I Got Kicked In The Face By ‘Cinemapocalypse’ This Weekend
This weekend, The Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers hosted a marathon called "Cinemapocalypse." It was six movies taken from the vault of the American Genre Film Archive, all presented on 35mm, all a complete mystery until they started playing on the screen. I'm no stranger to Drafthouse marathons (I was there just last month for one centered on the films of Kurt Russell) so I was pretty excited for this one.
And over the course of nearly twelve hours, I saw people get punched, kicked, and maimed. I saw Mike from Breaking Bad with a robot voice. I saw Carrie Fisher as a rookie cop paired up with John Travolta's older brother. And I saw Jackie Chan ride an airborne plastic dolphin across a room.
It was a wild day. Here's a rundown of everything we saw.
Movie #1: Yes, Madam! (1985) - A pretty fantastic martial arts movie starring Michelle Yeoh and Cynthia Rothrock, and directed by famed stunt coordinator Corey Yeun. The climax of this movie is absolutely spectacular, and practically required viewing for any martial arts fan.
Movie #2: Emma Mae (1974) - A drama about a country teenager who gets mixed up with the wrong guy in Los Angeles, then gains the respect of her peers and becomes the leader of a gang. Features a terrific lead performance from Jerri Hayes.
Movie #3: Hollywood Vice Squad (1986) - Los Angeles crime drama that feels a little all over the place, but is a pretty solid ride. It's got Carrie Fisher, Frank Gorshin (aka The Riddler from the old Batman TV show), and Robin Wright in her very first film role, and it's directed by Penelope Spheeris, the filmmaker behind Wayne's World and the Decline of Western Civilization series.
Movie #4: Cold Steel (1987) - A forgotten thriller that's better than it probably should be. Features early roles for Sharon Stone and Breaking Bad's Jonathan Banks, who steals the show as the robot-voiced villain. Also has an incredible car chase that ends with a lot of explosions at a racetrack.
Movie #5: Alley Cat (1984) - This was the weakest movie of the day for me, though who knows how much of that was fatigue from watching five movies in a row. A woman gets revenge on the criminals who killed her grandmother. Features some cool fight scenes, but stilted performances and a plot that pretty much plays like every other revenge thriller.
Movie #6: City Hunter (1993) - They saved the best for last. I love Jackie Chain, and I love his style of Hong Kong martial arts films that place just as much emphasis on comedy and slapstick as they do incredible action. This may be one of his goofiest movies (and that's saying a lot), and it was the perfect one to end the night on. You will see Jackie Chan ride a plastic dolphin in the air, and it won't even crack the top 50 most ridiculous things that happen in this movie. Also features an amazing homage to the Street Fighter video games and a great sequence inspired by Bruce Lee's Game of Death. If there is any takeaway here, it's this: please watch City Hunter.
And that was the day! It seems like they're going to attempt to make Cinemapocalypse an annual event at the Drafthouse, so hopefully I'll report back next year for round two.