Young Rebels (1989)


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Young Rebels Movie Reviews

For a laughable and ludicrous good time, do check out Young Rebels!

Mr. Vincenzo (Rivas) is a local California mob boss. His son Joey (Z’Dar) and his goons are causing havoc all over town. The Sheriff (Ray) (That’s all he’s credited as) is ineffectual against the reign of terror caused by the Vincenzo family. That is, until Charlie (Greene) shows up. And, to a lesser extent, his girlfriend Liz (Lunde). They decide to take on the mob family the only way they know how – extended scenes of mindless shooting. Of course, Joey Vincenzo is the scary final boss…will Charlie be man enough to take him down?

One of our favorite directors of silly movies, Amir Shervan, once again provides silly dubbing, silly editing, silly plotting, silly performances, and filmmaking that is from every angle – not to put too fine a point on it – just downright silly. Sure, while it may be a bit amateurish and repetitive, it’s also a ridiculous good time that you can’t help but love. Or at least appreciate, especially considering they really don’t make movies like this anymore. Whether that’s a good thing or not is up to you…well, we’re the ones writing the review, and we say it’s a bad thing that they don’t make absurd gems like this anymore. So there.

Yes, there are countless shootouts, chases, barfights, and stripping scenes, and some unfathomable subplot about smuggling illegals into the U.S., but really a lot of the running time of the film consists of weird-looking people beating up other weird-looking people.

Aldo Ray is in two scenes, attired in an ill-fitting Sheriff’s getup. He steals both scenes. There should have been more instances where a confused and angry Aldo Ray yells at people. Shervan mainstay and fan favorite Robert Z’Dar is also here, as chinny as ever, but the real question is: why is this movie called Young Rebels? Who are the Young Rebels? And what are they rebelling against?

Maybe it was this unanswered question that caused the lack of a wide release for this movie (although it is entirely fitting because it makes just as little sense as anything else on show here). As far as we can tell, it never got any kind of release at all, even though it was made in the golden video store year of 1989. It’s available, as of this writing, on Amazon Prime, and pretty much nowhere else. For its rarity alone (if not any of its other qualities) it’s worth seeing.

So, if you’ve seen the other Shervan Classics and are missing out, you pretty much know what to expect. It’s funny, it’s ridiculous, it’s absurd, and…forget seeing a boom mike at the top of the frame or its shadows, those can be seen in lots of low-budget efforts. Only in Young Rebels do you see a crew member clack the slate before a scene begins (It happens towards the end).

For a laughable and ludicrous good time, do check out Young Rebels.

Good-bad, not great-bad

As others have mentioned, this is not as inspired a piece of dreck as the same director’s “Samurai Cop,” though it does have many of the same basic elements, from WTF screen presence Z’Dar (has any actor’s face ever been QUITE so square?) to the incessant lame “martial arts” to actresses with implants who were probably discovered as strippers, and in fact largely PLAY strippers here. (And they’re not even impressive in that mode.)

In fact most of the cast appears to have been cast for their bodies, male and female–maybe they found their “talent” between gyms and strip clubs. So, needless to say, the acting is highly variable, and the certifiable professionals (like Aldo Ray, who yells his way through a couple scenes) are not at all reliably on the “better” end.

I guess what most distinguished “Cop” is that the dialogue was just jaw-droppingly awful at times–I can still quote some lines. It’s bad here too, but not quite memorably so. There’s also a greater monotony to the “plot,” which is pretty much just one shootout after another, each killing off a dozen or so extras introduced solely for that purpose. So, not a great bad movie. But still, an entertaining one if you’re not too choosy.

Not as “good” as Samurai Cop or Killing American Style

The third film I’ve seen by Iranian-born action director Amir Shervan, following on from his later-made KILLING American STYLE and SAMURAI COP. Sadly, YOUNG REBELS lacks the so-bad-it’s-good quality of those two movies, the inherent entertainment in their cheesiness, although it is very similar in look and feel. Somehow, this one lacks the edge and subsequently is just a poor B-movie.

The action-focused storyline is very similar to those of Shervan’s two other movies. A group of bad guy criminals go around wasting rivals and innocent people caught up in their crimes. Robert Z’Dar is one again a hulking henchman. The nondescript heroes give chase and attempt to ambush the villains, resulting in plenty of shoot-outs and cheesy action violence. Old-timer Aldo Ray shows up in support.

Needless to say this is a film affected by the curse of the B-movie: awful acting, badly scripted dialogue, and just a couple of locations in which to set the action. It’s a particularly weak film in terms of story with around half of the running time made up of striptease sequences from various actresses you don’t particularly want to see nude in the first place. There are also an inordinate amount of sex scenes included to pad out the running time although most of them get interrupted before anything happens. The action is over the top but not as well staged as in, say, KILLING American STYLE. One other thing I have to criticise is the sound design. The gun fights are accompanied by ridiculously loud cannon booms every time a handgun or shotgun fires, so you have to turn the sound right down and end up missing most of the dialogue, which annoyed me.