Night of theTemplar David Carradine In His Last Performance

Night of the Templar

Night of the Templar is a 2012 low budget (an estimated $3 million) British film and the best thing about it is David Carradine in his last performance. Officially this was his last film before being found dead aged 72 in Bangkok, Thailand  apparently a victim of auto-erotic asphyxiation.

Written and directed by stuntman Paul Sampson, the film’s premise and its tag lines are, regrettably, the best thing about the film, although having said that, the cast list was damned impressive. In case you can’t be bothered to look up either the cast or the tag lines here they are, in reverse order.

Taglines:

“Here tells a tale of Passion, Loyalty, Deceit, Betrayel … and Revenge!”
“Hell is Eternal as is the Wrath of Vengeance!”
“The Eternal Wrath of Vengeance!”
Cast list courtesy of IMDb:
Paul Sampson
David Carradine
Udo Kier
Norman Reedus
Billy Drago
Max Perlich
Benoit the Butler
Nick Jameson
Lord Renault

If you want a plot run-down, don’t bother looking for it in Wikipedia. On IMDb is gets two lines that say, “A Medieval Knight resurrects to fulfill his vow and bestow a blood-thirst vengeance upon the kindred spirits of those who betrayed him long ago. In the course of one night, identities will be revealed, destinies met, and a poetic justice of the macabre maniacally served.

I’ve discovered in my short time of writing “reviews” for films, that is a film is really bad, you will not find a recap on Wikipedia. Really, I could get by with not doing a review at all. But, despite the execrable editing, the horrible acting, except from Kier and Carradine, and the ramshackle plot, I liked it.

I did have some problems, apart from the above listed. One had to do with Paul Sampson. Sure he fell into the bad acting category as well, but, my main problem with him was the way he spoke. His accent was all over the place,  (like mine, I’ve been told, but I can assure you that is my “speaking voice” and not my “acting voice”) but beside that and the bad acting, he didn’t sound right.

Now before I get all kinds of complaints, let me explain that I do not suffer from Homo-phobia nor do I think there is anything wrong with same gender relationships.

Okay?

But, every single time that Sampson opened his mouth as his “reincarnated” self, he sounded almost camp. As he was supposed to be a muscle bound actor who was the reincarnated soul of a Templar knight, he didn’t sound the part. It took me till halfway through the film to realise that it was his “Hollywood bridge” that was causing the problem.

A Hollywood bridge is a cosmetic dental device, very popular among the Toddlers and Tiara’s set, which clip over your real teeth and  give you a perfect smile. Sampson’s changed the way he spoke. It was as though he was wearing someone else’s teeth. In the flash-back scenes he is very obviously not wearing the bridge so when he was playing the Templar, he sounded just fine, his acting even appeared to improve!

English: David Carradine in Almaty, Kazakhstan...

But this last film of Carradine’s was doomed by so many problems. It is such a shame  that Night of the Templar wasted  two talented actors like the 72 year-old Carradine and  the 68 year-old Udo Kerr .

About Kerr…

Either the man has made some sort of Faustian pact or has the services of the world’s best plastic surgeon, because he almost looks no different. It is as though he has stopped ageing. It is a little creepy. I keep trawling the internet to find pictures like those featured of Keanu Reeves, Nick Cage, and John Travolta!

But Udo Kerr and his creepy non-aging thing aside, the film could have been great.

Towards the end of the film, the acting got better and the interaction by the surviving members of the cast was quite good. It gave a glimpse of what the film could and should have been.

It’s a shame that they didn’t figure that out before they started editing the thing.

One very odd moment in the film stuck out. And if you know what auto-erotic asphyxiation is it will actually give you a bit of a shiver.

One of the characters is getting some sexual oral ministrations from another character. While he is in the throes of passion he takes his belt and wraps it around his neck, tightening it.

Shivers, right?

The irony of that cinematic moment not only gave me the shivers, but I had to stop the film and have a think. As Night of the Templar was David Carradine in his last “official” performance, you have to ask the question, “Was he influenced by that scene?”

This is a 2 out of 5 star film, notable only for the presence of Kerr and Carradine. Worth a look if you want to see the Kung Fu actor and Kerr together.

Français : l'acteur Udo KIER au festival de Ca...

The Detective (2007): Pang Bros Noir

The Detective (2007)

I am continually amazed and impressed by the Pang Brothers. Just when I think I’ve seen everything they’ve ever made, another gem and another genre of film pops up out of nowhere. Directed by Oxide Pang and produced/written by both the Pang Brothers, The Detective is film noir at it’s finest.

Set in the back alleys and streets of Bangkok, we follow private detective Tam (Aaron Kwok). Tam’s income as a private detective obviously leaves a lot to be desired. At the beginning of the film Tam is seated behind his desk and his fan is busily rotating back and forth. He suddenly notices that the fan may be moving but the fan blades are not.

After he turns the fan off, a man he knows from a bar comes in and hires Tam to find a woman who, he says, is trying to kill him. He wants Tam to tell her that he (Lung) had nothing to do with the other thing and that she should leave him alone. Tam doubts that Lung is serious, until he pulls a wad of cash out of his pocket and drops it on Tam’s desk. Lung tells him that it is all the money he has.

After taking Lung’s picture, Tam goes to have a bite to eat at a local cafe where he bumps into his childhood friend Chak (Kai Chi Liu) who is on the police force. Tam cannot join the police as his eyesight is very bad. He suffers from extreme short sightedness. After exchanging pleasantries with his friend he pays him back some money he owes him and tells him of his latest case.

Chak jokes that he will be there to help Tam if things get too difficult.

Tam then starts his meticulous investigation and tries to find this nameless woman. As we accompany him on his journey, we learn a lot about Tam and how he works. Pictures are taken of everyone he interviews and everyplace he visits. Not long after he starts questioning people he finds his first lead and his first dead body.

Tam follows more leads, discovers more dead bodies and relentlessly continues trying to find the woman and what her connection is to all the dead people he keeps finding.

The Pang Bros signature is on every scene and every frame of this film. Their usual combination of odd and sometimes oblique camera positions and use of natural lighting helps to sell this ‘noir’ crime story. The plot is full of twists and turns and it will keep you guessing right up until the end.

Aaron Kwok portrays Tam as a likeable and tenacious man who has scars from the disappearance of his parents when he was a child. His character makes mistakes and clearly loves solving the puzzles he encounters. Tam is  the Sam Spade of Bangkok if not in action, he definitely has the spirit of Spade in him.

The whole film shows Tam’s process of following first one clue then another and going through each step of his investigation as logically as he can. He pretends to be a policeman when this can help him in his pursuit. Despite being told off by his friend Chak for impersonating a police officer, he continues to use this ruse several times.

Inspector Chak and Tam

The list of suspects and the elusive woman who Tam has been hired to find makes for a very satisfactory mix of intrigue, mystery, danger and confusion. Despite the fact that this noir crime thriller doesn’t fall into the usual catalogue of Pang Bros films, it does follow their winning formula of good story, good characters, great cinematic moments and a very satisfying ending.

My final verdict is that this film is one to see. Put on your noir thinking cap and enjoy this twisting and turning journey.