A slow week for new releases saw a trio of genre flicks sneak onto the shelves, with mixed results.
“Samurai Cop: Special Edition” — When the Yakuza run rampant in the City of Angels, it is time to bring in the “Samurai Cop.” He gets this title for having studied in Japan and being pretty good with a sword. He is also a ladies’ man and all-around macho dude. The dialogue is terrible and the action scenes are poorly staged in this “so bad it is fantastic” ode to action cinema. Count the mullets as you watch and keep an eye out for the same guy getting killed frequently, as the stunt team was tiny.
“Dead Ball” — Japan has been a great place for “Grind House Cinema,” and this effort is further evidence. A baseball-playing teen becomes a juvenile scourge after accidentally killing his coach/dad with his patented “Fireball” pitch. His fall from grace sees the teen turn to crime until he is locked up in a juvenile facility, where the evil warden coerces him into playing for the jailhouse team. Think “Rollerball” meets “The Warriors,” and you have a small idea of the lunacy that unspools.
“Dragon Wasps” — The Syfy Channel weighs in with this awful effort from their monster collection. Here, you get an expedition into the rainforests of Belize to find a missing scientist. Instead, they find the titular creatures and bandits. Think “Treasure of Sierra Madre” meets “Them.”
“Hyde Park on Hudson” — This week’s only film to get a theatrical release is very good, even if nobody saw it. Bill Murray stars as FDR and we get to see another side of the man thanks to the source material being an ex-mistress. The story finds Roosevelt hosting English royalty at his upstate house and inviting his female friend along. Murray is very good and so is Julianna Moore, as his friend. The film sort of unfolds at its own pace and offers no action or high drama. If you are in the mood for good character stuff that won’t tax you, it is a lot of fun, in a low key way.