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...
'The Executioner, Part II' - 1984, Directed by James Bryan
Before we get going with this film, let me say that there is NO 'Executioner, Part I.' Let's marinate on that for a second. Most sequels are worse than the originals, so why START with a sequel? Well, if it was made to capitalize on the success of an unrelated 'Executioner' film, that would make sense. But...it's probably not related to this kung fu movie. So, it was most likely made to capitalize on the success of films that SOUND like 'Executioner.' i.e. 'Commando,' 'Terminator' or 'The Exterminator,' to name a few. That's pretty shady, right? I mean, lots of films are made with money in mind, but usually without so much blatant trickery.
And even worse, it seems like the creators also use this as an excuse to nix much of the story setup. After a brief scene of Vietnam fighting (that honestly looks like stock footage) you're kind of just dropped into the film. I guess the war stuff is to show that Mike (the Executioner) is both tough and unstable. Or dangerous and crazy? Who knows...
...or maybe it's to explain the massive stash of guns, grenades and knives that he has. Mike uses these things to wage war on the criminals in his city. His signature 'move' is hiding a grenade in a bad guy's clothing and watching him blow up. Considering most of the guys are just pimps and pushers--not murderers--Mike is the one who REALLY comes across as the bad guy. Especially because his best friend is a police lieutenant and Mike freaks out on him 'Nam-style a couple times.
That's basically it...except for some very silly news reports interspersed throughout. These summarize each section of Mike's rampaging, and let you know that 'the public thinks he's a hero.' Yeah, they're not really necessary. Oh yeah, and there's also an angry mafia guy.
Basically, if you wish 'Rambo' was even dumber and more ridiculous, this is right up your alley. The best part is that Mike just yells 'outta the way!' at anyone he's attacking. Usually at least three times.
VHS photo by Toby Hudson.