Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Wrestling fans were saddened this past summer with the passing of “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. A master of the microphone, Piper was one of the best bad guys in professional wrestling, offering commentary and challenges that resulted in battles with the likes of Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. The fact is movie fans noted his passing as well having grown fond of Piper in movies like BODY SLAM, HELL COMES TO FROGTOWN and the John Carpenter classic THEY LIVE. Digital Views readers know that Piper also wrote a graphic novel, ROWDY RODDY PIPER MONSTER KILLER, which came out this past year. To commemorate the man and the legend, Digital Views and The Decatur Daily Democrat are offering you a chance to win a Roddy Piper “Hot Rod” design T-shirt for free, size adult xlrg. We’ll hold a drawing for the winner of the names entered by November 7th. Just email your name, address and phone number with the subject “Piper” to firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner will be contacted to pick up their prize at The Decatur Daily Democrat so I'm sorry to say that entries must live in the Decatur area or be willing to drive here to collect your prize.
There have been revenge films since movie began being made. Perhaps the most famous of these was DEATH WISH, the Charles Bronson starring film that had him taking out street thugs to the cheers of movie goers who were tired of being victims of crime. With FINAL GIRL we get a twist on the revenge film nearing what was accomplished in OLDBOY.
The film opens with young Veronica being questioned by William (Wes Bentley). Her parents have just died and she seems nonplussed by that fact. With each question William gets to know more about the mind of Veronica and when he finds her suitable for his needs he offers to take care of her from now on. What that need is is to create a perfect assassin, a weapon that can take out his revenge on those responsible for the death of his wife and daughter.
Twelve years pass and Veronica (Abigail Breslin) is now grown. We witness her training at the hands of William. A brutal task master when need be, he helps Veronica to learn how to cope with any and all obstacles that might come her way. He takes her shoes when she’s in the woods, he gives her a cocktail of drugs to prepare her for what it’s like to battle under duress and he shows her that a gun isn’t the way to handle things because bullets eventually run out. When he feels she is finally ready, the pair set out on their task.
The victims in mind are a predatory bunch. While we might question William’s moral sense early on it becomes apparent why he’s taking the route he has all these years. The group of young men he is about to turn Veronica loose on are serial killers. Four best friends with sociopathic qualities, this group of well-dressed killers will pick a young blonde, invite her to a party and then turn her lose in the forest while they track her down and kill her. While it’s never clearly stated one has to assume one of their victims was William’s daughter.
Veronica does some reconnaissance by talking to one of the young men’s girlfriend and understand then that these men have no sense of right and wrong, they are incapable of love and affection. There only joy comes from the pain and suffering they instill in others. She suggest the girl can do better and then preps for her confrontation.
It comes easily. The group’s ringleader Jameson (Alexander Ludwig) sees Veronica in the diner they frequent, an angelic vision with blonde hair in bright light, and approaches her. He casually and with an aristocratic air invites her to a party the next night. She accepts and the following night meets the rest of the group. Promising that others are on the way to meet them she goes along and finds herself in the forest with this group of tuxedo wearing young men. She knows what they are. They have no clue what they have gotten themselves into. Their night of “fun” will soon come face to face with William’s weapon of revenge.
To begin with no one should take this movie as a reality based film. It is a story plain and simple that is shot in such a way as to be more artistic than one would expect given the material being witnessed. While this could have fallen away into the B-movie category the performances by all involved and the style with which it is shot make it more than that. Directed by photographer Tyler Shields it becomes obvious early on that he has an eye for composition with his choices of light and dark, the framing of his movie in all scenes. It’s not that it’s overbearing but it take the lowbrow medium and elevates it.
What was nice to see in this film was the Shields didn’t resort to the least common denominator that most directors would, having the woman in question appear in various forms of undress before she took on her aggressors. Overused in films like the I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE series it carries no weight any longer and is just an exploitation device that no longer shocks as it once did. Instead he makes Veronica a very empowered young woman. And while after 12 years of training she has no problem killing someone there is also a moral base for her actions that is displayed in the comments and discussions she has with William. Viewers could find her a scary person to come into contact with but at the same time you can imagine her before a jury that would sympathize with her every move and vindicate her with a not guilty verdict.
The movie comes to DVD on the heels of Halloween and would make a great movie to watch on that night or any other. It doesn’t rely on blood or gore and tells an interesting story that’s done so well it might be worth additional viewings. I know it’s one I’ll add to my collection.
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Yes go ahead and sing it all the way through. You know it’s there, you may even be humming it. When you’re done go ahead and read.
The television series MISSION IMPOSSIBLE premiered back in 1966 and ran for seven years before calling it quits. It picked up again in the 80s for two seasons before leaving the air again. Eventually Brian DePalma came along and began the movie franchise for the series that continues to this day and deserves to keep going.
But back to 1966. The world was a different place. Dictators ran various countries, the Soviets and the US were not getting along, self-proclaimed generals ran roughshod over their people and America did little on the surface to counter all of them. Not always but for the most part. If you bought into this series, which most of us did, we sent in a team of undercover experts to save the day instead.
While most will think that actor Peter Graves as Mr. Phelps was there from the start the fact is for the first two seasons the team was brought together by the elusive Mr. Briggs played by Steven Hill. Each week Briggs (and later Phelps) would go to some seemingly innocent location, pick up or be given a device on which a message played for them offering them a mission and then that device would self-destruct. This would be followed by him then sitting down and tossing down dossiers on a table or desk as to who he chose to help on this week’s mission.
For the most part the cast remained consistent through the adventures. Barney Collier (Greg Morris) was the tech guy of the team. Willy Armitage (Peter Lupus) was the muscle. Roland Hand (Martin Landau) was an expert in disguise, a top actor. And rounding out the team was Cinnamon Carter (Barbara Bain) the beauty who was used to distract many a bad man. Occasionally another operative was tossed in with the group. Later in the series several members would leave to be replaced by actors like Leonard Nimoy, Lynda Day George and Lesley Ann Warren. But for most it was the initial team they remember.
As I said the show had them take on various dictators and rulers with world domination or destruction on their minds. Examples from the first season included a South American general who possessed nuclear missiles, trying to make the Soviets think one of their own turned traitor, rescuing an elderly yet politically active cardinal, stopping a prince from starting a war with a neighboring country, “unfixing” a corrupt election in another South American country, stopping a bacterial attack on our country, taking on an international drug dealer and more. And that’s just the first season!
The show continued on through 7 years and now that entire series has been collected into one group. I don’t mean to sound like a late night TV ad but this is a bargain for fans of the series. It’s been offered before in a special box set that looks like a powder keg in the $200 price range or just under. This new box set sells for far less, more near $80. For as much as you get that is a tremendous bargain. It comes in a box that holds three cases, two large and one smaller, holding the entire series of DVDs. If you’ve already collected the separate years then this won’t provide you with anything new. The same for those who bought the keg edition. But if you’ve held off then now is a chance to get the whole set in one affordable box that is well worth it.
I would have loved to have watched the entire series here before writing but with 10,000 minutes’ worth of shows to watch that was my own mission impossible. I know that this set will provide me with non-stop entertainment from disc to disc, each year with its own special episodes and enough enjoyment that time will move far too fast once I reach that last disc. If you’ve never seen the show you’re missing one of the greats from the sixties. If you loved the show this is the set to buy.
Click here to order.