my Movie

Movie Details

Title:   Kill or Be Killed
Director:   Ivan Hall
Year:   1980
Genre:   Kung-Fu
Times Seen:   2
Last Seen:   04.04.07

Other Movies Seen By This Director (1)
- Kill and Kill Again

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
04.04.07Weird Wednesday A bit thanks to Lars for playing this again as a Weird Wednesday. I think the ultra-casual circumstances to which I came to this film helped a lot in me loving it, and the second half does really drag down, but damn if the first half hour or so doesn't contain enough amazingly bizarre moments to fill the good-movie quota! It was a delight to get to watch it with a crowd and hear everyone crack up at the little whistling noises Steve makes, the flashligh wild dog eyes out in the desert night, Von Rudolf's still-photograph nazi flashbacks, Steve's girlfriend's random maniacal laughter, the random car destruction, and of course Chico (and Chicolette, which I think the audience was too shocked at all the little person mistreatment to find as funny as I did). Man, that is one ugly dwarf. I noticed he had a huge scar on his cheek too... I wonder if he was like a criminal or just abused all of his life for being small. Either way, I'm glad he got to lend his severe acting talents to this movie and live on forever.

Lars really talked up the sequel. Hopefully all the pussies who walked out before it was over don't convince him to not play it. I really want to see it now.
06.13.06  To finish the night we decided to thread up the first reel of a completely random 16mm movie that he recently purchased in a pack of 4. All he knew about it was that it was an 80s kung-fu movie.

Now, to those who have seen Kill or Be Killed, you're surely aware of the shock and awe that took us when we watched the first reel. For everyone else though, let me try to explain just a little bit about why this movie... is amazing.

So first of all, even though it was released in 1980 it was actually made in 1977 so it's technically a 70s movie, not an 80s movie. The music montages are bedded by funky music, not synth-pop crap, and the karate here is hardcore Bruce Lee kicks, not Cynthia Rothrock ninja shit. The beginning titles are actually projected on dudes doing their moves. So the director's name gets slightly stretched and deformed by the sculpture of some guy's sweaty flexing bicep after he performs a sweep or whatever. The entire sequence is better than any Bond movie ever... I couldn't believe it.

This also seems to be a regional film made in South Africa. Heavy South African accents saturate the movie and whenever they need to appear to be somewhere else they just flash pictures of New York or Tokyo taken from some magazine on the screen and a big title stating the name of the city followed by a cheap South African set populated with natives. I really don't see South African movies every day so this twist was pretty cool.

Now the heavy duty stuff. Get ready. Your mind is about to be obliterated just trying to think about how cool this movie must be.

The film's about a nazi general in exile... or something... who has this castle (CASTLE!) in the middle of the desert, where he keeps a karate team in prime fighting condition. Along with his delusions of still serving the Reich, he has a South African gay nazi kung-fu midget named Chico as his sidekick. let me just repeat that. A South African gay nazi kung-fu midget named Chico. At a certain point in this movie, just when you think that it can't possibly get any better than it already is, Chico pulls out a hand-puppet and starts talking to it like it's his only friend. When it's snatched away by one of the brutes on the Karate team and he's asked why he plays with dolls, Chico answers "it is not a doll" and then starts chasing them around to get it back. Chico's involved in more than one fight scene and seems to really get shoved to the ground and thrown around for real. I almost feel for him... but then again I guess he chose his path in life, to be a sidekick to a delusional nazi general holed away in a remote desert castle training a karate team for... no real apparent reason.

It gets better though. There's a japanese guy named Miyagi who buys diamonds from the nazi general... and the general erects an arena to challenge Miyagi in a karate olympiad to restore his fallen nazi rank and honor. Miyagi agrees to assemble his own team of the best fighters in the world in order to get a buy-one-get-one-free discount on his diamonds and the nazi general sends Chico around the world to recruit his own team. I guess the team he already has is crap or something... I didn't really follow that. All I know is the one guy in the nazi's existing team with 0% body fat escapes from the desert castle with his woman and Chico is secretly happy to see him go. When their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, this muscly uberfighter tears the car to pieces with his kung-fu and fashions a windsail. Chico finds the debris of engine and car remnants and gives the approving thumbs up to the vast desert emptiness.

So that's the first reel.

From there, the movie actually slows down a bit as extended recruitment scenes turn into even more extended olympiad scenes... Still though, Chico and the rest of the jaw-droppingly amazing things that inexplicably happen in the first 45 minutes are strong enough to carry you through the rest of the movie to see how it ends. I have to find out if the Alamo's ever played this. I can only try to imagine what a Weird Wednesday crowd would do if they saw this. Apparently there's a print floating around under this name but it's actually the sequel Kill and Kill Again that doesn't include Chico so maybe there's a chance that my buddy has fallen into a golden 16mm gem of the same caliber as all those SOuth African diamonds horded by the crazy nazi and his karate team out in the desert... I must ask around.

But for a completely random movie that we knew nothing about, it was an unbelievable experience. We were even only going to watch the first reel but it kicked so much ass that we had to keep going. Oh, right. Not only was the print cheap and included in a package deal, it was also in mint condition. Perfect color, no scratches, nothing. Amazing... and pretty much exactly what 16 collecting is all about I think. Maybe if i'm ever in a position with extra cash to blow on a hobby I'll get into it, but for now I'm just glad I have friends who already are.
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