Once again, drawn in by the title. A lot of people go to see movies because of a kick ass trailer they recently watched. Some people go see a movie because of an amazing or awful review about a movie. Me? I like to look at the name before making my selection. And with a name like “Death Machines” who could go wrong!? Certainly not me!
Right away this movie got me excited with a simple, yet complex intro that clearly took a long time for the time period this movie was done in. The film was released in June 1976 (11 years before I was even born!) and it shows with all the clicks and pops through out the film this was truly a viewing pleasure for any fan of classic films. Filled with action, like any Kung Fu movie should be, this was a non stop thrill ride from beginning to end.
The synopsis for this movie is a little mis leading however. It states a Dragon Queen drugs three of the toughest warriors to become lethal killing machines. While there is truth behind this the WHOLE story is this: She is actually working for a mysterious man who had been working for years to create a syrum that would allow him to control anyone, anywhere, at any time and make them kill whomever he desired in order to take over control of the city. After years of perfecting his sryum Madame Lee (the Dragon Queen) finds the three warriors and sends them out to start wreaking havoc!
The Death Machines are played superbly by Joshua Johnson (Black Death Machine), Michael Chong (Asian Death Machine), and Ron Marchini (White Death Machine). Not only did Ron Marchini star in this film, but he also produced it as well! As a film producer myself starting out in the time that we are in, production now takes hours compared to months due to the marvel of digital files so I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mr.Marchini! The production of this film was perfectly captivating with an amazing mixture of action, suspense, and even a little romance mixed in!
But let us not forget where this film BEGAN; with the writers and directors! Joe Walders wrote the original story for Death Machines, later teaming up with Paul Kyriazi to develop the screen play. Paul took over all credits for Directing and did a smashing job! The actors were so well directed that at times I forgot I was watching a movie and rather felt that I was there. The writing was so smooth that there was no real slow times during the movie that I have found in SO many main stream movies now a day.
Now, back to the movie!
Our Death Machines are first enlisted to start targeting a rival crime boss, Mr. Gioretti (played by Chuck Katzakian) for complete control over the city and who dies and who doesn’t. Before Mr. Gioretti discovers who is after him and why, he loses a total of 3 men who are taken out in over the top true Kung-Fu style fashion.
The first assassin is poised atop a tall building, taking aim at his target through the scope of his sniper rifle. Just as he pulls the trigger Death Machines strike! After a quick little tussle the Death Machines over power the assassin and throw him over the edge of the building and onto the hood of his car, RIGHT IN FRONT OF A COP!
Now we come to our second target that is eliminated, and one of my personal favorites! Once again we see an assassin taking aim through the scope of his sniper rifle, although this time he is in a park and his target is jogging along a deserted path. While the sniper is setting up we see a car pull up behind him, although he doesn’t see or hear it, duh!
How would this be a Kung-Fu movie if he heard it? Anyway, we see the three taking something out of the trunk of their car and getting into position. With what weapon you may be asking yourself? A FRIGGIN’ BAZOOKA! That’s right! These three took out a GD Bazooka and blasted this guy!
The third death wasn’t an assassin taking aim at a target however. It was another crime boss who thought he was hiding from the mystery killer by calling Mr.G from a payphone in a remote location. While on the phone with Mr.G and exchanging heated words about the recent deaths of their assassins we see non other then White Death Machine himself Ron Marchini driving a tractor towards the phone booth. The camera cuts back to Mr.G as we hear blood curdling screams coming from the receiver. The camera cuts back as the tractor is leaving and we see a lifeless body, still clutching the phone.
With a name like “Death Machines” one would think there would be an enormous amount of blood and gore along with so many deaths. Deaths there are a plethora of. And with the amount of deaths reminding me of scenes from Kill Bill one would think the blood would be seeping through the screen. This was not the case.
Even though they did a fantastic job executing the different ways of killing someone, they did so with very little gore. Oh yes, there was blood, but the movie did not FOCUS on the gore like you would see in other movies that contain this amount of killing.
One of the most memorable scenes, and one of the most suspenseful scenes was towards the end of the middle of the movie. Without giving too much away (because you know right now you’re telling yourself you want to watch this) during a segment where the crime ring was attempting a take over of a local business, they were refused. Upon refusal the owner doomed himself to some sort of unknown horror.
As the scene is about to end a bomb is set to go off, there is a minute counter and the man is struggling frantically to get help, as is his secretary. After a minute the count down ends and we are left looking back and forth from the man to the bomb. Will it go off? No? Yes? No!? Yes!? NO!? YES!?
Oh . . . did you want to know if it went off? Well you will have to go check out the movie for yourself! I enjoyed this film once again via the free app on my iPhone6S called “Tubi TV” but if you don’t have the room for the small app you can visit the site from your computer at tubitv.com! With a run time of only 93 minutes the time flys by due to the captivating story telling, the amazing choreography and brutal, but not gory, deaths!
With an amazing surprise ending, this is definitly a movie I would watch again and again! Personally I would have liked a little more blood to make some of the deaths seem more “real”, but to each his own! I’m giving this movie an 8/10!
by Matthew Starr
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