Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Desert Heat (1999)

Well, I'm calling this Desert Heat because that's what it says on the VHS cover, but apparently the real title of this film is Inferno. I'd say they wanted to separate the release disaster from the physical purchase, but this film was never actually released in any country of interest. Poor Jean Claude. Well, this was certainly a big, buff, bloody mess, and I mean that in the most endearing of ways. It's not hard to tell that this is a Western remake of Yojimbo, a classic Japanese film, mostly because it lacks the crucial Western element of any self-respecting American-based movie: a Sheriff. Instead, it's one man against the world, or in this case, competing drug and weapons gangs that have taken over a desert town and are generally up to no good. The classic black and white/good and evil nature of this film makes it pretty easy to brutally massacre the bad guys and not really feel bad about it. And thank goodness for that! Another not so shocker is the director, John Avildsen. The master behind Rocky and Rocky V, arguably two of the most nonchalantly and uselessly violent films of our generation, and still loved by all who can stomach it, Avildsen certainly brings his virile and voracious aptitude for blood, sex and drugs to this action masterpiece. This also explains the presence of none other than Mr. Miyagi, Pat Morita to those in the know, since Avildsen directed not one but all three of The Karate Kid movies (at least the ones with dudes...), influencing generations and cementing some of the best lines in hero history ("Hey, it's the eighties!"). Yeah, Morita basically walks around dressed like he's from the forties and being a complete weirdo who is more than happy to clean up the bodies, wrap them nicely, and dump them in a mass grave out in the desert, all while dressed to the nines in an entirely white suit, hat and dancing shoes. Yes, in the desert. And don't forget the rest of the cast, with Jamie Pressly playing her stereotypical Middle America white trash blonde you still want to fuck, and the entirely more epic Danny Trejo who miraculously masters the mysterious Native. There are even mystical coyotes, butchered Native chanting and spirit dreams and shit. Oh man. For a second, I even thought that Jean Claude's growing relationship with the only other doable chick within 50 miles (and whose most notable acting accomplishment could be deemed Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, which certainly grossed a hell of a lot more than this must-see of a mess...) would keep him from sexing up the dirty prostitutes that usually hang out with the gang. But no. I should learn a trick or two from that guy: I've never seen anyone slip into a three-some so easily! Especially not when a drunk ole lady is leering in through the window! That takes skill! But seriously, lots of violence, lots of fighting, requisite Jean Claude ass, more hicks than can be shot to death, a tortured old man with an oxygen tank (Bill Erwin), a nod to the supernaturally stereotyped shamans, and a bizarro little Asian man. Sounds like a rowdy success to me! The one downside is the excess nature of ugly white dudes. So many ugly white dudes! I've posted some head shots below.

Final Judgment: Mixing metaphors and standardizing subjects means a whole lot of goodness all in one!/Mr. Miyagi to the rescue!/Finally, a movie with old people that I can actually watch!

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