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by Eli Kroes

You might not be familiar with the term 'Z-Movie,' but if you grew up in the 90's, chances are you've seen one. They're the beyond-low-budget monstrosities that teased you from the walls of the mom-and-pop video store. Usually, the films themselves could never live up to the pictures on the videotape boxes (because this was way before your fancy 'Digital Video Discs' and 'Blu-Rays') but occasionally you'd find something truly unique. 'WEIRDO FLICKS' will clue you into some movies which 'unique' doesn't even begin to describe...

'Furious' - 1984, Directed by Tim Everitt

80's martial arts films are already pretty strange as is (even the big budget ones.) Some of this weirdness probably stems from certain cultural things that get lost in translation, but there is also a surreal quality to a lot of these movies, especially the ones that deal with the supernatural.

So, when you start getting into low budget territory, it should go without saying that things get VERY strange. 'Furious' is a prime example of this. Nothing seems 'right' throughout the entire hour-and-twenty-minutes. Scenes cut away for no reason, many of the actors show no emotion whatsoever, things are left unexplained, and this is on top of a script that is already mind-boggling.

From what I can tell (and please, don't quote me on this, it is a very incomprehensible film) a woman is killed while on a quest for some kind of powerful box. She is killed by what appear to be Mongols, who then pay a visit to her brother and invite him to meet with their master.

Their master then tells the brother that he must continue his sister's quest. It is unclear if the master is a bad guy, or a good guy. It is also unclear why the brother goes along with this plan, as these people have just MURDERED HIS SISTER.

Oh yeah, and he also runs a martial arts school for children. This will be important later.

So, he continues the 'quest,' even though the master says a bunch of jumbled things and messes with him a few times. He has to battle several of the Mongols along the way (a few show up directly after he leaves the master's building) and it becomes increasingly unclear as to who is good and who is bad. The Mongols might be working for the master, or they might be working for another master, who knows.

Also, the film constantly jumps between the 'big city' where the master's giant office building is, and a small hut up in the mountains. There is no clear feeling of 'you are here' and the distance traveled is not elaborated on.

Some battles happen, and the brother (whose name is Simon, I guess) wins them all. Then, a statue tells him that his master might not be a good guy. It is unclear if he ignores this, or takes it to heart, because his actions are all over the place after this.

That's about all the plot summary I can give you...you'll have to make sense of it yourself. I will say that at one point Simon sends his kids (9-15) to fight for him and attack some security guards. And a woman's laughing head comes out of a box. Really, that's all it should take to make you watch this glorious mess of a film.

VHS photo by Toby Hudson.