Throne of Fire

Why is the son of Satan’s messenger doing all this instead of the actual son of Satan? Why does the son of Satan’s messenger need a Christian friar to perform his wedding ceremony? Shouldn’t he have his own devil-y friar?

American Ninja

Dudikoff may not be much of an actor, but he’s not so bad that you’d be shocked by how bad he is. He’s well-suited for the role, and he has Steve James on hand to provide some actual charisma

Sinbad of the Seven Seas

Sinbad’s crew is one for the ages, consisting of his trusted friends the Viking named Viking, Prince Ali, a bald guy named The Bald Cook, Poochy the Dwarf, and the Chinese Soldier of Fortune, who is played by a Japanese guy and dressed like a Thai ladyboy on his way home from a particularly colorful Siamese gay rights parade.

Return of the Bastard Swordsman

As far as anything-goes martial arts mayhem may go, the Bastard Swordsman saga may lack the breakneck choreography of Jackie Chan and Ching Siu-tung, or the technical ambition of Tsui Hark, but none of these short-comings really matter in the long run, because Bastard Swordsman and Return of the Bastard Swordsman are still spectacularly fun wuxia fantasies.

Bastard Swordsman

Although people come for the weirdness and spectacle, Bastard Swordsman offers plenty of other elements that make it worth staying around. For starters, taking a note from Chu Yuan, Lu’s film is packed with complex, well-developed characters. Norman Chu makes a compelling and empathetic lead. We root for him when he’s the abused underdog, and we cheer for him once he begins to discover his true potential as a fighter.

Commando

Commando tells the story of young Chandu, who’s name changes in the subtitles to Chander about halfway through the movie. Either way, I’m simply calling him Commando, in honor of his arch nemesis being named Ninja. The movie begins when Commando is but a boy, and his father is the commando of the family, prone…

Fire and Ice

Somehow, the animated Ralph Bakshi feature Fire and Ice managed to slip through the cracks, though I can’t imagine it didn’t make the early 1980s cable TV rounds. It’s perfect late-night HBO fare. If I’d seen it back then, I would have embraced it whole-heartedly and probably proclaimed it the best thing I’d ever seen.

Disco Dancer

I gather that Disco Dancer has a bit of a legendary reputation amongst people who seek out bad films, especially bad films from Bollywood, and while there’s nothing in the movie that isn’t completely ludicrous, I have to say that there was not a drop of irony in my embrace of this film. It’s just so insanely, beautifully gaudy and completely nuts.

Yor, the Hunter from the Future

I don’t figure anyone goes into Yor expecting stunning revelations. You go in because you want to watch cavemen do somersaults and have laser battles with robots.

Zombie 3

When Lucio Fulci came back from the hospital and saw what happened to the film, he screamed, tried to make them take his name off it, and then died a few years later. I don’t know if that last one is actually related to this film, but I’m sure it didn’t help.

Treasure of the Four Crowns

In the case of the oft-forgotten Indiana Jones rip-off, Treasure of the Four Crowns, all anyone could remember was “something about a lot of flaming rocks swinging around on really obvious wires.”

The Octagon

It’s not Chuck’s fault that fashion in the late 1970s was so abysmal. Luckily for him, cowboy fashion has been the same pretty much since the 1800’s, so at least he isn’t strutting around in all those plaid flares Sonny Chiba had a tendency to don.