by Louis Fowler
Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.
Vanquisher is another Thai actioner from the company behind the seminal Ong Bak franchise, and while it never reaches those heights, it still works for what it is: an enjoyable enough but ultimately forgettable martial arts flick. Sophita Sriban is a female special ops agent code-named Gunja, who, after a job involving tracking down a comically random al-Qaeda operative, is ordered by the higher-ups to be killed. The hit job gets botched and she returns to her life with the Bangkok police force. This is all well and good until she crosses paths with her former commander/assassin when she has to track down an extremist suicide bomber. The action is top-notch — mostly performed by the best female Thai action stars working today — but the plot is rote and the American actors are comically bad, reading lines from the broken English script in the most monotonously hilarious way. It only makes the movie that much more enjoyable, but probably not for the right reasons.
Dark Fields is one of David Carradine's last films. It's a low-budget horror film, of course, and it's not very good, of course. Carradine is fantastic, however, as a 1800s farmer facing a drought, but he's often relegated to the background as Fields temporally jumps around into other, more irritating segments, all regarding the rural town of Perseverance. Way back when, the townsfolk resorted to child sacrifice to bring the rain, it backfires on them and ends up cursing the whole town. A college girl (Sasha Higgins, in an acting job so bad it can only be described as ill-advised performance art) returns home to find out why her fingernails are falling off and ends up being the "Chosen One" or some such shit. Why couldn't the filmmakers have stuck to the main storyline with Carradine and his family? It's the most enthralling, watchable part of the movie that could have been expanded upon and made into a much more satisfying flick.