The title character, a Gladiator who leads a slave revolt, is played by Kirk Douglas. Jean Simmons is his love interest, a household slave. They are both owned by Peter Ustinov, the token good Roman. Ustinov's gladiator farm is visited by the evil Crassus [Sir Laurence Olivier], who buys Ms Simmons and then forces Spartacus to duel to the death with the token black man, Woody Strode. This bloodshed encourages the Gladiators to revolt against the cruelty of their masters, with Spartacus as their leader.
Crassus heads to Rome, where he seeks to wrest power from the Senate. Tony Curtis [father of Jamie Lee Curtis ] is a Greek slave who flees from Crassus, and becomes Spartacus' closest friend.
Herbert Lom gets a brief appearance as a Phoenician pirate who tries to help the slave army escape from Italy. However, Crassus wields the Roman Legions - they close in on the slaves, and Crassus knows that if he is victorious he will be hailed as ruler of Rome ...
On her travels Barbarella encounters a number of strange characters. Marcel Marceau pops up, and John Philip Law [Golden Voyage of Sinbad] plays a blind angel called Pygar. They help her get into the city where she believes the scientist is hiding.
Anita Pallenburg is the babelicious Evil Queen of the city, and David Hemmings has a cameo as an incompetent revolutionary who is trying to overthrow her. Milo O'Shea [Theatre of Blood] is the Queen's evil vizier, who tries to execute Barbarella by sticking her in a pleasure-inducing machine!
The only crew on Saturn 3 are Kirk Douglas [Spartacus] and the babelicious Farrah Fawcett . The newcomer's arrival creates tension between the 2 lovers. Keitel tells Fawcett [with Scott's voice] the immortal line: You have a beautiful body. May I use it?
The script was written by Martin Amis , and is a retelling of Frankenstein's Monster. This kind of thing has been done before - and much better - by Isaac Asimov. Keitel's job is to build an experimental AI robot called Hector. The AI uses human brain tissue. This, of course, would be illegal on Earth - but in the secret, isolated research station it is worth the risk. However, because keitel is insane the robot is also psychotic!
The conundrum is this. With space flight at such an advanced level, with giant star-cruisers thundering overhead with their artificial gravity and their [experimental] biotechnology AI robots ... how the hell can the research station be so bloody isolated? Their only regular outside contact is Ed Bishop [U.F.O.], who flies past in a 2-man probe ship once every 6 months.
Angharad Rees plays a young woman in Edwardian London. She is overcome with strange trances in which she murders people for no reason. A doctor, studying the fledgeling field of psychology, secretly takes her under his care so that he can discover why she murders people. However, she manages to rack up quite a body-count.
Moira Kelly is a young woman who meets rebel leader Cuba Gooding Jnr [ Chill Factor ], and they have an interracial relationship. The only other notable cast member is African American Omar Epps.
They hide the alien from their mother, Dee Wallace Stone - so often cast as the archetypal mother figure. She played the mother in Cujo and Lassie, and acquits herself well here.
Peter Coyote [Southern Comfort] is a pre- X-Files Man in Black. The Feds are closing in on ET, who needs the boys to save him so he can go home ... ET is a Christ figure, not least because he can do magic. The climax is an escape on flying BMX bikes.
This film was written by Melissa Matheson [wife of Harrison Ford] and directed by Steven Spielberg . Yes, this is one of the BETTER Spielberg movies - corny, but nice. He uses his knack for visual story-telling to deliver a popular child-friendly feel-good follow-up to Close Encounters of the Third Kind , which was a relative flop.
The central character is Hector, who seems to be reincarnated through the years as Robin Williams. Along the course of his adventures, Williams bumps into a number of British actors, such as Robert Carlyle [ The World Is Not Enough ] and David Morrissey.
In one story Williams plays a Priest's Scottish pal. The priest is played by Vincent D'Onofrio [ Whole Wide World]
In another tale he is a Conquistador, shipwrecked with
The final tale shows him working in the US Property Market. William H. Macey [Fargo] plays his business partner, and Lorraine Bracco [Sopranos] is his ex-wife.
This time the hero is a young Scanner boy whose father is murdered. The boy is raised by a cop, and becomes a cop himself.
Richard Lynch [the villain in Galactica: 1980 ] plays a mad scientist who has perfected a method of brainwashing. He orders his victims to murder police officers ...
The Scanner Cop is asked by his foster-father [now the Head Cop] to investigate. He can read the victims minds, and thus see the nightmarish visions they see. Sometimes they relive real trauma [like robbery or war], but the ones with uneventful lives see SPFX-intensive monsters. How come they never realise that the alien demon is a halucination?
The Scanner Cop himself is overzealous and uncaring towards others - he slowly goes out of control, especially as his powers grow. These powers include
The main story is told in flashback to 1982. The hero is Dudley Moore, unhappily married to Kate Capshaw [Temple of Doom]. In a twist that seems to have inspired Small Soldiers 15 years later, the weapons designer also creates toys for his kids. This comes in handy at the end!
George Dzunda is Moore's cheery sidekick, while Helen Shaver plays his babelicious boss.
The company they work for are government contractors, assigned to build a component for a new tank - the X-10 Annihilator. This is a typical military project - in other words, a lot of cost-cutting.
While Murphy takes the tank on manoeuvres in Kuwait, the country is invaded by its neighbour Iraq. Yes, this film predicts and pre-empts the Gulf War by 6 years!
Will Moore be able to fix his part of the tank in time to save Murphy?
Written by Lucas cronies Gloria Katz [Producer] and Willard Hyuck [Director].
Robert Englund [ V is back - and we even see him WITHOUT the make-up. Roseanne Barr [Roseanne] has a brief cameo.
When Freddy finally appears, he doesn't just disembowel the irritating teenagers. No, he starts to play up to the camera. The idea of Freddy Kreuger the serial killer has become so much of a joke that even the movie itself admits it.
Michael Pare [Streets of Fire] is an astronaut, on an asteroid-mining spacecraft. His wife is a Secret Agent of some kind, in a sinister Government department that uses VR torture on suspects. She is investigating a group of eco-Terrorists.
The first hour is incredibly slow going. However, it turns out that the terrorists have someone aboard the spacecraft - they are secretly altering its course for their own nefarious ends.
We do not see the survivor's face, so we do not know which of the characters it is until the end of the film.
The story is told in flashback. A Victorian scientist and his sidekick, Robert Powell, discover the secret of Eternal Life. A demon, the Asphyx, comes to take the victim's soul. However, the scientists can trap the Asphyx and thus prevent death - forever!
The first time they try it on a human they don't have enough people handy to trap the asphyx.
The second time, they use a gillotine; something that has no off switch!
As one of the characters in an ancient Greek myth learned, eternal life is not the same thing as eternal youth.
The local witch-woman turns up, and uses her Magicks. The gnome is imprisoned for a thousand years, until a child's wish sets him free. Only a thousand years? And she gives him a get-out clause?
The well-directed brutality of the shoot-out contrasts sharply with the patheticly bad action scenes that make up the rest of the film.
The cop's widow buys the rock-elstilstkin at a Wiccan shop, and as you have probably guessed she makes a wish and inadvertently frees the gnome. The babe beats the hell out of him with a broom and a massive kitchen-knife.
The babe and her kid make a run for it, and the gnome chases them - first on a motorbike, then in a HGV tractor rig. Terminator did this so much better. Why the hell did they decide to ape a film that would always show up their inadequacies?
The babe teams up with a Jerry Springer-type TV personality, on his vacation. He speaks of his $5000 speedboat [very cheap] and says it took 2 years for him to afford it. What the hell kind of salary is he pulling in? As always in this kind of film, it explodes as if filled with barrels of petroleum!
The gnome's magical powers are not consistent throughout the film. Whenever it is deemed conventeint to the plot he can
The worst thing - well, ONE of the worst things - is the predictable ending. Everyone who knows the original fairy tale knows how to defeat him. This is even repeated by characters in the film. So why didn't she just do this at the start of the stupid film?
Marlowe tries the serum on himself, and uses the pseudonym Mr Blake so he can enjoy his decadence while his reputation is protected. Nobody realises that Blake and Marlowe are the same man - despite the fact that they are both clearly Christopher Lee!!!
Peter Cushing pops to as one of Lee's friends. Pity they could afford a couple of big stars but not much of a script.
We see things from the Minbari side - especially Delenn and her oposite number in the military caste.
We get a glimpse of Michael York, in the role he had in Season 3 of the show. We also see the young Ivanova [with a bowl cut] and Sheridan [with a crew-cut].
Dr Franklin makes his principled stand against the use of his work for NBC warfare - even though he knows the Minbari are determined to destroy the entire human race! He also teams up with Sheridan for a brief interlude. Nobody thinks to compare Franklin's attitude with Sheridan's more practical by any means necessary stance.
G'Kar and Londo both pop up to help the humans - and Kosh advises the Minbari to end the conflict.
Sheridan is the main hero, though Sinclair pops up at the Battle of the Line. The footage is taken from a previous episode, of course, but it fits in well.
The only down side? While this film gives a good account of the Space Fleet's actions, there is no sign of GROPOs like Garibaldi or Murdock from The A-Team.
A US city is terrorised by a serial killer called the family slasher. He is actually a TV repair man called Horace Pinker [Mitch Pileggi - Knight Rider 2000 X-Files ], some kind of satanist who communes with television demons. One of the killer's early victims is a cameo appearance by Heather Langenkamp [Nancy in Nightmare on Elm Street]
The movie's hero is the young Peter Berg [Last Seduction, Chicago Hope]. He gets a serious concussion on the practice field, and that night he witnesses Plinker murder more victims. Berg seems to be developing a psychic link with the killer. Anyhow, he leads the police to Plinker's hideout. Even though the cops have no evidence against him, Plinker doesn't talk his way out of it. No, he goes on a kill-crazy rampage!
Berg's name and photograph, and the full details of Berg's psychic vision, are not only released to the Press but made front-page news! It is revealed that Berg was adopted at age 7. It is later revealed that Berg had a Gart Ennis-style crappy childhood. The only reason he cannot recall it is because he incurred head trauma so severe he has permanent amnesia of his life before age 7. However, in this typically cliched film it is used as you killed my partner type motivation instead of as an opportunity to better explore Berg's character and his relationship with Pinker.
Pinker stalks his pursuer. However, the killer is eventually caught, and some time later [only a few months at most, it seems - though most prisoners last more than 5 years on Death Row] is executed.
But as you have probably guessed, there are complications. Pinker's soul escapes, with the ability to jump from body to body. However, these bodies still have the limp. The only weapon that can force Pinker out of the bodies he possesses is a magical necklace.
Pinker frames Berg for a series of copycat murders In the climax, Berg travels into TV-land and confronts his enemy. Pinker chases Berg through the sets of several TV shows, and news footage of the Vietnam war. And it gets worse. Berg uses a TV remote control to freeze-frame Plinker!
Interesting cameos include Ted Raimi and 1960s drug-culture guru Dr Timothy Leary.
Here Russell plays Jack Burton, a trucker. He winds up in San Francisco, where he gives a friend a lift to Chinatown. They run into a battle between 2 Tongs, which is interrupted by the 3 Storms - a trio of magical warriors who can fly, shoot electricity, are immune to bullets and wear wicker baskets on their heads.
Lo Pan [James Hong] is the archvillain, who was cursed with eternal life in 272 BCE. The only way to lift the curse is for him to marry a girl with green eyes, then sacrifice her. Unluckily for the heroes there are only 2 green-eyed babes in town - one is Gracie Law [ Kim Cattrall - Star Trek 6: Undiscovered Country] and the other is Burton's friend's fiance! And guess what? The fiance gets kidnapped and the heroes have to save her.
Lucky for the heroes, they have a wise man of their own who can lead them through the maze of tunnels beneath Chinatown. The climax is an action-packed kung-fu battle. Back in 1986 when this film was made, such scenes were only in Hong Kong movies. Carpenter brought Hong Kong action back to Hollywood
Some reviewers have called Russell's character unheroic. However, he is a fish out of water. He has no magic or kung-fu skills at all, never mind to the highly-advanced levels displayed by the villains.
The only interesting cameo is Jerry Hardin [ X-Files ] who pops up as a lawyer.
The AD Police are tasked with hi-tech crimes, especially those dealing with Boomers - the robots that proliferate in their society.
Our heroes are 4 babes - an AD cop, a pop star, a stockbroker and a rich bitch - a vigilante group called the Knight Sabers. The leader is smart enough to let her underlings do all they risky recon work; she only turns up in person when the battle starts, wearing her power-armour!
A group of robbers are using military-style power-armour suits. The suits are of a type believed to be used by a mercenary organisation called the Illegal Army. However, the mercs are now believed dead after a botched operaion financed by a Japanese Megacorp.
A Megacorp called the Zone Corporation is developing an AI system, and the experimental parts are what the robbers are targetting. The Megacorp calls in the vigilante babes - yes, a quartet of slappers go up against a hardened band of mercenary war-veterans!
Later, the villain sprays a laboratory with automatic fire, killing all the inhabitants without damaging the equipment!
Part 2: Geo Climber
The story concerns a new-type Boomer called Adama. He escapes from the bad-guys' clutches, and the babes must save him.
The villains' AI assassins can't differentiate between friend and foe. Why not use 1990s IFF transponders?
Part 3: Melt Down
Construction boomers go crazy, and start a Call-Me-Kenneth style Robot Rebellion.
This is the result of a virus - and whoever is behind the virus is responsible for stealing the AI unit!
The climax involves a cybernetic Godzilla - and the babes have to do a Star Wars 4: A New Hope style trench-run against it!!!
The school bullies are a gang of drug-dealing, gun-toting bikers! Luckily, the school wimp becomes some kind of toxic ... avenger?
This is just more of the same - less plot, cheaper SPFX - hell, you know what to expect.
Kylie Travis plays a former Police Negotiator whose car breaks down in the desert. She hitches a lift with redneck asshole James Belushi and his girlfriend, Shannon Whirry . However, at the nearest fuel stop Belushi bumps into his buddy M. Emmett Walsh. The result of their conversation is a bloody shootout, and Travis races across the desert where she just happens to find herself at Whaley's lab.
Whaley sends Travis back in time to sort the mess out - but every time she tries she just makes it worse.
They call in a 4-man Special Forces rescue unit - two of whom have shoulder-length hair, the leader chews an unlit cigar and the fourth is Nicholas Lea [Krychek in X-Files ].
They also bring in Dr Sheppard [Jan-Michael Vincent - Airwolf] whom the Project's current director blames for a previous disaster.
Soon a big rubber monster with big rubber teeth is drooling slime and chomping through lots of extras. Yes, this is a complete rip-off of the Alien films. The marines even have a LMG on a steadicam rig!
The creature moves through the air vents. Yes, that's right - this supposedly secure military base is completely vulnerable! Apart from the 4 mercenaries they have no guards available. The female scientist swops her white coat for a Steyr AUG assault rifle and a Linda Hamilton-style sweaty vest.
To get out they have to climb 500 METRES [!!!] up a lift shaft. That means they are over 1500 feet [or 150 storeys] underground!
The kids include Ami Dolenz, daughter of one of the Monkees, and Seth Green [ Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Spy Who Shagged Me ]. The token black kid is played by Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
This was written by the duo who went on to do the great Dark Skies and the not-so-great Mortal Kombat 2.
John Ritter and Pam Dawber [Mork and Mindy] play a married couple. Ritter signs a Mephistolean deal with Jeffrey Jones [Howard the Duck], who sells him a hi-tech television. Ritter and Dawber are sucked into the TV set, where they have to survive a series of TV shows where their characters are doomed to die. Inside the TV they bump into Eugene Levvy [American Pie], who explains the situation to them.
The film is also a nostalgia trip, digging up memories of early 1990s US TV shows like Northern Exposure and Wayne's World.
A big black satanic crow pops up regularly whenever someone is doomed. Just to add tension.
Leo McKern, last seen in Israel where he gave David Warner the daggers, is still digging up relics. He discovers a temple of the whore of Babylon - just before a big black satanic crow lands nearby.
Sequels tend to go bigger and better, and usually they fail. However, this one does not disappoint; they even out-do the decapitation scene from the first one!
The story is set aboard the starship Dark Star, whose mission is to travel through the galaxy and blow up unstable planets with AI nukes. The problem with AI nukes is, well, they have a mind of their own.
They go to the nearest doctor, who happens to be Rutger Hauer [ Blade Runner ]. In a nice piece of exposition he tells the wife that the island population's in-breeding somehow encouraged mutation. This is of course biologically impossible, but nobody bothered to tell the writers.
Strange things are afoot in the graveyard. The old coffins are being removed and re-buried on the mainland. However, the coffins are empty and one worker dies mysteriously. One young lady goes there alone at midnight to excavate a grave ...
In a scene that has no real relevance to the rest of the film, a woman discovers an albino dwarf thing that gets conveniently chopped into unrecognisable mincemeat by a boat's propellor.
This B-movie straight-to-video trash was co-written by SF veterans Dan O'Bannon and Ron Shusett. How the mighty have fallen!
Normally Bond films - especially Roger Moore ones - have nothing in common with the Fleming books beyond the title. Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker are both blatant remakes of You Only Live Twice, while View To A Kill is a rehash of Goldfinger. This film, however, embraces at least three.
The reason for the back-to-basics approach is simple. After Moonraker's OTT Star Wars rip-off, Bond had nowhere else to go. He had to return to his Cold War roots. And as a result this is one of Moore's best Bond outings.
The stereotypical villain lounging beside a pool, surrounded by a bevvy of babes scene is notable for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it is usually reserved for a major villain; here it is relegated to the domain of a minor villain. The other point is that one of the models hired for this scene was Caroline Tula Cossey, a transsexual who has appeared in Playboy several times.
The main female role of the film goes to Carole Bouquet - who is French, though the character she portrays [Melina] is Greek.
The supporting female role is played by ice-skater Lynn Holly Johnson . Although many do not find her performance to have depth, in this role she is far better than today's blonde ice-skating nypmhette, Sarah Michelle Gellar
Other familiar faces include
Examples of notable dialogue include:
As another note, there seems to be TONS of space inside the minisub.
Robert Davi [Die Hard] plays the villain, a Panamanian drug lord. Powers Booth wanted the role, which would have allowed him to reprise his performance in Extreme Prejudice. Talisa Soto [Mortal Kombat 2] is the gangster's moll. Carey Lowell is the top Bond girl, a tough-ass agent in her own right.
Benicio Del Toro [Usual Suspects] and Anthony Zerbe [Omega Man] play a couple of Davi's criminal associates.
Many people think this film flopped because the Drug Lord storyline could have come straight out of Miami Vice. However, Live and Let Die had a similar theme - and though it was not one of the better Bond films it has not been given the same disrespect as this film has.
This film, however much it is hated, is the closest to Ian Fleming's Bond. It embraces a number of Bond stories:
As well as the new MI6 staff, there is no more Felix Leiter. Instead we get Joe Don Baker, who previously worked with the director in the excellent Edge of Darkness and also played a villain in The Living Daylights.
The other Russian Scot, also following in Sean Connery's footsteps, is Alan Cummings (
) as Boris, an ultra-cool computer hacker.
Return to the September 2000 Special