Dog Soldiers (2002)

Neil Marshall has directed several Game of Thrones stories, as well as the remake of Hellboy. This movie is much better than that one by several dog hairs. It’s the story of a squad of six British soldiers who are on maneuvers when they meet an enemy even more deadly than they are — a werewolf.

Private Lawrence Cooper (Kevin McKidd, Trainspotting) failed his special forces test because he refused to shoot a dog. Now, he’s stuck back with his old unit in the Scottish Highlands for wargames against an SAS team. As soon as they get there, they find the remains of those men and realize that maybe they shouldn’t be here.

Before long, the team’s commander Captain Richard Ryan (Liam Cunningham, The Card Player) reveals that they were here to capture a werewolf alive. What follows are twists, turns, double-crosses and bloody death. It’s a nailbiter and honestly, I don’t want to give much away.

There was talk of a sequel, Dog Soldiers: Fresh Meat, and a prequel, Dog Soldiers: Legacy, but neither ended up being made.

Between references to H.G. Welles, ZuluThe MatrixEvil Dead, Jurassic ParkThe Company of WolvesThe SearchersStar Trek II: The Wrath of KhanJaws, Zabriskie PointA Bridge Too FarApocalypse NowThe ShiningSouthern ComfortAn American Werewolf In LondonPredator, Love, Honor and ObeyBattle Royale, the TV show Spaced (Simon Pegg was almost in this)and Aliens,  this movie is packed with references to other genre favorites. Marshall would later claim, “I think I got completely carried away.”

You can watch this on Pluto.

Firestarter: Rekindled (2002)

Yes, there is a sequel to Firestarter. No, I didn’t know there was either, much less that I already owned it. Life is full of crazy moments, huh?

Marguerite Moreau, who was in The Mighty Ducks series, plays the grown-up Charlie, who is still being chased by The Shop, represented here by the somehow still alive John Rainbird (now played by Malcolm McDowell). Somehow, he has raised an entire gang of young boys who love to use their powers.

Originally airing on March 10 and 11, 2002 on SciFi (before it was SyFy), I’m as surprised as you are that this exists.

Somehow, they got Dennis Hopper to be in this as well. Man, this is getting odder and odder that I didn’t know that this was a thing.

Also: Deborah Van Valkenburgh is in it. Who, you may ask? Oh, just Mercy from The Warriors and Jackie on Too Close for Comfort and Reva in Streets of Fire.

This was written by Phillip Eisner, who also scripted Event Horizon, and directed by Robert Iscove, who made the “it seems real and yes, people are going to lose their minds” TV movie Without Warning, as well as She’s All That and From Justin to Kelly. Man, what a strange group of films to have made.

So yeah. Firestarter 2. There you go.

Die Another Day (2002)

All things come to an end with Bond, as this is the last Pierce Brosnan movie. It’s packed with product placement — even more than many Bond films — and was nearly the pilot for a series of films with Halle Berry’s Jinx Johnson character. MGM wanted to move on to a new series, to the dismay of Eon. It would have been interesting.

This film starts with Bond enduring 14 months of torture in North Korea and stripped of his 00 status after MI6 believes that he gave up information under torture. This puts him on the case of Gustav Graves, a seller of conflict diamonds who ends up being the very same Colonel Moon who held him as a POW.

For all of the derision tossed the way of this film, the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish ice castle sequence is — for me — on par with the Lotus Espirit scene in The Spy Who Loved Me. Roger Moore disliked both these scene and the CGI in this film, calling it a franchise low. This is the man who made A View to a Kill, so just imagine that.

Piling on the scorn, Elton John claimed that the Madonna theme for this film was the “worst Bond tune ever.” Madonna also shows up in a brief cameo.

Director Lee Tamahori has an interesting resume, with everything from Once Were Warriors, xXX: State of the Union and Along Came a Spider on his IMDB list.

As this film was released on the fortieth anniversary of Dr. No, former Bond actors Moore, George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton joined Brosnan at the premiere. Connery was busy filming The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002)

If the Austin Powers movie parodied Bond before, with the third installment, they go way over the top. This movie not only is a version of Goldfinger, it also has parts of You Only Live Twice, Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me and GoldenEye.

It also has a movie-within-a-movie called Austinpussy, directed by Steven Spielberg — who famously didn’t get to make a Bond film — and stars Tom Cruise as Powers, Gwyneth Paltrow as Dixie Normous, Kevin Spacey as Dr. Evil, Danny DeVito as Mini-Me and John Travolta as Goldmember.

The people that were making Bond took notice. The title of the film, Goldmember, led to legal action being taken by MGM and the brief removal of the film’s title from trailers and posters. The lawsuit stopped when a provision was added that every showing of the film would come with trailers for the next Bond film, Die Another Day, and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

Dr. Evil (Mike Myers) plans to travel back in time to 1975 and bring back Johan van der Smut (also Myers), also known as “Goldmember.” Their plan is to use a tractor beam to pull a meteor into the Earth, smashing into the polar ice caps and causing a global flood. Austin foils this attempt and is knighted, but saddened when his father Nigel (Michael Caine, referencing The Ipcress File) doesn’t show up.

There’s also more time travel, Beyonce as Foxy Cleopatra (pretty much every blacksploitation heroine all rolled into one), the return of Mini-Me and Fat Bastard, a Japanese businessman named Mr. Roboto, the revelation that Evil and Austin are brothers, another revelation that Frau Farbissina is Scott Evil’s mother, tons of cameos and, of course, Clint Howard.

Believe it or not, this is also the only movie that Michael Caine and Michael York have ever been in together.

In the eighteen years since this film, Myers has continually hinted that he has a fourth film in the works from Dr. Evil’s point of view. Sadly, Verne Troyer died in 2018, so there will be no Mini Me. But here’s hoping that it happens someday.

xXx (2002)

After The Fast and the Furious, Rob Cohen and Vin Diesel teamed up again to create this James Bond for the 2000’s. Xander Cage is a stuntman and X-Sports loving rebel who gets hired by the NSA to infiltrate a gang of Russian terrorists named Anarchy 99, who have acquired a biochemical weapon called Silent Night.

Seriously, this movie couldn’t be more 2000’s if it was filmed inside a Hot Topic while everyone was wearing JNCO jeans.

NSA Agent Augustus Gibbons (Samuel Jackson) offers Cage a deal. He’ll clean his criminal record if he joins up and stops the Russian group.

Seeing as how this is a 2000’s movie, of course Danny Trejo shows up as a criminal. Asia Argento shows up as Yelena, a Russian undercover agent who falls for Xander. There are also plenty of cameos, like Eve, Rammstein, Tony Hawk, Mike Vallely, Carey Hart, Matt Hoffman and Buckcherry singer Josh Todd. Seriously, this movie is so 2000’s that it tastes like Surge.

The film immediately sends up Bond by having a version of him — Agent Jim McGrath (played by Thomas Ian Griffith, who was Jan Valek in John Carpenter’s Vampires) — get killed off before the action begins.

As much fun as I’ve made of this movie for being dated — just check out Vin’s fur coat — the Bond movies probably feel the same way for some people. Oh well — any movie with Asia in it is worth watching, right?

REPOST: I Spy (2002)

AUTHOR’S NOTE: As part of James Bond month, I’ve brought back this review, originally published on December 29, 2019, for you to check out. This has just been re-released on blu ray by Mill Creek, so it’s easy to find.

Based on the 1960’s TV series that starred Robert Culp and Bill Cosby, this 2002 remake unites Owen Wilson as Special Agent Alex Scott and Eddie Murphy as boxer Kelly Robinson. Together, they must bring back a stolen spyplane from arms dealer Arnold Gundars (Malcolm McDowell).

Plus, you also get to see Famke Janssen as Special Agent Rachel Wright and well, that’s pretty much worth watching this movie for.

Evil arms dealer Gundars is sponsoring Robinson’s next match and using the event to auction off the stolen plane called the Switchblade. The agency has assigned Robinson as the civilian cover for Scott’s mission to get the plane back. Gary Cole, a long-time favorite of mine, also plays Carlos, the agent that everyone else wants to be.

This was directed by Betty Thomas, who was also behind Only YouThe Brady Bunch MoviePrivate Parts and 28 Days amongst others. It was written by Cormac and Marianne Wibberley, who wrote The 6th DayCharlie’s Angels: Full ThrottleBad Boys II and both National Treasure movies. They were joined by Jay Scherick and David Ronn on the scriptwriting duties. They both worked on the Baywatch theatrical film and Zookeeper.

There’s a cute cameo when Robinson speaks to George W. Bush, as that’s Will Ferrell doing the voice.

I Spy is a strange show to remake, as I don’t know anyone that would be clamoring for a new version of the show. That said, it’s a fun movie and Murphy and Wilson mesh well together.

This has just been re-released by the great people at Mill Creek Entertainment. Check out their new blu ray release right here.

DISCLAIMER: This was sent to us by Mill Creek.

The Little Unicorn (2002)

Where do movies take me? My lord, sometimes they take me to auteur projects like this one, by Paul Matthews, all about how a unicorn can fix up people’s lives. Oh David Warner, you deserve better. Joe Penny, too. And man, as much fun as I make of George Hamilton showing up in movies that are horrifyingly bad — SexetteEvel Knievel and Madusa, I’m looking at you — even he deserves better than this. Man, even Christopher Atkins — The Blue Lagoon anyone? — deserves better!

Polly and her grandfather’s tranquil lives get nutty when her favorite mare dies. Yes, if you’re getting this movie for a kid that loves horses, please know that a horse dies giving birth right off the beginning.

That said, it gives birth to a unicorn that everyone wants to steal. The rest of the film concerns Polly and her friend Toby trying to save it. Want to know how bad this is? Rifftrax hasn’t just taken on one Paul Matthews film. They’ve also taken on The Fairy King of Ar and Berserker, so the guy definitely has an audience. Perhaps not the one he wants, but an audience nonetheless.

You can watch this on Tubi with and without help from Rifftrax. It’s also on Amazon Prime.

I Spy (2002)

Based on the 1960’s TV series that starred Robert Culp and Bill Cosby, this 2002 remake unites Owen Wilson as Special Agent Alex Scott and Eddie Murphy as boxer Kelly Robinson. Together, they must bring back a stolen spyplane from arms dealer Arnold Gundars (Malcolm McDowell).

Plus, you also get to see Famke Janssen as Special Agent Rachel Wright and well, that’s pretty much worth watching this movie for.

Evil arms dealer Gundars is sponsoring Robinson’s next match and using the event to auction off the stolen plane called the Switchblade. The agency has assigned Robinson as the civilian cover for Scott’s mission to get the plane back. Gary Cole, a long-time favorite of mine, also plays Carlos, the agent that everyone else wants to be.

This was directed by Betty Thomas, who was also behind Only YouThe Brady Bunch MoviePrivate Parts and 28 Days amongst others. It was written by Cormac and Marianne Wibberley, who wrote The 6th DayCharlie’s Angels: Full ThrottleBad Boys II and both National Treasure movies. They were joined by Jay Scherick and David Ronn on the scriptwriting duties. They both worked on the Baywatch theatrical film and Zookeeper.

There’s a cute cameo when Robinson speaks to George W. Bush, as that’s Will Ferrell doing the voice.

I Spy is a strange show to remake, as I don’t know anyone that would be clamoring for a new version of the show. That said, it’s a fun movie and Murphy and Wilson mesh well together.

This has just been re-released by the great people at Mill Creek Entertainment. Check out their new blu ray release right here.

DISCLAIMER: This was sent to us by Mill Creek.

Avenging Angelo (2002)

Mention “Sylvester Stallone” in the same breath as “mafia” and your mind dreams up a hitman-action flick in the tradition of The Transporter. You might even flash back to his own F.I.S.T, his first post-Rocky film.

If it was ‘80s Stallone, yes. But this is 21st century Stallone 2.0.

Avenging Angelo is a mafia rom-com in the tradition of Prizzi’s Honor (1985, Jack Nicholson), Married to the Mob (1988, Michelle Pfeiffer), Stallone’s own film, Oscar (1991), and director Billy Wilder’s hit starring Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis, Some Like It Hot (1959). Opinions vary on this Stallone-fronted parody of The Godfather and Goodfellas having an analogous chemistry to those earlier mob comedies, but the one absolute truth of the film: Stallone once again shows he’s a skilled actor who deserved to have a breakout hit with one of the dramas, thrillers, and comedies he attempted in the early 2000s.

Avenging Angelo was one of six films released between Cop Land (1997) and Shade (2003) when Sly valiantly—and skillfully—attempted to shed his he-man action image with more insightful and introspective characters. Sadly, all of those attempts failed at the box office and Sly saw his career sliding into direct-to-DVD territory alongside the careers of Bruce Willis, Eric Roberts, and Nicolas Cage. So when Avenging Angelo became the second straight-to-video U.S release for Sly after D-Tox, the writing was on the wall: he returned to the action films that made him famous: Rocky Balboa, Rambo, The Expendables, Bullet to the Head, and Escape Plan.

Avenging Angelo, which returned Stallone to his previous action-comedy attempts of Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992) and Tango & Cash (1989), received a limited theatrical release in Italy and Greece—thanks to it starring Anthony Quinn, who’s highly revered throughout Europe (his career went from an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1956’s Lust for Life to a Golden Raspberry for Supporting Actor in 1992’s Mobsters). Sadly, Quinn was dying of terminal throat cancer while Avenging Angelo was being filmed—and died before it was released. So when Quinn utters the line “Everybody’s going somewhere” in the film’s initial restaurant scene, it becomes one of the saddest scenes in cinema—on par with Edward G. Robinson’s turn in Soylent Green, in which Robinson hid his terminal bladder cancer during filming and died shortly after the influential apocalyptic flick was completed.

Stallone is the kindhearted (remember, this is a comedy) Frankie Delano who takes offense at being called a bodyguard: he’s a “watcher” who fails in his duties protecting mob boss Angelo Allieghieri (Anthony Quinn) against a hitman named Bruno (Pittsburgh’s (!) Billy Cardell of CBS-TV’s Mike and Molly . . . getting the drop on Sly Stallone? No way, Sly!). Guilt ridden over Angelo’s death, Frankie comes to protect Angelo’s screwball daughter, Jennifer, who now has a contract put out on her by the same people who wanted her father dead. The comedic chase—with a smattering of blood n’ bullets . . . and kisses n’ babies—is on.

And as another example of a film being whatever a distributor wants it to be, the overseas trailer markets Avenging Angelo as a Terence Hill-styled (see 1980’s Super Fuzz) screwball Italian comedy, while the U.S version markets the film—because of Stallone’s presence—as an action film. And speaking of its domestic distribution: DEJ Productions, who saved Stallone’s D-Tox from the Universal vaults, distributed the DVD version in Blockbuster stores, along with additional airings on the Starz and Showtime cable channels (I got my DVD copy from my local library’s annual Book Fair for a buck.).

So what is the film, really?

Some have said, because of Madeleine Stowe’s comedic tour-de-force, Avenging Angelo is a chick-flick bordering on the sometimes groan-inducing slapstick (which plays better in Europe than America), more so than a male-appealing action flick, which plays better in America.

How far does the zany and madcap tomfoolery go?

Sly blames a fart on “bloated squirrels suck in the walls” (CLIP) and Madeleine Stowe gets revenge on a mob boss by stripping out of a tight red dress (no nudity, natch) and gives the old dude a heart attack (CLIP), complete with a rising-beeping heart monitor. So, if you liked Stallone’s celluloid nemesis Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarden Cop, and your mobsters mixed with comedy, then Avenging Angelo is for you. It’s not an award winner . . . and it’s not a Razzie winner, either. Stallone fans won’t feel cheated.

Film geeks, especially budding screenwriters and directors, who supplement their film school studies with DVD commentaries, will enjoy the passionate, entertaining and education commentary track provided by director Martyn Burke, which really gets into the nuts and bolts of the film. Digging even deeper is the unproduced, raw footage vignettes that go behind the scenes of the shoot (Part 1 and Part 2).

Considering the studio and producers behind the project lost faith in the film and eschewed a U.S domestic theatrical release or Euro-theatre plays beyond Greece and Italy, instead selling the film to DEJ Productions for non-theatrical distribution, the DVD is exceptionally well packaged beyond just burning the film to disc and calling it a day, as is the case with most low-budget films dumped into the home video marketplace. If anything, Avenging Angelo is worth watching for Anthony Quinn’s final screen performance.

You can reminisce with Anthony Quinn as he wins The Golden Globes’ 1987 Cecil B. DeMille Award, along with his interview with Jay Leno in 1991 and Johnny Carson in 1983, and Eileen Prose for Good Day!, Boston’s long-running morning show on WCVB-TV.

About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook.

D-Tox (2002)

If you had a Blockbuster Video membership during the home video market’s conversion from VHS tapes to DVD discs in the late ‘90s, chances are you saw—and passed over—this psychological-slasher romp starring Sylvester Stallone under its DVD reimaging as Eye See You, distributed exclusively on the nationwide chain’s shelves. If you had an extended cable TV package and channel-surfed the Starz and Showtime cable networks, you also saw the film—and probably passed on it as well. It seems everyone passed on it. I passed on it, eventually watching the film a few years after its release as result of the $1.00 DVD cut out bin at my local Dollar Tree.

D-Tox is the least known film of the Stallone cannons—and it’s completely unknown as part of Ron Howard’s production oeuvre. For me, as with Cobra (1986), the production history behind this failed, joint venture between Universal Pictures and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment is more interesting than the actual film itself. But it’s not as interesting as the off-the rails celluloid madness that is Tango & Cash (1989) . . . now that’s a production tale!

At the time of the newly-founded DEJ Productions acquiring the three years shelved D-Tox from Universal Pictures, DEJ was under the same corporate umbrella as the Viacom-owned (then part of the CBS-TV Network; as of this writing, Viacom and CBS have re-merged) Blockbuster Video, Starz and Showtime networks. DEJ was, in fact, formed by Blockbuster executives for the purpose of acquiring low-budget films for exclusive distribution through Blockbuster Video, so as to take advantage of the home video market’s resurgence via the DVD format. Courtesy of their corporate synergy, DEJ could also sell the films they acquired for exclusive Viacom cable television distribution in the U.S.

However, prior to DEJ acquiring the film, Universal Pictures, in a venture with Paramount Studios under their joint UIP corporate umbrella, unceremonious dumped the film into the overseas’ markets under the title D-Tox, with the hopes the film would find an audience. It ended up grossing less than $7,000 in foreign box office receipts. Ouch.

The film that eventually became known as Eye See You on U.S shores is based on Jitter Joint, an obscure (my local library system doesn’t carry a copy of the book or the DVD) 1999 published-novel written by Dallas Times Herald reporter Howard Swindle. Optioned by Sylvester Stallone with assistance from Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment for Universal Studios before its publication, the film version—then known under the title Detox—was completed that same year. The end product, shot-on-the-cheap in the economical-advantageous lands of Vancouver, Canada, for $50 million (how much would it have cost if it was shot within U.S borders?), the film failed in its initial test screenings; Universal lost faith in the project and shelved it. As with Stallone’s First Blood using David Morrell’s 1972 novel First Blood and Cobra using Paula Gosling’s 1985 novel Fair Game as its source materials, D-Tox deviates wildly from its source materials and barely resembles the tale of Jeb Quinlan, the Dallas homicide detective in the pages of Jitter Joint solving killings in a rehab center, as this Kirkus book review shows.

A year after the D-Tox overseas failure, Universal authorized a series of rewrites, reshoots, and title changes—there are screener copies of the film that tested as The Outpost in 2000—and it failed, again, in theater test screenings. By that point, with the film’s budget ballooned to $55 million, and with the director and studio still arguing over creative control of the project, Ron Howard stepped in to personally oversee the film in post-production in the hopes of salvaging it. The end result: Universal permanently shelved the film—and it sat in the vaults for three years. Adding insult to injury: Ron Howard had Imagine Entertainment’s name removed from the film, then Universal removed its logos and references from the film. Then, along with DEJ, Blumhouse Productions (Insidious, Happy Death Day, The Purge) hung its production shingle on the film for its unceremonious DVD release. Once you factor in the film’s P&A against its budget, the film hasn’t come close to, and most likely never will, break even.

So how did Sylvester Stallone end up in this mess?

Stallone planned the Jitter Joint project as his follow up to Cop Land (1997), his second attempt to transition out of the boilerplate, action-driven films of his early career and move into more character-driven, insightful works. The film was the first in a three-picture deal between Stallone and Universal in which the studio would pay him $60 million for the three proposed films. When the Jitter JointD-Tox project failed and landed on the shelf, Universal pulled out of the deal, gave Stallone his $20 million for services rendered, and set him on his way.

Then, in the wake of the failure of D-Tox in the overseas markets, Stallone’s follow ups of Get Carter (2000) and Driven (2001), both which managed to receive international theatrical distribution, also failed at the box office. The end result was that his next two films—again, character-driven pieces that eschewed his he-man action persona for distraught, tragic heroes—Avenging Angelo (2002) and Shade (2003)—ended up being dumped into the DVD and VOD markets. Nine years after Cop Land, with his valiant six attempts at reinventing his cinematic image deemed a failure (he’s actually very good in all of them), Sly returned with sequels of the films that made him: Rocky Balboa (2006) and Rambo (2008). Then he created his star-studded and action-packed, ‘80s retro-romp The Expendables, which he followed with sequels in 2012 and 2014.

As result of the film’s themes of isolation and its claustrophobic settings, reviews for D-Tox compared the film to Aliens (1986)—with a human killer in lieu of an alien one—crossed with David Fincher’s pseudo-Giallo detective thriller, Seven (1995). As result of D-Tox’s snow-bound setting, other reviewers tipped their hats to John Carpenter’s The Thing. Of course, D-Tox is a murder mystery rather than a sci-fi or action film and, to be honest, doesn’t have any of those film’s unique plot twists or on-the-edge-of-your-seat moments. A more accurate description of D-Tox—courtesy of its murder mystery vibe—is that it plays as out as a graphic version of Agatha Christie’s 1939 novel Ten Little Indians (made into films in 1965, 1974, and 1989). While some critics may disagree, Christie’s novel and John Wood Campbell Jr.’s Who Goes There (1938; source material for The Thing) share a similar master plot—regarding a grouping of paranoid and backbiting protagonists stranded in a remote location perused by an unseen antagonist—and it’s not far removed from the master plotting of David Fincher’s Aliens 3.

Now, if you’re feeling I Know What You Did Last Summer vibe in the frames of D-Tox—where a group of paranoid and backbiting friends are picked off one-by-one by an unseen killer—that’s because Jim Gillespie directed both films. If you’re an older fan of Klaus Kinski (Nosferatu the Vampyre) and a veteran of the video ‘80s, you’ll reference Schizoid (1980), where members of Kinski’s therapy group (without the snowy setting) are murdered by an unknown assailant. Newer film goers might reference Dennis Quaid’s little-seen serial killer romp, Horsemen (2009) with its trouble cop adrift in giallo-inspired, snowy set pieces. Sadly, regardless of its strong giallo-inspired start, D-Tox quickly disintegrates into what many found to be a predictable and pedestrian stalking-slasher pace that, if you removed the gore, you’ll find yourself in an episode of Law and Order: SVU with Olivia Benson being sent to a rehab center and stalked by one of her old collars on a revenge binge.

While D-Tox is not a classic that lends itself to repeat viewings—it has its share of plot gaps, losses of tension, and annoying boilerplate characters doing stupid things (such as looking into door peepholes when a serial killer is on loose and has already killed nine people by drilling out their eyes through door peepholes)—it certainly doesn’t deserve its crushing reviews. Stallone, as he was in Cop Land, is excellent throughout as the alcoholic and failed-suicide attempting F.B.I agent, with his downbeat acting chops matching the film’s mysterious, atmospheric and creepy pace.

Stallone is Jake Malloy, a not-invincible ex-cop who joined the F.B.I as result of his work on a case with a serial killer targeting prostitutes. According to the harassing phone calls made by the serial to authorities to find the bodies, it seems Jack made the serial’s life “difficult” in cleaning up the “prostitution filth” and he cackles: “I see you, but you can’t see me” throughout the film. So, in revenge, the killer changes things up and start targeting cops—and racked up nine kills in six months. Malloy can’t catch him because the serial keeps changing his M.O by picking cops from different precincts with no rhyme or reason. There is, however, one consistent—and very giallo—modus operandi: when he initially claims a victim, the serial rings a victim’s doorbell and, as they look through the door’s peephole, he drills his victim in the eye. Then after drilling out their other eye, he tortures them—he sees them, they can’t see him—and graphically displays their bodies. So, for example, when Malloy’s ex-beat partner ends up with two drill-out sockets, the serial shoves a nightstick down his throat and leaves him swinging in a very Argento-like suspension hogtie from the ceiling for Malloy to see. Then, with the ol’ I’m-calling-you-from-your-house gag, the “Eye Killer” murders Malloy’s just-proposed-to girlfriend—complete with drilled out eye sockets and hanging from the ceiling like a slab of punched up Rocky-meat.

Three months later: Malloy is in an alcoholic tailspin and attempts a slit-wrists suicide with the ol’ if-she-didn’t-meet-me-she’d-still-be-alive, shtick. This leads Malloy’s old F.B.I commander, Chuck Hendricks (Charles Dutton, Aliens 3, natch), to ship him off to a remote rehabilitation clinic “run by ex-police officers for police officers” inside an old Air Force radar outpost that became a military psychiatric hospital before “doctor” Kris Kristofferson bought the abandoned property and turned it into a rehab clinic and named it The Overlook Hotel. Oh, wait, that’s The Shining . . . but let’s cue that freak snowstorm anyway; you know, the one that conveniently downs all the phone lines and strands the ubiquitous, arrogant and paranoid menagerie of double-Y chromosome syndrome-stricken inmates on Fiorina 161 . . . oh, wait, that’s Alien 3 . . . but let’s set loose the unseen killer in the creepy, makeshift military complex anyway; you know, the one that “sees” Malloy’s every move and tracks him to Overlook 161 so, while everyone is detoxing, they start to commit “suicides.” Then Scatman Crothers has a “Shining” moment . . . I mean, Charles Dutton has a “Shining” moment . . . and goes back to the rehab center to see what the hell is going on up there.

At that point, D-Tox degrades into standard chase-action clichés with Malloy running around the underground complex trying to kill the Xenomorph, uh, serial killer, as the bodies pile up (actors Jeffrey Wright, Tom Berenger, Stephen Lang, Robert Prosky, Robert Patrick, Sean Patrick Flanery). It was Malloy’s dispatching crescendo of the killer that was one of the film’s many reshoots; the studio felt the original killing/ending wasn’t a “spectacular enough.” The Eye See You DVD-version of D-Tox includes a bonus vignette package that features eight deleted scenes—but not the original ending. The initial theatrical trailers for D-Tox also include some scenes that were eventually excised from the film’s reimaging as Eye See You.

Regardless of its mix of serial killers and stalk n’ slash plotting missing the John Carpenter Halloween signpost that that it seems the film was going for, if you’re a Stallone fan, you’ll enjoy his work on either version of the film. You can watch the Eye See You trailer from DEJ Productions and the D-Tox trailer from Universal on You Tube—and compare. You can also “see” D-Tox (full movie) on You Tube—with commercials—for free.

About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook.