RIFFTRAX LIVE: THE FIVE DOCTORS

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The night started off with a short from Britain. Apparently the British also put out these goofy shorts about dumb people doing dumb things and trying to discourage such dumb things. In this case its not respecting power lines. So you have dumb kids flying kites or wheeling around their sailboats and getting electrocuted. Dumb kids throwing frisbees into power transformers then breaking in an getting electrocuted. Oh and hooligans like to throw chains into power lines causing blackouts. Luckily an animated wise old owl and his dumb robin sidekick shame everyone into behaving.

So the main feature was the classic TV special The Five Doctors or four because Tom Baker didn’t like the money or screentime in the episode. Some sinister being is plucking all the reincarnations of the doctor from the timestream and bringing them to the Deathzone. The Deathzone was an old gladiator type arena where the Time Lords brought different aliens to fight for their amusement. Thus the first, second and third and some past companions are snatched out of time and dumped there. The fourth is conveniently stuck in the system.

The four Doctors together.

The Time Lords also throw in the Master the Doctor’s arch nemesis to rescue him. And of course Cybermen, Daleks and Yeti are also tossed in. Basically the various Doctors make their way to the dark tower and confront the evil behind all this.

Cybermen meet their match.

Now I am a big fan of the old classic Doctor Who series. I actually like the Five Doctors. Sure its a bit cheezy and there are some moments that were perfect for riffing. When the Cyberman comes out and looks surprised as the Doctor and Master were talking and nobody notices him. Their riffs on how he screwed up and missed his cue got the most laughs for the night.

Cyberman looking surprised that nobody notices him.


Then there is the bearded image of Rasillon with his Genghis Khan hat.

Rassillon aka Genghis Khan.


Or the main baddie who looked like Maleficent.

Maleficent contemplating immortality.


I guess it just never really resonated with me. It was enjoyable and had some good laughs but never came close to Samurai Cop. I think they really should stick more to the really bad cheezy movies. Those are the ones that are absolutely hilarious. So until next year we bit adieu to Rifftrax live.

RED PHOENIX BURNING BY LARRY BOND AND CHRIS CARLSON

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Copyright 2016.

It is July 2015 in this alternate world where a second Korean war was fought in 1989 as chronicled in Red Phoenix. That war saw an end where the Chinese brokered a ceasefire and Kim Jong-il was executed by the military. Under the Chinese his son Kim Jong-um was designated the successor. His regency would be under his aunt and uncle until he reached the age of 28. So basically this world is not much different then our own. North Korea is still a basket case of a nation under the pudgy man-child with a bad haircut. There are many factions in North Korea that are always vying for control. An appointment to a head of the Department of the Economy of a powerful individual threatens the balance of power. So a military coup is initiated by a faction in the military. An explosion kills most of Kim Jong-un’s backers at a state dinner but he manages to survive. A bloodbath is in the making as he takes revenge but while addressing the nation from his underground bunker the conspirators succeed in releasing a VX nerve gas on him. So his nation and all the world watches as he dies in a gruesome manner on TV. Now all the factions are vying for power and a bloody civil war breaks out. Add to this the South Koreans entering to unite the country and the Chinese also getting involved under the pretext to find the north’s WMDs. The world stands on the brink of a wider war as the dying regime threatens to strike out with its Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Larry Bond actually wrote a sequel to his enjoyable Korean War novel. Basically the world and situation in Korea is unchanged in spite of this war. It was an excuse to put the characters from the original novel into this book. The three main ones are Tony Christopher the F-16 pilot who is now a brigadier general. Kevin Little the young lieutenant who is now a colonel and Lt.Rhee who is also a colonel in charge of the Ghost Brigade a special forces unit. There are some children of the characters. Chee Ho-jin the son of the North Korean general who was made a scapegoat for the wars failure. His family were all declared traitors and now he works for the Russians as a spy to get back at the regime. Kary Fowler who is the daughter of the national security adviser from the first book. She works as a Christian missionary in the north. The idea of this fictional war surprisingly fits well into the narrative of the story. While it doesn’t really do anything for the story it also doesn’t distract and you can read this book without reading the first one.

So the authors portray a North Korea were the monolithic rule of one man is a facade. That there are actually many factions constantly vying for influence. A country that is rife with corruption as the ordinary people must resort to bribes as a daily routine of life just to survive. Where the elite live in extravagance financed by criminal activity such as drugs to finance their lifestyles. This was a very insightful book in showing the functioning of the North Korean society. It is also a timely one as once again North Korea is in the news. Threatening Guam which was actually attacked with nerve gas missiles in the book. There was a happy ending to this book which we can only hope is the same in the real world.

THE GUARDIANS DEATH CHARGE BY RICHARD AUSTIN

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Copyright 1991.

Tom Rogers is in Hawaii for a government experiment. They are testing the effects of magnetic fields on the human body. While he is strapped in a chair being subjected to these fields a group of Hawaiian separatists attack the compound. It causes an explosion that makes the entire compound invisible and Rogers is also invisible. The separatists were hired by an agent of Iskander Bey who survived the laser assassination from a previous book. Iskander was worried that this experiment could lead to an alternate energy source and make his hold on Mideast oil worthless.

So Rogers as an invisible man makes it to the ship of the agent Moheb Nazrullah an Afghan trained by the KGB but now in the service of the Pan-Turanians. There is some hijinks between the two that sees Rogers captured and then feed to the sharks. But Rogers manages to escape and continue after Nazrullah. Meanwhile in Washington Maggie Connolly the chief of staff misinterprets the President and thinks she is supposed to have Rogers assassinated. She sends Rogers former lover to do the job. She lands in Hawaii and gets kidnapped by the separatist and gang raped. She eventually manages to escape and kill her captors. The other Guardians meanwhile are also searching for their friend. It all comes together on the big island of Hawaii.

So this is the final Guardians book and it goes out with a whimper instead of a bang. The whole book just doesn’t feel like a Guardians book. It really suffered when Victor Milan left the series. Tom Rogers is usually the strong quiet type but here he seems so out of character. He is a regular chatty Cathy. He also is constantly moping about the loss of his girlfriend. Now that has some potential to have him in a relationship but it was just handled so sloppy.

Then there is the whole invisible man thing. Just hokey beyond belief. The whole first part of the book with him and Nazrullah capturing each other is more of an Abbot and Costello movie then a Guardians book. Indeed the Hawaiian islands seem untouched by the nuclear war with tourists still coming in. The whole way Connolly gets the wrong idea to assassinate Rogers and sends his former flame just makes no logical sense. The other Guardians have a very limited role in the whole book.

Now in 1991 the Soviet Union collapses and so did most of these books with it. But if this was the way the series was going it would have most likely died, even if the Soviets were going strong, with such horrible writing. This was a sad ending to what I think was one of the greatest of the post-nuclear war series from the eighties. I think it deserved a better ending.