Robert Ginty has always been one of those actors that I've always found mildly amusing. He's not much of a hero, he's got dodgy hair and he's not all that muscley. So why is he a hero? Is it his everyman appeal? Or is it the fact that he made The Exterminator, proved he knew his way around a flamethrower and consequently got a lot of offers from Italian filmmakers? Hmmm, could be you know.
This first movie, as it turns out, is Italian (there was much confusion while we were watching it but the credits cleared that one up), but the second is actually Thai, and it's sooo Thai that you will chuckle through the opening credits. We sure did.
And tonight we've got our old friend Mario, who hadn't been to a Zombie club since Night of the Night of Night, which is now years ago. He was driving home so stayed off the booze, which was handy as he could often explain the plot to us when we got smashed.
So get out your most ridiculous Sci-Fi motorbike and follow me. I hope you remembered to pack your rear firing rockets and your annoying 80s computer otherwise this is going to be a real short trip. Okay, hit it!
This movie was bought to you by Jim in association with spikey battle trucks everywhere.
Warrior of the Lost World (1983)
Plot Robert Ginty rides a sci-fi bike, saves ‘the bald girl from Star Trek who has hair now’'s dad from Donald Pleasence, then has to go back and save her too. Fred Williamson also appears in this film for no apparent reason.
Jim Well, after a long text intro about the Omega Corporation and outlands or something (it went on forever and ever and ever "Is the whole film just like this?" - Zomblee) we finally open with Robert Ginty on a sci-fi bike outrunning some Omega cops. "I hate the bike already... and I love it." added Zomblee, referring to the cool stuck on bits and the rear firing rockets obviously, but also reminding us how fucking irritating that computer bike was (imagine a really high pitched Speak and Spell). He drives round a mountain road ("There's always a cliff when you need one." - Mario), through a gang in a scrap yard that speak Droog Speak and shoot him in the leg with arrows, to a field filled with cars where a biker gang chase him. Then he drives in to a big canyon wall, only to wake up on a bed with guys dressed in white robes supposedly healing him using magic light bulbs up their sleeves.
Apparently he's the chosen one. Apparently he's got to go and save ‘the bald girl from Star Trek who has hair now’'s dad from getting weighed on a big sci-fi weighing machine. So they charge in to the perfect Omega society guns blazing ("There's too many guns for a perfect society." - Rawshark) and rescue ‘the bald girl from Star Trek who has hair now’'s dad but accidentally leave Star Trek girl behind in the process to be tortured by the insane Donald Pleasence. "Ah, he's washing her brain..." pointed out Rawshark helpfully and "That machine's called The Anti-Mind 114 - look!" added Zomblee. We never miss anything here at Zombie club.
Meanwhile Robert Ginty heads back to the beginning of the movie to recruit some gang members to fight Omega with him. Luckily when he turns up a big fight's going on ("Let's have a random fight!" - Zomblee) with some rather strange extras sat around ("And we'd like you to play the girl who eats chicken." - Rawshark) He wins the fight, and tries to get them all on his side by raising his fist lamely. Amazing it works ("They like the raised fist!" - Rawshark, "They're all doing it now!" - Zomblee).
So back they head to Donald Pleasence's HQ for the big final fight, which sees more bike action, lots of shooting, a battle truck of sorts, a flamethrower that starts squirting water for some reason, loads of things blowing up and an inconclusive final confrontation that looks like they planned to make a sequel. "Let's make the sequel guys, let's get Robert Ginty back in business!" suggested Zomblee eagerly.
I'm not sure about that, but despite a concern I think we all had ("There's not enough nudity in this film for my liking." - Mario) we all had a lot of fun with Warrior of the Lost World. It’s not all that easy to find, but it’s worth it if you like silly post apocalyptic action movies, like we do.
"How long do you think it took Donald Pleasence to shoot all his scenes?"
Zomblee In typical Italian style, the story goes that US director David Worth (later to direct Kickboxer) was shown this great poster for the Warrior of the Lost World, then without having seen a script, was flown out to Italy to deliver the goods. If it wasn't for the sheer lunacy of the wayward production techniques (or lack thereof) that tend to epitomise Italy's exploitation film industry, we probably wouldn't be able to enjoy gems like this, or indeed about 60% of the movies we generally enjoy here at Zombie Club. The very fact that they recruited someone as dull as Robert Ginty, probably in an attempt to surf the waves made by The Exterminator, is pure gold for anyone with a love for spaghetti flavoured post-apoc (mis)adventures.
This is seriously good fun. It has a talking hero's motorcycle with a highly annoying voice, which says everything three times - as if once wasn't annoying enough. As if once wasn't annoying enough. As if once wasn't annoying enough - see? It's annoying isn't it? But fear not, because the said motorcycle gets all mashed up under the wheels of an enormous battle truck called - get this - Megaweapon, "40 mega tons" of pure carnage. Yeah, I know what you're thinking - this movie sounds great. Well, it gets better. Ginty, after crashing his bike into a glaringly visible wall, awakens as "the chosen one", which means he has to go rescue Persis Khambatta's old man from... Donald Pleasence. Yes, Donald Pleasence. Here he's called 'Prosser' and runs the Omega society, where he gets to wear one of his spare costumes from his glorious days as Blofeld, and also sports a dangerous looking black-glove hand, which we hoped would be like Han's hand in Enter the Dragon.
In what is basically a post-apoc rescue movie, Ginty enlists the help of a motley bunch of ne'er do wells who have this massive and quite unbelievably stupid brawl amongst themselves halfway through, where even the women are beating bejesus out of each other (Mario: "It's like in Pussycat, Pussycat, where did you go?" Rawshark: "Do you mean Faster, Faster Pussycat?"). It's also one of those movies which has a great intro (and I'm not talking about that awfully long and complex Star Wars-style text feed at the very start), showing Ginty on his supersonic bike where he gets to say "Let's go airborne", before taking to the sky in order to escape his suspiciously dressed pursuers ("I love futuristic Nazis!" - Jim)
So, from pointless, large-scale fights to climactic battles where people get thrown from the tops of buildings ("They're floppy dummies. I can't stand rigid dummies" - Rawshark), helicopter chases, the mightily Donald Pleasence in one of his many wonderful desperate-for-work moments, and a final twist you probably won't see coming, I think it's safe to say that Warrior of the Lost World sums up why we love so many shit movies. And right now, I'd like to see another.
"You are the one."
Rawshark Seeing as the other two have waffled somewhat, I’d better keep this short. Jim was very excited to present this movie tonight, and he had every right to be. A classic anti-actor in the form of Robert Ginty, a flame-throwing battle truck, Donald Pleasence, a post-apocalyptic setting, Fred Williamson, nods to A Clockwork Orange and a futuristic bike that talks, very annoyingly. Oh yes, Warrior of the Lost World is yet another previously undiscovered Italian gem and more than worthy of a Zombie Club inclusion.
Kicking off in great style (ignoring the waaay overlong titles intro scrawl) with an extended chase sequence on roads, through scrap yards and quarries, Warrior settles down when Ginty finally penetrates the secret wall of illusion and learns he is the chosen one, a bit like Neo in The Matrix, except a lot cheaper. Learning his task is to rescue the Professor, he teams up with the Star Trek chick (the Professor’s daughter) and together they enter the Big Brother 1984-style city through the tunnels carrying what Russ called ”the World’s tiniest flame-thrower”.
Pausing only briefly at Club Utopia (“a futuristic flesh fest” - Russ), they are forced to witness the termination of three dissidents by futuristic Nazis, before they mess up the rescue, allowing Donald Pleasence to capture the Star Trek chick and give her brain a good washing (”He’s had loads of practise in the Bond movies – this is going to be excellent!” - Jim).
To give any more away would be to spoil it, but rest assured there are plenty of great car explosions (and flying bonnets), random fights in dusty settings, a great slow-mo shot of an armoured truck coming out of explosion smoke (yeah – who doesn’t like that type of shot!), women in jumpsuits AND two great story twists, before the film ends on the exact same shot at the start of the film, except in reverse. Brilliant.
”We are very well today thank you please”.
Director David Worth
Cast Robert Ginty
Harrison Muller Sr.
Runtime 92 mins
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Gold Raiders (1983)
Plot Robert Ginty and a load of assorted Thai people chase after the lost gold of the free world. There's also a funny scene with a leg.
Rawshark Made in the same year, Gold Raiders is as Thai as Warriors Italian. And not only was it made in the same year, and not only does it also feature Robert Ginty, but incredibly it also featured a futuristic motorbike. Well, of sorts, but more on that later.
An SOS message is sent out when a plane carrying gold worth $200 million dollars belonging to the free world is brought down somewhere in Thailand, and Robert Ginty, lounging around at the pool in full ”Speedo Kung Fu mode” (Jim) is called upon to team up with his old flame Claudia Dubois. Together, they head up a small crack group of six undercover agents who are given the mission to infiltrate enemy lines and recover the gold. Disguising themselves as local fishermen, they subsequently catch a huge monster fish (”Well, that’s almost value for money on it’s own” - Jim), have a scuba-diving fight or two, encounter a Mad Colonel and generally act like they were making Apocalypse Now as they scoot up the river looking for those missing nuggets.
It’s your standard ‘Gold-hunting plot’, but what sets Gold Raiders apart is it’s motorbike - a kind of a flat-pack, assemble-yourself bike / hang glider hybrid (”Ladies and gentlemen, this is the first Missile Motorbike”), that for some reason or other unfortunately never really took off in real life. We actually thought this one wasn’t going to initially take off either when it’s first appearance ended with Ginty merely tightrope riding a gorge, but stay tuned, because it does indeed take off for real not long after, and it’s very much worth the wait - ”That’s absolutely nuts!” (Jim).
Anyway, most of the rest is pretty boring, with even the actors thinking similarly (”Wake me up when it’s my next scene” - Jim), and it does drag on for too long. In the end, ”the Village People find the gold” (Russ), there’s a ”smelting montage” (Jim) and River Rat calls Mouse Trap, the end. Funny scene with the leg and the dog though.
“Where’s my leg?”
Zomblee "This is a bit like Apocalypse Now" said Rawshark during Gold Raiders. Don't be under any illusions here - he said this because it was during a scene where a boat is carrying soldiers up a river, and there, my friends, the similarity ends. This isn't Coppola. But if you're a regular reader of ZC, you'll know that we wouldn't infest our film waters with anything so respectable. Yes, Ginty is back. Now it's 1983, and he's traipsing around Thailand trying to find some gold from a plane that crashed near Laos. Cue loads of jungle stuff, some fighting, and a lot of talking.
Of course, it's intermittently entertaining, which means mostly dull (e.g. over-long fights in murky, "dirty Thai water" - Jim), but there is plenty of fun to be had here. And yes, I am talking about the second of tonight's Gintybikes - we were all ready for a break from over-long fights and pointless jabber when Ginty started unpacking stuff from a big box, at which point Jim told us it was going to be another special bike ("I've seen the back of the video cover - I know what it looks like!"). Not since our adventures with little Weng Weng have we been witness to something so ludicrous, as Ginty introduces it as "the world's first missile motorcycle", a contraption that, even though it runs on a special crystal cylinder, still requires stabilisers. As I'm sure you've guessed, it's priceless stuff, and it came with the compulsory daredevil stunt ("He's going to jump the gorge on his hang-glider bike!" - Rawshark)
The bike scene really is the meat in this Ginty Thai McSandwich and I'm afraid to say the rest of Gold Raiders is pretty forgettable stuff, and incredibly lengthy - what happened to the 90 minute rule?! The only other notes I wrote concerned Jim getting very excited about a "smelting montage" and Rawshark saying, "I've always wanted to climb up a tree using a big belt."
”Bring me my leg!”
Jim Ah yes, the coveted goes last on the second film slot. Why cherish it? Well, it's obvious really, by the time movie number two comes on we're usual all at the tail end of our first bottle of wine, the smokes have kicked in and in general our mutual powers of recollection are waning. Which to be honest can sometimes at Zombie Club be pretty useful.
Not so much tonight though. Gold Raiders starts convincingly enough with a clean shaven Ginty looking quite slim (maybe Thai food doesn't agree with him) although we're sure it's him from the moment we set eyes on him. ("You can tell by the hair." - Mario) As the lads have said he gets recruited for a high profile job involving lost gold of the free world, teams up with his ex-missus and gets on looking for it, although he's not alone. ("Ah, there's gonna be several groups searching for the gold." - Rawshark)
That's right, it's a treasure hunt movie. So yakkatty-yak and all that, Ginty looks for the gold, that mad Thai general looks for the gold, other groups get involved too and eventually one of them finds it ("The Village People find the gold, yeah?" - Zomblee), but it's the fun along the way that keeps us keen.
The Missile Motorcycle scene really knocked us all for six ("Missile Motorcyle? Pass me my notebook!" - Rawshark), and the supporting cast didn't look too convinced on Ginty's mean machine either ("They're all looking at him as if he's nuts." - Rawshark), but he goes on to show them wrong, and the bike scenes turn out to be extremely good value for money.
Maybe that scene isn't enough to recommend the movie, and maybe it does have some long talky bits and is overlong, and perhaps liking this to Apocalypse Now may be slightly stretching it ("Yeah, there'll be a French plantation with old biddies having tea soon." - Rawshark). But as far as dodgy action movies go this is as dodgy as they come, complete with badly dubbed, over acting, maniacal Thai Generals laughing like panto bad villians at any given opportunity. And, of course, the odd bit of gore helps - as Rawshark explained to Mario "Spurting neck axe! We like our gore here at Zombie Club..." He's not wrong either, and that leg scene with the dog was pretty funny, Rawshark’s right about that.
”Here’s your leg sir”.
Director Philip Chalong
Cast Robert Ginty
Runtime 106 mins
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Yes there were suggestions tonight that we should call this Robert Ginty's Sci-Fi Motorcycle Night or something like that, because of the unintentional coincidence that Ginty did indeed pull out two Sci-Fi motorcycles out of the bag this evening. And to think, most actors never get to do movies with Sci-Fi Motorbikes in them at all.
That was that then, and we all made it home safe on the last train, I'm sure you'll all be glad to hear. Tune in next week when things are going to get decidedly more silly.