ABC Film Challenge – Action – Z – Zone Troopers (1985)

Director: Danny Bilson

Writer: Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo (Screenplay)

Starring: Tim Thomerson, Timothy Van Patten, Art LaFleur, Biff Manard, William Paulson, peter Boom

 

Plot: In Italy, during World War II some American soldiers find an alien UFO.


Tagline – They Take War To A New Dimension.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dated Cheesy B-Movie

 

Story: Zone Troopers starts by following an America troop in Italy during World War II, The Sarge (Thomerson) leads his men including Joey (Van Patten), Mittens (LaFleur) and new solider Dolan (Manard). The four men find themselves standard behind enemy lines.

Preparing their own escape, they learn that the German’s are not the only threat in the woods as they discover an alien ship with aliens running around the woods too.

 

Thoughts on Zone Troopers

 

Characters – The Sarge is the leader of the soldiers, he doesn’t make friends in the troop because of how many people he has lost before, he just wants to get his men home even if Dolan makes everything more difficult. Joey is the naïve member of the squad the youngster, but also the wheeler and dealer in search for the quick solution. Mittens is the tough member of the squad he will keep everything simple while doing the smarter decisions. Dolan is the newest member of the squad, which will see him try to get the story as he is a reporter.

PerformancesThe performances from the four leads play into the generic figures you would expect to see in any movie set during the war time, the actors do the best with what they get without making their characters feel like they need to standout.

StoryThe story follows four American soldiers that get caught behind enemy lines only to learn the Germans are investigating a spaceship that has crashed, the Americans and aliens team up to escape the situation, defeat the Germans for today. This is a simple story of how the Americans will be looking win the war against the Germany villains, easy enough formula just adding aliens into the mix. The story isn’t the deepest and doesn’t offer too much refreshing, only to easy to follow.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action involved in the film is all war based bullet flying without being that anything overly realistic, which does mix in with the sci-fi side of the film with the aliens being laser weapons in the action too.

SettingsThe film is set in the woods which shows the lower budget behind the film, it does show the war can put people into a situation they don’t know how to get out off.


Scene of the Movie –
The laser guns, cheesy as they come.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It hasn’t dated well.

Final ThoughtsThis is one hell of a cheesy fun action film that can just be enjoyed rather than studied.

 

Overall: Cheesy actioner.

Rating

 

 

Near Dark (1987)

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Writer: Kathryn Bigelow, Eric Red (Screenplay)

Starring: Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein, Tim Thomerson

 

Plot: A small-town farmer’s son reluctantly joins a traveling group of vampires after he is turned by a beautiful drifter.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Underrated Vampire Film

 

Story: Near Dark starts as young country man Caleb (Pasdar) meets a beautiful woman Mae (Wright) one night and after spending the night seeing different locations Mae leaves Caleb with a strong hicky.

What Caleb discovers is that Mae is in fact a vampire and she has turned him into on too, joining her group of vampires including Jesse (Henriksen), Severen (Paxton), Diamondback (Goldstein) and Homer (Miller) he finds himself drawn into a world of crime while his family worry about him.

As the group travels around America at night Caleb needs to prove his worth to the group and learn to kill but when he doesn’t he must fight to survive against the vampire while learning the cure for this new disease.

 

Thoughts on Near Dark

 

Characters/PerformanceCaleb is just an everyday small town American young man who spends his nights looking to meet women and this time he meets a woman that will change his life, one that will turn him into a vampire as he must learn to adjust to this new life. Mae is the woman that attracts Caleb who does want out of this life or at least have someone else by her side. Jesse controls the group keeping them all in order not wanting to carry any dead weight. Severen is the character you will remember most because he is over the top and enjoys the kills.

Performance wise, Adrian Pasdar is fine but you can see he isn’t going to make it as a charismatic leading actor, Jenny Wright is also fine but doesn’t pull us into the whole stunning beautiful leading lay, with Lance Henriksen doing what you all know he can, be a good villain. Bill Paxton is the star of the show as we do remember nearly everything he does through the film.

StoryThe story follows one man as he is turned into a vampire as he needs to learn to kill to survive while on the run with a villainous group of vampires. This takes a new approach the vampire genre showing the family feel to a group, a new look at the transformation and even introducing the idea of a full cure. I like this and believe it is fresh feeling to the vampire genre.

Action/Crime/HorrorThe action is very simple and what we have come to expect, with the crime side of the story being how the vampires hunt feels very criminal in style with the horror being with what happens to the vampires meet sunlight.

SettingsThe settings make this feel like a western in places as the group travel from town to town hunting.

Special EffectsThe effects are all practical and they all look great when it comes to how the vampires are being affected by the sunlight.

Final ThoughtsThis may well not be the first film that comes to mind when you think vampires but when you look at the greats this doesn’t come too far off being on their level.

 

Overall: Enjoyable, gritty and dark vampire thriller.

Rating

 

 

Asylum of Darkness (2017)

Director: Jay Woelfel

Writer: Jay Woelfel (Screenplay)

Starring: Tim Thomerson, Richard Hatch, Tiffany Shepis, Amanda Howell, Scott Summitt, Nick Baldasare

 

Plot: After awakening in a mental asylum, a patient plans an escape to freedom, but finds an even more disturbing, supernatural world on the outside, one that threatens to keep him trapped in madness forever.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slightly Too Confusing

 

Story: Asylum of Darkness starts as we meet Dwight (Baldasare) a patient inside the mental asylum who doesn’t believe he needs to be there. When he goes on his own mission to escape he discovers the cryptic truth from fellow patient Van Gogh (Jones Jr) which shows us not everything is as simple as it seems.

Once escaped Dwight finds himself meeting more faceless people before seeking shelter in a house of a man involved in a car crash, only his wife Ellen (Howell) knows who he is as it seems like he has swapped places with a famous author.

The longer Dwight keeps his new life the more Dr Shaker (Hatch) arrives to haunt him as Dwight finds people trying to take over this new body.

 

Thoughts on Asylum of Darkness

 

Characters/PerformanceDwight is in a mental asylum patient that is trying to escape only to find himself living someone else’s life, leading to him to question everything in the world he is now living in. Dr Shaker is treating Dwight and continues to follow him after his escape from the asylum. The rest of the characters all add to the puzzle going on through the film.

Performance wise, Nick does a solid job in this role having to be in nearly every scene with Richard Hatch doing a good job as the doctor who keeps appearing.

StoryWhen it comes to the story we must look at things in two ways, the first is that this does keep us guessing to what is actually going on, but this is also the flaw because it becomes difficult to keep up with each twist going on. While it is great to have a story that keeps you guessing and guessing I do feel this one is slightly too much at times.

HorrorThere are good horror moments but it would be fair to say that nothing comes off very scary just a lot of good practical gore effects.

SettingsEach setting is used to add to the mystery for Dwight to go through but they also add to moments of confusion in the story.

Special EffectsThe practical effects are all good gore based horror but when the film turns to CGI not everything looks as good.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror that will keep you thinking from start to finish even if it is too often in places, the biggest problem I had with this film was the use of Dance Macabre by Camille Saint-Saens as it was used on my favourite comic mystery show Jonathan Creek, this made it difficult for me to take everything serious.

 

Overall: Solid horror that you will need to give your full attention.

Rating