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Kiltro (2006)

Director: Ernesto Diaz Espinoza
Starring: Marko Zaror, Catarina Jadresic, Miguel Angel De Luca
Not Rated  Running time: 98 minutes
Released by Magnolia

Marko Zaror has everything it takes to become an international action megastar: he's ruggedly handsome, built like a freight train, and he's got karate moves that will make you ashamed that you ever sat through a Steven Seagal movie. It doesn't seem like KILTRO made him a household name, but it's a pretty entertaining little action/fantasy flick.

The plot is your basic boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl-to-evil-karate-badass (Miguel Angel De Luca), boy-trains-to-become-unstoppable-asswhoopin'-machine-to-get-girl-back actioner. There are dyed mullets, loud clothing, wise dwarves, bad soundtrack music, and CGI-arterial sprays mixed in as well. The one thing that is sorely lacking is action scenes. There's a brief skirmish at the beginning when Zaror challenges an entire class of martial arts students,and a digital blood spraying scene near the end when our hero mows down a crowd of baddies, but little else in between. The film's primary focus is on the blossoming romance between Zaror and Catarina Jadresic, not on delivering kung fu thrills. While director Ernesto Diaz Espinoza handles these elements fairly well, it's disappointing that he didn't choose to give the viewer more of what they really want: action. More wheel-kick decapitations would have helped immensely.

The word is that the Zaror and Espinoza's next collaboration, Mirageman, is much more satisfying than Kiltro. I'm Netflixing it and should have a review up shortly.


Kemper: Co-Ed Killer (2008)

Director: Rick Bitzelberger
Starring: Christopher Stapleton, Robert Sisko, Kate Danson
Rated R  Running time: 88 minutes
Released by Lionsgate

Direct-to-video schlock producers are now scraping the bottom of the barrel for a new name brand serial killer. With Dahmer, Gacy, Gein, and Lucas already well represented, it's time for some of the more obscure homicidal maniacs to have their moment in the sun. Enter Ed Kemper, a California-based maniac best known for decapitating his mother and then having intercourse with her severed head.  If that weren't enough for you, he also used his poor mother's noggin as a dartboard.

If you're interested in finding out more gory details about the life and works of Ed Kemper, I suggest visiting Crime Library or some other "true crime" website, because Kemper: Co-Ed Killer has almost nothing to do with the real life facts of the case. Instead, the film centers around a wholly fictitious cat-and-mouse game between a cop (Christopher Stapleton) and his friend, amateur serial killer profiler Ed Kemper (Robert Sisko). Sisko looks nothing like the real Kemper, being much older and much shorter than the man he portrays. Despite being miscast, he actually turns in a decent performance -- which is much more than this mindless production deserves. Bad dialogue, ludicrous plot developments, and lifeless direction make the film pretty rough going. It has the look and feel of a late-night cable skinflick, which isn't surprising as the director also wrote such fare as Erotic Confessions and Embrace of the Vampire. Writer Jack Perez is the proud director of Wild Things 2 and Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. With such an esteemed pedigree between these two, you'd think they could at least supply us with enough sex and gore to compensate for the film's numerous shortcomings. But alas, most of Kemper's nastiness occurs offscreeen.

Kate Danson, Ted's daughter, has a small role as a crime scene technician. I'm willing to bet that her Dad broke out the checkbook in order to save his daughter any future embarrassment.