Saturday, December 27, 2014

Claus for Reflection & Happy SF New Year

Hope everyone's holidays are going well.  I got busy as Christmas got closer.  I don't have a lot of gifts and such to buy, but still I was getting over a headcold, which finally has subsided, but also just going to the store, doing chores around the house, and so forth kept me busy.  Yesterday was sunny so I got out and enjoyed the sun, did some chores, and I'm glad I did as already we are starting to get rain again, and the weather is supposed to get colder.  Oh well, I guess that's winter.

As I was outside one day last week, I noticed that someone had thrown an old tire into a drainage ditch in front of my house.  The ditch has water in it that allows it to drain off into a lake nearby, and I didn't want the tire to prohibit that, so...on the one sunny day, I put on some rubber boots, and get into the ditch to drag it out.  Ok, honesty time:  I HATE LITTERBUGS!  It's one thing to find a styrofoam cups, plastic Coke bottles, beer bottles, empty twelve pack beer cartons, and any manner of debris along side of my house.  I certainly don't like it either, and I certainly don't understand this Neanderthal, moronic behavior, but I have to clean up after these cretins, or allow the garbage to build up and collect.  What makes matters worse is, my house is right by a stop light, so whenever a litterbug pinhead stops at the light, they feel obligated to throw out everything in their car that they've accumulated for the past week right there.  Like I said, it's a big pet peeve, and I don't understand the behavior at all.  I mean, why not leave it in your car until you get home, and THEN you can dispose of it properly?  I guess it makes too much sense  for the people that have common sense, civic minded, etc., but for people that are braindead, it never occurs to them or THEY JUST DON"T FREAKIN' CARE.

And seriously, small garbage is one thing, and a huge annoyance, but seriously, A BIG FUCKING SNOW TIRE?  I know that didn't just fall out of the back of someone's truck.  Someone had to actually heave that out of their truck into the ditch.  It was bigger than a normal car or truck tire, along the lines of a snow tire or it was one of those tires that goes on one of those stupid redneck trucks you see driving around all jacked-up, getting 3 mpg, just because...these hillbillies can't increase their carbon footprint big enough.  Not only that, they have to foist their idiotic world upon the decent world at large.  Guess you are feeling my anger here...  It is this sort of nonsense that cause me to think the world is going to Hell in a hand basket, and you know what, we deserve it.  I took a psychology class in college one time, and early in the course the teacher told the class in one of his lectures, "Man is basically evil."   I thought, wow, man, that's harsh.  But the older I get, the more I feel that way.  I try to be a positive person too at times, but man it's hard.   I just don't understand some people's behavior.  It totally alludes me unless it just falls under, lazy and stupid.  End of rant.
Anyway since we've had our share of cold weather and I've had a headcold, I have caught a bunch of movies here and there.  Maybe I'll write more about some of them in some future posts.  The other night I caught the above movie off Youtube, so if it interest you, you can catch it there.  I seem to remember seeing it on HBO or Showtime a long time ago. It's odd to think that I would have caught it on one of those paid channels, but I know I didn't pay to rent it and I believe I saw it before the Syfy Channel was on TV, so that's about the only place I can imagine I may have seen it.  Hard to imagine, but yeah.

Imagine you have settled in to watch something called “Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn.” Such a scenario may be difficult for you to conceive, but humor me here. Knowing nothing else about the film, what one thing would you expect to be featured in “Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn”? The destruction of Jared-Syn, right? You would assume that at some point in “Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn,” someone or something called Jared-Syn will be destroyed. You would allow for the possibility that this destruction will be metaphorical rather than physical — maybe Jared-Syn will only be destroyed emotionally, or financially — but you’d be disappointed if the movie were to end with Jared-Syn still undestroyed.

Well, you’d better put on your disappointment pants then, because “Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn” intends to fill them — fill them with load after load of chunky, steaming disappointment. Whatever you’d want a movie like this to do, it doesn’t do it. Exciting action? Nope! Likable hero? Forget it! Original story? Get out of here. The destruction of Jared-Syn? Don’t make me laugh. Not only is Jared-Syn not destroyed, he actually escapes. The movie is about a hero who fails to do the one thing promised by the title. (I can’t rule on whether the movie contains a “metalstorm,” because I don’t know what that is, but it probably doesn’t.)

The film is set in an Earth-like fantasy realm, or maybe it’s the actual Earth after the apocalypse. Either way, it’s the kind of world that’s composed only of desert, and there’s magic, and people wear a lot of leather and have names like Hurok and Zax. The guy who is in the place in the story where the hero would be is Dogen. (Not too many heroes named Dogen.) Anyway Dogen (Jeffrey Byron), a hunky warrior with noble values and negligible charisma. When we meet him, he’s driving his laser-beam-equipped tank in the desert when he’s attacked by a small armored aircraft, which he eventually outmaneuvers so that it smashes into the side of a cliff. This serves as an indicator of how the rest of the movie will go: Dogen will be attacked at random intervals by anonymous opponents for unexplained reasons, and he will defeat them by making them drive into or over a cliff.

 Meanwhile, a lovely young woman named Dhyana (Kelly Preston) is helping her father mine for crystals in a cave. They find a big one, and then some guys come along and smash the crystal and kill the father. The main bad guy has a robot arm, but he doesn’t use it to do anything cool. (This is where the disappointment starts--well, actually it started long before this.) He doesn’t even kill the crystal-miner with it! For that he uses a special red crystal, which he holds against the man’s neck, and somehow it kills him, apparently. You know a movie’s bad when it can’t even murder someone coherently. I mean, if there’s ONE thing movies are good at…

So along comes Dogen, all Boy Scout-like, and he’s going to help Dhyana avenge her father’s death, yada yada. Robot-arm was named Baal (R. David Smith), and he’s the son of a fearsome villain named Jared-Syn (Mike Preston) who’s been stirring up the local nomadic tribes. Over at Jared-Syn headquarters (a different cave somewhere else in the desert), we learn that he is, unsurprisingly, campy and vaguely British, this being the standard for villains in cheap ’80s movies. He has a cigar box full of those special red crystals, which it turns out don’t “kill” people, exactly; they just take their souls, which are then transferred to a phone-booth-sized crystal that serves as the soul repository. Why Jared-Syn wants all these souls is not explained particularly well — what, you need a reason to collect souls in a big rock?? — but the gist is that somehow they’ll help him unleash the power of something, and he can enslave the locals and rule the world, or whatever, yada yada.

Dogen and Dhyana embark on their mission, being careful in their interactions to avoid anything like “banter” or “chemistry.” They drive Dogen’s armored SUV and are pursued by two other armored SUV’s, one of which goes over a cliff. The other contains Baal, who shoots Dogen with green ooze and scampers away. The reason he doesn’t just kill Dogen is [think of funny reason to put here since the movie didn't offer one]. But the green ooze makes Dogen pass out and have a vision where Jared-Syn threatens to take Dhyana away from him. When Dogen wakes up, Jared-Syn immediately teleports Dhyana away from him. Jared-Syn is a man of his word. Also, Jared-Syn can teleport people, I guess. Now Dhyana is in his clutches. The reason he doesn’t also teleport Dogen and get this over with is [think of funny reason to put here]

So: what we thought was going to be the story of a warrior helping his feisty love interest avenge her father’s death is now the story of a warrior having to do all the work himself AND rescue the love interest on top of it. Dogen’s day went from “No plans” to “Sure, I’ll help you out because you’re pretty” to “Oh, what, now this is MY problem??” This is why you should never stop to help people in the desert.

 Jared-Syn’s lair is in a legendary lost city, and the only person who knows how to find the lost city is an ex-soldier named Rhodes (Tim Thomerson) who’s now a full-time alcoholic. It’s possible the movie told us why Rhodes would have this information, but not likely. When Dogen finds him and explains the quest, Rhodes refuses to help him because it’s too dangerous and the lost city is probably just a myth. But after a couple minutes he changes his mind and goes anyway. Why? Because we’re at the part of the story where he has to change his mind and go anyway.

So: our lone warrior has a partner again, only instead of an ineffectual blonde who brings nothing to the table it’s a cowardly drunk who brings nothing to the table.

They travel. They walk through sand. They have slow gun fights with enemies, and languid conversations with each other--more so than with the blonde, which is weird. They’re captured by a group of cyclops people — well, people whose right eyes are covered up by makeup — who say they’re trespassing on their land (which they are), and the cyclops leader, the mighty warrior Hurok (Richard Moll), agrees to let Dogen fight him for their freedom. He is very confident that Dogen cannot defeat him, so he’s pretty surprised when Dogen immediately defeats him.

Some more tanks chase Dogen and Rhodes, and some more of them drive over cliffs. Whether out of financial necessity or misguided charity, Jared-Syn hires only the worst drivers in the land. Rhodes is wounded by a henchman and can’t go any further, but Dogen is able to find Jared-Syn’s lair by following the trail of blood left by an injured Baal. So: Rhodes is never helpful even one time, and Baal leads Dogen right to his dad.

There’s a final showdown, sort of, and Jared-Syn gets to scream, “I have the power of the crystal!” That’s definitely the kind of thing you expect to hear screamed by a villain in a movie like this, so I guess that’s one instance of the movie not being disappointing. GOOD JOB, MOVIE! But then Jared-Syn runs away like a chicken, hops on his space-bike, and teleports into another dimension or something. “He tapped into the master crystal and created some sort of energy tunnel” is how the movie explains it, if that helps you understand any better. And thus ends “Metalstorm: The Promised Destruction, But Actually Just the Escape, of Jared-Syn.”

Whew, they don't make 'em like that anymore--well, actually they do, just with a bigger budget.  But that's another topic entirely.  Have a happy, healthy New Year.  


At 11:29 AM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

Thanks for the warning. Perhaps “inappropriately titled movies” would make an interesting list. It could include “She-Wolf of London” (1946) in which there is no she-wolf, “The Lusty Men” (1952) in which the men ride rodeo horses but keep to themselves whatever lust they might have, and “Reservoir Dogs” in which there are no dogs around any reservoir.

As for litter, what I find mysterious is the occasional water or soda bottle that appears on my property 100 feet from the road. If it were a beer bottle I could understand (not approve, but understand). Some teen could toss it from a passing car; momentum would carry it the distance. But empty plastic Poland Spring bottles are so light and have such air resistance that one would think even a major league baseball pitcher should have trouble tossing one 100 feet.

At 8:20 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

I think you have something there Richard. I watched a documentary recently called, Rewind This! which was about the old days of VCRs. People still collect them today, sort of like people still collect old 8-track. Anyway one of the guys had one of the oddest classification methods. One of the smaller sections he had was death by defecation--they were a couple of old cheesy horror tapes he'd found. However, I think more could be found for inappropriately title and nonsensical titled movies. They still make them today for that matter. The last one I heard commented on was when Roger Ebert review the movie, Witchboard. One of his comments was, "What is a witchboard anyway?" You're right too about the ones you mentioned.

As far as mysterious litter, one very odd phenomena I've noticed is: You always see one shoe by the side of the road, always just one. What happened to the other one, and why would someone throw out a shoe anyway?

At 9:47 AM, Blogger Roman J. Martel said...

Ah yes, "Metalstorm" one of those movies that just... well it just kinda stinks all the way around. I remember seeing the cover at the video store and it sounded sooooo cooool. But alas, it was not to be. One of the things that explains the villain with the extending arm and the long sequences of POV driving scenes was that this film was in in 3D! So, that explains something... not much.

In any case, its a dull movie, even for a bad one. Not much to make fun of and not much to enjoy. And it has Tim Thomerson in it, and he's a dependable B movie actor. He's great in the "Trancers" films and is having a blast as "Dollman". So they really wasted him in this one.

Anyway, bad movie all the way around.

At 7:42 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

I hate to admit it Roman, but I enjoyed it on some level. Could be I was sick somewhat when I watched it--so I was a bit of a captive audience, and it might be possible that the Nyquil high helped heightened the experience? (Queue Jimi Hendrix music...)

But also it was steeped in the VHS era, when you'd walk into a video store and explore things, trying to find something cool. I'll agree though, it's one of those movies where you scratch your head and go "How did this get made?"

At 5:17 AM, Blogger SFF said...

Gosh I missed this one El Vox and I really loved your garbage commentary.

I am so right there with you. I HATE IT!

I don't even take bags when I go to the store to buy stuff. I try very hard to do my part always.

But very funny and loved your conclusion to the movie review. Ha. "just bigger budgets." That's for sure. Plenty of them and many of them mainstream hits. Garbage too, speaking of it. Ha

At 11:22 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

Yes, SFF, actually I didn't mean to string those two associated garbage thoughts together, but it does work. I guess plenty of garbage to go around, eh? I can't stand litterbugs though. You probably won't believe this, but I was coming in from a walk around the block the other day getting some fresh air, and lo and behold what did I see??

There was this truck hauling ass down the highway, and (over)loaded to the gills with spare tires!!! That had to be where that one tire came from. I wish I could have gotten the truck tag and make for reference in case that ever happens again. Evidently these jerks overload their trucks due to cost, but they are creating a nuisance. That said though I couldn't believe the irony in it. And like Steve Martin has said, we don't get a lot of irony around here much.


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