Thursday, August 31, 2017

Podcast: China O'Brien (1990)

Your Stupid Minds finishes out the Cynthia Rothrock series with one of her most beloved films: China O’Brien! No, it isn’t the story an Asian Irish fusion restaurant with sesame fish and chips and black and white rice pudding. It’s a kick-ass karate film in the style of Road House and Walking Tall.

After city police officer China (Rothrock) is not punished for committing a justifiable homicide in self defense after an alley karate fight, she returns to her unnamed home town to pick up her decade-old high school relationship with Matt (Richard Norton) and visit her family. Her father is the town sheriff battling systemic corruption, prostitution, and crime. After he dies in a fiery car bomb explosion, China runs for sheriff and roundhouse kicks the corruption out of town.

Some Notes:
  • Apparently the parade scene was shot at an actual parade, which would explain the shoddy footage better than we did.
  • Directed by Robert Clouse, who also made Enter the Dragon, Game of Death, and Gymkata.
  • China O'Brien II immediately followed the release of this film. We haven't seen it.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Podcast: Mercenaries (2014)

Direct download.

Your Stupid Minds continues its ad hoc Cynthia Rothrock series with 2014’s Mercenaries in which she barely appears!

A team of four incarcerated women (Zoë Bell, Kristanna Loken, Vivica A. Fox and Nicole Bilderback) are forced to save the president’s daughter from a crazed female terrorist (Brigitte Nielsen) an an Expendables-style mission at the behest of CIA agent Mona (Cynthia Rothrock). They travel to some middle Asian country (that looks nothing like Southern California) and ingratiate themselves using their feminine wiles in order to kick butt and save the day.

Some Notes:

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Podcast: Above the Law (Righting Wrongs) (1986)

Your Stupid Minds returns to one of its most-frequently used tags: martial arts! Join us, gentle listener, won't you (© Karina Longworth), as we travel to the world that was Hong Kong cinema in the 1980's, as brought to us by director Corey Yuen (DOA: Dead or Alive, this amazing JCVD Russian kickboxer fight, The Transporter), featuring our first but not last film featuring Cynthia Rothrock!

When attorney and martial arts expert Jason Chan's (Biao Yuen) legal mentor is gunned down by a cadre of elite assassins, he's annoyed. But when a state witness and his children are brutally exploded by an unnamed "Black Assassin" (kickboxer Peter Cunningham), enough is enough and it's time to start brutally murdering gangsters by kicking and/or choking them with your feet until they're dead! The murder of one crime boss brings Chan into the orbit of inspector Cindy Si (Rothrock), a no-nonsense cop who will kick everyone in Hong Kong to get to the truth.

But Chan's revenge scheme is interrupted when the gangster is killed by a bigger evil: a corrupt police commissioner who is secretly the top crime boss of the city (played with gusto by Melvin Wong). Can Chan prove the commissioner's guilt before he gets karate kicked by Cynthia Rothrock or kickboxed to death by an evil Ernie Hudson? Watch the movie to find out! If you couldn't tell from this plot description, this movie rules.

Notable Notes:
  • Rothrock was discovered as a 7th degree black-belt on Ernie Reyes Sr.'s (the father of the Surf Ninja and Red Sonja child) traveling karate team, when she was brought to Hong Kong to work as an action star despite speaking no Chinese. Her performance was dubbed into Chinese, then re-dubbed back into English for the Western cut. She starred in multiple Hong Kong films before crossing over into an American release with China O'Brien in 1988.
  • Karen Sheperd, the assassin who fights Rothrock in the clip above, was a real-life karate forms champion, defeating Rothrock in actual competition in 1981. Maybe that real-life victory caused her to complain about her character losing a fight to Rothrock in a fictional movie, forcing re-shoots to cut around her refusal to take a professional wrestling-style loss. Inexplicably, Vin Diesel still does this in the 2010s, despite never having won any karate championships.
  • Peter "Sugarfoot" Cunningham had an undefeated record in kickboxing: could he defeat self-proclaimed undefeated kickboxer Harold Diamond, co-star of Hard Ticket to Hawaii? We think he probably could.
  • Multiple cuts of the movie exist: Nick rented a VHS copy missing about 14 minutes of material, and the DVD copy I acquired is missing about 3-4 minutes. Presumably the missing footage is a re-shot ending, while the VHS is likely missing footage of brutal violence, including children being exploded and old men being strangled to death.
  • Melvin Wong trained for his role as the big bad by working out with Bruce Lee pal Bolo Yeung, the dude best known to western audiences for playing the enormous Bloodsport villain and looking generally amazing for a guy in his mid-40s.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Podcast: Look Who's Talking Now (1993)

Direct download.

Trigger Warning: Even though no children should ever listen to this podcast, there is a sequence where we talk at length and repeatedly about the 100% irrefutable fact that Santa Claus is not real. If you are an irresponsible parent whose children can listen to profanity-laced podcasts yet still hold onto the worldwide delusion as to the existence of a fat man who breaks into your house and gives you presents, you have been warned.

Your Stupid Minds covers the third and therefore best entry in the Look Who’s Talking franchise, Look Who’s Talking Now! Released and taking place three years since the last movie, James (John Travolta) and Mollie Ubriacco (Kirstie Alley) return to their iconic roles. This time Mikey (David Gallagher, a.k.a Simon From 7th Heaven) and Julie (Tabitha Lupien) are older and have their own voices, but guess who can talk? The dogs! And no other kinds of animals! Danny Devito and Diane Keaton come on as Rocks the mutt and Daphne the prissy poodle, respectively.

With Mollie recently out of a job and James getting a new high-flying gig with a sexy female boss (Lysette Anthony), will their marriage hold together? Considering James shows absolutely no interest in this wealthy British adulteress, yes! But also they get two new dogs and they can talk (to each other) and boy do they not get along until later when they do! Also a little girl schools Charles Barkley on the bball court during a dream sequence. Believe it or not this movie did not make much money.

Some Notes:

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Podcast: God's Not Dead 2

Direct download.

This time around Your Stupid Minds delves into the scary alternate universe science fiction dystopia in Pure Flix’s God’s Not Dead 2. Producer and "Pastor Dave" David A.R. White returns with an all-star cast that dwarfs the middling '90s television actors of the first film (Dean Cain, Kevin Sorbo), with some people who can actually act.

Grace Wesley (Melissa Joan Hart) is a saintly Christian high school history teacher who gets into hot water for answering a direct question about Jesus in her AP U.S. History class. Evil atheist ACLU lawyer Peter Kane (Ray Wise) descends on the small Arkansas town to prove once and for all that God is dead (by proving the existence of the Establishment Clause). Can the Crusaders for good defend this attack on religion? Is Pat Boone Melissa Joan Hart’s dad or husband? Did any of the filmmakers actually talk to a lawyer before writing this? Will any more minorities be slapped in the face by overbearing anti-Christian fathers in God’s Not Dead 3? Only time will tell.

Some Notes:

  • According to the ACLU website, "[t]he history of religion, comparative religion, the Bible (or other scripture)-as-literature (either as a separate course or within some other existing course), are all permissible public school subjects. It is both permissible and desirable to teach objectively about the role of religion in the history of the United States and other countries. One can teach that the Pilgrims came to this country with a particular religious vision, that Catholics and others have been subject to persecution or that many of those participating in the abolitionist, women's suffrage and civil rights movements had religious motivations."
  • According to Thomas Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists: "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State" (emphasis mine).
  • According to the Pew Research Center, 70.6% of Americans identify as Christian, with a whopping 25.4% identifying as Evangelical Protestant.
  • Apologies for all of the political stuff. We promise to do an episode about a talking dog or something soon.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Podcast: Alone in the Dark (2005)

Direct download.

Bad movie expert Nathan Smith returns to the podcast with another Uwe Boll masterpiece, his sophomore entry into his mid 2000s video game trilogy (I know he’s done more but House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark, and BloodRayne are the gold standard) Alone in the Dark!

For reason reason I could only find the full trailer in German.

Based on a computer game no one’s played, this one features Christian Slater as a globetrotting paranormal investigator, Tara Reid as an archeologist and expert in fictional ancient languages, and Stephen Dorff as the head of Bureau 713, a secret government organization that seeks to protect the world from paranormal dangers. An evil old man tries to unlock monsters from the legend of the ancient Mayan-like civilization the Abkani, and it’s up to the team to stop him. Or open it before him? It isn’t entirely clear.

Some Notes:

  • A great Something Awful piece from the initial screenwriter of Alone in the Dark who quit the project.
  • Even though Christian Slater says his name in the movie, the security guard is only known as "Guard" in the credits.
  • Who's a bigger star? Jürgen Prochnow (Das Boot, Dune) or Clint Howard (Apollo 13, Santa with Muscles)?
  • Ho-Sung Pak, who plays Liu Kang in the video games for Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat II, is also Agent Marko in Alone in the Dark. Marko dies when he falls into a pit of spikes.
  • The full chorus lyrics for the hit song "I Wish I Had a Hoagie" by Nightlunch:
    • I wish I had a hoagie
      For one moment of lunch
      I wish I had your hoagie
      Your pastrami on a bun
      I'm in love with my crust
      Burning toast it is a must
      I wish I had your hoagie tonight

Friday, May 12, 2017

Podcast: Double Trouble (1992)

 Direct download.

The Barbarian Twins Peter and Paul David (from The Barbarians) return to the podcast. Instead of a Conan the Barbarian ripoff that showcases the fact they’re two buff twins, they’re now in a buddy cop comedy that showcases the fact they’re two buff twins.

Peter Jade (Peter Paul) and David Jade (David Paul) are two buff twins whose life paths have diverged. David is a cop in an LA Raiders children’s sweatshirt and mom jeans, while Peter is a slick suit-wearing cat burglar. Despite their estrangement, they apparently still coordinate on workout regimens and mullet hairstyles, but that’s another story.

When Peter steals diamonds and a secret key code for a diamond vault, all-around super-villain Philip Chamberlain (Roddy McDowell) is out for blood. To solve the case, the two brothers must team up and stop the heist before it comes to fruition. Also David Carradine is in one scene.

I couldn't find a trailer so here's the entire movie.

Some Notes:
  • Story by groundbreaking auteur Kurt Wimmer (Equilibrium, Ultraviolet, One Tough Bastard).
  • If you know the best way to flip an airplane without snapping the wings off please write a WikiHow entry for it.
  • Fun Fact: The Raiders were in Los Angeles before moving to Oakland.
  • Fun Fact: Satellite dishes used to be bigger.
  • Star Trek's James Doohan appears as the sitting police chief in the film, both status-wise and literally.