Thursday, 30 May 2013

CONTINUUM – I think I've found my show


It's been a long time since I've really enjoyed a current TV show. Of late it's even been tough to sit through my beloved Doctor Who, and after finding stuff I kinda like (Warehouse 13) and stuff that promised so much but turned out to be painful to watch (Defiance), I was feeling a bit left out.

Everyone seems to have so much stuff they love, and I remember being just the same a few years ago, but now there seems to be so little that appeals to me. This is down to not having the time or patience to dedicate to stuff for long now, and though new content needs to grab me from the get-go.


One such show which I have latched onto properly is the rather wonderful (if somewhat underrated, from what I can see) CONTINUUM. Blending science fiction, action and drama in a story of time travel and assorted intrigue, it has a great concept and a strong cast, as well as a beautiful balance of SF concepts and contemporary TV.

I've been getting through the first season and enjoying it greatly, and the start of season 2 is sat on our TiVo waiting for me to indulge. The writing is strong, and while the cast are all far too immaculate, they carry off their parts very well. The only thing that I can't get past is that the chunk of the time machine looks very much like a piece of a Terry's Chocolate Orange. I'm glad I've been able to find something cool again. Long may it continuum. Erm. You know what I mean.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

NINJA HUNT (1986)

This was the first Joseph Lai film I ever saw, and I just got a vintage copy on VHS (finally at a decent price) and revisited one of the most profoundly odd cinematic experiences of my life. Quick refresher: Joseph Lai and his company IFD bought up a bunch of failed East Asian action movies, retitled them and cut them together with new footage of white guys in ninja costumes having ludicrous battles, then gave each atrocious film a frankly hilarious dubbing job. 

Ninja Hunt was my introduction to these films and the concept of recycled movies, and as a teenager I watched it again and again, just astounded at something so mad and awful could get made. Plus, I wanted to be a dayglo ninja like the guys in these mental films. Yeah, for some reason at the time I thought they were the coolest thing I'd ever seen. 

I guess the attraction is that these films felt alien to me. Those glimpses of other cultures mixed with comic-book style ninja fighting were wildly appealing, giving the films a weird, dreamlike quality with their own odd internal logic and shoddily spliced footage. I loved them to bits. 

Ninja Hunt concerns a gang who have stolen a top secret formula, DAK10, which switches on a desire to kill in anyone it comes into contact with. A ninja overlord wants it, as does a government agency in the US, who (naturally) send out a ninja master (the awesomely wooden Richard Harrison) to deal with the case. 

And thus, with nonsensical scene after nonsensical scene, including lots of sex, club nights, talking around smoky tables and multicoloured ninja gymnastics, the film plays out to a sudden and baffling climax. It makes no sense at all, it looks and sounds awful, is cheap and tacky and woefully made, but it's brilliant. Well, brilliant in a way that only lovers of the Joseph Lai ninja movies can understand, anyway. A weird little gem.