Featuring: Elle “Maleficent” Fanning , Jena “Sucker Punch Malone , Keanu “The Matrix” Reeves
Director: Nicolas “Bronson” Winding Refn
Writers: Nicolas “Bronsons Winding Refn , Mary “‘Preacher’” Laws & Polly “Eleanor” Stenham
When I was a horny young pup just looking for a wet spot to stick my prick into, my criteria for what I desired in a sheet staining partner was a very simple three point plan – looks, looks, and looks. Physical attraction was all that mattered to me, as it is for most impressionable post-pubescent types looking to make an “impression” of their own into/onto someone. Much like tickets to a Don Johnson concert, my virginity was something I had an impossible time giving away. The few young ladies I shared the halls of academia with in high school that I had any interest in were either already dedicated to other lads, or had turned down my romantic advances faster than a stepdad turns down the thermostat when somebody puts it over 60. After reaching the ripe old age of legality known as 18, I would eventually find myself a finely figured female who was more than happy to commence with my deflowering (or, in my case, my weeding), and she and I are well on our way to the 17th annual celebration of our first date come the next Krampusnacht Eve. Happy pre-anniversary, dear!
As I’ve aged (and unholy Hel have I!), my taste in women has evolved well past favorite shapes of flesh and into a Twilight Zone-ian preference for dimensions not just of sight and sound, but of mind. Not strictly book smarts neither, but ladies with more esoteric tastes that match mine own. Namely, bad horror movies, sketch comedy shows, and morbid humor peppered liberally with sarcasm and contempt for humanity. Attempts at such relations haven’t always worked out for the best, but whatever doesn’t kill us gives us fun stories to tell our court appointed lawyers, right!? What does this have to do with today’s “Ladies Night!” installment, The Neon Demon? Not a shit ton. Much the opposite, in fact. Today’s feature is actually about physical beauty, and the obsession some have with not only getting it, but retaining it in the face of the unconquerable hellbeast known as Age-zilla.
Given that my looks have been known to make gargoyles cry tears of gasoline (I swear that’s how that church fire started!), I’d know nothing about that. Instead of relating to our tale, I’m just gonna let my eyeballs go gonzo over all the wonky visuals and my ears get made sweet love to by the supersexy swingin’ sounds of its synthy score!
Today’s movie is sadly not the sequel to Neon Maniacs we’ve been waiting 30 years for. It is, however, brought to us by Nicholas Winding Refn (director of Drive), Amazon Studios, and the letter ‘Q’. Despite my recent review for the Amazon Pilot Season episode of “The Tick”, I swear on Horus’ right eye that I’m not being paid to promote their productions! Those dickards won’t even give me a free trial month of Prime at this point, let alone actual capital compensation to type up piss & moan articles. Sorry to say, folks, but the mildly amusing musings of a Death God ain’t worth two farts to the mighty Reaper of Brick & Mortar Stores. Fuck it. As Chris Pratt said, “It’s important to make your big mistakes in relative obscurity” anyway. If this site were popular enough to grab anyone’s attention, it would ruin all the fun of the chase for a lot of bail bondsmen (and bail bondswomen) out there!
The Neon Demon stars Dakota Fanning’s younger sister Elle, who continues her efforts in making a name for herself with a role that’s meatier than just playing a younger version of one of Big D’s parts. Since the movie’s plot is little more than your basic tale of glamorous industries seducing innocent youth just to use them, abuse them, suck them dry, and throw them away like used condoms once they can no longer pull off the “jailbait couture” look, said movie also requires your basic “small town, big dreams” victim to consume the soul of before metaphysically defecating into the empty space left behind. As such, Elle plays Jesse – the latest fresh face the City of Angels cannot wait to R. Kelly upon. Hell, within the first 10 minutes of the movie we discover she’s “not from around here”, lives alone in a sleazy motel room, and has no family of which to speak! To paraphrase Pinhead, “Norma Jeans are such easy prey.”
Speaking of, a makeup artist radiating a strong sexual predator vibe and calling herself Ruby (Jena Malone) comments on our subject’s beautifully smooth skin and immediately attaches herself to Jesse after working together on one of those “gore + glamour = art” photo shoots that the kids these days apparently think are so “edgy”. You know, like that “Girls and Corpses” magazine that people keep gifting me subscriptions to for some reason despite my frequent comments of “If it’s not Linnea Quigley stripping in a graveyard or a severed head going down on Barbara Crampton, don’t waste my time”.
Not five minutes into their new friendship, Ruby invites (i.e. insistently drags) Jesse to a party to introduce the young lady to her new peers in the industry, specifically her pals Sarah (Abbey Lee) and Gigi (Bella Heathcote). Gigs is the faux friendly type whose smile is as artificial as the lips and teeth that make it up, while Sarah is colder and blunter than the sledgehammer I keep in my meat locker. As with any newbie to a social group, our protagonista is circled by the other members of the pack and has her mettle tested in judgment. In this case it’s the usual ladies’ room emotional hazing of woman-on-woman mockery about how the fresh-faced bumpkin isn’t fit to be one of them. Gigi and Sarah might as well both be named Heather, but that’d be too on-Gigi’s-surgically-manipulated-nose.
Despite the pair’s “never evolved past high school” treatment of Jesse, Ruby sticks by the girl and takes her under her big sister wing to help guide her through the labyrinth of the modeling world and not get trampled to death by the metaphorical Minotaur. I’d be more inclined to believe the legitimacy of the cosmetologist’s intentions for the Georgia Peach if only she’d stop throwing Jesse the Big Bad Wolf leer every 10 minutes! Instead I’m anchored with the unshakable presumption that the would-be mentor’s so obviously going to be the one holding the knife that goes into our gal’s back come Jesse’s inevitable nosedive from grace.
Speaking of, much like a modern fairy tale, our Cinderellian peasant destined for princessery is picked up by an esteemed modeling agent (Christina Hendricks) and immediately paired with a highly regarded camera jockey named Jack (Desmond Harrington) who looks more like the type of guy who shoots amateur gangbang porn in the backyard of his stepdad's mansion than he does a sought after fashion photog. You know what really takes the audience out of the fantasy, though? No self-respecting (or self ego-inflating) “artist” in any industry would call himself “Jack”.
As if the modeling industry’s ominous presence as our heroine’s personal chainsaw of Damocles weren’t enough of a threat, Jesse’s also endangered by the sadism of Hank (Keanu Reeves), the manager of the motor lodge in which she’s living. Henry probably got his Hotel Management diploma from the ICS home education courses that Sally Struthers used to shill for…while he was doing a stretch in prison for sexually assaulting a troop of girl scouts. Seriously, the guy would whip out his 3” killer to a single mom at a bus stop and insist she swallow his tadpoles while her preschooler and a nearby nun looked on. He reveals himself as the kind of human garbage that makes even my cast iron stomach churn harder than an industrial washing machine on the “Wipe Clean the Stains of a Life Lived in Filth” setting. His assistant/apprentice Mikey seems generally harmless, but he looks like Iggy Pop Junior (somebody’s gene pool needs a lifeguard!) and works for Hank, so that’s probably enough to land him at least somewhere near the latter rungs of Dante’s ladder.
As much as the deck is clearly stacked against her, Jesse’s not alone in her story. How’d she get to the spiritual wasteland in the first place, anyway? Enter Dean (Karl Glusman)…well, I guess you can enter him if he’s okay with it. I’ll take a pass, myself. Back on topic, Dean is an aspiring photographer who came across Jesse on the internet and convinced her to come to the left coast so they could make art together. I met my Evil Dead Bride in a fucking AOL horror chat room and even I think this pairing sounds sketchier than MC Esher’s high school notebooks! Despite his efforts to woo her while still being respectful and protective of her, Jesse is very reluctant to refer to him as any kind of boyfriend figure in conversation with others. He’s a surprisingly decent dude who never tanks his decency by pulling the bullshit “you owe me sex!” card on Jesse, which you totally expect to happen given how he too leers at Miss Jesse like fucking Jack the Ripper in the movie’s opening scene!
No friggin’ diggity, Jesse gets eye fucked from people so often in this flick, you’d think she farts Spanish Fly. It’s unnerving.
Predictably enough, as Jesse’s successes compile, so does her ego. She mutates from innocent southern teen into Family Guy rendition of Julia Roberts (“ME! ME! MEEEEE!”), talking about herself as if she were the second coming of Cindy Crawford. Such a path couldn’t lead to our heroine’s downfall harder if it were a literal street named “Downfall Avenue”. I’m presuming this transformation is what the title’s referencing, given that (spoiler alert) there isn’t a single giant neon devil sign brought to life to kaiju the downtown Los Angeles area. Will Jesse find love and safety in the arms of her unavoidable love interest Dean, or will the D-Man discover he’s better off with an inflatable girlfriend? Don’t knock it. The only rubber you need to use with her comes in her repair kit! Will Jesse instead be a “grrrl”, pull her life out of her tailspin on her own and conquer her enemies to become the new White Queen of the fashion industry? Will our neon demon predictably wind up eaten alive by the green-eyed monsters that she so naively trusts with her well being? Will this modern fable end triumphantly for Jesse like Disney’s The Little Mermaid, or tragically like Hans Christen Andersen’s The Little Mermaid? That’s for me to know and for you to find out…I mean, if you feel like it. You don’t even have to watch the movie if you don’t want to to find out. The internet will just tell you how it ends, if you prefer to do it that way. Doesn’t effect my day either way. Que sera sera.
And so our story goes. Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, beauty and the beast. It’s nothing to write home about, really, unless your family gets excited over loose threads. Plot threads, that is. Story elements that drop off the map, never to be seen again and character threads that drop right off with them. If it’s so bad, though, then why the quartet of disembodied blood pumpers at the top of the review? Because NeoDemo is a classic case of style over substance being a good thing. Oddly appropriate given the theme of the movie, dontcha think? You can almost believe it was poorly written intentionally…
The performances are all fine, almost in spite of the roles being generic. It doesn’t help your story’s endgame seem less obvious by having your actors play their characters so blatantly. I do give Elle Fanning credit for not taking Jesse overboard in personality even though her lines still take the character there. It’s a well done balancing act and I hope the young lady earns herself a reputable career. Glusman’s Dean is a good dude done well, with the exception of his almost Captain Howdy levels of “creepy, shadow monster face” in the opening. Everyone else is just as shallow and one-dimensional as their roles are intended to be (at least that’s my guess), so that’s fine. Now, story and cast outta the way, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this Neon Demon.
Hold onto your bippies, kids, because I’m about to slap you in the faces with a big cold salmon of shock . Surprise you it may well, but this is my first date with Mr. Winding Refn. I’ve never seen Drive. I’ve heard great things, but universally renowned projects are a breed of poultry that rarely cross my proverbial path. You know what else I’ve yet to see? The Force Awakens. Yep. Let that one soak into your corpuscles for a few. Back to Nicky WR, his presentation style fills me with the similar fondness I have for Dario Argento and Stanley Kubrick’s stuff. His heavy accentuation on the use of colors and shadows and mirrors and trippy imagery combined with jarring/haunting music are tres Argubrick. He also throws lots of different patterns straight into our eyeballs, from wallpapers to curtains to bed sheets to carpets to clothing, and they all bleed into this visual clusterfuck that borders on overwhelming without going full-on brain barf. The aforementioned music is very dream-like, and makes the whole movie feel very surreal. It’s a psyche smothering safari for the senses.
Of the biggest complaints I came across while poking around the worldwide wasteland for details were people who called out Winding Refn, some for perpetuating mainstream misogyny (all women are jealous, petty cunts to each other and will do anything to get ahead) and others for ripping off Argento’s style. Regarding the former, I can’t really weigh in, given that my gonads reside on the outside. As for the Argento complaint, it depends on whether you want to call it a rip-off or an homage. Potato, potato. However you wanna pronounce it, I’m all for it. Kubrick’s long croaked and nobody’s really doing the Argento thing anymore. Christ at a Cracker Barrel, at this point even its namesake hasn’t properly Argentoed for a good twenty years! I’d rather watch someone doin’ it and doin’ it and doin’ it well instead of trying to force the old Italian to go back to his roots. So, for those who disagree with my positive take on the matter, I’ll let Academy Award winner Tommy Lee (the actor, not the drummer with the horse dong) answer for me.
Given the mostly cold shoulder reception The Neon Demon was given (50%ish scores on aggregated criticism sites), I’m sure there are plenty of people who would accuse me of “falling for the sales pitch”, but you could fill a thimble with all the shits I give and still have plenty of room left to fit your fingertip so you can deposit it straight into your orifice of choice. If “artsy fartsy” stuff bothers you, bypass this flick because that’s its big selling point. It’s not perfect, but it’s well worth a watch if you’re down for something different and you’re not up for taking Suspiria off your shelf for the 164th time. Keep in mind that, despite ND‘s categorization as a “horror” movie, it’s really more psychological wrapped up in an air of dread. The one traditional horror movie element kicks in in the flick’s final stretch… then it goes on for another 15 minutes. These last minutes have very little dialogue. Like almost zero. Makes you wonder if the actors were getting paid by the line and the budget ran out. What is there is still technically part of the movie, but exists less out of necessity to the story than it does to drop some more visual weirdery and fuck with the audience one last time. It reminds me a lot of what Rob Zombie did with the last act of Lords of Salem, come to think about it. Leaves us with more questions than answers, really.
Still, it looks fucking cool.
Coming up will be the next and last installment of our “Ladies Night!” cineménage à trois, so any misogynists like the one who messaged me last week telling me this kind of “pandering pussy shit” isn’t what they want to see? You can rest easy, cuz it’s almost over. Or, you can just get the fuck out. You don’t like woman-centric movies? Guess what…
Now I gotta head over to the local halal eatery and get a pile of Samosas for lunch. Those taste bud tantalizing s.o.b.s get my salivary glands more excited than Gorunk the Baby Eating Gibbon gets around babies! Yum!
Dean looks like he’s plotting to take revenge on someone by cooking their family into a pot of chili and feeding it to them… possibly after he’s had sex with it.
Eli Roth’s homage to the 20th anniversary of Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” music video is, well, pretty much what you expected it to be.
“Don’t worry, I was an intern on Evil Dead II. I know how to get karo syrup and red dye out of ANYTHING.”
If Dario Argento directed Mean Girls.
“I don’t care how many penises you have, Mr. Sinclair, this isn’t a casting call for Marilyn Manson’s adults only traveling freakshow! That’s down the hall in Suite 31.”
Was this room decorated by a blind person or somebody on acid? Either way, if I have to look at it much longer I’m gonna lose my Fritos!
“Look, I know SLC Punk 2 was garbage and if you wanna throw yourself off a cliff over it, I totally understand. But I gotta get to my shift at Big Kahuna Burger in 20 minutes, so either shit or get off the pot!”
Could this mean Nicolas Winding Refn’s next project will be that rumored Smokey and the Bandit remake we’ve been hearing about for years?! I’d bet my White Lightning / Gator double-feature LaserDisc on it!
Keanu Reeves finally takes measures to have Alex Winter forcefully removed from his guest house. After 25 years of his “I’m almost done with the script for Bill & Ted 3!” excuses, Keanu has had enough.
Hey, they’ve finally started casting for the She-Ra live-action movie! I really hope they opt to cast a real Pegacorn for Swift Wind instead of cheaping out and ruining her with some stupid cgi crap.
At the Sears catalog model tryouts, dozens of moderately attractive women compete for the chance to be thousands of young American boys’ first effort hording wank material. At least until they can convince their older cousin to buy them an issue of “Hustler”. Well, that’s how it was before the internet, anyway. Kids today have it way too easy…
Only true industry insiders know about the sacred Triforce of Fashion! It’s made up of the Triforce of Beauty, the Triforce of Design, and the Triforce of Film, each of which is held by one of three legendary heroes. The sacred texts say that, one day, the three will be brought together to create the GREATEST fall collection in all of fashion!
“Screw the picture. I’m gonna make her look like Large Marge just to see the family’s reaction when they open up the casket!”
“This is why I tell you not to eat candy in bed. You’ve got a whole Sugar Daddy tangled up back here! Uggh!”
“Is THIS your card?… Ah, shit! Let me try that again.”
I know how she feels. I feel the same way when I have a third Most American Thickburger too. Brutal.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Psychedelic Conception of LSDizzle”
Featuring: Dominic “Agent Carter” Cooper , Joseph “Misfits” Gilgun , Ruth “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Negga
Directors: Evan “This Is the End” Goldberg , Seth “This Is the End” Rogen
Writers: Seth “The Green Hornet” Rogen , Evan “The Green Hornet” Goldberg , Sam “Breaking Bad” Catlin
I’m paranoid. In a good way. When I lay cheeks upon the porcelain seat, I check beforehand to make sure there’s more than two squares left on the tube and I peek the bowl to make sure no baby alligators or grinning ghoulies are waiting to make an appetizer out of my rump roast. I don’t wanna end up like that guy in Thailand whose excursion to the crapper resulted in a python trying to suck face with his trouser snake. For such occasions, always keep a machete in your magazine rack or just do what I’ve done and duct tape a meat cleaver to the handle of your plunger. Whether I need to waylay a wayward water moccasin or break-up a brown boa constrictor, I do not enter my wild kingdom unarmed. I am the T’Challa of the toilet room. Or, as we call it in The Tomb, the Elimination Chamber.
One thing my paranoia assures is that I go into any and every comic book movie or show with a gallon jug of trepidation. I have seen some of the greatest works of my generation reduced to smoldering ashes of regret and agony at the rape happy hands of studio executives that spun lengths of niche gold into panderous piles of mainstream straw that even the most starving of would-be consumer camels wouldn't give a second sniff, let alone ingest. Witnesses for the prosecution: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Constantine, and Fant4stic are the easiest targets off the top of my pointy ears, though I’m sure any fanboys/fangirls worth their weight in first appearances can rattle off another easy dozen within a blink of Scott Summers’ eyes. Such is the approach I’ve chosen to take with AMC’s second stab at four color fortune (following “The Walking Dead” of course), an adaptation Vertigo Comics’ (R-rated DC) long defunct series Preacher.
Running for 66 issues (not counting the side stories) over a 5 year stretch, the series was my introduction to Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon, and Glen Fabry – a triumvirate of chaos aligned to create a perfect tapestry of entertainment. Ennis was the writer, Dillon was the illustrator, and Fabry painted the covers. Holy shit did he paint the ever lovin’ fuck outta those covers. By Ra’s balls. I wanted every one of those masterpieces on a poster or a t-shirt or painted on my car in high school. Here’s a taste.
I'm not going to delve into the finer points of the comic book or its many infamous tales of sexual debauchery, graphic violence, and hilarious heresy, so as to avoid ruining the reveal of whatever surprises the show might have in store for us. I'm also not going to butt vomit a whole buncha spoilers here since the fucking thing just aired less than two weeks ago! As with the “Ash Vs. Evil Dead” pilot, I also won’t be reviewing “Preacher” episode-by-episode. I’m just going to give my thoughts on the premiere, then maybe possibly think about giving consideration to the conceivably perchance reviewing of the first series as a whole, via this ass-a-hole. Got it? No? Good. Sally forth!
After 20 years of it being passed around as a potential feature film, a tv show turned out to be the easy answer to an adaptation. Garth Ennis himself thought it a better option than clown carring all of the comics’ major moments into a restrictive 2-3 hour runtime. There was a treatment by one John August (who wrote the Charlie’s Angels duece-ology and a lot of Timmy Burton’s movies since the turn of the century) being passed around Tinseltown that seemingly managed to do such a feat admirably, but to quote Ennis, “It taught me the lesson that it’s far too easy to overload this. If you do a straight adaptation, you are simply going to overload the story with grotesque characters and over-the-top bloodbath fight scenes. You’re going to create a whirling maelstrom that will simply bewilder a mainstream audience.” (From this interview)
The version we get is courtesy of longtime friends, creative collaborators, and self-professed super fans of the funnybooks, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, teaming up with writer Sam Catlin who made such magic for AMC with “Breaking Bad”. Ennis and Dillon gave their okays on the show and get producer creds too, so a modicum of my fears were allayed right off the bat. All aboard!
Annville is a small town in the big, big, morbidly obese state of Texas. How small? If you’ve heard the term “one horse town” to define the smallness of a small town before, consider this a half-horse town. Not in the way that a centaur is half horse, but in the way that a horse’s body might get caught in the glue grinder at an Elmer’s plant, leaving the unprocessed half to just *shlup* out onto the floor. Like that. Anyway, this small ass smallest of small town towns has a very small church that provides the locals with their weekly dose of religious guilt and condescension. This modest house of worship dedicated to the words of the Six-Packed Savior (a.k.a. Christ the Cruncher, a.k.a. The Saint of Sit-Ups, a.k.a. The Abvocate) is run by town preacher Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper). In case you’re curious (or just need confirmation that you’ve connected the dots properly), yes, Uncle Jesse is the man after which the series is named. Like most multimedia bearers of the cloth he’s grown weary of both his position (theological sex jokes here) and his congregation, and spends much of this hour long pilot (no commercials for me!) contemplating giving his invisible cloud boss his resignation. Will Jesse rediscover his lost light and earn back his wavering flock, or stroll into his next sermon with his middle fingers held high and his head adorned with a “Take this job and shove it!” trucker hat?
Father Custer picks up a pair of hitchhikers on the journey to his answer in the form of his wild and crazy
guy ex-girlfriend Tulip (Ruth Negga) and an extremely Irish passer-by named Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun). The individual tales of how these two wind up crossing the Preacher’s path are both bat-shit crazy, hyper-violent, and perfectly appropriate for the dark humor the series is establishing. Without burying the leads, I’ll let you in on this much: Tulip’s a student of The Anarchist’s Cookbook and fights dirtier than Mike Tyson (that ain’t shawarma!), while Cassidy’s intro involves an umbrella, a cow, and more ultra-violence in 10 minutes than a gang of droogs could get up to in an entire month of Saturday nights!
Oh, and in case what I've told you so far hasn't been enough to sink a few cenobite hooks into your interest gland, there's also a mysterious screaming force from outer space that spends the majority of this introductory episode causing globetrotting savagery as it detonates various religious figures (including the greatest “in name only” cameo reference to a certain celebrity “spiritualist”ever) like human-sized carnage balloons! If that doesn't cinch in the aforementioned barbs, then I apologize for whatever devastating trauma you were subjected to that left you the soulless husk you are today…
FUCKING CARNAGE BALLOONS!
Roge and ‘Berg do far more justice to this project than they did with the flaming bag of Fido feces that was Green Hornet movie. So, though I appreciate anyone going into the show themselves with the proverbial pinch of sodium like myself, don’t get your blood pressure all Systolic Super Saiyan (“It’s over 9000!”) fretting. Sure, if you were hoping for a straight up adaptation, you’re shit outta luck. But, after watching the pilot, I feel the show’s in good hands. Good, perverse, sadistic, happy ending giving hands. And I’m going along with it. Much like “The Walking Dead”, I have an inkling of what’s in store, but my intrigue is piqued by knowing that the only thing that’s sure about “Preacher” is that nothing is for sure.
In a fun bit of “Connect the Dots” Trivia, our three main cast are interestingly linked to each other via prior roles. Cooper plays Tony Stark’s absentee poppa Howard in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while Negga (what up, my Negga?) was a big part of “Agents of SHIELD” as Raina, a reoccurring villainess-turned-inhuman Shuna Sassi knock-off. The pair are also in the Warcraft movie, whose lore I know little-to-nothing aboot, so pardon my hairy ebon ass if my hype levels for said release are anemic as a vampire in a world where SkyNet wins… I think I just gave mental birth to a future Syfy Original. I should’ve terminated the pregnancy. Apologies.
Though Cooper doesn’t share a prior geek link with Gilgun, the exceedingly Irish sir’s resume does overlap in a career Venn diagram with Miss Negga, as they played Rudy Wade and Nikki respectively in the BBC X-Men-ish (or “Strangers-ish” if you’re Ultraverse nasty) tv series about super powered juvenile delinquents “Misfits”. The duo were never part of the show during the same series though, so this is their first time sharing the screen.
Speaking of the cast, are they any good? Yes. I like everybody. The main cast is great. I wasn’t sure about Cooper’s Custer, as the production stills didn’t thrill me on him looking the part, but I’m okay with it now. Same with Tulip being changed from a blonde white woman into the lovely Ethiopian equivalent of a grown up Clementine from Telltale’s The Walking Dead adventure games. A pleasant surprise. And Gilgun as Cassidy? Magic. Dark magic. Dark magic the likes of which would give John Constantine a toothache. Character-wise, I’m not big on the remodeling job done with Sheriff Root (W. Earl Brown) so far, as I liked him better as the stereotypical Texan hard-ass jerk-off of the books. I do like the inclusion of new character Emily (Lucy Griffiths), although her feelings for Jesse are irritatingly obvious despite her best efforts to hide them. I hope she’s meant for more than just to be the jealous would-be girlfriend now that Tulip’s back in town, but we’ll have to wait and see.
I’ll come back sometime after the first season to do a wrap-up of the whole she-bang, but right now I definitely recommend giving this show a shot. If you’re into supernatural, gritty-grimy-gory twisted dramedy type shit, “Preacher” should be square in your entertainment crosshairs. Bang bang.
Including your ear holes. Jesus is big into the aural sex. Don’t worry about the ass thing though. You’re only expected to give butt stuff to him on Christmas.
“Did you ever notice that my name backwards is ‘god’?! Damn. That’s so weeeeeeeird. Pass the Funyuns, bro?”
If Jason Sudekis and Taylor Lautner (Remember him? Me neither. I had to look up his name for this joke.) had a baby, then abandoned it at the doorstep of a Protestant orphanage.
“It’s a new age of scholastic sports! In the Texas of the future, all high school athletics conflicts are settled by one-on-one battles between team representatives. This is the world of Charles Band’s Mascot Jox!”
Don’t chug your Triaminic like Cassidy, kids, or you’re just asking for a mess. There’s a reason the bottles come with that little plastic shot glass. Use as directed.
They’re writing out “SUCK IT, ALIEN QUEERS!”. Despite their ignorance and intolerance for extraterrestrial races, at least their spelling is accurate.
In an effort to bring in fans of the highly lauded and incredibly popular Walking Dead adventure games, AMC has added series star Clementine to the TV show’s next season.
“Could God Himself commit a sin so grave that even God won’t forgive?” That’s the exact face a pastor made when I asked him the same question. He then invited me back to his place to discuss it further over some sacramental wine and crackers that smelled strongly of chloroform. Did I go? Yes. Were his remains ever found? No.
Donald Trump has found his running mate – the Mayor of Texas!
Once again I need to remind our viewers that are chronic masturbators: if you can’t take a day off every week, then at least use some manner of fire retardant lubricant.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Love Below”
Featuring: Mathew “Samurai Cop” Karedas , Mark “Samurai Cop” Frazer , Bai “Crank: High Voltage” Ling , and a VERY special appearance by Tommy “The Room” Wiseau
Director: Gregory “Mad Cowgirl” Hatanaka
Writers: Gregory “Mad Cowgirl” Hatanaka, Rich “Sociopathia” Mallery, Tony “American Nudist” Young
Follows: Samurai Cop
Hey. So… I’ve been gone awhile. Let’s just say it was something funny like a whiskey-fueled vision quest through the Gobi Desert with the ghost of Hunter S. Thompson so I don’t have to talk about my actual problems. Groovy? Groovy.
Anyway, 2015 ended on an omega level downer with the passing of Our Lord Lemmy Kilmister, and so far 2016 has been a Hollywood hit parade of death. I won’t post the ever growing list of the lost, as we’ve all got enough to be down-in-the-dumps aboot. Prior to anybody pointing their accusation fingers, let the record show that their deaths weren’t my doing! My bosses in the Pantheon decided that they were doing away with letting vacation days roll over, so I’ve been on a break from the reaping race for the last few months with that whole vision quest thing, lest I lose my paid days cache. Nobody fucks with my vacation days, ya dig? Dunno who’s been covering my shifts since, but I’d bet my life savings (an abandoned van buried in upstate NY that’s full of empty bottles and cans) that you can direct your digital hate mail to Tuoni via firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re looking for someone to vent on. Those Finnish gods can be real pricks when no one’s looking. He’s the hemorrhoid who pulled the trigger on Donald Pleasence after finally seeing The Puma Man on “MST3K”!
The year kicked off on a total wet fart start and has rolled mercilessly down that same path ever since. But, let’s just see if we can’t open up a Glade Freshness Bomb© and dissipate some of this emotional flatulence with a few laughs! Before we grab our garlic buttered popcorn and our pitchers of Jack & Coke (now known as “The Lemmy”), let’s catch the neophytes up on just what a “Samurai Cop” is.
In 1991, a thistle thong bikini of a movie named Samurai Cop was let loose on the metaphorical bathing suit area of cinema seekers the world over. The penultimate picture for since-dead Iranian writer/director Amir Shervan, SC was made on a budget that would make so-called “shoestring” projects look like summer blockbusters in contrast. Known by some as the homeless man’s Lethal Weapon, the flick was an offense to the senses. At the plot’s epicenter, two Asian gangs were at war over some prime crime Los Angeles real-estate: a Chinese gang known as the Ginza and a Japanese Yakuza splinter group calling itself The Katana, who were such a tiny splinter of the Yakuza that there were only two Asian members (one of whom may have actually been half Mexican), with the remainder of the roll call being filled with black and white extras in thrift store “$5 Bag of Rags” wardrobes. The most notable of the Katana was their big white enforcer, Yamashita, whose full beard wasn’t enough to disguise the monstrous jaw behind it. Yep, it’s our dear dearly departed friend of the Tomb: Robert Z’Dar. The Maniac Cop himself. May his chin forever rest in peace.
Assigned to take the bad guys down were LAPD Detective Frank Washington (Mark Frazer) and SDPD Detective Joe Marshall (Mathew Karedas), who was flown in to help with the case given his extensive background in Japanese culture. Yep, our titular titan of law enforcement is a white guy name Joe. Such brave casting. Bravo.
Between Joe's sped-up sword fighting powers (and the poorly attached lady mop upon his brow) and Frank's penchant for indiscriminately shooting bad guys on a whim (and his arsenal of goofy facial expressions and bad jokes), the villains had no chance. The bad guys were brought down, invitations for sex were thrown around between characters more than an '80s porno, cake was served, and another awful movie slipped into the obscurity it was condemned to, not even getting a riffing aboard the Satellite of Love like fellow '90s trash bin refugees Future War, Werewolf, The Final Sacrifice, and Soultaker.
The acting, the dialogue, the dubbing, the action-free action sequences, the FF>> car chases, the FF>> sword duel, the inconsistent film quality (and tint), the unbalanced audio, the awkward sex scenes (one preceded by the seduction of a woman via birthday cake and banana hammock), the 4th grade art class wall decoration of a lion’s head, the random gay Costa Rican waiter with an affinity for cops (or “cawps” as he calls them). It all added up to a mind-boggling murder orgy for the IQ points of all who watch it. I was lucky to have the commentary track of Trash Movie Master Joe Bob Briggs hold my hand through the initial viewing, so I recommend you seek out the same DVD release to lube up your sanity sphincter rather then just trying to cornhole yourself dry with this one. Barring that, I suggest getting your wittiest friends together and ingesting some mood enhancing chemicals if nothing else, because it is a sanity train wreck.
I honestly couldn’t tell if Samurai Cop was a clusterfuck of outright incompetence, or the many-layered master plan of a diabolical genius who was crafting a legacy that would inspire others long after his death. Either way, thanks to the total corruption of humanity by the internet’s reach, some of history’s failingest failures that ever failed have been brought to the attention of people who probably would have avoided them otherwise. And thanks to another arm of the worldwide web’s spider god (crowdfunding sites), Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance was conjured from the darkest depths of The Deep Ones to rain emotional trauma upon us as like a golden shower of madness from All-Father Odin himself. That guy downs a LOT of mead too, so you know that’s gotta be a frothy, odorous, volatile shower.
So yes, my own cinemasochism aside, I place a mountain of blame for the mental meltdown given to me by watching Samurai Cop Part Deux upon YOU, the sadists who threw their disposable income at the creators of this project, thus enabling them to commit their proposed sin upon the rest of us! Speaking of, we’re two pages into this episode, so I should probably prematurely eject the pregame show and make with reviewing the actual movie whose moniker adorns the above subject line! Don’t worry, since it’s still a relatively new release I won’t be going into a lot of detail about the plot, so this is gonna be a shorter read for those with a bus to catch or a loved one waiting for you to pick them up from prison. But not for you dominatrices out there. You’re being paid to be in charge, damn it! Earn your paycheck and subject them to the sweet abuse of tardiness!
Also, ignore the irony of letting me tell you what to do if you actually took that last bit to heart. *wink*wink*
For anyone who wasn’t sure what tone the movie was going to take (like myself), here’s a hint: the opening scenes flashbacks to 1991 to focus on detectives Washington and Marshall and the tragic event (and Joe’s subsequently hilarious reaction – the greatest repeated delivery of “NO!” since Dr. Loomis lost his shit during the Halloween IV finale) leading up to their eventual separation from each other… and no attempt is made at concealing how much both actors have aged in the quarter-century since. So, yeah, this flick is gonna be intentionally terrible. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is relative to your personal preferences. As for me? It’s a fine line between dumb and fun and dumb fun when it comes to intended crappy movie-ness. That said…well, if I told you right now, you might not read the rest of the review, so let’s carry on!
25 years later, Joe and Frank are estranged. While Detective Washington has continued the civil struggle to uphold law and order (the state of social being, not the TV show) in LA, Marshall-san has gone off the grid to live the hermit life away from the temptations and torments of humanity. You know, like a “Facebook break”, but in real life. The conflict that will inevitably bring the pair back together? The Katana and Ginza are at it again! Despite being killed in the prior feature, Katana patriarch Fuj Fujiyama (Cranston Komuro) is back, older than dirt and twice as ugly. Since the slapdash “take what you can get” assemblage of random black and white guys didn’t serve his needs so well in ’91, Fuj Fuj’s since outsourced his goon hiring to one of those talent agencies that works solely in porn actors. Not to be confused with one of those video series where it’s a fake porn agency and the guy’s just pounding amateurs on a casting/blasting couch to post on his xHamster account.
Fuj Fuj’s Clitori Quorum cuntcists (“Cunt cysts”? Might wanna get to your gyno.) of adult actresses Bai Ling, Lexi Belle, and Nicole Bailey (aka Zoey Monroe – check out “Princess Peach Gets Fucked By Her Kingdom” for more of Miss Monroe’s thespianism). Ling plays Doggé, not to be confused with Doge the canine meme. Snoop Doggéy Doggé is Fuj Fuj’s current Katana enforcer, while Hera (Belle) and Tessa (Bailey) bring up her rear (much where I’d like to be) as her kinky muscle. And if you expected a muffdive-a-trois scene in a movie where a trio of porn actresses play deviant characters in roles involving power differentials, well, you’re right. Don’t get too excited though, cuz it looks like the movie’s Kickstarter didn’t make it to the “hardcore sex scenes” tier. It’s 10 seconds of 2am Skinemax at best.
A series of assassinations have sprung up in the LA area in recent weeks, with bigwig power players from the Ginza (no longer Chinese and instead now ALSO members of the Japanese Yakuza for no apparent reason) being the targets. The killers leave Katana medallions behind, so it seems we’ve got a Yakuza civil war on our hands. Not nearly as cool as Captain America: Civil War, but what is? You know what else isn’t? Batman v. Superman. Fuck you and your Christ allegories right in the gall bladder, Zack Snyder.
In their rise to power, the Katana also start shit with their other rivals, the Shinjuku, turning this tale into a 3-way war to keep the Shins and Gins from treaty-ing up against them… I think? I don’t know. Either I’m being dragged through a shit pit of a script or I’ve suddenly been stricken with ADHD. I re-watched the first 15 minutes half-a-dozen times and I still couldn’t make heads nor tails of this clusterfuck! Anyway, Frank’s investigation brings him into contact with an emaciated Joe Marshall who looks like human beef jerky. After killing an impromptu gang of pop-up ninjas, the Black Gift and the Wonder Bread Warrior re-buddy up and get down to hero business.
The remaining hour boils down to oddball fight scenes, Joe using the old Samurai Cop magic to seduce a young Joan Jett look-a-like, random cameos from returning bit characters, Tommy Wiseau in bad Black Mask cosplay shouting incoherent lines of dialogue fed to him from off-camera, and all manner of oddly shot scenes awkwardly cut together with flashback footage and unexplained clips from fake TV commercials. The callbacks and parodizing of the original movie (like the return of the random lion head!) give way to weird-ass fever dream nonsense that was either included as a film school freshman effort to “art up” the production a la David Lynch, or was the result of the movie being edited with a wood-chipper and an industrial sized jar of Elmer’s.
Whereas much of Samurai Cop was shot in generic outside settings (parking lots, presumably abandoned property, etc), Deadly Vengeance was shot almost entirely on closed sets, many of which resemble the backgrounds for any number of direct-to-video Aliens and Terminator knock-off features from the far gone ’80s and ’90s. Exterior scenes mostly consist of fly-by footage of LA and the actors standing in front of green screens… mostly. Green screens? Yeah, Executive Producer Wiseau definitely had more than one hand in this hole. My favorite instance of this? A Tor Johnsony Yakuza goon marches in place in front of a Chinatown backdrop, only said backdrop stays stationary, thus killing the illusion of movement outright. If Ed Wood were alive today, this type of screen tech tomfoolery would be one of his hallmarks.
Speaking of Ed Wood, the acting is all bad. Very bad. Very very bad. Not sure if it’s all just part of the joke (which Mark Frazer is clearly in on, if nothing else) or what happens when your cast is made up of more than a few professionals from the meat market back lots. Or back door lots if you pay them an extra 20%. Bai Ling’s performance is particularly horrendous, but she’s such a coke-fueled dynamo that it was impossible for me not to witness! She’s the type of woman you equally want to get drunk with and fear getting drunk with because you’re almost positive that she’s the 29th Lord of Chaos. You never know which direction she’s gonna take her Wonkavator in, but you should have your life insurance paid up before you get on board! Speaking of things I unironically enjoyed, I would legit pay real money for a copy of the movie’s soundtrack. Why? Because I’m a manimal.
A couple interesting tidbits of triv for y’all – at one point, Joe comments that he’d heard everyone on the force thought he was dead. Chances are this is an inside joke. The movie was originally supposed to feature Frank teaming with Joe’s daughter to fight the almost exclusively Caucasian Japanese marauders…because Hatanaka and friends didn’t realize that Karedas was still alive to reprise the title role! Once they found out, though, everything was rewritten and so we got the movie we have today instead. Also, despite his passing before he could be involved with the actual production of the movie, Robert Z’Dar’s visage plays “Where’s Waldo?” a few times along our trek to the end credits, as well as an homage drop of someone being called a “maniac cop”. Finally, were you aware that one-off 007 George Lazenby was originally enlisted to play a part in the pic? True story. Unfortunately, the geezer was a bit under the weather when he was scheduled to shoot his part, so his “shaken, not stirred” ass had to be written right off Her Majesty’s secret service and out the proverbial door. Oh what could have been though…
And that’s that. Samurai Cop 2 was part fanboy love letter sequel and part Russian Roulette of retarded nonsense. The good, the bad, and the mediocre. I came, I saw, I did the walk of shame after. It outdoes its predecessor in terms of production value and general competence, but doesn’t snag that coveted “so bad, it’s good” category that it seemed to want to be. There are hushed whispers in these haunted hills of a making-of documentary on Deadly Vengeance‘s origins rumored to see release this summer. If said fruits reach a ripened state, you can bet I’ll be throwing up my thoughts here like so much expired canned lobster meat. So, look forward to that! Or don’t. I’m not responsible for your personal expectations.
For those who tried to call me out (including one person who actually sent me a fax!) over my disdainful comments about black licorice in my last review, let me state very clearly right now so everyone knows it: I do NOT discriminate against candy based on its color nor country of origin! I’m no Reescist. *rimshot*
Oh, and on the topic of call outs, this one goes to the Donald Trump supporter who called me a “faggot” for my negative comments about said sentient anal wart Chia Pet marinated in Nacho Cheese during my Danger 5 review: I am unvexed by your lazy slur. It doesn’t apply to me, so it has no power over me. It’s about as effective as calling me a giraffe or a dining room table. If I were gay, I’d feel empowered to separate your jaw from the rest of your no doubt misshapen skull, rattling your tiny pea brain around like the stirring bead inside of a can of spray paint. As is though, your insult was flaccid. Actual gay men would probably be more insulted at you calling me a “faggot”, as I’m far from being the sexiest bear in the Yellowstone circle jerk. Either way, get your head out of your grandpappy’s ass and check your calendar. It’s 2016. If you can’t come up with something portraying a little spontaneous wit (might I suggest “shit juggler” or “coconut fuck” to get you started?), don’t waste our air oxygenating your racist, sexist, xenophobic, fetid gray matter. And you know why I can call you a racist, sexist, xenophobe? Because you’re supporting someone who is literally those things! I’d toss some more unsavory truths your way in retort, but you’ve already outed yourself as a Trump Thumper, and it’s hard to hit you below the belt when you’re so proudly wearing it around your ankles. Besides, insults coming to me from a Drumpf guzzler? You might as well be shooting spitwads at a Sherman. Hell, you didn’t even have the chutzpah to use your real email address in your feedback form! If you wanna live under the rule of a propaganda propagating penis potato (or “dick tater”), break out your Mr. Fusion and go heil Der Fuhrer with the rest of your time displaced ilk. #MyStruggle #DoTheDrumpftyDrumpf
Now, I’m off to watch “Lucha Underground” and make love to the root beer float birthday cake my Evil Dead Bride made me before she gets home from the killing fields. Will I be back soon with another mediocre episode of tepid humor and unwarranted angerlust? I make no guarantees beyond the guarantee that there are no guarantees…I gare-own-tee! Later, nerds.
I guess Troy McClure is renting his place out for porno shoots now. Here’s a screenshot from Gropers & Groupers, cumming soon!
Jeezus. I used to think I was 100% hetero, but after this I think I may be a Bai sexual. *rimshot*
Ladies, if your ass has never caused a black man to make a face like that, you need to drink more milk. Yowza!
“You’re lucky. I wanted a machine gun too, but they just gave me this weird Spencer’s Gifts disco ball piece of shit. How the fuck am I supposed to kill anybody with this thing!?”
Special guest appearance by “Strangers with Candy”’s Jerri Blank.
Holy Nefertiti’s titties. After 25 years, Joe looks like an unwrapped mummy.
Kids, THIS is why you always use a lubricant when masturbating. *The More You Know*
Tommy Wiseau’s next project? A remake of the David Hasslehoff “drunken cheeseburger consumption” video.
The lion patiently stalks his prey. As much as we want to interject and save her, we cannot interfere with nature. We can only continue filming as Joyce DeWitt’s fate is sealed.
Wiseau is not shielding his eyes to view an atomic blast or a solar eclipse. He’s simply heeding the Surgeon General’s warning for the safest way to watch Paul Blart 2.
Sure, it’s only a repainted NERF gun, but in her hands it might as well be a grenade launcher! RUN!
Don’t worry Joe, everyone’s probably too distracted by the naked lady sword fight to notice you desperately sucking in your gut back there.
One of the gaffers filled Joe’s suit with centipedes during his last bathroom break.
There are worse ways to wake up than with a woman’s nipple giving you a Wet Willy. Joe’s just upset because he was having that nightmare where he’s Chekov in Wrath of Khan.
“Yes, I am Joe Estevez. Yes, I am the brother of Martin Sheen, and the uncle of Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez. And yes, I was the villain in Rollergator. Now, if you’re done being starstruck, could you direct me to the craft services table?”
President Donald Trump with Vice President Nightman (ahhhAHHHHahhh!).
(The Nightman Cometh)
A still from Greg Hatanaka’s new Kickstarter campaign to fund his next Tommy Wiseau vehicle: Black Mask 3: Meet Joe Black Mask.
Anubis will return next time in
“Big Top Beatdown”
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
Sequel to: The Condemned
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*
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)”
Featuring: Iko “Merantau” Uwais , Joe “Fast & Furious 6” Taslim, Doni “Hearts of Freedom” Alamsyah
Writer & Director: Gareth “The Raid 2” Evans
Also Known As: The Raid
Sequel: The Raid 2
Hey kids, it’s me again! Your jackal-in-chief, your podunk punk, your Death God with dad bod, and the founder of the no-pants-on pantheon – Anubis Von Mojo! I wanted to have a heavenly chorus singing “Return of the Mack” here while pyro shoots out of a big top hat on my head, but there wasn’t any room in the World Tour de Farce travel budget for any of it. Speaking of, after that extensive layover in Spain I’m back on the proverbial road a-gain! I’m backtracking just a smidge, having realized that my last telemetry jump overshot Indonesia and put my ass in Malaysia instead. Remind me to kill that Stargate operator when I get back. Making the best (or moderately better than worst) of the situation, well, you saw my Apokalips X review. And if you didn’t, rewind 6 or 7 episodes and treat it like halitosis: Scope it! Where was I? That’s right, Indonesia. Here’s some quick trivia on the island nation. We’re still applying for some of Uncle Sam’s sweet educational stipend money, so there will be a quiz at the end of the review. As such, eyes front and mouths shut!
For sharters, errrr starters, Indonesia is the FOURTH most visited country in the world, and the LARGEST congregation of islands, consisting of 17,800 individual isles! Yes, that’s a comma and NOT a decimal. Indonesians laugh when you present them a bottle of Thousand Island dressing. Like Ron Jeremy’s dick laughing at whatever Andy Dick’s dick looks like. It’s no surprise that half the islands haven’t even been named yet. Shit, someone put me in touch with Indonesia’s Department of Naming and for the reasonable price of just $1 per island, I’ll have 9,000 names for ya by the end of the month! Speaking of geographical milestones, Indonesia has more active volcanoes than any other country in the world with 400! Actually, given that they’ve got almost 18,000 islands in their domain, 400 active volcanoes isn’t nearly as impressive a statistic. I mean, sure, 400 is a LOT of volcanoes, but on a per-island basis that’s barely more than 2%, so mentioning the volcano statistic after the island number statistic is kinda like Extreme going on after a 2 hour AC/DC set. Meh.
Indonesia is not only the largest supplier worldwide of liquid natural gas, cloves, nutmeg, and plywood (80% of all plywood, in fact!), but is also home to the largest number of shark species at right around 150 different breeds! You know which shark you can’t find in their waters? The titular man-eater of Raiders of the Lost Shark. Yep, that’s a thing that I just discovered exists and I’m so happy to spread the disease that I had to namedrop it on your collective chests as soon as possible. Continuing on the native fauna kick, Indo also lays claim to the world’s smallest primate (Tarsier Pygmy), the world’s smallest fish (Paedocypris progenetica – “Paedo” to his pals), the world’s longest snake (Python Reticulates), and the world’s only living “dragon” (Komodo, named for the island they’re native to). Yes, I have a full collection of “Zoobooks“. The anatomical illustrations are fucking metal as Hel and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re living a life unfulfilled. Make like Kool & the Gang and get down on it!
Heyyyyyy! I’m reviewing Theee Raaaaid! (sung to the tune of 2 Live Crew’s “We Want Some Pussy”) Yes! After a grueling 4 year wait, I’m finally allowing myself to watch The Raid! I spent a long time looking forward to this, which is never a good thing as despite my best efforts this practice inevitably builds some form of expectation due to overheard tidbits like “amazing action scenes that’ll make your eyes shed tears of joy before they bleed streaks of awesome from the brain explosion that watching them can cause”. Not a direct quote, but you get the idea. In my experience, met expectations are the rarest of the rare. Not just “bloody” rare, but “still grazing” rare. Sorry, we jackals are opportunistic predatory omnivores – we scavenge puns whenever the window opens. If any of you are homophonephobics, I’m going to have to ask you to leave. There’s no place for your ignorance and bigotry here. *rimshot*
In case you’ve never heard of today’s movie, its original title is simply The Raid. For some reason, “Redemption” was tacked on for international distribution, which is really odd since there isn’t exactly much in the way of redemption happening. Maybe Sony wanted to avoid any possible lawsuits by S.C. Johnson & Son over confusion with their insecticidal product Raid©. Ask me (and even if you don’t), it seems like the perfect chance for a cross promotion! “Raid: when you don’t just want to kill bugs dead, you want to beat ’em violently first and make ’em question the choices they made that brought them to this level of agony!” A bit long-winded, sure, but I imagine one of those big city fancy-pants marketing firm types could shrink my Andre the Giant into a perfectly viable Hervé Villechaize.
Sorry if the last few paragraphs feel like filler, but I seriously don’t know what I’m supposed to talk about once I actually start reviewing the movie itself! Redemption‘s only 4 years old, so it’s protected under The Tomb Accords Anti-Spoilers Law! Unable to discuss the two or three plot developments that mean anything, I’m left with very little to write about! So, yes, I apologize for stuffing a cucumber down my jockeys, but now that I’ve confessed to the true size of my schnitzel, won’t you give me a chance to attempt to get you off? I mean, we’ve already gone this far, and we’re miles from where anyone can hear you. What do you say? 🙂
Oh, and before we really put knife and fork to the entree, let it be noted that I’m reviewing the English dub of the movie (technical problems with the subtitles on the original language version), so if I quote anything that doesn’t gel with the version you’ve seen, don’t crucify me. I don’t have the “Savior Sixer” abs for something like that.
Meet Rama (Iko Uwais). He’s a rookie member of the Jakarta police force about to embark on the biggest “make or break” day of his career. More “make or die”, but who’s counting? Being from Indonesia, he’s also Muslim. Not surprising, as it’s the dominate theological faith in that neck of the woods. If you have a problem with a flick’s protagonist being Muslim, DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE. As such, may I offer another option for tonight’s entertainment? First, swallow a whole roll of Mentos©. Make it two if you’re macho enough. Then, wrap your head in duct tape until your mouth is securely closed. Next, insert a tube up your nose and have a friend or family member beer bong you with a bottle of Coke, making sure the tube is in far enough that the Coke empties down your throat. After that? Well, I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise. Just make sure your friend sends me a link to the video on YouTube! Also, you might wanna make sure your will is up-to-date before trying this. No reason, it’s just a good thing to do every so often.
Before taking part in the biggest mission of his budding career, Rama says his prayers, does his pull-ups, beats the unholy tar out of his punching bag, then kisses his pregnant wife and her big ol’ baby beer gut goodbye. He also says “I’ll bring him back.” to an older gent, who I’m presuming to be his father. From the onset, writer-director Gareth Evans is setting this up to be a tale of major triumph or crippling tragedy. Smart money’s on Rama making it to the end of the day with a still functioning circulatory system, but this could be one of those artsier flicks where the hero dies at the end. Whether that idea makes your eyes water, or you’re a psychopath who gets murder boners from watching protagonists getting popped, keep the Kleenex© handy just in case, pals and gals.
Rama’s part of a twenty man SWAT operation to take down a notorious Jakartan crime lord known as Tama (Ray Sahetapy). Tama is treated like the God of Crime in this city, and is flanked by his top henches Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian) and the not-at-all-intimidatingly monikered Andi (Doni Alamsyah). Not to be confused with the short-lived Marvel character of the same name (born from Bob Newhart’s even shorter-lived sitcom “Bob“), Mad Dog is a fitting recipient of the Dolemite “Human Tornado” Award. He’s referred to by SWAT leader Jaka (Joe Taslim) as “a maniac of feet and fists that would tear down walls for his boss” and prefers to kill his enemies with his bare hands rather than with a weapon. As you can imagine, this is gonna lead to a whole shit show of trouble for our law enforcers…unless, you know, one of these cops saw Raiders of the Lost Ark (not to be confused with Raiders of the Lost Shark) and just shoots Doggie in the fucking face from across a room. Not that real life logic finds its way into movies very often, but you never know.
And Andi? Jaka describes him as “the brains of Tama’s business” who “keeps Mad Dog in check” and “given the opportunity, he will put bullets into you”. Though I have to bite the metaphorical bullet here to avoid a spoiler, I’ve gotta say that it’s a miracle Tama’s managed to keep his operation running as successfully as he has if Andi’s really the brains behind it. Later in the film, Andi makes a glaring error in his decision making that deservedly fucks him over big time. A screw up that any remotely intelligent person would’ve considered ahead of time, let alone someone who’s supposed to be the smart one in this Three Stooges empire of the Indonesia underworld.
Now for the movie’s hook: Tama’s crime kingdom operates out of an old apartment complex. He’s got his own in-house narcotics lab, a Sliver style peeping tom closed circuit camera network, and he rents the apartments out to any thieves, pushers, killers, or jaywalkers looking for police protection at an affordable rate with all utilities included and a flexible lease. Sure, the place is a rundown shithole and the Super is almost impossible to get a hold of on the weekends, but it’s still a better deal than most of the places you’ll find in any of the major cities in this country!
Prior to the raid (we have a title!), Rama asks why this group of newbs is being tasked with taking over the Towering Dante’s Inferno of the Jakartan realty market. One of his team members, goofy-ass tough guy stereotype Bowo (Tegar Satrya) throws out the typical good-little-soldier testosterone juiced answer of “WHY THE FUCK NOT!?” and tries to alpha male our protagonist in the pooper by calling him “boy”. Hopefully his death will be hilarious, and let’s hope it includes him screaming like a little kid and pissing himself. Jaka puts Bow in a corner (he doesn’t get Baby privileges) and responds to Ramen’s query, telling him that Tama’s been challenged by rival gangs for years, none of whom was able to topple his felonious tower. None of which addresses the questions of “Why us?” and Why today?”. And why not? Because it’s an incredibly transparent plot point that I’m cursed not to address! Damn gypsies and their hexes!
The busload of blue boys reach their destination, and meet up with their head muckity-muck, Lieutenant Wahyu (Pierre Gruno, looking like modern day Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat). Wahyu isn’t happy about all of the wet-noses in their group, but given this is probably not a sanctioned operation to begin with, he’ll take all of the bullet sponges he can get. They luck out on getting past the front gate to the complex, when they nab a returning tenant and use his keys to gain entry. The mission goes well at first, with the team going ninja on the first five floors, incapacitating any and all miscreants with the precision of surgeons and the silence of little cat feet. Given that Tama’s Tower only has 15 levels, they should be done cleaning house by lunch! Or at least they would have, if Jaka didn’t have this whole morality problem about not killing kids…
Yep, a young boy gets his big red exclamation point (not literally) when he spots the aspiring Solid Snakes and sends out the warning signal to the adults. Did ‘Nam teach the world nothing? Women and children in a warzone are NOT to be trusted! If they’re not wearing C4 Underoos, they’re always within reach of a damn alarm! Anyway, shit goes south faster than a Yankee slave owner after the signing of The Emancipation Proclamation. Before you can say “pig hunt!”, everyone in the building is on high alert and out for blood, with Tama promising free room and board to anyone who brings him a fresh slice of bacon. Can a SWAT team of well-armed amateurs survive this deadly edition of ghetto “Fun House“? This obstacle course of mayhem and murder? Will Ram Jam, or anyone for that matter, be walking away from Satan’s apartment complex by the end of Act 3? Given that they’re unable to call in reinforcements, Tama’s got the whole place wired with security cameras, and they’re outnumbered something like 25-to-1, it’s gonna take a miracle for the good guys to win this one! Or maybe they’ll just escape through some conveniently placed plot holes.
The break down for the rest of the movie consists of scenes of people shooting at each other, cops running away from gangs of bloodthirsty thugs wielding machetes, Ramesses showing himself to be the deadly version of Jackie Chan as he beats his way through waves of enemies using everything at hand, Mad Dog beating ass like a spanking machine set to “Adrian Petersen”, a really tense scene involving a machete and a crawlspace, a bout of Home Ec amateur surgery, extreme fire ax remodeling, a DIY kitchen bomb straight out of the Anarchist’s Cookbook (or Die Hard 3), and… and…… STUFF I CAN’T TALK ABOUT! ARGH! DAMN MY MYSTICAL KEYBOARD AND ITS CURSED “SPOIL-LOCK” KEY!
As wrapped in anti-spoiler tape as my fingers may be, I can tell you this much: Evans telegraphs his tale like a Street Fighter character shouting the name of their special move before they actually do said move. If you watch Redemption and don’t see the twists in the road from a mile off, you’ll want to consult you physician, because you may have a crayon lodged in your forebrain. In fact, this sounds like the setup to one of those Jeff Foxworthy “You might be a redneck!” jokes. Don’t be a redneck. Buckle your safety belt. Sorry, crossed some reference wires there. I LEARNED IT BY WATCHING YOU!
Though his storytelling is very basic and his characters are generic archetypes, the Wales born Gareth Evans (“Doesn’t he run like a Welshman?”) knows how to make an action scene. Given that that’s the kind of thing you’d expect from an action movie, it’s good enough to see The Raid to its finish. Funny enough, GE has said that if you took out all of the fighting, his movie would come off more like survival horror, not unlike [REC]. I can see it. Protagonist gradually works their way up an apartment complex they can’t escape while trying to avoid their would-be killers? Absolutely. Maybe if Evans collaborated with a better writer and focused more of his efforts on the director duties, we could get something amazing out of him. Shit, I’d love to see what he could do with a Moon Knight or Daredevil movie! You never know. If Marvel can take a chance on giving the writer-director of Tromeo & Juliet $170 million to make a movie starring a monosyllabic Treebeard and Ranger Rick’s foul-mouthed cousin, I wouldn’t rule it out…
As is, Redemption still works great as a 90 minute testosterone trip. It’s brain candy. It’s a popcorn flick. A thing of beauty in its own right, and a nice accomplishment for the mere million-or-so dollars spent to make it. A budget that was made back 4 times over by its US box office alone! The fight choreography itself is worth the price of admission and Rama’s mandatory one-vs-many “tonfa and combat knife” battle ballet would give both Jean-Claude Van Damme and Mikhail Baryshnikov the green-eyed monster. Give me a movie where Iko Uwais and Tony Jaa hit each other with sticks and knees for two hours and you’ve just leased my eyeballs.
Before I wrap this up, I have a 32oz. slab of nitpicker beef to serve to the Sony advertising department. The Redemption poster promises us “1 Ruthless Crime Lord. 20 Elite Cops. 30 Floors of Hell” as the tagline, but I have two problems with that statement. #1 – It’s well established that most of the officers partaking in the mission are rookies. Skilled as they may be, I don’t think I’d ever refer to a greenhorn in any position as “elite”. Not that I have any doubt any one of them wouldn’t be able to beat the tits off of an American SWAT team member, but still. This pales in comparison to my next bit of under-the-belt irritation though: #2 – The apartment building is only 15 stories high. I get trying to oversell it for crowd hype purposes, but fuck you Sony marketing twats for straight up lying to us. Shit, even the apartment complex portrayed on the poster itself only has 20 floors! Let me upgrade that “fuck you” to a “fuck you with a Roman Candle”. I’m gonna stick my Krakatoa just east of your Java. Indonesian movie joke. It’s okay if you didn’t laugh.
And so goes the deadliest realtor walk-through since The Grudge open house. Blood and adrenaline flowed in equal measure and my four year anticipation was almost completely satisfied, if not for the poor plot development. Be on the lookout for our next less-than-epic episode, coming sooner than you think…unless you think it’ll be anytime in the next 3 days, in which case it sounds like someone needs to temper their expectations. Right now, I have preparations to make for my Evil Dead Bride’s birthday, and the custom shadow box I had made for Her signed copy of The Necronomicon has been sitting in a Daytona Beach FedEx facility for the last week. When can we finally send Florida off into the Atlantic and castrate the US’s flaccid geographical dong?
Oh, and no quiz. I was too high on blowfish toxin brownies last night. Everything I typed came out in tongues (by which I mean you’d have to have your tongue yanked out to pronounce any of it) and that’s all I remember before I lost consciousness. No diggity, I woke up in a bathtub full of V8 and cocktail shrimp this morning, with my laptop on the toilet and an open Word file that was harder to read than an Irvine Welsh novel translated into R’lyehian. Ktulu luv a duck.
Until next time, Mungkin hatimu tidak berlari lebih cepat otak Anda!
*sniff*sniff* “Uggh! Looks like it’s past time to get the old prayer rug washed.”
“You know I love you no matter what, baby, but I think you should seriously consider switching to Lite beers.”
“Okay, if whoever (Whomever?) it is that has the methane leak comes forward now, I promise you immunity from a Defcon 4 soap beating in the locker room after this. This is your last chance: cork it or pay the price!”
These Indonesian knock-off Three Stooges are kinda depressing… and scary. No like.
“Uggh! That stink is trapped in my nose hairs now! When I find out who it is with the IBS, they’re gonna be DOA!”
“I don’t mean to tell you how to do your job, officer, but your continued rubbing of my nipple is making me very uncomfortable!”
This is why you never go cheap and ask your friend to pierce your ear for you.
And here I thought I was the last person on Earth under the age of 70 that still had a LAN line!
“Hello! Machete man! I was wondering if you had any sugar cane or bamboo or coconuts that need macheting? I’m trying to work my way through night school… Hello? Well, I’ll just leave my business card on the table and if you or your friends need my services, please call. Thank you!”
Norelco© tries to appeal to the hipster market with their new Amish Shaver™. It’s disturbingly popular for something that left permanent scarring after 93% of test shaves… well, on the ones that survived, that is.
“You can’t talk to me like that! I defeated “Macho Man” Randy Savage at Wrestlemania III in what many have called the greatest Wrestelmania match of ALL TIME! Sure, my whole run as “The Dragon” was embarrassing, what with that stupid hat and those weird arm fins, but I know Mickey Rourke, damn it!”
This is why you never give a stranger unsolicited advice on why he should get hair plugs.
Anubis will return next time in
Featuring: Sandi “Saint Francis” Gardiner , Callard “’Sons of Anarchy‘” Harris , Nick “Albino Farm” Richey
Writer & Director: Jonathan “The Punisher (2004)” Hensleigh
Also Known As: Cannibals
Intro: Hey everybody! This week’s episode is gonna be a rerun, since I had mental-dental surgery and need a lighter workload while I recuperate. The twin that I partially absorbed in the womb has been keeping me up at night grinding his teeth, so I had them removed. Next week’s review will be the whole big “very special episode” whatchamacallit, so until then, just read this!
Oh hey! The Green Inferno FINALLY made it into a theatrical release this weekend! Hooray! For those who aren’t aware, Inferno is the bastard spawn of cannibals (namely Holocaust and Ferox) as birthed from the creative test tube of Eli Roth’s brain.
Seeing as how a review for The Green Inferno is probably a few months off, and since I needed a break to digest all of the fucking Fantastic Factory I crammed into my mental mouth hole at the Spanish bad movie buffet, I figured I’d stick my hand into the rerun cooler and fish out my first can of do-over in over a year. Taking a cue from the week’s new release, I’m revisiting another found-footage romp through undiscovered man-eater country! To that extent, Welcome to the Jungle, won’t you?
Original Review: There are only three reasons that a movie should be titled “Welcome to the Jungle”: (1) It’s a documentary about the rise and fall of Guns ‘N’ Roses (2) It’s a SyFy Original starring Axl Rose and/or Slash (3) It’s a cannibalism movie about people from the “civilized” world going into a jungle and the title was changed because some slime licking studio exec decided the original title of “Cannibals” wasn’t flashy enough to sell the flick. If you’re a sweet child of the ’80s and you’re hoping for doors one or two, well you’re soljwf (dig out your Witchboard and ask George Carlin’s ghost what that means) because we’re giving you what’s behind the curtain. Oh, and look, it’s George Kennedy sodomizing a donkey while chickens peck kernels of corn from his naked ass. ZONK!
In 1961, Michael Rockafeller (“Rockafeller”? I don’t even wanna touch a feller, let alone rock one! *rimshot*) [editor’s note: Rockefeller is actually spelled with an E, not an A. I didn’t want to ruin Anubis’ joke or hurt his feelings, so I left it as written.] went missing in New Guinea while doing some follow-up research on a tribe called the Asmat. A boat that Mikey and his travel partner René Wassing were on was overturned and the two stayed with the boat while their guides swam off to get help. Tired of waiting, Rockefeller decided to swim off himself to get help, but was never heard from again. Wassing was saved the following day, proving that good things come to those who wait… except for Return of the Living Dead 4, because that was just a flaming Hefty bag full of hobo shit.
Son to then Vice-President-to-be Nelson Rockefeller, the search for Michael went on for three years before he was finally declared dead in ’64, though his body was never found. Insert ominous *DUN-DUN-DUN!* here. Well, 40+ years later, in Fiji, college girly Aussie surfer friends Bijou (Veronica Sywak) and Mandi (Sandi Gardiner) get together for a little reunion vacation. Turns out they had one of those “all girls are lesbians at some point in college” relationships, and Mandi’s still carrying a torch in hopes that their reunification will include re-insertion of lady protrusions into each other’s south mouths. Her hopes are dashed before you can say “Lilith Fair” though, when Bij gets introduced to Mand’s boyfriend of two whole weeks, Colby (Callard Harris). Ouch. If you slow the movie down, you can pinpoint the exact moment the poor girl’s heart breaks.
Just so the trip won’t be a total loss of drunken physical stimulation (via the aforementioned insertions), Bij is set up with Colby’s equally American buddy Mikey (Nick Richey). While Colby’s more the “privileged white kid with well-to-do parents” stereotype, Mikey comes from the “pig-headed drunken frat boy” side of the tracks. They’re like the Odd Couple, only I hate them!
The lads heard from a helicopter pilot friend that a 70 year-old white guy who may or may not be the missing Rocker (Marty Jannetty?) was spotted in the nearby jungle of New Guinea. As there’s a standing one-million dollar bounty from the Rockefeller estate for any information as to the lost heir’s whereabouts, the crew decides to go on an amateur jungle hunt (my favorite Atari 2600 game) to investigate the sightings of said geezer. If he turns out to be the legit article, they plan to do an interview with the old man and claim the million bucks so they can buy solid gold sports cars, a lifetime supply of Jack Daniels and all the lesbians Bijou can eat!
A doubly effective joke, since she’s into girls AND we’re watching a cannibal movie! *wink*wink*nudge*nudge* Say no more!
After engaging in the popular New Guinea “x-treme sport” of evading getting carjacked (tourism tip: never stop for children sitting in the road of a third world country – ALWAYS RUN THEM OVER AND KEEP GOING!), the quartet find the local guide who claimed to the helicopter pilot to have seen Grandpa Rockefeller. As proof, the guide pulls out an old timey Zippo lighter with the letters “MCR” monogrammed on it, which the crew trades a bag of tobacco in exchange for. Bijou thinks that the natives could be smarter than they’re giving them credit for and they may very well just be fucking with the stupid white tourists. Meanwhile, Micheal’s frat boy “tough guy” attitude amps up with every scene and really starts to piss me off right around this time, as he picks a fight with some Indonesian border guards (and gets the shit rightly kicked out of them when he calls one of them “zipperhead”, not thinking they know English). This comes after having earlier started shit with some local dudes who almost took his head off for being a posturing prick. He also shows us that he brought a gun with him, because for a brief moment he thought he’d go all Dirty Harry on those border guards before they bitch slapped him around and made him piss himself. Fucking frat boys.
While out in the jungle, the quarter runs into a missionary couple (in that they’re religious recruiters, and not just enthusiasts of that particular sexual position) for an awkward and seemingly pointless scene. If those two don’t wind up impaled on stakes and castrated later on, I’m going to be very disappointed. Speaking of which, if Mikey and Bijou do get eaten, the natives are gonna get so wasted off their whiskey soaked meat. And if they don’t get eaten after making me hate their stupid pathetic alcoholic shit-for-brains asses, this movie immediately gets 1/2 star no matter what happens for the rest of the flick. Seriously, we’re halfway through the movie and if Colb and Mand don’t just leave these two a-holes out in the middle of fucking nowhere to be eaten alive, I’m seriously considering shutting this shit off. On the plus side though, this movie has given me the great idea that, should I ever decide to kill the two most irritating fuckers I’ve ever met, I’ll invite them out into the middle of an uncharted jungle where local cannibals will dispose of the bodies…
Eventually, after many days of wearing thin on each others nerves, Mister and Missus Drunkerton make a raft and break off on their own down river, stealing the group’s only map, all of the money, and probably they keys to their rental van. Sadly, since they also stole one of the two cameras that have been journalizing the journey, we still have the fuckhead couple shoved in our face for a while longer. Oh well, all the better and more satisfying when they finally run into pissed off natives (unhappy with shitweed Mike’s desecration of one of their sacred burial mounds prior) and suffer violent, torturous deaths. By that point though, my lethal exposure to the toxic twins had long killed any and all redemption that might’ve been brought on by said deaths. They’re like a cancer: even though the chemo might get rid of them, you’re still emotionally and mentally ravaged by the experience. Once they’re gone though, it’s back to Colby and Mandi with the second camera as we follow their whiny search for their brain dead cohorts. On the plus side, the whiny stuff isn’t nearly as long or as insanely infuriating as the drunken posturing and mouthing off.
Will Mandy and Colby find Michael Rockefeller, let alone make it out of the jungle alive? Or, will there be some kind of epilogue tacked onto the end to explain how the “footage” made it back to civilization when they didn’t? And even if they do make it out alive, what other shit will the writers put in there to fill out the rest of the running time? Truth be told, I’m not even 100% sure of what the fuck I saw right before the credits rolled. By that point, all I really cared about was that the credits were finally rolling, so fuck it, it’s an ending and that’s all that matters.
Shot in pseudo-documentary style a la The Blair Witch Project (only in digital, because it’s cheaper and makes more sense), it’s hard to tell whether Welcome to the Jungle is supposed to be an homage to Cannibal Holocaust or just an attempt to make a mainstream cash-in on a flick that most “normal” people have never heard of. Obviously Dimension wasn’t too impressed with it, considering the flick went straight to DVD as part of their “Dimension Extreme” label. In this case, “extreme” meant “not good enough for a theatrical release”. To be fair though, Dimension Extreme also brought us the halfway decent Black Sheep, so they’re not all bollocks and ball socks. Whatever the fuck a “ball sock” is.
Considering the lack of explicit gore, vulgar rape sequences, National Geographic style native junk and disturbingly haunting and almost surreal score, I’m assuming it’s just a standard “buy low, sell high” cash-in effort by writer-director Jon Hensleigh. He’s written a bit of everything genre-wise, from Jumanji to Die Hard With A Vengeance. He also took up both writer and directorial chores for the 2004 version of The Punisher.
There are a couple of moments where the graphic special effects are actually done pretty damn well, but the inane dialogue and my general hatred for half the cast (compared to my “moderately steeped dislike” of the other half) just served as a black hole, sucking in any enjoyment I might’ve taken from the rest of the flick. If Cannibal Holocaust is too much for you to handle, but you’re still interested in the “raw footage” motif of a cannibal hunting movie and you can get past nerve baring characters, you might be up for a viewing of Welcome to the Jungle. As for me, well, I’d say it’s pretty friggin’ obvious how I feel about the whole craptacular debacle. Adieu!
Xtro: Damn! I don’t know if I was just way more bitter 8 years ago (“Bit him too!”), or if I just had a vendetta against any and every “found footage” flick between Blair Witch and [REC], but my original 1 star rating for this one is way off! Having re-viewed it for this rerun re-reviewing, I appreciate it a hell of a lot more now than I did upon my initial criticizing! Well, maybe not a hell of a lot more, but let’s say at least a moderately sized purgatory more. Not that we have to actually say that, because as every woman who’s ever gone down on Ron Jeremy has said, “that’s a mouthful”.
For starters, let me put it out there that I have in no way lightened my stance on Mikey: that stance being me with my size 13 boot firmly planted on his neck, making him denounce Adam Sandler movies if he ever wants the canned piss that is Old Milwaukee to cross his lips again. I know he’s meant to be the brain-splittingly obnoxious frat boy stereotype “TO THE EXTREME!!!1!” (especially given that his death is the most satisfyingly drawn out later on), but I also stand by my original statement that he’s so overly annoying that he’s what I call a “human onion”: even well after he’s gone, we’re still trying to get the rancid aftertaste of him out of our mouths. His specter lingers so long that I forget anything else about the “meal” and spend the next few hours wishing I’d asked the waiter for no Mikey.
Though Bijou isn’t much better, and the duo’s “party every night!” attitude gives me oozing pustules on my soul, this time around I actually find myself relating to her. Not because I’m a cunty drunk, but because I know the crushing disappointment of looking forward to reuniting with someone you still carry a torch for, only to have them douse it right out of the gate by introducing you to their new Kama Sutra co-pilot. It’s not the other person’s fault for moving on, but it doesn’t make it any easier to find out you’re the only one still living in the past. So, whether it’s because they’re both soulless partily-heartily types or Bij just wants a rebound fuck to get over the disappointment and/or resentment of having her hype for the clam buffet busted into a million little pieces (or she’s just trying to make Mandi “jealous”), she and Mikey actually hit it off and it makes sense. Depressing, annoying, understandable sense.
Oh yeah, speaking of the boozers, here’s one of the biggest hemorrhoids this movie planted in my crack: How much fucking alcohol did they weigh their packs down with to fuel such a party bus to Drunken Regrets Town?! By Jupiter! B & M (huh huh, “BM”) get shitfaced EVERY NIGHT, and they’re wandering out there for something like a week or more! You’re four people going into the fucking jungle for an extended period of time, yet you waste precious food & water space for rum!? Unless those two are the world’s lightest lightweights and have been getting blitzed on a couple of shots a day, up yours movie! Fuckin’ “Blart of the Day” award winner.
Whether you side with Couple A as people with a goal who want to get things done, or Couple B as people who want to make it party time all the time because life’s too short to be a fuddy-duddy, you’re more than likely going to end up taking a side while watching them pick at each other and come close to blows several times. Did you agree with Bij & Mike when they gave Mand & Colb the double “single digit salute” and ran off with the party’s map and valuables? Or, did you get a little more joy than you thought you would when the rebel pairing start turning on each other because they’re both self-centered knobs (who can’t get along without getting their faces idiomatically shitted first) and deserve the pain and horror they’re in store for? Even if your investment is simply, “I can’t wait to watch (insert names here) DIE!”, it’s still an investment!
I also made notice of something else that helps flesh out the four a bit more in character terms upon this viewing. There’s a short “five questions” segment the group records prior to their expedition, where each answers a handful of queries like “Do you believe in god?” and “What’s your relationship with your parents?”. A quick and dirty way to add a little more depth to them without shoehorning the same shit into forced “this was clearly scripted” conversations later or leaving it out entirely.
Even without a lot of cannibal screen time, the movie still pulls from its action hat (also today’s sponsor: Action Hat!™) to keep tension engaged via conflicts between our Wonder Bread quartet and foreign antagonists in the shape of angry locals, would-be hijackers, and border guards who don’t take kindly to racial slurs shouted by an entitled honkey frat boy whom we can all enjoy knowing will never grow up to be a frat man, constantly telling his wife and kids about how lucky every other guy around him is that he doesn’t “beat their asses”. If only we could’ve watched him raped to death by CHUDs.
And there we have it: Welcome to the Jungle is a lot better than I remembered it. It’s typical found-footage failures (like “Why would you keep filming this when you should be running for your life?!” moments) and movie logic flops (Why would they bring so much alcohol!?) work against it, but it’s nowhere near the bottom of the barrel of festering fish paste that I tossed it into with my original opinionation. Not a big fan of the “surprise” ending where a fat old guy we’re supposed to suspect is the lost feller rocker wanders in front of the video camera, nor of the little detail the movie left out about how this found-footage was supposed to have been found, but that still doesn’t make it a horrid waste of 90 minutes. Overall, it’s a Log™ flick – it’s better than bad, it’s good! But not great.
Before I go, I’d like to say that my newly discovered non-hate for Welcome in no way absolves Jon Hensleigh for his fucking “the blond guy from Deep Blue Sea vs. Vinnie Barbarino” Punisher movie. An elaborate scheme involving parking tickets and diamond earrings just to make a mobster kill his own wife out of suspicion?! Having him slowly pulled behind a car to his inevitable death amidst a exploding parking lot?! Fuck you. Frank Castle would’ve just shot the whole family in their collective faces and burned their mansion down to get any of the survivors. In an otherwise overwhelmingly “okay” movie, those segments brought it down to Dyson Ball Vacuum levels. It didn’t just suck, it sucked so hard that if it were to engage in fellatio, it would implode its partner’s testicles, creating a scrotal black hole! In a more Punisher-centric comparable scenario, that movie sucks so hard that I’m convinced it took detailed notes on how to suck by watching Angela make love to the 2nd Amendment in that Night of the Demons 3 scene! In case your bad movie education didn’t include the NotD trilogy, let me bring you up to speed:
Anyway, tune in this Sunday for that “very special episode” I mentioned! Mark your calenders! Set an alert on your myfacespacebook page! As for me, I’m gonna order my Green Inferno tickets and listen to this inappropriately upbeat song. Keep it sleazy, kiddos!
“As this photo shows, Rockefeller was also apparently the proto-hipster from which all other hipsters devolved!”
When not being used for their intended function of providing milk for a nursing infant, the breasts of the human female have evolved to also serve as pillows! Evolution in action.
That’s either a decorative desk lamp or the world’s second largest martini.
The term is actually “caught behind the 8 ball”, but whatever. Oddly enough, this comes in right around the 13 minute mark…
Looks like we got another cracker who thinks his white privilege includes casual usage of the n-word!
“More of the you fucking white people and your reality shows?! By the nine tribes! How about you leave me alone until you bring The Price Is Right Live! tour with you!”
“Did you guys pull the short stick for your missionary group too? Oh well. At least if we die out here we’ll finally find out if all this Jesus stuff was worth it, right? Haha… ha….. ha.”
I’m all for leaving up the holiday decorations a few weeks past due, but somebody needs to tell these Asmat guys that Halloween was over six months ago!
Look, a big empty bonehead… and he’s holding a skull! *rimshot*
When bulimics go too far, things can get very messy.
“Hey! Get out of that river, you damn kids! That’s our drinking water!”
“Fiiiiiigarooooo! Figaro! Figaro! Figaro! Fiiiiiigaaaaarooooooo!”
“Don’t tase me bro! I’m unarmed!”
“Where the hell did the random old white guy come from?!”
“Oh, don’t mind him. That’s just our neighbor, Mr. Warner. He’s got dementia and wanders around the neighborhood sometimes. He won’t bother us. Let’s get back to our blood ritual!”
Anubis will return next time in
“Werewolves. Mayhem. Soap.”
Featuring: Jay Gallagher , Bianca “Wrath” Bradey , Leon “Stoned Bros.” Burchill
Director: Kiah Roche-Turner
Writers: Kiah Roche-Turner & Tristan Roche-Turner
Hey kids! Mad Max: Fury Road came out this weekend! I haven’t seen it yet (I’m not allowed within 200 feet of opening weekend crowds), but I’ve got something that taps the same vein… and has zombies!
Yes, for my big 50th episode I’ve chosen a movie that fills a veritable ass load of personal criteria for why I watch these mother truckers in the first place: low budget ingenuity, creative twists to traditional formulas, humor amidst the horrors, blood & guts splatter fun, the living dead, mad science antics and some high-octane road ragery for dessert. In the wrong hands, all of these ingredients could result in an irredeemable abomination of a clusterfuck. But put in the hands of brothers Kiah and Tristan Roache-Turner (along with an Outback Steakhouse gift card for $160,000), it borders on being an almost life changing experience…almost.
Anyway, it’s time to put on your anti-drop bear helmet, reload your nail gun, grab a beer and a Bloomin’ Onion and give a big middle finger to safety belts, because here comes Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead!
As if the setting of today’s feature wasn’t miserable and depressing enough (Australia was founded as a fucking PRISON COLONY after all!), the Outback is in for a whole new stage of hell when a fallen meteor brings with it an Ozploitation Zompocalypse (“Ozzompocalypticapalooza”!?). Whether it be an airborne extraterrestrial spore, a contagious cosmic radioactive fallout, or a supernatural plague of Biblical proportions, the majority of the Aussies start turning into flesh eating cannibal ghouls when they breathe the polluted air of their beloved homeland. As opposed to the usual pollution of wallaby farts and XXXX Gold belch fumes (if you say Foster’s, Australians will kick you in the balls with their giant punishment boot) that they’ve all worked up a strong tolerance to. Kinda like how China’s genetically engineered its people to breathe smog and respire alcohol mist. Where did you think that Vaportini bullshit came from?
As with any such living dead end-of-the-world, a small group of otherwise normal people share an abnormal trait that makes them immune to the mystery condition. In this case it’s something as simple as their A- blood type. This immunity is fine as far as exposure to the tainted troposphere goes, but once some horror show that used to be their mate sinks their teeth into a survivor as if they were a kangaroo burger, said bitee will join the undead party faster than a college girl suddenly joins the pink mafia after drunkenly making out with another girl at a frat party. So, normal outbreak infection protocol applies: don’t get bit on, bled on, spit on, or splat on. It’s your window to success!
The first survivor we see surviving is Brooke (Bianca Bradey). She’s one of those “splatter chic” artist types that likes to photograph her friends dressed up like zombie versions of an Ed Hardy ad. During their latest shoot in her tool shed “studio”, her model randomly flips her switch from “just another hot girl” to “ravenous infectoid brain starved psycho”, and tears out their mutual friend’s throat, dragging her into the new zombie trend too! Brooke evades the hungry fangs of her infected conformist friends, shovel decapitating one Ash Williams style and chaining the other up before calling her big brother Barry (Jay Gallagher) for help. Barry’s a normal blue collar schlub who also looks like the kinda guy who could just snap one day and rip out his loved ones’ eyeballs with his teeth, just because a koala shit on his neck or his boomerang didn’t come back to him.
No sooner do the siblings end their conversation, the cliched shit hits the fan. Like, a year’s worth of excrement cleaned from the Elephant cages at the San Diego Zoo, then tossed into one of the intakes on the Helicarrier. Big bro’s fam is immediately inundated with a midnight moblette of their own, so Bare, his wife She-Barry (I didn’t catch her actual name) and their young daughter Barry Jr. (once again, not a genuine moniker) narrowly escape town in their economy car with their faces buried in life-saving respirators. Respirators – not just for wanna-be Hot Topic models’ amateur “cyberpunk” photo shoots in their friend’s basement anymore!
Meanwhile, Auntie Brooke is “rescued” from her own predicament by a seemingly military-in-origin contingent of blokes in riot gear and gas masks. After testing her for signs of the mysterious infection and finding her clean, they knock her out and take her away to a mysterious lab, where a delightfully demented practitioner of maniacal medicine known only as The Doc (Berynn Schwerdt) dances to KC and the Sunshine Band while injecting his lovely young guinea pig with borrowed zombie squeezings. The Doc is the kind of insane character that I love and should be included in pretty much all movies. He’s like a cross between Doc Brown from Back to the Future, Jebediah from Beyond Thunderdome, and Dr. Heiter from Human Centipede. If I were ever going to be in a production of Wyrmwood: the Musical Based on the Movie Based on the Meteor, I’d want to be The Doc…not that I can sing for shit after that tragic karaoke accident some years back. But, yeah, Doc or Benny. Who’s Benny? Read on, friend. Read on.
Things don’t end so well for Barry’s beloveds, and our hero is left alone with an empty nail gun and a mountain of survivor’s guilt that even Killdozer couldn’t move. While everybody else who evaded infection is probably trying desperately to escape the island (the same goal of your average tourist in Australia after the first 6 hours), Barry takes to the back roads in search of little sister Brooke. Along the way he meets several colorful fellow carriers of the A- vein juice, the best of which are wise old gear head Frankie (Keith Agius) and jersey clad, sawed-off shotgun wielding, what’s-his-race (just kidding, he’s an Aborigine) pig hunter Benny (Leon Burchill). Frankie provides exposition, tying the events in with the Book of Revelation (though calling it “Revelations”, like everybody else who misquotes it, not unlike people who think Hendrix said “’Scuse me while I kiss this guy”), citing Wyrmwood – the star that falls to Earth following the third angel’s trumpet tooting and kills a “fuck load” of people. Yes, we have our title. His reasoning that they’re not among the dead (“Among the dead we will riiiiise” – http://youtu.be/-HDdFRGkOJU -) is because this is their final casting call to see if they’re worthy of getting past the pearly gates…or it could just have something to do with the whole blood type thing I mentioned earlier. These guys just haven’t read that far into the script yet.
Back to Benny, he’s the other role I’d play in the Wyrmwood musical. He provides the comedy relief. He’s the loveable sidekick to our hard-ass no-nonsense hero, Barry, who’s going through his mandatory Max Rockatansky transformation into a former family guy turned remorseless man-shaped murder machine. And there’s plenty of reanimated cadavers to take his poor mood out on and crush under some off-road tires. If only he could get his hands on a working vehicle…
Speaking of, Frankie’s other big contributions to the road trip are an A-Team’ed pick-up truck and a means by which to power it. See, the weirdest part about the Wyrmwood effect isn’t the walking dead, it’s the way it somehow made all combustible liquids completely inert. And when gassy gassy don’t go burny burny? All those combustion engines ain’t combustin’ SHIT! You know what does burn, though? Apparently zombie blood! Yep, slice off a limb and you’re talking undead napalm. Even better? They’ve got ferocious halitosis that also lights up when exposed to a spark. So, the answer to how to make Frankie’s truck go vroom vroom? Cage up a zombie or two in the truck bed, strap a breathing tube to their suck hole, and burn some rubber, Mother Hubbard!
And so, armored up like agents of Lord Humungus’ color guard (sans the leather thongs), our boys are on the road again, continuing the search for Spock, errrr, Brooke. Speaking of, it turns out that Doc pumping her full of zombie blood has had the entirely unexpected side effect of giving her…zombie mind control powers?! What the fuuuuuuuuuck?! Yep. Little Sister’s gained mental control over whatever gray matter any ghouls near her may have left. This is either very cool or too stupid to handle, and I honestly have no inclination on which side of that line I plant my flag.
You know our heroes are eventually going to cross paths with Brooke’s captors, but are said ‘nappers really government goons like they claim, or is this some Resident Evil Umbrella Corporation type shenanigans transpirin’? What awaits our gang at the ass end of their road trip down the Hoober Bloob Highway of Horrors? Who will survive and what will be left of them? You’ll have to nab yourself a copy of Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead and see for yourself!
I have got a big, rude, unapologetic boner for this movie. I was raised on the Mad Max trilogy and though a lot of people have had their fill of the zombie sub-genre, I still get sloppy from my slurp portal for undead flicks like Tar Man looking over The Dean’s List/Menu of an Ivy League school… “MORE BRAINS!” With that, I think I’ve exhausted my allotment of metaphors and similes for the month on this single review. Sheesh.
But the movie’s not all rainbows and ribbon candy. There are a few questions I’d like to address about the zombies, for starters. The ghouls squeal like pigs. Not like Ned Beatty did, I mean they literally sound as if there are pigs trapped in their throats squealing to get out! Intended as a primal scream sorta thing, or just a bizarro trait to make their monsters stand out? As if the part about oozing petroleum byproduct wasn’t stand outish enough. Also, some of the reanimated randomly emerge from the ground in one scene. Did this mysterious event also have a Lazarus effect, where it raised the dead along with turning almost everybody into plague beasts? If so, why were these particular terrors buried in unmarked graves in the middle of nowhere?! The more likely answer is that they’re just normal dead heads who chose to hide in the ground and spring forth like trap door spiders and snatch their prey unawares. This causes a whole new set of issues though, namely that the fucking idea of living dead guerilla fighters crosses the county line a little too far into Stupid Town for my tastes. I mean, it’s the type of tripe you’d expect from one of Godfrey Ho’s stitched together stinkers! Unless that’s the joke? I’m gonna need a bottle of Windex to clear this one up.
Okay, enough with the nitpicking! We know how this baby handles, but does she look good while doing it? The practical gore and effects are nice, but make the digital ones all the worse to have to look at. The CG muzzle flashes and bullet ricochets and gunshot splatters are especially shit. But, the zombie makeup is good enough that I’ll gladly take the hit. At times the movies has an overexposed look that washes it out and gives you that lovely faux Grindhouse visual. It’s moderately well done and comes off as a nice homage rather than an overdone gimmick. Unfortunately, something that is overdone is the liberal application of the shaky-cam shooting method. There’s a LOTTA shaky-cam going on here, and you all know how I feel about shaky-cam. You don’t know how I feel about shaky-cam? Oh. Well, I shaky-can’t stand it. I don’t believe the lies that it’s meant to “put the audience in the action”. It’s an amateur way of covering up that you don’t know how to frame a fucking shot! You can’t deceive a deceiver!
As a budget movie, there’s only so many extras they can afford to pay, and only so much horror makeup they can afford to dress them up in. As such, the monsters tend to be seen in small groups, which subtracts from the fear of our heroes being overrun by a mob that barely outnumbers them, especially when the good guys are armored up and well armed. The focus is on a lotta action (again, much like a Mad Max movie) and the story gets shoved down the stairs as a result because they didn’t wanna linger on too much exposition. But, for a zombie movie, at least there are some creative concepts tossed around to set it apart from the average undead tale. Finally, if you’re low on testosterone, ask your doctor about using Wyrmwood as a alternative treatment for your Androgel. If the DIY death machines, high octane car chasery (complete with brief “Ship’s Mast” moment from Brooke!), gun fights, and zombie slaughtering aren’t enough queso con jalapenos to top off your bucket of Macho Nachos, our end scene plays out in the most he-manly of fashions! Trust me, it’ll put the proverbial hair on your chest. Pregnant ladies may want to close their eyes during this sequence, as its detonation of machismo has been known to cause premature bearding in fetuses. While not as severe as a miscarriage or “flipper baby syndrome”, premature bearding can lead to uncomfortable internal rug burns on the birth canal upon natality.
…Now all I can picture is Sub-Zero in a delivery room, wearing a white doctor’s coat and parabolic mirror while pulling a baby out of a pregnant woman’s ham purse, then holding it up by the ankle while one of the attending nurses growls “NATALITY!”
Wyrmwood 2 is already in the works, so whether you like the movie or not is irrelevant, as it seems to be a guaranteed production. Me? I liked it. Obviously. I thought it was a stellar first effort from a pair of Bruces like the brothers Roche-Turner. Not perfect, but definitely commendable and a recommendation for all within the sound of my voice. I’d call it more of a 3.5 than a full-on 4, but in a case like this it’s pertinent to round up rather than down. I’m curious to see where things go with the sequel.
As for where I’m going next? Nowhere, really. I’m gonna stick around Kangaroo Country for another episode. Wyrmwood wasn’t on my original itinerary for the Tour de Farce, and only came up as a nice little tourist trap on my walkabout to my original destination. Said destination? Find out NEXT TIME! Oh, and that dingo that ate your baby? Yeah, it was me. Crikey. Sorry, mate.
“Oi oi oi” is what my stomach says after my 4th slice of fried cheesecake.
It’s the illegitimate daughter of Ronald McDonald and Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas!
Our hero – arming himself for the Apocalypse, or just prepping to paint his house?
The old “pull my finger” gag isn’t the best of ideas when you’re in a hermetically sealed quarantine suit…
Is Frank wearing a shirt spattered with paint (at least I hope it’s paint), or did he just wrap himself in a star chart before leaving the house this morning?
Hey! They have vikings in Australia!
Jason Voorhees has competition for this year’s “World’s Scariest Goalie” award.
Time is fleeting.
Madness takes its toll.”
Wow! That must be some high tech operation to have monitors and keyboards mounted to the wall like that!… and yes, I’m the type of person who notices the cheap keyboard tacked to the wall first, rather than the young woman in bondage right next to it. Shut it.
“Pimp Your Ride: Down Under!” just didn’t have the pinache of its American inspiration.
He comes from down under a land down under. *rimshot*
“That’s not a knife! THIS is a knife!… No, wait. This is a boomerang. Never mind.”
Anubis will return next time in
“Scary Stories to Tell in the Outback”