Every day Robert Saucedo shines a spotlight on a movie either so bad it’s good or just downright terrible. Today: William Shatner on the prowl.
There are few things in life that can prepare a person for the sheer majesty that is watching a scene in which William Shatner and Harold Sakata (Oddjob, to those James Bond fans) compete in a battle of bad delivery.
From stilted pauses to bizarre emphasis choices, the two trade incompressible dialogue the way chess masters’ fingers dance across a game board.
Impulse is a 1974 film staring the incomparable Shatner as Matt Stone, a polyester suit-wearing, balloon-hating, sword-wielding con-man who just happens to have an unfortunate tendency to kill women.
When he’s not strangling ex-girlfriends and dumping their bodies into the river or running over dogs in the street with his car, Stone spends his time tricking people into investment scams. Unfortunately for Stone, his latest mark’s daughter sees right through his charming persona and suave exterior.
Kim Nicholas, one of the most annoyingly precocious child actresses I have ever seen in a movie, plays Tina Moy, the daughter of Stone’s latest girlfriend/victim. Not trusting her mom’s new boyfriend farther then her freakishly man-sized arms can throw him, Tina follows Stone home one day only to witness a reunion between Stone and his ex-partner, Karate Pete (played by the previously mentioned Sakata).
From that point in the film, audiences are taken on a free-wheeling journey through the finest in bad cinema chestnuts.
From a car-wash chase scene that features a Samoan on the run from a homicidal Shatner to Captain Kirk telling an overweight woman who accidently bumps into him that she (along with every other fat person) should be ground into dog meat, Impulse is, without a doubt, a bad movie.
But what did I learn from the Shatner movie?
For starters, I learned not to trust Shatner. While I may not have been able to stand young Nicholas’ acting, her character was dead on the money when it came to suspecting Shatner. While he may have rugged good looks and a winning smile, behind those grey eyes exists the heart of a man who would sooner stab you with a sword (both literally and verbally) then ask you to move your balloons.
Before watching Impulse, I would have jumped at the chance to listen to an investment pitch from the man who played T.J. Hooker. Now that I’ve had my eyes opened to the monster that resides in Shatner’s soul, I’m going to keep my mad money to myself, thank you very much.
In the end, I guess Impulse is a cautionary tale about trusting strangers with good looks. I know I’m guilty of judging a person’s character based on their appearance. My hand will instinctively go to protect my wallet if a grungy looking homeless person is even a mile away from me but I’ve never feared from my safety when walking through an Abercrombie & Fitch store.
Maybe it’s the attractive people we have to fear in life? As they coasted through life on their good looks, maybe their very humanity was chipped away by that silver spoon.
Robert Saucedo is not going to lie — he would still give William Shatner anything he asked for. Follow him on Twitter @robsaucedo2500.
Robert Saucedo is an avid movie watcher with seriously poor sleeping habits. The Mikey from Life cereal of film fans, Robert will watch just about anything — good, bad or ugly. He has written about film for newspapers, radio and online for the last 10 years. This has taken a toll on his sanity — of that you can be sure. Follow him on Twitter at @robsaucedo2500.
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