The Direct to Video Connoisseur
I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Lone Runner (1986)
You may remember last year I had the Stars Play 11, when Stars and Netflix cut ties, precipitating a massive dump of titles from Netflix's Instant catalog, including 11 that I wanted to watch and review on the blog. Well, Netflix is at it again, this time dumping a mass of great low-budget and exploitation flicks. I've pointed out 8 that I want to watch and eventually review here, including this Miles O'Keeffe gem, and I've decided to collectively call these movies the Netflix Dump 8.
Lone Runner takes place in a post apocalyptic future or something, somewhere in the deserts of North Africa, where Miles O'Keeffe is Garrett, a wandering hero known as the Lone Runner. Ten years ago, he saved a stage coach conveying a king and his daughter back to their city-- along with a bunch of the king's diamonds. Now in the present, the daughter is kidnapped, and the king's right hand man sees an opportunity to extort the diamonds out of him. Unfortunately for the right hand man, and all the marauding hoards that want the daughter and the diamonds, Miles is on the scene, ready to save the day.
This is pretty much what you're expecting from a cheap Italian low-budget flick starring Miles and directed by the great Ruggero Deodato. It's very Ator-ish, though in an Arabian Knights/post-apocalyptic schlock fest kind of way. It's the kind of thing that MST3K would've done if they'd been on the air longer-- or perhaps wanted to do and didn't get the rights to. I had a lot of fun with it, and it would be great for a bad movie night, especially with like-minded friends who have a history with bad Italian movies. On the other hand, if this isn't your bag, you'll be sorely disappointed, so make sure going in you know the kind of movie watcher you are.
Looking through the Miles O'Keeffe tag, I don't know if there's a DTVC Hall of Famer who has as many consistently fun films as he has. We love Dolph, but he's has his occasional stinker. With Miles, it's as if the stinkers are also fun. Whether it's Italian schlock, or Filipino 'Namsploitation, Miles is it. He was a big part of why I got into writing this blog, and it's nice that almost six years in, I can still have fun with his movies and share them with everyone else. Here's to you Miles O'Keeffe, you're one of the good ones.
Many of you are probably familiar with Ruggero Deodato through his classic, Cannibal Holocaust. I actually read one review from this where the person was disappointed that this didn't live up to the Cannibal Holocaust standard he was looking for. Like many other great Italian schlock, he comes from a great pedigree, in his case working with Roberto Rosellini. Also, among his other credits, he was second unit director on the original Django, which we reviewed a while back.
This film had some other great Italian mainstays in it. We had Donald Hodson, the village elder in Ator, who plays the king. There was also Hal Yamanouchi, who plays the second in command in one of the gangs. He's been in all kinds of things, most notably, Life Aquatic. Cult favorite John Steiner plays Yamanouchi's boss, some kind of cyber punk Adam Ant villain, which was a lot of fun. Michael Aronin was king's right hand man who turned on him. He was like a poor man's Costas Mandylor/Mike Damone from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Finally, the princess was played by Savina Gersak, who has been in, among other things, a Michael Dudikoff film we did a while back, Midnight Ride.
Back to Deodato. In Cannibal Holocaust, he was called to the carpet for killing animals on-screen, and here, we see some horses that look like they might be getting tossed around quite a bit. I didn't see any disclaimer at the end that no animals were harmed, and this was probably shot away from the eyes of PETA or The Humane Society, so who knows. Later, when the princess finds a bat in a container, it's obvious that that's a fake one, and it's pretty hilarious, but I'm good with that. I'd rather silly looking fake animals than real animals going through the ringer. I guess you can only do so much with two guys in a horse suit though.
So that's it. Once this is no longer available on Netflix Instant, it's pretty much used VHS, and it looks pretty expensive. I say keep an eye out for it, and if you see it for $5, go for it. This is a fun Italian schlock fest featuring Miles O'Keeffe, both figuratively and literally. (Get it, "how much Keeffe is in this film? Miles O'Keeffe." Had to get it in at least once.).
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091425/