Thursday, February 7, 2019

Thursday Movie Picks: Revenge


There are a few times in every person's life when they swear vengeance against someone who has done them wrong. Maybe you vow to get the heartless bastard who stole your lunch from the office fridge. Perhaps the fool who cut you off in traffic deserves their comeuppance. Or it could be the sassy cashier who just has it coming. Our host, the wonderful Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves, understands this. Therefore, she made this week's topic for Thursday Movie Picks movies about revenge. It's one of those subjects with an embarrassment of riches to choose from. So, of course, I skipped the riches and went straight to the embarrassments.


Fists of the White Lotus
(AKA Clan of the White Lotus)
(1980)
Brothers Wu and Hung kill the evil Pai Mei. Of course, that means someone's out for vengeance. In this case, it's Pai Mei's more evil brother White Lotus. He kills up just about everybody who could possibly stop him, including Wu. But ahhhhhh, there is more vengeance to be had. Hung is now out to kill White Lotus with lots of tutelage in the ways of "feminine" kung-fu from his pregnant wife Mei-Hsiao. Fun fact: Hung is played by martial arts legend Gordon Liu who would go on to play the character he killed in this movie, Pai Mei, in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol. 2.


Penitentiary II
(1982)
In the first Penitentiary, Martel "Too Sweet" Gordone (Leon Isaac Kennedy) was wrongfully accused and convicted of murder. Because it's a movie, (SPOILER ALERT) he was able to earn his parole by winning the prison boxing tournament. Part II finds him trying to put the past behind him and live a normal life. Unfortunately for him, his jail-house rival Half Dead is also out and holding a grudge. Half Dead rapes and kills Too Sweet's girlfriend. That means it's back to the ring and time to exact some revenge. Fun fact, Half Dead is played by none other than Ernie Hudson, a mere two years before he became known to the world as The Black Ghostbuster. Fun fact number two, Mr. T shows up in his very first movie role as himself, before he became known to the world as...um...Mr. T.


Strike of the Tortured Angels
(1982)
Our heroine, Susan, is the main character in a Women-in-Prison flick. That means we get the usual: cat-fights, masochistic guards, evil warden, group showers, and a girl in blackface. Oh, wait, that last one is actually unusual. And it's even more unusual than you might think. You see, this movie is from Hong Kong. In someone's infinite wisdom they decided to include a black character despite having an all-Chinese cast. So yeah, some actress had to don an afro wig and have brown paint smeared all over her. Nope, not making that up. Thankfully, it's not Susan. Susan is out to kill the doctor who impregnated her sister then persuaded her to have an abortion. One problem: the doc is now bangin' Susan's mom. Nope, not making that up, either. Fun fact about this one: there are no fun facts about this one. (Full Review)



27 comments:

  1. I haven't seen any of these films but man, these look fun. Especially Fists of the White Lotus and I'll watch anything with Mr. T. I pity the fool that don't like Mr. T.

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  2. I am forever amazed at how many movies you must have watched Dell! I absolutely want to get drunk and watch Strike of the Tortured Angels.

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    1. Thanks! Drunk might be the only way to get through it, lol.

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  3. I'm 0/3 with your picks this week. I don't even think I've heard of these titles.

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  4. Oh my these sound....well they sound awful actually! But funny. I saw a very little bit of Penitentiary 2 but it was so silly I moved on. I doubt I'll ever catch up with the others.

    After sitting out most of January because of a dearth of choices this week was rich with them. Since revenge is one of the raison d'etres of film noir that's where I headed including one that isn't strictly in the canon but is an early example of the genre.

    No Way Out (1950)-Shot during a robbery lowlife criminal Ray Biddle (Richard Widmark) and his brother Johnny are cared for by young black doctor Luther Brooks (Sidney Poitier) at the local hospital. Ray, a virulent bigot, protests loudly and when Johnny dies on the operating table (from an undiagnosed brain tumor) Ray becomes convinced it was murder and swears revenge. In frustration Luther and his mentor Dr. Wharton (Stephen McNally) turn to Johnny’s ex-wife Edie (Linda Darnell) to try and convince Ray of the truth. But despite being jailed Ray sends messages via another brother, the mute George (Harry Bellaver), to his gang and manages to incite the denizens of his ghetto-Beaver Canal-to attack the neighboring black community. Escaping Ray hunts Luther down leading to a nail biting face-off. Poitier’s first film, he’s good if a bit tentative, and overshadowed by Widmark and Linda Darnell both of whom give award level performances. Director Joseph Mankiewicz lead up to All About Eve is a brutal unfortunately still timely film about racial tensions.

    Act of Violence (1949)-Frank Enley (Van Heflin) is regarded as a war hero in his small California town where he lives with his wife Edith (Janet Leigh) and young daughter but one day Joe Parkson (Robert Ryan) appears hell-bent on revenge and Frank’s life starts to spiral out of control. The truth is that Frank aided the Nazis during his interment leading to a thwarting of Joe’s escape and a crippling injury as well as the death of several others. Now Joe plans a deadly vindication. Tough, bleak noir.

    Marked Woman (1937) - Mary Dwight (Bette Davis) and her four compatriots-Gabby, Estelle, Florrie and Emmy Lou-work as “hostesses” in a Manhattan nightclub that’s just been converted into a clip joint run by mob boss Johnny Vanning (Eduardo Ciannelli). Shortly afterwards they are pulled in by the crusading DA (Humphrey Bogart) and Mary takes the fall with assurances from Vanning that he will take care of her. But things go wrong and Mary’s innocent sister Betty is pulled into the web and ends up dead. When Vanning tries to weasel out of responsibility Mary tells him that she’ll get her revenge “Even if I have to crawl back from my grave to do it!” In response his thugs disfigure her which only strengthens her resolve to even the score.

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    1. Fair point. None of these are what I would call amazing films, at least not in the traditional sense.

      Haven't seen any of your picks, either. However, No Way Out has been on my radar for a while.

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    2. No Way Out is a very fine film but a brutal watch at times because Widmark's character is such an unrepentant and odious bigot. Richard Widmark was one of the best at playing those type of hateful men (you should see him in Kiss of Death!)which is ironic since off screen he was a fiercely liberal pacifist and universally considered one of the nicest men you could meet, I suppose he was able to channel all his negativity out through his work. He and Sidney Poitier actually became lifelong friends while making the film and made two more, The Long Ships and The Bedford Incident, over time.

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    3. I hadn't known anything about Widmark. Thanks for that. Hopefully, I'll get my hands on it, soon. And Mr. Poitier is showing up on this blog before you know it.

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  5. I should have known you would pick three movies I have absolutely zero knowledge of this week! And as always, your write-ups are PRICELESS.

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  6. Leave it to you to choose 3 horrible films that are great to watch because they are so bad. I also love the wack-a-doodle names especially in the second flick. Great picks which i doubt I will see but ya never know

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  7. I've never heard of any of these. Is it a good or a bad thing?

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  8. I'd never even heard f these, let alone seen them. Your reviews are as entertaining as ever :)

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  9. πŸ’›πŸ’œ❤️πŸ’™πŸŽ‚ My brother Lincoln and I are turning 21 next Thursday πŸŽ‚πŸ’›πŸ’œ❤️πŸ’™

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  10. Thanks Wendell πŸ’›πŸ’œ❤️πŸ’™

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  11. Haven't seen those. Of the three, Fists of the White Lotus is the one I would be most interested in watching. I'm way behind on kung-fu classics!

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  12. "Because it's a movie, (SPOILER ALERT) he was able to earn his parole by winning the prison boxing tournament." Yeah, so I'm totally in for this. 100%.

    Wow, Dell. I'm always up for some random/obscure stuff, and you routinely deliver the goods. I haven't seen any of these, but good God, I wish I had. Well done!

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  13. Haha...love that you went a different route with the ridiculous.

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