Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Original Charles In Charge

Give Chicken some credit for sitting through a less-than-exciting double feature tonight. I decided to pull a couple of VHS tapes out of the pile that I had never watched before. Sometimes you gotta experience some stinkers in order to find that SAMURAI COP or STABILIZER or U.S. SEALS II.

ZAPPED! is sort of a Disney movie with boob inserts. Before they became an electrifying comedy team on CHARLES IN CHARGE (sheeeeyaaaaaaahhh), Scott Baio (HAPPY DAYS) and Willie Aames (EIGHT IS ENOUGH) starred in this tame high-school comic fantasy that would have been more interesting if it had the edge that its 1-sheet promises. Baio is a science nerd with big glasses who, just like The Flash, has an accident in the school lab and wakes up to discover he can move things with his mind. His best pal Peyton (Aames), who is inexplicably the coolest stud on campus (I mean, shit, he's Willie Aames, not Teen Wolf), wants to use Baio's new powers to get rich cheating in Vegas. Scott does ensure that his baseball team wins its last game of the season (their only win), but otherwise wants to stay straight and narrow. He finds this is a better way to attract cute school journalist Felice Schacter (THE FACTS OF LIFE), while the sleazy Aames hooks up with hottie Heather Thomas (THE FALL GUY) and takes photos of them having sex.

All you would have to do is remove the insert shots of a few topless women, and ZAPPED! could easily be a PG. Strangely, the closing crawl carries a disclaimer stating that Heather Thomas used a body double for her character's nude scenes. On a list of Super '80s TV Hotties, Heather would be near the top, and it's a great disappointment that she doesn't pop her top in this movie. I'm not sure I'll ever recover from it.

ZAPPED! is not terribly funny or original. It cribs its climax from CARRIE, and doesn't go far enough on the raunch scale. It does contain a pair of very strange scenes--one where Baio imagines a bunch of tiny STAR TREK characters inhabiting his toy spaceship and another where Scatman Crothers gets high and hallucinates that he and Albert Einstein are on horseback being chased by Redd Foxx's batty Aunt Esther, who shoots salami at him with a bazooka.

Still, ZAPPED! looks pretty damn good next to BLOODMATCH, whose box promises a tale of a kickboxer fighting four other kickboxers to the death in a search to find his brother's killer. What we get instead is a very dull, talky and visually staid picture which could well have been shot in a week on one L.A. block. Every performance is terrible, and the fight scenes, when they come, are limp and suspenseless, even though they were choreographed by Benny "The Jet" Urquidez (who provides one of those terrible acting jobs). Thom Mathews from FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI and hot Hope Marie Carlton from Andy Sidaris' HARD TICKET TO HAWAII are the prime offenders.

BLOODMATCH is so bad that, 15 minutes after it was over, I took the tape outside and dropped it in the garbage can.


Anonymous said...

Man, I saw BLOODMATCH back in the day and can only remember one thing about it. I remember Benny getting a phone call and being told his daughter was kidnapped or something. His emoting is quite a non-sight. He was a janitor or something. Whew! Albert Pyun does it again.

Marty McKee said...

Yeah, I knew what I was in for when I realized it was a Pyun movie, but I stupidly plunged on anyway.

It definitely says something about the quality of acting in BLOODMATCH that Urquidez's performance is probably the worst in the film. There is no "best" performance, just different levels of terrible. Thom Mathews was actually good working off Jimmy Karen in RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, and Hope Marie Carlton seemed somewhat natural and definitely appealing in her Sidaris movies.