Five Movie Characters Who Deserved More Screen Time, Part II
Like I've mentioned in the past, some of the most interesting characters in the world of cinema remain hidden away during the majority of their films. Sometimes they'll appear for just a few scenes as the butt of a joke, repeatedly stomping out flaming bags of dog crap. Other times, they show up with the sole purpose of beating Tobey Maguire half to death with a steel chair. Whatever their purpose, this new installment of Five Movie Character Who Deserved More Screen Time focuses on a few more of these figures whose lives demand more exposure on the silver screen.
Father McGruder, Dead Alive
Two decades after it first gushed into theaters, Peter Jackson's 1992 splatter-fest Dead Alive still remains one of the most comically bloody films ever made. Though a cult classic, not much credit is given to the movie aside from its ridiculously over-the-top gore effects. Sure, its use of a lawnmower as the ultimate zombie killing instrument helps push Dead Alive well over the bounds of good taste, but those spinning mechanical blades can't hold a gnawed stump to the awesomeness that lies within the lethal fists and lightning-fast feet of Father McGruder.
Why he deserved more screen time: Our bumbling protagonist Lionel stages a late-night siege to reclaim his mother's soon-to-be-reanimated corpse from the local cemetery. Appropriately, Mommy Dearest springs from her tomb and infects a couple of punkers who've just arrived to make Lionel's life even more hectic. Lionel is defenseless as the horde closes in -- that is, until the commotion awakens Father McGruder from his slumber in the nearby church. What transpires is an unexpected flash of ass-kicking that would make even Chuck Norris blush with humbleness.
"I kick arse for the Lord!" With that legendary declaration, the enraged preacherman unleashes a blessed can of Whoop-Ass on the living dead. Twisting off the outreached arms from the zombies as they advance, Father McGruder pummels the monsters within an inch of their after-lives, even sweeping the legs clean off one of the rotten bastards. Sadly, McGruder is bitten during the scuffle and spends the rest of the film as one of the shambling ghouls. It's a shame; the holy man could've delivered even more "devine intervention" later on during the movie's stomach-churning climax.
Kano, Mortal Kombat
Witnessing the Mortal Kombat video games make overprotective parents everywhere squirm was a highlight from my earlier years. The series made its debut in 1992 as the arcade juggernaut before being ported to the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo home consoles later that year. Of course, a film adaptation couldn't be too far off, and in 1995, audiences were treated to the live-action Mortal Kombat movie. Though nowhere near a classic, Mortal Kombat worked with its PG-13 rating and did justice to our favorite characters from the franchise... well, most of them, anyway...
Why he deserved more screen time: Out of all of the fighters in Mortal Kombat, Kano is one of the coolest of the original line-up. He's the leader of the international gang of mercenaries known as the Black Dragon. He's just murdered the partner of U.S. Special Forces Agent Sonya Blade, a gal he finds himself going toe-to-toe with throughout the video game series. Oh yeah, and he's got a friggin' LASER BEAM SHOOTING EYEBALL. Kano should've been a main villain in the Mortal Kombat movie, but instead we got a mediocre henchman who goes down without much of a fight.
This isn't to say that Trevor Goddard, who scored a few more small acting gigs before killing himself in 2003, doesn't make the character shine in the small amount of time before his anticlimactic fight with Sonya. In the games, Kano and Sonya's feud stretches through many meetings during the series; had they built up this rivalry more in the film, their battle could've been epic. Instead, we see Sonya drop Kano in only a few minutes, locking his skull between her luscious thighs before snapping his neck like a twig. Couldn't have picked a better way to go, I suppose.
Mini-Ashes, Army Of Darkness
1992's Army Of Darkness is like that third child who no one talks about because his two older and more handsome brothers spent their high school careers shattering every athletic and academic record ever set in their state. The film is a radical departure from The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn, breaking free of the constricting walls of the cabin in the woods and taking our beloved anti-hero Ash back in time to slay Deadites in a medieval setting. During a journey into the unknown to regain the Necromonicon, Ash accidentally releases a swarm of this little rascals...
Why they deserved more screen time: Ash holes up in an abandoned windmill and catches a sight of himself in a mirror. After several unfavorable encounters with his own reflection in the past (or future, I guess), Ash shatters the mirror into smithereens, an event that releases a bit of movie magic whose likes wouldn't be seen again until Multiplicity gave us four Michael Keatons in 1996. A gathering of inches-tall Bruce Campbells emerge from the shards and begin terrorizing their already-crazed prototype, pumping stove exhaust into his face and dumping a bucket of slop on his head.
In a scene playing a straight-up homage to Looney Tunes and The Three Stooges, the slapstick violence provides one of the most memorable scenes in Army Of Darkness as the Mini-Ashes push their enemy into complete madness. One of them dives into Ash's mouth and forces the genesis of Evil Ash, a corrupt clone who squares off with our steel-chinned savior throughout the remainder of the movie. Although Evil Ash presents a legitimate challenge, one wishes that these buggers would've joined ranks with Ash, tying together the shoelaces of the oncoming Deadite invasion.
Super Shredder, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of the Ooze
One of the most vivid memories from my childhood is the night my family went to see the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. I recall leaving the theater completely spilling over with joy, throwing up kicks and punches on our way back to the car. Even though the 1990 hit remains the best of the series, one of its biggest weaknesses is the rather weak end battle between Shredder and the Turtles (with assistance from Splinter). With TMNT II being released the following year, surely we loyal fans would be treated to a rematch that would obliterate the original... right?
Why he deserved more screen time: After somehow surviving having his head crushed in by a garbage truck's compactor, Shredder comes back with a vengeance in The Secret Of the Ooze. Humiliated by his loss to the Turtles in the previous film, Shredder is driven to madness -- late in the movie, he injects himself with the remaining sludge that first transformed the Turtles into their current humanoid selves. The result is a seven-foot-tall Goliath played by former WWE Champion Kevin Nash in his first big screen role. So how did Big Sexy fair against his reptilian rivals?
Believe it or not, this fight is even less enthralling than the first. The overall lighter tone of TMNT II from its predecessor helped the film appeal to even younger viewers, which doesn't help when attempting to choreograph what should have been an unforgettable clash for the ages. Super Shredder gets maybe three minutes before his second encounter with the Turtles is cut short -- the berserker corners them under a loading dock but smashes the supportive beams around them in a rage, collapsing tons of crap on top of himself. Not nearly as cool as seppuku, Shred-Head.
Orgazmo is, quite possibly, the greatest movie ever about a Mormon porn star. This lowbrow Trey Parker production is an absolute laugh riot, depending on your tolerance for incessant sex humor. Out of all the various characters populating this hilariously depraved flick, not one of them casts such an enigmatic shadow as Sancho. Interviewing for a role in an upcoming Maxxx Orbison picture, the Spanish sensation hypes himself up for the job, claiming that "there are many Jeffs in the world and many Toms as well," but there is only one Sancho.
Why he deserved more screen time: Why? Because he... is Sancho!