Who knows where it began. A bargain-bin of $2.99 DVD’s. The last pick in a 5 for $10 rental deal. Whatever happened, Capital Punishment was found; a mid-90’s action film where every character seemed to be a kick boxer, and certainly acted like one. The stilted performances, the use of stock footage of explosions clearly taken from other films, and the innovative dialogue (“Do you always answer a question with a question?” “Do I”?!) ensured multiple viewings around empty goon bags in various share houses.
Also released in 1990 - Kindergarten Cop and Dances with Wolves, so... not a great year for cinema
From there, it was the literal named Blood Hands, Sean P. Donahue staring as a professional...kick boxer who’s girlfriend gets....kidnapped? The stories were never really clear in these films, except all plot points moved to kick-boxing bouts with multiple mustached men. The journey took a severe lunge forward into the realm of badness with the classic The Room, the world wide smash written, directed and staring the melted face of Tommy Wiseau. The two hour vanity piece has too much to go over here, but I’d highly recommend checking it out at Cinema Nova on Saturday nights. I actually found it far more funnier then most commercial comedies that come out at the box office.
I’m not sure exactly why we’re interested in celluloid car crashes. From a more sympathetic point of view, it’s not hard to see why some films derail. It’s at the whims of so many points of interest- dictatorial directors, money hungry execs and arrogant stars can easily bring down a film. However, these strand of E-Grade mid-90’s films had a complete package of awful stories, confusing performances and more round-houses then a Jakie Chan family reunion (I assume a family reunion, even of a kung-fu star, would mostly be catch ups and sausage rolls, than bouts of hand to hand combat). The complete earnestness compiled with high waisted acid wash jeans and the insanely high amount of kidnappings mean hours of enjoyment.
Still, there’s something intriguing about the intent of these artistes. Did they think they were making cinema classic? Or did they know exactly what they were making: cheap schlock for straight-to-VHS markets.
I now bring you a newly discovered gem in Narcotic Justice. In terms of budget and general production values, it’s a far more underground affair then more well known bad films. If The Room is Transformers, then Narcotic Justice is a Napoleon Dynamite. So many amazing moments in the clip below but I’d like to point out the incredible add-libbed back and forth at 1:34, and the deadly kick at 2:20.