Apr 20

OK, it’s been a few weeks since I posted about our regular Sunday Night Classic Movie. Let me get up to date by quickly running through our last four films.

Electric Dreams (1984)

A piece of mid-’80s tripe from director Steve Barron. Nerdy architect Miles Harding buys a computer with a mind of its own. The computer, named Edgar, somehow manages to interface with every appliance in Miles’ apartment, and also falls in love with neighbour Madeline, a cellist (played by the delightful Virginia Madsen). Miles’ budding relationship with Madeline leads to a bizarre love triangle, with human-to-human love thankfully winning out in the end. The only saving grace of this cinematic disaster is the occasionally fantastic soundtrack, most notably the title track “Together in Electric Dreams”, performed by Philip Oakey (ex-Human League).

The Magnificent Seven (1960)

John Sturges’ classic Western remake of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai was Gum’s inspired choice for Sunday Night viewing. A poor Mexican village is under the thumb of a gang of nasty bandits. An emissary from the village heads off to find some good guys willing to help. They bump into ace gunslinger Chris (strange name for a gunslinger) played by Yul Brynner, who decides to help out, bringing with him six others including Charles Bronson, James Coburn and the one and only Steve McQueen. The eponymous Seven return to the village and lay in wait for the Mexicans to return so they can kick some bandit ass. Eventually good prevails, although not all seven make it out alive. Brynner and McQueen are left standing of course, and ride into the sunset as the soundtrack swells.

No Retreat, No Surrender (1986)

Absolute rubbish. Young karate student Jason Stillwell watches as his karate teacher father cops a beating from some gangsters set on taking over his dojo for money laundering purposes. The family moves to a distant city, the father a broken man. Jason struggles to fit in to his new environment, quickly getting on the bad side of local karate hoods. Taking inspiration from his love for the late Bruce Lee, Jason works night and day to improve his karate technique, with the aid of Bruce Lee’s ghost and some very unusual (and occasionally homo-erotic) training methods (see clip below). As with many other films that follow this same path (Karate Kid anyone?) Jason has his shot at redemption when the gangsters arrive in town, bringing with them Russian karate expert Ivan Krushensky (Jean-Claude Van Damme). Of course, good wins out in the end, with Jason gaining respect and the girl.

Batman: The Movie (1966)

Way before Michael Keaton or Christian Bale there was Adam West as the square-jawed millionaire crime-fighter Bruce Wayne. This barely watchable film is the distillation onto celluloid of every implausible, stupid, camp moment from the TV series, stretched out to a mind-numbing 105 minutes. The Joker, Penguin, Riddler and Catwoman have banded together in an effort to take over the world. It is up to Batman and Robin to stop them. Every imaginable bat-device gets an outing here: the bat-copter, the bat-boat, the batmobile and other bat-related technologies too numerous to mention. The scene where Batman dangles from the bat-copter with a large, rubber shark attached to his leg is one of the great moments of cinema (see below). I forget what happens at the end, but needless to say the day is saved.

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