Hooper (1978) – 5/10 action comedy movie review

Cast / crew
Actor and Producer Sonny Hooper: Burt Reynolds
Executive Producer: Lawrence Gordon
Jan-Michael Vincent: Ski
Sally Field: Gwen
Brian Keith: Jocko
John Marley: Max Berns
Robert Klein: Roger Deal
Writer (Screenplay): Thomas Rickman
Writer (Screenplay): Bill Kerby
Writer (Story): Walt Green
Writer (Story): Walter S. Herndon
Producer: Hank Moonjean
Director: Hal Needham

Hooper (1978)

Ageing stuntman Hooper is enticed to end his career with one last huge stunt, a 328 foot jump over an exploded bridge in a rocket car. Not only will this stunt end his career but he is very real danger of it ending his life.

5/10

Hooper is a bizarrely unconvincing tale of a stuntman realising retirement is looming and wanting to go out on one last big stunt. It’s reasonable enough fun and was popular at the time but the stuntwork is poorly filmed with some atrocious stunt double work, no consideration given to the suspenseful and interesting preparation and no indication that stunts are filmed a tiny piece at a time and their production is no less dramatic for it. Instead, we get a final stunt sequence where a million stunts are all strung together impactlessly and the finalĂ© rocket car stunt looks like a model. This flat incompetence is a trademark of stunt coordinator turned director Hal Needham. There is but a single stunt that is impressively filmed – our hero car driving under a collapsing chimney stack – the danger and skill is captured perfectly but it’s the only time it happens.

This movie contains bad language, strong adult dialogue and violence.

Columbo S07E03 Make Me A Perfect Murder (1978) – 6/10 crime detective TV review

Cast / crew
Peter Falk: Columbo
Trish Van Devere: Katherine “Kay” Freestone
Laurence Luckinbill: Mark MacAndrews
James McEachin: Walter Mearhead
Ron Rifkin: Luther, the TV Director
Lainie Kazan: Valerie Kirk
Bruce Kirby: TV Repairman
Kenneth Gilman: Jonathan
Patrick O’Neal: Frank Flanagan
Director: James Frawley
Writer: Robert Blees
Writer (Series’ Creator): Richard Levinson
Writer (Series’ Creator): William Link

Columbo S07E03 Make Me A Perfect Murder (1978)

When Katherine Freestone is dumped by her boss boyfriend, TV producer Mark MacAndrews and doesn’t get promotion she is less than impressed by his peace offering of a brand new Mercedes. So she kills him. Columbo investigates.

6/10

"Interesting, isn’t it, how you can work these small things out if you just think about it; like you got a tiny voice whispering right in your ear trying to tell you who did it." – Lieutenant Columbo.

Well-paced Columbo with some excellent music and agreeably tense interrogation scenes. There’s a lovely recurring gag where Columbo takes people’s comments about the case ("Can I help?", "Good luck, Lieutenant") to refer to his whiplash injury and neck support ("Thank you. It’ll be off in a few days."). There’s a nice educational element (now out-dated) regarding cue-blips and the reel-switching duties of a projectionist. It struck me while watching that Columbo features a significant number of female murderers (two out of five this season). On an absolutely sexist tone, it does feature a nice-looking woman (Trish Van Devere) in a man’s shirt which has to be one of my favourite things ever. Line horribly abused by time: "Wearing rubbers in the house – that’d strike you blind on the spot."

This Columbo episode contains unpleasant scenes, inferred unpleasant scenes.

Links

Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow aka Se ying diu sau (1978) – 6/10 Jackie Chan period martial arts movie review

Cast / crew
Jackie Chan
Lung Cheng
: Chien Fu
Siu Tien Yuen: Master Pai Cheng-Tien
Director: Yuen Wo Ping
Hwang Jang Lee: Lord Sheng Kuan
Producer: See-Yuen Ng

Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow

Se ying diu sau (1978)

Chien Fu is the dogsbody and punching bag for a local martial arts school but is eager to learn fighting for himself. He is about to find himself in the middle of a deadly battle of techniques as the master of Eagle Claw technique has been eliminating everyone who knows the Snake Fist technique and is only left with two to kill.

6/10

After failing to take up Bruce Lee’s mantle, producer See-Yuen Ng decided to move Jackie Chan into martial arts movies balanced with comedy. The result was this and, later that year, Drunken Master. Both are purely fight scenes with just enough story to justify them and a tiny bit of comedy here and there. The best comedy moment comes as Chan follows the two masters up a wall (onto the largest roof in movie history for the final fight: it’s open countryside!). They both ascend using near-superhuman ability and skill. Chan tries to follow but just bounces off. He leaves shot for a longer run up and, without missing a beat, returns with a ladder. It’s a very nice gag, brilliantly timed. As to the action, it’s mostly pretty impressive. There’s an imaginative fight with Jackie as a puppet, some very impressive technique with a food bowl (from director Yuen Wo Ping’s Dad), great physicality in the training and fight sequences and a decent, not overlong, final fight which even features what appears to be an unassisted triple jump-kick from Hwang Jang Lee. It’s BBFC 18 for no obvious reason though perhaps it’s because everyone has gigantic moles on their faces. It’s most disconcerting. Yes, that’s probably it.

This movie contains bad language and strong martial arts violence, real cat-versus-snake fight.

Classified 18 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over.