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  Ghost Rock
Dustin Rikert, USA, 2003
Rating: 1.7

Posted: July 28, 2004

My friends, we are gathered here today to discuss a Western flick called Ghost Rock. What's that I hear you saying? Why should we care about some rinky-dink Western? Good point. But what if I were to tell you the cowboys did Kung Fu on each other? A little more interesting, no? Then what if I went on to tell you that the antagonist in this film was none other than Gary Busey? Is that more like it? Friends, we ain't even there yet. Take Silverado, Tombstone, The Quick and The Dead, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, maybe a little bit of the made-for-cable classic Purgatory, throw then into a blender, puree all the finest features of each, and what you will have left will look something like Ghost Rock.

Look, don't even worry about the story. Once there were these two kids, and one (the little boy, who will grow up to be Johnny Slaughter) had the chance to save his girl Savannah (not the porn star), but instead cowered like a bitch and let her get killed. Fast forward many years later, and Big John Slaughter (Mike Worth -- apparently Jeff "The Perfect Weapon" Speakman wasn't available) is out to avenge the death of his childhood love. And for some reason, he is really good at Kung Fu. Johnny runs down the bad guys, headed by Jack Pickett (Gary Busey), and proceeds to administer old West justice with a little Far East kick.

So why is the film called Ghost Rock? Well, that's the name of the town where all this high-kickin' justice takes place. But it probably also has something to do with this scene where a nekkid (that's right, I said nekkid) ghost chick rises out of a tub armed with two six-guns. She then descends a stairway -- still nekkid -- and shoots several bad guys. Now, you don't know that she's a ghost then; you know she's nekkid, but you don't find out until the end that she's a ghost. Of course, none of this is vitally important to appreciating a nekkid chick packing heat. But why would a ghost be taking a bath?

As a sidebar, none other than the great Adrienne Barbeau shows up as the head of the local whorehouse, where one of the hotties has invented lap dancing! I kid you not; this film shows the genesis of lap dancing! In fact, at the end of the film, the innovative floozy intends to go to San Francisco to start a lap-dancing dance hall. (I couldn't make this stuff up!) There's also a doofus bad guy (always identifiable by the way he folds the front of his cowboy hat up), who gets his hand chopped off in a fight and scurries away to a local bar to play cards. Later, a dog enters the bar with the severed hand. Why? Why not! Oh, and look for Adrienne Barbeau to shoot three guys with a single rifle bullet. And, oh yeah, constant Kung Fu action!

But the greatest feature here, by far, is Gary Busey, and I'll tell you why. You see, I don't think Gary knew this was a movie. I think he believed he was in charge of some Kung Fu-fightin' cowboys, and that he was actually in the Old West! You can see some of the other actors looking perplexed in their scenes with Busey; I think that may be because he was not following the script at all. He's got that crazy look in his eyes, like he does in Lethal Weapon and the great Under Siege, and he acts even crazier than he did on I'm With Busey. In fact, unless the prop guy was extra vigilant, there's an above-average chance that Busey may have actually killed someone during the making of this film. His lunatic fringe is unmistakable.

In short, pardners, this looks alarmingly like a film made by guys who were very, VERY high on something. This is well below a B-grade film, but it's like the proverbial train wreck. You just gotta keep watching! Here's the lowdown: If you want Kung Fu cowboys, a one-handed guy playing cards, a nekkid, gun-totin' ghost girl, lap-dancing Old West whores (with fake boobs, no less!), Adrienne Barbeau making a triple kill with a single bullet, and lest we forget, a totally insane Gary Busey -- and who among us doesn't, from time to time? -- then Ghost Rock is the film for you.

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 Clemenza's Ratings Key:

 5.0: A drop of bliss

 4.0-4.9: Touchdown!
 3.0-3.9: Close, but...
 2.0-2.9: Box of Rocks
 1.1-1.9: Time bandit
 0.0-1.0: Soul scarring
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