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Friday, November 27, 2020

"A Horse With No Name"

Episode #93

It's a bit of a free-for-all this episode as the fellas present their Mt. Retromore of TV Dads and then swing into talk about the origins of the show, give thanks to some special folks, and talk a little about the future of Uphill Both Ways. The countdown to #100 continues!


Action U.S.A. on Sale Now!

After sitting on this info for a while now, we can finally say that ACTION U.S.A., the "lost" 80s indie action flick that Joseph and Mike featured earlier in the month is finally on sale over at Vinegar Syndrome!

Vinegar Syndrome excels at remastering old, forgotten genre films. They've done numerous old horror flicks, a bunch of action movies (and even some racy stuff for those of you into that stuff). All of their releases are limited in their production run and sometimes sell out pretty quickly, so if you're looking to grab a copy of ACTION U.S.A., we urge you to take advantage of their annual Black Friday sale and get one this weekend.

Grab your copy here! (and no, we don't get a kickback or anything - we just love this movie!)

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The Ben Cooper, Inc. Legacy

Ok, yeah - Halloween was LAST month, but we didn't decide to start adding stand-alone content to the website until a couple of weeks ago.  So go ahead, grab a few fun-size Kit Kats or Crunch bars that you bought in bulk for 75% off on November 1st to get yourself into the mood and read on.

Started in 1937 by former costume and set designer Ben Cooper, Ben Cooper, Inc. initially sold costumes of ghosts, goblins and other creatures but began licensing characters like Superman and Zorro as the popularity of their TV shows grew.  If you were a kid growing up in the United States during the 60s, 70s or 80s, the chances are pretty doggone high that at one time or another you wore a Ben Cooper, Inc. costume on Halloween. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Retro Movie Review - "Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins"

Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins
is one of the most underrated, if not almost forgotten, action movies of the 1980s.

Released in 1985 to middling reviews and a pretty crummy box office, Remo Williams is the story of a New York City cop who has his death faked and wakes up with a new face, a new name and a new job. All of this is courtesy of a super-secret crime fighting organization called CURE, run by Harold Smith (Wilford Brimley) in one of the absolute worst casting choices ever. Seriously – if the source material describes someone as lemony-faced, wearing a gray suit with skin that seems almost gray itself, Wilford Brimley is NOT what one pictures.

Anyway, Remo (Fred Ward) has been recruited to be the enforcement arm of CURE and is introduced to Chiun (Joel Grey), the reigning master of Sinanju (which, we learn, is the martial arts discipline that all others came from) who has been hired to train him. Well, introduced isn’t exactly the right word. Remo is taken by Conn MacCleary (J. A. Preston) who was, previously, the only person other than Smith who worked for CURE, on his first assignment wherein he’s supposed to simply enter an apartment and kill the occupant. Said occupant is Chiun and after failing miserably at his mission, we learn that this was merely a test. Chiun is unimpressed but is convinced to stay on and train Remo.

We’re treated to some of Remo’s training and a get to know Chiun a little (he loves soap operas!) and learn that Sinanju has provided emperors and kings with assassins throughout history. Remo learns the basics of balance, breathing, the ability to become lighter than air and to even dodge bullets. The training and history lessons are short lived, however, as Smith calls Remo in for his first mission, which Chiun is not too happy about, saying Remo needs more time to be ready. Nonetheless, Remo is briefed on his mission, sent into the field and, following an exciting set piece on the Statue of Liberty (which is encased in scaffolding since it was undergoing maintenance and repairs at the time), eventually saves the day.

One of the biggest failings of the movie is that it’s never really explained why Chiun agrees to stay and train Remo. The books, of course, DO provide plenty of background: In the books, Chiun sees Remo as the integral piece for fulfilling a prophecy and becoming the avatar of Shiva. A father-son relationship is built over the course of the early books and while Chiun constantly criticizes Remo, it’s obvious he loves him and that Remo feels the same for him, even going so far as to call Chiun “Little Father”. It’s this bond that is created between the two that is the heart and soul of the “The Destroyer” series and the fact that it is only briefly touched on in the movie (Remo does call Chiun by his nickname after Chiun slips and calls him “my son”) is one of the movie’s biggest mistakes.

Despite what it sounds like, this is an entertaining movie. It’s directed by Guy Hamilton (who helmed a few James Bond movies) and the screenplay was written by Christopher Wood (who co-wrote a couple of different James Bond films), so it has a decent pedigree behind the camera. Fred Ward does a great job at capturing Remo’s serious yet sassy personality and Joel Grey (while not Korean at all and acting under a lot of makeup) is excellent as Chiun. The action scenes, which admittedly seem a bit “small” for this type of movie, are fun and the plot, while a bit thin (especially in comparison to some of the books), is simple enough that it doesn’t get in the way of the action. There is Blu-ray release by Twilight Time Movies and it tends to show up here and there on different streaming service somewhere, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find. If you’re a fan of action films and have never seen this, you owe it to yourself to give it a watch.

Reviewed by Mike Imboden

Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins
Directed by: Guy Hamilton
Screenplay by: Christopher Wood
Based on The Destroyer by Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir
Genre: Action & Adventure
Distributed by: Orion Pictures
Starring: Fred Ward, Joel Grey, Wilford Brimley, Kate Mulgrew
Running time 116 minutes
Rated: PG-13
Release date: October 11, 1985

Monday, November 16, 2020

“The Legend of Baron To’a” Sees a Son Step Up to His Wrestler Father’s Legacy

 New Zealand action comedy The Legend of Baron To’awhich Joseph reviewed over at When It Was Cool“combines the elements of a son returning to his homeland and a hero’s journey with some slam-bam wrestling excitement."
The film receives a December 4th theatrical, digital, and VOD release from Gravitas Ventures & New Zealand Film Commission. The film stars Uli Latukefu, who was recently tapped to play the young Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in an upcoming NBC production. Uphill Both Ways has the official trailer and poster for you below. Following is the official press announcement.

When his late father’s priceless championship belt is stolen by a ruthless gang, a displaced Tongan man must reconnect with his father’s legacy to defeat the barbaric gang kingpin and get the title back.

Fritz, a displaced Tongan man, returns to the cul-de-sac of his youth to sell his family home. When a priceless heirloom — a championship wrestling belt belonging to his late father, Baron To’a, — is pillaged from the family home, Fritz’s uncle Otto cancels the sale of the house until the belt is returned. A local street thug reveals the belt is now in the possession of resident gang, The Pig Hunters. Fritz determines to get the belt back with higher reasoning.

After a run-in with a corrupt cop and a vicious attack from the gang, three patched members invite Fritz to a BBQ to “break bread.” The family-oriented BBQ becomes dangerous after dark as Fritz comes face-to-face with gang leader Tahu, who has the belt draped over his shoulder. Fritz fails to reason with Tahu and is ruthlessly beaten into the streets.

While healing, Fritz realises he must rekindle a lost connection with his father’s legacy, proclaiming to Otto that he wants a “shot at the title.” After training with Otto, Fritz combines his analytics skills with his father’s wrestling techniques to smash his way through the gang and flush out Tahu. An epic “no holds barred” title fight ensues, but does Fritz truly understand what it takes to become the champion?

Directed by: Kiel McNaughton
Written by: John Argall
Genre: Action & Adventure, Comedy
Distributor: Gravitas Ventures
Produced by: Kerry Warkia 
Cast: Uli Latukefu, Nathaniel Lees, Jay Laga'aia, Shavaughn Ruakere, & John Tui 
Run Time: 103m

Saturday, November 14, 2020

"Strange Things are afoot at the Circle K"

After some discussion, both Joseph and Mike have agreed that there needs to be more content here. So in the days, weeks, and months to come, expect to see some movie reviews, album reviews, TV reviews, articles, discussions, and lists (and more!), all dedicated to the two greatest decades in the 20th century.

Yep, that means more 70s! More 80s! And more retro pop-culture goodness.

Sure, this isn't the first site to cater fans of that era and, yeah, there's probably sites out there that are and will do a better job than Mike and Joe can.  But the Internet is a pretty big place, and after three years of the UBW podcast they're pretty confident that they can build something pretty fun here.

So put on your high-top Adidas sneakers, feather your hair back, and pop that collar. "We've got to go back, Marty!"

Friday, November 13, 2020

"Action USA" PG-Rated Trailer

Here's the trailer for the remastered release of  "Action U.S.A." - the over-the-top "craziest action film you never saw".


Thursday, November 12, 2020

"I Want Action"

Episode #92

It's right there in the name, folks - this episode has wall to wall ACTION! It's a collaborative "Mt. Retromore" of 70s and 80s action movie stars as Joseph and Mike nominate and select the foursome they feel best exemplifies the genre at the time. And then it's off to the main event where the guys review and discuss the "the craziest action film you never saw", "Action USA". Filmed in 1988 with an all-but-forgotten VHS edition, this 4K Restoration & rerelease from Verdugo Entertainment is the holy grail of 80s B-Movie action flicks!

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