Episode 69 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

or “Shittin’ On the Schlock of the Bay”

Featuring: Megan “Jennifer’s Body” Fox , William “’Prison Break‘” Fitchner , Will “The Brothers Solomon” Forte

Director: Jonathan “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: the Beginning” Liebesman

Writers: Josh “Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol” Applebaum , Andre “Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol” Nemec , Evan “Snow White and the Huntsman” Daugherty

Origin: USA


“Tonight I dine on turtle soup.”

Once again it’s that time to give thanks, at least here in the US of A (not to be confused with the US of ‘Eh’ – Canada), as we Tetris our guts so full of food that they make Cambodian mass graves look roomy! It also means it’s time again for the ToA to carry on the classic “MST3K” Turkey Day tradition… though the whole concept’s kinda been made redundant since Joel Hodgson’s resurrected the actual Turkey Day marathonal celebration thing online, coincidentally enough on the SAME year I started my homage… thanks, Joel… lovable, fan appreciating, son of a Mad! Last year’s Thankskilling took the “Turkey” theme literally, but this year I’m taking the Day back to its intended “shitty movie” definition. You know what shares its first three letters with “turkey”? Turtles. You know what else starts with t-u-r? Turd. It’s kismet.

Last year I was walking to the chainsaw store and noticed a bird fly out of a tree. I was directly beneath the feathered fucker’s flight path, and had the nigh-psychic inclination of “I think this bird’s going to shit on me”. Sure enough, a discharge of sphincter napalm caught the light of the waning sun as I watched. Rather than step aside, I remained in that spot and watched that rectal blockbuster for the full extent of its descent until it finally ended up on my “I (CHUD face) NY” shirt. The moral of this story? I’m not the type of guy who steps aside when the Crap Express comes barreling towards me. I knew Michael Bay’s latest molestation of ’80s pop culture would knock on my door sooner or later. Rather than turn off the lights and pretend I wasn’t home, I downed a double shot of Rot Gut, snorted a scoop of Country Time Lemonade, and opened that door with my eyes open, my ears back, and my fists clenched. Now, the hunter becomes the hunted. Make peace with your gods and give thanks for the ass-kicking thou art about to receive! Booker T, take it!

As per Ape Tomb Law, not only am I not allowed to spoil major story moments, but I’m also required to watch every movie I review at least twice. I had to watch the RiffTrax version to stomach said second sit-through without resorting to smashing my hands with a hammer so I’d have an excuse not to type this. Also, on a final pre-show note, I have a very rare form of Tourette’s that only activates when I’m subjected to conservative republicans or any movie associated with Michael Bay. So, you know, be ready for me to degenerate into random bouts of bad word Pu Pu Platter the likes of which would give everyone around the dinner table a Turkey Day coronary.

The big controversies leading up to the release of this Steamin’ Mimi had TMNT fans (like myself) in an uproar. For appetizers, it’s a product of Michael Bay’s diseased digestive system, Platinum Dunes. For soup/salad, they cast Megan “all the range of a wax statue” Fox as April O’Neil. For the entree, the cold-blooded brothers are ‘roided up goliaths whose gargantuan frames aren’t exactly well suited for the stealthiness of Ninjutsu. And for dessert? Bay made the mistake of saying something to the tune of the titular terrapins being aliens now instead of mutants, which immediately turned into a terminal case of butthurt for nearly the entire pre-installed fanbase that these shit twizzling fuck blanket dick tits probably should’ve been at least trying to appeal to!

After the fallout from his comments though, BMMB (Bowel Movement Michael Bay) backtracked to clarify that he never said the half-shelled heroes would be aliens, just that their origins would be alien in nature, meaning they were either going to be the product of alien experimentation (like Marvel’s Eternals) or the method of their mutation was going to be extraterrestrial (i.e. mutagen is E.T. Jizz). Bay’s misremembrance of history’s not entirely true though, as one of the early drafts of the script reportedly did have the turtles as aliens who escape from a Dimension X prison, but was changed following the shitstorm backlash when fans got wind of it. The same thing happened when the movie’s title was originally announced as just “Ninja Turtles”, but was changed to include the entire moniker when, again, fans drowned the production in geek rage. You can tell by the lazy way “Teenage Mutant” is squeezed in above “NINJA TURTLES” in the title logo that someone was being passive-aggressive about acquiescing.

The aliens fuck up was enough that plenty of people to this day still believe that the turtles ended up being HGH fed Spaced Invaders and thus refuse to sit through this movie. Lucky them. As much as I loathe this worst kind of schlock, I make it a note to point out the truth to these misinformed people when I can. If this crapscapade flick’s going to be shit on and/or avoided, it shouldn’t be due to misconceptions, but because of how legitimately terrible it is. I’m a vindictive asshole of a human being, but a fair and balanced jackal-headed God of Death.

The movie opens with an extreme Fruit Ninja montage, as various items ranging from fruits to cinder blocks to VHS tapes are smashed and slashed out of the air by four very familiar ninja weapons. Who’s swinging them isn’t made bluntly apparent (though you might wanna check yourself against the DSM-4 and make sure you haven’t crossed over the Retard Town city limits), but said destruction of otherwise innocent inanimate objects is narrated by Tony Shalhoub, who most will remember of “Monk” fame, but whom I prefer to remember from “Wings”. Fuck you, I liked “Wings”. At least until Michael Bay remade it as Pearl Harbor. You didn’t know? Would I lie to you? Probably. Doesn’t make my statement any less true though.

Anyway, we’ll get back to Shalhoub-job later. Our story begins with April O’Neil (Megan “Not nearly as smart as a” Fox). She’s a news reporter for New York City’s Channel 6 (apparently the only channel in NYC without a broadcast affiliate or call letters) who laments that her 4 years in journalism college resulted in her covering morning news bullshit stories like how to do old person jumping jacks on a trampoline (don’t get excited, kids, this isn’t “The Man Show”) as taught by a guy who says that there’s no such thing as fat birds. Look up “fat birds” in the search engine of your choice and you’ll see this man clearly enjoys shoving his head up his own ass like some freakish M.C. Escher ostrich.

All she’s given are fluff pieces. Fluffy on the kind of level where you’d have to put a Himilayan-Persian in an industrial sized dryer for an hour to get something of similar fluffiness… though actually doing that would result in something far gruesomer, but you get the intended idea. Since her boss Bernadette (Whoopi “cushion” Goldberg) won’t give her a chance to prove herself as a hard boiled investigative reporter, April goes in search of trouble herself, determined to get to the bottom of the recent theft of some rare chemicals from a shipping dock at the piers. In doing so, she witnesses another burgling at the same pier by shadowy militant figures known as The Foot Clan, led by an Asian woman (Minae Noji). Their deeds of misappropriation are broken up this time by a shadowier figure who batters the baddies into retreat using the giant shipping containers (is this guy The Hulk?!) before Batmaning away into the night, leaving a Japanese kanji graffitoed onto one of the shipping containers. Miss O’Neil nabs a pic of the hero’s calling card as her solitary piece of proof, and is laughed out of the office when she goes into work the next day with the story.

If Whoopi ever gave me back sass for anything, I’d just return fire with “Sit down, Theodore Rex!” and watch her curl up into a ball on the floor. Little known fact – that’s one of her Manchurian Candidate trigger words. You don’t wanna know what she does when you say “Jumping Jack Flash”.

And the wind whispered “Boooyaaaaaaaaaaaaaah”.

Tagging along with April is her cameraman sidekick Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett), who tries to get the headstrong lass to be more like Eric Idle and always look on the bright side of life. He’s happy just following her around with his camera and awkwardly trying to flirt with her while she desperately struggles to convey emotion and interest as her job requires. For those familiar with the name, Vern Classic was a staple of the original animated series, but as a professional rival for the original be-jumpsuited April, always trying to sabotage her and steal her big stories for himself. Speaking of that banana suit, see the pic below for those ’90s TMNT fans who always wanted their animated dreams made flesh. Shwing! Anyway, I love Will Arnett like a wacky uncle (not the one who always wanted to “tickle” you as a kid…), but I think he would’ve been perfect as antagonist Vernon more so than the chummy optimist he is here. Ever seen Hot Rod? No? Watch it. That is the Will Arnett character I wanted to see as one Mr. Fenwick. Besides, it would’ve worked way better for the “older creep hitting on the younger woman” dynamic. Then again, making the older guy perv on Megan Fox was probably another one of Bay’s ideas. Art imitating life and all that.

(Porn actress April O’Neil cosplaying as her namesake!)

Pissed by the shadowed avenger’s intrusion into their scheme, the Feet are ordered by their master (a bald Japanese man whose face is covered in scars) to lay a trap for their antagonistic nightcrawler with innocent civilians as bait. Taking a group of hostages in a subway station (including April, whose nose butting inning may cost her this time… though I betcha it won’t), the heavily armed ninja commando squad hold everyone at gunpoint, line the walls with explosives, and call out to their foe, who Karai (the Asian lady ninja from before) knows is “out there”. First, how exactly does she know they’re “out there” playing audience to this random act of terrorism? Second, if “Heavily Armed Ninja Commando Squad” isn’t already the name of something related to G.I. Joe, I’d be very shocked. Cobra Shock Trooper shocked, even.

Naturally, before Kar-Bear can put a bullet through Miss O’Neil’s wooden face for taking pics with her cell phone, four hulking humanoid martial arts kappa (not nearly as catchy a name) swing in courtesy of a conveniently passing express train. These amphibian vigilantes (amphibilantes?) dismantle the trained assassins with so much ease that I’m at a loss for a word to describes something easier than “ease”. Then, just as quickly as they appeared, the midgetine Gameras escape through a similarly convenient construction tube thingy as the dozen or so eyewitnesses who eyewitnessed them try to figure out what the fuck they just saw, rather than running above ground to call 911. Not April though. She hoofs it up a fire escape to the roof of the building the yellow tube is connected to and finds the quartet of so-called ninjas LOUDLY SHOUTING about their accomplishment during a mutual back patting party. “Like shadows in the night” my hairy ebony ass.

They snag the she-peeper and try to intimidate her into forgetting about them, which is hard to do when one of them keeps saying creepy inter-species Jersey Shore scumbag stuff like “She’s so hot I can feel my shell tightening”. Holy shit eating fuck chunder cunt blister cock monkey whore cheese! I’m a skeez, and that shit made me gag! April faints (not a good thing to do around a guy who keeps talking about how much he wants to excavate your womb with his salmonella stick), then comes to with the four hovering over her like aliens prepping an abductee for a poop chute probing. They introduce themselves together as ninja mutant turtle teenagers (“who can still have adult conversations”… VOMIT! BARF! SPEW!), and individually as Leonardo (voiced by Johnny Knoxville… because when you think “I need a hero!”, the first person that comes to mind to provide their voice box is the lead of Jackass), Donatello (vb Jeremy Howard), Raphael (vb Alan Ritchson), and the group’s sexual predator, Michelangelo (vb Noel Fisher). They all have their traditional personalities – Leo is the responsible big brother, Raph is the rebellious a-hole with a chip on his shoulder, Donnie is the DIY tech savant, and Mikey, is it true that you’re the funny one? “Yes. Yes it is… Now somebody watch me while masturbate or I won’t be able to cum!”

Remember those racist stereotype Transformers that got Bay into a boiling cauldron of shit during one of the sequels? Turns out Michaelangelo was originally supposed to wear a big gold chain and be played up as a more “urban” (i.e. what white Hollywood calls the black inner city stereotype) character before outrage over said racial insensitivity forced yet another revamp of the script, giving the doofus back his traditional “Cowabunga, dudes!” gnarly surfer-dude persona. So, due to the outrage of the fans (and people who just don’t like racist schtick!), my spirit turtle went from hip-hop back to flip-flops. Bravo.

When April catches their monikers, it’s like someone finally turned the lights on in the vacant office that is her brain. From here, you’re better left to just turn the friggin’ thing off and walk away. Save yourself the needless loss of brain cells for something more fulfilling, like drinking paint thinner. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it! Without spoiling too much of the 3ft deep pool of turtle turds we’re led through, I’ll give you the “childproof safety cap” version. You’re welcome.

This version of the Turtles’ origin reads like so: the four reptiles and their furry Mr. Miyagi were all guinea pigs in a science lab seeking to utilize a green mutagenic liquid purported to have been from outer space. Titled “Project: Renaissance”, the shelled ones were named after noted artists of the Italian Renaissance period. The rat was named Splinter… for no fucking reason either. Probably because the script monkeys wrote themselves into a corner and figured “Fuck it. Nobody’s gonna care that his name makes no sense, so just go with it”. Prior to its destruction from a mysterious fire, the lab was run by a guy named Eric “nut” Sacks (William Fichtner). In the years since, Sacky has become the head of the self-titled Sacks Industries and a darling son of NYC, meaning he’s in good with the NYPD, the mayor, and probably hunts homeless illegal immigrants with Donald Trump at a private upstate lodge on alternate weekends. Given his high social status and engorged bank account, naturally he’s going to be the Lex Luthor of the movie. Or at least a four-color Gordon Gekko. There’s no spoiler in that, because if you didn’t already figure that part out then you’re either a 4 year-old or you’re a member of the GOP who’s too preoccupied with being sad that Sacks isn’t a real person whose member you could massage with your uvula in exchange for a new Super PAC.

Amidst the blaze, the quintet were saved from their tank and ended up in the sewers. There, the mutagen in their system caused them to gradually grow into their current humanoid bohemoth forms. Splinter knew that the misfit siblings would be ridiculed by society for their appearance (and their rancid sewage b.o. doesn’t help that), so he sought to teach them how to defend themselves physically, hopefully also instilling them with the emotional confidence to execute the “sticks and stones” defense. To this end, Splints discovered a martial arts training manual amid the refuse of their surroundings, and taught himself the ways of armed and unarmed combat before passing that knowledge and skill on to his “sons”… and making them wear masks just because.

It was the blind leading the blind, and all it took was a shit smeared book to become good enough to defeat an army of killers personally trained by the deadliest assassin in the world (Shredder) and wielding the deadliest in military grade munitions?! Fuck you. Though, to be fair, the Foot here are little more than masked guys who probably answered a wanted ad in the back of Soldier of Fortune, but still. Anyway, despite their huge lumbering frames, the Turts can flip through the air like Tony Jaa… and although he learned his own fighting prowess at about the same pace as he in turn taught them, Splinter is still somehow miles ahead of them… Maybe it’s his tail? That thing doesn’t operate like an actual rat’s tail with bones and cartilage, but instead like a squid’s tentacle (one long muscle) that can grasp things and bend like a contortionist in a Russian circus act. Given that classic mutagen was always explained as transforming any living thing it touched into an amalgamation of said living thing and the last other-species thing it came in contact with, maybe somebody in the lab fed Splinter their leftover calamari from lunch the same day of his last injections? Shhhyeah! And maybe the Wicked Witch of the West’s winged monkey bellhops will fly out of my butt! *BLART*

In case you missed this amid the rest of this toxic waste spill of a story, allow me to bring another important notion to your attention: Splinter is just a lab rat. Not the pet of Shredder’s rival, Hamato Yoshi. Not Hamato Yoshi himself. Just a lab rat. Thus he has ZERO connection with the main villain. What he does have though, as our writers expect us to swallow like we’re virgins on prom night, is an extensive knowledge of Shredhead, including his dealings as the most dangerous and powerful criminal in the Far East, and his unmatched lethality when it comes to combat… FOR. NO. REASON.

I want to punch a hole in my screen just typing that! Seriously, if somebody doesn’t “split the uprights” of whomever okayed this all-you-can-eat dookie buffet with a pair of steel-toed boots with knives duct taped to the end of them, I will have lost faith in karma as a universal force for justice. I will piss in the cosmic cereal bowl.

The rest of the run time is spent on your basic good guys vs. bad guys stuff. Shredder has a plan to murder all of New York with a poisonous gas, the Turtles fight him (and his hugely retarded, errr “developmentally challenged” made-from-Decepticon-remains cyber battle juggernaut armor) until they lose, they fight him again until they win, lone-wolf Raph learns the meaning of Christmas family, the day is saved, and every law of physics is brutalized beyond repair along the way. You know, paint-by-numbers stuff, only the numbers are a Chinese alphabet soup taken from a dozen different dialects and the paint is just an assortment of fluids drawn from the body pit that opens Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. Shit cunt twat snot ball sweat taint sucking hairy asshole slut farm discharge.

Michael Bay. I know he didn’t direct it, since you can actually SEE what’s going on during action sequences (at least there’s that, so thank you Jon Liebsman). Nor did he write it, because I doubt he would’ve bothered to put in all of the little fan service winks we did get (at least there’s also that, so thank you, 3 guys whose names I don’t want to re-type). Alas, as the increasingly punch worthy face of Platinum Dunes, I personally hold every man-made pox they introduce into the populace over his head. Between this, what he’s done to the Transformers franchise, and all of the merit-less horror remakes sifted from the Dunes like so much cat shit from a litter box in the last 15 years, I’m declaring Michael Bay the new Uwe Boll.

Cue The Who – “Meet the new Boll, same as the old Boll. Circling the toilet bowl, fans want him cornholed.”

My thanks to the Evil Dead Bride for influencing the second half of that little musical interlude. Boom goes the dynamite.

Rather than make his own movies with his own ideas (Intergalactic prison break movie? I’d watch that. Guardians of the Galaxy and all.), Bay instead gets the rights to make movies based on pre-existing franchises, then helicopters his lily white pecker in the faces of the fans of those franchises by projecting his own ideas onto said established properties. He’s the grand champion of fixing what ain’t broken. And he does it simply because he’s a petty cunt who wants to ruin the things that other people love. The ’80s must’ve been some of his darkest years too, since the victims of his cinematic rap sheet are some to the few bright spots of the Reaganomics era.

Bay’s more dangerous than Boll though, because he’s got enough financial backing to hire entire teams to gangbang these beloved properties for him, and because he can afford to buy the rights to ANY franchise he wants… that isn’t already owned by Disney or Warner Bros.

As I’m always open to others’ opinions, when I mentioned which movie I was reviewing for Turkey Day, this was the unprompted response by my friend, Ashley –
“There are a lot of things that the phrase, ‘Well, you gotta just accept it for what it is’ that I’m more than happy to accept for what they are. If you make a TMNT movie and don’t stay true to the story, I MIGHT be able to accept that. HOWEVER, if you do so then make the characters, their personalities, and their voices SO LAME, and then don’t at LEAST put in Ken Watanabe (that’s right, I know him, without Google) as the voice for a JAPANESE character, and you use a JEWISH MAN, I’ll spit on it and call it shit cuz you’re kidding yourself, buddy.”

A valid point (except for the part about Tony Shaloub being Jewish, which he’s not) from a fellow fan who’s also been there from the days of “Hot Rodding Teenagers from Dimension X” and “The Case of the Killer Pizzas”. For fuck’s sake this movie is the worst incarnation of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s source material I’ve ever seen, and that includes “The Next Mutation”! I’m not saying that things should have stayed 100% faithful to the material, because you’ll never be able to pander to all of the fans, be they of the original comic books, the current comic books, the original cartoon, the movies, etc. Trying to please everyone is a peril best evaded. The number one rule of comedy is to use humor you think is funny, not what you think others will laugh at… hence why no one else reads these reviews. But that’s comedy. When you’re making an adaptation of someone else’s creation, that you’re exploiting for its name alone and you decide to use your own junior high fanfic for the script? No. You’re a tit face dick snot apple cunt soft serve shit twister!

Though Eastman and Laird did ask fans not to pop a squat all over the whole “now they’re extraterrestrial expatriates” garbage and reserve their judgment until seeing the movie for themselves. Not something that the internet does, but at least the two said something. Then again, if Platinum Dunes threw a bunch of money at me to make The Tomb of Anubis into a feature, I’d sell out faster than a heartbeat, tell the fans to get the fuck over themselves, then just live the rest of my life in hiding so no one could track me down and verbally dick punch me. Not that I have fans anyway, but never let facts get in the way of a good story. Did I ever tell you about the time I tried to stab a family member and the only thing that saved them from total evisceration was their big belt buckle?

Watching this blue waffle (Google it, I dare ya!) of a flick for me had to be an experience tantamount to what Neil Degrass Tyson would suffer through while watching Space Mutiny or Star Odyssey. Wouldn’t be surprised to get a CAT scan after this and find out I had at least one moderate stroke from watching it twice. The prospect of ever having to do so again makes me want to slam my dick in a car door instead, in the most lopsided round of “Would You Rather” I think I’ve ever been presented with. Damn it, I could’ve watched Sexual Parasite instead of this movie. Shit, I could be getting a sexual parasite right now instead of typing this review!

Given all of the other “reworking” of the characters and their origins, it would also make sense to rework the initials from TMNT to HIV while we’re at it, because watching this garbage made me feel sick. Very very very sick. Like I’ve got some of that Charlie Sheen “tiger blood”… which it turns out is just HIV. It’s fitting that this is the 69th episode of the Neo-Tomb run though, because watching this shit cASSerole ruined TMNT for me the same way that deviant art of Raphael and Leonardo “making the Sign of Cancer” (i.e. mouth-fucking each other) stabbed my inner child in the spine with a sharpened broom handle.

The really obnoxious part about TMNT is that despite all of the fan demands that Bay and his co-conspirators gave into, the end result still came out a loaded diaper of poo stew! Once it was all over, I was left perversely wishing once more for that alternate dimension I’m always referencing where the various “what if…” versions of movies were actually made. In this case, my dream version of TeenBay MutBay NinjBay TurtBays consists of telling the loyal franchise followers to fuck themselves furiously by sticking with the initial script! I want every stupid idea laid bare so the budgetary blockbuster blumpkin pies itself so bad that their world’s Platinum Dunes is crippled beyond the point of recovery. Mayhem breaks out in the streets, the world is consumed in the flames and fallout of fan rage, and their George Carlin (who’s gifted with Nick Fury’s Inifinty Formula) just sits back on his observation deck high atop the Carlin Helicarrier and gets high off of the chaos.

And what better mental image to part company on after enduring this ball gobble-gobbler. Happy Thanksgiving, folks!

Moral of the Story: I’m too engorged on turkey THC right now, so I’ll let Parker and Stone take this one. Sorry about the quality. It’s the best version I could find that included everything I wanted without requiring you to sign up for something.


A rarely seen 1991 commercial promoting LaserDiscs as a superior entertainment format. The same advertising firm was hired to create ads for HD-DVD, much to the same success…

See? Told you this scene wasn’t as fun as it sounded.

An unfortunately perfect screen shot that makes the case against female actors deserving equal pay.

Megan Fox poses for her celebrity Real Doll. I prefer the Sasha Grey model, myself. It’s just as hot but lets you do a lot more to her for a tenth of the cost!

This is why you don’t shave your head with a straight razor after 17 cans of Four Loko.

And there she is! Just like the can says!

Robert Downey Jr.’s character from Tropic Thunder went full retard and kidnapped Not Sasha Grey!

Did I miss the part in ancient Japanese history where ninjas wore old bamboo window blinds on their chests?

Shit. Father Time’s been a motherfucker to poor Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq-Fu can’t save you from the ravages of age, Sir.

You know what makes this image all the more horrifying? Michelangelo’s dick is probably rubbing against the back of the head of whomever is underneath him. Think about it. No, really, think about it. Don’t stop thinking about it. See it in your nightmares. SHARE MY PAIN!

Awwww! This movie is now the greatest film ever made! Look at baby Gamera! Eeeeeeee!

Whoopi Goldberg reacts to Ted Danson’s proposal to reunite for Made in America 2.

“Pizza Rat ain’t got shit on ME! That’s right! That’s right!”

If you think this looks absurd, the salesman tried to upgrade him to the DELUXE model. That includes an air conditioner, microwave, power sun roof, can opener, and two massive cork screws that pop out of the elbows.

“Oh no you don’t, you reject from a Food of the Gods sequel! You know that ‘better mousetrap’ everyone’s always trying to build? That’s me.”

April found the last functional payphone in New York City! Clear out your desk, Lara Croft, cuz we just found our new Tomb Raider!

And here we have unused concept art for one of Michael Bay’s “lost” Decepticons, Crappatron.

“God damn it, Bay! I told you I wanted BLUE Slush Puppies in my dressing room, not this green swill! Read my fucking contract!”

After proving his point that turtle farts are indeed highly flammable, Vernon never doubted Donatello again.


Anubis will return next time in
“Another ‘Slice of (After)Life’ Story”

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Episode 68 – Pizza (2012)

or “Life of Pi(e)”

Featuring: Vijay “Sundara” Sethupathi , Namya “Chocolate” Nambeeshan , Aadukalam “Moogamudi” Naren

Writer & Director: Karthik “Jigarthanda” Subbaraj

Origin: India

Sequel: Pizza II: Villa


“The most dangerous ghosts in the world are still alive.”

Maybe it’s just the casual racist in me (“casual” as opposed to “malicious”, so it’s okay), but I wouldn’t have expected a movie from India to be called “Pizza”. If anything, I would’ve thought something like “Curry” or “Vindaloo” or “Tikka Masala” to be more apropos. Oh well. So goes my Western ignorance. Speaking of India…

We all know about the rampant sacred cows strolling the streets carefree and careless, or the infamous “people piss and shit anywhere and everywhere” stuff, but did you know India is the largest democracy in the world? Well, it is. Did you know it exists in its own time zone? Well, it does. Did you know it’s the second most populous country in the world, but only the seventh largest? Yeah, if you thought Mexican stereotypes were the champions of “clown car apartment housing”, then you’ve clearly never been to India… not that I have either, but, shut up. In 2001, a Hindu religious festival called the Kumbh Mela (“Grand Pitcher Festival”) had 60 million attendees, breaking the world record for “largest gathering”! You could see the massive get-together FROM SPACE.

India is also the birthplace of chess (or “nerd checkers” if you’re the type whose respiration is an entirely oral process…and you didn’t understand what the Fuddruckers I just said there), spun and woven cotton, the decimal system, use of zero as a number, plastic surgery, Mohandas “Mahatma” Ghandi, and the following religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. It’s also the largest producer of dried beans, bananas, milk, and tea. The Himalaya Mountains (which are growing 2.5 centimeters a year!) and the Taj Mahal call the country home, as do the temples of Khajuraho. A major tourism magnet, said temples are (in)famous for their explicit erotic sculptures that portray a litany of sexual acts, including some that portray beastiality. Though I’ve never been, as a half-man half-dog god, I know where I’m going on my next honeymoon!

Now for some *dramatic pause* tales statistics from the dark side (cue the “Tales From the Darkside” theme). India has the world’s largest murder rate, at over 40,000 per year. Sounds scary, but when you’re the second largest population in the world, 40k is a drop in the bucket (of blood). As for how all those bodies are disposed of, in order to avoid polluting the air, ground, and water, a common practice is to leave bodies in buildings called “Towers of Silence”, where vultures feed on the decaying remains. The bones left behind are then swept into deep wells at the center of the structures. Somebody needs to make a fucking slasher movie set in one of these corpse campaniles toot damn sweet!

In 2012, there were as many as 7 million abortions performed in India. That number doesn’t disturb me, as I whole-heartedly advocate for abortions. Not just because of the whole “pro-choice” thing, but because I’ve been all in on the “pro-death” kick since high school! I endorse free rides on the coat hanger express for every baby-to-be! Sure, you could be snuffing out the person who unites the world under a banner of peace, but you could also be saving the world from the instigator of a global holocaust. Think about it. Where was I? Oh yeah, it’s not the 7 million abortions that I don’t like, it’s the “one woman every two hours” death statistic that comes with 65% of these being done in unauthorized, unsanitary facilities that bums me out. That and India’s unfortunately high rate of female fetus abortions at that. Silver lining? Maybe after a few generations of “gendercide” they’ll make a dent in their overpopulation. We see how that’s working out for China.

Okay. Okay. Enough killing the mood. I won’t even get into the “Delhi Belly” epidemic (hint: it’s a mudslide of a topic). Let’s just scrounge the couch cushions for loose change and see if we can’t afford to order some Pizza!

For anyone wondering if this is a musical, given its birth nation, it is not. Musicals are Bollywood stuff. Pizza was an independent movie, so no singing and dancing to be had here. It was a massive success for its meager origins too, and in the 3 short years since its release, it’s spawned an immediate follow-up and several remakes, including (reportedly) an American knock-off on the horizon! More on that later though. For now, let’s have a tale of life, love, tragedy, torment, and Chicken Supreme pizzas.

Michael (Vijay Sethupathi) and Anu (Namy Nambeeshan) are a young, carefree couple who haven’t yet been together long enough to want to kill each other every minute they’re in the same room. Instead, they just nag and pick at each other. Ah, young love. Living in a small apartment, she works on writing a ghost novel and watches horror movies all day (my kinda lady!) while he’s a delivery boy at a pizza place called PitStop. I say “boy”, but not in the literal sense (or the racist sense…nor the Tall Man sense), as this dude’s got a headstart on some serious facial mane. The pair’s comfortable little existence living off of Anu’s passed parents’ insurance pitance is plunging toward its own inevitable demise, because she just found out she’s hosting a parasite. Or “pregnant”, as such an infection is more commonly referred to by those less infanticidal than myself. After those abortions stats I listed earlier, you can understand why she’s so upset by the prospect when she breaks the news to her husband. That’s a piping hot bowl of scary curry for any unprepared pair to be presented with, let alone a pair already desperately clinging to the poverty line.

‘Nu insists on nurturing the uterine leech, despite her own misgivings about their being able to handle the responsibility. Rather than throw her down some stairs (I think it’s a few months early for that anyway) or spend the rest of his life on the run from the child support police, Mike makes Spike Lee proud and does the right thing – he stays. Not only does he stay, but they agree that they need to be married before this hell-beast is torn screaming from her spawn hole. Since they’re light on rupees, the two decide to just have an at-home ceremony alone sans friends or any sort of officiate, where they exchange rings and half-assed vows (does that count for a legally binding union in India?!), agreeing to save up their money for a nice party later on. Their DIY nuptials are followed by a romantic montage of sitcom-esque “couple moments” they share. Cue the canned audience “awwwww” sound.

After telling everyone at work the big news, Mike’s sent to his boss Shanmugam’s (Aadukalam Naren) house to deliver some paperwork to Mrs. Boss. When he rings the bell though, their daughter Periya answers the door…while screaming and flailing and generally freaking the fuck out! Several people take her away while Mrs. Boss tells Mikey to go fetch her mustachioed mate toot sweet. Per may be feral, or she may just have mistaken our brotagonist for a Jehovah’s Witness or a political advocate. You can only take those bung weasels banging on your door so much before your switch flips to “I’m going to beat your head in with a claw hammer!” Turns out it’s none of this though, because the maniacal teen is actually possessed by a spirit calling itself “Nithya”! Yep, she’s doin’ the Regan MacNeil Bop. Actually, given the setting, I guess it’d be more on point to call it the Regan MacNeil Kuchipudi…not to be confused with the Regan MacNeil cooch, which is where Linda Blair went to 3rd base with her lord and savior.

Boss’s spiritual guru Raghavan (Karunakaran – that’s it, just one name on this guy) takes over and Mikey hangs around to watch the freakshow until Periya gives him a death stare and spooks his balls off. Raggy insists that the squatter spirit is doing this out of revenge for some unknown slight that Shan must’ve committed against the ghost in life, but boss man denies any wrong doing…except that he keeps getting this look on his face like he’s clearly lying and probably ran this Nithya girl over with his car or never paid her for some Girl Scout cookies he ordered. He sends Michael home, asking that he not tell anyone about what he’s just seen. Naturally, he runs home and tells Anu all about it. Great. Don’t ever give this guy incriminating evidence of any kind, cuz his lips are looser than a hypertrophic labia!

Google it. Or don’t, if you’re a pussy. Or are afraid of pussy. Pussy.

Anu doesn’t exactly feel bad for her mate, though. Not because she lacks sympathy, but because chicks dig irony and she just told his skeptic ass that he was going to have his face-to-face with the supernatural someday. Thus, she spends the next few days “BOO!”ing the tar out of the guy at every opportunity as a torturous “I told you so”. You know your spouse really cares about you when they mock your trauma by abusing your PTSD. Of all the times to hate it when your partner’s right, this is probably one of the worst. Right up there with “I don’t think you should have given that person your social security number.” and “You shouldn’t go up on the roof to mess with the satellite dish, because you’ll probably break your neck.” People, learn to listen to your significant other. Especially if you have a blighted track record of personal decision making on par with the father of an animated sitcom family.

One night, before he’s sent out on a delivery, Shanny requests that Mike stop by Chateu le Boss again, this time to drop off a box of candy. Despite his not-as-reassuring-as-he-intended-it-to-be promise of “My daughter will not kill you!”, our protagonist is hesitant to go and I can’t really blame him. Alas, it’s one of those boss requests that comes with the not-so-under undercurrent of “Do this or I will punish you severely as my employee.”, so he reluctantly gives in and undertakes the undertaking. FF>> to later that night, as Shanmugam shows up at PitStop to the sight of his trio of employees bloodied and battered (as in beaten up, not fried in batter)! According to Heckle and Jeckle (I forget their actual names), their ass thumping was the work of Michael, who sits inside the store in a panicked daze. When Boss demands an explanation, the haunted hero relates his scary story to tell in the dark.

When he delivered the pizza, the lady of the bungalow invited him in while she rifled through her purse for the money (note to all readers: don’t be a shithead – have your payment and tip prepared before your delivery person arrives!), only to find out that Mikey didn’t bring enough change for the large denomination note she attempted to pay with. She excused herself upstairs to find a smaller bill and, well, if our hero thought this life was turning into a “Tales From the Crypt” episode before, it looks like Ganesh had put in a full season order for him!

I won’t open my jacket and expose all of the goodies, but Michael ended up trapped in what turned out to be a spook shack. The walls were covered with weird etchings of terrified people’s faces close-up, specifically their big creepy eyes. Mike was menaced for an extended period of time by forces beyond his comprehension, narrowly escaping with his life. And no bitching about how that last bit’s a spoiler, because he obviously escaped if he made it back to the shop to tell the tale! The experience leaves him a disturbed man hanging on to the barest threads of sanity and that’s only the beginning of his downward spiral…technically it’s the first 75% of the movie and not just the beginning, given that there’s still half an hour left after, but you get my (Tokyo) drift.

The rest of the movie is… hmm…it’s really hard to refer to it without…GAH! Alright, I’ll tell you this much – Karthik Subbaraj pulls a better M. Night Shayamalan than his fellow countryman has managed to pull off himself since Unbreakable. It’s great. It took me by surprise. It was unexpected and well explained. But then he takes it too far and ruins it. If Karthik were an Olympic gymnast, Pizza would be his gold medal floor routine that ends, sadly, with him landing on his foot sideways, rolling his ankle and getting the silver instead. If he were a concert pianist, Pizza would be his opus at Carnegie Hall that wraps with him letting out the loudest, wettest shart as he’s taking his bow for applause.

In case I’m being too subtle, allow me to Big Cass for a moment and “SPELL IT OUT FOR YA!” – I do not like the ending of this movie. To be more specific, the last 3 minutes. I suggest getting yourself a copy and seeing it for yourself, as it’s a decent piece of Indian indie filmmaking. If you’re overwhelmed by curiosity but don’t have the will to hunt it down, just read the Wikipedia entry that unbags the proverbial cat instead. That whole site is spoiler central. Did you know that the Nazis lost World War II?! Not cool, Wikipedia.

As mentioned before, Pizza was such a success that two remakes have already been released with additional ones being prepped for delivery down the line. One of them, 2014’s Pizza in 3D, made its way onto my hard drive and was actually the first of these features that I watched! I wasn’t aware that it wasn’t the original movie, and thought the release year was a typo, while the completely different character names from the IMDB listing I was referencing were personally chalked up to a bad set of amateur subtitles. Fortunately, I realized my mistake before publishing the review and managed to not betray just how much of a dumbass I am to all of you. Hooray.

Since I won’t be doing an episode for Pizza in 3D, as they’re too similar to warrant stretching a full review for the remake, let’s see how said reproduction compares to the autochthonous article. Though they follow the same base plot (while changing the characters’ names), there are moderate changes that generally improve upon the recipe. Some of the fat is trimmed down (especially from Michael/Kunal’s time trapped in the house), both improving the flow and giving us a more manageable 107min runtime down from the clunkier 124min. The marriage theme is ousted since our young lovers are already bonded in holy matrimony from the start, and the focus is shifted more to the pregnancy. In fact, the overarching theme of the remake is pregnancy, as the possessed character is no longer the boss’s daughter, but a pregnant Mrs. Boss! On top of that, when our hero makes his delivery to the haunted bungalow, the woman there is also pregnant, making the moral of the story for that version, “People in India have apparently never heard of ‘pulling out’!”

The structure of the narrative gets a few slight but very important changes as well, but you’d have to know the ending to understand why so I won’t spill the beans further. Anu/Nikki’s role in things post-haunted house is changed slightly, but it’s in such a way that it makes for some radical remodeling of the second half of the flick. Remake turned up the horror show element too, using more gruesome imagery and makeup to make the supernatural stuff less realistic and more fantastic. Speaking of “fantastic”, on the topic of remake’s lead actor Akshay Oberoi? No homo, but he’s got some damn pretty eyes…okay, maybe a little homo? But damn it, dude looks like he got poked in the oculars by King Midas! Dreamy bastard. ANYWAY!

The last modification I’m gonna shine a light on is the music. Though the 2012 soundtrack is good to great, 2014 wins hands down solely based on its title theme alone! It’s enjoyably silly, opening on the appropriately punny line “All we are saying is give pizza a chance”. Brilliant. The entire front credits sequence is something not to be missed, either! A “not terrible but not great” 3D computer animated sequence that follows a ghostbusting delivery boy as he action heros through traffic, dodges monsters, and exorcises spooks with spring loaded pies. Clearly not the hero the song credits him as being though, otherwise he would’ve gotten said pizzas to the fucking customers rather than launching them at specters! The whole thing’s cheesier than a party-size triple stacked twelve-cheese heart-exploder deluxe from Benito Mussacheesy’s Pizza Regime at the corner of Taft Street and DeLuise Avenue. I ate an entire slice once on a dare! Almost choked to death getting it down and I was still shitting string cheese two weeks later.

Okay, maybe my comparison was a tad over spiced with hyperbole, but my eyeballs still felt a little constipated after watching that opening. At least it was fun though.

In the end, Pizza is the Evil Dead to Pizza in 3D‘s Evil Dead 2. Though 3D wasn’t made by Subbaraj, it feels like the product of a scenario where Subbs wanted to go back and make changes to his original product and had more money to fund it. Again, that’s NOT what happened, but it still feels like it could have. If there was some way to combine the two into one great movie, well, it’d still be stuck with that nasal nugget of a finale, but would’ve at least pulled an aggregate score of 4 hearts. Separately though? Three will cover it.

By the way, if you didn’t finish reading this review in 30 minutes or less, it’s free. We strive for customer satisfaction here at TheTombOfAnubis.com, mainly because I’d rather lose a couple bucks on free reviews than have to put up with your bullshit. “But aren’t all these reviews free to read anyway?” you ask? To which I say, take this crust and stuff it!

See you kids at Thanksgiving for my annual Turkey Day review! After whiles, crocodiles.

Moral of the Story: For everyone there will come a moment in life that makes the unbelievable, believable. Your moment is coming. Mine? It’ll be the day we get a new “Captain N: the Game Master” cartoon…


“Damn it! You better not have dragged me into a gods damned found footage horror movie, you dick!”

“The doctor told me to get plenty of Vitamin C. You know what has Vitamin C? Orange juice. You know what has orange juice? Mimosas. Now shut up and go buy more champagne!”

“Come on Raheed, we told you on your second day here that the hairnet requirement was just a joke. It’s been THREE YEARS! Take it off!”

“I love you dear, but if you don’t do something about your halitosis, I’m going to have to take care of it myself.”

“I told you what would happen if you didn’t fix your bad breath! Now open your mouth! LET THE REFRESHING MINT FLAVOR MURDER YOUR DISGUSTING MOUTH BACTERIA!”
(This is called “Scope boarding”)

I see Tom Savini decided to grow a sick Stalin mustache. Looks good on him.

I know how she feels. That’s how my review notes always end up looking after I watch an Asylum movie.

“I’m serious, my throat REALLY hurts! Would you just look in and see if it’s red and spotty? It could be Strep!”

This one’s called “No Child Left Behind?” from the artist’s “Republican in the White House” series.

Ketchup on pizza?! This is a horror movie!

Uh-oh. Looks like the camera guy came to work drunk again. He’s been having a hard time of it lately, but you can only do so many re-shoots before ya gotta shit can him.

Uhm… is this racist? I mean, in America this would definitely be cause for pause, but is it okay in India? I don’t have a clue, so let’s just move on!

Nasty. I bet she’s got “Made in Germany” stamped on the bottom of one of her feet. I wonder if she comes with a tube of that stuff or if you have to supply your own.

“Are you the one who wrote ‘Death to Pigs’ on the walls?! What did you use to write that, blood?! I ask because my wife and I want to re-paint and I think that color would look really nice for the walls of our bathroom!”

“Man, those Pizza Hut guys came at us out of nowhere! But we whipped ’em, didn’t we? Didn’t we… didn’t we whip ’em? WE WHIPPED ‘EM AND WE GOT IT ALL!”

Why is there a cardboard cut out of Hitler in a bowler hat yawning in their store?! What niche demographic are they marketing to, narcoleptic hipster anti-Semites!? That’s a great name for a punk band, by the way.”

Boss getting his rocks off to his favorite types of internet porn – restaurant supply store liquidation sales.

For the love of Isis’s nipple rings, why is this little making the blow job face?! GAH! HAVE I STILL BEEN IN THAILAND THIS WHOLE TIME?! GET ME OFF THIS CONTINENT!


Anubis will return next time in
“Shittin’ On the Schlock of the Bay”

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Episode 67 – The Condemned 2 (2015)

or “Snake’s On a Game (of Death)”

Featuring: Randy “12 Rounds 2” Orton , Eric “The Pope of Greenwich Village” Roberts , Steven Michael “Breaking Bad” Quezada

Director: Roel “The Man with the Iron Fists 2” Reiné

Writer: Alan “Halloween 4: the Return of Michael Myers” McElroy

Origin: USA

Sequel to: The Condemned


“One man’s pain is another man’s profit. And the only way to ensure profit, is to be the one bringin’ the pain!”

Surprise! You thought you were going to get some more international flavor this week with a new “World Tour de Farce” review, but instead you’re getting yet another “professional wrestler thinks he’s an action movie leading man” flick in The Condemned 2! Again, we see there is nothing you possess that I cannot take away. Especially when I’m the one giving you said thing, and the actual transferal of possession has not yet been enacted! Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha *cough*cough*cough* HAAAA! *cough*

World Wrestling Entertainment gave us the original Condemned in 2007. It was like a grown-up, paramilitary, pirate internet version of Battle Royale. Or, a Running Man minus all the neon lights, gimmicked killers, and Richard Dawson. Being a WWE Films production, they cast one of their own as its star – former wrestling icon “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, not to be confused with “The Six-Million Dollar Man” Steve Austin (who, in turn, isn’t to be mistaken for “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase). Though it was a massive financial boondoggle to the company (their biggest cinematic money pit to date), most wrestling fans consider it to be one of, if not the best of the company’s movie offerings, so it makes sense that they’d eventually sequelize it.

Now, having made The Marine 4, Behind Enemy Lines 3, 12 Rounds 3, and See No Evil 2, The Condemned was the last guy in the power plant not to receive “Employee of the Month”. As WWE doesn’t employ inanimate carbon rods (they’re very careful about their hiring practices these days, since you never know when Linda McMahon might run for Senate again), it’s The Condemned‘s time to shine!…with Randy Orton as the lead. By the racist fucking skullet of Hulk Hogan, what did I do to deserve this?!

Randy Orton. Randy “STUPID!” Orton. Randy “Just do enough to get by” Orton. Randy “Shitbag who shits in bags” Orton. As he’s known in our household, Blandy Bore-ton. As the chaps at Old School Wrestling Review once described him, “oozing with banality”. In the wrestling world, he is the alpha and omega of douchebags. He’s a legacy (his grandpa and dad were both wrestlers), he’s a crony (he’s best friends with Paul “Triple H” Levesque, one of the heads of the company), he has a history of drug abuse (cocaine [Randy Snortin’], steroids and painkillers), had a dishonorable discharge from the US Marines for going AWOL (a fact that came up when veterans protested his casting as the title hero in The Marine 3) and he’s an outright asshole (including defecating in female wrestlers’ luggage and breaking character just to berate other wrestlers during matches). He also goes by the nickname of “The Viper” (hence this episode’s alternate title) and has a stupid tribal tattoo on his arm that he tried to cover up with another of a pile of skulls, but is fooling no one as the original is still prominent. What a fuckin’ knob. Enough of the miserable reality, let’s get to the miserable fantasy.

Will Tanner (Orton) is a bounty hunter. He leads a posse of similarly minded individuals in the pursuit of wayward criminals for fun and profit. The latest target of these roughneck rednecks is one sinister son of a cunt named Cyrus (Wes Studi – a.k.a. Sagat in the Street Fighter live-action movie!) who runs an underground gambling operation where sick fucks bet on disturbing shit like which homeless guy hooked up to a Kevorkian Express will shed their unwashed mortal coil first. In a fit of movie irony, Will tells his boys to keep it non-lethal (this a “Wanted: Dead or Alive minus the ‘Dead’ part” contract), only to manslaughter the crap outta Cyrus when the villain is impaled on one of his own death machines. Hmmmm, a double scoop of irony? I really shouldn’t. I’m on a diet.

This fight shows us right off the bat that our protagonist probably only won the leadership role because he picked the longest straw, as it clearly wasn’t for his intelligence or tactical wits. When he has Cy dead-to-rights and lined up in his sights, Willie makes the incredibly stupid move of getting within the bad man’s reach. From there it’s elementary for Cyrus to disarm the doofus and prompt the ensuing struggle. Guns are made to kill and/or maim from a distance. From. A. DISTANCE. Why in the names of Horace Fucking Smith and Daniel Fucking Wesson (weird how they both had the middle name “Fucking”) would you flush the entire advantage of having a firearm down the metaphorical shitter by getting so close to your still very upright target that you can smell whether or not he had onions on his Whopper for lunch?! And Tanner’s supposed to be a trained bounty hunter!? If anyone reading this happens to know Alan McElroy or Roel Reiné, would you please punch them in the dick for me? Hell, even if you know neither but still know someone else cursed with either of those names, kindly do the same. But don’t mention my name. I’ve got enough “conspiracy to commit bodily harm” charges pending as it is.

Due to his epic botch, six months later Tanner ends up on trial for manslaughter. Though the judge presiding over the case makes her disdain for bounty hunters known (if ya wanna chase bad guys, become a cop), she gives him a suspended sentence and probation. Remorseful for his actions (though you wouldn’t know it by Orton’s expressionless “acting”), Billy goes home to his dad Frank (Eric Roberts) to tell him that he’s quitting the family business. Ah, so Will only got the manager position for the posse through nepotism. That makes sense. Having spent the last 30 years building the Tanner brand as the number one name in independent ne’er-do-well nabbing contractors in ALL of lower mid-western New Mexico, Frank’s not happy about the fruit of his loin turning his back on the bond jumper biz over one little unintentional murder.

Their resulting argument is almost like that scene in Varsity Blues where James Van Der Beek shouts “I DON’T WANT YOUR LIFE!” at his dad, except the actors are twice as old and all of the passion and defiance is instead replaced with lazy, even toned sarcasm while a mood of “When do we get our paychecks, again?” hangs heavy in the atmosphere. Riveting stuff to watch…in that I’d rather have rivets fired directly into the sides of my skull than have to wade through another minute of this cinematic landfill.

By the way, for anyone wondering why I’d use such a classy arrangement of letters as “cinematic” in this review, it’s in no way because I find anything professional or artistic about The Condemned 2. I’m using it in the “having qualities characteristic of motion pictures” manner. Inasmuch as this movie has moving images and is thus, technically, a “motion picture”. Carry on.

Without the big bucks of the manhunting industry to keep him in Wrangler jeans and Ford trucks, Billy Bob takes on a new job as a tow truck driver to make ends meet. One of his first calls is a pair of young women in Daisy Dukes and crop tops (likely local models, friends of the cast/crew, or just hopefuls fresh off the casting couch) who giggle and whisper things to each other while he changes their tire. There’s no real implication of what it is they’re saying to each other, but I entertain myself on the possibility that they’re talking about how the guy changing their tire looks like he doesn’t have two brain cells to rub together, and they’re formulating a plan where in he’ll give them all of his money before he leaves or straight up Knock Knock him. Oh but to dream my dreamy dreams, with their creamy dreamy filling. Mmmmm, filling.

Our hero’s next service call changes his life forever, as it’s from his old bounty hunting pal…uhm… honestly, I didn’t bother to write down any of their names. They’re mas macho types who call each other by their last names (being on a first name basis is apparently too intimate for tough guys), and as such I remember the sniper’s (Dylan Kenin) name is Travis [like singer Randy] and another (Morse Bicknell) goes by “Michaels” [like Shawn]…uhm, the retired pro-wrestler, not the one-man Mandingo party porn actor. That’s Sean Michaels. In case you were wondering. Okay then.

Anyway, when Willie fixes said former co-hunter’s car (his battery connector just came undone…hint hint), the guy awkwardly invites him out for a beer in thanks. Unless this was just this dude’s way of trying to get Will out on a man-date with him to lube his inhibitions up with a few brews before confessing his long held secret romantic intentions for our leading man (only if he’s “leading” us straight to Nap Town), his nervous demeanor betrays that there’s some ulterior motive to this social exchange. Given that there’s also a camera equipped drone following the pair around, this is clearly our entry point (front door or back?) into the figurative Thunderdome that is to be The Condemned 2: the Search for Randy’s Personality.

Each member of the Tanner bounty party has been assigned to assassinate their erstwhile chieftain Will, lest their failure to comply be taken out in the form of ultra-violence against them and/or their loved ones. Meanwhile, a speakeasy of high rollers have gathered to watch the spectacle as they gamble on which of the contestants will be the one to finally finish off their deadpan prey. The troublemaker organizing this Laff-A-Lympics of death is Cyrus’s surviving sidekick-turned-avenger Raul (Steven Michael Quezada), who’s vowed a blood vendetta against his ex-boss’s bored looking butcher-by-circumstance. The rest of the movie is pretty much what you’d expect: Tanner runs around shooting guns at people, trying to save his neck while getting to the bottom of Raul’s game and doing his best to keep collateral fatalities to a minimum, as a good guy does. That’s pretty much it. Now you don’t need to see it for yourself, unless your medicine cabinet is pulling a “Mother Hubbard’s cupboard” and is barren of the sleep aid of your choice, in which case 20 minutes of The Condemned 2 will put you out in a pinch!

That wasn’t a joke. I’m serious. This movie put me to sleep during my first attempted viewthrough. Granted, that may have been my fault for starting it at 1AM after a long day of soul reaping and Underworld political crap (we had to fight management hard to get that break room back!) without any type of artificial ambition boosting my brain, but even sitting through the last twenty minutes the next morning were like going 5 rounds of bare-knuckle with Morpheus! For fuck’s sake, just writing this review right now is tantamount to drinking a tall glass of warm milk prepared by Bill Cosby. I have to keep deleting the *yawns* I’m unconsciously typing out in every paragraph!

Randy Orton speaks with such an eyelid burdening monotone. Terminators have more emotional resonance than this guy! As a former drug addict, maybe he’s on mood stabilizers or something and his complete charisma coma is medically induced? Wherever the true blame lies, the reality is still right there, dropping steaming dumplings in our figurative luggage: this man should NOT be starring in even the directest of direct-to-video action flicks. He’d be more relatable as the leading role in his own autopsy video than what he’s giving us here, and I’m not exaggerating. Was he contractually obligated to be in this movie by WWE and just did his best impression of a cardboard cutout so they’d never bother him about being in any more movies!? Z’Dar’s CHIN (my version of “Zeus’s BEARD!”), the man is the Typhoid Mary of digitally transmitted Narcolepsy! I have never, EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVER (thank you, Chris Jericho) watched a movie with Eric Roberts in a supporting role and thought, “Wow, if he were the star, this movie would be so much better!”. If nothing else, The Condemned 2 has proven to me that anything is possible.

I’ve never seen any of Orton’s other movies, so I have no clue if this is how he tackles all of his roles. I do know that Quezada was never one to chew the scenery in “Breaking Bad” though, so maybe all of the blame should go on Mr. Reiné’s back? It could be another The Dark Knight situation where Chris Nolan made Chris Bale do the gravelly voice until all of Batman’s scenes were just a big joke and almost completely unwatchable. Either way, Orton should stay away from all future movie sets and just keep his shtick in the squared circle. Be happy with your athletic prowess and leave the acting to the actors. Or Eric Roberts.

The rest of the movie is just as sterile as its star’s performance. The camera work is fumbly (I think it’s supposed to be shaky cam, but as directed by a 10 year old), the overall direction feels like a slog through plain oatmeal from Point A to Point B with zero spices or fruit thrown in. The rest of the cast’s acting ranges from “good enough” to “please just shut up already”, the fight choreography is slow and sloppy (great for a blowjob, not for a fight scene) despite the attempts to cover it up by jostling the camera around while they’re happening. The music has to be some of the most generic background crap I’ve ever heard. This entire feature was just a poorly planned shit show from opening credits to end credits. It’s not even bad from a fun-to-mock standpoint. The moderate production values keep it from being a full blown skid mark, but that’s as good as it gets. Forgettable and regrettable.

There’s one unintentional running joke I’d like to end this on though, to make the writing of this review and your reading of it at least somewhat worthwhile. As mentioned prior, like any copy-and-paste paramilitary group, Tanner’s team-turned-tormentors has one member who’s a skilled sniper. In case you forgot already (and I don’t blame you), his name is Travis. Well, Travis is supposed to be a skilled sniper, but he’s not. The credo of the sniper is “one shot, one kill”, denoting that their job is to kill with surgical precision, needing only one bullet to put down their intended target. Throughout his time stalking Tanner, Travis fires 30+ rounds from his rifle (not including the 60 or more fired from his uzi) and manages to kill…well, let’s just say the spoiler free version of his murder math is something far far FAR (like “a galaxy far far away” far!) less accurate than the gold standard. If I gave my 80 year old grandmother a single-shot rifle with 30 rounds of ammunition, put her inside Dorothy Gale’s house while it was caught in the twister that carried it to Oz, took away her glasses and tasked her with shooting half a dozen Munchkins also thrown into the cyclone, I guarantee you her fatalities-to-rounds fired ratio would put this Travis guy into a shame spiral so deep that he’d need a grappling hook and half a mile of rope to pull himself out of it!

Whew! I’m winded just reading that last sentence. I need to lay down and catch my breath after this. By the beers of Billy Carter, I’m too Murtaugh for this shit.

Even when he’s pulling a “spray and pray” with his uzi, Travis still manages to miss his targets! He has no problem perfectly strafing his shots in an almost impossibly narrow line along the top of a fruit and veggie stand (sending fragments of splattered produce into the air), but hitting the trio of full grown adults scuttling in an orderly fashion directly behind said stand is just impossible for this fucking career marksman to hit. My rage over this, combined with my need to count the amount of ammo this guy burned through to such minimal effect, are pretty much all I had to keep me from giving out on my second viewing. When you’re on the Titanic, the best you can do is grab whatever flotation device you can and hope you get back to shore before the bitter death grip of Mother Nature can drag you down into her frigid black oblivion. I think my metaphor got a little out of hand there, but the initial message is still in there somewhere. I’ll leave it up to you to exhume it.

Okay, that’s enough of that. Bottom line: the truly condemned in The Condemned 2 are the people who pay for this movie. As for me? I’m going to see if I can discover a way to distill its essence and market it as a cure for insomnia! Provided I can withstand extended exposure to its background radiation….long enough…to……….stay…awake………… *zzzzzzzzzzzzzz*

Moral of the Story: *YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWN* Huh? What are you still doing here? There’s cab fare on the nightstand and $20 for breakfast. You can keep the change if you go away right now. Don’t call me. Goodbye.


That thing should come with a Surgeon General’s Warning.

Elderly people hooked up to suicide machines against their will while non-white criminals gamble on which dies first? I’m not sure if this was taken from the movie or a 2013 Faux News report about ObamaCare.

This profile leaves out the “Zach Galifianakis impersonator available for private parties on weekends” part of Mr. Cooper’s resume.

This photo was taken of Mr. Merrick after the sandwich shop regretfully informed him that they were all out of jalapeno cream cheese for his cheddar bagel. Sorry Cyrus, early bird gets the jalapenos!

“I have you, a man armed with a knife, at a great disadvantage due to my possession of a firearm! Though I should be forcing you to the ground so one of my partners can restrain you, allow me to approach you until I’m well within range of your knife, giving you ample opportunity to disarm me and put my life in immediate danger!”

Don’t get your hopes up, like I did. This isn’t the moment where the whole movie turns into a surprise sequel to Maximum Overdrive and we see Randy Orton run over by a pissed off truck. “When you wish upon a star” my hairy ebon ass!

“You just sit back and watch how a real actor carries a low budget action movie, Junior.”

“You think if we flirt with the tow truck driver he won’t charge us?”
“Duh! Why else would we dress like this!?”

This is what happens when people don’t respect the “my quarter on the table means I get next game” rule!

“I was a supporting character in one of the most critically acclaimed television shows of all time! Don’t you dare mock me for chewing scenery in one crappy movie! I’ve earned a pass on this one!”

Ever since “Breaking Bad”, wanna-be meth cooks have caused staggering rate increases in the “mobile home explosion” insurance industry over the last few years.

Awww, it’s so cute when rednecks watch car movies and try to emulate them. I see somebody finally rented Fury Road from the Red Box kiosk at their nearest WalMart!

Hanukkah casino parties are becoming a popular trend for the kids at the synagogues these days. Let that gelt ride, bubbale!


Anubis will return next time in
“Life of Pi(e)”

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Rest in Pieces Gunnar Hansen (1974-2015)

Uggh. One of my favorite horror icons has lost His struggle with pancreatic cancer… Legit sadness to see the Madman of Reykjavik’s chainsaw finally run out of gas. May Cthulhu consume His spirit and draw strength from Him until the stars burn out, and may His flesh be used by some aspiring murderer of wayward teens to stitch together a skin mask. <3

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