Welcome to UK Films Net

Welcome to UKFilms.net - Providing independent movie reviews since 2002. Here at UK Films Net, we are on a mission to seek out the coolest films and hidden gems from micro-budget to Hollywood blockbusters. We review films in all genres and all eras. We review the actual movies and the DVD quality. We have an attraction to B-Movies as this is the area where most hidden gems can be found, but we provide the lowdown on popular blockbusters too.

The Exterminator Review

Title: The Exterminator
Format: DVD
Year: 1989
Label: Synergy

This is a revenge movie. Pure and simple. There were a string of Death With rip-offs in the 70s and early 80s mainly from Italian directors. This one is American. Director James Glickenhaus was born and raised in New York which helps to set this movie apart from others such as Vigilante.

The lead character 'Eastland' is an anti-hero. A man who starts out on a revenge mission and seems to enjoy it all too much by the end. His best friend is badly beaten by a gang and left hospitilised. 

Eastland's mission is to get revenge on the gang and get some money to support his friend's family. He goes after a local mobster played by Dick Boccelli who I think plays the part brilliantly. For me, this character had so much more potential and is killed off far too early. He has a great death scene which would have been so much more gratifying had it been the finale.

Overall the direction is good. The editing seems a little jagged in places. The actors are all more than competent. I enjoyed this movie and felt it had a unique vibe even though it is essentially a rip-off. There was emotion in the story, even if missplaced, it added something new to the mix. 

The cop on the exterminators trail was a run of the mill good cop. Again I think the character had more potential. Christopher George played the role well and could have potentially been the main character from the start. Allegiance does seem to shift from Eastland to Dalton pretty early on.

The transfer on this Synergy release is ok. The sound is stated as being stereo but it is infact mono ( maybe duel mono ) and does seem to have some strange phasing effects at time - not sure whether this was an intentional part of the original sound track or not.

I enjoyed The Exterminator. If you like the vigilante genre, this one is a classic.

UK Films Rating: 6/10 - Good B-Movie.
Release Rating: 5/10 - OK quality transfer. Trailers.
Did James like it? Yes

Dog House Review

Title: DogHouse
Format: DVD
Year: 2009
Label: Sony Pictures

I had high hopes for this movie, it stars some of my favourite UK actors including Danny Dyer (The Business) Stephen Graham (Snatch) and Noel Clarke (Dr Who), and maybe that was the problem. If this was a standard movie with a bunch of unknown actors I think I would have found it slightly more enjoyable, however with the calibre of actors cast in the film I found myself both waiting for and wanting more..It never materialised.

The plot is taken from any standard horror movie (group of people in middle of nowhere get attacked) and that in itself was fine. I could even over look the awful product placement by a certain razor company... that got repeated often.... certainly not the best a man could get. The monsters in this film are infected, flesh eating females which are cliché stereotypes, not scary in the slightest.... I know this film is supposed to be tongue in cheek but I still expected to be a taken back a little at some point in this ‘horror’ film, sadly I wasn’t. 

One of my main issues in this movie was that as the viewer I never felt any empathy or connection with the characters or situation they were in. I genuinely hoped that I could just watch this film as a fan of low budget home grown movies however I soon became distracted and lost all interest in the story.

The acting for the most part was sub-par; the only exception to this was Noel
Clarke who in my opinion stood out above the more experienced film actors. It seemed both Danny Dyer and Stephen Graham were treading water and doing the bare minimum. Maybe they were restricted by the poor dialog or felt they were constrained by the nonexistent character development, either way it just didn’t work.

The audio started so badly during the early pub scene that I changed the audio settings on my TV hoping that was the problem, unfortunately it wasn’t. To me it sounded as though the actors were speaking from under an inch of water, the sound came across as dull and muffled. To be fair the audio did pick up as the movie progressed and after 20 minutes I had forgotten there was an issue.

This movie was never expected to win a BAFTA or compete with true horror movies, this was always going to be the kind of film you watch with mates after a few beers and in that light I think it just barely works... emphasis on just.

If you don’t expect a decent story line, originality, or scares then you won’t be disappointed.

UK films Rating: 4/10 – Mildly entertaining
Release Rating: 7/10 -  Great Transfer, extras include: Making of, Deleted Scenes and Blooper Reel
Did Jesmon like it? NO

Bail Out Review

Title: Bail Out
Format: DVD
Year: 1989
Label: Digiview Productions

The synopsis describes Bail out as an action packed comedy. And it is. To some degree. And it has a great cast. And the story is fine - for a 30 min episode of Magnum.

The story is about a group of 3 bounty hunters who are given the task of watching a wealthy heiress to ensure that she turns up for court the following day. Needless to say things get complicated when the girl is kidnapped.

For a 1989 movie, it feels a lot earlier. Like previously mentioned, it has the vibe of a Magnum episode, and to some extent, Hasslelhoff's character has similar traits and he plays the role well.

The direction is fair to good and the comedy, although not laugh out loud ( or not so intentionally ) is lighthearted and entertaining. 

The action is good. The car chases, firefights, horse-riding.. all done well. The chemistry between the bountyhunters also works well. 

This is not a good movie. It has alot going for it, but it just not good. I'm not sure if it's a pace issue or maybe a lack of variation in locations, but something doesn't work. Like mentioned twice before, it seems like an extended episode of magnum. This could have been ( maybe it was ) a feature length pilot for a TV series - which would have been pretty good. 

Overall, probably would have been a worthwhile video rental in 1989, but best steered clear of nowadays. The Digiview DVD transfer is shockingly bad which doesn't help either.
UK Films Rating: 4/10 - Not great.
Release Rating: 2/10 - Bad quality transfer. Poor packaging & no extras.
Did James like it? No

Iron Eagle Review

Title: Iron Eagle
Format: DVD
Year: 1986
Label: Columbia Tri-Star

This a a great little Pro-America 80s teen adventure. Often seen as a Top Gun rip-off, Iron Eagle was actually released before Top Gun and other than the fact the it features fighter jets, there are not many similarities.

The story revolved around an 18 year old air cadet, Doug, who lives on an airforce base with is family. His father is shot down over a middle eastern country and is sentenced to death. The US governments hands seem tied to Doug comes up with a plan to rescue his father with the help of his friends and a retired airforce colonel ( Louis Gossett Jr. )

The sound track is excellent, Louis Gossett Jr's performance is brilliant - he basically plays the same role as his award winning performance in An Officer nd a Gentleman.

Jason Gedrick's acting is a little wooden at times, but it doesn't hinder the movies charisma or the viewers empathy with the character.

For me the most outstanding performance is by David Succhet who plays a Gaddafi type character. His dialogue is laughable but delivered with conviction. "I want these pigs blown out of the sky!." The direction and effects are excellent. The aerial footage is some of the best shot pre 00's and has been re-used in many other movies over the years.

There is a political undertone but that is to be expected in these Reagan era pro American outings. It's what makes them so good.

It's a movie for teenaged fashioned into something for a much wider audience. It doesn't quite succeed in this respect but nevertheless, it's a fun movie, well shot, well paced and with a good cast.

This movie is dated. Heavily dated. But if you like 80s movies, this one is a cracker.

UK Films Rating: 8/10 - Great entertainment
Release Rating: 5/10 - Good quality transfer, no real extras.
Did James like it? YES

National Treasure Review

Title: National Treasure
Format: DVD
Year: 2004
Label: Walt Disney

Here we have a adventure movie in the tradition of Indiana Jones done well and with a unique flavor.

There have been many Indiana Jones rip-offs over the years, some of which are very entertaining, but with very little originality. National treasure feels like a mash up of Indiana Jones & The Davinci Code. It feels modern but by dealing with historic places and treasures still holds a sence of mystery and depth.

You can really feel the Pirates of the Caribbean crew's influence on this which is no bad thing. The direction is solid if a little formulaic in places but on the whole Jon Turteltaud does a good job - I'm sure Disney picked him out as he is a good all-rounder.

The story revolves around a hidden treasure protected by the Free Masons, forgotten and lost. A legend believed to be true bu Nicolas Cage's character but not many others. The cast did a great job. Solid performances all round. Sean Bean plays the Baddie convincingly enough, an easy gig for him.

Overall, the pace is good, the story is intriguing, the performances and direction are solid, the locations and effects are great. A thoroughly entertaining experience.

The Disney DVD has excellent picture quality and some nice extra features including alternative ending, deleted scenes and a short behind the scenes.

UK Films Rating: 8/10 - Great entertainment
Release Rating: 8/10 - Excellent quality transfer, Nice extras.
Did James like it? YES


Drop Dead Fred Review

Title: Drop Dead Fred
Format: DVD
Year: 1991
Label: Universal 

An American comedy with a very 90's British feel. Rik Mayall plays a borderline psychotic imaginary friend. Phoebe Cates is going through a tough breakup with her boyfriend. She moves home and is reintroduced to Drop Dead Fred, her childhood imaginary friend who got her into a lot of trouble as a kid and now picks up where he left off. 

Watching this as a child in the nineties, this movie was hilarious. Watching it now....not really the same experience. It is still a quirky comedy that kinda works, but looking at it from a parents perspective, it's a wonder that the film was ever released in it's current form. It is essentially a children's comedy which has alot of swearing and some very adult themes. Granted these may not have been picked up on by children at first glance, but it has a 12 rating - which was probably a 15 rating back in the early 90s. 

I still enjoyed watching Drop Dead Fred, but it really did feel dated and akward ( maybe that adds to its quirkiness ) To be be honest, I think this is a cult film for those who watched it first time round and probably deserves that status, but I wouldn't recommend it for a first viewing now.

The universal DVD release which I have is a triple play with Parole Officer ( not a bad film ) and Guest House Paradiso ( A Bottom spinoff movie ) - There are no extras included. 

UK Films Rating: 5/10 - Worth a watch
Release Rating: 5/10 - Good quality transfer, no extras.
Did James like it? YES & NO


Final Executioner Review

Title: Final Executioner

Format: DVD
Label: 23rd Century

Here we have a low budget 80's post apocalyptic Italian Sci-Fi directed by . First of all I must say that I like it. The story is a mash up of various other post apocalyptic outings with a few cliche characters  thrown in and a cheesy soundtrack that really grates in places. But I like it. It's well shot on the whole ( but far too much dramatic zooms - if you can have too much ) and the story works well enough, there are huge holes in it, but it still works.

The movie opens with some pretty poor stock footage of atom bomb tests and war torn buildings. A voice over sets the scene quite poorly. After the fall out, two groups emerge. The contaminated masses and the privileged few who avoided it. A hunting game is created. - It is not made clear whether the privileged or the contaminated are the hunters.

The opening scenes don't help matters as a group of privileged people are sent to the hunting ranges as prey. It is not revealed why this has happened until much later in the movie. I don't feel I am giving anything away by telling you now that the basic idea is that the privileged hunt the contaminated for entertainment. The group of prey that the movie follows ( not til later on ) are actually from the privileged community but have been declared as prey as punishment/banishment.

The story actually revolves mainly around a group of privileged hunters. Two of which have a bet as to who can kill the most prey. The male hunter rides a black motorcycle and looks like the lovechild of Prince in Purple Rain and a Gimp

The lead male 'hero' doesn't take center stage until about s third of the way through which feels a little odd. He is hunted and left for dead. He is then rescued by a character ( Sam ) who to me comes across as a cross between Chappy Sinclair from Iron Eagle and Mr. Miyagi from Karate Kid played by Woody Strode.

Sam's character opens up the story and bring the world to life. He is contaminated and lives in the hunting ranges. This is where the story should have been focused. There is a ridiculous training scene where the hero is taught how to avoid sandbags and crawl under barbed fire - neither of which he is called to do in any subsequent scenes, but it's the 80s so these things are essential.

Final Executioner is by no means a good movie. It doesn't succeed in what I feel it set out to achieve. The budget feels stretched even at this low level and it feels as though alot of scenes which could have made this movie a cult classic were cut or never realized when the final budget came in.

The dubbing is awful, the soundtrack is very very poor. But I still like it. The transfer on the DVD is actually pretty good for this kind of bargain bin VHS-Rip release. The sound is mono, but technically decent quality.

Overall I'd say this is not a bad attempt from Romolo Guerrieri but he should have pushed a bit harder for funding. Not one for mainstream movie lovers, but definitely worth checking out if you're into grindhouse style trash - it has some interesting concepts, good characters and a unique atmosphere.

UK Films Rating: 5/10 - Worth a watch
Release Rating: 6/10 - Decent VHS transfer & cover art. Slim DVD case.
Did James like it? YES

Slaughter High Review

Title: Slaughter High

Year: 1986
Format: DVD
Label: Arrow Video

If you like teen slasher movies of the low budget variety, you're probably gonna find this movie of some interest. The story is simple. A group of high school graduates are invited back to their school for a re-union. After discovering that the school is boarded up and derelict, they decide to spend the night anyhow - of course.

This movie has some serious identity issues. On the one hand the formula and the characters are all there. On the other hand you have two directors and a cast of British actors ( one in her very late 20s ) playing American teenagers. Add to this the fact that it was shot in England and you have the beginnings of an uphill struggle.

The script was written very quickly - over a few weeks if I remember correctly. To be honest, I was quite impressed with what they'd come up with in light of this fact. The movie does actually work. But I don't like it! There I said it. 

There is too much detracting away from the fun. The acting isn't too bad. The school does look English but it's passable. The death scenes are pretty good. But on a whole, it feels empty. Listening to director Mark Ezra talk about this movie, there is a sense of regret. Regret for making the movie, or just that the movie could have been so much more? I believe that Ezra was just unlucky. He was aiming to cash in on the Halloween, Friday 13th, Black Christmas....( any other holiday horror cash cow ) and he had a great plan. A named actress - Caroline Munro ( who I believe he was dating ) and a Theme - April Fools Day.

The funding was in place but was cut down to a minimum. It didn't matter, they had the theme. The whole movie is based around April fools day pranks but prior to release, another movie by the same name was released by a major studio. Shit.

Despite it's shortcomings, this movie does have some charm. The effects and gore are very well done. If you are into this genre I would say it's worth checking out, if only for the gore and Munro's screams, but for me it was a stretch too far.

The DVD release however is excellent. Original extra features including interviews and commentary tracks. I would recommend this DVD on those merits alone. There is some interesting subject matter discussed relating to low budget and cult movies produced in that era.

UK Films Rating: 5/10 - Worth a watch
Release Rating: 8/10 - Excellent extra features and cover art.
Did James like it? NO