I am very aware of Roger Ebert's admonition against the review of trailers. I normally would wholeheartedly agree with anything that came from the venerated critic's fingers, but I've already broken the rule and discussed numerous projects that have not come out, sometimes not even on the basis of a trailer. However, I don't think that my assessments of Dragonball: Evolution and Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li are particularly audacious or unwarranted (they will be crap).
Furthermore, there are some films that I will likely never get to see, but can glimpse snippets of through the good graces of the owners (or whomever else) that saved trailers and stuck them on DVD's of films that can be seen. Mondo Macabro's release of Virgins from Hell - a women-in-prison/biker chick/exploitation flick from Indonesia's prolific Rapi Films - comes with a second disk full of trailers for movies that aren't likely to be anywhere near as entertaining as my mind has built them up to be.
Among these trailers are the sort of fair one would expect from Mondo Macabro - lots of awful looking horror films and sleaze - but some surprises show up here and there. There's actually trailers for three (I believe there's at least four) of the Jaka Sembung films starring the always entertaining Barry Prima. The Jaka Sembung films were released in the West (Europe, even the US) under the title "The Warrior." It's potent mix of senselessly gory violence, cheap special effects, heroic posturing and what was likely unintentional slasher movie aesthetics was a smash hit at the local box-office and over the years it has gained a great deal of notoriety among aficionados of kung fu, exploitation, and horror movies. It's success brought on a new wave of Indonesian fantasy and martial arts flicks during the early to mid 1980's, including such notable films as Ratno Timoer's The Devil's Sword (not coincidentally, also starring Barry Prima). However, the trailer that made me cough up my own skull was for Timoer's final film (and by my count one of the last of its kind) The Blind Warrior.
It's probably safe to say that the trailer is itself the coolest thing ever made. Like many of the Indonesian martial arts/fantasy films, it frequently plagiarizes other (superior) films from other countries. In this case, the obvious source of inspiration is Zatoichi. Ichi-san, however, never had to deal with an evil, idol worshipping cult and never had to use his palm powers to cause everything to explode.
Yeah, the idol can shoot fire.
But the fire shooting idol has absolutely nothing on The Blind Warrior's own chi power.
Before palm of doom...
Palm of Doom...
Sadly, I seriously doubt that this one will ever get a proper release. I would say that stranger things have happened - and they have - but it still doesn't mean that this being released is any more likely. There is hope in that both The Devil's Sword and The Warrior have seen DVD (in pristine condition no less), neither of which I would've given much of a chance. But with the market for DVD's under serious pressure from disappearing businesses, sparse shelf space, new formats and file sharing, as well as the possibility that a usable copy might very well be difficult to come by for Pete Tombs and the MM crew, it's looking like a slim hope at best. I want to see it, but I don't want to see it in a crappy rmvb file from a nth generation vhs rip with a German dub.
What a hot mess, though. I never would've thought that bad Zatoichi imitations would have mixed so well with bad Indonesian fantasy film-making. And perhaps they don't, but this trailer gets a bloody nub up from me.
Not bloody likely.