CUT AND RUN (1986)

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Miami Herald, The (FL)
September 10, 1986
Author: BILL COSFORD Herald Movie Critic
Estimated printed pages: 2

The movie business having become a thing of the vast, mediocre middle ground -- few highs, few lows -- you can wait years for a movie as bad as Cut and Run. As rare as a masterpiece is the film that is awful in every respect: script, direction, performance, sound, cinematography, the works. Cut and Run probably had lousy gaffers, too.
Mark and Fran (Leonard Mann and the hapless Lisa Blount) are a two-person cable-TV news crew out to rip the lid off the
drug-peddling racket. Fran is ambitious; she's after a Pulitzer.

On stakeout, they nearly get the scoop on a Colombian woman using the now-legendary hollowed-out baby method of cocaine smuggling. Alas, by the time they break into the gang's Miami headquarters, everyone inside has been murdered, and they're forced to settle for a standup amid the corpses. (It won't be their last disappointment, either; wait till they find out that Pulitzers are for print reporters, not broadcasters.)

Anyway. Mark and Fran hitch a ride to the Colombian jungle, where they hope to find more cocaine smugglers, a survivor of the Jim Jones Guyana massacre who's leading some sort of crazed gang, and the missing son of their producer back home. Pretty much everyone is dead at the jungle outpost, too, so they do another standup with the bodies. Fran breaks down. Who can blame her? The corpses all have blow-pipe wounds, and there are crocodiles in the river.

Eventually it turns out that there are at least three separate sets of villains in Cut and Run, not counting the
filmmakers. At no point is the action more than vaguely comprehensible, and there are whole stretches that make no sense at all. The film is notable only as further evidence of the remarkable career slide of Lisa Blount, who had her moment in An Officer and a Gentleman, and for the curious presence of Karen Black, looking florid and unnerved in an expanded cameo. Without exception, the cast is atrocious.

Cut and Run (R) no stars

CAST: Lisa Blount, Leonard Mann, Willie Aames, Richard Lynch, Richard Bright, Michael Berryman, Karen Black.

CREDITS: Director: Ruggero Deodato. Producer: Alessandro Fracassi. Screenwriters: Cesare Frugoni, Dardano Sacchetti. Cinematographer: Alberto Spagnoli.

A New World Pictures release. Running time: 87 minutes.
Vulgar language, nudity, implicit sex, violence.

**** Excellent; *** 1/2 Very Good

*** Good; ** 1/2 Worth Seeing; ** Fair

* Poor; 0 Worthless


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Miami Herald, The (FL)
September 6, 1983
Author: BILL COSFORD Herald Movie Critic
Estimated printed pages: 3

The once-ballyhooed "sword-and-sorcerer" boom in films flopped faster than any movie trend in memory except, perhaps, Smell-O-Rama -- from the mediocrity of Conan the Barbarian it has been a short slide into the Valley of the Truly Wretched. So it is a pleasant surprise to be able to report the release of a hunk-against-the-barbarians film that, while not quite recommendable, nearly transcends its tatty genre.
The film is Deathstalker, and its hero is the muscled swordsman by that name who is pressed into reluctant service to recover the Magic Chalice of Power and the Magic Amulet of Power, thus reuniting them with the Magic Sword of Power, such unions being the conventional harbingers for the loosings of Good upon a Troubled World.

And there's trouble in this one, which appears vaguely post- Camelot; as the hero remarks early on, to a disenfranchised king who wants his help on a quest, "I steal and kill to stay alive, not for the luxury of glory."

The Deathstalker -- he is called Deathstalker by some, and Stalker by others, though no one uses his first name -- is reluctant to help largely because he has heard the story of how the Evil Sorcerer, Munkar, turned the last army to march against him into sheep. Deathstalker is offered an entire kingdom for his help, but observes, with the kind of concise analysis usually lacking in heroes of his ilk, that the kingdom "isn't worth much to a sheep."

Yes, Deathstalker has a humorous cast to it. In fact, there are times when the film reels rather drunkenly, abandoning its skimpy value as fable for the easy laugh. The result is a silly film that never takes itself seriously, which in turn makes it watchable. (The scene in which a hulking brute with the head of a pig tires of pummelling an enemy with his fists, and instead rips the arm off a passing warrior and uses it as a club is played for -- yes -- whimsy, and it works.)

This is also the first of the s-and-s films to give sex nearly equal time with disembowelment, a story concept we can only cheer. (Some of the sex is of the rape-and-pillage style, but the times, as we have noted, were troubled.)

There is no point in a detailed discussion of plot, quests being pretty much the same everywhere. Deathstalker hits the road in search of Munkar, meets an Amazon gal who fights with her shirt off, makes sausage of the pig-man and generally saves the day.

Among the women he is obliged to rescue is a princess played by Barbi Benton, who apparently clings to the idea of an acting career like a castaway to flotsam. Sadly, Benton has not yet learned even how to feign alarm; she smiles winningly throughout her rape.

Richard Hill, on the other hand, though trapped in the beefcake role (he's the Stalker), plays it wry and never lets
himself look stupid.

Help always arrives, in the guise of comic relief. In one scene the Deathstalker visits the scene of a medieval women's mudwrestling bout that is interrupted by some posturings by Munkar, who announces that the upcoming gladiatorial games will determine "whether Good, or Evil, will rule." At this point, a large man squirts up from the mud, fist raised, and shouts, "Evil." It's hard to hate a film with a scene such as that.

Movie Review

Deathstalker (R) **



Richard Hill, Barbi Benton, Richard Brooker, Lana Clarkson


Director: John Watson

Producer: James Sbardellati

Screenwriter: Howard R. Cohen

Cinematographer: Leonardo Rodriguez Solis

Music: Oscar Ocampo


A New World Pictures release


Nudity, implicit sex, violence and gore


At (DADE) Hialeah Cinema, Cutler Ridge, Westchester; (BROWARD) Coral Ridge, Southland, Diplomat Mall, Pembroke Pines, Browa rd Mall, Thunderbird Drive-In, Coral Springs Movie Center; (PALM BEACH) Cinema 70, Jupiter, PGA, Movies at Town Center


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Miami Herald, The (FL)
May 30, 1983
Author: BILL COSFORD Herald Movie Critic
Estimated printed pages: 2

Chained Heat is your basic visit to the snakepit, with a few twists. One is the presence of Linda Blair, as the innocent (she's in for vehicular homicide, "an accident," which makes her cell-hardened fellow inmates snicker with anticipation). Another is that rarely in the history of either movies or the?penal system have prison officials and guards been seen to be quite this despicable.
In Chained Heat, one of the problems the gals have is with Ernie, the warden (played by John Vernon, once wonderful as Dean Wormer in National Lampoon's Animal House). Ernie has an office, but he also keeps a big-house sin pad, where he has hidden video cameras and a jacuzzi. He likes to have the inmates in for the night, get 'em in the bath and tape the whole deal. He saves the tapes and tells everybody about them. He's not very smart.

But he has problems of his own, because someone is muscling in on his illegal-drug racket; someone else is selling cocaine to the prisoners. The rival pusher is Ernie's gal Friday, Capt. Taylor (Stella Stevens), but Ernie doesn't know this, and he's pumping his informants for the truth. All the guards take sides, including one of the men, who is a rapist, and for whom the female guards act as pimps, and...

And so it goes. Chained Heat is pretty slimy all around, but it does have three moments of marvelous dialogue:

* In the midst of a wave of knifings, garrottings and bashings, most directed at squealers among the inmate population, Blair's character has just squealed. Confessing this to another inmate, she weeps softly and says, "Val, please don't hate me."

* Rioting prisoners are trapped inside the prison when a police helicopter arrives, and a voice comes over the bullhorn: "We've got the place surrounded."

* Ernie, while taping an inmate in the jacuzzi: "Don't call me Warden, call me Fellini."

Movie Review

Chained Heat (R) *



Linda Blair, John Vernon, Sybil Danning, Tamara Dobson, Stella Stevens, Sharon Hughes, Henry Silva, Edy Williams


Director: Paul Nicolas

Producer: Billy Fine

Screenwriters: Vincent Mongol, Paul Nicolas

Cinematographer: Mac Ahlberg

Music: Joseph Conlan


A Jensen Farley Pictures release


Vulgar language, nudity, sexual situations, violence, adult themes


At Omni, 167th Street, Ambassador, Cutler Ridge, Kendale Lakes, Suniland, Coral Ridge, Ultra-Vision, Cinema Four, Sheridan, Coral Springs Movie Center, Movies of Plantation, Apollo


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Miami Herald, The (FL)
September 5, 1983
Author: BILL COSFORD Herald Movie Critic
Estimated printed pages: 2

New York under siege by rampant thugs is a premise that continues to engage filmmakers, and has at least since Walter Hill's fantasy-of-violence, The Warriors, in 1979. Provocative as the urban jungle may be, the idea nonetheless has appealed to filmmakers of successively smaller skill, and the movies -- Escape From New York, The Exterminator -- have grown worse as the mini-genre expands.
The latest in line is 1990: The Bronx Warriors, a poorly dubbed Italian production and an obvious synthesis of what has gone before. Youth gangs in a variety of colorful costumes do battle in the South Bronx, vicious killer-cops use flame and buckshot to rout them, blood flows.

It is 1990, of course, and the opening titles fill us in on the decay of civilization: "The Bronx was officially designated a high-risk district." (Always a bit behind the times, these guys -- that "designation" seems to have been acknowledged in the 1970s, and in fact the South Bronx is now in the process of being recovered.)

Anyway, Ann -- who wears a Chemise Lacoste sweater and is later billed as "the wealthiest and most affluent girl in the world" runs away from Manhattan and holes up with Trash, Ice and the rest of the Riders -- they may be thugs, but they're apparently more sensitive than the button-down men back at the Manhattan Corp., of which Ann is the heiress ("controls 60 per cent of the world's arms production.").

Ann's presence triggers slaughter -- rival gangs bubble with sexual tension, and the Hammer (the late Vic Morrow) and the Hot Dog (Christopher Connelly) are working for the Corp., trying to rescue her at all cost. Ann notes the bodies of two shotgunned Riders, and feels remorse: "They'd still be alive if I hadn't come here." Trash adjusts his leather vest and counsels, "Stop blaming yourself."

It's all pretty much like that until the final bloodbath. Morrow, Connelly and Fred Williamson walk sourly through their roles, aware that these are not resume-builders. In the background, the sounds of a film editor trying feverishly to make some sense out of the thing may faintly be heard. The subgenre has nowhere to go but up.

Movie Review

1990: The Bronx Warriors (R) *



Vic Morrow, Christopher Connelly, Fred Williamson, Mark Gregory, Stefania Girolami


Director: Enzo G. Castellari

Producer: Fabrizio De Angelis

Screenwriters: Dardano Sacchetti, Elisa Livia Briganti, Enzo G. Castellari

Cinematographer: Sergio Salvati

Music: Walter Rizzati


A United Film Distribution Co. release


Running time: 85 minutes


Vulgar language, violence and gore


At DADE: America, Movies at the Falls; BROWARD: Movies of Pompano, Movies at Plantation, Cinema 4, Coral Springs Mall; PALM BEACH: Jupiter, Mall Cinema, Movies at Town Center.

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Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA) - May 27, 1983

Author: Rick Lyman, Inquirer Movie Critic

1990: The Bronx Warriors may well be the worst movie currently playing in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. We're talking worst - by about three furlongs - and that includes such distinguished entries in the sweepstakes as My Tutor, Curtains, Porky's and that new Cheech and Chong thing.

So why do my eyes mist over when I think of the poor, addled miscreants who dreamt it up? Why do I wander through memories of people impaled and burned alive - the whole phantasmagoria of the modern urban thriller - and feel
somehow warm and merciful?

Because, heaven help me, it was so bad, so unbelievably dumb and filled with so many unintentional howlers that I had something resembling a good time, in a deformed sort of way.

Not that I recommend actually spending money to see it, unless you have an unhealthy taste for dementia.

Some movies grow to be so bad, contort themselves into such strange shapes to rip-off previous hits, that they rise from the muck and flower, grandly, as something exalted and awesome. You sit there in a numb state of silence, watching cast-off character actors squinting through their hopeless lines, and no-talent new faces reaching for third-rate emotions they can never reach. And, in a limited, not altogether pleasant way, you have a tiny bit of gruesome fun.

The movie opens in the year 1990, when the borough of the Bronx has been declared a "high-risk area" by the government. The police have simply stopped trying to keep order, and street gangs have taken the law into their own hands.

In our first scene, we see a young, frightened woman scurrying into a midnight alley. Suddenly, a gang of killers emerges from the shadows - they wear white helmets, scurry about on roller skates and carry what look like metal hockey sticks. Before you can say Great Gretzky they're trying to use her as a puck.

Enter our heroes, The Riders. They're a leather-clad cycle gang led by a noble savage named Trash. You know they've got style when they show up with glowing skulls mounted on their handle-bars. They rescue the damsel who, miraculously, hasn't even gotten her Izod blazer dirty and carry her off into their darkened urban kingdom.

The girl, Anne, turns out to be the sole heir to the gigantic Manhattan Corporation, which controls "60 percent of all the arms sales in the world." She's described by the chairman of the board as "the wealthiest, most affluent girl in the whole world." But the idea of going to board meetings was so repulsive to her that she decided to take her chances across the river in the Bronx.

The corporation, which needs to get her back so she can sign official documents, hires a mercenary named Hammer, played with a grim sort of inevitablity by the late Vic Morrow. He's to sneak into The Bronx, get her back and kill as many punks as he can in the process. He teams up with a club- footed street slime named Hot Dog.

Hammer's idea is to get The Riders into a war with the Ogre, a fearsome character who claims to be the King of the Bronx. But Trash and Ogre are too smart for Hammer and Hot Dog. They vow to band together, save Anne and keep the greedy Manhattan Corporation on the other side of the river, where it belongs.

Besides, Anne likes it with Trash. "It's the first time I've ever really belonged to something, been a part of something that was totally mine. Don't let them take me away, ever. Just hold me, hold me."

I suppose it would be redundant to point out that the movie is a bizarre and poorly blended mixture of Escape from New York, The Warriors and Death Wish.

But the strangest part of the whole mess, the truly awesome under-pinning, is that all of the outdoor scenes are quite clearly not filmed anywhere near the Bronx. I'm no expert on New York geography, but I know that if you're standing in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge, you're nowhere near Yankee Stadium.

As Anne says to one of the bad guys: "Foiled at the last minute; how could you think you'd ever get away with it?"


Produced by Fabrizio de Angelis, directed by Enzio Castellari, written by Dardanno Sachetti, photography by Sergio Salvati, music by Walter Rizzati, distributed by United Film Distribution Co.; running time, 1 hour, 28 mins. *

Hammer - Vic Morrow

Trash - Mark Gregory

Ogre - Fred Williamson

Hot Dog - Christopher Connelly

Anne - Stefania Girolami

Parents' guide: R (violence, profanity)

CLASS OF 1984 (1982)

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Miami Herald, The (FL)
November 16, 1982
Author: BILL COSFORD Herald Movie Critic

Here's a scene from the dark near-future as drawn by a new film called Class of 1984. When teacher comes to visit the home of Petey, a teenage trouble student, mother sends him packing and turns to console her son: "Don't worry, honey, he won't bother you again. Now go back in and watch TV."
Yes, it's ghastly, and what's become of parents these days, anyway? While they're tuning the TV and voting Republican, the kids down at the high school are pushing drugs, misspelling their graffiti and commiting ritual sacrifice in the biology lab.

And who's in the middle? Teachers. Teachers like Mr. Norris the music instructor at Abraham Lincoln High (irony.). He gets these words of advice from Abe Lincoln's principal the day he arrives: "You're not in Nebraska anymore, Mr. Norris...teaching is something you do in spite of everything else." And this: "Surveillance is the name of the game around here, Mr. Norris."

And so it is. Mr. Norris loses his good students (the ones with the well-trimmed hair) to Petey's gang; they drop like flies, to drugs and the knife and terror in general. Mr. Norris loses his friend, the biology teacher, who immolates himself after Petey slaughters his rabbits. And Mr. Norris even loses his wife, who is raped by the delinquents and then, for no apparent reason (these kids.) dragged off to the school to be concealed in one of the home rooms. Surveillance may indeed be the name of the game here, but they're not very good at it.

If the movies have taught us nothing else over the years since Death Wish, they have taught us what will happen in situations such as these. The victim will rise up and strike back. Even a teacher, a kind man such as Mr. Norris, will have had enough and will resort to any means -- power tools, if necessary -- to get revenge on his tormentors.

Mr. Norris (played by Perry King) is no different. He does get his revenge, which -- despite some mid-film twaddle about the leniency of the juvenile justice system and the lethargy of parents and administration -- is what Class of 1984 is all about. Mr. Norris even gets to use a power tool (a wood-shop circular saw, handymen) on one of Petey's gang.

The director, Mark Lester, is able to generate a crude energy throughout the film, particularly in the early establishing scenes in which we get to feel afraid along the Abe Lincoln corridors. But his film is so clearly about getting even rather than about troubled youth or any other societal problem that it seems, like Death Wish II and a hundred others, a waste of that energy.

Class of 1984 does offer two notable elements, however. One is the scene in which Roddy McDowall, before succumbing to a killer dose of teacher burnout, holds his students at gunpoint for a final class -- an idea that despite its troublesome legal implications has a certain appeal.

The other is the reaction of young people in the audience, who might be expected to identify with the students on screen. They cheer loudly not when Petey cuts class, but when Mr. Norris grinds up the gang down in the shop. As the movies are busily and profitably proving, the righteous spilling of blood cuts across many lines.

Movie Review

Class of 1984 (R) *



Perry King, Roddy McDowall, Merrie Lynn Ross, Timothy Vam Patten, Stefan Arngrim, Michael Fox


Director: Mark Lester

Producer: Arthur Kent

Screenwriters: Mark Lester, John Saxton, Tom Holland

Cinematographer: Albert Dunk

Music: Lalo Schifrin


A United Film Distribution release


Vulgar language, nudity, implicit sex, violence, gore


At Omni, Trianon, Apollo, Roxy, Marina, Movies at the Falls, 27th Avenue Drive-In, Movies of Pompano, Southland (Fort Lauderdale), Sheridan, Holiday Springs, Lakes, Movies of Plantation, Lakeshore Drive-In, Thunderbird Drive-In.

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