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The Curator of Schlock #226 by Jeff Shuster

Pound of Flesh

Bad movie! Bad!

It looks like there’s some scuttlebutt online about a new TV show in the works set in the Batman universe. It’s called Pennyworth? Oh, it’s about Alfred Pennyworth, Batman’s butler. And it’s a prequel series. So I expect we’ll be seeing episodes centered around his learning how to be a valet as well as the correct order to lay out spoons and other eating utensils, none of that Batman fighting the Joker and Penguin nonsense. This is a grown up show for grownups. I’m looking forward to six seasons and a movie…Heeeeeeeeeellllllllllllllllllpppppppppppppp!

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What movie do I have for you this week? Oh, yeah. Another Jean-Claude Van Damme extravaganza titled Pound of Flesh from director Ernie Barbarash. (No, John, there’s no Shylock in this one.) Van Damme plays Deacon, a man with a mysterious past that taught him how to kick and shoot his way out of dangerous situations. He arrives in Manila ready for a bachelor’s night on the town. Deacon notices a man getting rough with a woman in a dark alley, kicks the crap out of the guy, and then the damsel in distress offers to buy him a drink.

The damsel’s name is Ana, and she reminds me of Asia Argento, but she’s played by an Irish actress named Charlotte Peters. Deacon and Ana go dancing at a nearby disco, one thing leads to another, and they spend the night together. In other words, he got lucky in that he got to sleep with a beautiful young woman.

But then Deacon wakes up in a bathtub filled with ice water and wouldn’t you know, he’s gotten his kidney stolen. Not so lucky, as it turns out. To make matters worse, he was supposed to donate his kidney to his niece. Without it, she’ll die!

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Naturally, his brother, George (John Ralston), is none too pleased with this turn of events. He yells at Deacon about his inability to keep his pants on. Deacon plans to get his kidney back by kicking and shooting his way through the seedy underbelly of Manila. Deacon threatens to beat a bartender with a Gideon Bible if she doesn’t tell him whereabouts of Ana and her pimp, Zoltan (Philippe Joly). Zoltan? Who names their child Zoltan? Is that a real name? Looks like it’s Hungarian in origin. Oh, it’s Turkish. Comes from the word sultan. I learn something new every day.

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Anyway, Zoltan isn’t long for this world, as the kidney kidnappers don’t want him spilling the beans about their organ harvesting operation. Ana decides to come along for the ride, feeling guilty about taking money for the whole illegal surgery deal. Oh, and we learn that Ana is the spitting image of George’s deceased wife and that Deacon had an affair with George’s wife (obviously) resulting in her getting pregnant. Since George is infertile, that makes Deacon the biological father of his niece. Too bad the kidney is in the possession of a dapper English gentleman.

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Will Deacon cut this guy open and regain his property? Do you care? Honestly, do you care? Is what I described not convoluted enough for you?

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Wouldn’t your time be better spent watching something more wholesome like Paddington 2? Think about it.


Jeffrey Shuster 1

Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.

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