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Showing posts from April 22, 2012

Review: Enter the Dragon

Bruce Lee, a British Intelligence spy and Shaolin monk (!) infiltrates martial arts tournament on super-villain Han’s (Kien Shih) remote island. Han is supposedly into drugs and slavery, and Lee also learns that Han’s goons killed his sister a few years back. Joining Lee in the tournament are Americans John Saxon and Jim Kelly, who see fit to enjoy Han’s whores and hospitality, whilst Lee is sneaking around and scaling the walls outside.

Overrated, now outdated 1973 Robert Clouse (“Black Belt Jones”, a wildly entertaining Blaxploitation kung-fu flick with Kelly) film isn’t really a kung-fu picture, but an attempt to bring martial arts to the US by mixing it with a little faux-007 nonsense (featuring Kien Shah as a rip-off of “Dr. No”). It plays out in hokey, but sometimes exciting (and violent) fashion. Lee is miscast as a super-spy, but is undeniably impressive in the martial arts scenes (particularly the finale) and an imposing presence, and there’s a good small role for a young-loo…

Review: The Chain Reaction

At the WALDO nuclear facility, doctor Heinrich (Ross Thompson) accidentally gets a fatal dose of radiation poisoning in a flood from a containment breach at the facility. He is quarantined but makes an escape. Mechanic Steve Bisley and his wife Arna-Maria Winchester are having a private getaway in some remote area of Australia. But their sky rockets in flight (one for the Starland Vocal Band fans out there) are interrupted by the sudden appearance of supposed amnesiac Heinrich. At the same time, sinister mercenaries employed by WALDO arrive in the area to apprehend Heinrich, before he lets the public know the horrible fate that awaits us all. And now he’s dragged fast-driving Bisley and innocent wife Winchester (who tends to the sick man) into the mess. Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Thompson’s former colleague whom he tries to contact after his escape.

A nice try but this 1980 Ian Barry (a man with much TV experience in his first film directing gig) mixture of nuclear-thriller and “Mad Max”

Review: Smiley Gets a Gun

Keith Calvert is the well-meaning young tearaway of the title, who along with his ‘cobber’ Joey (Bruce Archer) is prone to causing all sorts of mischief, albeit unintentional. The constantly flustered local police sergeant (who else but Chips Rafferty?) comes up with a plan to teach the kid some responsibility. If he can commit a responsible act, he’ll chop a ‘nick’ into a tree with an axe, and if he gets enough ‘nicks’, he can have himself the rifle he’s been eyeing off from the sergeant’s office. But if he fouls up, away those ‘nicks’ will go and it’s back to square one. Sybil Thorndike plays crotchety, hermit-like local resident Granny McKinley, whom the boy starts to befriend, despite rumours of her being a witch. The cast is rounded out by Guy Doleman (whom you’ll recognise from countless British films including the Bond outing “Thunderball”) as a visiting journo, an amusing and youngish Ruth Cracknell (One of the genuine treasures of the Aussie acting world) as a humourless chur…