVIES


The shop is now in it's 7th week, and whilst I'll never be a millionaire (most profit goes back into re-stock) I seem to be making a living, buying and selling stuff that I have a keen interest in. The icing on the cake, is that it's directly over the road from where I live.

(I reckon I drink around 20-25 cups of coffee per day, sat in my shop?)


Of course, I have to bite my lip on several occasions with straight-talking (i.e, rude) customers (expecting latest releases for £2-£3) but answering to no-one other than the tax-man, and opening and closing whenever I feel like it.....more than make up for a few idiot customers.


Even on slow days, I have my trusty portable DVD player, and now that I've exhausted my entire 'Rumpole Of The Bailey' collection (see pic above) I now have more time to watch cruddy B-movies (which I intend to start reviewing again in the coming weeks)




The paintings you can see in the background, were done by my girlfriend and are also available for sale in the shop (hey, always look after the ones you love, I say)

Hopefuly, I can make a semi-comfortable living out of something I love?




I have at least 35 Seagal movies in the action selection alone


Thursday, 5 April 2012

DIRECT HIT (1994) William Forsyth



The Blurb On The Box:

"John Hatch (WILLIAM FORSYTH - The Untouchables, The Waterdance, Out For Justice) is a professional assassin working for the CIA chief (GEORGE SEGAL - A Touch Of Class, Where's Poppa?)
He's a killer - One of the best - But he's not proud of it and wants to retire. His last assignment seems like an easy one: Remove Savannah Miles (JO CHAMPA - Top internation model/actress, Little Buddha, Out For Justice) a young woman who is supposedly bribing a U.S senator (JOHN APERA - New Jack City, The Godfather, television series Another World)
When he learns she is nothing but a pawn in a much larger game, Hatch tries to redeem his own life by protecting hers...putting himself in the line of fire. Pursued by a government-trained mercenary (RICHARD NORTON - Cyber Tracker, Lady Dragon, China O'Brien I & II) and the police. Hatch has use every trick he's ever learned to keep himself and Savannah alive"




The Truth Of The Matter:

Saw this when it first hit the shelves, and throughly enjoyed it. Was a wee bit apprehensive on re-watching it again, but it turns out this nifty little PM thriller still kept me hooked (despite it's now obvious b-movie trappings, and generic storyline) it's saving crace, is seeing (eternal 'cinematic-bridesmaid') William Forsythe take centre-stage for a change, in a role that would usually taken up by some handsome muscle-man type. Believe me William Forsythe is neither muscular or handsome (except maybe in his wifes eyes?) But his acting chops, and all-round bad-assery, make for an interesting casting choice. Rounding off the ensemble, is George Segal (playing pretty much the loveable cigar-smoking asshole, he always plays) Richard Norton (more on him later) and Jo Champa (who, according to the blurb is a "internation" model....whatever the fuck that is?)


(One for dem lady-folk)

Pic opens with wise-ass rookie, waxing lyrical about the life of a hitman, the night before his first big job. He is to be teamed up on this 'hit' with seasoned pro (and yep, you guessed it....'The Best') John Hatch (Forsythe) and their target are four heads of the biggest crime families under one roof at the same meet-up (which turns out to be an arms trade, replete with a cheesy QVC style sales pitch that would have Ricky Roma wretching)



The hit doesn't go to plan (rather fucking obvious, given that the 'targets' are packing more 'heat' than the hit-men) and the loudmouthed rookie is soon taken out (but not before blowing himself up) leaving Hatch to engage in a car-chase (c'mon, this is PM after all?) against the one remaining mobster (who's limosine driver Carl, has teeth could give Austin Powers a run for his money) The obligatory (and possibly, borrowed stock-footage) car(nage) ensures, With Hatch eventually getting his man (with a little help from a fire-truck)

(Get to the Choppers!..........Carl and his snarl)

Back at HQ, Hatch tells his shadowy C.I.A. boss, Tronson (Segal) that he 'Wants-Out' (tm) but is asked to do 'One Last Job' and take-out Savannah Miles, a two-bit nobody, who is linked in a blackmail case against (corrupt) presidential candidate Terry Daniels (John Aprea.) Hatch refuses, but Tronson glibly retorts "She's just some low-life blackmailing slut...Do her on the way home for Christs sake?" whilst also threatening not to pay our hero for the last job. Hatch agrees, and sets out to find the woman.

("This time, I'm gonna play a loveable cigar-smoking asshole" thought George)

Hatch soon finds Savannah (working unsuccessfuly) at a local titty-bar, to which the displeased owner tells our shy heroine that "No-one gives a shit about dancing...they wanna see 'Bush' you understand?" forcing Hatch to not only kick the shit out him (and most of the bar) but to also realise that this woman may not be the slutty blackmailer than Tronson is making out?

(Top internation model?)

Following Savannah home, Hatch baulks at killing her alongside her young daughter as they both sleep, and upon further investigation, he uncovers that she is about to lose custody of said daughter to her estranged husband. Overhearing her plight in a confessional booth, Hatch tells Tronson that Savannah is not the blackmailer, and wants no part in her murder. Tronson (smokes more cigars) looks pissed off, and puts another hitman on the case.

(An always welcome...but criminally wasted...Richard Norton)

Drowning his sorrows in a bar, Hatch is confronted by 'work-collegue' Rogers (Norton) who taunts our hero with "Lost your balls, huh?" and "You can't turn your targets into people" before boasting he he now has the task of taking out Savannah. Hatch meanwhile, does any any self-respecting murderer would do, and goes to visit his father up in Rocky-mountain Nowheresville. Racked with guilt and realising that 'Family' matters (helped further by an arty-farty dream sequence) forces Hatch into "Doing something he's gotta' do" by heading back home and saving Savannah from the murderous clutches of Rogers.

Upon saving her from Rogers initial assasination attempt, Hatch and Savannah flee the scene. It transpires that her estranged sleaze-ball husband is behind the blackmail, and took the pictures over a decade ago at a drug-fuelled party the senator was at. They must race to find the daughter, not only evading Tronson, Rogers and the rest of the hit-men, but also (thanks to the political 'pull' of Senator Daniels) the police force


(The usual PM car-nage)

Without spoiling things further (like you'd need to be a fucking scientist to figure it out?) a lot of bad guys get shot, wrongs are righted, and even our portly hero gets his 'Fuck-On'.

Forsythe still has the same crazy look usually reserved for his bad-guy roles...which kind of makes sense, because all that killing would probably take it's toll on your weight and general appearence. And with a haircut from hell (think 'Three Stooges' Moe) mixed with 90's baggy fitting jackets, Forsythe is anything but the stereotypical 'stylish' hollywood assassin.

(Keeping the spirit of Star Strek alive, with nonsensical 'random flashing lights in a cardboard box' technology)

And just before you think it's about time me and this movie got a hotel room, let me tell you the one aspect that really pissed me off.. It wasn't the production values, the cheesy synth score, or the "Oh-Fuck-It" attitude in the movies final third.....it was this:

RICHARD NORTON DOESN'T FUCKING FIGHT!

I mean c'mon guys. This is Richard Norton. The guy is a total badass. You've even got Art Comancho onboard, so what in Gods-blue-and-green-misery-orb went wrong with the fight scenes? No offence to Mr Norton (he's quite a good actor) but without throwing a single punch, there was little point in him being in this movie (Christ-on-a-stick, even the Lamentable ROAD HOUSE 2, had him kick a little ass...and that was made 10+ years after DIRECT HIT?) So I just thought this paragraph may serve as a warning to any Norton fans out there.

Overall, DIRECT HIT gets some things right (in terms of casting and plot depth) but lacks the really bat-shit crazy action set pieces, that PM do so well. Forsythe manages a bit of 'Rex-Kwan-Do' on a few bad guys, but mostly resorts to gunfighting (or 'Heroic-Bloodshed', to coin a 90's phrase) Had it not been for a fuzzy final third (which looked like out-takes from the opening shoot-out from NEMESIS) this could have been a stone-cold classic. The lack of Norton-Fu, makes it recommended to bad movie perverts (like myself) and PM completists. Good...but no cigar (probably because George Segal smoked them all as part of his salary?)


Classic Quote:

Hatch: "I guess I am what I am...a cold blooded murderer"
(Probably the second most unlikeliest chat-up line that ever led to an immediate love-sequence, since Shark Attack III?)


Trivia:

This movie reunites three thespians from Out For Justice....two of them are obvious, but can you guess the third?



Wednesday, 4 January 2012

PENITENTIARY 3 (1987) Leon Issac Kennedy

Everyone has a favourite ROCKY movie, some prefer the grittiness of the 1976 original, others love the music-video 80's jingoism of Rocky IV. My favourite is Rocky III, closely followed by the (much-maligned) Rocky V.
In the crazy universe of the Penitentiary movies, I've always preferred Penitentiary II, but after my fourth viewing of Penitentiary III in the space of a week (I shit thee not) it's dawned on me how (bat-shit) crazy PIII actually is. Sure, PII has crop-tops, roller-boots, and a Arabian-attired Mr T (not to mention a great Rudy Ray Moore cameo) But in retrospect, it's suddenly dawned on me that PIII makes PII look like Raging Bull in comparison.



Once again, Jamaa Fanaka (lousy name....but worth a score of 27+ in 'Scrabble') directs. And he wastes little time, by getting straight to the action, as we witness Martel 'Too-Sweet' Cordone (Leon Issac Kennedy) battling it out in the ring against El Cid. The commentators explain that Too-Sweet and El Cid have a great respect for one another and are friends outside the ring. But unbeknown to Too-Sweet, his shady trainer has slipped a 'strength inducing drug' into his water, resulting in our hero going fucking apeshit and pulling all kinds of WWF-moves in the boxing ring, eventually killing his opponent (whilst the trainer that drugged him screams "That's enough Too-Sweet!" .....what an asshole!)



Sat in the back of a paddy wagon, a voice over informs us that Too-Sweet has been given 3 years in the 'Pen' for manslaughter. The slow 'sax' music during this sequence, is soon revealed (in true Naked Gun style) to be an actual saxophonist in the vehicle with them (how and where he managed to hide that, is Anyone's guess?) But this scene serves as an early warning of the many 'What-The-Fuck' moments to come.

(Sax and Violence)

Roscoe puts down his sax and informs our hero (and us) that the Penitentiary has a boxing league, and that the warden is looking for talent for his upcoming tournament. But Too-Sweet just wants to do his 'time' and keep out of trouble. There's another guy in the van (some mulleted Michael Nouri looking motherfucker) who keeps boasting about murdering his wife.


The warden tries to convince Too-Sweet to join the boxing contest, but our hero refuses to join his team. However, what Gordone doesn't know is that the Warden is deep in gambling debts to the real power behind the prison...... millionaire Serenghetti (played by Billy Drago wannabe, Anthony Geary) replete with 'Muttley-like-asthmatic laugh, long-winded speeches and camp gestures.

(Sausage casserole was on the menu most nights)

Serenghetti
may be an inmate, but he's so fucking rich, his cell resembles a mansion. He has a live-in 'he/she' bitch (named Cleo) a french waiter, red curtains covering the bars and (wait for it) his own privately filmed access of the prison gymnasium.




Soon enough the Michael-Nouri-lookalike soon loudmouths his way into trouble and later that night is paid a visit by Serengetti's toughest weapon...a fierce Black Dwarf, kept in an underground dungeon and fed a staple diet of 'blurry' pornography and crack cocaine.

His name is 'The Midnight Thud' and his objectives are as follows:

1) Grunt insanely.
2) Wear leather fetish gear.
3) Rape the living shit out of fresh inmates.
4) Have a peanut shaped cranium.


(Three meals a day....Four on 'Shower Nights')


Thud is dragged by chains from his dungeon, by two guards (one of which has the worse comedy stutter EVER) and thrown into the loud-mouths cell, where he is brutally raped/beaten (Thankfully this 'Romantic-Interlude' takes place off-screen) although we still get to hear the screaming inmates shouting such pleasantries as "Break him in for me Thud!" during the assault.



Too-Sweet turns down Serengetti's offer to box for his team...resulting in 'The Pint-sized pervert' being unleashed to our hero's cell. However, Too-sweet will not break or (literally) bend to the 'Thudsucker Proxy', resulting in one of the funniest, perverse fights ever committed to film. Too Sweet (clad only in underpants) goes 'Mano-O-Half-Mano with the degenerate dwarf. And just when You think it can't get any crazier, Midnight Thud starts waving his arms around and starts flying around the cell (I shit thee not)



Much 'fisting' later (oohh-eeerr!) Too-sweet looks defeated (gasp!) Thud takes time from his homosexual rape duties to snack on one of Too-sweets Oranges (big mistake fucko!) as the theft of fruit from the 'fruity thief' (geddit?) enrages our battered hero, who makes little haste in throwing the pint-sized rapist head first into the prison gate (ouch!) The guards return to find Too-Sweet with both orange (and 'Cherry') intact. Serengetti' doesn't like this, and has 'Thud' returned to his dungeon (for more 'Snap, Crack And popshots') and orders Too-sweet to be tortured with electrodes. It transpires (in flashbacks) that Midnight Thud has also had 'shock therapy' treatment.

(Not the first time Roscoe had 'Sweet Nut' all over his back)

Alone, battered, bruised (and in serious need of some hair-activator) Too-sweet is a shadow of his former self. With only the dungeon rats for company. Roscoe, drops on by the dungeon, bringing food and news of the upcoming boxing contest. And amazingly enough, Roscoe wants the 'Sweet-One' to train him(don't ask?) The warden agrees but insists that any training be done in the dungeon (away from the prying camera of Serengetti) Sadly, the training involves little more than a squatting Two sweet ordering Roscoe to run up and down the smoke filled dungeon (with the occasional sit-up thrown in for diverse measure)

(I think I prefer Serengetti's girlfriend?)

The tournament starts (hell there's even female boxers) and (amazingly, given his shite training montage) Roscoe is doing well and to show his gratitude to his mentor, he not only fights under the name of 'SWEET-NUT' (insert crude gag here)....But he also sets up Too-Sweet with a female boxer (see above) And whilst the 'Sweet One' is 'knocking the boots' in the locker-room, Roscoe faces one of Serengetti's toughest fighters, named 'See-Veer' (played by none other than Danny-Fucking-Trejo!) But See-Veer has been given the same 'drug' that landed Too-Sweet in the joint in the first place.

(Roscoe vs Trejo)

Roscoe gets the initial upper hand, but See-Veer (and his super-drug) are too powerful, resulting in 'Sweet-Nut' in a state of 'Uber-Fubar' Forcing (a once reluctant) Too-sweet to throw his hat into the tournament, and threatening to go (quote) "No Holds Barred" with any of Serengetti's men...including his number one henchman (and Hulk Hogan wannabe) Hugo. The Warden agrees to the fight to go ahead, and Too-Sweet returns to the dungeon to prepare for his upcoming battle Royal.


("Showin' how funky and strong is your fight...It doesn't matter who's wrong or right")


More lame training montages continue....That is, until the biggest fucking turnaround (in a movie already full of epic turnarounds).....Midnight Thud becomes a good guy (having given up the institutionalised male rape and murder) and begs Too-Sweet to help him train. Midnight Thud (who's real name is revealed to be Jessop) trains Too-Sweet in the spiritual side of fighting (oh, and also the crazy merits of slamming dungeon doors on your pupils arms?)


("Could I just leave you this Jehovah Witness pamphlet...Argghh!")

Serengetti tries to offer Hugo a vial of the superdrug....in case Too-Sweet gets the upper hand. But hugo (replete with gold lamé robe) refuses. Ten floors below the prison, the warden is giving Too-Sweet a last minute pep-talk about winning, and taking Serengetti to the cleaners (thus reclaiming power of the prison) Whilst at the same time offering Two-Sweet use of Roscoe's robe (on the provision that it'll bring him luck) Given that Roscoe is still hospitalised and on a critical-list....it's hardly a 'Lucky Charm' now...is it?

("Check out my new iphone")

Cut to the big fight and after a brief posing contest between Hugo and Jessop (don't ask?) The camera pans to Too-Sweet, decked out in a black codpiece and lightweight gloves (think Bruce Lee at the beginning of Enter The Dragon) . And the 'Bruce-Lee-isms' don't end there folks, because Ol' Too Sweet starts adopting some Game Of Death style fighting tactics towards his bigger opponent. Given that Leon Issac Kennedy rarely convinced as a genuine boxer...he makes a even less convincing martial artist...But the sudden lapse into kung-foolery (probably at the insistence of Cannon) only makes it funnier!

(Oh dear!)

During this lengthy fight, the emphasis switches from Boxing to martial arts to wrestling (replete with jessop and his non-stop audible rants of "Oak Tree" and "Inner Man" (not the best phrase for a former gay rapist to utter) But given his Jamaican patois, it sounds like "Enema" anyhow?

(Bruce Leeroy)

Too Sweet continues with the Bruce Lee mannerisms (hands on knees, the nose wipe, the fighting yelps) Whilst Hugo finds his inner Hulk Hogan, and starts throwing our hero around in wrestling moves. But just as it appears to settle into generic 'Punchfight' mode, Fanaka throws in one final scene of utter fucking madness. Hugo throws Two-Sweet flying across the room in slo-mo. Bouncing off a wall, Too-Sweet leaves a blood-stained pattern of the 'Crucifix' (replete with Biblical organ music) not only allowing Too-Sweet the spiritual strength to continue, but also the physical strength required to kick several shades of shite out of Hugo. This long confirms what many exploitation fans had secvretly guessed since the early eighties...Penitentiary is a metaphor for the Bible (sort of?)


(The Biblical denouement)

With the fight over, Too-Sweet races to Serengetti's plush cell (it seems that man-bitch Cleo has long gone) and our Hero slaps the tyrant around a little, before proclaiming that Serengetti is not worth it (weird, because Serengetti masterminded everything bad that happened to Too-Sweet throughout the movie?)

("I'm not gay...but my boyfriend is!")

The warden (who has now reclaimed power from Serengetti, due to a hefty wager on the fight) is pleased as punch with our hero, and (whilst leading him back to his dungeon, nonetheless) fills Too-Sweet in on some last minute (let's-tie-the-whole-plot-up) bullshit information, including:

1) Two-Sweet can return back upstairs in the Penitentiary
2) Roscoe is on the mend
3) He's kept some money aside for a good lawyer for Too-Sweet
4) He promises to "Never misappropriate prison funding again" (Surely illegal?)
5) A cure for AIDS (ok, I made that last one up...but it would have rounded things off nicely?)

Two-Sweet prefers the peace of the dungeon, so the warden walks away (probably uninterested) with a shit eating grin on his chubby face (When quite frankly, 'Gambling with State prison funds' makes the warden the biggest criminal in the movie.)



And just when you think the goodtimes have ended, the movie ends on a bitchin' late 80's synth soul ballad, entitled 'Doing Time' and sung (if that's the correct term?) by Bruce Fisher. It's a haunting ballad (that combines the complexities of both Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Blues and Ice-T's The Tower sang with all the intensity of Philip Michael Thomas )

I've lovingly sat down and deciphered all the haunting lyrics, and typed them up, for your musical pleasure.

Lost a woman...And a family
Gave me a number...took my i-i-i-dentity

I might as well be living on Mars

Locked behind these bars.

I'm......Doing time

I'm......Doing time


Lost my free-e-dom....and my dignity

To the outside world...I'm just a memory

I might as well be living on Mars
Than behind these bars.


Oooohhh...I'm......Doing time

I-i-i-i-i'm......Doing time


(Sax solo)


I might as well be living on Mars

Than behind these bars...Behind these bars.


Doing time

Doing time


When I was out there on on the street
I thought I was having fun
Now I won't breathe the free air
Until the year two-thousand-one
And if you see my mother, ask her will she pray for me

Cause' they're trying to steal my soul in this Penitentiary

I'm......Doing tiiiiiiiiiime Ooooh, oooh
Iiiiiii'm...yes I'm doing time



(Nothing wrong with 'putting an old friend up' for the night)

Penitentiary III is a must for bad-movie lovers. What should have been a generic 'Cannon' action pic, becomes one of their most obscure and interesting 'risk' movies since Barfly or Tough Guys Don't Dance (and I say that in all seriousness) And it's not to say that Penitentiary III isn't chock full of clichés....It's the almost surreal and rapid fire way they're all trotted out, that sets it apart from other 'action' movies. Don't believe me?....check out the scene where Midnight Thud exhales crack fumes to a nearby rat. I haven't seen anything THAT twisted since the Frog sequence from The Nightcomers (1972)


Jamaa Fanaka still can't tell a coherent story (nor direct traffic in Lapland) but that sort of works in the favour of the trilogy. Regardless of your favourite in the series, they all retain that twisted (almost perverse) lack of logic, that never really altered from the original in 79 to this one in 87. Whilst other movie franchises (big or small) moved on with the times, the Penitentiary saga stuck to it's surreal outlook throughout. If it aint broke......


Leon Issac Kennedy has always been a likeable presence in everything he's put his name to. It's a shame he got out of acting, and became a minister, but i guess our loss, is Gods gain. As it is, he's left a pretty good legacy a movies in his brief career. I don't know if he'd be willing to come back for one more round as Martel Cordone (hey, if Stallone can do it......why not Kennedy?) And Fanakka is still 'above ground' (so to speak) So here's to hoping?


Before I get too maudlin (and start crying) let me finish this (already, overextended) review, by whole-heartedly recommending Penitentiary III (and the other two) as three of the finest examples of low-budget, off-beat, crazy, beer-and-buddies movies ever created. It's just a shame I had to convert my old VHS version over to DVD+R to get the required screenshots for my review. This badboy has yet to have a DVD release. All of the Penitentiary movies should be available on hi-def 26 disc Blu-Ray/DVD combi packs (as of yesterday)

Highly Recommended