Shout! Factory // 1974 // 357 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // November 1st, 2013
4X the action! 4X the excitement!
Do you have eight or so hours to kill? Why not spend it constructively, by watching a back-to-back-to-back-to-back marathon of old, obscure action movies? Here you go!
A young, nimble, semi-coherent Gary Busey (Lethal Weapon) stars as Frank "Bulletproof" McBain, a legendary LA cop known for surviving impossible situations and ensuring that routine investigations end up in with asmany corposes and flaming vans as possible. He has been, on occasion, known to use the word "butt-horn" as a pejorative.
When a Russian super-tank gets hijacked by Libyans, McBain is called in by his old CIA contacts to embark on a one-man mission (with no backup!) to retrieve the tank, wipe out the Communists and bring stability to the Middle East.
It's a tall order, but a Gary Busey in his prime is more than up to the task and the result is an entertaining relic of R-rated Cold War-era machismo. McBain is pretty much a stereotype of an action hero, digging out bullets from his shoulder in his own bathroom (and dropping them into a jar of like fifty bullets he presumably dug out from body parts in the past), blowing away bad guys three-at-a-time with one shotgun blast and leveling entire villages without a strand of his brilliant platinum coiffure falling out of place.
Ranking on the Macho Scale: Somewhere between "Passing a kidney stone without making a sound" and "Morton salt."
Bamboo Gods and Iron Men (1974)
There are few badder men than Cal Jefferson (James Iglehart). When he comes across an antique Buddha statue, a stream of bad guys descend upon him, after something special residing within the figurine. Some other stuff happens, including a series of topless massages, random kung-fu and a street chase in bath towels. In the end, the Buddha blows up in everyone faces and they laugh.
The only thing coherent about Bamboo Gods and Iron Men is its title.
Ranking on the Macho Scale: "Jai alai."
Jackie Parker (Connie Stevens) is Scorchy, an undercover determined to bring down the local druglord. She goes in deep to nail him and for her trouble, she ends up in a series of death-defying car and helicopter chases and exchanges gunfire with goons on the dead of night. I'm guess those were goons she was shooting at because I couldn't see a thing.
Ranking on the Macho Scale: "Jack Likes turkey jerky."
When his naïve younger sister disappears, a rancher from Montana (Jim Mitchum) infiltrates the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles to find her and smack around the lowlifes that got her roped into drugs and prostitution. He's got a great mustache and a salty disposition and, even better, Erik Estrada as a sidekick: there will be blood.
Pretty much the big brother revenge fantasy; if you ever dreamt of smacking around the dickwads that gave your sister any lip, here you go. This guy is a walking, talking slab of red meat.
Ranking on the Macho Scale: "Not quite as high as sticking a whole lake trout in your mouth and then pulling out a skeleton, but close."
Presented in either standard def 1.33:1 full frame of 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, Shout! Factory's transfers offer a mixed bag of visual fidelity, depending on the quality of the original source material. The same holds true for these Dolby 2.0 Stereo and Mono tracks, none of which will challenge your audio setup or impress your home theatre guests. There are no bonus features.
Guilty of putting hair on your sunken chest.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 357 Minutes
Release Year: 1974
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* IMDb: Bamboo Gods and Iron Men
* IMDb: Scorchy
* IMDb: Trackdown
* IMDb: Bulletproof