Red Sun

Red Sun sounds like a great idea, an old-fashioned Western triangle between a good guy, a bad guy, and an unpredictable rogue with a touch of nobility. The recipe is spiced with some foreign flavors since the three leads are tough guys from three different continents. The bad guy is Alain Delon, who has an amazingly good grasp of the nuances of American speech and mannerisms. The good guy is Toshiro Mifune. The wisecracking loose cannon is Charles Bronson.

Bronson and Delon start the film by leading an outlaw gang intent on relieving a mail train of some gold. To make matters more complicated, perhaps too complicated, the train is guarded by the U.S. Army, and is attacked by Comanches during the robbery, so people are blowing each other apart in all directions. When the dust has cleared, Bronson just wants to get the money and get on the road, but Delon ends up killing several people needlessly, including an emissary of the Japanese delegation to Washington, which had a private car on the train. Delon also takes a shine to a gold-embossed samurai sword intended as a gift to the President, and steals it from the Japanese ambassador, even though the booty from the hold-up is enough for him to live on forever. Needless to say, the kingpin samurai (Mifune) swears revenge against Delon. Delon double-crosses Bronson at the end of the robbery and leaves him for dead, but our man refuses to die, so revenge-bent Mifune makes Bronson lead him to the official outlaw lair. The film also features that rootin'-tootin' Western buckaroo Ursula Andress as a scheming prostitute who provides the  connection between Delon and Bronson.

I know it sounds like a great premise for a Western, and it should have been, since it was directed by the man who did three of the first four James Bond movies. It has plenty of action and cross-cultural wisecracks, and the gorgeous Ursula Andress naked, so it should have functioned as the perfect setting for a "mismatched buddy" picture, which is one of Hollywood's most dependable formulas.

It just doesn't work out that well in execution. After the train robbery, which is a good sequence, the rest of the film plods, and basically consists of a series of unlikely plot twists in which the hooker and the Comanches inevitably pick the right moment to do what is necessary to advance the plot. Every time the white people are about to settle their scores, the Comanches (obviously some Mediterranean guys in make-up) appear out of nowhere to change the equation, and then to circle around everyone in the official mad whooping frenzy of all Hollywood Indians, riding in the open, acting dutifully as target practice for the others, who then resume their intrigues when all the Comanches have been dispatched to the Happy Hunting Ground. There is no character development for any of the Comanches, nor are they even recognizable as separate individuals. They are all simply anonymous, convenient devices and their attacks just slow down the development of the central conflict. Sometimes their appearance is so obviously a forced plot device that its just downright silly. Two examples:

  • When Bronson is in an inescapable scrape, captured by the baddies and about to be plugged full of hot lead by one of Delon's henchmen, an unexpected (and unheard) Comanche attack gives Bronson an unlikely reprieve just as the henchman's hammer is cocked. This is the only time in the film when the Comanches appeared without their usual customary war whoops. I suppose that could be explained by a stealth tactic, but what can't be explained is that they were not sneaking up on foot. There were dozens of them and they were all riding hard, yet none of the West-toughened white men (nor us) heard the thundering hooves! Fortunately for the white men, the Comanches followed up their tricky surprise attack with the obligatory tactic of circling around in the open while whooping and waiting to get picked off by white men shooting from behind proper cover. No wonder they lost the West. I wonder why they didn't use their red war paint to create bull's-eyes on their chests.
  • Bronson holds Andress, Delon's woman, as a hostage to trade for the gold and sword. When Andress escapes, it appears that all is lost for Bronson because he has lost all his negotiating leverage, but the Comanches conveniently capture Andress before she can reach the outlaws' hideout, thus allowing Bronson to rescue her and bring her back under his control.

As you can see, the Comanches functioned as a lazy screenwriter's deus ex machina, completely irrelevant to the main plot conflict, but simply showing up every time the script painted something into a corner.

Other elements of the script are just as weak. Ursula Andress's predictable betrayals get old after the first one (fool me once ...), and the film goes almost dead right after the exciting opening sequence, slowing to a crawl when Mifune and Bronson spend way too much time just strolling through the uninhabited open expanses of the West on foot until they finally encounter some other humans. The film's main assets were obviously the three iconic tough guys, and the screenwriters needed to bring them together sooner and more ingeniously.

The best thing in the film is Mifune, whose precise use of his sword makes for some excellent fight sequences. There's one terrific early scene in which Bronson, then still a reluctant ally, tries to break free from Mifune's grasp. The unarmed Bronson shoves the samurai down an embankment in order to buy enough time to fashion a club from a tree branch. When Mifune reappears, Bronson makes three mighty swings at him with the makeshift weapon, and each time Mifune parries the attack with a precise swing of his sword which leaves Bronson with a smaller club. After the third thrust and parry, the American is left with nothing in his hand but a tiny stump. That was a great scene because of its imagination and humor, and because of Mifune's expert swordsmanship, but most of the film just consists of lazy and stock Western movie formulas.

Overall: C-, a watchable genre film with some positives, but one which is nowhere near as good as it should have been. From the film's description I should have loved it, but didn't.

It is not available on a Region 1 DVD. The European PAL disk is a bare-bones offering. There is no widescreen version of the film, and there are no special features except a grainy original trailer. The good news is that the full screen version is not a pan-n-scan, but the entire 35mm image, and it is remastered beautifully, with crisp contrast and vivid colors.

Ursula Andress

(film clips)




Monica Randall.

I don't really know much about her, but she is a beautiful woman and has been in nearly 80 movies. She is still working today (or at least she was in 2003).

 (very brief film clip)





* Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).

* White asterisk: expanded format.

* Blue asterisk: not mine.

No asterisk: it probably sucks.


Catch the deluxe version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles, here.










Melissa (1995), AKA Secret Sins, sat unfinished for years, and was then cobbled from the existing footage into something which would allow the producers to recoup some of their investment.

The film is chiefly known for topless exposure from Nicole Eggert in the lead, and it has been claimed she has two topless scenes dancing in a strip club, but that one of them is a body double. I was dubious of that claim before I popped it into the DVD drive. It made no sense to me that she would show her boobies in one scene in a strip club and not in another nearly identical scene. Here is the sequence of events in the scene that supposedly uses a double. She dances for the first time on stage. Cut to the club owner and a woman never seen before or since commenting that she is good. Cut back to her dancing, still fully dressed in a light green lacy dress. Cut to unknown stripper number one showing her boobs in a blue satin dress. Cut to her telling her best friend in the dressing room how much she made. Here is a comparison of Nicole and the supposed double.

So, I am supposed to believe that they doubled her first scene with a woman that had different hair, a different face, very different boobs, a different dress, and was dancing in a different place? Uh - no. The principle of Occam's Razor leads to a more logical explanation: it's simply a different character. Remember that the film was assembled years after it was lensed and there was no more footage available to the editor, so he had no way to explain that Nicole had left the stage and had been replaced by another dancer. The different dress color accomplished that sufficiently for the audience. There's really to reason to believe that the scene was ever intended to be Nicole's character in the first place.

Now, on to the plot. The opening sequence cuts between a strip club and Nicole in a prison hospital cell, recovering from slitting her wrists. We soon learn that an unidentified man was found shot in her apartment, and she was found in a nearby cafe still possessing the murder weapon and with her wrists cut. Her public defender reports that she is uncooperative, but he tells the court- appointed shrink that she is worth saving. We then learn her story in a series of flashbacks as she slowly opens up to the shrink.

The brief story of her life is trite tripe - the aspiring dancer who comes to New York and ends up a stripper, and then makes bad relationship decisions. What makes this one slightly different, and probably would have saved it had they been able to finish filming, was that they kept the identity of the stiff in doubt until the end.

In other words, this is not a whodunit from the audience point of view, but a who-got-done.

IMDb readers have this at 4.0.

Scoopy thoroughly trashed it, and I can certainly see his points. It was not finished. In fact, they may have changed the plot line to match the footage they already had. There were flow problems due to missing establishing shots and inserts. They had to use every frame of existing footage even to get to the reduced running time of 81 minutes. It is not entirely without plusses, however. Nicole Eggert gave a strong performance, and nobody was especially bad in the film. Breasts from someone of her stature is always good news for us. The lighting in the strip club was excellent in that it didn't take away from the nudity but still gave the proper mood.

I can imagine this film being a C- to C if they had been able to finish shooting. As it is, it is a D+.

Scoop's note: It is available at Rare Licensed DVDs for $19.95. We have linked to them because they provided a screener, but this time they are priced far out of the market. In the unlikely event that you should want this movie, you can find it much cheaper elsewhere. Amazon has it for $11.49 new, and it can be purchased used for less than five bucks.

Melissa (1995)


Nicole Eggert



Denise Faye












Yesterday we had the Time Machine back in 1974 for Pam Grier in Foxy Brown, so we just backed 'er up a bit to look at Pam a year earlier in Coffy. These caps include some nice up-close shots of Pam's magnificent hooters in good light.

Scoop's note: disappointingly, there's only one look at the highly coveted red suit, my dream outfit, in the top left of the final collage!








Amanda & the Alien

Amanda (Nicole Eggert) works at a clothing store and has a relatively lonely and unremarkable life. All this changes when an alien that's been held a secret military installation escapes by taking over the body of Connie Flores (Alex Meneses), one of the base employees.

Amanda finds the fugitive alien and decides to help it hide from the government agents chasing it, a seemingly easy task, as the alien must change host bodies every few days.



Nicole Eggert (no nudity)


Alex Meneses






Notes and collages

Jolie Day 4 - Pushing Tin

Angelina Jolie







A young Bo Derek in Fantasies:

A film clip of Helen Mirren in Excalibur
An explicit film clip of Maria Ford and Mason Marconi in some x-rated carpet munching.
A film clip of Joanna Pacula stark naked in Husbands and Lovers (quality is weak, scene is good)
A film clip of Joan Severance in a really frenzied sex scene from Payback


The Comedy Wire

Early Saturday morning, Lindsay Lohan crashed her car into a curb while driving with two friends.  She was treated for a minor chest injury, and police arrested her on suspicion of DUI.  They also reportedly found a "usable" amount of a drug believed to be cocaine in the car, but they haven't established who it belonged to. 

*  It couldn't be Lindsay's: if she had a usable amount of coke, she would've used it.

Bill Clinton said his favorite TV show is "I Love Lucy"

* He really relates to the story of the charming, popular celebrity whose deranged wife thinks she should be the one on stage.