Sunday, February 6, 2011

Rare Flix: Enter...Zombie King

Just because you've never heard of a movie, it doesn't mean that it's good!  This 2003 film is quite obscure to most people.  How obscure?  Despite only coming out about seven years ago, the film is out-of-print on Netflix.  Mind you, some famous movies like Tron are like that too, but the point is still the same.  So what is the movie about?  It's a zombie comedy starring fake luchadors that...wait, where are you going?  Seriously, this movie is weird.  The problem- it knows it.  Alternately-known as Zombie Beach Party, the movie thinks that it's hysterical.  Is it?  Read the last couple of sentences and then ask that question again!  Even so, I'm a sucker for kitsch, so maybe this one can be endured.  Right?  Right?  Get out your Tequila as we prepare to...
The film begins with a Luchador driving a car in the blue of night.  He's also narrating.  Yeah, it's going to be one of those movies- at least for a bit.  Our hero is a masked wrestler named Ulysses who is retired from the sport.  However, a friend of his is involved in a new stunt: wrestling zombies.  That's probably not even legal in Tijuana!  Incidentally, I should point out that this Luchador- as well as the rest- are not supposed to be Mexican.  Yes, they're American Luchadors like Mr. JL and...that's about it.  They're Canadian, by the way.  In the actual plot, some people get killed by zombies.  It's all very by-the-books, even having the zombies pick up random 'body parts' and hold them near the camera.  Yawn.  He meets up with two pals- also Luchadors- and they go to the show.  There's also a sub-plot about people always going to the beach, despite it being winter, but it's so pointless that it's not worth any more mention.  They go to the show and enjoy it.  Unfortunately, one of the two kind-of-hot women in the movie gets killed by a zombie attack outside.  This leads to the arrival of the Sheriff, played by former-WWF Tag Team Champion Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart.  Why?
Ulysses calls up an old friend named Mr. X and he joins them in looking into the mystery.  They first suspect the guy with the trained zombie wrestlers.  After catching one, however, Mr. X hypnotizes it and learns that it's docile.  So that whole set-up with the zombies and him served what purpose?  Oh right- to fill up time.  Considering that the movie ends up at about 76 minutes, that's a necessary evil, I suppose.  They follow a zombie out into the woods and it leads to the lair of the bad guy- the Zombie King.  Apparently, they almost got George A. Romero for this part, but plans didn't work out.  On the plus side, that helped delay Romero's decent into crappy movies until Land of the Dead and Diary of the Dead.  Speaking of the villain, he has a lair in a small sound stage covered in red drapes.  He also has women chained up to the wall as part of his experiments to get half-human/half-zombies.  This sub-plot also amounts to nothing, so we'll skip that too.  The Deputy is killed and our heroes are captured.  Ready for the big fight section?
The villain reveals his evil plan and, once he's done, a big fight breaks out.  Wow- I'm shocked.  If you want to see Luchador action, look elsewhere.  If you want to see awkward fight choreography involving barely-athletic Canadians, you're in luck.  We get the action mixed up too, as it jumps between an outdoor fight, a chase and some indoor fighting.  Eventually, the outdoor fight ends- via a back body drop into a lake-only for the film to split up the fight scenes again!  Ulysses chases the Zombie King for a bit, while the formerly-captive lady Luchador fights the evil lady Luchador.  The latter fight ends via...a body slam onto the grass.  I'm severely-underwhelmed guys.  Even Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter tried harder!  Ulysses battles the Zombie King back in the ring from earlier and...gets his ass-kicked.  Wow- I didn't see that coming.  The lady Luchador shows up and takes him out Lita-style with a Flying Headscissors.  This apparently breaks his neck- ironically, Lita broke her neck doing this move once- and allows his head to be pulled off.  After that, the movie peters off and just kind of ends.
Raise your hand if you're laughing.  The plot of this movie is stupid to the point of absurdity.  Unfortunately, it's not that funny kind of absurdity.  This is one of those 'we're being wacky, so you'd better laugh' movies.  I didn't.  Those movies almost never work, but people always think that their film will be different.  It's not.  I laughed a bit at Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter, but that's about it.  That is the most comparable film to this, even more so than the Lucha Film genre itself.  The difference: those films were cheesy, but 100% serious.  If this film had tried that route, it might have been more successful.  Just a note for all you aspiring filmmakers out there: if your premise is silly, we'll probably laugh.  If you try to force us to laugh, we probably won't.  It is your insistence that kills the mood.  You're that lady who asks people at a party if they think she is hot.  If we thought that, we'd tell you!  Just give us some damn space already!  So yeah, this movie might get some laughs out of you, but it barely got any out of me.  At least it's rare and out-of-print (unless you know some devious ways, like I do), so it will probably hurt very few people.
Next up, a Chinese flick starring some guy named Stephen Chow.  This is before he did the Hustle or played Soccer, so let's see how it turns out.  Stay tuned...

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