TRUST ME, alphabetically: K kneads a knowing knife through a knot of klutzy klunkers……..scroll to see what lurks in the 10 K-rations below……
#1 K-9—–this 1989 woofhound beat the shagged dog Turner And Hooch to the pound by three months, after like-thinking great minds decided we needed two cop-with-a-dog- buddy yuck-yucks. I guess it’s got (or had) some value for kids to stare at while their parents zone out, but it stretches the welcome mat to the breaking point. James Belushi plays yet another bad-tempered slob, a detective who is assigned a German Shepherd for a partner to help sniff out (literally) drug busts. Directed by Rod Daniel, it runs around its tale for 102 minutes, using up $17,000,000 of budgeting and whatever amount of patience you had going in (about 17 minutes worth). Still, it cranked up $78,200,000, and so fostered a couple of flea-bitten sequels. With Mel Harris, Kevin Tighe, Ed O’Neill and Pruitt Taylor Vance. If you guess that there will be jokes wrung around the dog interfering with Belushi’s sex life, then you get a biscuit.
THE KARATE KID (2010)—-remake of 1984 hit sets itself in China, and has young & troubled Jaden Smith (Will’s kid) seeking guidance from an aging kung fu master (Jackie Chan) when local ruffians make him feel unwanted. The suspense will kill you. I suffered through this twice, on long-distance, rump-numbing bus rides in The Philippines, so I figure I’ve paid off a ton of karma. Young Smith may charm some, and no doubt Will is proud (he and wife Jada P. helped produce), but this left me hoping the Chinese secret police would somehow make an appearance and save the movie with some cathartic torture. $40,000,000 was spent to put the package together, and the Smiths must have felt the zen when it pulled back $359,000,000. Directed by Harald Svart, running 140 minutes (c’mon!), with Taraji P. Henson, Wenwen Han, Zhenwei Wang and Yu Rongguang. The film features kung fu, not karate. Foul!
KING DINOSAUR—–super-low-budget 1955 kiddie pacifier makes many laffs viewed for its bracing ineptitude. A quartet of astronauts in far-off 1960 journey to the planet Nova, which they find crawling with
stock footage monsters, including the title titan, a magnified iguana. Does that lizard crowd have an agent or what? For the good of all, the earthlings blow up the planet with an A-bomb. Starring William Bryant, Wanda Curtis, Douglas Henderson and Patti Gallegher.
Director Bert I. Gordon launched his interstellar career with this 63-minute affair, costing $15,000 and taking a full seven days to shoot. The care shows. The narrator (Marvin Miller) at one point tells us that “Dr. Ralph Martin’s war service fortifies him with the experience of treating most diseases and fatalities that overtake man.” This, the same Dr. Martin who declares “I brought the atom bomb;I think it’s a good time to use it.” Bryant did a fair amount of work in small roles over a 38-year career. Ms. Gallegher would go on to further distinction in the immortal Girl With An Itch.
KING SOLOMON’S MINES (1985)—-dreadful 4th version of the classic H.Rider Haggard story is an embarrassment from start to finish: it can’t get to minute 100 fast enough. Terribly directed by the once-formidable J. Lee Thompson, produced by the prolific rascals Golan-Globus (sign of anything but quality) for $11,000,000 on location in Zimbabwe, with a back-to-back followup of Allen Quatermain And The Lost City Of Gold, released two years later.
Trying to mimic the style and hopefully leech some of the success of Indiana Jones, it fails at wit, in casting, with verve. Richard Chamberlain flails away with no conviction and zero charisma, registering zip for chemistry with Sharon Stone (they did not enjoy each other’s company). It’s too silly to accept the stupid action scenes and not funny enough to enjoy the badness. A sad waste of Herbert Lom, and more tired hot air from John Rhys-Davies. With Ken Gampu, an impressive figure brought low with this tripe.
THE KING’S PIRATE—-rudderless pirate movie is a 1967 remake of the 1952 Against All Flags. That vessel was leaky to start with, but at least it was crewed by Errol Flynn, Maureen O’Hara and Anthony Quinn. In this limp sailor, directed by Don Weis, you have to make do with Doug McClure, Jill St. John and Guy Stockwell. Universal was giving the trio, individually or as pairs, a series of breaks/foists in moderate-budget B-flicks and TV movies, but none clicked. It looks cheap, the light tone comes off painfully forced, the action doesn’t convince worth beans (or grog). The standard 100 minutes, with Mary Ann Mobley, Kurt Kasznar, Torin Thatcher, Richard Deacon, Woodrow Parfrey, Sean McClory, Emile Genest and Ted de Corsia. Shivered timbers.
KINJITTE: FORBIDDEN SUBJECTS—–depressing bummer is the last film directed by J. Lee Thompson, and was also the final of nine he made with star Charles Bronson. A couple were passable, most lousy; this revenge drama (what else?) has the added bleakness factor of child prostitution to propel the plot. A horrid subject like that deserves a better treatment than this offers. Bronson, at 67, is past the realism bar for this kind of thing, and his performances had been getting progressively slack for a decade, coincidentally when he started working with Thompson. With Perry Lopez, Juan Fernandez, James Pax, Peggy Lipton, Bill McKinney, Amy Hathaway, Kumiko Hayakawa and Danny Trejo. It made $3,417,000, sleazing into berth #128 of the releases for 1989. What it does have are 97 minutes you will want back.
A KISS BEFORE DYING (1991)—–D.O.A. remake of the neat 1956 thriller with Robert Wagner and Joanne Woodward. I’m not nuts about either of them, but they did well under the slick direction of Gerd Oswald in the original, while James Dearden fails this time with Matt Dillon and Sean Young. Even with backup from Max Von Sydow this fails to ignite. Dillon and Young give it what they can, and the movie has a slick enough look but the scripting and direction don’t pop. $27,000,000 was put into it, but after dismal reviews only a little more than $15,400,000 returned. A slow and unsatisfying 94 minutes, with Diane Ladd and James Russo. “She’s got two broken ribs, a broken jaw and a bad concussion. We’re going to keep her overnight for observation.”
KISS THE GIRLS—–I guess I had reached my limit of track-down-the-sex-perv thrillers when this 1997 foray into that fetid realm turned up, because it left me unmoved. Despite the usual good work from Morgan Freeman, the welcome presence of the always surprising Ashley Judd and the under-used talents of Cary Elwes, I felt not so much creeped out (it’s not as graphic as others) as burned out and saddened by the zillionth pretty-women-as-prey gimmick.
From the novel by James Patterson, directed by Gary Fleder, taking 117 minutes to get to its dreary finale. $27,000,000 to launch, $60,000,000 yielded. With Alex McArthur, Bill Nunn, Brian Cox, Jeremy Piven, Jay O. Sanders, Tony Goldwyn. I just don’t care for watching much of this jeopardy: have at it if you’re enthralled.
#9 KNIGHTRIDERS—–written & directed by George Romero as a departure from his gut-churning (chomping) zombie milieu, this pretentious, boring 1981 drama plays better as a comedy if you can stay awake past much of its grinding 145 minute slog. A wandering group of bikers stage Renaissance Faire jousts and muse over life. Emerging dude-to-watch Ed Harris, at 31, gets the lead role as the self-styled King of the troupe, but even with his energy I was hard put to give a fig. If you like motorcycle stunts and crashes mixed with medieval bludgeoning gear I guess it’s a shoo-in. Ignored and/or puzzled over on release, it’s now being praised. Yawn. With Gary Lahti, Tom Savini, Amy Ingersoll and Patricia Tallman. The budget was $3,000,000, which was astronomical for Romero. Stephen King has a bit.
#10 KOMODO VS. COBRA—-hunkered down in an apartment in The Philippines during Super-Typhoon Haiyan, before the power went out and the Red Horse beer was finished, I managed to catch this immortal 2005 sequel to Curse Of The Komodo (thanks, I can wait). Who knew that director Jim Wynorski had a resume of forty features prior to this (and nine since)? A foolish experiment gone haywire has resulted in giant versions of the title critters who hungrily decimate cast members before their fateful final clash. With Michael Paré, the same guy who once was handed on a platter lead roles in Eddie And The Cruisers and Streets Of Fire. This epic runs 94 minutes. The computer-generated special effects are…well, look at the title and take a guess……..