Monday, February 10, 2014

This Bud's for You: DETECTIVE EXTRALARGE: YO-YO (1992)

In this episode we discover that Jack Costello is a former professional boxer. I wonder if his pantented head-pounding was the reason he was forced to choose another career? We find Costello in his favorite habitat, The Blue Monkey, blowing his sax and getting some whiskey-soaked wisdom from a friend who is having some issues with his British ex-wife, saying "like all Brits, she thinks she can take a leak on the Queen's toilet!" What he fails to see is that while this may be true, she can't touch the Queen's nuts! Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all night. What? Does nobody watch the news anymore?

Interrupting this bit of Brit bashing is an old friend and ex-boxer, Burt (Andrew Stevens, who managed to squeeze this in between jobs with Joseph Merhi and Jim Wynorski). Burt is in trouble. Not like the kind of trouble he is usually in. Trouble so big only Detective Extralarge can handle the case. Apparently he has been working for an up-from-the-streets businessman and boxing promoter Mr. Goodwin (Lou Ferrigno, no doubt thrilled at the opportunity to move up from a Donald G. Jackson production). Mr. Goodwin wears a white suit year 'round and worse than that, he rigs the fights. Burt was was supposed to take a dive and instead of playing jabroni, he won the match, took the prize money and ran like hell. Problem is, he's a boxer, not a runner and now Mr. Goodwin's ethnically diverse henchmen are snapping at his trunks.

After getting Costello interested in his plight, Burt disappears and the thugs get Extralarge in their sights with a karate killer (Jen Sung in his second role following 1990s NO RETREAT NO SURRENDER 3) who learns that kung fu is no match for Bud fu. As if that wasn't bad enough, Jack comes home to a pissed off Maria who suspects him of cheating on her, even though they aren't in a relationship, and Burt's kid Ricky (Anthony Finazzo), who smokes cigarettes, talks back and likes to be called Yo-Yo... because he has one. He also took the opportunity, while waiting for Jack, to rip-off Dumas' stash of caviar and pate. I guess it beats the hell out of whatever Costello has in his cupboards, which I'm assuming is an entire pantry of beans.

Ricky's been staying with a cranky old ex-boxer named Groggy, which means our nameless kung fu assassin thinks the best way to find Burt's son, who he will use to find Burt, is to take out the old man. Of course the cops are annoyed that Costello is causing problems (by knowing what's going on, I guess) and the D.A. is annoyed that she got called out for a murder when she has work to do! Only in Florida does homicide not come under the District Attorney's job description. Fortunately, the coroner is the sharpest knife in the bag when it comes to dead bodies: "The murderer killed him with the same technique employed in the martial arts. We'll know for sure after the autopsy." He's damn good. Damn good. Damn, he's good.

After one of Goodwin's boxers is shot-up in a drive-by while spilling the beans (ouch, yeah that hurt me too) to Costello, the cops are suddenly interested. Old boxer? Waste of time. Young boxer? Put ever man on the job! Now Jack needs to get to follow the lines and sniff out a coke smuggling ring with Mr. Goodwin right in the middle.

It's not that I don't like kids, I do. At least for the half an hour that they are fun to be around until they become a pain in the ass. Kids in movies? Unless it's a properly made movie starring kids like THE MONSTER SQUAD (1987), I'm not a fan of precocious hi-jinx and the obligatory sap that comes along with them. As far as I'm concerned INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984) might have been a halfway decent movie if the Indy had unloaded that Short Round. Kids in Bud Spencer movies? That I can live with.

Bud Spencer had some solid hits on the Continent and in Japan with THE SHERIFF AND THE SATELLITE KID (1979) and it's sequel WHY PICK ON ME? (1980), which sported a compact sidekick (no, not Weng Weng, a kid!). Also, the FLATFOOT sequels sported ethnic kids for Bud to grudgingly pal around with. To be fair, Terence Hill frequently played a manchild in their movies anyway, so it's not much of a stretch. With that winning formula, it makes sense to add a kid to EXTRALARGE, though it certainly does slow things down a bit. Though it still doesn't get in the way of the antics with his Latina landlord Maria, who is desperately trying to have an affair with Jack. This also offers up some opportunity for a few "wtf?" moments, such as the one in which Ricky talks the shoe-shine boy (named "Black", because he is) into trading Mr. Goodwin's shoes for a yo-yo. Designer, patent leather for a cheap, plastic toy? Deal!

Also featured in this entry are a lot of self-aware references which you may or may not be a fan of. In today's climate where no film is "good" unless it spends most of its running time pointing at it self, screaming "look at me!" this would probably go over gangbusters. In one scene Ricky brings his fist down on a thug's head repeatedly and then quips "I saw all of Bud Spencer's films." To compound the damage, when Costello and Dumas find themselves surrounded by bad guys and Costello asks Dumas if he can handle himself, and Dumas says "of course I can, I always watch... 'Miami Vice'." Ouch!

On the plus side, this outing features an H.B. Halicki-esque car chase in which cars are smashed with wild abandon and a boxing van endures a bonecrushing flip leaving the driver unscathed (see clip below). Not good enough? We get a speedboat chase that ends with the boat flying out of the water into the middle of a busy highway ala LIVE AND LET DIE (1974). Pretty awesome stuff for a European TV series. Also, I have to admit, I kinda dig Ferrigno. Like a lot of '70s kids, "The Incredible Hulk" was one of my favorite shows and I have fond memories of him being a complete dick and getting totally dissed by a girl in the bar at a collector's show in Illinois. That was the same show that Corey Haim got burned by a drug dealer and was introduced as "Corey Ham". But that is a story for another time.

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