The Good, The Bad

When the weather turns cold, the home treadmill looks much more inviting than bundling up to go to the gym. And the treadmill means more movies on the television. And because you don’t want to start in the middle of a movie, it means going to “On Demand” and selecting something to watch out of a large list of films in which you really have no interest.

So what attracts me to a movie to watch while on the treadmill? First of all, it has to be a film that, if you miss a line or two, you won’t really care (you are competing with treadmill noise). Secondly, it can’t be a slow movie, because it has to hold your attention. So, I tend to go for adventure films, set in exotic locales.

Which brings me to the two movies that I have watched over the past two days: Steele Justice, and Transsiberian.

First, Steele Justice – bitter enemies during the Vietnam War, each almost killing the other several times, one turning into a drug runner/philanthropist in southern California (he’s Vietnamese), and the other into an alpha-Rambo. Houses blow up, folks are maimed and killed, vehicles explode, people get tortured, people get divorced and maybe remarried, little girls lose their entire families, and of course (because it’s a simple minded movie) the good guys win.

Steele Justice is such an awful movie, that I loved it. It is campy, cliche-ridden, poorly acted, overly violent, and put together in such a way that it mesmerized me. Although I had never heard of it before, I assumed that it was, by now, a cult movie, with a large fan base. I can see it being shown at midnight at art theaters on a regular basis.

So I went to, to see what others thought of the movie. Now, usually good movies rate a 7 or higher (out of ten), and poor movies somewhere between a 5 and a 7. Steele Justice got a 3.6. I couldn’t believe it. I have never seen such a low rating for a film that is so bad that it is so good…

Today’s film was Transsiberian, the story of two Americans coming off a church mission and deciding to take the Transsiberian Express back. They share their cabin with another young couple, who turn out to be major drug runners. Over the course of the movie, they are separated, they are tortured, they are duped, they are almost killed, they do some killing themselves, they witness tortures, they almost fall off trains, they get lost, they get found, they tangle with the Russian mafia. All while the railroad crosses very pleasant snow-covered country stopping in cities of legend.

This movie is as bad as Steele Justice. But it is no Steele Justice. It is not camp; it is not fun. It is just plain awful and painful to watch.

But on imdb, it gets a 6.9!

Go figure.


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