by Rob Gonsalves
Buy his discs or he'll rip off your balls.
Sonny Chiba has recently announced his retirement from action-heavy roles, so I thought I'd kick off this installment (which looks at the twofer and threefer discs being released on August 14) with a couple of double-feature discs showcasing Chiba.
The Bodyguard and Sister Streetfighter — A combo of 1976's Karate Kiba, which features Chiba as an "anti-drug vigilante," and 1974's Onna hissatsu ken, a distaff Streetfighter movie wherein Chiba appears for only ten minutes.
Dragon Princess and Karate Warriors — Here we have Etsuko Shihomi (aka Sister Streetfighter) in 1981's Ryu no oujo, and 1976's Kozure satsujin ken, described as the fourth Streetfighter film. Y'know, it seems like this company is trying to piggyback on the whole Grindhouse thing with the same crappy public-domain stuff we've been getting for years. Oh well, cool idea anyway.
So let's get to the usual studio double and triple features, some of which make sense, some of which are absolute stupid-time.
Bean: The Movie and Johnny English — So of course we start off with a pretty obvious match-up. It drives home the reality that Rowan Atkinson's reputation in the United States is based largely on really stupid movies. I was never a Bean fan; give me Blackadder any day. My first exposure to Atkinson was via a bit he did with Peter Cook in the concert film The Secret Policeman's Other Ball. You might remember it: "Will this wind...be so might-ayyy...as to laaaay looow...the moun-tayns...of the eeeaaarth?"
Blue Crush, Honey, and Josie and the Pussycats — Or, three movies that would vastly improve for a certain audience if viewed through Mr. Teas' glasses. Other than that? Nothing in common whatsoever.
The Bone Collector and Sea of Love — What? Okay, thrillers. Involving a male star and a female star.
End of Days and Virus — The co-stars of True Lies in really crappy genre films!
The Family Man and EdTV — See below.
Far and Away and The River — Okay, you have EdTV paired with something that had nothing to do with it, and here you have Far and Away paired with something that has nothing to do with it. Why not just make a Crappy Ron Howard Double Feature with EdTV and Far and Away, and then, just to fuck with people, put The Family Man and The River together. Because those two films have as much in common as they do with the movies they're actually on a double feature disc with.
Ghost Story, The Legacy, and The Sentinel — See, this is a triple feature I can get behind. Three supernatural flicks with various degrees of sleaziness (seriously, rent The Sentinel sometime and marvel at the fact that it got made, with name actors). Not bad, actually. That'll do, pig.
Halloween II and Halloween III: Season of the Witch — If you're gonna own 'em, this is as good a way as any. Both films were slammed upon release, particularly the no-Michael-Myers Part III, but both have gotten some fan support over the years. Apparently the original Halloween is being reissued yet again on the same day, too. I'm not sure, but I think it's because there's some movie coming out in August. Have you heard about it?
Mask and Lorenzo's Oil — Two actresses who co-starred in The Witches of Eastwick play fierce mothers who stand up for their deformed or sickly sons.
Mr. Baseball and Ed — These are not the best baseball films in the world. These are not even the best baseball comedies of the '90s. They are, however, thematically linked, which is more than I can say for some of the other discs on this list.
Peter Pan, Thunderbirds, and The Borrowers — Two kiddie fantasies and one really bad kiddie sci-fi flick. One of these things is not like the others...
Prince of Darkness, They Live, and Village of the Damned — Triple shot of middle-period Carpenter. They Live is a guilty-pleasure classic. Prince of Darkness put me to sleep, though I'm aware it has its fans. Still haven't bothered with Village of the Damned. It's surprising they didn't fuck up this Director Triple Feature by throwing in, say, Midnight Run or something.
Psycho II, Psycho III, and Psycho IV: The Beginning — Now you know why I didn't get too outraged over the Gus Van Sant remake, inane as it was; the franchise had already been diluted by progressively bad sequels. I can't be the only one who thinks Jeremy Davies would've been a better Norman Bates in the remake.
Bordello of Blood and Demon Knight — A Tales from the Crypt double. I've only seen Bordello, from back when Dennis Miller wasn't a Republican tool and war apologist.
Trespass, Judgment Night and New Jersey Drive — Urban-action trio. I got no beef with this one, especially since I've seen and enjoyed two of them.
I have one question: aside from the natural combos like the horror titles, who buys these? Who would buy a double-feature disc of The Bone Collector and Sea of Love? The idea of double-feature and triple-feature discs is cool. MGM's Midnite Movies series is great. Universal did all those classic monster double features a few years back. The format really works with the sort of movie you'd want and expect to see on a double bill. Not so much with The Family Man and EdTV.
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originally posted: 07/19/07 23:08:23
last updated: 07/20/07 07:14:19