Movies From the Black Lagoon: Demonstone
Movies From the Black Lagoon
Demonstone - 1989, Rated R
Two marines find themselves up against a 400-year-old curse in this supernatural action-fest that benefits from exotic locations and tart dialogue.
This one starts off like a blind date with about ten minutes of exposition, which are awkward and profoundly dull. Basically we learn that an amulet (called the heart stone) was the prized possession of a Chinese warlord who decided to retire to the Philippines after wiping out all of his rivals back home. The amulet proves useless in ancient Manila where natives slaughter the warlord and his army who sneak up on his party about as stealthily as a herd of flatulent elephants.
The film picks up the pace immediately as it shifts gears to modern day Manila where a looming gang war threatens to dissolve tourist dollars faster than an Ebola Virus outbreak. The concerned parties include: Sharon Gale- an intrepid female reporter/80s hairstyle victim, Andy Buck- an ex-marine with a grudge against the local senator/drug kingpin, and said Senator Belfardo- who just happens to be a descendant of the native king who murdered the Chinese warrior in the prologue. All three of these characters collide when a marine is accused of killing some of the Senator's crime crew in a bar fight.
The situation gets ugly in a hurry when protesting locals demand justice and storm the American base. During said riot the suspect gets scared and escapes amidst the confusion. Gale and Buck decide to pool their resources and find the AWOL marine before Belfardo's goons can deliver a little rough justice to him. Turns out these two have a past (even Mitt Romney could have seen that one coming but he probably still would have spent 50 million investigating the story before dropping out) and working together gets them cozy again but there is a slight hitch. Everyone they talk too is soon killed by a supernatural being that burns them from the inside out and is under the control of the amulet, which is now seeking to wipe out the Belfardo bloodline. Despite the fact that there isn't much mystery here it still takes Buck most of the film to figure out that Sharon is the missing link though she has been sporting the amulet throughout the whole movie.
B-movie fans will get a kick out of the cast. Jan-Michael Vincent provides stoic heroics as Buck, not to mention a little low-key narration for those of you who forget that there is a vague plot to tie all of this together. Nancy Everhard (Deepstar Six) provides the eye candy as Gale but the whole movie would fall apart without the participation of character actor/drill sergeant R. Lee Ermey. This guy has made a career out of propping up limp movies by providing improvised dialogue that mixes drill master vulgarity with southern gentility.
Whenever the movie begins veering toward a dull spot he pops up and barks out a stream of colorful metaphors that provide plenty of yuks though they don't exactly advance the plot. Enjoy this one for its action quotient or just appreciate it as another notch in Ermey's belt, which already includes points for making the first hour of "Full Metal Jacket" a movie worth watching until the halfway point.
Best Line: "After the stunt you pulled I ought to give you a fur ball enema."
Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: email@example.com.