November 23, 2016
Red Zone Cuba.
Review #876: Red Zone Cuba.
Coleman Francis (Griffin / Narrator), Anthony Cardoza (Landis / Fidel Castro), Harold Saunders (Cook), John Carradine (Mr. Wilson), John Morrison (Joe), George Prince (Cherokee Jack), Tom Hanson (Bailey Chastain), Lanell Cado (Ruby Chastain), and Charles F. Harter (Cliff Weismeyer) Directed by Coleman Francis (#744 - The Beast of Yucca Flats and #767 - The Skydivers)
It has been 50 years since Red Zone Cuba (made on a estimated budget of $30,000; also known as Night Train to Mundo Fine) was released (even though there really isn't a source that gives a definitive date, I'm doing it on this day as a "Turkey" gift to you at home for Thanksgiving Eve). This was the third and last film that Coleman Francis directed. It took me a while to recover from his last two films, but here we are nearly a year later. Oh boy, this film. Remember how Madea seemed like the breaking point for this show? Here's one that will shatter those thoughts and assemble them into jagged edges. It only makes sense that Francis also had to star in this film, because I guess no one could play a wretched lead other than him (if he had wanted to star in another film, he should've played the part of a talented director). The movie might good at one thing, which is the fact that it might poke a hole in the idea that a movie can be be so bad it's good. Believe it or not, this movie isn't very good, nor is it shot in Cuba (shocking, I know). There is some sort of plot within this, with a trio of main characters that are about as appealing as melted cauliflower. Francis is at least consistent with the sound quality once again, in that it is questionable at certain points. Carradine (in a guest starring role) appears briefly in the movie, even singing the title song "Night Train to Mundo Fine", which could be the perfect song to play right before a movie as strange as this. On second thought, strange is somehow too nice of a word to describe this film as. The fact that he is used as a framing device to set up the plot (that he has no connection to) is almost as ridiculous as the song.
There must really be some sort of thought process to make a movie that goes from "escaped convict" to "Bay of Pigs" to "mining metals". Oh sure, there's acting, in the sense that I'm enacting a decision to waste time on a movie that has a guy with a Brooklyn accent playing a character obviously meant to be someone else. Here's a highlight: Francis' character stating how he wants to go legit, and 20 seconds later he attacks Cardoza's character for not giving him a ring. Even something like a character who was left for dead suddenly reappearing at the end isn't the most ridiculous aspect of a movie that thinks parts of California can pass off as Cuba (another gripe: Black title letters on a dark greyish background). You might be wondering why I even decided to review the film on its 50th Anniversary. On top of the fact that I like honoring film anniversaries (and certain birthdays), I figured that it was time to finally finish the last of the Francis films and fully give an assessment on his "trilogy", which goes as follows: They are all terrible, with scattershot plots and more scattershot acting than you can shake a stick at. You could watch his films...or watch the MST3K versions. Even giving this film a 0 doesn't do this film justice: Watch at your own risk.
In any case, I wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all of you readers at home. Enjoy tomorrow, but also if you're having a "Friendsgiving" today. Look it up.
Overall, I give it 0 out of 10 stars.