Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Strike TWO! Hey, Where Are You Going?

Never been a fan of baseball (or any sports except old-school roller derby, if I'm being honest), but I do like the concept of the "three strikes and yer out" when applied to life. Of course, it does not apply to every single situation. Some screw ups are so massive that it only takes one, while other boo-boos are small enough to overlook more than 3 times.

Does this mean we are talking about a sports-focused film today? Am I going to relate my sports history as a way to explain the meaning behind the subject of this review? Why can't I just get on with the damn review and drop this stalling?*

*Answers: No. No. I think I may have a mental condition that prevents me from doing so.

With that being said, let's move on to our film, Nomad Riders.

We see three rough looking guys on various types of motorcycles riding towards the camera. Cool. Given the title, we expect a biker film. Maybe these guys are coming back to the rest of the pack where the biker action will begin.

Cut to: Some guy in a glider being pulled into the air as his wife and daughter are left behind to clean up the campsite, which is about two feet from the runway. Once Daddy is airborne, the three bikers ride up to the campsite and begin taunting the woman and child. The eagle-eyed father sees this from his lofty position and evidences zero emotional reaction.

Our scuzzy bikers rough up the woman and throw her into the tent. Almost as an afterthought, they toss the little girl inside as well. Oh, and a hand grenade is generously given as a tent-warming gift as the bikers ride off while the dad casually lands the glider. Before the man can get out and reach the tent, the grenade explodes. Cue the man's only attempt at an emotional response for the rest of the film as he watches his supposed loved ones die.

Next the bikers blow up a portable toilet with some random land surveyor inside. Please note that this scene has nothing to do with the rest of the movie. Nothing. Maybe they had some leftover explosives and wanted to get rid of them. Beats me.

We then find out that bikers were hired to threaten the family to keep the super-stoic dad, who is a cop, from digging into the mob who are involved in a lot of very, very bad things. Since the man's family was killed, the mob boss and his underlings panic because they know Stoic Cop will not give up until he has his revenge, inside or outside the law. Get this -- the cop's name is Steve Thrust. Yeah. Steve THRUST!!!

Cue standard and, in this case, dull revenge movie that makes a couple of minor attempts at expanding the story with under-developed characters in both the mob and the police force as well as including the most passionless love/sex scene I can recall witnessing. Did I mention the cop's name is Steve THRUST?!?!

I will say that the movie did not put me to sleep, mainly because every other line is SHOUTED by our vengence-seeking man of no facial expression. I also had fun watching the boom mic come close to bonking a few actors on the noggin.

Given my comments, it may surprise you that I actually wanted to see this movie, and have been wanting to see for a few years now. Two reasons that amount to almost the same thing: Frozen Scream and Frank Roach. What? Who?

Frozen Scream is a jaw-droppingly weird and inept hot mess of a movie that will probably become an indelible stain (and strain) on your brain once you see it. Lunatics, cult murders, syringes in the eye, very 70s-looking guys in hoods, and a narrator who is almost as confused as the viewer are some of the highlights of this film, which is a personal favorite of mine.

Frank Roach directed both Frozen Scream and Nomad Riders. For the second film, our subject today, he also wrote the movie AND stars as the head of the mob who piss off the wrong cop. Oddly enough, he seems to be only person with any acting ability, so maybe he picked the wrong side of the camera for his profession.

There is a nine-year gap between the two films. Not sure why. There has been nothing since Nomad Riders if IMDb.com is accurate.

Now we come to the baseball connection. The guy makes two movies. Sure, they aren't high quality, but you can see a definite improvement after nine years. I don't mean that as an insult, either. Two strikes, and the guy walks away. 

Don't get me wrong. Nomad Riders went straight to video because the market had changed since 1975. Independent distributors had vanished as the major studios realized that drive-ins made for good second-run venues to suck more cash out of their no-longer-fresh releases. Then the video tape became the rage, and what few drive-ins that were left bowed to the mall multiplexes and vanished in a puff of suburban expansion.

Or maybe he just found a better paying gig doing something else. What the hell do I know?

Frank Roach, if you should happen to hear about this review or even read it, let me know why you stopped, if you would be kind enough to do so. I really want to know. Also, I'd really, really love to see a sequel to Frozen Scream. Heck, you can work the stoic cop character into it and kill two sequels with one film. Umm, kill? Sorry, but I think you get the idea.

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