Devil’s Dynamite (1987)

In Movies by Scott1 Comment

I had no idea what I was getting into with this one, but I wasn’t expecting it to open with a Kung Fu priest guy and a bearded dude who looks like the skinny Joel Silver unleashing a horde of Chinese hopping vampires from a bunch of crates.

As the vampires pogo around the room, the priest flings the traditional hopping-vampire-stopping Post It notes onto their foreheads, freezing them in place. With the vamps held fast, Skinny Joel Silver orders “the prisoners” to be brought in, and a handful of unfortunate fellows are led into the room. “Thanks a lot, boss – we’re really loyal to you!” one of the guys yelps. Unimpressed, Skinny Joel Silver gestures to the priest, who makes some Kung Fu moves and releases the vampires from the mystical Post It notes. As Skinny Joel Silver chuckles heartily, the vampires lay into the prisoners, making short work of ‘em. When the blood settles, the priest slings the Post It notes into place once again. “Listen boss,” the priest says to Skinny Joel Silver, “Madame Mary will be very happy with these vampire killers – they can help us with our smuggling, can’t they?”

Okay, now try to stick with me on this because this movie is insanely difficult to follow and I’m not even sure what the hell I’m talking about here. Also: I’m admitting right now that I really can’t remember who said what at any given time, except in very specific cases.

We cut to another location where a ninja comes flying in, followed by more ninjas exploding out of the ground. They meet up with someone who gives them money and tells them to eliminate Steven Cox. The ninjas zip around some kind of compound where they threaten some sad-looking dudes, then stab them. Suddenly, the hopping vampires attack and a fight breaks out. Skinny Joel Silver and Kung Fu priest appear and Skinny Joel says “Vampires… are undoubtedly the ultimate in efficient fighting killers.” Somebody else delivers the bad news: “We’ve lost Cox.” And that can be very bad news indeed.

At this point, the movie decides it’s time to hurl a little exposition our way in the form of a newsboy shouting “Steven Cox released after 10 years in prison – read all about it!” A boat arrives in Hong Kong and a mysterious dude – no doubt the missing Cox – says “Now at last I can take my revenge.”

And this is where the movie really goes bugnuts.

We find ourselves in a building somewhere, where a clean-cut fellow goes to a mustachioed dude and asks who Steven Cox is. “So where do I begin,” Mustache Guy says. Out of nowhere, those hopping vampires attack and Clean-Cut and Mustache Dude throw down with some Kung Fu. Clean-Cut rolls across the floor and suddenly turns into some kind of silver-jumpsuited spaceman guy in a helmet. Spaceman Guy and Mustache Dude run outside, where they have a short discussion, then Spaceman Guy runs back inside as things seem to have quieted down. He finds that the vampires are gone and everyone in the place is dead. He checks out the vampire bites and says “Look – unusual bites!”

Back at Skinny Joel Silver HQ, he and Kung Fu priest check out the vampire troops. The priest says something about how a Shadow Warrior did – uh, something.

Elsewhere, Spaceman Guy and Mustache Dude decide Madame Mary must be behind the hopping vampire attack because she’s afraid of Steven Cox.

We finally meet the infamous Madame Mary as she hurls her drink across the room, and her suave-yet-effeminate boy-toy tells her she’s “real uptight and jumpy.” Mary goes upstairs to change her clothes and finds Steven Cox in her bed. He says he wanted to see his old house and “the bitch that betrayed me.” Mary pulls a gun on him but he has the bullets in his glass (?). Cox slaps (pardon me) Mary around a little and tells her she’ll never get her hands on his hidden gold. The Boy-Toy appears, holding a gun on Cox, and we inexplicably cut to –

A gambling hall, where Steven Cox is raking in dough at one of the tables. Some Kung Fu dudes accuse Cox of cheating and a fight breaks out. The fight is broken up and somebody says “This guy’s the gambling king Steven Cox – now get out of here!” Another guy (I think) is happy to see Cox, and the two men go into the alley to talk. Outside, another fight breaks out but Cox and his buddy chase the guys off.

Meanwhile, Kung Fu priest performs a ritual with sparklers and whatnot to do – uh, something for the vampires, apparently to counteract whatever the Shadow Warrior did. Skinny Joel Silver is concerned that it’s gonna take 10 days for the vampires to recover – but “it doesn’t matter, because Madame Mary has got Fox to take care of Cox.”

Continuing the movie’s tradition of perplexing transitions, we now find ourselves at Madame Mary’s birthday party, where everyone toasts Mary and the Boy-Toy, who are getting married soon. Cox crashes the party and Mary confronts him. Meanwhile some chick we’ve never seen bets her ring at a gambling table, gets cheated, and Cox intervenes. Mary dances with Cox and he tells her he has a “secret deadly weapon” to defeat her vampires with. Mary tells him to leave but Cox says he’ll get out when he’s good and ready. Boy-Toy cuts in and Cox gives the chick’s ring back to her.

Holy crap, is this movie a jumbled mess.

Next we find ourselves watching as a blindfolded chubby little girl is led into a building where a little boy pretends to be a hopping vampire. The kids are startled as hopping ninjas (?) attack, but Spaceman Guy leaps in and fights the ninjas, who disappear in puffs of smoke. Spaceman Guy cuts out and the chubby girl wanders off in slow motion, then also disappears in a puff of smoke.

Spaceman Guy – in his secret identity of Clean-Cut Fellow – approaches Skinny Joel Silver HQ and wants to take a photo of Kung Fu priest. The priest shines him on and Spaceman Guy moves along. Skinny Joel Silver tells the priest to “Kill him – he’s that damn futuristic warrior.”

Now, to my embarrassment, it took me this long to realize that I was watching two different movies that had been haphazardly spliced together. A little research on director Godfrey Ho reveals that he was well-known for this approach to filmmaking, creating such epics as Full Metal Ninja and Robo Vampire.

I could go on and on describing the insanely effed-up antics that follow, but I think you get the idea. Devil’s Dynamite (or, as the opening titles call it, Devil Dynamite) is a good one to watch with friends and liquor (especially liquor) – just be prepared for endless lines like “We’ve gotta get hold of Cox soon” and a hell of a lot of absolutely bewildering action.

Apes: *
Bourbon: *****

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