ORBzine Movie Reviews November 2001 Special

Universal Soldier 2: Brothers In Arms

The film starts a week after the events of the first film. Reports of the SNAFU get to the Pentagon, and a shadowy figure voiced by Burt Reynolds with a terrible Oirish accent. He sends his henchman, Gary Busey ( Soldier ), to take charge of the situation.

Luc is back home with his parents, and somehow they are no longer cajuns in Louisiana. Instead, they are somewhere in midwest America. Busey's techs send out a signal that reactivates Luc's Unisol programming, so he takes a train across the Rockies to get to Chicago. He ends up at Unisol HQ, where he is reprogrammed as a drone soldier again.

The reporter babe follows, and breaks into the HQ. She discovers Luc's brother Eric, who was killed in Vietnam back when it was still a French colony! Back in 1959, after he had been dead for 16 days, the American doctors brought him back to life. Just like in the first film, the reporter babe goes on the run with a rogue unisol.

Because the Pentagon has cancelled the Unisol project, Busey is in search of new backers for the operation. Von Flores ( Earth: Final Conflict ) pops up as a terrorist in search of new weapons.

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  • Universal Soldier 3: Unfinished Business

    The film starts a week after the events of the second film. Reports of the SNAFU get to the Pentagon, and a shadowy figure voiced by Burt Reynolds with a terrible Oirish accent. Since his henchman, Gary Busey, is out of the picture he decides to take charge of the situation personally.

    Luc wants to go back home to his parents, but the bad guys know where he lives. He ends up on the run with the blonde babe, who is still wanted for murder.

    This time we get to see the villain put his plans into action. He does not just want to serve his country, he wants personal power. And he has more than Unisols at his disposal: he has Sleeper agents all around the USA.

    Von Flores ( Earth: Final Conflict ) has been brought back from the dead as a Unisol, and CCH Pounder pops up as a Unisol so we can see a girl-fight! However, Jerry Orbach's character from the original film is now played by a different actor.

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  • The Vikings

    Kirk Douglas ( Spartacus ) plays a Viking, son of Chieftain Ernest Borgnine ( The Black Hole ).

    Tony Curtis ( Black Shield of Falworth ) is their slave, who yearns to return to his native Northumbria. When Douglas kidnaps the beautiful English Princess Janet Leigh , Curtis sees his chance.

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  • Ring 2

    This is a direct sequel to the Japanese horror masterpiece, Ringu . That film's protagonist, a young journalist woman, has gone missing with her son. Her boss and her ex-husband's new girlfriend try to track them down.

    The film tries to maintain the same level of suspense as the original. However, the tape itself does not play such an important role. Neither is there a countdown. Instead, tension is created when the girlfriend has psychic flashes of the journalist and her son ...

    Meanwhile, the pathologists have found Sadako's corpse and are rebuilding the face. Also, a psychiatrist-cum-parapsychologist apes Fox Mulder in his efforts to deduce a scientific explanation for the supernatural.

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  • Scream 2

    This takes place a year after the events of the first film. Sidney ( Neve Campbell ) is now at college. She even has a new boyfriend, played by Jerry O'Connell ( Sliders ). However, there are a number of murders on campus. It appears there is a copycat killer who is basing his murders on those in the first movie.

    As soon as the murders hit the headlines, journalist Courtney Cox pops up again, with Deputy Dooey in tow.

    The killer's celebrity victims include Jada Pinkett and Sarah Michelle Gellar . But although the faces are different, Wes Craven delivers a mere rehash of the original.

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  • Killing of Satan, The

    This is a Philipino effort, with lots of cheap OTT gore and very poor dubbing.

    On a remote island, Uncle Miguel has a confrontation with the Prince of Magic. Defeated, Miguel summons his nephew Lando (short for Orlando) from the Big City to take over the good fight.

    Lando brings his wife and daughter, and while he can hardly leave them in the Big City (where he is hunted by well-armed criminals) it seems a bit daft to subject them to all the mysterious goings on and life-threatening situations.

    Lando's woman gets captured by the villain, and selected as the bride for his master ... Satan!

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  • Nightmare on Elm Street 2

    It is five years after Freddy's nightmares drove Nancy insane. A new family is living in her house, and the teenage son is having nightmares. Soon the murders start again, and the teenager thinks he is possessed by Freddy.

    We get lots of OTT gore and fancy SPFX, but all in all this is a typical sequel. It has none of the originality of the first film, and there is really no point in watching it.

    The old cast is all gone. The only noticeable names (beside Robert Englund himself) are Marshall Bell ( Total Recall ) as the Gymn teacher and Rachel Talalay as the film crew's Production Manager.

  • Nightmare on Elm Street
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  • Freaked

    Alex Winters, lurking in the shadows, recounts a tragi-comic tale to Brooke Shields . Winters and a couple of friends were on a road trip when they were captured by mad scientist Randy Quaid ( Freaked ). He turned them into mutated freaks, and put them in his freakshow alongside the likes of Dogboy (Keanu Reeves - Bill & Ted ) and the Bearded Lady (Mr T - The A-Team).

    The main part of the movie concerns the Freaks' attempts to escape the captivity of the freakshow. This is FAR funnier than you might expect. Bill Sadler ( Green Mile ) pops up as a greedy businessman. Megan Ward provides the love interest.

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  • Vault of Horror

    Five London businessmen get in an elevator in a skyscraper. But it leaves them in the sub-basement, which has been set out as a waiting room for them. And while they wait they regale each other with tales of their nightmares, which is the perfect format for a typical early 1970s British horror anthology.

    1] Midnight Mess
    Daniel Massey (who looks like a young John Malkovich) is a killer who tracks a woman to a creepy little town. But all the hints about mysterious goings on totally pass him by, as he gets a well-deserved fate.

    2] The Neat Job
    This features Terry-Thomas ( Mary Poppins ) in something very unusual - a serious role. He plays an obsessive-compulsive man who takes a new wife. The wife means well, but can't do anything neatly.

    3] This Trick’ll kill You
    Kurt Jurgens ( The Spy Who loved Me ) is a stage magician. He and his wife go to India to find a new trick. They are ruthless, but they underestimate the magics they encounter.

    4] Bargain in Death
    The protagonist gets buried alive on purpose! He fakes his death in order to make a false claim on his Life Insurance policy. There are several ways this can go wrong and this case goes wrong at least two of them!

    5] Drawn and Quartered
    Tom Baker (in his creepy beardy Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger Days, before his heroic Dr Who Days) is a starving artist living in Haiti. He discovers that he has been cheated out of vast earnings by his middle-men, which is really his own fault for not keeping in touch with the London Arts & Culture scene. But instead of getting the British Embassy to lend him the Sunday Times Arts supplement every weekend, he hires a Voodoo Priest to help.

    Instead of Voodoo dolls, Baker gets the power to make Voodoo portrait paintings. This is useful when he takes on Terence Alexander (Bergerac) and crooked dealer Denholm Elliot ( Raiders of the Lost Ark ). However, he first tests it on himself, forgetting The Picture of Dorian Gray !

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  • Soldier

    The movie begins in 1996, when the US Military selects a group of babies as the military elite formation of the future. Forty years later, and mankind has apparently perfected FTL. The elite soldiers (including Kurt Russell - Escape from New York ) are on a starship commanded by Gary Busey ( Universal Soldier 2 ), travelling the galaxy in search of wars to fight.

    Busey's superior, the evil Colonel (Jason Isaacs - Event Horizon ) arrives on the ship, accompanied by the new generation of genetically-engineered soldiers. In a training exercise, Russell is pitted against Isaac's best (Jason Scott Lee - ). Russell is proven to be obselete ...

    Russell is dumped, believed dead, on a garbage disposal planet. Yes, a nice M-class world is used soley as a garbage dump. He manages to find some peaceful colonists, including Sean Pertwee ( Event Horizon ) and Connie Nielsen .

    Predictably enough, the genetically engineered troopers come calling and give Russell a chance for some payback. The showdown is a blatant cross between Rambo and Universal Soldier , both of which are far superior films. The SPFX are nice enough, but nothing we have not seen before. The story is pretty much non-existent, and Russell only has about five lines of dialogue.

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  • Annihilator, The

    The film starts with man on the run from the cops, equipped with a green trench-coat and a pump-action shotgun. He claims to be on the run from killer androids that look just like human beings. Yes, this movie owes more than the title to the far superior film Terminator .

    Watch out for a pre-Baywatch Nicole Eggert !

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