Masters of the Universe (Goddard, 1987)

I wonder what a He-Man tentpole film would look like in our current comic book-obsessed, event picture landscape we call modern-day Hollywood? Whatever direction the project would take (origin story; psychologically dark; epic CGI), there’s no way in hell it could resemble Gary Goddard’s jarring mix of corny screwball comedy and choppy action heroics, 1987’s Masters of the Universe. While time has not been kind to this blatantly ridiculous superhero film, it’s still refreshing to know that a “big budget” sci-fi saga based on a popular 1980s cartoon is this manic and strange, even going as far as making its ox of a star, bulging bicep titan He-Man (Dolph Lundgren), the lone voice of reason in a sea of obliviousness. Immediately after a crippling laser shootout occurs between the forces of Grayskull and the dark hooded stormtroopers employed by the evil dictator Skeletor (a masked Frank Langella), the sweaty He-Man tells his loyal brood Man-at-Arms (Jon Cypher) and Teela (Chelsea Field) that “we’re all in this together.” I’m not sure what’s more hilarious, Lundgren’s wonderfully sincere line delivery or the fact that all of the other actors seem on the precipice of explosive laughter.

Full Review for The House Next Door

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Assassin’s Bullet (Florentine, 2012)

We’ve come to expect a certain base level of violent ridiculousness and salaciousness from low-budget genre films with titles such as Assassin’s Bullet. But in the case of director Isaac Florentine’s truly awful thriller, its guilty-pleasure sleaziness plays second fiddle to a terribly self-serious narrative that becomes one of the most asinine riffs ever on the Vertigo narrative, where a female’s mind is mentally dominated and her body is physically altered to fulfill one traumatized man’s exotic love fantasy.

Full Review for Slant Magazine