Random Film of the Week: One Good Cop

one_good_cop_xlgI think it was sometime back in 1990 when I was living in a somewhat crappy apartment building on the corner of 112th Street and Manhattan Avenue in Harlem, NYC when a bunch of people rolled up in a few vehicles and started cleaning up the street directly across from me. Weeds were pulled, the basements in the two or three abandoned buildings on the corner were cleared out and if I recall correctly, there was even some exterior and interior painting done that made it seem as if those buildings were going to be fully renovated at some point. All that work also chased away some of the drug trade on the block (a good thing) and at some point I felt things were looking up for the area.

Not too long afterwards, I was going to work and saw a film crew taking up space in the area and it seemed those buildings were going to be used for a movie shoot and not fully renovated after all. Drat. It turned out that scenes for a film called One Good Cop were being shot and despite the somewhat ratty condition of the area, people started popping up to watch the filming. That was in part due to Micheal Keaton being on the set for a few days filming a key action sequence that required a rat wrangler and a whole lot of rats, a few other actors and stuntmen and a panel truck that was key to the scene’s finale.

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Shining Through: Old Memories Return Thanks To New Friends

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The first Japanese game I ever played to completion with no knowledge of the language outside a few basic characters was Shining and the Darkness for the Sega Mega Drive, later localized as Shining in the Darkness for North America by Sega of America. It wasn’t mad savant skills that got me through this text-heavy role-playing game, but a spoiler-free walkthrough and plenty of maps yanked from a Japanese magazine that came with the game when I purchased it. I’d played a few Japanese MD games previously, but most were shooters such as Gaiares or not quite perfect arcade ports like Golden Axe or Altered Beast.

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I stumbled upon Shining and six of seven other imports at a used book and record store in NYC back around early 1992 and couldn’t pass up buying all of the games at somewhere between eight and ten dollars each. All of those games are still in the library here and some even get pulled out and played on occasion. It took me the better part of the summer to complete SitD because I was only using the walkthrough when I got stuck and was filling in the plot on my own. It ended up being pretty close to what the actual game and English version would be because it was a simple “rescue the kidnapped princess!” story with a few expected and unexpected twists.

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Terminator 2: Judgment Day “Dressing For Success”: Writers, Here’s How To Introduce Your Hero (#4 Of A Bunch)…

(thanks, cromptonog1!) 

This intro made and STILL makes me laugh a lot for a few reasons, chiefly the fact that James Cameron cheated himself a chance to make this a LOT funnier. How so? Well, he shortcuts Arnold into landing just EXACTLY where he needed to in order to deck himself out with spiffy leather togs (which is a great thing, don’t get me wrong). But ask yourself, folks… what would have happened if that formerly killer now nice-guy Terminator landed near a senior citizen’s home, a golf course, prison, or some other place where finding awesome clothing and a handy hot hog would have been next to impossible? That would have made for a definitely more amusing opening for sure, although yes, NO way as classic as this one is. Of course, if someone ever shows this post to Cameron, I’d bet I’m in for an earful and I’d sit there and take it, too. I think he’s got enough of a sense of humor to realize I’m just kidding around (heh).

And NO, kids… I didn’t forget Sarah Connor’s equally awesome introduction at all. I wanted to do her first, but couldn’t find a suitable clip on YouTube to use in the time I have today. I’ll get to her (and yes, other heroic ladies) as part of this series soon enough as I’d planned out to include ladies here from the get-go.

Random Film of the Week: Body Parts

BODY_PARTS_MPWhile flawed, Eric Red’s 1991 horror film Body Parts works for about two-thirds of its running time until it goes to pieces and collapses into a heap. It’s a variation on The Hands of Orlac and other potentially possessed parts flicks that makes for a fairly freakish time thanks to Jeff Fahey’s committed performance, Red’s mostly solid direction and an outstanding score by Loek Dikker that drives the film right from the main title sequence.

Like Oliver Stone’s even more flawed horror flick THE HAND, there’s some good stuff in here, some bad stuff and some flat out crazy stuff. But Red’s film is a lot more compelling and even more interesting on the visual side of things up until the aforementioned belly flop into silly quasi-Frankenstein’s monster/evil scientist with a bizarre agenda territory…

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Videogame Appreciation 101: The Sega Letters (Found!)

Back around 1990 or 1991, I recall my younger brother and I getting hopelessly stuck in Phantasy Star and in dire need of assistance. Nope, we weren’t mapping the dungeons at all, so some areas of the game were total nightmares. Still, we slogged through the game , managing to make it all the way to the infamous Baya Malay dungeons where we finally threw in the towel. Almost. Out of sheer frustration, I said, “Eh, go write Sega!” and a few days later, we’d worked out a letter asking for help and sent it off hoping for a response. About two weeks later, an envelope arrived with that familiar logo and we were both thrilled to open it up and find a photocopied walk-through of the game that helped out quite a lot.

Amusingly enough, in the interim, we’d managed to level everyone up so they were all pretty much invincible. When it came time for Myau to “flap(s) his wings ploudly” (heh) and take off for that Sky Castle, that big ol’ mandatory bird boss battle was over in something like three hits. On the first turn, yet.  The final boss was a breeze as well, but were were even more impressed by the end credits of the game, which showed off the pseudo 3D scaling in a really cool way.  To date, the game is still a truly great example of a few things including full screen “corridor” style movement that even developers making games for more powerful 16-bit systems from Sega and Nintendo failed to get running as smoothly or as fast (or even full screen, for that matter).

Anyway, during the wait time between when we mailed the letter and when it arrived, a few other games ended up stumping us for a bit. However, once that PS walk-through arrived, another note went out asking about Lord of the Sword, Spellcaster and Golvellius: Valley of Doom. I think we got two of those in one envelope and a third in a separate mailing, but by then, we were on a roll with the letter writing. I even wrote Nintendo about a NES I’d found that needed service and got a really speedy reply with a few local spots that happened to be authorized Nintendo service centers. I ended up not having to spend a dime on repairs, as a friend managed to get that system up and running with about five or so minutes of tinkering.  More money for games is always a good thing, I say…
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