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Sunday, November 15, 2009


Tempe Entertainment hits bad movie fans with their worst shot once again with BAD MOVIE POLICE DOUBLE FEATURE, the fourth in their BMP series which has previously offered such non-hits as GALAXY OF THE DINOSAURS, CHICKBOXER, and HUMANOIDS FROM ATLANTIS. This time we get a double-dose of disaster with a couple of quirky quickies, ZOMBIE COP and MAXIMUM IMPACT, which, depending on your tolerance for no-budget shot-on-video schlock, should have you either giddy with delight or scrambling for the "eject" button.

The two films, which were originally shot in the early 90s with a combined budget of around $5,000, really aren't that bad, and re-releasing them under the "Bad Movie Police" banner seems to be simply a way of making them more appealing by playing up their camp value. Heck, any time someone can take such a small budget and limited resources and manage to make something that resembles an actual movie that is even mildly entertaining, I have to give them credit.

The first film is ZOMBIE COP, which tells the story of two cops, Gill (Michael Kemper) and Stevens (Ken Jarosz), who track down an evil voodoo master named Doctor Death (James Black). Gill and Dr. Death manage to shoot each other, but before he dies Death puts a voodoo curse on Gill which will cause him to rise from the grave and stalk the earth as a zombie.

Gill makes his way to Stevens' apartment and, after a brief "Oh my god, you're supposed to be dead!" exchange, Stevens lends Gill an old cop uniform and some gauze to wrap around his head to make him less conspicuous (!!!) and before you know it, Zombie Cop is on the beat! The partners then go on the prowl for Dr. Death, who has also risen from the grave and is planning to turn a bunch of schoolkids into zombies or something.

Michael Kemper actually looks pretty cool in his Zombie Cop getup and seems to enjoy playing the role, especially when blasting bad guys with his pump shotgun or reciting his catchphrase: "Your rights have been waived!" There's plenty of no-frills action along the way, including a lengthy car chase which is pretty impressive considering that most movies this cheap wouldn't even attempt something like that.

Some of the comedy relief is pretty lame--the towel-headed convenience store clerk who is constantly being robbed, a character inspired by Apu of "The Simpsons", doesn't generate much hilarity--but Dr. Death's panicky, inept henchman Buddy (Bill Morrison) is amusing.

And I really liked this throwaway gag from a TV news report: "Meanwhile in Hollywood news, the proposed new 'Frankie Kroger' movie, that would feature 'One Day At A Time' star Bonnie Franklin as Kroger's mom, has been canned. When asked why, studio officials report that Ms. Franklin's appearance on the screen was...just too scary for the kids."

The second feature in our double-bill is the generically-titled MAXIMUM IMPACT, which also stars Ken Jarosz and James Black. Jarosz is insurance salesman Jerry Handley, who is attending a conference in Cleveland, and Black plays Mr. Huntsacker, an underworld flesh peddler who will be providing the "entertainment." Jerry declines such indulgences, since he's engaged to be married in a month to his fiancee' Jan (Jo Norcia), but his childhood buddy Phil (Scott Emerman) is rarin' to go.

Unfortunately, Phil arrives just as Mr. Huntsacker is looking for someone to star in a snuff film that has been commissioned by a millionaire sicko, and ends up with a gun barrel in his mouth. Jerry witnesses the deed and rescues Tonya (Christine Morrison) who was tricked into doing it. The perturbed Mr. Huntsacker sends a hit squad to Jerry's house and the dirty rats execute Jan right there in front of the Christmas tree. Jerry, who seems to have undergone some kind of extensive military training in the past and happens to have an arsenal full of automatic weapons and grenade launchers in his basement, goes into full-scale revenge mode, with entertaining results.

MAXIMUM IMPACT is a low-fi version of the typical Hollywood action-revenge flick and manages to be pretty entertaining. Ken Jarosz is an okay lead, while James Black delivers the kind of performance that would lead to a successful acting career in films and TV series such as SOLDIER and "Six Feet Under." Bill Morrison returns as Mr. Huntsacker's scarfaced trigger man George, and Michael Cagnoli is pretty amusing as his bumbling toady Bernie. Considering that the budget on this movie was a little over $2,000, it delivers a fair amount of action and suspense along the way.

Both films were directed by Lance Randas and feature many of the same cast and crew. Each one features a lively commentary track with producer J.R. Bookwalter and various other participants. The picture and sound have been newly-remastered for DVD, and if the 90-minute running time listed on IMDb for ZOMBIE COP is correct, it looks as though they've been trimmed a bit, too, since each film here runs barely longer than an hour.

If you demand high production values in your cinematic entertainment, and stories that don't fall apart if you take them seriously, then by all means steer clear of this DVD. Otherwise, you should have a lot of fun with this latest entry in the BAD MOVIE POLICE series. It takes me back to the old days of watching cheapo double-features in my local grungy movie theater, but without the sticky floors.

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