Sunday, October 25, 2015

HubrisWeen 2015, Day 20: Thunder of Gigantic Serpent (1988)

Every so often, you encounter a movie whose very existence is utterly inexplicable. You can't be sure how it got made, who the hell it was aimed at, and you're damned if you can make sense of it. Chances are, if you look in the right places you'll find out that Godfrey Ho is responsible for making it.

The best known example of Godfrey Ho's work is easily Robo Vampire, which manages to be a drug war film, a vampire movie, and a truly sad RoboCop rip-off--all because it is literally at least two films stitched together. At some point, Godfrey Ho got the idea to merge the productions together into one utterly incomprehensible film after most of the indvidual principal photography was finished.

I can't say if that is what happened with this film, but it has that exact same feel to it. This movie manages to be a gritty drug war film, a kids' movie about a little girl befriending a snake, and a rampaging kaiju film. If that sounds like a bunch of elements that have no business being mixed together--you're right!

The opening credits to the film are a delight in and of themselves, as they seem to have been cobbled together by someone with no concept of what a "serpent" is. Accompanied by some bad synth pop piano soft rock that eventually morphs into what I swear is a rip-off of "Walk of Life" by The Dire Straits, the credits roll over color drawings that appear to belong to a children's Encyclopedia. These drawings consist of cobras, salamanders, newts, rattlesnakes, Gila monsters, vipers, chameleons, Komodo dragons, tuataras, axolotls, and frilled lizards--particularly notable is that the title appears over the still of an adorable salamander.

After an establishing shot of Hong Kong, the film shifts to a storm at night. The storm causes a flood that disturbs a bunch of real snakes who are understandably not happy at all about being nearly drowned on a set. Before you can absorb that, we cut to a bunch of white guys in ugly clothes standing around watching as their balding leader shoots empty cans with a revolver. And the very first line establishes that this was dubbed in Hong Kong as the subordinate white guy in a red jacket walks up as says, "Everything you heard about the formuler [sic] is true, boss." Apparently red jacket is named Jackson, but your guess is as good as mine as to who the hell the actor playing him is.

All Jackson can tell his boss--whom we'll later find out is named Solomon--is that, as of now, the formula only works on plants but an experiment is planned for tomorrow to test it on animals. Solomon tells Jackson to get Billy and to work together to bring him the formula. Then, Solomon monologues about how he will be in control of the world's food production and--pause for a hearty "Think of the power I will have! HAAAAA!" whilst raising his fists in the air--every nation on Earth will bow to his "willlll!" Sure, okay.

"The world will rue the day they ever heard the name L.L. Bean!"
Cut to a little girl in pigtails, who is busy making a bow for the snake on her bed. Apparently the snake is a new pet and this girl is a Parseltongue, because she asks if the snake likes the bow and it vigorously nods its head throw the magic of someone bobbing the snake around on a fishing line. "Now I have to think of a name for you," she says in that irritating voice of a grown woman dubbing a child. "Should I call you...Blackie? Mm, not good. Too common. Fluffy? No way, it's not like you. How's Charlie? That's no good, makes you sound like a boy. Hey, I know--I'll call you Mozler! Do you like that?" The snake nods in approval, while I try to imagine how the child's thought process goes "Blackie, Fluffy, Charlie, Mozler." Maybe in China that's a common name for a pet?

The girl's mom calls her down for supper, where we learn her name is Ting Ting. She tells Mozler to stay put before rushing off to dinner. Ting Ting proves to not be very hungry and begs to be excused and go finish her homework. This is a ploy so that she can go to the fridge and grab an entire cartoon of tiny eggs. She sneaks this past her eagle-eyed mother via the age-old tactic of responding to, "What are you hiding?" with "I'm not hiding anything!" Her mother expresses concern about the girl, but her father just wants to eat and be oblivious.

Ting Ting brings the quail's eggs to Mozler, who is hiding in a bucket on her nightstand. She tells Mozler not to eat too many of the eggs after putting half the cartoon in its bucket. Mixed signals much? Her mother enters then and asks who Ting Ting is talking to. Ting Ting turns out to be the person you should never invite on your caper as she grabs the bucket and hides in behind herself while professing she wasn't talking to anyone. Unfortunately, her mother is not blind. And proclaiming there to be nothing in the bucket, covering it with a sheet, and saying, "I'm not lying," don't exactly throw mom off the scent. Mother sees Mozler, freaks out, and calls for her husband--while master criminal Ting Ting puts a rubber snake (which I assume the special effects crew borrowed after this scene) so that everyone can have a good laugh at mom's expense.

Meanwhile, a scientist named Dr. Lai and a general in a red beret are watching a bank of closed-circuit televisions. The general congratulates Dr. Lai on his success with plants and then turns to one Dr. Ti and tells him to proceed with "Thunder Project." Dr. Lai asks what Thunder Project is, and when told it's a national secret, he indignantly responds, "I have a right to know: I'm a scientist!" Lai is afraid it means the general intends to test the formula on animals. When the general informs Lai that that's exactly what they intend to do, Lai and the general have a delightfully childish exchange where Lai demands his formula back and the general says no. For some reason Lai objects that his formula was never intended for biological warfare, which is not only a big leap from "we're gonna test on animals" but why the hell did he think the military wanted his formula in the first place?

Dr. Lai grabs Dr. Ti by the lapels and throttles him before being scolded for his outburst by--a secretary? Lab assistant? Another scientist? Dr. Lai responds to her scolding by saying he's out. The experiment, which we learn involves "stimulating the growth [of a plant or animal] up to 300 times", proceeds without him. Hilariously, the experiment is proceeded by Dr. Ti and the woman from earlier talking about how it's a shame that Dr. Lai left, but surely even the Army will see that this formula is meant for the good of all mankind.

Right. That'll definitely happen.

The experiment involves placing a frog in a glass tank hooked up to a bunch of wires and control panel. Hilariously, one scientist says, "If we increase its size by 300 times, I wonder what it will look like?" My guess is that it will look like a frog, but, y'know, bigger. As I predicted, after being bombarded with cartoon lightning bolts the frog glows blue and undergoes a Jet Jaguar transformation to grow to the size of a bulldog...but it still looks like a frog. Well, frog puppet, anyway, with a very deep croak.

Everyone congratulates each other on a frog well embiggened. Their celebration is somewhat short-lived as Solomon's goons arrive and attack the facility. Adding to the feeling that this is from a completely different movie, none of these goons appear to be white like Solomon's crew has otherwise been so far. The troops in their red berets prove to be about as effective as Storm Troopers as they get easily mowed down. Dr. Ti orders one scientist to dispose of the frog, one to burn the notes, and one to grab the formula box as they make their escape. And here you'll note the facility has an outdoor pool, for some reason, that not one but two different troops fall into after being shot.

The scientists flee into the woods, but the two troops escorting them are quickly gunned down, as are all of the scientists but Dr. Ti and the woman from earlier. Um, shouldn't Solomon's men be capturing the scientists in case they need the formula's secrets? Hilariously, after Dr. Ti is also gunned down, the lead goon tells another not to shoot the woman because, "She can't get away: she also works for Solomon." Said goon is immediately proven wrong about the first part as the woman grabs the box and runs to where the last soldier is standing beside a car. He buys her time by standing and being turned into Swiss cheese while she drives away.

One of the goons gives chase in his car, so she throws the box out the window and dives out of the car--which then goes off a cliff, exploding at the top of the cliff as it goes over, of course. The goons are concerned that their boss is going to express his disappointment via homicide, but the lead goon assures them that the box can withstand the heat. I'm guessing the lead goon is Billy, because we cut to Solomon angrily yelling at Billy over the phone for losing the formula. Jackson, not real perceptive apparently, asks what's up after his boss hangs up. Sure, Solomon is an evil international criminal, but I can kind of understand why he responds to this by disparaging Jackson's intellectual capabilities. At any rate, with the government also looking for the formula it's too risky for Solomon to physically interact with that plot thread so they have to let Billy look for it on his own.

And now, the film gets weird as we are introduced to the sport of...cross-country roller-skiing. Ting Ting is trying to keep up with a pair of boys, one of whom is dressed in suspenders that make him look like he's wearing lederhosen and the other is wearing an ugly sweater. Though given Ting Ting's sweater looks like she skinned an Ewok, I guess her outfit isn't much better. At any rate, she trips and falls so the boys laugh at her. Lederhosen says, "I'm first, he's second, you're the worst because you're a girl! You're third!" Ting Ting objects that the results don't count, so the boys agree--mockingly--to a rematch tomorrow and then depart in their silly skiing gear. They also refuse to allow her to come to their playhouse.

"No girls allowed--you're going to regret that someday," Ting Ting declares. And then she finds the formula box, because of course she does. She notes that it's a very strange box before declaring it will make a nice new home for Mozler, and carrying it away. Meanwhile, the general is at a hospital standing over the only scientist who escaped. They've been assured she'll recover, so the general orders Colonel San (or maybe Sam?) to deal with the press. He also orders the Colonel San to seal off the lab and surrounding area. weren't already doing that?!

And then, we are introduced to another random white guy in military fatigues. This is Ted Fast (Pierre Kirby), Super Badass. He's meeting with the general about their situation, but all the general can do is confirm what Ted Fast already knows, which is that the terrorist group is headed by Solomon. "Oh well, I'll see what I can come up with," Ted Fast responds. And yes, I will be using his full name each time he appears, but as with this scene those appearances are brief and almost totally ancillary. Back to the real story, as Ting Ting sets Mozler in his new home. Mozler nods when she asks if he likes it, and then she tells him to go to bed so she can do her homework--only to notice that the box has little lights on it. She happily turns them on for Mozler, despite having no idea what they do.

Luckily, it turns out they are not a microwave. However, as soon as Ting Ting turns her back, Mozler is bombarded with cartoon lightning and in several cross he glows and then grows larger, before finally turning into a large puppet that somehow comes up through the "bottom" of the box and, glowing, slides up and out of the box onto the floor. Ting Ting is horrified by the giant snake, screeching like a pterodactyl, until she realizes it's Mozler.

Hilariously, she asks him how he got so big but he just shakes his head. Well, declaring that if he doesn't know than neither does she is good enough for Ting Ting, but now she can't keep him in her room any more. This is further emphasized  when the excited Mozler knocks her bicycle over with his tail, but luckily her mom buys the "I knocked a book off the shelf" line. Cut to Ting Ting dragging a very reluctant Mozler into a warehouse. She pleads with him that he has to stay here now.

Meanwhile, Inspector Chow of the city police is frustrated that the military isn't letting him in to the lab to investigate, but Colonel San just brushes him off. Solomon, also meanwhile, is reiterating to Jackson his plan for extorting underdeveloped countries for the food he'll be growing with the formula. Suddenly, a third guy advises that they've sent in a special agent named Ted Fast--a highly trained specialist who always works alone. "He must be pretty good, then," Solomon observes before telling third guy to go take care of Ted Fast.

And now it's time for the rematch in that cross-country roller skiing race. This time, though, Mozler is observing the race and with a pterodactyl screech he tailslaps Ting Ting so she moves way ahead of the other two. Somehow Lederhosen falls down, so now Ting Ting gets to mock him for  being last. Unfortunately, she gets a lesson in sexism when the two boys just declare the whole exercise to be stupid and they go home. Somehow, the other two boys fail to notice the huge shrieking snake nearby (and they really should be on their guard against such things) as Ting Tig confirms that Mozler helped her and then declares she won't play with those sore losers any more, just Mozler.

Cue the montage! Ting Ting goes fishing in a tide pool while Mozler watches.from the shore. She finds nice fluffy grass to make a mattress for him. Then she tries to play with him using a beach ball outside a wooden shack, but Mozler hits it too hard so she gets mad and they play hide and seek around the shack instead. Some guy watches all this from the bushes, so I think we can assume he's one of Solomon's goons. Mozler finds Ting Ting and there is much rejoicing.

"They call me Blackie, they call me Fluffy or even Charlie / That's not my name! / That's not my name!"
Ting Ting tosses some food to Mozler. I have no idea what it is, but it can't possibly be enough to feed a twenty foot snake, Lucky that Mozler doesn't see her as food. they play some more hide and seek, as the random guy watches. Hilariously, a thunderstorm suddenly rolls in and strikes the tree next to the (miniature) cabin. Mozler grabs Ting Ting with his tail and drags her to the "safety" of the shack before the tree falls over on it and it explodes. A terrified ting ting, surrounded by fire, calls for Mozler. And then, to my delight, a combination of poorly thought out physics and special effects results in Mozler bursting out of the wall of the burning model cabin with Ting Ting in his coils and flying away as the goon watches.

"I'm telling you, that snake must be connected with the formuler somehow," the goon tells Billy at a nightclub later. Billy assumes that the girl must have the forumla, then, and they must get it from her. Cut to two of Solomon's white goons in a van, wielding uzis. It turns out they're tracking Ted Fast, who is currently just wandering under a bridge somewhere. You know Ted Fast is not in prime ass-kicking mode because his raspberry beret is tucked into his belt. Well, the goons run him off the road and fire into the woods he's disappeared into before getting out of the van to continue spraying bullets into the bushes. Unfortunately for them, Ted Fast still has his sidearm and he shoots the Mr. Kotter-looking thug to death--which is why you never wear a yellow windbreaker to a drive-by.

Ted Fast keeps rolling around to dodge the bullets from the remaining thug, but he's out of ammo so he has to do a reverse-Shatner roll to kick the uzi out of the thug's hands. Now that he's got the uzi pointed at the unarmed thug, you might think he'd try to get some answers out of the guy--but that's not how Ted Fast rolls. He shoots the thug in the head and then stands triumphantly over the body.

Ted Fast! He kills the bad guys fast and loves the ladies even faster. That's why he only works alone.
Meanwhile the general is interviewing Lynn, the surviving scientist, in her hospital bed. She swears Solomon's men don't have the formula, but only mentions that she remembers throwing it out of her car window and surely it's still there. However, Colonel San counters that they left no stone unturned and did not find it. Well, the general orders him to search the area again and then dig up any info on the terrorists to give to Ted Fast. Well, the futile search for the formula is observed by Solomon's goons, who report back to Billy. Since clearly the army doesn't have it, that means that the girl must have it and they need to track her down to retrieve it,

Oh, and Solomon also wants them to take care of Lynn for double crossing them. Inspector Chow is also trying to find her at present, but the trouble is she must be under an assumed name. I think. The dialogue he has with an underling in his office doesn't make a whole lot of sense and the only subtitles on YouTube are in Russian. Meanwhile, Lynn lies in her hospital bed flashing back to when Solomon reminded her the deal he'd made with her--how he helped her through school, and now that he has her in Laboratory 707, she must get Formula K-19 to him to return the favor. Lynn comments to herself that she couldn't let Solomon have the formula because then he and his gang could control the world. And then she passes out.

In his office, Inspector Chow gets a call from his underling, who has found Lynn under her assumed name. However, she's not receptive to Chow's questions when he arrives--pretending she has no idea what Lab 707 even is. She angrily demands Chow and his underling leave at once. Chow tells his underling to keep an eye on her, as he's sure she'll come clean later. Meanwhile, Solomon is on a gigantic cordless phone with an antenna about two feet long angrily telling the person on the other end to find Lynn and punish her for double crossing him. Hadn't we already established this subplot like three times already? This is probably the least inexplicable plot thread in the movie but it's been reiterated over and over!

After the call ends, Jackson casually mentions that Ted Fast killed Teeter, the thug from earlier, so Solomon declares that Ted Fast is good and orders Jackson to get some men together and kill him. The general, meanwhile, is instructing Colonel San and his men about how Ted Fast is in charge of the terrorist task group. Hilariously, when San offers that he will help Ted Fast, the general reminds him that Ted Fast works better alone and a flustered San replies that he can only help him in information then. Seriously, general, you can't tell someone to help and then tell them not to help!

Then, several things happen. First, Chow learns that Lynn has been released. Second, we see her searching the cliffs for the formula while one of Billy's goons watches her. Third, some white goons hurriedly run up a hill because Ted Fast is coming. And, indeed, the man is just striding up to their position with his sidearm in his hand but not at the ready, in plain view like a damn Terminator. In a "cool move" he stands for a second, while he rotates the gun in his hand in order to pull back the slide and chamber the first round.

Naturally, he is immediately caught in a crossfire and has to roll to safety, but he still puts two bullets in the chest of one thug. He and the remaining thug reload and then Ted Fast is forced to roll down a hill to escape the hail of bullets--only to fire while rolling and strike his enemy in the chest. Hilariously, in slow motion Ted Fast empties the entire clip into the poor bastard, who then falls down the hill while groaning in agony--in slow motion. And then Ted Fast...walks away. Okay, is he actually doing anything for his investigation or just walking around and murdering Solomon's goons as they try to attack him?

Cut to Lynn returning home at night to find her apartment is full of Solomon's goons. The head good hilariously aims an assault rifle at her, one-handed, while telling her that "Solomon wants the formuler now." Lynn stammers an excuse that she lost the formula when the car went over the cliff. She gets slapped for her deceit. She pleads that she doesn't have the formula and has been trying to find it herself. The goon takes his sunglasses off, which is the cue for the others to beat her up. Then the head goon tells her that they're going to take her to explain it to Solomon in person. Luckily for Lynn, Chow and his underling are passing by and hear her begging not to see Solomon.

So the two cops put silencers (!) on their pistols and assault rifle (!!) and burst in. Lynn is able to rush to the cops as they hold the thugs back with gunfire and beat a hasty retreat, killing one thug in the process. The underling is shot in the shoulder so Chow sends him off with Lynn while he holds off the goons with the assault rifle. The underling promises to send backup, but naturally Chow has it under control and kills all the goons. The head goon dies last, naturally, and refuses to take off his sunglasses before he gets tricked by a pair of shoes and takes forever to die from bullets to the chest like he thinks he's in a Shakespeare play.

Meanwhile, at a bridge by the sea--one of the last locations we saw Mozler and Ting Ting, as a matter of fact--Chow walks with Lynn. She thanks him for saving her life, but he assures her he was just doing his job. She rather reluctantly tells Chow that she was studying at Harvard, her mother died and then her father had a stroke. Solomon suddenly stepped in to help her with the money she needed, but she didn't know he was a terrorist back then. (Well, he was probably fighting against communists at the time so he would have been a "freedom fighter") When she started working for Dr. Lai, Solomon threatened her to turn it over to him--and here she reveals what the formula is to Chow. he figures that this explains why the army kept him in the dark, and he promises to protect Lynn from Solomon.

Meanwhile, the general is at Ting Ting's home asking her parents if they've seen a strange box, which Ting Ting overhears. Her parents know nothing, so the general gives her dad his card--and then Chow shows up and tells her father to share any information with him as well. The general bristles at Chow butting in and gets really irritated when he demonstrates that he knows all this classified information. "You can't keep anything from me," Chow replies, smugly and then offers to combine forces. The general responds, "No, I don't think so. You just stop being such a smartass."

Ting Ting's parents have no idea what's going on, but Ting Ting thinks to herself that they must be looking for the box she found and she'll have to get rid of it tomorrow. Her parents, the next morning, wonder why she's not at breakfast just before she obviously sneaks out with the formula box. Why she didn't just secretly tell the general or Chow she had it and just leave out the giant snake part is beyond me. Meanwhile, Ted Fast goes to visit his old friend Chow to discuss the information Lynn has provided him. The two, incredibly quickly, agree to share their information with each other.

Meanwhile, Billy and his van full of thugs see Ting Ting ditch the box. They actually don't grab her at first, since they just want the box--except the box is suddenly "empty" even though it looks about the same as it always did. Billy concludes the formula must be with the girl, but the thug holding the box worriedly replies, "But boss, what about that giant snake that's always with her?" Billy responds by...nodding thoughtfully. Ting Ting's mom then finds her daughter is not at home and wanders over to the warehouse (or "shed" as she calls it), calling for her daughter. Mozler startles her and then the father arrives and decides to attack Mozler with a bit of wood. Ting Ting throws herself between them, to her parents' horror and incomprehension.

Her attempts to explain that Mozler is a nice snake fall on deaf ears, because her father insists, "I will not have a monster in my house!" He's gonna wish he changed his tune right quick, because while Ting Ting cries Mozler flees--and then Billy and his thugs watch the snake go before waltzing right in to the warehouse and threatening the family with harm if they don't give up the formula. Well, they don't know anything about any formula, of course, so the thugs grab Ting Ting and beat the parents savagely. Luckily, Mozler returns and begins tailwhipping thugs. He also proves invulnerable to bullets. Billy and two thugs grab Ting Ting and run to where two other thugs are setting up mines and an electrified booby trap.

Well, the mines only make Mozler mad and the cartoon lightning they electrocute him with causes him to glow and then triple in size. Now Mozler is big enough to vocalize with bellow as ting Ting, having broken free of the thugs, asks how he got so big. Hilariously, Billy tells two goons to "go get her" and their incredulous response is beautiful. Well, they do try to slowly walk up and grab her, but Mozler uses his tail to snack them away and then uses it to place Ting Ting on the back of his head. "Mozler, go get them," she declares. Understandably, they run like hell.

"I have so many people I need you to eat for me! Let's start with that Lederhosen-wearing jerk!"
Billy calls Solomon to tell him that they couldn't get rid of "that fucking snake" because it's gotten bigger. Billy suggests Solomon "send in The Plane." Billy then assures his goons that they'll recapture the girl after the plane takes care of the snake. What is The Plane, you ask? A single engine plane--a Cessna, I think--that somehow has a gun mounted somewhere in its fuselage! Ting Ting, now inexplicably reunited with her parents, watches as the plane swoops into the valley (hilariously, Billy having to radio the pilot where his target is in case he missed the 100-foot snake) and attacks Mozler.

Now, the best part is that this is all done with miniatures. I can think of no reason the plane couldn't have been an actual fighter of some kind, which suggests that the effects team literally used the first plane model they could find. It's also hilariously too small, or else we missed a scene where Mozler grew even larger. At any rate, despite scoring several explosive hits on Mozler, The Plane is taken out by Mozler's tail when it makes a second pass. And so, the epic battle comes to an end.

Billy and his goons are undeterred and burst back into the family home to recapture Ting Ting. The parents are beaten senseless again and the father is only spared being shot for his ignorance by Mozler returning--now back to the size he was when Ting Ting rode him--and striking at the goons. Well, the goons are determined to continue what they started and carry off Ting Ting while Mozler pursues them. Her parents called the cops, so in the van Billy suggests they split up and "meet back up at the Starlight Building."

Meanwhile, Ted Fast calls Chow to inform him that the terrorists have kidnapped Ting Ting. Chow orders roadblocks be set up. Meanwhile, Billy jumps out of the van with Ting Ting and steals a car from a couple making out in the back seat. This apparently means that the cops at a roadblock are looking for the wrong amount of men with a young girl and they arrest, at gunpoint, a young girl's family. Luckily, before the unarmed grandfather can make the cop with a gun fear for his life, Mozler's enormous head looms over the hill and the cops shoot at him instead.

Well, the terrorist van shows up at the roadblock Chow is at with his underling and their attempt to flee results in a foot pursuit and gun fight that kills all the goons and all the cops except Chow and friend. Chow makes sure to get the last goon to turn and face him before shooting him fatally, but the guy still responds to a demand to tell Chow where the girl is by hissing, "Fuck you," as his last breath. Meanwhile, Billy speeds away while Ting Ting screams, "Mozler! Mozler! Save me!" Somehow, Mozler hears this--psychic connection, maybe--and slithers into a river to pursue.

Meanwhile, Ted Fast--dials a phone! He calls the general and tells him to call out the army to deal with the giant snake. The general agrees and the call ends. Well, that was thrilling!

Ted Fast! He dials a phone so fast the rotary melts! This is also why he only works alone.
Meanwhile, a young married couple is going to see the husband's mother while the wife complains about having to see his mother. "You make her sound just like a monster," he jokes. And then Mozler rises out of the river by the bridge, causing all the cars to instantly stop and everyone to hop out and either run for it or stand staring at the kaiju looming over them. The general and several troops pull up in a jeep to observe the scene from a hill overlooking the bridge.

And then Mozler smashes the bridge and presumably kills everyone on it, as the soldiers watch in horror.

Man, the Final Destination films really got weird when they ran out of opening disaster ideas.
Meanwhile, a model train zips along a mountain track. Inside, some pudgy middle-aged guy is hitting on an attractive younger woman who is...oddly into it. The general demands to know why no one has notified the rail service, but a soldier objects that they have. Not soon enough, I guess, because the train goes over a bridge and Mozler smashes that bridge and the train. He takes his sweet time doing it, too, making sure he crushes all of the bridge and train cars and kills everyone inside before swimming onward.

The general sadly intones that maybe if they'd called in the air force sooner they could have spared all those innocent lives. He then tells San that he wants that serpent destroyed. His orders are too slow to stop Mozler from smashing a dam and then, to my utter bewilderment, the film cuts in the shot from Mothra of the fleeing villagers crossing a bridge and the baby in its basket that they accidentally dropped on the way across! It's just that one shot that I recognized instantly--but given the quality of the effects showing a tsunami destroying a city that follow, I am left to conclude that these were also lifted from a Japanese effects film. The Submersion of Japan, perhaps?

Chow and Lynn watch the news report on the disaster. Lynn tells Chow she thinks that, although the snake was washed away in the flood, she is sure it's still alive. Chow thinks they need to leave the snake to the army, but they must find Solomon. Lynn doesn't know where Solomon is, but Billy might and, more importantly, he has Ting Ting and she has the formula. Meanwhile, San discusses with the general the contingency in place for when Mozler reappears, since they have assumed it is inevitable. The general pushes the importance of evacuating the city first, and the issue of food and water shortages.

Hilariously, despite having just said that he thinks the snake is still alive, San then wonders if maybe it's dead. The general responds that if it is dead, then they need to recover the body and make sure. If it's still alive, then he wants submarines and any other resources necessary to kill it. Naturally, no one at any point has made the connection between the snake and Ting Ting, yet occasionally they will sound like they know there's a connection.

Meanwhile, Ted Fast has moved up from making phone calls to following Jackson around. This ends with him...just walking right up to Jackson and calling him by name. Naturally, Ted Fast introduces himself as, "Fast: Ted Fast. I know you've heard of me." Thus follows a halfway decent kung fu fight between two white dudes. Jackson flees and, hilariously, trips and falls so Ted Fast can grab him and tell him that he will be taking him to Solomon.

Meanwhile, Billy sits in a room in the Starlight Builiding in...whatever city this is. Hong Kong? I don't recognize any of the landmarks, but then we aren't really shown any. Billy is smoking and trying to ignore Ting Ting whining for Mozler. He tells her she can scream all she wants but neither the snake nor anyone else will hear her. Oh, you're wrong, Billy-Boy. Sure enough, the sea churns and Mozler rises from the ocean to scare the hell out of some folks on a beach.

The general gets the call that the snake is in the West District, before we finally get down to the reason anyone chooses to watch this film--as Mozler rampages through the city. Panicked citizens flee as buildings explode all around the beast. The general struggles to try and restore order from the command center, and then Billy and Ting Ting watch the news report of Mozler in the city. Which means that in this ersatz remake of Mothra, Billy is Nelson and Ting Ting is the twin fairies. Well, Billy tells her that it's hopeless because the military will blow Mozler to pieces before it ever gets to their building. However, he'll let her go if she just tells him where the formula is.

Responding that she wouldn't tell him even if she did know where it was gets her backhanded and then Billy threatens her with torture. Well, Mozler is now just down the street from the Starlight Building. There's an actually really cool shot if him slithering down an eerily empty street toward the building to establish this. And while the miniatures he's wrecking may not be very good and the puppet used to represent him is less than adequate, the miniature city set looks really good--it's never convincing, but it is very well-detailed and elaborate.

Well, the explosions and screaming crowds of fleeing civilians suddenly return, in shots that suggest Mozler is suddenly much further away from the building than he just was. Maybe these shots were meant to come during his initial rampage but were moved because of pacing reasons? Or maybe the editing is incompetent. I'm thinking the latter is more likely.

Uwe Boll presents Snake: The Motion Picture. It's not after apples any more.
Well, one building did not get evacuated and we see the people inside get crushed as Mozler smashes it for no apparent reason, since he's currently on a street that ends at the building he's seeking. The general watches in mute horror--and then we cut to: Ted Fast, making a call. Seriously, is this guy a special agent or a call center rep? Ted Fast is calling Chow to tell him he can find Ting Ting at the Starlight Building. Chow heads there immediately, while the general and San bemoan the fact that they haven't been able to send tanks in yet. Also, Mozler's passing continues to catch people inside buildings by surprise. Nice job warning everyone, general!

Chow fights his way up through fleeing crowds in the Starlight Building. Meanwhile, stock footage tanks are bombarding Mozler to no effect. Billy looks out the window to see, to his horror, "the Goddamn snake is here," with mild annoyance. He threatens to kill Ting Ting, alternately if she does not stop screaming for the snake or does not tell him where the formula is. And then Mozler wraps himself around the Starlight Building. Which is, of course, no help to Ting Ting. Though she is able to break free.

"Surrender Jennifer Lopez and no one gets hurt!"
The air force commander arrives and after the general assures him that no one is in the building without doing even a cursory check, they agree the time is right for the air force to strike. Billy, for some reason, has decided it's more important to continue threatening Ting Ting's life than not being killed by a gigantic snake, so he's counting down until he shoots her when Chow bursts in and they have a brief gunfight. Billy gets the upper hand, though, and looms over Chow with his assault rifle (where do all these large guns keep coming from?!) and orders him to his feet. Chow explains that they'll all die when the bombing starts.

Then Ting Ting's parents and Chow's underlings show up at the rooftop where the general and air force commander are to beg them to hold off bombing until Ting Ting is safely out. The commander meekly says they can't--the opportunity to kill Mozler is too good! The jets fly by the building without firing, but luckily for those inside Ting Ting grabs one of the dropped guns and puts it in Billy's back. Chow grabs the gun from Billy and mocks him for losing to a little girl, Then Billy makes a grab for Ting Ting's gun so Chow can turn him into Swiss cheese, Chow thanks Ting Ting for saving his life and they hurry out of the building just as the planes begin shooting Mozler. And no, these planes are not also Cessnas so I have no idea what was up with The Plane that Solomon sent earlier.

For no apparent reason, every direct hit on Mozler by the planes causes him to glow with a blue cartoon outline, I have zero idea why, since this usually signifies he's growing but here he is not supposed to be. I guess it's so the pilots know they've made a direct hit, like in a video game. Chow has to hold Ting Ting back from trying to save Mozler. And then they run down a staircase that is apparently full of flame throwers based on the pattern of the fire they're dodging. They eventually make it safely down the street and Ting Ting begs Mozler to claimb down to safety.

Unfortunately, just as Mozler is starting to do so, one of the fighter planes deliberately crashes into Mozler's head! For some reason, it is this kamikaze impact that does Mozler in. It sets his head on fire and also blows the top of the building off. Mozler falls to the ground as Ting Ting cries on Chow's chest, and Mozler's death throes finally go still. Ting Ting begs Chow to let her go see Mozler and he relents as he runs over to her dead pet and grieves over his corpse. (A corpse that is, naturally, back to being less than half the size of the city destroying behemoth it just was) Ting Ting begs all the adults that now group around her to save Mozler, and holy crap their reactions are condescending as hell. Only the air force commander imploring her to see that Mozler was dangerous is an actually appropriate response, though I'd have maybe backed that up by pointing out how many hundreds or even thousands Mozler had just killed.

And man, normally I'd be on ting ting's side but Mozler did deliberately kill a shit load of innocent people. At least Mothra wisely showed its heroic monster was only destroying what stood between her and reclaiming the fairies. Mozler, meanwhile, clearly goes out of his way to do as much damage as possible.

At any rate, Chow then berates the general for what he allowed to happen. San asks what they're going to do about Thunder Project now, but the general silences him, Then Chow slugs the general, saying, "That's for all the innocent lives!" This would seem more like something Dr. Lai should get to do, but I guess it doesn't make any sense that he'd be present for this. We close out with Lynn comforting a weeping Ting Ting. The E--

Not so Fast...Ted Fast.

Ted Fast!  He wore a raspberry beret, the kind you find in a secondhand store--when you only work alone.
Yes, it's time for Ted Fast to confront Solomon. He gets the drop on his quarry as Solomon gets into his car, but the terrorist opens the door and knocks Ted Fast down. they quickly recover and find themselves in a Mexican standoff. "Go ahead, shoot," Ted Fast says calmly, "make my day...punk." Solomon declares it a standoff.

Hilariously, this is followed by the two agreeing to just go at it in hand-to-hand combat. This was a poor choice on Solomon's aprt because Ted Fast is instantly beating the shit out of him, However, Solomon then kicks Ted Fast in the balls and grabs a gun. But you have to wake up pretty ealry in the morning to get one over on Ted Fast. So Ted Fast throws his beret at Solomon. After Solomon's shot goes wide, Ted Fast shoots him dead. Then Ted Fast kicks his own beret into the air, catches it, and walks out of frame. The End.

Michael Bay's The Temptation of Adam and Eve.
This is an absolutely astounding film, which is not surprising if you've ever encountered Godfrey Ho. You may think my synopsis is nonsensical and fractured, but I assure you that I have described it accurately.

This film is a hodgepodge of various things that nobody would ever think could work together. A hyper violent action film, a gritty kaiju film, and a story about a child befriending an adorable snake monster are all the things that get mixed together in this film. The dub alone has copious usage of the word "fuck," which doesn't bother me much but I can imagine that being enough for some parents to be horrified at the prospect of their kids seeing this film. Personally, the huge amount of violent onscreen death is much more likely to deter me from letting my son watch this one when he's old enough to start actually watching movies. Though, overall it's only a bit bloodier than, say, Godzilla vs. Biollante.

How does the film fare as a monster movie? Well, overall I'd say it does pretty well. Certainly Mozler is never going to be convincing, and as a snake it obviously limits the amount of things he can do as a city stomper--after all, he can't really even stomp. The miniature effects range from awful (the flaming shack Mozler rescues Ting Ting from) to decent (Mozler's climactic rampage), to really good in the footage clearly pilfered from other films. Of course, all the effects original to this film look like they belong to a film made twenty years earlier. In the 1960s they might be actually be almost impressive--but in 1988 they would have already seemed quaint. And although I have to give props for making full-sized, uh, props of Mozler to interact with Ting Ting, those props look like gigantic dollar store snake toys and they're entirely out of scale anyway.

So it's a decent giant monster movie when looked at from just that angle, As an action movie, well, this makes a great giant monster movie. Not only is Solomon an unimpressive villain, but as I've already stated, the heroic Ted Fast spends most of his screentime making phone calls! Not exactly riveting stuff. As far as more general character concerns, the Chinese cast are actually pretty good, all told, but the white actors are clearly awful and, of course, the dubbing is hilariously terrible.

I can't obviously recommend this as a film to people who want to see a good example of the kaiju genre. This film is bad. However, I can unreservedly champion it to both die-hard kaiju fnas who want to see every extant example of the genre and to those who love bad and/or inexplicable cinema. This film is an absolute masterpiece from that perspective.

So if that's you're kind of movie you should see it, Fast...Ted Fast.

Today's review, brought to you by the letter T! Hit the banner for the other Celluloid Zeroes' reviews for T!

[There's no Amazon listing for this marvelous film, so you'll just have to check it out on YouTube below until some awesome distributor like Shout Factory decides to do it justice:]

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