Coolio, ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ Rapper, Dies at 59 –

From a bookish, asthmatic child to crack addict to mainstream recording powerhouse, Coolio charted a path to hip-hop superstardom like no other.
— Read on

Sad news for music fans. Fans of fine action movies will look up his Wikipedia listing and wonder if they should watch his movie “Submerged” out of respect.

They should not. Nil nisi bonum, my dudes.

Regretting That Afternoon Nap

Now I’m wide awake and watching the SciFi Channel’s miniseries,
‘Knights of Bloodsteel’

The four-hour, two-part movie tells the tale of Mirabilis, a mythical land chock full of humans, elves and goblins in which the only thing of value, apparently, is a magical metal called bloodsteel. What little remains is controlled by the awful and horrible Dragon Eye (Mark Gibbon), a monster so ridiculously hideous he looks like he was drafted from a later episode of “The Power Rangers.”

There is, as luck would have it, a magic crucible that produces vast quantities of bloodsteel. To ensure that Dragon Eye doesn’t find it first, elven elder Tesselink (Lloyd) teams two humans, an elf and a goblin to seek and possibly destroy the crucible.

All of which sounds much more interesting than it actually is. Sam Egan’s script is trite and sophomoric, the acting beyond dismal — David James Elliott, late of “JAG,” plays John Serragoth but insists on employing an accent that moves from Irish to Welsh to Brooklyn, often within the same sentence — and so many visuals are lifted from “Lord of the Rings” that director Philip Spink should be ashamed of himself.

The bad guys are nothing but Orc rip-offs and speak in those deep electronically modified tones so beloved of cartoons. And as the “hot” elf Perfidia, Natassia Malthe (“BloodRayne II: Deliverance”) is strangely graceless; every time she pulls out her two swords, you’re fairly certain she will cut off her own head. Forget the bloodsteel, Perfidia; a little WD-40 works wonders.

Yeah, David James Elliott in a hero mullet. Anachronistic technology that makes this “Mirabilis” look like a Second Life fantasy sim with steampunk bolt-ons. Also DJE is a bit of a perv: he peeked at his elven female companion in the shower. Which shouldn’t exist, except that this is that kind of “fantasy” world.

As a Highlander fan, I always like to see the swords come out, but I’m also spoiled and jaded. If the fight choreography’s pretty good, if the actors don’t chew the scenery too much and are decorative, I’m pretty happy. But I also like the writing, editing, and directing to be competent, and bonus points for costuming and effects.

I’ll watch for a while, maybe record the rest for later. Christopher Lloyd’s wig is pretty scary in itself. I seem to have tuned in just in time for the “band to get together” scene, which was a total ripoff of the “Council of Elrond” scene in LOTR:FOTR. Previously, there was a dive-bombing dragon, which had some steampunkery crap on it that David James Elliott cut off with some big gaff thing. He seemed pretty pleased with himself at the time.

It seems this entire picture is one big gaffe. But I’ll watch for a while, if I can stand it.

The Movie Franchise That Would Not Die

A long time ago, in a far-away land, I used to be a major geek for Highlander: The Series. I even bought a computer so I could find other fans online, and eventually hosted a twice-weekly chat on AOL and ran keyword: H I G H L A N D E R. Yep. like I said, geek.

There was a marathon of old Highlander episodes on the SciFi channel today, culminating in a showing of the direct-to-DVD movie, Highlander: The Source. I knew that long-time fans, who still belong to the HIGHLA-L mailing list either due to nostalgia or because they’ve forgotten how to unsubscribe to a listserv, had been dissing this movie.

Now, I get to diss it. My TV category is named “Clan McTivo” because of this series, but I very much fear that the proper category for this opus will turn out to be… “Perfectly Dreadful Movies.”

I will be liveblogging this, to an extent, if I can drink enough beer. Oh, the memories. Did you know that my husband David and I met because of the Highlander television series? Yes, that’s right. So it’s odd to watch this and remember how cool we thought the show was, and see how far it fell after cancellation and then being caught up in the movie franchise’s bloodthirstymaw.


Celebrating 20 years of The Legend, Davis-Panzer Productions, Sequence Films and Grosvenor Park are proud to announce the upcoming 2007 release of HIGHLANDER: The Source. Brett Leonard is the director with Adrian Paul playing the immortal Scottish swordsman, Duncan MacLeod.

This new adventure, starring Adrian Paul is the first feature in the Trilogy. The Source tells the story of Immortals as they quest to locate the Holy Grail of their world. The entire series of films will chronicle the origins of the Immortals.

Director Brett Leonard commented “This is a tremendous opportunity for a storyteller of this genre to take part in the mythology of 20 years.” He continues that “HIGHLANDER is an amazing ongoing story that I can bring my visual style to… Everything I have done has led me to this kind of mythical fantasy.”

Uh, well, it was crap like this that made me avoid this movie when it came out on DVD. There was a lot of discussion on HIGHLA-L about how bad it was, and how disappointed everyone was in the new female love interest. But still, most of them watched because our favorite characters were back on the screen.

Well, sometimes, you really shouldn’t bring things back from the dead, or they stink up the joint.

We seem to be in Eastern Europe, and there’s a lot of extreme closeup shots, and highly colorized and filtered shots, and a lot of bad CGI turning an ordinary town into something a bit more exotic.

Also, there’s a new Kurgan wannabe in town, who’s a demonic sort who seems to be guarding the “Source” of the title. And some monks. There’s always monks. And an albino.

Not sure why Methos and two other weirdos are sitting around watching things on Virtual Reality. And also not sure why Duncan seems to be married to this Anna chick, who has visions and is linked to the Source somehow.

It’s chaotic, the editing is bad, the sounds are bad, the dialogue is bad. This isn’t what the show used to be. This is what the crap movie sequels were like, though.

I think Reggie, the young Immortal dude, is about to buy the farm. Too bad. Oh, no, he didn’t.


Dammit, they killed Joe. Nooooooooooo! And they broke the dragon head katana. BASTARDS.

This really sucks rocks. Why did they think this crap was worth making?

Also, the fight sequences are reeeeeeeeeally bad.

Thank God, a commercial break. The Sham Wow! guy seems like a really calm, serene presence after that dreck.

Okay, thanks to TiVo, I get to watch Duncan bury the Dragon Head sword with Joe. This is a disaster on so many levels. A cheer goes up when he says “I’m done.”

Or, no. The movie is still going. Darn.

Whoa, the scenery is so badly rendered and constructed, it’s a wonder they manage to choke it down.

And what is the deal with these new characters? They’re so not cool and un-Highlanderlike. The old production crew used to be pretty good at casting guest stars. But that was a long time ago.

More bad CGI as they finally leave the crappy Monastery and Jabba the Immie for a long sea voyage to some island. Over which all the planets are aligned.

So now we’re in some post-Apocalyptic Anarchyland, and because it’s daylight everything is shot in a cold blue light. And it’s time for a pointless melee fight while some poor businessman is menaced by wharf rats. At least Methos looks cool in his fringed black leather jacket. The businessman looks like he’s having a very bad day as a Michelin man, since the bad guys have poured gasoline on him. This advances the plot how? That’s right, as an opportunity for a daytime melee so that we know that Duncan, his seeress “wife,” the real sidekick Methos and the fake sidekicks Reggie the Richie Substitute and Giovanni the Thin White Dude-Priest are fighting some badass gang guys.

Oh, yeah, Duncan kind of sleepwalks around with a long metal pole, throws it through the window of an approaching gas truck, and KA-BOOM! We survive to another blessed commercial break.


I have to confess that I spent about half an hour messing around with some WordPress tricks before pressing “Play” again. And I’m nearly out of beer.

Oh, NOOOOOES!!! This the most terrible hero walk over “Princes of the Universe I could have imagined.  It even sounds a little like Freddie Mercury, but it’s not. At least Duncan’s gotten the band back together, except for poor old Joe. And Richie.  And all his other dead friends.

Reggie, Richie, they’re the same kid, except that this kid has a funky London accent.

Gah, the Anna chick just said it’s not about death, it’s about life. This is about how Immortals can’t have kids, isn’t it?? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  More messing with canon, the bastards.

I am wondering how Reggie manages to refill his flask, though.

Now we’re going to have a really stupid tete-a-tete between Duncan and this Anna chick, hunkered down in the woods and weeds 0utside an abandoned cabin. We’ll spend a few minutes grieving for Joe and for all of Duncan’s dead girlfriends. Impressively, he mentions Tessa. Less impressively, he mentions Kate, the girlfriend chick from the previous bad sequel, which was the first that featured the series characters.

Duncan has a “why am I here’ moment and then “let’s get it ONNNNNNN” up against a tree. Except he gets that funny “I smell something bad” look that means that another immortal is around. And we are saved by another commercial. Thank you, SciFi! Thank you for cutting this piece of shit up into smaller, nearly palatable pieces!

I think if I see Tom Cruise in an eyepatch and Nazi tat one more time, I will barf.

Poor David, he retreated upstairs.  I think he’s watching TV on a set that barely works.

And we’re back, with a rock soundtrack and it looks like things are getting hot and heavy up against the tree. On Highla-L, we called this sort of thing “headboard-rattling.” This is rather more primitive, what with the tree and all.

Woops, Reggie’s about to buy it. The Guardian just showed up.

But although he cuts Reggie into pieces, he doesn’t behead him. And they all wonder why, and Methos wants to know why they didn’t smell the demon guardian guy. Oh, and too bad, as you get closer to the Source, you’re no longer Immortal, so Reggie’s a goner. They bury him. It’s something about his lack of faith was disturbing, I swear.

Now it appears that Giovanni, the kooky priest, is on deck. He looks happy about getting his religious maniac freak on. They all drive away until they reach some kind of torture-rack that blocks the road. Some guy is trussed up, and it looks uncomfortably like a crucifiction.  It’s booby trapped, of course, and the car is destroyed.

Cue loud rock music as everybody runs frantically away from the Guardian – who is pale white and appears to have letters on his face in some sort of scarification deal. So maybe he’s the personification of a British newspaper? He’s pretty badass, but whenever he fights, he’s in speed-motion. This means that he can’t move for shit, and I can tell from the way he used a sword that he’s got no fight training skills, so speeding him up is the only way they had to make him look “kewl” enough for the slavering truefen, who adore fight choreography.  Sadly,  even when he goes to lightspeed, he’s no damn good. He’s kind of like an Agent, except with leather Farmer Johns and a metal skullcap.

The Farmer Johns are somewhat tactfully cut around his gut; something tells me this guy is kind of tubby when he’s not all made up to look like a demon.

So everybody runs around in the woods with swords drawn. The light in this part of the movie is greenish. Let’s see, it was bluish when they got to Anarchy Island, and it was yellowish when they were at Jabba the Immie’s monastery… was it reddish in the first part of the movie when McLeod muffed his chance to kill the bad guy and put us all out of our misery 10 minutes in? Can’t remember.

Beer is good.

UPDATE: Thank God! A friend called and we jabbered for an hour, giving me a chance to get another beer and drink most of it.

But there’s no more procrastinating, time to hit “play” and watch the last reel. Most recently, we were all running with swords. Oh, we still are, that means I haven’t missed anything.

Wait, what? There’s arrow or crossbow bolts appearing in tree trunks. And a guy on a horse. And guys on motorcycles. The bad rock music is not helping.

Oh, good, a new bad guy. Old bad guy sitting in a tree, laughing. Mac and his sidekicks, old and new, all go down with arrows sticking out of them, and probably won’t have that magic healing mojo working for them, either.

Thank God, another commercial break.

Ad: I really need to speak to Maureen Ryan at the Chicago Tribune and ask her why she thinks Sanctuary is completely addicting, because it’s sure not the oxycontin of SF as far as we’re concerned.

The new bad guys and their entire tribe are having a rock and burn and crucify party. These are evidently the guys who built the roadblock. Who are these assholes? One bad guy at a time, please.

Oh, Methos just mentioned he knew Christ. That was a big no-no when the series was on. No messing with “real” religion.

And it appears that these badguys are all the Guardian’s minions.

Anna gets cut down and is told to follow the Source. She says “come for me” in a very come-hitherish voice to Mac. She wanders off into the woods with the Guardian.

Uh oh. The flames catch on their little scaffold. But Giovanni gets free cause he has a little knife in his crucifix.

He goes a little nuts and goes after the Guardian instead of cutting down Mac and Methos. But the flames, very conveniently, climb up the ropes on their side, too, and Mac gets free. He cuts Methos down. You can see cuts in the timbers where they messed up on earlier shots.

Meanwhile, the badass gang, being sufficiently lickered up, finishes dancing around a giant Green Man (oh, somebody’s probably going to end up in there) and notices their guests have escaped. “Time to hunt!” they holler, and stumble off into the woods.

They’re beating drums and riding motorcycles. How tribal.

Anna and the Guardian go for a romantic walk in the woods.

It’s totally chaotic; this shoot must have been a bitch for all concerned.

In the sky, the planets all appeart to be coming down to earth. Anna gets all glowy.

Giovanni gets caught and tortured. Methos doesn’t want to save him, he ran out on them and they hate each other anyway over the whole hypocritical religion thing. Giovanni runs away again, leaving Mac to fight alone. Methos runs straight at Mac with a big sword, but instead throws it at a tree and somehow beheads the motorcycle rider, who runs into it and offs himself.

A “you were always the best one” scene ensues. We’ve already seen this sort of thing on the series. He somehow ended up with the black horse the gang leader was riding, and gallops off after telling Mac that it’s his destiny to face the Guardian in single combat. I think Methos is hoping that if he gets far enough away, he’ll be all Immortal again. And shit.

Amusingly, he delivers his “I knew it, too” line after getting biffed in the face by the horse, who’s probably pissy about being hijacked.

Patented Highlander Dialogue by McLeod: “You’re such an asshole.”
Patented Highlander Dialogue by Methos: “I never said I was deep.”

That was SO much a “sekrit passion of Methos and Mac” slash scene. I’m immune to it now, though.

He rides off so the rest of the horsemen can chase him and lead them away from Mac, the girl, Giovanni, and the planets.

Time for Giovanni’s big shiny cross to shine one last time, and he has one more religious-nut scene to play before getting the big chop. Why was he next to last? I liked Reggie better.

Stupid plot.

Mac steps up to the plate. Without the Eileann Donan Slugger, though, he’s at a disadvantage. He has some sword he picked up back at the About To Be Burning Man Green Man camp. The planets get so big in the sky you can see individual features on them. At night. Without even binoculars. They probably show up on the Norad Santa website.

One last commercial break. Only 12 minutes runtime remains. Yaaaay!

Planets come in for a landing. The lake waters are suddenly drawn aside. They’re on the dry lakebed.

Guardian appears. Fight. Duncan’s got two swords. He starts to speed up like the Guardian, who notes one of them has to die. Anna, whatsername, is safe behind some sort of energy field. Mac can’t get to her after disabling the guardian temporarily.

More fighting. The Guardian notes that Mac is getting upgraded. It’s Mac 2.0! And I bet he gets the chance to make a backup copy soon…

Fight fight fight. Duncan refuses to kill the Guardian, but he blows up. Evidently this means he passes the test. The Game wasn’t really about killing other immortals, it was about survival of the fittest and who won the right to get close to Anna.

Yep. I was right. It was really all about makin’ da babies. Not only does Duncan solve the puzzle that was really the Prize at the end of the Game, he gets to live happily ever after. Nekkid Duncan and Anna stand around glowing symbolically and then there’s a shot of Anna’s pregnant belly. I could JUST BARF. This is so very, very bad. Also, the final shots scream “we ran out of money and can only afford to put up this mystical crap with an entire monologue to end the movie, explaining every character’s motivation, because we did such a bad job telling the story from beginning to end.”

Wait, what? How come there were female Immortals, though? Discrimination! They never had a chance!

This totally sucked. The final song kicks in, sounding vaguely like Elton John. Mercifully, it’s cut short and the credits roll. At last. It would have been just fine if the whole movie had been the beginning monologue, a couple of the fights, the bad version of Princes of the Universe with the badass forest gang guys, and the final monologue. End.

Oh, and I got a better look at the Guardian in the final fight scene – that Farmer John thing had a built-in corset; he was really very thick through the body.

Yeah, that would have worked out a lot better.

UPDATE: Okay, this is funny. Twitter was full of comments about the movie, and about the Highlander marathon in general. Then an item popped up from Google Trends with a link to Highlander-related websites that Google has identified as a spike or a trend. So this blog post shows up (yay me!) and also this item:

Actor Peter Wingfield recently reduced the price of his Studio City home to $2,699,000 from $2,995,000. The traditional-style home has six bedrooms and 4 1/2 bathrooms in 5,473 square feet.

The house has an office with a separate entrance, and a maid’s room with full bath. The media, living and dining rooms are defined by German NanaWall doors — glass folding doors — and the kitchen has a gourmet cooking island and stainless-steel appliances.

There is a fireplace in the master bedroom suite, which also includes a spa bath and a steam shower. The landscaped grounds include a saltwater pool and spa.

Wingfield has played the 5,000-year-old Methos in the “Highlander” TV series (1995-98) and in the movies “Highlander: The Source” (2007) and “Highlander: Endgame” (2000). He also appeared in the feature films “X2: X-Men United” (2003) and “Edge of Madness” (2002).

More recently, from 2006 through this year, he played surgical consultant Dan Clifford in the BBC medical drama “Holby City.” He had a recurring role on the Fox TV series ” 24.”

Here’s the Google Trends analytical thing – pretty funny, actually:

highlander the source

Hotness: Spicy

Related searches:
highlander the series, highlander, adrian paul, barack the magic negro, elizabeth gracen

5 hours ago

Now why, WHY is one of the related searches “barack the magic negro?” That’s just strange, bad, wrong, and disturbing. And why is Elizabeth Gracen related? She’s not in this picture, unless guys watching the reruns 5 hours ago thought she looked pretty sexy… yeah, that’s probably it.

Immortal: A Perfectly Dreadful, but Beautifully Rendered Movie

Immortal DVD | Movie and TV Reviews | SCI FI Weekly

Oh, lucky day. I was channel surfing just now and stumble onto the opening credits of tonight’s “scinema” feature, Immortal. Struck by the oddity of just one character so far being played by a fully human actor, and most others with some sort of weird CGI overlay, I decided to record it and see what happens. So far, there’s ripoffs of concepts from the original Stargate movie (Egyptian gods emerging from sarcophagi), stylistic nods to Blade Runner, the Fifth Element, the European science fiction magazine Heavy Metal, and some seriously loopy and disjointed plotting, dialogue, and editing.

Also, there’s a beautiful pale girl who cries blue tears and seems to be some sort of criminal with odd medical quirks. Here’s what I found out so far:

Immortal may be the most jarring of the bunch, in part because it has the most ga-ga storyline, but also because the CGI is not just limited to its gorgeously detailed portrayal of a futuristic Manhattan. (Those scenes, taken by themselves, are among the best in film history.) The same tech is also used on most of the characters. Hardy, Kretschmann and Rampling are the only principals recognizable as flesh-and-blood human beings. The several other characters, God and Mortal, human or otherwise, are all created by actors whose performances have been overlaid with CGI makeup designed to make them look various degrees of odd—and it’s sad to report that none of these works at all well. They might have been tolerable enough, were they the norm for the film, but when constantly contrasted with the intermittent appearances of people with pores, they break the suspension of disbelief that keeps an audience emotionally invested. Combine this with a truly elliptical story structure, which refuses to establish key points until well after the midway point, and therefore doesn’t congeal as a narrative until well into the movie’s running time, and you emerge with a film that’s easy to admire as a spectacle but hard to care about as a story.

Okay, I’m in. I may not watch it all tonight – David’s out of town and I’m at loose ends as far as entertainment, and I can only listen to so many Eureka podcasts without needing a break.

And I agree that the cityscapes in the first 10 minutes are breathtakingly beautiful. Apparently I’ve already seen the two fleshpersons. So let’s hit “lay” and see what we have.
Oh. Well, that was a different entertainment experience. The story made AB-sofriggin-LUTELY no sense, but there were several sexy scenes. Lots of CGI gore. And a frickin’ space shark!
And the whole thing remained distressingly uncongealed, narrative-wise. Still, it was nice to look at and had an interesting sound track. Not a perfectly dreadful so much as a dreadfully incomprehensible one. In the end, we are left with a blue baby that can turn into a fluffy blue hawk that eats Parisian doves. Aaaand… credits.

BeerFest: Probably A Perfectly Dreadful Movie

I was checking local movie listings just now, and spotted a potential Perfectly Dreadful Movie contendah. Anything I find bwah-worthy (possibly spit-takeworthy) will be in bold:


Beerfest – Movie Details – Yahoo! Movies


When American brothers Todd and Jan Wolfhouse travel to Germany to spread their grandfather’s ashes at Oktoberfest, they stumble upon a super-secret, centuries old, underground beer games competition–“Beerfest,” the secret Olympics of beer drinking. The brothers receive a less than warm welcome from their German cousins, the Von Wolfhausens (because evil German cousins are always the Von Somethings), who humiliate Todd and Jan, slander their relatives, and finally cast them out of
the event. Vowing to return in a year to defend their country and their family’s honor, the Wolfhouse boys assemble a ragtag dream team of beer drinkers and gamers: Barry (“Otter”) Badrinath, the consummate skills player with a dark past; Phil Krundle (aka Landfill) ((aka “Bluto”)), a one-man chugging machine; and Charlie “Fink” (“D-Day”) Finklestein, the lab tech with a PhD in ‘All Things Beer’. This Magnificent Five train relentlessly, using their hearts, minds
and livers to drink faster, smarter and harder than they ever have before. (Toga! To-ga! TO-GA!) But first they must battle their own demons–as well as a bunch of big, blond, German jerks ((aka the Doug Neidermeier and the rest of the “Hilter Youth”)) who want to destroy the team before they can even make it back to Munich.


Also Known As:

Beer Fest

Production Status: Released

Logline: Two brothers go to Oktoberfest in Germany and stumble upon a super-secret centuries-old competition with beer games. After the brothers are dealt a humiliating defeat, they return to the U.S. and assemble a group of all-star beer drinkers.

Genres: (ALLEGEDLY) Comedy

Running Time: 1 hr. 50 min.

Release Date: August 25th, 2006 (wide – see “U.S. Box Office”)

MPAA Rating: R for pervasive crude and sexual content, language, nudity and substance abuse.


Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution

Production Co.:

Gerber Pictures, Cataland Films, Broken Lizard Films, Legendary Pictures, Inc.


Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

U.S. Box Office: $7,031,228

Filming Locations:

New Mexico, USA (Vot? No Chermany?)

Produced in: United States


Submerged: A Perfectly Dreadful Movie

Another one of those really bad movies that I watched as a public service, so that no one need ever watch it again.

Title: Submerged (2000)

Coolio …. Jeff Cort
Maxwell Caulfield …. Agent Jim Carpenter
Brent Huff …. Agent Mack Taylor
Nicole Eggert …. Tiffany Stevens
Fredric Lehne …. Richard Layton (as Fredric Lane)
Dennis Weaver …. Buck Stevens
Hannes Jaenicke …. Dr. Kevin Thomas
Fred Williamson …. Captain Masters
Tim Thomerson …. Owen Cantrell
Robert Torti …. Dr. Frank Ewing
Yvette Nipar …. Agent Wendy Robbins
Stacey Travis …. Cindy Kenner
Art Hindle …. Sam
Meredyth Hunt …. Judy Campbell
Michael B. Silver …. Doctor Winslow (as Michael Buchman Silver)
Meilani Paul …. Karen
Michael Bailey Smith …. Lt. Nick Stuart
Christopher Halsted …. Captain David Rogers
Ernest Harden Jr. …. Mace
Ted Monte …. Bill
Richard Gabai …. Eddie
Ari Barak …. Mr. Drago
Sophia Bruce …. Special Baby Appearance (unconfirmed)
rest of cast listed alphabetically
Brian J. Mahoney …. Party Guest (uncredited)
LaMar Rutherford …. Jack (co-pilot) (uncredited)
Brinke Stevens …. Bartender (uncredited)

The other night, David started watching this movie more or less at random. He paused it while we made dinner, but had not bothered to actually hit “record” in TiVo. So after dinner I hit “play” just to see what was going on, because I’d wondered what the two guys on screen were about to say to each other. After watching this film, their dialog should have been:

Darkhair Guy 1: Dude, my agent says it’s a great script. Coolio is in it!

Redhair Guy 2: Coolio wholio? Only so long as I get to get shot and comfort a pregnant lady.

I ended up watching the whoooole thing – much like the lasagna in the old Alka Seltzer ad. It was the cheese, you see. The yummy, yummy cheese. I’ll try to give examples of said cheese as I go. If you really must read it, the rest of this post is in the extended entry.
Continue reading

Darklight: A Perfectly Dreadful Movie

Title: Darklight
Stars: Richard Burgi, John DeLancie, David Hewlitt, Sherri Appleby
Official Website: Sci Fi | Darklight

my husband David recorded this movie because John DeLancie was in it. We always, always enjoy his work, so I thought “How bad could it be?” and sat down to watch with him. There was some sort of incomprehensible pre-show sequence about a demon or woman that walks up out of a swampy place all nekkid and covered with goo, and some guys sitting around in a futuristic chapel being told that their sacrifice was for the good of mankind before they get sent off to their doom fighting the demon. I was microwaving pizza at the time, and couldn’t really hear how bad the dialogue and sound were.

David offered to re-start, but I figured I’d catch up quickly enough. Right.

Turns out the movie’s story, plot and characters were so screwed up, no amount of cribbing, notes, or pre-show exposition would have helped make sense of it.

It started out well enough – nice titles. David Hewlitt of Atlantis (he plays crabby, snide, brilliant Dr. McKay) was in it, and he’s a new favorite of mine, so I settled in with my pizza.

Oh, well. There was much scenery chewed. There was something about capturing a female demon and keeping her looking human with pellets of plant stuff that make her forget her demonity. Something else about purifying the demon DNA “strain” and injecting it into the eyes of a very pissed-off David Hewlitt, who played a scientist with a grudge against the corporation that done him wrong – now he’s some sort of independent contractor for a faith-based secret clandestine apocalyptic demon fighting club. Something else about the corporation going public with an immortality treatment. And then David Hewlitt made somebody shoot him to show he was immortal, went apeshit, and turned into one of the demon things (who apparently is wearing tiny crispy little black bike shorts). He runs off to kill people from his old company at press conferences, because he’s got a grudge that they based their so-called breakthrough on his secret work for the cult. Meanwhile, the secret society, which seemed to be based more on the Kabbala than anything else, didn’t realize that their #2 man, John DeLancie, had his own agenda and was the one egging David Hewlitt on and having the demon he turned into do his bidding. Turns out they’ve been extracting stuff from the demon and working on it. The demon romps around killing people and entire S.W.A.T teams (David and I started singing “Da-da-da, da-da-da, da-da-da, da-da-da, da-daaaa” to make them feel better about rushing in to their doom). And then there were the beginnings of a horrible plague, carried by the demon in his brain and delivered by the longest, scaliest tongue in the universe. The government haplessly failed to protect the top scientist for the corporation, but by then the amnesiac girl, that used to be a demon but doesn’t remember how, had been trained by Richard Burgi. There was some rock music and posing when she’d remember how to burn up like a phoenix, turn black and scaly, and pretty much look like a low-rent X-men ripoff. There was a break after a mid-movie battle scene where the good demon and the bad demon fight. Both are so very badly rendered in CGI it’s hard to tell which one is the real loser, but the good-girl demon slashes the bad-boy demon’s tummy, and off he runs howling and the scientist is saved. Suddenly, David Hewlitt’s human again, lying on a table in the lab at his old workplace and is very crabby and irritable about the big slash in his tummy, and makes a former cow-orker stitch up his guts. He needs another infusion of the girl demon’s power, which is called Dark Light. She comes by it naturally, so though she can hurt him, he can only hurt her so long as he doesn’t lose his mojo. But darn it, they’re fresh out of mojo at the lab, so he has to capture her and Burgi and there’s a long involved wrangle between them and DeLancie, while Hewlitt watches on a monitor and gets mighty steamed to hear that DeLancie’s using him as a pawn. This doesn’t stop him from wanting to turn back into a demon again and do his master’s bidding. Maybe it’s the little pants that he likes best about being a big flying scaly demon. And the instant crispy buffness.

One thing that struck me funny was that every time David Hewlitt (who I like, by the way) is on screen, his shirt’s open all the way – for no damn reason other than “Hey, Burgi won’t do it, let’s see if Hewlitt will run around with his shirt half open.”

I didn’t mind too much, but my husband David (my husband) thought that Hewlitt was pretty un-buff for all the screen time he had showing his chest, or with his shirt completely off. I will admit this, but he was un-buff in a very normal and rather endearingly vulnerable way. When he becomes the demon, he becomes uber-buff. Perhaps this is also part of his character’s motivation.

That reminds me: after his scenery-chewing transformation scene when he turns into the male demon, he turns human again, with the same clothes as before, and in fact with his shirt open all the way. Huh? Same with the girl – she doesn’t have the Hulk’s problem with wardrobe at all. Meanwhile, the horrible Red Plague, which is apparently much, much worse than the Black Plague, is turning people into crusty red and black mounds of goo. But first, they turn into festering zombies, who go around going “raaar! Raaaar!” and are used by DeLancie to kill enemies slowly enough that they can figure out how to escape and survive to the next reel. Kind of like sharks with frickin’ laser beams, see? So there were battles, people changed back and forth into demons, people got turned into goo, DeLancie has a few scary philosophical discussions about how he’s forcing the Creator’s hand, and so on. Oh, and there’s a kryptonite maneuver, too – some sort of plant or root from the Garden of Eden that is the only thing that can harm or render powerless the girl demon, who is identified as Lilith, who’s spent eternity living in a cave in British Columbia, eating warriors and their kids that happen by during a school field trip/demon hunting expedition. That’s how Burgi’s kid bought it in a flashback, which is why he hates the girl demon, but has to work with her to show her the ropes on how to be a demon again and defeat the boy demon.

Let’s recap, shall we? No, is too long. I sum up.

Girl demon gets all Buffy on the bad guy’s ass, and defeats boy demon by removing his head with the edge of a metal barrel lid that she’s lit up with her Darklight mojo. Brain is thus available for the scientists back at the corporate lab to isolate virus and create an antidote and cure in about 15 seconds’ worth of exposition. The world is saved! The girl demon becomes a winsome little girl waif again and may or may not keep working with Burgi’s shadowy faith-based secret society. She’s a lone wolfess, so she rides off all waifish reluctant-herolike on her motorcycle. The picture ends with a very Highlanderish voiceover, not neglecting the echo effect, stating her ambiguous feelings about being the new Buffy. David and I state our ambiguous feelings about the movie, which pretty much are “meh” and “failed pilot, thank God” respectively.

Neither of us could figure out why DeLancie was caught dead in this turkey, other than it was a decent paycheck. I figure some of Burgi’s money was in it, too – he may have been hoping for some more home-town work since The Sentinel has been gone for a while. I think Hewlitt was in it because it was near home and he’s kind of the go-to guy for low-budget SF movies lately – he’s good at playing irritable scientist types, good or evil.