Friday, August 6, 2010

HELLBOUND (1994) - when it's Chuck Norris vs. Satan, all bets are off, regardless of what the bookies are trying to sell you

This has absolutely nothing to do with the movie, but I can't resist using this opportunity to showcase Warlock (featuring Doro Pesch on vokills) performing their smash hit "Hellbound"

Satan. That asshole again. Just when the ice cream social is getting good, a warm gathering of innocent souls, that jerk smuggles in a bottle of Jagermeister underneath his trenchcoat, emptying the contents into the punch bowl. When this good Christian get together starts to crumble into an orgy of booze and filth, he slips a sheet of LSD into the punch. Soon, women are being raped on the dance floor, people are smothering themselves in human blood and setting people on fire, and limbs are ripped off and eaten for no good reason. All the nice people wanted was to enjoy some Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey and, at most, hold hands.

This metaphorically represents Satan’s utterly ruthless plan to corrupt the morals of the human race just because, well, why not. It’s loads of fun, I guess. Thankfully, America still has HEROES. Real fucking men of ACTION. Hey Satan, what is that above your head? Why, it looks like a bald eagle (Chuck Norris in metaphoric guise), sweeping down with a bible in it’s claws, smacking you over the head. As Satan lies squirming in his death throes, his head crushed under the weight of moral law (after all, the bible weighs more than the Quran and the Torah put together), Chuck will be cheerfully watching on, digging into a giant slice of apple pie, with a scoop or two of Chunky Monkey, of course. Remember…don’t fuck with God’s America.

CHUCK NORRIS FACT BREAK: He can beat the shit out of you. I don’t care who you are.’re wearing platemail I see. Doesn’t matter. It will only take him two hits: he hits you, and you hit afterlife.

Well, as far as the movie goes, it starts off with a prologue that takes place in the 12th century, where an army of holy crusader knights locate Satan in a cave somewhere trying to sacrifice a baby (figures…dick). You can tell it’s him because of that slowed down Satan voice that sounds like a Slayer 45 played at 33 RPM. They manage to bury him in a tomb, but some graverobber assholes eventually let him out sometime in the 20th century. God knows I’ve been broke (well, invariably, actually), but it never occurred to me to start digging up corpses. I usually just throw some useless shit on ebay.

CHUCK NORRIS FACT BREAK: He doesn’t go fishing, but instead imagines that he would like to have fish for dinner. A trout promptly exits the ocean, heads over to Chuck’s mansion (catching a cab if need be), and tells him “hey, how’s it going. Anyway, I’m a fish, and I heard you were hungry, so I’d thought I’d just pop over and spare myself the indignities of further suffering. Also, it’s a convenient time saver for you, so really, it’s a win-win situation we got going on here.”

ANYWAY, Chuck Norris plays a grizzled Chicago cop on the edge. He’s one violation away from becoming a meter maid, the chief has to constantly explain his actions to the mayor, and yes…he’s too old for this shit. While Chuck looks for every opportunity to rough up criminals, even begging them to punch him in the face if need be (remember, you don’t punch Chuck in the face; he face butts your hand), his partner is the token black cop (Jackson), cracking wise while Chuck is cracking skulls. Jackson is constantly looking for Bulls playoff tickets, which would presumably mean the 93 finals against Phoenix, if I’m piecing things together correctly. Curiously, there is a playoff game playing on TV at one point, and it clearly shows the Pistons and Spurs playing, even though they never met in the playoffs until the 2005 finals. Way to confuse the issue, Mr. stock footage guy. Jackson also suspiciously looks like Whoopi Goldberg, which confounds me even further. Also, what kind of name is Whoopi Goldberg for a black lady? I don’t want to sound racist, but it sounds like it should be the name of a borscht belt comedienne. If Joy Behar’s real name was Whoopi Goldberg, I wouldn't bat an eye. I’m sorry, that was inappropriate…and irrelevant, frankly. This shit ain't about no women.

CHUCK NORRIS FACT BREAK: Don’t show up to his house to pick his daughter up for a date. If you do this, he will kill you. Also, don’t masturbate while thinking of his daughter. Again…instant death.

Well, Satan is enjoying this earthly guise of his, spending quality time with a hooker in a cheap Chicago motel. A rabbi shows up to deliver something (isn’t that a Henny Youngman joke?), part of a sceptre, I guess, when he suddenly stabs Satan with a ceremonial dagger. This irks Beezlescratch to no end, so he rips the rabbi’s heart out and holds it in one hand, while he uses the other hand to throw the hooker through the window. I don’t know what she did to deserve that, but I guess she was going to get suspicious when she got out of the bathroom and saw a rabbi lying there missing vital organs. Unfortunately for Satan, the hooker lands on the hood of Chuck’s car, the one guy on the planet you don’t want catching you crushing his car with a hooker. He promptly investigates the disturbance, coming upon Satan hiding in the dark, telling him “you’re all heart” (it’s called a softball). Beezlefucker retorts with “speaking of hearts!”, tossing the rabbi’s heart near a confounded Chuck (and it’s pretty fuckin’ hard to confound the Chuckster). Oh, the smarmy wit of pure evil materialized.

The observant viewers among us may remember that this “have a heart” gag also showed up in both Dreamscape and Psycho Cop. I guess if you ever find yourself holding the still beating heart of another human being, it would be damn near impossible not to throw out some heart pun, no matter how inappropriate it would seem within the given situation. Anyway, chuck tries to shoot Satan, but he’s pretty invincible as far as these things go, and Satan escapes. Jackson eventually shows up, shocked by the heartless rabbi lying around (I think an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm was based around a similar character). He incredulously says “his heart’s gone!”, to which Chuck dryly retorts “no it isn’t”, pointing to the disembodied organ that Jackson nearly steps on. Oh how we laughed, those innocent days gone by.

CHUCK NORRIS FACT BREAK: His cock is a machine gun that shoots freedom lasers that can eradicate the souls of unpatriotic knuckleheads. Not that I know this from first hand experience, mind you. I read about it in Newsweek. Really I did.

Now on to the boring paperwork. They have to figure out why someone would want to rip a rabbi’s heart out, throw a hooker through a window, and then hurl borderline witticisms at a confused Chuck Norris. Chuck is at a loss, but Jackson keenly suggests that Satan, the rabbi, and the hooker were having a menage a trois, and the rabbi was hogging the girl. I don’t know about you, but I think if you’re having relationship problems, you should try and talk it over first, and not just immediately resort to ripping out people’s organs. Now, this certainly doesn’t resemble the cold logical analysis of an efficient detective, but I can’t help but like this guy’s spunk, Whoopi-isms be damned. I mean, it takes balls to offer that up as a legitimate criminal scenario with confidence and a smile. Also, I can’t help but mention that the rabbi’s name was Moredcai Schindler, which is sort of like naming your dog “Fido McRuffer”.

So, the cops grab the head of the scepter and go globe trotting for clues and shit, attempting to sort out this tangled hooker/rabbi/Satan clusterfuck. Rather than watching Chuck descend into hell and beat up demons and stuff like you might imagine from the poster, the film becomes a very low rent Indiana Jones knock off, like the boring parts of The Last Crusade strung together, with an annoying brat tagging along through a good chunk of the run time a la Temple of Doom. I guess a better comparison would be Cannon’s own Indy rip Firewalker, with Chuck and Louis Gossett Jr. teaming up to sleepwalk through an idiotic adventure while exchanging some of the worst one liners this side of Psycho Cop (or Hellbound).
This film was supposedly Cannon’s last theatrical release before they hit bankruptcy. While the absurd opening reaches the delirious heights we love to see from many a Cannon trash production, much of the film remains a cloying last gasp to reach an audience with commercial elements while not delivering the exploitation goods.

CHUCK NORRIS FACT BREAK: He can beat the shit out of Satan. I know, I stayed awake for the limp ending of Hellbound.

Unfortunately, I don’t come into a Chuck Norris film for an array of clue solving. I wanna see Chuck standing tall, his American flag Zubaz fluttering in the wind, his feathered mullet glistening in the holy sun. Some asshole approaches him, complaining about U.S. foreign policy, hegemony schmegemony and the like, and he courageously roundhouses him in the head, his imperial cowboy boot dislodging this poor bastard's jaw from the rest of his skull. That’ll teach ‘em to fuck with old glory.

One good thing to come out of my second viewing of the film is that it inspired me to write a song. While not up to the standards of Warlock, I think you too can find inspiration in this little ditty (sung to the tune of “Freebird”)



-“Proud To Be An American (Like Chuck Norris)”

P.S. This was written as part of Stacie Ponder's Final Girl film club. Here is her review! If you don't read it, you are dumb, and Satan will win.

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