Devil's Dynamite (1987)
Devil Dynamite
El diablo de la dinamita

Nomination Year: 2014
SYNOPSIS:  Devil's Dynamite is a film that lives a lie. It ought to have been called The Shadow Warrior versus The Taoist, or The Mylar Man Fights Hopping Vampires, or maybe even Cox vs Fox. But there are no devils, singular or plural. There is no dynamite, figurative or literal.

Also on the cover (but not in the movie) are blue ninjas, rocket launchers, machine guns, and helicopter gunships.

Well. Now that we've established what the movie isn't about, let's discuss what the movie actually is about. So far as I can tell.

A man named Steve Cox is being released from prison after ten years, sending shockwaves throughout the criminal community. Cox was the Gambling King. His buddies are happy to see him again. Those who betrayed him are worried that he will seek revenge.

#1 on the Target List is his ex-girlfriend. Not only does she control the criminal underworld, but she personally set Cox up to be sent to prison. She is alternately worried that he will kill her and desirous of getting her hands on his buried gold .

She has an underling use a voodoo talisman to take control of a taoist. The taoist creates hopping vampires. She also uses a man named Fox to infiltrate Cox's cronies, and hopefully discover the location of the hidden gold.

But Cox has a buddy who knows someone ... a man called The Shadow Warrior. The Shadow Warrior is bright and shiny and wears some sort of impenetrable Mylar suit. He fights the hopping vampires, but has to retreat.

Meanwhile, things happen between Cox and his ex-girlfriend. Bad things. He wins a lot of money gambling at her underground casino. She has him thrown out of a party. Her fiance threatens to kill Cox.

A group of people dress up as ninjas, and are wiped out by the hopping vampires. I say "dress up as ninjas" because real ninjas would never holler out, "Where are you, boss? I can't see you!" Real ninjas would also never allow their dubbing actors to record dialogue through cloth so that the actors' voices are muffled when the characters are talking while disguised as ninjas.

The hopping vampires grow big and strong, and eventually people that they've killed (like the fake ninjas) start to come back as hopping vampires. But the taoist is still required to raise and control them.

The hopping vampires bite the guy who is buddy to both Cox and The Shadow Warrior, but he escapes death. The Shadow Warrior (in his civilian identity) calls in a Master Taoist, who determines that the buddy will eventually die and turn into a hopping vampire. The buddy cannot allow this to happen, so he kills himself.

Cox recovers his gold, and disburses it to members of his group, urging them to start new crime-free lives. After all, Cox's money can't buy him love. Speaking of which, he then shows up at his ex-girlfriend's wedding, and kills her. Somewhere in there, Fox gets captured. But I have no idea how or when. Just all of a sudden he's injured in the cabin that Cox retreats to.

The Shadow Warrior fights the hopping vampires in the taoist's lair. He is not winning. Suddenly the Master Taoist shows up and kills the guy who was controlling the taoist with the voodoo charm. The taoist spits up something undefinable, and then he and the Master Taoist nod at each other. Taoists Forever!

The cops bring a ludicrous amount of firepower to bear on Cox, but are unable to kill him. So they start a fire to smoke him out, but it catches the cabin on fire, and it burns down around Fox and Cox, killing them both.

Some further oddities about this film? It looked like they were setting it up for a surprise reveal that Cox's ex-girlfriend's fiance was Cox's long-lost son -- but they didn't. The translation had some odd word flip-flops. "Toyboy" for "boytoy" I'll buy, but "vampire killers" conjures up different images for me than "killer vampires" (which they should have used).

So, if you're in the mood for a classic 'former crime boss gets out of prison and achieves revenge and redemption before dying in a fire' movie that features hopping vampires, ninjas, and a man who is not afraid to be seen in public wearing a mylar jumpsuit, this is your movie. It might as well be.

Smithee Award Winner! Worst Cover Copy

There are no devils in this movie, nor is there any dynamite!
Not only are there neither devils nor dynamite in this movie, most of the prominent front cover elements are absent. There are no blue ninjas. Nobody uses a rocket launcher or a machine gun. Certainly no helicopters of any kind (much less helicopter gunships). The main character is that shiny guy shown in the still on the back ... I would have thought that he would be a good choice for the front cover, but apparently not! The back cover is reasonably accurate ... except that there is no smuggling ring involved. It's a gambling establishment.

Acting Appropriately Stupid

He was digging in a graveyard, and now it's a grave.
A random bunch of criminals are trying to find a cache of hidden gold. Suddenly the cops show up! They haul the guy who's been digging out of the hole (where he's been digging), and prepare to leave. But the guy in the hole is injured. "Come back and help me!" he says. "If you don't, I'll squeal to the cops!" That never ends well.

Actors/Directors of Note
Actor Claim to Fame
Angela Mao her nickname is Lady Whirlwind; she is also classically trained in Chinese Opera 
Director Claim to Fame
Godfrey Ho possibly directed more Smithee films than anyone else - also known as: Alton Cheung, Tommy Cheung, Ho Chi-Keung, Elton Chong, Daniel Clough, Leong Fui Fong, Antonin Gasner, Martin Greenfield, Godfrey Hall, Zhi Jiang He, Benny Ho, Chi-Mou Ho, Chun-Sing Ho, Fong Ho, York Lam, Bruce Lambert, Charles Lee, Frank Lewis, Joe Livingstone, Jerry Sawyer, Victor Sears, Robert Young, Albert Yu 

Kevin Hogan

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© 2011-2019 Bryan D. Cassidy, Greg Pearson, Matthew Quirk, and Kevin Hogan. All Rights Reserved.