8. Undefeatable (1994)
Sneaked out on DVD in 1994, Undefeatable became a YouTube sensation when its (literally) eye popping finale was viewed over 7 million times, much to the amusement of actor Don Niam.
Niam plays Stingray, a mullet-haired, bug-eyed psycho with a tendency to experience childhood flashbacks while staring at his reflection. He’s also a dab hand at multi-tasking, capable of raping his wife while cooking a steak, but when his other half bails, he goes out and kills every woman who reminds him of her.
Unfortunately, not only do all his victims know kung-fu (albeit of the TNT Jackson variety), but he also crosses the path of waitress-by-day, streetfighter-by-night Cynthia Rothrock, who’s serving doughnuts and snapping collarbones to pay her sister’s tuition. When sis hits the slab, Rothrock gets the movie’s one big emoting scene, which she performs standing over an eyeless dummy before heading out for revenge.
7. Hell Comes To Frogtown (1987)
The late great Roddy Piper is Sam Hell, one of the last fertile men in the world, which makes him “valuable property” to Dr Sandahl Bergman who’s mounting a peculiar search-and-rescue mission.
A group of fertile women have been kidnapped and are being held to ransom in Frogtown, a section of wasteland that only a frog-headed mutant would call home. “We’re gonna get ‘em out,” Bergman informs him, “and you’re gonna get ‘em pregnant.”
Initially reluctant despite the, ah, fringe benefits, Piper is given an incentive in the form of a location finder/explosive device strapped around his waist, which as you can imagine makes fulfilling his duties somewhat difficult. Sure enough, when they locate an escapee in the desert, Piper finds himself unable to rise to the challenge, forcing Bergman to improvise a solution. Stripping down to her smalls, she tells him: “Relax. I’ve been trained in seduction techniques.”
Throw in some chainsaw-wielding frogs, add a few zingers (“Eat lead, froggies!”), mix with “The dance of the three snakes” (which has to be seen to be believed) and you have an amusing B-movie tailor made for beer o’clock.
6. Lady Terminator (1989)
This is your typical Indonesian Terminator rip-off, if by “typical” you mean it’s about the South Sea Queen of Asian folklore. Her sexual partners often lose their pride and joy to the eel between her legs but when one Gentleman caller removes the eel, the Queen vows to avenge the “insult” by returning to claim the man’s ancestors.
A century later, the Queen possesses a bikini-clad ‘anthropologist’, causing her to act and dress like an Austrian bodybuilder. So far out so good, but then it really kicks into gear as director H Tjut Djalil rips scenes straight from James Cameron’s movie, including a shoot-out at a Tech Noir-ish bar and a sequence where our injured antagonist makes a pit stop to address her wounds.
The running gun battles are probably the least interesting part of a movie with so much blood, nudity, stupidity, bad hair and laughable dialogue. Sure, it’s a knock-off, but it’s the brashest, craziest, most unapologetically outrageous knock-off you’re likely to see, whose sheer chutzpah makes it a much better bet than Terminator Genisys.
5. Black Samurai (1977)
Jim Kelly plays a secret agent sent to rescue an ambassador’s daughter kidnapped by The Warlock, one of those super villains who bring to mind Kelly’s retort from Enter The Dragon: “Man, you come right out of a comic book.”
A voodoo practitioner whose ceremonies involve hookers smearing themselves in blood in front of dancers wearing masks leftover from a Pink Floyd music video, The Warlock favours black capes, camp henchmen and mariachi bands. He also has his own attack vulture, who’ll gouge out the eyes of anyone that messes with him.
Fortunately, Kelly has a wire-supported jet pack (which must be seen etc) so he’s able to gain access to the villain’s hideaway. Then he goes one on one with cackling dwarf assassins and the usual bare-chested henchmen, during which the soundtrack goes out of synch several times.
How can you not love a movie like this?
4. Cleopatra Wong (1978)
In 2011, Marrie Lee (real name Doris Young) was presented with the Action Queens Honorary Award for her role as Cleopatra Wong, a character she played in three low budget movies shot in the Philippines in the late 70s. The pick of the bunch is 1978’s Cleopatra Wong, which you know Robert Rodriguez must’ve seen at some stage because it has the same blend of outrageous action and humour as his Machete films.
Words alone cannot express just how much fun this tale of a female Interpol agent tracking counterfeit money is, but if you can imagine a Filipino-lensed missing link between Faster Pussycat Kill Kill and Rodriguez’s films you’re on the right lines. Then again, none of those films featured machine gun-wielding gangsters disguised as nuns or Kung Fu assassins that can leap walls in a single bound.
Lee returned to the role in The Return Of The Bionic Boy (1979) and Mean Business (1979), but it’s this first instalment you need to watch, if only for the climax that involves several running gun battles with nuns.
3. 2019: After The Fall Of New York (1983)
In the Nevada Desert (or its Italian equivalent), road warrior Parsifal (Michael Sopkiw) literally defies death in a vehicular gladiatorial contest, bringing him to the attention of Pan-Am president Edmund Purdom, who’s clearly seen Escape From New York because he wants Sopkiw to go on a search-and-rescue mission.
With the population rendered sterile by radiation, there hasn’t been a child born in fifteen years, but Purdom’s computer has thrown out the name of the world’s last fertile woman located somewhere in (you guessed it) New York City. If she’s young enough, Purdom reasons, her ovaries may contain as many as five hundred unfertilized eggs: “That’s five hundred uncontaminated human beings!”
Even though Sopkiw prefers to “work alone”, he’s partnered by a claw-handed ex-schoolteacher and Robowar’s Romano Puppo, cast here as an eyepatch-wearing muscleman who may not be all that he appears. Along the way they encounter a succession of colourful supporting characters, including a sadistic villain who knows ways of making you talk, a dwarf named Shorty and Big Ape (George Eastman), who’s either a man/ape hybrid or an ugly sumbitch.
Originality may not be the film’s strongest suit, but it’s fast-paced and for a mockbuster made cheaply and quickly, 2019 really delivers. If you only see one post-apocalyptic movie etc etc.
2. Ninja III: The Domination (1984)
If you’re going to make a modern day ninja movie set in California, this is the way to do it – by throwing logic out the window and tossing in a demonic possession angle.
Real-life dancer Lucinda Dickey plays a telephone linewoman (and aerobics instructor) who becomes possessed by the spirit of a bad ninja, causing her to take revenge on the cops who gunned him down. Because only a ninja can destroy a ninja, his soul needs to be transferred back into his dead body so that he can fight good ninja Sho Kosugi during the climax.
From the bad music to the fashions, hairstyles and unintentionally hilarious scenes where a demonic presence is suggested by dry ice pouring out of a closet, Ninja III is an 80s movie to the core. Sure, there are other ninja movies out there, but they don’t answer such important questions as: Can you drive away an evil spirit by playing 80s music? Do cops take shotguns to funerals? Most importantly, if you’ve been possessed by a ninja, can you kill a bunch of guys without messing up your hair?
1. Sister Street Fighter (1974)
Produced to capitalize on the worldwide kung-fu craze and the popularity of Japanese Pinku films, this spin-off from Sonny Chiba’s Street Fighter series should by rights be a pedestrian cash-in, a fate it avoids in part because of its leading lady, Etsuko “Sue” Shiomi. Praise Cynthia Rothrock and Michell Yeoh all you want, but Shiomi got there first and can kick butt with the best of them.
In a plot so generic it also served as the basis for TNT Jackson that same year, Shiomi’s search for her missing brother takes her to Hong Kong, where she discovers he’s gone undercover to infiltrate a dope smuggling ring. Sent to Yokohama to meet a fellow agent named “Fanny Singer”, our heroine’s first act is to get into a fight, which she then does every five minutes for the rest of the movie.
Fortunately, the villains are so cartoonish that their shenanigans never become boring. Among those introduced with freeze-frame captions are “Tessin – the sickle user” and “Eva Parrish – karate champion of Australia” (who we see once in training but never again) plus “Amazons 7 – Thailand kickboxing” who wear white masks, stockings and loincloths handed down by Fred Flintstone. Special mention however must be made of shoulder-pad aficionado Hammerhead, who goes everywhere followed by six dudes in conical black helmets that cover their faces.