REVIEW: Split Second (1992)

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Split Second: C+

London, 2008: Welcome to a future where Rutger Hauer is a motorcycle-riding, candy bar inhaling, chain smoking cop who plays by his own rules. He wasn’t always like this. Years ago, his partner was murdered and it pushed him over the edge to Lethal Weapon levels of maverick badass-ery. He chugs liters of coffee and the police chief gets pissed at him a lot. Yes, he wears sunglasses indoors and cracks one-liners while using gratuitous violence to subdue criminals. No, he doesn’t use the department-issue firearm; those things are for pussies.

The film has been criticized for it unoriginality since it blatantly tries to capitalize off of the popularity of other action/sci-fi movies of its time, most notably Blade Runner, Predator, and Lethal Weapon. The aforementioned maverick-cop clichés from Lethal Weapon are pretty clear. The movie looks just like Blade Runner; it’s set in London where rising sea levels and perpetual rain makes it look exactly like the grey, wet dystopia in which Harrison Ford hunted androids. The villain in Split Second is a hulking Predator-looking monster who obsesses over confronting Hauer in hand-to-hand combat, almost as if it adheres to the same code of honor as the Predators.

You could rename the movie “Lethal Predator Runner” and it would work.  

The movie is fun because it plagiarizes from other successful films and then turns the things it steals up to 11 all while (I think) being comically NOT self-aware of how transparent the theft is. Hauer has cartoonish levels of defiance and self-destruction. The weather is an unending monsoon that creates urban lakes and acres of obfuscating fog. The monster is a superhuman killing machine who looks like Venom and does shit like creep up and tap people on the shoulder before eviscerating them.

The carnage isn’t spectacular, but it’s there. The monster rips some dudes up and absorbs anything useful from their DNA. Gore-hounds, this is no splatter-fest. The monster (“ONE UGLY MOTHERFUCKER!”) almost suffers from a case of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers syndrome as there are a few shots of him lumbering around like an alcoholic in a rubber suit. He doesn’t look terrible but he doesn’t look scary.

This movie is the love-child of shitty action movies and shitty horror movies. If you like those two things, then see this movie. It combines the best parts of the two and executes them with an impressive air of shamelessness.

 

REVIEW: I, Frankenstein (2014)

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I, Frankenstein: UV

I, Frankenstein. It, blows.

This integrity vacuum of a movie left me absolutely positive that no one involved in its making is ashamed of themselves, when they should all be at seppuku levels of shame at the least.

Listen to this pearl of a plot: Demons are among us and the only thing that keeps them in check is a centuries-old clandestine tribe of Gargoyles who live in this giant 100 story cathedral that NO ONE SEEMS TO FUCKING NOTICE in the middle of some ambiguous grey metropolis. This conflict is the cause of about forty atrocious CGI battle scenes in the movie. The CGI, Frankenstein bullshit is insulting; Cinefantastique likened it to “watching someone else play a bad videogame.”

The Gargoyles look like CGI Xbox characters when in Gargoyle-form but they can also morph into humans that all look like characters from Prince of Persia complete with gratuitous leather arm-bands and daggers. The Demons look like the Wishmaster in slim-fit suits. Watching them try to act is like watching a dog try to open a jar.

Also: the film takes place in a world where Frankenstein isn’t a famous book by Mary Shelly but instead, a spooky legend that some people, INCLUDING FUCKING SCIENTISTS believe to be true.

Frankenstein’s monster (who, yep, is called “Frankenstein” in the movie) is caught in the middle of everything. He is a badass maverick (with sexy abs) who gets his hands on some sacred weapons which he uses to fuck up hella Demons in several slow-motion CGI battles. I lost count of how many times two characters jump at each other in slow motion.

Let’s talk about Eckhart. Vulture’s review says he “plays Frankenstein’s monster in a monotonous, teeth-gritting mode, as if someone had one gun on him and another on his family.” Pretty hilarious/accurate. I personally don’t know how he kept a straight face while delivering lines like “Descend in pain, Demon” and “Take me to the Gargoyle Queen.” There is a scene where a Demon tries to possess Frankenstein and he’s levitating and screaming and all I could think of was how fucking DUMB Eckhart must have looked laying on a green block in a green room writhing around and how it reminded me of the best part of the worst movie I saw last year.

There is a strange fluctuation in the mortality of Frankenstein. In one scene, he is hanging on for dear life off of the edge of a window so he doesn’t fall three stories. But in another scene, he purposely jumps through a window from the fifth story of a building, plummets through a sewer grate, and lands on top of a moving train and he’s just swell. He also starts off at the beginning of the film with eyeliner and gnarly scars. As it becomes clear that he’s a good guy, the scars recede and the eyeliner lessons and he looks all handsome, more “humanized” to fit his good-guy role. This is a drop in an ocean of plot-holes and bullshit that makes zero sense.

Yes, there is a scene where he takes his shirt off and there are about a thousand scenes where he does kung-fu with stupid weapons.

If you imagine yourself liking a movie sort of like Underworld but worse, maybe see it.

I, hated it.

REVIEW: Breeders (1997)

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Breeders: D+

Ah, Breeders: the horror movie that unashamedly delivers monsters, college girls, and monsters molesting college girls without taking itself seriously for a single nanosecond.

There’s this alien monster. Let’s call him Breeder. Why? Because he dwells in a labyrinth catacomb underneath a girls boarding school and uses fragments from his glowing meteorite to breed with college girls.

Breeder’s meteorite chunks are very attractive looking and so, in a classic case of reckless hubris, a flock of hot college chicks transform the shards into necklaces for themselves. They probably lie to all their friends and say they got the crystals at Burning Man.

The hot girls don’t realize that their space-rock necklaces will put them under the telepathic control of Breeder, who is going to make them (one-by-one, over the course of about 50 real slow minutes) climb into giant (lame looking) cocoons under their school so he can impregnate them. What a dick! Breeder is basically an intergalactic date rapist! I bet those meteor chunks won’t even show up on a TOX screen in a forensics lab. Someone has to stop this perv!

Some (literally) panty-sniffing professor who looks like a wholesome, sweater-wearing Sears model SOME-FUCKING-HOW figures out the ridiculous plot I just described to you and he descends to the tunnels under the school to stop Breeder and rescue the hot girls, one of whom he is banging. I guess this makes him an anti-hero but, trust me, it doesn’t add any notable depth to his piece of shit character. 1997 was a crazy year.

Cue 25 minute cat-and-mouse scene that is about as exciting as moss on a tree stump. It’s like when they’re looking for the Alien in the movie Alien except there isn’t any suspense, high-tech radar equipment, spaceship setting, good acting, or moment of brilliantly eerie silence. Breeder lumbers out from behind corners and roars like a fucking panther. He suffers from Looks-Like-a-Power-Ranger-Villain syndrome. People trip over cocoons and space snot. And, yes, what you’ve been hoping for happens: Breeder touches some girl’s boobs. Are you happy? You disgust me.

REVIEW: Silver Bullet (1985)

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Silver Bullet: C-

A crippled kid has to convince Gary Busey, his alcoholic uncle, that a werewolf is behind all the murders in their little redneck town. You can imagine how difficult this would be for the kid to accomplish since crippled kids probably want all sorts of special attention all the time and adults in his life, like Busey, are all but conditioned to drink more whenever he opens his crippled little mouth to tell his crippled little stories. Like all kids in horror movies who figure out who the monster is, he sounds like a raving dumbfuck every time he tries to explain his theories. Plus, all Busey wants to do is drink Wild Turkey 101 and sing anti-Union Civil War songs. It’s clear he loves his crippled nephew, but his monster obsession is a real buzz-kill.

This is a Stephen King movie, so if that matters to you, there you go. The werewolf looks pretty cool but he keeps slaughtering people in a disappointingly non-werewolf manner. Here’s what I mean:

1. When the sheriff (John Locke from Lost) gets wise to what’s going on, the werewolf… beats him with a baseball bat.

2. The werewolf breaks into a young girl’s bedroom and… throws her against the wall.

3. The werewolf hides in a redneck’s greenhouse and… impales the guy on a broken floorboard.

The movie is funny as hell and has basically every ugly thing from the 1980’s you could think of. The soundtrack is entirely horror synth stabs and 80’s butt-rock. At times, you’d swear you were watching The Goonies or Karate Kid. The cripple has a motorized wheelchair which he later swaps for a WHEELCHAIR/MOTORCYCLE HYBRID. He does wheelies and cheers during a four minute long butt-rock sequence.

Busey’s acting is cranked to level-11; you can almost see the coke dumping out of his pores and his neck veins look like fucking tree roots. So fun to watch. There’s also a priest with an eye-patch and unlimited expendable rednecks who drink Red Stripe with the labels ripped off.

There is a werewolf showdown at the end and, yes, there is a silver bullet involved.

REVIEW: Forbidden World (1982)

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Forbidden World (1982): D+

It was exhausting trying to keep up with this movie’s endless unoriginality. If you showed the movie Alien to a 13 year-old boy and asked him to rewrite the movie to include boobs and laser pistols, he would give you Forbidden World.

The movie starts with a Power Ranger looking robot defrosting some guy named Commander Cody from deep stasis sleep so he can defend their spaceship in an outer space laser battle. Cody is a scruffy anti-hero; he makes some wise cracks, stumbles groggily to the control booth, and performs some evasive/laser action that will make you have an epileptic seizure.

Surprise: he rescues the ship all nonchalantly and fucking blasts off into hyper space like a smirking badass.

Cody is summoned to a deep space research vessel to help some scientists contain a mutagenic organism that is loose on the ship. The scientists, two babes and four douche bags, claim the organism has a metabolic rate “fifty times faster than any known organism on Earth.” Wouldn’t that mean it would need to eat like every fucking five minutes or die? Before you can even fathom that mystery, you have to divert your attention to the plagiarism avalanche headed your way.

Check it out Alien fans: the mutant first appears in a cocoon state until it suddenly hatches and launches a face-hugging assault on some dude’s – who looks like Emilio Estavez – skull. Estavez spasms gruesomely and his body is slowly dissolved by the mutant’s digestive enzymes. The mutant, then small in size, travels the ship slaughtering personnel and rapidly growing in size until it looks EXACTLY LIKE THE FUCKING ALIEN FROM GODDAMN FUCKING ALIEN mixed with the man-eating plant from Little Shop of Horrors. They use motion-sensor based radar to track the mutant while aboard the ship.

Cody finds time to bang the babe scientists (in two separate scenes). There is Carpenter-esque synth music the whole time. The women take a shower together for some reason.

There is a really strange scene where the mutant “patches” itself into the ship’s computer system. It just sits in the control room for like half an hour and they are afraid to kill it because then it might initiate a self-destruct on the ship or cut off the oxygen supply. One of the babes logs into a computer and FUCKING CHATS with the mutant! They type back and forth with each other and the mutant triggers the ship’s PA to play a very lame 1980’s sounding synth-rock song just for her. Then it suddenly disengages and continues its killing spree.

In the end, Cody performs stomach surgery on a scientist and removes a volleyball sized tumor which he makes the mutant eat. The mutant pukes a bunch and is defeated. The audience pukes a bunch and is defeated.

The makeup effects for gore were pretty good. Everything else: not so good.

REVIEW: Big Bad Wolf (2006)

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Big Bad Wolf: B-

Surprisingly non terrible werewolf movie that actually had a semi interesting mystery, and a somewhat different take on the classic horror beast. Trevor is kind of a nerd who for some reason hangs out with the cool kids. One weekend Trevor tries to impress the dudes he is hanging out with and steals the keys to his mean stepdad’s cabin so they can party there. However once the party gets rolling, a lewd, surprisingly well done werewolf appears and kills everybody except Trevor and his punk rock girlfriend. Once they are back in town Trevor and his chick start to suspect that Trevor’s stepdad may be responsible for the killings by realizing that he is “on a business meeting” every full moon.

From here the mystery unfolds as the stepdad continues to transform into a werewolf once every 12 minutes or so, to tear off a head or gash open a neck. The kills in this movie were surprisingly well done as decapitations of limbs and heads is the main vehicle for demise. We also get several shots of very nice boobs and some hilarity as the werewolf spews one liners such as “Are you ready for some bestiality!?!”

Overall a solid horror film as the piss-poor acting was thankfully over shadowed by a good pace, and some good gore.

 

REVIEW: Monsters University (2013)

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Monsters University:  A

You know that scene in The Silence of the Lambs where Jodi Foster and a bunch of guys check out the dead body of one of Buffalo Bill’s victims?  Remember how they put some sort of white stuff under their noses, presumably to mask the smell of rotting flesh?  Well, before you go see Monsters University, find out what that stuff is and rub a ton of it under your nose, ’cause you’re gonna need it.  Why?  Because everybody in the theater, to a person, will shit himself or herself in absolute terror, and you don’t want to smell that, because then you’d probably barf, and then you’d also have to deal with the smell of barf.  You might also want to look into getting some adult diapers, but that depends on your tolerance of how much shit can be in your pants.

This isn’t terrifying in your usual horror movie fashion.  It’s not about sudden shocks and gore.  It’s just that it creates a very real, plausible explanation as to why we are frightened.  If there are monsters, then why is the evidence of them so scarce?  It’s because they live in a different dimension, and they only come into ours for the sole purpose of scaring us.

Their devotion to frightening people is so fervent that they even have educational institutions that promote the psychological torment of the human race.  And what’s worse, they deliberately go for the children.  As a parent, I can tell you that I seethed with anger when I was watching this.  Isn’t it bad enough that I have Michelle Obama trying to tell my kid what to eat?  Do I really need monsters giving them psychological trauma?

The story follows one monster, a gruesome cyclopian ball named Mike, as he goes through a program to learn how to be a “scarer”, while the whole time he is casually indifferent to the plight of the children he hopes to permanently damage.  Why is his name something so simple like Mike?  To remind us of the banality of evil.

I only recommend this movie if you can completely separate yourself from what the fictional, although completely believable, world that’s created.  Whatever you do, don’t be like the morons who brought their kids to see this.  Seriously, there was a two-year-old sitting right next to me.  He was so disturbed by it that he called me “Daddy”.  Sure, he looked like he was really entertained by it, and so did the adults, but I know the truth.

REVIEW: Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan (2013)

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Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan: D-

Jesus, what a mountain of garbage. It has the special effects worse than a straight-to-DVD Nickelodeon feature and the acting is so overdone and pompous, it makes the crew from Alien Seed look like five star thespians. It’s got Grizz Adams, who somehow looks better than he did 20 years ago, and Joe Estevez, Charlie Sheen’s homeless looking (and probably homeless) uncle.

Grizz Adams and some other 19th century lumberjacks murder Babe the god-awful-looking-CGI-Blue-Ox, inciting the wrath of Paul Bunyan, who isn’t a giant lumberjack but rather, a developmentally challenged, murderous lumberjack. He kills everyone with his axe and feeds Grizz’s face to a giant table saw. Most of the gore is flamboyant CGI that explodes with the velocity of a cartoon.

Anyway, Paul Bunyan flees to the mountains where he inexplicably grows to 25 feet tall and enjoys apparent eternal life as a now cave troll looking Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers villain type of evil lumberjack. Joe Estevez tells you all this as the “wise elder” character while he pockets catering and prop bread from the set. Poor guy.

Now you have to believe some other crazy shit: The state has a new program for first offenders where they can forgo prison and instead, go to a summer/prison camp rehabilitation program run by a social worker who looks like she used to star in mom porn and a police sergeant who acts like someone’s mean stepdad. The felons have committed a range of crimes and they are all young and/or nubile chumps ready to be axed by PB. They get to bring their cell phones and roast marshmallows despite the fact that they have stolen millions of dollars or assaulted police officers.

Some “plot” rolls out and then the axing begins. Real unoriginal kills. One guy is chopped in half horizontally. Another character is chopped in half vertically. Heads are chopped off etc. There’s a car chase scene with some ugly special effects. Paul Bunyan chases a truck on foot, roaring and moaning like a mummy. He is either shown as a guy in a costume in front of a pathetically obvious green screen or some screen-saver looking CGI. I don’t know which was worse.

A militia of rednecks show up and save the day and they hit you with the credits before you have time to yawn again. Pretty funny to watch with friends. Pretty awful that it exists.