1992 / Director. Albert Pyun. Movie # 13
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
DECEIT is one of Albert's forgotten sci-fi comedies. It rarely registers, even amongst Pyun fans, and never received a decent release. To my knowledge is went direct to video and has languished firmly in obscurity. I managed to track down a video transfer and watched it for the first time tonight... and I really enjoyed the shit out of it. To set the mood the film begins with the following title card:
"The following is CRUCIAL plot information needed to understand this motion picture. If for somer reason you fail to read all of this data in time, then you are really screwed because you’ll end up sitting there for two hours wondering what the hell is going on and realising that you’ve just thrown away hard earned money and one-hundred and thirty minutes of your life. So here is the crucial information."
Hilariously there IS NO crucial information proceeding that statement and the film begins with Norbert Weisser sitting against a cyclone fence drinking a bottle of bleach. This scene is supposed to be the all important plot information... but really... REALLY? It's clear from the get go that DECEIT is going to be one mental mind fuck... and that it is. It tells the story of two aliens who have come to earth to destroy it but get sidetracked by their insatiable desire for sex. This is what I consider to be "classic Pyun". Shot in only 3 days and using mostly one location, he made a bizarre minimalist science fiction comedy that is totally left of centre. The script was written by Kitty Chalmers (CYBORG) and it's riddled with sexually explicit dialogue and desperate attempts to get laid, which teeter on the edge of rape. The film's heroine spends the entire film in her underwear and delivers one dominant monologue after another. At one point she declares "I am so fucking confused!", which seems like a wink to the audience. Norbert Weisser and Scott Paulin (as the ever popular Brick Bardo) are as good as always and Pyun's direction is effortless. The set design is industrial, reminiscent of CYBORG, NEMESIS, OMEGA DOOM etc and is aesthetically wonderful. The lighting, colours and camera angles lend it a surreal and charismatic appeal. There are also a few nice little in jokes and references to other Pyun movies, which is a nice adage for the fans. If Albert were to remake DECEIT he could effectively pull it off as a one-take film, which he is becoming really damn good at. Tonight was my first time watching this one and I loved it. The poster art is a massive injustice. Who in their right mind would see that artwork and feel compelled to watch the movie?
1996 / Director. Albert Pyun. Movie # 25.
Review by Glenn Cochrane
ADRENALIN is yet another movie which was taken away from Albert Pyun and recut. The version that Miramax released was different to the film, which Albert had intended to make. The entire story took on a new emphasis and the setting was changed from Romania to Boston. I can only imagine how frustrated Albert must have been throughout his career with so many films being pulled from under him... all leading to unfair criticisms of his abilities. He has a new director's cut of ADRENALIN (alongside a heap of other titles) on the way and I cannot wait to see it... but because the Miramax cut is the only version I've seen then my thoughts need to reflect it. Fortunately it's a good looking film and still showcases Albert's eye for action and aesthetic. Set in an alternative future, the government has collapsed and a deadly virus is sweeping across the world. When one infected criminal escapes and hides in the catacombs beneath an old prison a group of cops follow him and find themselves trapped at every corner, against a bloodthirsty monster. Albert made three films at the same time while he was in Romania and they all share the same tone. With rubble-lined streets and buildings in ruin he was able to utilize some natural environments to give his stories a surreal and furitistic beauty. The other two films were OMEGA DOOM and NEMESIS 4 and I consider them amongst Albert's most visually arresting. In it's NQ-PYUN Miramax form ADRENALIN is a workable sci-fi horror film with some competent performances. Flawed in many ways and slightly incoherent with its silly Boston setting... but a very easy watch and fun. I can't wait to see the director's cut and I will come back and let y'all know what it's like.
1997 / Director. Albert Pyun. Movie #27
I'm not going to beat around the bush. NEMESIS 3 was terrible. It was a hard film to take following the wonderful first instalment and the fun sequel... and then came NEMESIS 4. All expectations were abandoned with only the hope that it would be a step-up. I think it was and I am a fan of this strange cyber punk movie that builds upon an established character and takes the story into a new and unexpected setting. The African location of the middle two movies has been abandoned in favour of a futuristic, post-apocalyptic environment that more closely resembles the first movie. Sue Pace's character of Alex is now living in a future time and she earns a living as an assassin. She wanders the ruins of an abandoned city and seduces her victims before killing them. While this is technically the same female character we know from the previous movies, she is different. She is no longer a hero and has been turned into a soulless killing machine. Of the NEMESIS series part 4 probably receives the most ridicule but I don't get that. I think this instalment was a step in the right direction and it looks great. Also consider the fact that it was shot in 5 days at the same time when Albert was shooting pick-ups for his other film ADRENALIN. Using the same crew and much of the same cast (including Andrew Divoff) Albert invited Sue Price to Slovakia to shoot this sequel and what he was confronted with was a woman who had changed drastically since he had last seen her. Now looking more man-like than ever, with a physique ridiculously over-buffed Albert used her body to his advantage (her appearance is even addressed in the movie as "abnormal"). With a strong cyber-punk aesthetic Albert has Price walking around in the nude for most of the film. The sight of her having copious amounts of sex is unsettling and strangely compelling. The SFX are wonderful too and hold true to that awesome pre-CGI quality that so many of us cult filmies love. While none of the sequels ever matched the awesomeness of the original NEMESIS, this fourth chapter comes closer than the others and consider that it's a quick knock-together movie and there's a lot more to appreciate about it than people give it credit for. I also think it closely resembles another Pyun movie called OMEGA DOOM. The setting and storyline are very closely related... so much that OMEGA DOOM (filmed around the same time) could have easily been NEMESIS 5 (although I like Omega as a stand alone).
1996 / Director. Albert Pyun. Movie #23
My love of Albert Pyun cannot overcome the disappointment of NEMESIS 3. As previous reviews show, I am a huge fan of the first film and while the second one bore little relation it was still a fun, action packed b-movie in it's own right. Part 2 established a new action movie hero unlike any we're seen before. Sue Price played Alex and brought us a screen presence that was new, confronting and exciting. In NEMESIS 3 she returns and her story continues... though it's a pale reflection of the previous instalment. To tie the storyline in with the original film Tim Thomerson returns as a new incarnation of Farnsworth, the ruthless cyborg who hunted Oliver Gruner's character in the first film. Now older and much hairier, Thomerson looks weary and out of place. Along with two cyborgs from the future he is hellbent on killing Alex to prevent her DNA strain from finding its way into the future. The first 20 minutes of the movie are made up almost entirely of flashbacks to part 2. Not just any flashbacks but really irritating, repetitive and aggravating flashbacks. Joining Price and Thomerson is Pyun regular Norbert Weisser who offers the only actual appealing aspect to the film. His presence on screen is always appealing to me, however, he finds himself stuck in a shit story with shit special effects and even shitter acting. The NEMESIS property had so much potential for being a strong sci-fi franchise but Pyun missed the boat on this one... though from no fault of his own. The studios have never been fair to him and this is his effort at picking up the pieces after being proverbially fucked by them. On the plus side the new German blu-ray release of the movie is absolutely gorgeous. They've cleaned the film up and present it in beautiful hi-def widescreen. It is very appealing on the eye and helps lift the movie up aesthetically. Sadly NEMESIS 3 is a sad turning point in the series.
1995 / Director. Albert Pyun. Movie #22
Fans can be forgiven for being disappointed with NEMESIS 2 because it bares little resemblance to the original film. That is not to say that it's without merit. It begins 73 years later in a time where cyborgs have all but cleansed the world of humans. A new DNA strand is engineered that will bring an end to the cyborgs and a pregnant mother is injected with the new strand. She has the baby and with the cyborgs determined to terminate her child she steals one of their space crafts and travels back to 1980. The mother is killed on arrival and the baby is adopted by a local african tribe who raise her as their own. Cut to 20 years later and the child is now a fully buffed up tribeswoman with a cyborg bounty hunter closing in. The film has all of the characteristics of a stand-alone film that has been modified to fit in with the NEMESIS storyline. The unique style and creative set-ups of the original are lost here and the film plays out more like a futuristic western. Where the first movie was heavily influenced by THE TERMINATOR this sequel takes a lot of cues from PREDATOR. Sue Price was a world champion body builder at the time and her huge muscular physique is, at first, unsettling... but she soon becomes a consummate action hero and proves to be a welcome alternative to the typical blokey stereotypes. Despite the film's overall lack of originality the action sequences are still awesome. The film clearly had a limited budget in comparison and it would seem that much of it's money went into pyro and explosives (wisely so). With the first film in mind it is far too easy to criticize NEMESIS 2 but watching it in it's own right it clearly has a lot of it's own merit. When it comes to mid 90's direct-to-video releases this was a cut above the rest. Good fun and an all new type of action hero unlike any other.
1992 / Director. Albert Pyun. Movie #14
NEMESIS is considered by many fans to be Albert Pyun's best film and I think that's a fair call. The theatrical cut of the film is not a fair representation of what he envisioned and that's important to keep in mind when watching it. As with most dealings with big studios Albert was forced to sacrifice some of his core elements, none greater than casting a 30 year old German man in a role which was written for a 13 year old girl. Albert was also shut out of the editing process and had no control over the final cut and when you listen to him discuss the film it is clear that he was hurt by the experience. Having said that... NEMESIS is an absolutely kick-ass sci-fi action movie that delivers in spades. Taking a lot of obvious cues from TERMINATOR, the movie tells the story of a future world where cyborgs are beginning to rise up and are taking the identities of the world's most powerful people. Alex Raine (Olivier Gruner) is a former assassin who is forced back into the game to find the mastermind of the uprising. Not all is as it seems and the movie comes with various revelations and secrets. Action rarely gets better than this and some of the sequences of NEMESIS, as far fetched as they might be, are amongst the best I've seen. This flick has more gunfire, explosions and stunt work than almost every other movie of it's time. Even now over 20 years later its excessive violence is hard to match and while Albert might not have had control over the edit, the visuals are still entirely his. What we see on the screen, he directed! There is no mistaking his eye for action and NEMESIS is easily amongst his best. From insane machine gun fights to absurdly awesome multilevel escape methods... waterfall diving whilst shooting mid-backflip and concealed guns in eye sockets... good luck finding a sci-fi action movie as fun as this one. The SFX are awesome for it's time with renowned visual FX people from TERMINATOR on board to beef up the eye-candy. Albert was recently able to release his own director's cut, using an original work print. This allowed him to make some changes that eased his pain over the experience and brought a greater sense of accomplishment. This director's cut is also worth a look and gives us a great idea of what his original vision beheld. The quality of this version is quite poor given that he only had a workprint to run with. Fortunately a German company has just released the director's cut as part of a NEMESIS collection, including all 4 films in the series. They've managed to clean up Albert's cut and have presented it in the best quality it's ever going to get. Whichever version you watch there is no question in my mind that NEMESIS is the epitome of 90s sci-fi action. Hell, I'll even take it over TERMINATOR and ROBOCOP. Ah huh!
1997 / Director. Albert Pyun. Movie #30
CRAZY SIX is a strange, surreal and mystifying film. Albert Pyun has never considered himself a conventional filmmaker and this is a film that attests to that. Set in Europe in an alternative future, the film tells the story of street level criminals who find themselves up against mafia bosses and a merciless sheriff quick on their trail. The story itself is kind of irrelevant to me because I was so taken aback by it's style and aesthetic. I think this is a very underrated film indeed. The story plays out in a strange mesmerising way. Almost every scene is lit with saturated colour schemes and shot in close up. The score is persistently hypnotic and seductive and most of the shots are cross-dissolved. The cast is strong with Rob Lowe, Burt Reynolds, Ice T and Mario Van Peebles playing the key characters and they're supported by Pyun regulars Thom Mathews & Norbert Weisser. I have no idea about the production on this one and I am not sure how involved Albert was in the editing process but I would guess that he had a hand in it. The unconventional and experimental nature of the storytelling has his stamp all over it and I can't recall many films that play out like this. I could understand CRAZY SIX testing the patience of average movie-goers but for people like myself, who love strong atmospheric films, this one has a heap of appeal. I would go so far as to say that it has a lot of David Lynch qualities. Sadly CRAZY SIX gets lost amongst some of Albert's lesser-received films and I think it deserves a lot more credit.
The trailer really does the film a disservice.
2004. Director. Albert Pyun. Movie #38
MAX HAVOC is possibly the most controversial of Albert Pyun's films. Its production is notorious due to the producer defaulting on a loan granted to the production from the Gaum government and the case being dragged through the courts for several years. A lot of mis-reporting and false information has been put out onto the internet and sadly Albert has been wrongfully dragged through the mud alongside the producer. The fact of the matter is that Albert was never paid for his work on MAX HAVOC and actually lost a shitload of his own investment. The specifics of the backstory can be found online and the film, which was released was a producers cut, which I am reviewing right now. Albert has recently completed his long-awaited director's cut, which he produced without a single cent of Gaum's funding. I will review his new cut as soon as I get a chance to see it. And so the producers cut... it has copped a shellacking and is often regarded as one of Albert's worst. I do take exception to this because, while clearly not amongst his best work, MAX HAVOC has a lot of merit. It's important to know that the movie was made as lead-in to a television series. The series never eventuated and so the movie had to stand on it's own. For what it is, it's good. Max is a former kickboxing champion, turned photo journalist, who is sent to Gaum for a laid-back assignment. He finds himself caught up with the yakuza, who are on a destructive and deadly path to retrieve a stolen artefact. The acting is definitely sun-standard but the story is decent enough and in true Pyun form, the action is sensational. Say what you want about Albert Pyun but you cannot deny his knack for action sequences. The fight scenes in this are amongst the best he's ever shot... and there's plenty of them to carry the movie home. At times the tropical Guam setting looks more like a travelogue but it also offers a criminal underworld that's aesthetically different to the typical Hollywood convention. David Carradine brings some welcome cred to the movie and keeps it respectable. The heightened action score also held my attention and kept reminding me that none of MAX HAVOC is to be taken seriously. I cannot wait to watch the director's cut but in the mean time this version aint nearly as bad as the loser armchair critics will have you think. Go in with the right frame of mind and you'll get a kick out of it (a roundhouse kick to the head!).
1994 / Director. Albert Pyun. Movie #18
I love the KICKBOXER series and Albert Pyun's KICKBOXER 2 is my favourite of them. It is also arguably the best instalment... that movie introduced Sasha Mitchell as a new leading action man and tailored a new narrative, while remaining true to the set-up of the original. Sasha Mitchell then returned for part 3 and that film, while solid enough as a stand-alone, was hard to take as a KICKBOXER story. It was almost devoid of martial arts and relied heavily on gun fights, chases and explosions. It was a different type of action movie... and so then Albert returned to the franchise with part 4, which ignores the previous film and continues David Sloan's story following part 2 (ya with me?). THE AGGRESSOR sees Sloan in prison after he was stung by a botched undercover operation for the feds. In the mean time his wife is kidnapped by the infamous Tong Po (from the first two movies) and he is released from jail on the provisor that he goes undercover once more to infiltrate an illegal fighting tournament held by Tong Po at his remote Mexican ranch (also an opportunity to rescue his wife). Being a fan of the franchise, THE AGGRESSOR is a tough one to swallow. On the up-side, it is a return to the original themes and puts it's emphasis on the fighting... but there are a lot of shortcomings that ultimately bring the movie undone. The story seems far more convoluted than it needs to be and the fight sequences are laboured. The biggest weakness is the character of Tong Po. He is a movie villain that has become iconic thanks to his deep voice, cool name and trademark ponytail... and in this sequel his entire character has been sullied. Michel Qissi didn't reprise the role and Kamel Krifia stepped into his shoes. The unfortunate consequence of this is that Po's deep gravelly voice is now high-pitched and whiney. He looks like a weakling and not the brutal barbarian we've come to know. His make-up is also unforgivable. So poorly done are his prothetic Asian eyes that at times he has two sets of eyelids when he blinks... and then there's his wrinkled bald-cap which becomes displaced several times throughout fight sequences. All of the movie's foibles are unfortunate because it is still fun to watch Sasha Mitchell kick ass and the concept had the potential to be a welcome addition to the franchise. The frustrating part for me is that I still enjoy watching KICKBOXER 4. It's a lot of fun, but I wish I were enjoying it as a good sequel rather than a hokey 90 minutes of cliches. There are far worse fight movies out there and this one's simply good for shits 'n giggles.
1997 / Director Albert Pyun. Movie # 28
How does one explain the mid 90s when it comes to Albert Pyun's career? In '95 he directed 3 films. In '96 he directed 5 films and in '97 he directed another 3. Thats astounding! The quality of each did vary but it's fair to say that for the quantity of films being pumped out, the standard is very good. BLAST is by no means the best of them but it still remains a perfectly passable action thriller. The story is presented as a "what it?". We are told of a real life terrorist plot that was intercepted prior to the Atlanta Olympic games and the film proceeds as though that threat was never detected. A terrorist group penetrates the security of the Atlanta Aquatic Centre where they take an American female swim team hostage. With FBI recon surrounding the facility, the pressure mounts and it's left to one lone janitor to take down the bad guys. This is more or less a poor man's DIE HARD which exploits all of the conventions and cliches, while still maintaining enough suspense to hold the viewer's attention. The film is strengthened by a good cast including Rutger Hauer, Andrew Divoff, Tim Thomerson, Thom Mathews and my favourite Pyun staple, Norbert Weissner. Albert's long time music collaborator Tony Riparetti delivers a beefed up score that probably over does it but lends the film an impression of urgency. Where the movie flounders is in it's bare-bones, low budget setting. The story takes place during the Olympic games and yet there no crowds, media or hype surrounding these events. Obviously budgetary restrains present that kind of production value but it does disconnect the viewer to an extent. The same minimalism was used in Pyun's MEAN GUNS and in many ways the two movies are very similar. I actually believe that BLAST is references in MEAN GUNS. It's a bit of nonsense but good fun if you're willing to go with it. If you decide to tack this one down then purchase the Spanish dvd release. It's presented in proper widescreen and the picture if pristine. Most other regions released the movie in 4:3 with a sub-par transfer.
1996 / Director. Albery Pyun. Movie #26
OMEGA DOOM is classic Pyun. Rutger Hauer plays the title character, a robot whos killing program was erased when he was struck in the head during a great war. The film has him wandering a post-apocalyptic wasteland where the last remaining humans move underground and the Earth is dominated by two waring robot types; Roms & Droids. The Roms are programmed to kill and the Droids possess a more primitive and subdued design. OMEGA DOOM wanders into the ruins of an old city where the Roms & Droids occupy common ground, searching for a rumoured arsenal of human weapons. Pyun originally envisioned a WESTWORLD type of scenario with aged theme park animatronics operating after mankind is obliterated but for one reason or another (probably budgetary) the film eventually morphed into this underrated and stylish sci-fi drama. Its story owes a lot to Kirosawa's YOJIMO (Pyun was a protege of Kiroswawa) and takes on a classic formula of waring sides competing for supremacy. The film was shot in Romania and the set design, built around ruined buildings, offers a real authenticity to the story. Hauer is good in the lead, though you could argue that he phoned his performance in. The real star of the film is Norbert Weisser, a Pyun veteran. He's a seasoned actor who's also starred in SCHINDLER'S LIST, THE THING and CHAPLIN (amongst others) and yet delivers one of his best performances here in this humble little genre pic. OMEGA DOOM never received the attention it deserved. Being released direct-to-video with lousy cover art and Ruter Hauer's second-rate reputation (during the mid to late 90s) didn't help it any. Now 18 years later it has a deserved cult following and stands up really well. The SFX were simple, practical and effective and didn't rely on dodgy CGI and allow for strong comparisons with some of Pyun's earlier work like NEMESIS and CYBORG. Well worth your time.
1994 / Director. Albert Pyun. Movie # 19
In 1997 the English handed the city of Hong Kong back to the People's Republic of China. A few years earlier Albert Pyun made HONG KONG 97 which told the story of an assassin trying to flee the country before the hand-over at midnight. Robert Patrick lead the film as the American contract killer with a $10M bounty on his head. Having just assassinated several high ranking Chinese officials he finds himself on the run, along with two colleagues and his former lover and her grandfather. This movie is amongst Albert's most polished and mainstream efforts. It plays out very fluently and is really well executed. The set design is wonderful with all sorts of vibrant colours saturating the night-scape, giving it a nice oriental ambience and it conjures memories of Ridley Scott's BLACK RAIN. The cast is solid too with Patrick in the lead, supported by Brion James, Tim Thomerson and Andrew Divoff. None of them play into stereotypes and each lend modest and understated performances... although James does have a strange British accent, which coming from him... still works. According to Wiki-whatwouldtheyknow, the film has never been released on DVD. Ha. I guess they don't look hard enough. I managed to source and excellent copy from the Czech Republic of all places. It's been remastered wonderfully and the image is as polished as it is ever likely to get. In terms of Albert Pyun's filmography, HONG KONG 97 is probably most comparable to POSTMORTEM. Clearly different types of films, but both working within a more traditional and classic style of filmmaking. This is more restrained, less experimental and definitely more conformed. When it comes to Pyun films, us fans do prefer the crazy, fucked up and ballsy stuff... but every now and then these solid and conventional outings are necessary to remind us that Mr Pyun is not to be underestimated.
1986 / Director. Albert Pyun. Movie #4
When it comes to Albert Pyun's cult status, VICIOUS LIPS would probably rank as his cultiest film. When you trawl the message boards it becomes clear that this is one of his most revered exploits and possibly his most underrated. It comes from my favourite "Pyun" era which was in the early to mid 80s when every film was ambitious, daring and hugely atmospheric. VICIOUS LIPS tells the story of an intergalactic all-female rock group, which crash lands on a strange planet while en-route to a gig elsewhere in the galaxy. The film is jam packed with synthy 80's pop music, big boofy hair styles and hideous monsters... there is no question that VICIOUS LIPS is a hokey film and that is its ultimate charm. This is the type of film that midnight movies are made of. It plays out like Star Trek on acid and pays homage to the classic sci-fi B-movies of the 50s. It's also full of self satirical gags and references to Pyun's previous films. I should also add that there seems to be quite a lot of influence hidden within this gem. We are briefly treated to a 3-breasted woman (several years before Total Recall laid claim) and it seems very obvious where Bono's fly persona from the 90s came from... just two examples. I'm not sure if the movie's title works in its favour and perhaps that contributes to its obscurity. Nevertheless there is no denying the awesomeness of VICIOUS LIPS and with the passage of time it's magic has grown on people. It's not to be taken seriously. It requires an appreciation of classic B-movie culture and it represents Albert Pyun perfectly. It's right up there with my favourites!
1993 / Director. Albert Pyun. Movie #17
During the 80s and 90s Albert Pyun was prolific. He pumped out movie after movie in quick succession and barely stopped to breath. In my interview with him last year he discussed never having a proper day off throughout his career. No sooner had he made ARCADE he had delivered KNIGHTS. This was a return to familiar territory for Pyun with cyborgs being at the heart of this post-apocalyptic sci-fi action film. He also wrote the story, which deals with similar themes to other cyborg related movies he has made. The film stars Kris Kristofferson, Lance Henrickson, Scott Paulin and Kathy Long and is set on a future Earth landscape where cyborgs are running out of life-sustaining oil and a rogue marauding clan of evil cyborgs discover human blood to be a superior substitute. Lead by Lance Henrickson (sporting the most ridiculous robotic claw-arm ever) they prey on human travellers. This is classic Pyun. The acting leaves a lot to be desired but where it lacks in performance, it makes up for in aesthetic. Pyun's use of landscape is awesome and his action is creatively devised in a pre-CGI, 90s kind of way. Daring fights are staged treacherously on cliff edges and are shot from weird and creative perspectives. It would be easy to brush KNIGHTS off as low-grade video fluff but the keener sci-fi geeks will find more to it. Scott Paulin's animated performance is a real show stopper and is the key to appreciating the film's intentional folly. Albert had intended KNIGHTS to be a loose spin-off to CYBORG and intended to make two sequels. Unfortunately the film under-performed and the sequels never came to fruition. I personally think that the title played a part in that... "KNIGHTS" is a misleading name and doesn't summarise the movie the way CYBORG and HEATSEEKER did for similarly themed Pyun titles. Sadly, as far as I know, KNIGHTS has never been treated to a re-release. The only way to see it is on VHS (or dvd transfer) and while it's sad that the film hasn't been as respected as it should have been, there's something wonderful about watching it on an old-school format.
1993 / Director. Albert Pyun. Movie #15
I often refer to my childhood being spent in the local video store and my obsession with looking at all of the covers. BRAIN SMASHER didn't have the most appealing cover art but something about it always struck a chord with me. In the early to mid 90s I was obsessed with fight movies and some of the bad martial art promotional images sucked me in. The added bonus with BRAIN SMASHER was that it was actually a good movie. I have never been a fan of Andrew Dice Clay and his involvement in a film is usually a turn off... for this movie I grant him the exception. This is really fun stuff and once again showcases what a wonderful action-director Albert Pyun is. It tells the story of a super model who has been roped into smuggling a rare flower from Europe to America by her botanist sister. On her tail is a crew of deadly Shaolin monks who's leader needs the flower to grant him supernatural powers. She meets a burly night club bouncer who also finds himself being chased by these "ninjas". There's nothing exceptional about the story, in fact it's incredibly derivative. It's more or less a knock-off of BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA - but that doesn't matter. The movie is riddled with humour, elaborate fight sequences and never takes itself seriously. The visual style is great with effective use of creative camera angles and Albert's trademark lighting design. The film begins with an odd introduction by Andrew Dice Clay giving you the rundown on what you're about to see. It's a stupid pre-credit sequence and completely unnecessary. It feels like it was added to the movie in post production and I can't figure out why. If BRAIN SMASHER receives a directors cut then I hope Albert removes this misjudged moment. Everything else about the movie works well. Teri Hatcher is actually bearable (she's another one I'm not fussed on) and there's even a brief appearance by Lyn Shaye ('bout 5 seconds max. WTF?) Why on Earth Albert Pyun cops a bad wrap is beyond me. I can only assume that people don't approach his movies with the right frame of mind. BRAIN SMASHER: A LOVE STORY is fantastic fun.