Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Shadow Warriors II: Hunt for the Death Merchant (1999)

Director: Jon Cassar

Starring: Hulk Hogan, Shannon Tweed, Carl Weathers, Martin Kove, Mike White

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Pray they're on your side.

Plot: Mike and his team of shadow warriors are working freelance on military operations. When Mike thinks he recognises a biochemical terrorist from his past they uncover a plot to attack Seattle. With Mike drugged with a slow poison that only terrorist Sarkisian can stop the team go out to stop the attack.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? Maybe.

Well, I thought I was sitting down to watch the first Shadow Warriors movie, ASSAULT ON DEVIL'S ISLAND (1997), but something got screwed up and this one happened instead. I was completely lost. I kept asking my friend all kinds of questions that he couldn't answer. You see, he hadn't read any of the novels, the Cliff Notes or the top secret government files on the these people to be able to give me any proper background intel so I could follow this complicated plot. Let's see, there's this group that call themselves Shadow Warriors. It's 3 dudes and a chick, see, and they were involved in the War of the Shadows back in the late 80s. It's a little know conflict that killed thousands of innocent shadows somewhere outside of Lichtenstein.

The story goes that an ambitious fry cook with a spotty face at a local Pomme Frite Haus stumbled upon an ancient pebble that, when spat upon and placed in a warm dark place (i.e. his anus) it would give whomever clinched it the power of the Untervorld. In layman's terms, he was able to murder people's shadows. He lies dormant mostly at nights and did his Holocaust-esque deeds during the daytime unless, of course, it was too cloudy. He would roam the mountainous region murdering en mass countless shadows of men, women and, dare I say it...children. He was ruthless. He was on a mission to eradicate the shadows of the entire human race.

I know what you're asking. So how does stealing one's shadow change anything? I mean after all, they're just shadows right? Wrong. The crime rates in this tucked away part of the world skyrocketed to astronomic proportions. People, normal everyday people who would have never given thought to crimes like murder, rape, and downloading mp3s were now free to do so. You could easily sneak up on anyone without fear of anyone seeing your shadow. It was madness. School boy pranks went through the roof. The news organizations wouldn't touch this story. CNN was nowhere to be found and Dan Rather was making train whistle sounds. MTV News wasn't about to get involved. The closest thing to Lichtenstein their viewers knew was the German version of that catchy Nena song, "99 Red Balloons", but that song hadn't gotten any airplay in nearly 4 years and they felt that Americans will have forgotten it almost as easily as they had forgotten about Falco and "Rock Me Amadeus".

So what happened was (I'm finding all of these details AFTER watching SHADOW WARRIORS II: HUNT FOR THE DEATH MERCHANT, mind you) the French government commissioned Hulk Hogan and pals to go in and get this unnamed beast formerly know as "Der Skippy" and wipe him from existence. Why the French? Oh, that's easy. Unlike the Americans whose short term memory helped ease "99 Luft Balloons" slowly off the Billboard Top 100 Chart and into one hit wonder history, that song was still fresh in the minds of the French people and it instilled fear whenever that bouncy bass lick would start up on the radio. Their memories also go farther back than ours. They remember The Great War and Dubya Dubya Two and they weren't about to let their shadows be murdered like those that fell before. Not this time. Never forget.

Hulk Hogan and friends did the job. They were quick, they were silent and they were done in time to see the annual Running of the French Whores that takes place the third Tuesday of September at about tea time. The tradition of this event, of course, started when famed French Whore painter Toulouse-Lautrec drank one glass too many of absinthe and chased a gaggle (get it, gaggle? That's where that word came from, by the way) of prostitutes out into the street looking for anyone willing to clean his clock while starring at him cross-eyed, lying of the floor doing the horizontal can-can.

This photo of Toulouse-Lautrec was taken just prior to going on stage as a warm-up comedian for strippers at a local titty bar.

This naturally caused a great hub-bub around Paris and the rumors ran faster than the said whores did themselves. Embarrassed by the incident, Lautrec began drinking heavily and he was placed in a sanatorium shortly before his death in 1901. It wasn't until after the battle-weary French returned from the first world war that the Running of the French Whores became a reality, some 19 years after the famous incident, as a means of cheering up the people of France. It worked.

OK, so now that I know all of that, SHADOW WARRIORS II: HUNT FOR THE DEATH MERCHANT makes a lot more damn sense. What doesn't make sense is the film's plot is filled with more holes than Bonnie & Clyde. The music is really bad, so bad that I thought for a moment that even I could be a film composer and that my next step should be to dust off those "student films" I made in college, the ones with titles like "Walk My Plank, YARRRRR" and "Stickin' It To the Man" and "Bowling League Threesome Part Four" and "Tickle My Taint, Theresa" and "Failure to Cummunicate" and "Guess Who's In My Mouth?" and my proudest moment, "The Beverly Thrillbillies".

This picture's ridiculous but I kind of had a good time. It's so bad it's good and I can sort of see myself watching it again but only with a group of friends and lots of liquor. I wished Hogan's acting wasn't so stiff and I couldn't help but think of the one man who could save this picture in Hogan's role...

No comments:

Post a Comment