Featuring: Natasha “‘Orange Is the New Black’” Lyonne , Chloë “American Psycho” Sevigny , Meg “Psycho II” Tilly
Director & Writer: Danny “Oddsac” Perez
Origin: Canada | USA
Hey kids. It’s September 30th. Somebody wake up Billy Joe Armstrong, cuz he apparently can’t figure out how to set a fucking alarm clock. Speaking of kids…
Children. Uggh. I’ve never been a fan. My DNA has been requested more than once to contribute to the spawning of an Anubis Junior, but such a nightmare never occurred because I convinced the women in question that not only would having my child be a poor idea (family history of mental illness, alcoholism, diabetes, and general assholeness) , but ANY intentions for reproduction would only lead to a lifetime of regret for all involved. I’ve seen it happen. Too many times. From would-be dads who bail as soon as the first sonogram image proves they were wrong that their lady “just ate too much chili” to mothers on the verge of becoming the next Andrea Yates (one of which I literally had to talk down over the phone while at work, I shit you not), the idea of having children unnerves me. Almost as badly as the idea of a Rush Limbaugh Speedo calendar or Uwe Boll making a movie crapdaptation of Eternal Darkness. In the darkest depths of this hypothetical Hell, it would star Jenny McCarthy as Alexandra, Casper Van Dien as Pious Augustus, and Paulie Shore as the voices of each of the Elder Gods. Uggh, I just gave myself mental indigestion.
As I was saying, I hate the concept of babies and everything to do with them. So much so that I used to wear a t-shirt in high school of a fetus on a coat hanger that said “PRO DEATH” across the chest. Some mistook it as a plea for negative attention, others incorrectly interpreted it as an extremely anti pro-choice statement (it was not), while in the end all it was meant to be was exactly what it looked like: a public illustration of my advocating for the violent physical termination of parasites. Do you know what the difference is between a tapeworm and a fetus? Most people don’t keep the tapeworm after it’s been removed and raise it as their own. Poor tapeworms. Somebody should start a petition to establish a publicly funded tapeworm adoption agency. But not me. I’d rather bisect my own tongue with a piece of notebook paper than try to convince people to sign a petition.
In addition to the whole conception concept, Antibirth also addresses another mostly female-centric nightmare – date rape drugs. No sooner does our feature set sail, then it immediately crashes upon the jagged rocks of discomfort as our intoxicated leading lady Lou (Natasha Lyonne), who’s suddenly having issues maintaining consciousness, is led away from a raucous midnight warehouse barrel fire rave by the living, breathing definition of a “skeezoid” with blatantly bad intentions. Her friend Sadie (Chloë Sevigny) sees this and makes the bare minimum effort to assist her protagonist pal, but is ultimately dissuaded by her presumed beau Gabriel (Mark Webber) to just ignore the implied peril and get back to indulging in their drunken merriment. Ladies, be sure to properly vet your rape prevention buddies before engaging in a public night of mind altering activities, and even then, be sure to travel in a consortium of three or more friends if possible in case of outside interference. Oh, and be sure to pack an Xacto knife or shiv of some kind too. If there’s one thing that terrifies a guy with his dick hanging out, it’s sharp objects!
Antibirth throws us face first into the figurative wall with its tale, so let’s take a quick sidebar and let me introduce you to Lou, based on what we observe throughout the runtime. She wants more out of her aimless life, but due to her downward spiral of self-esteem these moments of clarity are always quickly obscured with another haze of bong exhaust, or drowned in an amber sea of Old Milwaukee and painkillers. As for her personality, the best I can boil her down to on a relatable level is thus: Lou is that “live out loud” tomboy type that has more male friends than female. She prefers to be direct and avoid the false face backstabbery and bullshit of the stereotype woman. It could have something to do with her dad being dead and all.
Lou’s the friend who asks her best male amigo to go get her tampons and offers to suck his dick in payment. As said friend though, you never call her out on cashing it in (despite getting blue balls every time she does it) because you know she was just joking, yet you still buy her the cotton ponies because you knew you were gonna end up doing it either way. She talks about how one night the planets will align and conditions will be just right for the two of you to swap fluids in a tangle of sexual kismet that you’ve been building toward for years. Chances are she’s just stringing you along because she thinks she needs to keep you interested in a self-professed loser like herself, and she feels genuinely bad at times since she knows said metaphorical celestial construct will never come to pass. Lou’s the kind of friend that masochists fall in love with despite knowing they’ll never have her because, well, I guess that’s part of being a masochist, right? She’s a Super Bowl of self-abuse, but you can’t help picking her back up every time she falls on her ass…
Well, if said “you” is me, anyway. Maybe the you “you” reading this hasn’t ever had a friend like that before. Anyway, now’s not the time to delve into the sinkholes of my personal memory lane. We’ve got a movie to review, you Sonoma bitch!
The aforementioned ambassador of the Skeeze Nebula is Warren (Max McCabe-Lokos), whom we later discover to be Gabriel’s henchman. Why would Gabriel need a henchman? Because he’s the local supplier of their small town’s citizens with pay-for-play poontang and illegal pharmaceuticals. He also may be holding a young woman hostage (it’s a shady shade of legal gray) for the purpose of harvesting her urine to sell to job seeking junkies. Even if you excuse his business practices as “providing services for people who are responsible for their poor decision making”, based on his simple merits as a human being, Gabe’s still a diarrhea Slush Puppie. And if you don’t know what a Slush Puppie is, memorial services for your childhood will be Thursday from 4PM to ‘?’.
Lou wakes up the next morning with no memory of what happened after Warren made off with her, but over the course of the following days one thing’s made very certain – she’s pregnant! She’s in denial about it for a while, but once her midsection starts to inflate like a meat balloon it’s clearly more than a heavy case of constipation. Given the rapid progression of said impregnation, there’s something way more complicated than the simple fetal fallout of a date rape at work in this lady’s womb. The question now isn’t just how that something got there, but who put it there, what it has to do with a strange woman (Meg Tilly) that’s seemingly stalking Lou, what its connection is to a ramshackle Chuck E. Cheese rip-off restaurant, and what exactly said something IS. The answer may surprise you!
Or maybe it won’t. If you’re into Area 51 “X-Files” type shit, I’m gonna guess it probably won’t.
Much like my last episode, The Neon Demon, there isn’t a lot in the way of horror going on in Antibirth. The dread comes from the discomforting voice in the back of your head that keeps telling you this is all leading to some nightmarish payoff, but the cause isn’t made clear until the finale, when the whole thing get thrown in our faces like a water balloon full of amniotic fluid. Unlike The Neon Demon though, Antibirth doesn’t give us the courtesy of some beautiful visuals and brain altering background tracks to keep us neck deep in the experience while we wait for the eventual menace to surface and resolve. Of the pair, oddly enough, it’s the one with a hardcore drug abuser as its main character that involves the less psychedelia. Yep. Despite Lou’s frequent pot smoking, booze drinking, and pill popping, there’s not a lot for the audience’s sensory apparati to indulge in outside of a little acid rock, a brief time lapse scene and some minor flashbacks to the night of her womb squatter’s immaculate conception.
The trippiest shit we get actually comes from whatever bizarro TV channel it is that Lou keeps her boob tube tuned to. Must be one of those weird ass “channels between the channels” digital air wave stations too, cuz our pregged-up protagonista’s trailer abode is so far out in the middle of nowhere that there’s no way a cable company is coming all the way out there to install service for her box! Though, I would gladly drive such a distance to service Natasha Lyonne’s box. There’s just something about her that makes my protruding Pineal stalk stand at attention. Not that I owe anyone an explanation as to whom or what pitches a tent in my celestial loincloth. If you’ve got a problem with it, you can blister your biscuits for all I care.
All in all, the movie’s cast is pretty good. Lyonne makes Lou oddly affable (and f-able) despite her flaws, but that may just be me hooking my wagon of personal life experiences to her hitch. Sevigny (who’s been superseded as the go-to Chloë by both Chloë Grace Moretz and Khloé Kardashian) make Sadie moderately interesting as both Lou’s co-conspirator and Gabe’s girlfriend, seeming genuinely ignorant that she’s using him for the free drugs. It keeps with the movie’s underlying message that everyone uses everyone else for their personal gains. That may make me a pessimist, if you must insist, but I tend to live in a sugar-free reality. My logic diabetes makes me allergic to naivety. And despite my cripplingly low self-esteem, I can’t seem to stop making this review about me. Let me go look in a mirror and remind myself why I’m not to be a topic of praise.
That’s better. Where was I? Oh yeah, the cast. Meg Tilly’s Lorna is motherly and warm, while also tin foil hat paranoid and always ready to cut a bitch. She’s like Kitty Forman with shellshock, thus making her my favorite character. Webber and Lokos are what you’d expect out of a small town wanna-be crime lord and his bruised second banana. Neither one is especially dynamic, but these aren’t exactly career making roles. I will give it to Webber though, he almost makes you feel bad for Gabriel when the guy points out to Sadie that she’s using him for drugs and he begrudgingly accepts it. One of those “I’m just a means to an end for you, but I’m a user too so fuck it, we’re good” exchanges. Kudos.
Though it’s become far more commercial in recent years than the Independent Film Channel it was created to be, IFC’s movie unit lives up to the “independent” part with Antibirth‘s super low budget feel, especially its limited number of scene locales. It’s sold as a horror movie, but looks and feels like a slice of life slacker picture. Downtrodden, lower class twenty-to-thirtysomethings just getting by and living lives without real purpose, just kinda dickin’ around until it’s their turn to feed the worms. Minuscule on production value, but in no need of a big price tag to warrant its existence. Take out the Mulder and Scully stuff and you’d be left with a Juno + Suburbia hybrid flick.
All in all, it’s an okay movie. Better remembered for its ending (which I’m not at liberty to divulge, given its infancy) and a scene that will make podophobics curl their toes in revulsion (trigger warning!), Antibirth is a fair feature to take in if you’re feeling nostalgic for the ’90s nihilistic punk pics sub-sub-genre, but still like a side of mild body horror and the unknown with your meal. It doesn’t make me chomp at the bit for another Danny Perez feature, but I may check one out if I get the odd pregnancy craving somewhere down the line.
Oh, and bonus points for the scene where Lou expounds the finer points of “Manimal” to Sadie! When’s that remake coming, NBC?!
With the sun setting on “Ladies Night!”, what will the striking of midnight and the dawning of the devil’s month have in store for The Tomb? Take my hand and let’s find out together…that’s not my hand…okay, you should just stop that now. I’m just not into you like that. You’ve made it awkward. I’m going to go now. Bye.
“Get off me, man! If that dude juggling the chainsaws fucks up, I wanna see it!”
We all had the same reaction when we heard Trump was running for president. Now we’re just praying someone invents a working time machine before election day.
Having missed out on her chance to be a contestant on “The Swan”, Split Face Girl instead moves from Japan to Canada in the hopes that their superior healthcare system may be able to finally get her the care she needs.
Trust me, leaving your piss cups and a big jar of olives in the fridge together will only lead to comical mishaps. Also, who the fuck put the COMPLETELY EMPTY KETCHUP BOTTLE back in the fridge?! Assholes!
The rest of his shirt says “When you can sit around and shove fried excuses for chicken parts into your face and cut your lifespan in half”.
I don’t care HOW big your American flag is, you’re not fooling anyone! Only Canadians bowl with those weird little ski ball spheres, ya hosers!
Fearing the inevitable sleepless nights that come with parenthood, Lou tries to keep her future spawn high as hell in utero in the hopes that it’ll be a mellow baby.
“Not so tough now ARE ya, Sunny Jim! Somebody’s definitely getting a mouthful tonight, but it’s not gonna be me. I suggest you pretend you’re eating a Choco Taco if you wanna see the sunrise. On your knees!”
Think Wheaties is the breakfast of champions? Fuck no! Cold pizza and a Camel are where it’s at.
Just another prom night victim of an American “abstinence only” school district…
Much like baby alligators in the ’70s, it looks like one of those porcelain preemies managed to reach adulthood in the sewers and become a successful model for “Gorezone”! The American Dream is alive and well, (white) people!
Pepsi recently brought back their Crystal Pepsi product by popular demand, but they forgot to fix the “flesh melting” side effects that caused them to cease its production in the first place!
By the time Billy’s mom realized she’d purchased a voodoo birthday cake by accident, it was too late…
Speaking of accidental conceptions, this is what happens when Tinky Winky and Po get wasted on cough medicine and take turns face fucking one of those water gun carnival game heads. Pure, uncut nightmare powder.
Anubis will return next time in
Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!
All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.
Featuring: Jesse “John Tucker Must Die” Metcalfe , Jessica “iZombie” Harmon , Dennis “The Unit” Haysbert
Director: Pat “Degrassi: the Next Generation” Williams
Writers: Tim “Dead Rising: Watchtower” Carter & Michael “Catwoman” Ferris
Sequel to: Dead Rising: Watchtower
Welcome back, boils and ghouls. ‘Tis I, your humble narrator, thriving on the mundane and bleeding mediocrity as always. The Master of Mating Magnetism himself… keeping in mind that magnets both attract and repel… props to the Sonic commercial I stole that punchline from. Anyway, if I sound a bit disappointed today, it’s because I fell for one of those click bait articles about “SHOCKING CELEBRITY SUICIDES!” that uses a picture of Johnathan Taylor Thomas in the link. I clicked through all 200 pages of that fucking site and JTT wasn’t among them! From now on, I’m checking IMDB before getting my hopes up about forgotten ’90s quasi-celebs murdering themselves. Speaking of shat upon expectations, there were two things I was very much looking forward to experiencing last week: Burger King’s newest lifespan eroder, the Mac & Cheetos, and Crackle’s new original zombie-a-go-go, Dead Rising: Endgame. Of the two, one was moderately satisfying and the other was monstrously disappointing. Here’s a hint about which is which: the following review is for the shit show. Spoilers.
In case you missed my review for last year’s Dead Rising: Watchtower (Episode 47, as seen here), here’s a quick refresher for the sequel. It’s based on the Dead Rising video game series. Each installment of which centers around a different male main character stuck in the middle of a zombie outbreak and forced to survive with an armory of do-it-yourself weapons that combine everyday objects like a sledgehammer and a fire ax, a broadsword and motor oil, a vacuum cleaner and buzz saw blades, and so on and so forth. Watchtower opted not to adapt any of these games, and instead introduced us to a new protagonist named Chase Carter (Jesse Metcalfe). Chase is an investigative reporter (cuz reporters are always chasing stories… get it?… do you get it?… you get it.) for an online-only news outlet that covers all the stories the “lamestream media” won’t, due to the whims of their corporate overlords and being on the short leash of their Wall Street masters and blah blah occupy blah blah blah.
Chase uncovered a conspiracy (as reporters in movies are oft to do), killed some zombies, “Point A? Meet Point B.”, nothing was resolved (gotta set it up for the sequel after all!), roll the credits. If you didn’t watch it and are one of those spoiler-phobic types, you might wanna end your experience here and return the unused portion of this review for a full refund. Being a sequel, major plot points from the previous picture need to be touched upon, and like a doctor giving you a physical, I wanna make said touching as non-awkward for you as possible. Your body is a magical, disgusting pile of nerves that react to stimulation in an aroused fashion independent of your brain sometimes. Don’t be embarrassed. It happens to everyone… please stop masturbating.
Still here? Okay. Let’s continue with the Ballad of Chase Carter… not to be confused with “The Ballad of Chasey Lane”, which is a Bloodhound Gang song that has nothing to do with zombies and everything to do with analingus.
When we last left our venturesome muckraker, he had made a deal with one of the big TV news outlets to provide them with an exclusive story about the behind-the-scenes of a recent undead outbreak, including how it may have actually been caused by Phenotrans – the pharmaceutical company that produces the zombieism sytmying drug Zombrex™ and NOT a Phoenix based social group for trans people with dyslexia. It had something to do with bitten people being implanted with microchips that would track their vitals and release Zombrex™ into their systems as needed to prevent them from turning. Sinister Army man General Lyons (Dennis Haysbert) wanted to weaponize the chips (or something. I don’t remember a whole lot from the first movie, to be fair) and instead used a portion of them to turn their users into the living dead, taking advantage of the resultant panic to manipulate things to his favor somehow… maybe… I don’t know. The end result was the eponymous program “Watchtower”, which instituted mandatory chipping for millions of otherwise uninfected civilians.
As we join our journalistic joy-boy Chase, he has indeed parlayed himself a well paying gig as a World War Z correspondent for UBN (let’s say “Universal Broadcast News”?). While sticking his nose into every hole he can find (dirty dirty dirty) to try and uncover evidence of Lyons’ wrong doings, he’s also trying to track down his former producer Jordan (Keegan Connor Tracy) who went missing at the end of Watchtower. It’s been a pair of calendars since the big outbreak, and despite East Mission City being voted Zombie Digest‘s “Biggest Necropolis of 2016”, the streets aren’t exactly teeming with bite bags. Another unfortunate instance of a low-budget movie bragging about having a 10 inch pocket monster when all they’re packing is a 2 inch pelvic thumb. Denoting your shortcomings beforehand is better than trying to excuse your lies after the fact. Admission over apologizing, people.
Despite his efforts, Chase is story-blocked by his bosses, who don’t need the hassle of a Phenotrans lawsuit or a government sanctioned mass execution to bring down their executive cocaine lunch highs. To continue down his checklist of “movie reporter tropes”, Chase ignores the demands of those-in-charge and continues to meddle in the matters of General Lyons, the Scooby-Doo to his Old Man Withers. Monotoned Army guy’s big scheme continues to revolve around those damn Big Brother chips, only this time he plans to insta-kill a few million people instead of just turning them into ghouls. With just 24 hours to put the ki-bosh on this “Afterlife” contingency, Double C and his elite Channel 6 News Team strike out to bring down Iran Contra II before it turns into September 11th IV. Said crew includes such movie caricatures as “sassy computer hacker girlfriend who owes the hero her life” (Maria Avgeropoulos), “tough talking cool guy that supplies the group with guns, who we first meet playing the video game the movie’s based on before he answers the door in his underwear and a robe” (Patrick Sabongui), “experienced news person who uses their connections to try and take down the evil corporation with the Power of the Press” (Jessica Harmon), “corporate whisteblower who will either turn on the heroes to save their own ass or die proving their dedication to doing what’s right” (Ian Tracey) and “character from the hero’s past who shows up to save them in the nick of time”. You know, all those old “seen it before” chestnuts.
Endgame follows much the same path that Watchtower did in regards to its influence from the games, only this time around the Zombie-Go-Round the marauding rejects from a Mad Max movie are replaced with a scurrilous gang of heroin handling (which is never reasoned why) mercenaries, the wacky interview segments with Dead Rising hero Frank West are dropped in favor of a much less wacky deus ex machina cameo by Dead Rising 2 protagonist Chuck Greene (Victor Webster), the creative engineering of mash-up weapons (all of which look too silly for a serious toned tale) feels tacked on now rather than a fun nod to fans of the games, and the previous flick’s “boss battle” finale is dropped in favor of a pair of dramatic stand-offs – one about two guys waiting for lab test results and the other over a computer virus’ upload progression bar… As the constipated old man said to his Depends, “I shit you not”.
By the time it was over, my faith in Dead Rising as a movie series had expired. Were you here, you would’ve heard the last gasps of hope leave my body via an audible sigh. It was as if the ghost of my own enjoyment had been exorcised by an ordained priest from the Church of Mediocrity. Though some would praise Endgame‘s eschewing of its comedic roots in favor of a more dire tone, I say thee nay. If I wanted my made-for-TV ghoulocausts to be low-budget bowls of freezer-burnt vanilla ice cream, I wouldn’t have relieved myself all over Rise of the Zombies way back in episode 6! No, I want my Dead Rising ice cream to be filled with sprinkles and gummi worms and little chocolate zombies, damn it! I said it when Michael Bay prison sexed the Ninja Turtles and I’ll say it again – if you’re just going to ignore 90% of the source material and do your own “in name only” thing, spare the fans your lazy cash-in and just call it something else! Then again, when one of your writers was responsible for the crime against geek humanity that is Catwoman, I should’ve known what I was setting myself up for, right? No. That’s victim blaming, you asshole. Fuck you.
On the good side of things, Billy Zane himself shows up for a payday as a not-quite-mad-but-definitely-morally-spotty scientist! Not-so-good? His role has him onscreen for all of 5-10 minutes and lacks the Zane zaniness of something like his turn in Demon Knight that I was hoping to get when I saw him mentioned in the opening creds. On a less lackluster positive note, though, I have to admit that what action pieces we get are generally better put together than what we got in Watchtower. Chief among them for me being a Chase chase (wakka wakka!) sequence where he tries to escape the dead menace amid a series of escalators and an interestingly shot fight between the hero and some zombos in an operating room that shoots for what I can only describe as “tethered filming”.
So, all said and done, Endgame isn’t all bad. Generic, sure, but not a totally wasted 90 minutes of wear and tear on the eyeballs. It doesn’t leave me looking forward to the purported TV series that Crackle has in the works, but as a stand alone zombie movie, I’ve seen worse. Far worse. Skin-peelingly bad “I’d rather jam toothpicks under my toe nails than watch another minute of this” worse. Toe suckingly terrible stuff, folks. Seriously.
As previously noted, the biggest problem with the movie is making it 100% serious while still keeping the “Dead Rising” moniker. It’s tantamount to taking a charismatic, over-the-top madman like Jesse Ventura and casting him as a cookie-cutter, potatoes-without-the-meat, bland as raw tofu, good guy. How do you make an intergalactic space cop played by one of professional wrestling’s greatest a-holes a walking, talking sleeping pill? Abraxas. How do you suck all of the fun out of Dead Rising‘s wholesale zombie murdering and DIY death dealers? Endgame.
Hey, I wonder why they named the first movie after Lyons’ plan (“Watchtower”), but didn’t do the same with the sequel? “Afterlife” would’ve made for a better title, especially given that this clearly isn’t the series’ “endgame”, what with the TV show planned. Just junk food for thought.
Since it’s a Crackle exclusive, if you want to check out Endgame (or Watchtower for that matter) you can do so for free on the Crackle app for your phone, tablet, gaming console, or TV streaming device of choice. Of course, you’ll have to sit through a shitload of commercials for that privilege, but nothing is truly free… unless you download it from a torrent site. Technology, you sex us so good!
Oh, and despite not making Mac & Cheetos wretched fried tripe, BK isn’t off the hook! One time they sold me onion rings and didn’t give me the designated sauce that goes with it. Onion rings without onion ring sauce is as much a crime as a Dead Rising sequel without Rob Riggle’s Frank West. And I was told this was the land of liberty. Oh the unabashed verisimilitude. Not cool, guys. Not cool.
Those sadists in the Jackass crew have run out of wacky ideas and are just straight up mutilating themselves now.
I see someone never figured out how to turn the on-screen display off on their camera…
“Damn, baby! You looked a hell of a lot better last night when I had my Jack Daniels goggles on!”
She’s Selena Gomez-ing.
Dennis Haysbert parodying the McConaughey Lincoln commercials? You’re a few years late to the party, Allstate.
Hey, movie. You’re not endearing me to you any more so by showing me what I could be playing instead of watching you. Stop it.
“You mind if we stop by my dealer’s place real quick on the way to the airport? I’ve been itching for a fucking hit since lunch and I just can’t drive straight when I’m, well, straight! Oh, and can you give me a 5 star rating on Uber? It hasn’t been a good week.”
“Thanks for meeting me in secret… here in this public place… out in the open… during the day… You’ve never done corporate espionage work before, have you?”
A human pinata! THAT’s what I want for my birthday next year!
“My custom weapons are NOT stupid looking and cumbersome! They’re friggin’ AWESOME! You’re gonna owe me so many Mac & Cheetos when you see how right I am and these save your dumb life!”
For those cold footed husband-to-be out there hoping the zombie apocalypse will be a good enough reason to cancel your marriage? She will find you. And eat you.
“What are you two doing?! Do you have a permit to film here?! Fuck off before I call the cops!”
“So you’re not going with a crazy, over-the-top tone with this one? You just want me to play my role straight? Okay… you have until my bank clears the check, then I’m out of here.”
Hey kids, remember Hackers? Remember how cool it is to watch a fucking progress bar for 10 minutes?! Have we got a movie for you!
“Chuck? I know your cameo is completely superfluous and all, but could you have at least worn your bright yellow motocross jacket so the gamers could have had some kind of fan service?!”
Anubis will return next time in
“What Do You Call 8 Teens At Crystal Lake?”
Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!
All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.
Featuring: Aaron “The Storm Riders” Kwok , Qi “Journey to the West” Shu, Collin “The Matrix Reloaded” Chou
Director: Benny “Gen X Cops” Chan
Writers: Benny “Gen X Cops” Chan & Chi-Man “Invisible Target” Ling
Origin: Hong Kong
All my life I’ve been searching for something
Something never comes never leads to nothing
Nothing satisfies but I’m getting close
Closer to the prize at the end of the rope…
The Tomb’s 3rd anniversary is October 1st. Three is the “novelty sneakers” anniversary. If someone doesn’t get me some of that groovy be-chinned footwear, all love is a lie and life is a pointless endeavor that goes on forever. Just so you know.
On to other matters, because of my many months away from The Tomb (let’s say due to a journey through alternate realities where I had to stop an evil version of myself from destroying all of existence by killing our other selves and absorbing their power to supplement his own) I’m taking a further break from the Tour de Farce so I can give higher priority to other movies that have crossed my desk since. And yes, it’s a literal desk, made of the finest polished femurs, spines, and rib bones of Rupert Murdock’s ancestors. Totally worth the hauntings.
To that end, I thought it prudent to finish this review (started in January) before putting the T de F back into its cryogenic freeze tube for a while longer. Today’s episode features the Hong Kong sing-a-long ring ding dong we call City Under Siege.
Expected a Dr. Dre reference? Nope. He’s banned from The Tomb for selling $300 headphones to stupid children with stupider parents. Anyway, before we get started, let’s mine the ancient secrets of the mystical island of Hong Kong!
On second thought, never mind. This review’s already 4 months late and my laptop is starting to give me third degree dick burns. I don’t have time to play tour guide. If you wanna know any esoteric facts about HK, its economy, its culture, its people, its impact on the rest of the world, or its dark history of horrendous crimes in the fields of drug trade and human trafficking (I’m presuming), pay your preferred search engine a visit. Let’s just get to the movie and cut to the chase…oh, I forgot to mention that a hefty portion of today’s movie revolves on an axis of knife throwing. That might have been pertinent info before making a pun like “cut”. My apologies.
Not to be confused with the Police Academy sequel (#6!) of the same name, City Under Siege is the tale of Li Fei (Aaron Kwok), whose peers call him Sunny… not really sure why, but let’s say it’s because of his sunny disposition. Or that time he stabbed a waitress to death with a fork for rupturing the yolks on his sunny-side-up eggs. Whatever pulls your lever. Anyway, when Sunshine’s parents died in a car accident (and sadly not during an armed mugging which always makes for a better origin), his uncle Tak (Wah Yuen) took him in and gave him a job as a clown in his traveling performance troupe, The Thunderbolt Circus. Though grateful not to have been cast off like the orphan he was, Sun was never happy as a colorful fool and instead wanted to live up to his dear departed daddy’s legacy as the knife throwing “King of Flying Daggers”, 26th descendant of the legendary marksman, Thousand Flying Daggers. Unfortunately for Sunny he’s more like the Prince of Flying Daggers, and even then the “Prince” part would be more an honorary family title than an earned one. This guy sucks more than a hospital custodian’s ShopVac in the middle of an ebola outbreak when it comes to the family cutlery slinging business. I wouldn’t trust him to butter my biscuits let alone let him hurl sharp lengths of steel at me while I’m strapped to a spinning wheel o’ death!
Despite his insistence that the talent in his genes will bear fruit if Uncle Tak (no word on an “Aunt Tik”) would just give him a chance to put innocent paying customers’ lives in danger, his cousin Zhang Chu (Collin Chou) refuses to give up his place in the spotlight as the show’s marquee marksman. In fact, he threatens to gut Suns if he doesn’t stop trying to horn in on his job, so don’t expect to see our hero headlining shows anytime soon. Unless maybe Chu gets a bout of the flu or leaves the circus to go on a crime spree as a psychotic hulking brute…
It feels like we’re supposed to pity our protagonist in this scenario, but when we’re introduced to him, Sunny literally (as said in Rob Lowe’s Chris Traeger inflection) goes off script during a show in Malaysia and comes within seconds of committing manslaughter on an unknowing audience dupe before cool guy Chu has to step in and put “The Prince” back in his place! Sure, as with the majority of movie bad guys, ChuChu comes off as a douche knocker. BUT, he very likely saved a woman from PTSD at best and straight up VIOLENT DEATH at worst at the hands of selfish man-child Sunny, who was willing to endanger those around him for the sake of his own fucking ego! This guy is our hero!? Holy shit. Overcoming poor self-esteem and a limited natural skill set is fine for a budding hero-to-be like Spider-Man or Kick-Ass, but they only put themselves at risk with their amateur tomfoolery. Sunny is a fucking sociopath! No matter how far this flick may go in its efforts to redeem its do-gooder over the remainder of its runtime, it’s now going to be dragging The Stone of Shame for the extent of said stigmatic excursion. For shame!
As is cinematic law, Chu and the other “too cool for school” members of their little big top clique single Sunny out as the weakest member of the social herd, and as such exercise their dominance by treating him like a red-nosed reindeer. Whilst in Malaysia engaging in their post-show chicanery, the crew catch Sunny tagging along and opt to include him as their point man (i.e. stooge) whom they can just ditch/scapegoat/murder later as the situation requires. Their scheme? The bullies are investigating a local cave rumored to be home to a cache of buried treasure! BUT (yes, there’s always a but there… much like the case of my lap), as we the audience were presented in the picture’s prologue, this cave was the site of war crime experimentation by the Japanese military in the waning days of WW2: Axis Boogaloo. Check out the Men Behind the Sun movies for more on that kinda shit. In an effort to bring an end to their protracted campaign to extend the shadow of their empire over the entire East, these army scientists were dabbling in an immoral aerosol that would induce monsterism in their P.O.W.s, turning the captives into rampaging abominations! Basically Nature’s Goodness minus the pleasing taste.
Before the mutagenic mist could be perfected, the raiders from the Rising Sun’s workspace was bombed all to shit (in a scene I’ll antagonistically analyze later) by the Red Stars, leaving any remaining stashes of the unfinished super-beast spray buried. Can you see where this is going? If not, you might need to make an appointment with the figurative optometrist to get your foresight checked. Benny Chan isn’t just leading us with a trail of bread crumbs, he’s dropping full-on baguettes shaped like arrows! For those with mental glaucoma, here’s the malnourished rendition – the gang open the containers expecting precious metal (to be fair, the first one does have a stash of the shiny stuff) and get a chemical sauna instead a la Return of the Living Dead‘s Frank and Freddy. Our hero ends up passing out on a conveniently placed fishing boat nearby, one of the gang lays dead by broken neck when his attempt to kill Sun goes fatally wrong, and the remaining quartet of super steroid saturated nogoodniks are left vomiting vanilla pudding, no doubt destined to become evil Hong Kong off-brand Ninja Turtles. Not to be confused with Michael Bay’s actual bastardized half-shell bohemoths.
Anubis Note: In case you haven’t seen Rob Zombie’s Halloween II, “bohemoth” is how we spell that shit here. And yes, it’s pronounced “bo-he-muth” in case you were wondering.
It turns out the vessel our bumbler stumbled upon is a smuggling ship, and when his hosts find him unresponsive on board, they toss his sorry ass into the South China Sea! Lucky for him it seems the naturally occurring tides are coincidentally heading back to his homeland of Hong Kong, where he’s washed ashore after a few days afloat. Finally freed from his one-man coma cruise, Sunny awakens to find his body doing its best impression of Spongebob’s stage act: The Amazing Mr. Absorbancy! Sporting an XXXXL waistline and the incessant sensation of walking in wet sneakers, he tries to find his way back to the Thunderbolt Circus home office, discovering how hard it is to hitch a ride in the middle of the night when you look like a cast off from a Ju-On movie set on a cruise ship. Fortunately for him, a lovely lady named Angel Chang (played by Qi Shu, who we recently saw in Journey to the West!) stops, requesting help with her bamboozled back tire then offering her impromptu AAA lifeline a ride home in thanks. Along the way, Sunny recognizes Angel from the local newscast and marks out, declaring his fandom for her. Of all the people in HK who could’ve happened along looking for help, it just so happens that the minor celebrity our hero’s got the awkward stalker hots for is the one. Even for a movie that’s not just stretching it, that’s hyper-extending said “it” like the arm/leg of a generic bad guy in a Steve Seagal movie. Backwards elbows and knees, people. Cringe.
Returned home, Sun bids adieu to his love interest-to-be and plops into bed like the garbage bag full of tapioca he has become. Overnight, he secretes more liquid refreshment than the entirety of the background dancers did across all four volumes of Sweatin’ to the Oldies. While he’s soaking his sleeping space harder than a gang of 3rd grade bed-wetters at a sleepover, his fellow Thunderbolt performers make their turn to a life of crime official as they rob an armored truck to the tune of 5 million dollars! I’m guessing they’re Hong Kong dollars though, so it’s more like 20k American, give or take? Meh. That’ll barely afford them one of Gwyneth Paltry, errrr Paltrow‘s vibrators and a gallon jug of Japanese whale oil lubricant. Peasants.
Fuck sake. For $15k that thing better be a piece of StarkTech that turns into a suit of portable Iron Man armor!
The armored car is just one stop on the quartet’s crime spree tour though, as they’ve been busy knocking over jewelry stores and the like too. Enhanced with telekinetic powers, super strength, and bulletproof skin, it’s been the proverbial cakewalk for the villains. Unable to stop them with mere guns and police brutality, the Mu Shu porkies call in superhuman specialist agents Suen Ho (Jing Wu) and Ching Shau Wah (Jingchu Zhang). Partners in career and in life, the pair are accused of being an adorably low key professional law enforcement couple and could be sentenced to live happily ever after if convicted. I can say, with no certain certainty, that I’m certain these two are my favorite Asian movie couple since Wild Zero‘s Ace and Tobio.
The movie (or at least the English subtitle track I had to hunt down) tells us that Ho and Wah have arrested supernatural criminals before, but doesn’t give us any further allusions to just who these enhanced do-badders were. No idea if the pairing have appeared in prior Benny Chan productions, but in all honesty I really don’t care to look any further than I have already. My dick burns are getting burns on top of them! Just to be safe, I’m going to say that CUS takes place in a cinematic Hong Kong akin to Spider-Man 3 NYC – metahumans aren’t littering the place like Captain America: Civil War, but they’re also clearly not undiscovered yet like Meteor Man.
Speaking of, Meteor Man is part of the Marvel Universe continuity. I shit you not. It’s only a matter (or meteor) of time until we see Robert Townsend’s name show up on a cast listing for Avengers: Infinity War!… maybe “NetFlix’s The Defenders”?… maybe not?… probably not. Blart.
The duo are due to exchange nuptials (or “swap nups” if you’re me, which you’re not, for which you should be praising Ra) in 30 days, so Hao vows to take the Frightful Four down in 20. Really? So he’s going to let them run roughshod on the Kowloon precious gems market for 3 weeks before he decides it’s time to put an end to their shenanigans?! Prick. Speaking of, Angel’s boss/boyfriend KK (Slider?) informers her that the higher ups at the news station are kicking her down the corporate ladder a few rungs so they can give her spot to a younger, hotter replacement named Yoyo. Yoyo? Yep yep. Not only is our lady losing her seat at the anchor desk, but it turns out she’s lost her seat in her boyfriend’s lap too, also replaced by her Duncanian rival. We learn that Angel herself got where she was by traveling the exact same path as Yoyo, but that’s different! Right? Cuz she’s a hero? Meh. Moving on. In an effort to save a shred of what remaining pride our heroine has left, Angel dumps a glass of water over K’s cranium, declares their relationship null and void, and officially hands in her verbal resignation. Whatever makes you feel less like a stepped-on piece of dog shit in the middle of the sidewalk, lady. Keep your head up and move on. Godspeed.
What’s a working gal to do in this modern age of HD media, where genetics are prized over journalistic ethics? Where looks trump integrity? Well, it just so happens that the same day old maid Angel finds herself destined for the unemployment line (or the glue factory… I’m not sure how they tackle this shit in China), her biggest fan awakens with abilities beyond those of mortal men. Indeed, just like Chu and, uhm, the other three circus performers (I’m not good with names or having to look them up), Sunny’s received his membership card to the Superhumans Society! On his way to the police station to explain his situation (and distance himself from his crime spreeing co-workers), his pathway is impeded by a hostage negotiation. Angel, having the Lois Lane-like super power to be in the right place at the right time, witnesses Sunny make the save, freeing the captive policewoman from her assailant with a combination of telescopic slow-mo “precision vision” and inhuman strength, accuracy and reflexes, with which he throws a single stick, shattering the abductor’s gun and piercing his arm from across the street! While everyone around him stares agape in awe and the press presence swarms him for a statement like ants on a Twinkie, ‘Gel whisks him away to a cab (I guess she’s just leaving her own car abandoned in the middle of traffic?!) for a “private interview”… which, despite the probable perversion with which you may have read that (ya gutter creeper), doesn’t mean they went home and swapped sweet and sour sauces. Amazing the places a pair of quotation marks can take the human mind.
With little imaginary hearts floating around his head (might wanna check your scalp for parasites, Flapjack), Sunny’s more than happy to give the newly freelance reporter her exclusive one-on-one with the Hong Kong Kal-El. Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Doom (in this instance, a lovely house in the middle of nowhere with an in-ground pool!), Chu and the others have kidnapped several biological engineers in hopes of reversing the grotesque monster mash side-effects of their genetic mutation. Despite being told there is no way of turning them from Fangoria cover models back into a Silver Ash cover band, they find hope when they see their old punchline Sunny on the evening news looking none the worse for toxic wear. A testament to the ancient healing powers of the South China Sea? Or just another use of the old science fiction deus ex machina of “some people are just genetically different and are immune to stuff!”? Either way, Chu and chums aim to find out.
Arriving at the Thunderbolt Circus locale faster than Bruce Wayne going back to Gotham after conquering The Pit (fucking Dark Knight Rises), the bad guys try to nab their errant clown mid-interview. Chu should change his name to SPF 69, cuz Angel just got Sun blocked! *rimshot* Awkwardly introducing himself to the minor celebrity while his hairline recedes and his increasingly lumpy face is painted up with Luna Vachon veins (see below), Chu confesses that he’s her number one die-hard fan and makes rapey face at her. How… flattering? You can practically hear Miss Chang’s ovaries shriveling on the vine the longer he talks to her. The expected altercation is instigated and the movie’s first real exchange of wire-fu is initiated!
No brawl-for-all by any stretch of the term, Sunny and Angel spend the time running and ducking their pursuers as best they can before finally being subdued. Chu threatens to bleed our hero in the search for the secret of his success, but his knife is halted by the timely intervention of the mutant hunting dynamic duo, Hao and Wah, sporting mirrored shades and martial arts! The battle ends when Sunny, seemingly turning into a cartoon character with his comically red “pressure cooker” face (that you expect to send steam shooting out of both ears), freaks the fuck out and throws two fistfuls of flying daggers at his prior impeder of career promotion. Chu responds in kind, deflecting the swarm of steel shards with a flurry of his own, sending razor sharp metal ricocheting all over the fucking place! Small appliances explode, glass shatters, structures collapse, one of the villains takes an errant dagger to the chest, and the rest of the antagonists beat feet while the heroes collect the unconscious Sunny and rush him to a hospital.
In intensive care, Sunny’s examined by scientists and it’s indeed determined that he bears the mythical movie MacGuffin of antibodies unique to his DNA. Yep, out of the billions of people who would have otherwise been malformed by exposure to the experimental discharge (like the other four people that were), one of the tiny group of FIVE just happened to be uniquely resistant. Not even to the formula in its entirety, mind you, but only the dangerous uglifying parts of it. Don’t think I enjoy telling movie logic to get off my lawn like this. My nitpickery is tantamount to acupuncture needles being slowly pushed between my vertebrae, or filling my codpiece (what, you don’t wear a codpiece?!) with hungry scarabs. It is my curse. Damn Tiki Gods. You put termites in their pillows one time and you spend the rest of eternity wanting to chew your fingers off at bullshit times like this!
While the white coats would rather keep Super Sun under indefinite lock and key for more in-depth observation (and likely dissection for sale to some Chinese super soldier program), the police don’t think the public would be too pleased with the smiling new face of mutant moderating being held in constabulary custody. Instead, Hao and Wah are assigned to be his bodyguards while Miss Chan picks up the role of talent agent to the city’s new cynosure for his upcoming avalanche of inevitable media overexposure. It happened when the Simpsons found that monkey’s paw, and it’ll happen to you too! Angel’s also fallen in love with the little goof already, because of course she has. Some would say she’s got hearts in her eyes, some would say they’re just dollar signs. I say it’s both. I may just be a foreigner, but fill my eyes with that double vision. No disguise, for that double vision.
The glamorous life of hocking Diarrhea Killer and prancing like a grinning idiot for publicity appearances goes straight to the hero’s head, ironically swelling it figuratively while his enemies’ domes are swelling literally. As for Hao, his plan to use the unwitting Sunny as bait to draw out the baddies has put a cramp into his marriage plans, postponing the date and drawing out Wah’s ire instead. She proposes that instead of the two of them tackling the remaining trio of mutants themselves, they train Sun to actually be a superhero rather than just play one, evening up the odds. Hao’s ego won’t let him risk someone else completing his job and taking his glory though, so sad to say, this is the exact moment you can start the countdown clock for Wah’s impending inclusion in the movie’s “in memorium” reel.
Cue the next fight, as Chu and the others make their next move, striking while Sunny D’s doing yet another photo shoot. The in-name-only slayer of sinners gets bodied hard by his nemesis, while Hao uses his uncanny acupuncturist prowess to beat Chu’s girlfriend with ease, promising to have her locked up and experimented on for the rest of whatever life she has left. She opts for what’s behind Door #2 instead, and self-immolates amid the pool of gasoline she was carelessly left incapacitated in. Back inside, Chu shows us his ignorance on human biology (specifically how antibodies work) by Dracula-ing off some of Sun’s vein V8, only to be massively disappointed when it doesn’t remedy away his uggo-itis. Before he can stomp the envy of his eye six feet under, the Heroic Duo drop in from off-screen to save the day. Rather than retreat, Hao’s determined to make good on his promise to marry his wifey-to-be on time, so he trades blows with the biggest baddie and leaves it up to Wah to keep their bait from being snatched off the hook by the last remaining member of the Chu Crew, uhm, mohawk guy.
Ill-prepared for the mutants’ continued evolution, Hao’s pride is his downfall, as his ambition to close the case distracts him from preventing his lady getting her internal organs pulverized by Mohawk. When he finally notices, it’s time for a late retreat as he escapes with Wah and Sunny in tow. But it’s too late. With tear streaked cheeks and a mouthful of blood, Wah tells her incredibly sweaty man to take care of himself, never lose himself, and never be afraid because she’ll always be watching over him. Then she dies…in the passenger seat of a stolen station wagon. Just like Han Solo… in my 2003 fan film re-visioning of Return of the Jedi.
As if this loss wasn’t enough of a shake up, the movie’s timeline gets a bit weird here. Hao sets up Sunny on a cot in a shack along a nearby river and sticks him full of needles to nurse the defeated hero back to health. When said hero comes to, he finds his savior nearby, torching his dearly departed in the flames of his makeshift pyre (i.e. he set the station wagon on fire)…in the same area she died…so…this all has to be taking place not too long after our previous scene…so whose house did they break into for their acupuncture session?! And since when can acupuncture fix broken organs and blood loss in what can’t have been more than a few hours!? OUCH! There goes another two scoops of scarabs.
And so, with both of our brotagonists having fallen hard from the height of hubris, now they must pick each other up like a pair of crane game claws. You know how much of a bitch those things can be. Forged by Loki himself, they are! Anyway, Hao vows to teach Sunny how to control his powers in his scorched fiancee’s honor, so let’s cue the montage!
With her boyfriend/client engaged in secret training for what could be weeks (or might just be a few days? The movie’s not 100% clear on it.), Angel’s left alone to mourn his perceived passing. As alone as you can get when you’re under 24 hour police protection, at least. The star-crossed lovers flashback to black & white renditions of their prior scenes together, denoting loss and longing as such scenes do. Having put the entire city under siege (we have a title!) alongside his last remaining cohort since Sunny’s disappearance, Chu (who stole Weird Al’s plastic Rambo muscle suit from UHF) uses his enemy’s pilfered cell phone to call Angel and tell her how he desperately needs her to deliver him from his personal Hell of emo teen sadness. Note to readers: listening to The Cure and other depressing music when you’re sad doesn’t make you less sad, it just reminds you why you’re sad in the first place, then piles on MORE SAD! Despite the saying, fighting fire with more fire only makes a BIGGER FIRE!
Feeling like she has nothing left to live for now (or maybe she’s just tired of needing a security detail every time she has to dump ass), Angel strikes a plan with the pigs to use her as a lure to entice Chu into a trap. She could just call him back and allow the military to triangulate his locale via the phone, but that wouldn’t put her life in immediate danger, so why bother?! Remember how well things went the last time an Asian movie in The Tomb tried to lure a monster into a trap? No? Go read my Garuda review. I’ll wait.
See? Yeah. Same thing happens here. Shit goes south faster than a racist Yankee after the Emancipation Proclamation. Just as Angel is about to see if her namesake(s) are real, guess who appears from nowhere to save her from being turned into street pizza? If you guessed anyone other than Sunny, you’re either too preoccupied to be reading this episode right now, or you’re just really really really shitty with names. Before the two heavies finally finish their feud in furious combat, Hao takes out both Mohawk and himself, using an urn filled with his beloved’s ashes to smash a light fixture and ignite a broken fuel line. An all too short-lived (no pun intended) exchange whose ultimate finale is predictable, sure, but I like Hao’s use of the urn…which probably contained more than a few leftovers from the station wagon’s ashtray mixed in with whatever he was able to salvage from Wah’s herself if you think about it.
Now for the big climax. Our final showdown is a fair mix of flashy martial arts punches and kicks, superhuman feats of tossed transportation (cars and trucks and such), both guys saving Angel from certain doom, a noble sacrifice or two, an effort to apply some last minute pathos to the villain, and a mandatory bit of the throwing knife dueling that started this whole rivalry, though not as much as you’d expect given all the hours/days/weeks of training Sunny pulled in the previous sequence. Speaking of, here’s a PSA for any fellow mutants out there: Don’t be like Chu. Take absolute care when it comes to protecting your lower back in any combat situation, as any perforation of the area has a high likelihood of causing your internal organs to violently detonate. I recommend investing in one of Lumpy Leroy’s Cast Iron Cummerbunds! Tell ’em Anubis sent you to get free shipping and $5 off your first order!
Good triumphs over evil, and just to make sure Benny Chan gets to tick off the final line of his “superhero movie tropes” checklist, Angel throws herself in front of one of Chu’s daggers to protect Sunny while he’s busy being a paragon of human decency and saving a family trapped in a flaming car. She survives though, and Sunny kills Chu, so the audience gets to go home on a high note. Such ends the ballad of Johnny Two Blades, errr, Twin-Dagger Sunny. Marge, is this a happy ending or a sad ending?
I opted to review CUS based entirely on the promise of “a circus clown gains super powers and has to fight his co-workers who have become super villains”. Little did I know that Sunny’s screen time in greasepaint would be relegated to his 5 minute introduction, thus abandoning the novelty almost immediately. Boooo. Points lost out of the gate for the misleading synopsis. Things don’t get much better from then on either. It’s not that this is a bad superhero movie. The problem is that Benny Chan tries so hard bending over backwards to emulate the Hollywood blockbuster comic book flick formula that he falls on his head and knackers himself, leaving us with one of the most generic by-the-numbers super movies I’ve ever seen.
If you and your riffmates are looking for a feature to play Genre Bingo with, CUS fills all the boxes in its category. Hapless hero? Check. Hero’s parents dead? Check. The villain is an associate from the hero’s personal life? Check. The hero’s crush falls in love with him shortly after getting to know him? Check. Said romantic interest is injured/killed during the final battle? Check. The villain’s given moments of sympathy so we’re supposed to regret his forthcoming death? Check. The hero wins his first fight, loses his second, then comes back to win in the end? Check. Pride and/or ego lead to the hero’s momentary downfall? Check. The hero overcomes his fall from grace by embracing the wise words of a mentor/father figure? Check. Training montage?! BINGO! BINGO! BINGOOOOO!
Yep. That’s my biggest beef with this movie: I’ve seen it all before. Chan tries something a little atypical of the Asian fantasy epics, but over does it on the Americanization stuff. I’m all for tweaking with the General Tso recipe, but not with heaps of ketchup. The computer generated shit’s not the best, but I don’t expect it to be from any movie born of an outside-of-Tinseltown budget. Consider my expectations tempered in that regard. Also, despite my general dislike for Sunny’s goofball demeanor (and those stupid hand motions he makes every time he refers to himself as “Twin-Daggers”), finally seeing him buckle down and become the mature good guy in the final act, despite being hackneyed, made me hate him a bit less. He’s still a heaping tub of chodeslaw though for putting that audience member’s life at risk in the beginning. Psycho. Angel’s only a smidgen further north on the moral compass, because she didn’t almost kill somebody with her fuckery. She did start her relationship with Sunny under the animus of hitching herself to his rising star though, looking out for her own best interests while also getting to stick it to her former employer for letting her go. Because again, she was being replaced by a younger, more attractive woman, the same way she herself ascended to the position in the first place!
As noted prior, Hao and Wah are my favorite part of this titular besieged metropolis. They’re cute without being overly saccharine. They’re equal parts business and pleasure without going too far to either end. Hao’s conceit leads to his greatest loss, but he earns his redemption by becoming the hero’s teacher, then gets his peace in the end, fulfilling his duty and joining his beloved in oblivion. Aces. Sadly, when your supporting cast is more endearing than your main characters, you’re doing something wrong, Benny. Write better.
I’m going to end this episode on the movie’s groaniest groan-inducer before I take off. Remember when I said I’d get back to my ire over the destruction of the Japanese army’s Malaysian Frankenstein lab? Yep. Although the attack on the lab comes from outside, a series of precisely laid out explosions erupt inside of the cave in a designated order. I’m not the type to think that anything is impossible. Highly improbable, of course, but not necessarily impossible…except this. Could the Chinese forces have infiltrated the lair the night before, laid out a bunch of C4, and simply been waiting for the right time to blow their load of shock & awe all over the faces of their enemies? Sure. Maybe. No. Never. Stop. I’ve included a little visual aid to illustrate this particular blister on my butt.
Our next two episodes will be features in name but not in length, so they shouldn’t take four months to finish. Keep your eyes peeled like the delicious delicious grapes they are for the first such installment in the next few days, with the other coming out Sunday-ish. Until then, this is the end. The only end, my friend. Always live your life like a flying dagger!
But… if it’s “Universal”, how can it be “Limited”?
“GAH! I’VE HAD THAT FUCKING ‘CALL ME MAYBE’ SONG BURIED IN MY BRAIN FOR FOUR YEARS! FOR THE LOVE OF CRONENBERG, SOMEONE HIT ME WITH A SHOVEL AND DISLODGE IT!”
“Gacy Good Times International – introducing underage boys to crawlspaces the world over!” (Coulrophobics? I’m sorry. Coulrophiliacs? You’re welcome.)
So other countries have their own Criss Angel to suffer through? Kinda nice to know we in the US aren’t alone in suffering madoucheians.
“Your milk money or your life!”
“I know you’re hungry, but we can stop and get you some fresh clam strips. Those have been sitting under my seat for at least a week.”
“This is James Chang. James came out of a 10 year coma last week and has never seen ‘2 Girls 1 Cup’. We’re going to broadcast his reaction live, tonight on ‘60 Minutes‘.”
Looks like the next Wolverine movie will be based entirely on a version of the character found in those Chinese dollar store action figure sets. Maybe this will be the first step toward finally getting that Super Man Big Alliance team-up movie we’ve been begging Marble and CD Comiks for!
Up next in the Chinatown Burt Reynolds Look-a-like Pageant: Charlie “The Gator” Zhang!
If Beavis and Butthead taught us nothing else, it’s that nothing stops a nosebleed better than a tampon.
“I want to thank you for electing me your King Dingus for the season! I will do my best to uphold the honor of the position at the sacrifice of what little dignity I have left!”
Nice shades. If they look into each others’ eyes, will it create some kind of reality collapsing infinity loop?!
Hey! He stole Meg Griffin’s power to grow her fingernails long! Plagiarist!
“Well, you know we’re gonna end up in this 3-way eventually, so we might as well get it over with so we can make our car payment on time. Paper, Rock, Scissors for position?”
“I killed my stylist for dressing me in this stupid hat. Then I formed his face skin into my corsage!”
As much as I love Elizabeth Banks, this is what the new Rita Repulsa should look like!
Excedrin headache number 245 – You’ve been exposed to an experimental toxin and turned into a raging mutant. Your brain feels like its going to explode out of your skull, and simple aspirin won’t do the trick. You need Excedrin!… or a hole drilled in your head to release the evil spirits that are haunting you. Either one works, really.
Ever cried so hard that tears came out of your whole face? If not, you’ve never known real love. Congratulations.
This is why you never try to cuddle your pet porcupine.
“So you decided to turn the car we stole into your fiancee’s funeral pyre?”
“Okay. Did you happen to look it over first to make sure there wasn’t anything else in there? I only ask because I can’t find my wallet…”
Hao’s DIY car crematorium was such a success that he decided to really up his game and turn it into a career! He’s in such demand now that he’s burning entire skyscrapers full of bodies every day!
Yes! Someone finally answered the Craigslist contract I put out on Justin Beiber! Guess I better get that $120 together. Time to turn in my bottles and cans.
I told Nosferatu not to feed on those professional bodybuilders, but at least he’s seeing some sick gains! What vampire needs the use of their testicles anyway?
The ages old geek query of “What if Venus De Milo (from the live-action Ninja Turtles show) fucked Killer Croc?” is finally answered.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Three People You Meet in Texas”
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Featuring: Sornram “Dreamers” Theppitak , Sara “The Thai Thief” Legge , Dan “You’ll understand why he doesn’t have any other movie credits after this review” Fraser
Writer & Director: Monthon “I Miss U” Arayangkoon
You know, kids, Uncle Anubis has been having a hard time recently. There are a few things going on that have been bringing down my mood as of late, both in my personal world and the world overall. Life’s been a bit of a buzzkill for me these last few months. My thoughts are generally a Junior Jumble and I’m feeling dyslexic as fuck. My brain is stuck on shuffle, but I hate all of the tracks playing. It’s frustrating. But, as Pearl once told Mike, “I find that in times of crisis, watching a skin-peelingly bad movie can truly help. To that end, I offer you the balm that is Soultaker.” And, since I don’t have Soultaker, Dr. Blackenstein has written me a prescription for Garuda.
But, this is a World Tour review after all, so before we get started with the movie, shake hands with Thailand! No, I didn’t mean literally. Damn it, just put your hand down.
Formerly known as Siam (Yul Brynner looked so badass in The King and I), Thailand is central of the Indochinese Penninsula, and bordered to the North by Mayanmar (not Mallomar) and Laos (not Gyaos). 95% of the nation is Buddhist, which will become a big deal once we get to the movie meat of this chicken curry. Speaking of food, Thailand held the World Record for longest line of washed plates with 10,488! That record was stolen from them by India less than a year later, though, when they upped the ante to 15,295. Fucking India can’t let anybody have anything. Pricks. Don’t worry, Thailand. You still hold the records for the world’s largest gold Buddha, largest crocodile farm, largest restaurant, tallest hotel, longest single-span suspension bridge, and largest Christmas log cake (hilarious since less than 1% of their population are Christian). Put that in your public streets and shit on it, India!
Thailand’s bestiary includes the world’s largest fish (the Whale Shark), smallest mammal (the Bumble Bat), longest snake (Reticulated Python), longest poisonous snake (King Cobra), largest living lizard (Monitor Lizard), a fish that can walk on land and climb trees (the Mudskipper), 10% of the entire world‘s bird population (!), the world’s hairiest child (Supatra Sasuphan), and is the birthplace of the legendarily conjoined brothers Eng & Chang (who had 22 kids between them!… not literally, of course) from which the term “Siamese twins” was coined!
On the darker side of things, the air pollution is so bad that traffic cops wear face masks and 20% of their law enforcement officers suffer some form of respiratory disease. Thailand’s also one of the 3 corners of the infamous “Golden Triangle” (along with Myanmar and Laos) that produces and traffics notorious amounts of heroin and opium to the rest of the world. Thailand was also the home of the first reported case of HIV/AIDS and has the most prevalently HIV infected citizenry in all of Asia. No surprise since its prostitution population is believed to number somewhere in the high six-figures. Whoring isn’t legal there, it’s just rarely prosecuted. Speaking of, Thailand is also the most notorious country in the world for child sex trafficking. A horrifying statistic that they probably leave out of the tourism brochures, but always reminds me of that “Kids in the Hall” skit where Dave Foley negotiates with child prostitute Bruce McCulloch while on vacation in, you guessed it, Thailand. It’s good to laugh about the hideous atrocities that go on in the world that you have absolutely no control over…
Oh, and stay away from Thailand’s “Full Moon Parties”. Just like the Charles Band production company after which they’re named (I’m presuming), things aren’t what they seem and you’ll end up regretting your involvement after. Only, you know, instead of losing 90 minutes of your life, it’ll be more like 9 years in a Thai prison. You don’t want to go to Thai prison. Ever seen Brokedown Palace? Me neither. I’ve heard Thai prison sucks though. And yes, they have one big prison, so shut up.
Alright, that’s enough of the nation that pinched this cinematic defecation. Let’s get down to business!
Considered Thailand’s first foray into the kaiju subgenre, Garuda takes its name from the giant humanoid bird people of Buddhist and Hindu mythology. Ancient enemy of the Naga (giant snakes), the top birdman was given the title “Garuda”, a deity in its own right that was also the whip upon which head honcho Vishnu rode. So, it’s a birdman who worked for Vishnu and is the topic of a feature you’d be better off remaining ignorant of, hence the alternate title for this episode. Get it? Think Michael Keaton. Still don’t get it? What do you mean you haven’t seen Birdman yet!? Meh. Neither have I. And now that I’ve explained the joke, it’s ruined. Blart. Anyway, Garuda is also the national and royal symbol of Thailand, not unlike how the bald eagle is a big deal national pride symbol of America. Their avian mascot could kill our avian mascot any day. We need a cooler winged mascot now. Like Batman. He could probably beat a Garuda. I mean, he kicks Man-Bat’s ass like once a year, right?
Our movie opens on a bit of background establishment, as a narrator tells us about the generally peaceful Garuda species. In ancient times, before the hairless apes of humanity moved in and started trashing the Earth, the biggest and meanest of the Garudas got pissed off about his small penis size and murdered and consumed the other members of its ecosystem with reckless abandon to overcompensate for his perceived shortcomings. Sick of their brother’s bullshit, the other fowl folks ganged up on the bully, kicked his ass, and trapped him in the roots of a giant tree that later sank into the Earth. They abandoned him amidst the landscape he had stained with the gore of his avian avarice, where he stayed for 80 millennia or so. Guess when he’s getting out. Go ahead. If you said “now”, reward yourself with an Abba-Zabba or a fifth of scotch or whatever you usually reward yourself with!
Here in the modern age (for us, it was 10 years ago), ambitious young archeologist Leena Jeanvier (Sara Legge, the Thai Jessica Alba) proposes that the Thai government allow her to pursue a dig and search for evidence of an evolutionary offshoot of birds whose existence she believes influenced the founders of Eastern religion to worship these as the Garuda. Her theory is that dinosaurs became birds became humanoid raptors much in the way that a string of ape DNA eventually gave way to early man. Stringy ape DNA. Ewww.
Leena’s s.o.l. though (and I don’t mean Satellite of Love), because the people of Thailand are incredibly religious to the point that anything science-y that might disprove something about their mythology is immediately denounced as heresy and shot down. As such, Lee’s request is refused and she’s ridiculed for being a “half-caste” foreigner. See, despite her mom being Thai (just like Tiger Woods!), her father was a French archaeologist, so we see from the start that Thailand is a racist, superstitious place that no one should ever go to ever. As if the grade school sex slaves weren’t bad enough!
The reason Leena’s so determined to research the possible Garudal evidence in the area is that she wants to continue her dear deceased dad Pierre’s work. 30 years prior, he discovered a full birdman skeleton in the grounds beneath Indian Kashmir (Bollywood rendition of the Led Zepplin song?) on the border of Pakistan! Too bad for him that he made said discovery mere moments before Pakistani soldiers bombed the crap out of his dig site. His friend and partner Rashid died pushing Dr. J from a (hilariously bad shaky cam) cave-in, and all the poor man’s Indiana Jones was able to recover from the remains was a single talon. While looking it over, he tells Rashid’s corpse, “At least you didn’t die in vain.” Too bad that he totally did die in vain, because when the doctor tried to bring his findings to the people of Thailand, much riot rage was thrown his way and his blasphemous findings were denounced by everyone. He became sick and died not long after, leaving the talon on a necklace for little Leena to keep with her always. And here she is, all grown up and adorable in that “almost too cute to masturbate to” way. Also, this being Thailand, she could be a ladyboy for all I know.
Side note: good on Thailand for being so forward thinking and accepting of its transgender people, but if I ever wind up within their borders, I’m keeping my dick to myself. I’m not one to say “Phucket, let’s Bangkok” anywhere really, but better safe than sorry. By which I mean waking up in a cheap hotel room with my wallet and/or kidneys missing and my phone full of pictures that make me question the sexuality I was pretty sure I’d established firmly post-college. I have a friend who didn’t realize she was a lesbian until she was 40 though, so it’s never too late to discover things about yourself!
Following her dismissal by the authorities, Leena’s uncle Wichai (Yani Tramod) promises to do what he can to sway opinion in her favor and get the project approved. Until then, she’s back to an excavation site in nearby Kalasin to do more research and teach kids about dinosaurs and stuff along with her co-worker Tim (Dan Fraser). Oh boy. Let me tell you a little about Tim before we go any further. For starters, these two aren’t dating. It’s not even a “Friend Zone” situation, as they’re both apparently cool with just being peers beyond a comment Tim makes later on about how “If you weren’t so boisterous, you’d be my girlfriend already”. Strange that they don’t date though, since he looks exactly like her father what with the short messy hair and glasses, and the whole “being an archeologist” thing. Maybe they’re just holding off until he’s positive she’s not a ladyboy and she’s sure he’s not gay?
The most important Tim characteristic possesses though are his goofy faces. He’s intended to be comic relief, what with his non-threatening flirtations and easy going demeanor in otherwise pants-wetting situations, but it’s his weird faces that make him stand out. Remember how sidekick cop Frank Washington in Samurai Cop was always yucking it up and mugging to the camera with over exaggerated faces like a party clown on Molly? Tim is Garuda‘s Frank Washington! While other people talk, he’s unable to just stand still and pay attention. He’s constantly looking back and forth and his face is trapped in improv actor “expression practice/warmup” mode! He’s okay as the resident chucklefuck minus the face thing, but…but…THE FACE THING! ARRRGH!
“2 months later”, Uncle ‘Chai calls Leen and slack jaw Tim to Bangkok (Dangerous?). An entire pop-up military operation (or “pop-mop” if you like) has been established around a dig site, populated by generic camo-ed army soldiers and led by a special ops government unit that brings to mind the S.T.A.R.S team from the original Resident Evil games. When we first see them, they’re all standing around in tough guy action poses, smoking cigarettes, proudly bearing their facial scars and unshaven faces while everything goes all slo-mo! Much like the rest of Asia, Thailand’s still playing catch up with American pop culture. Looks like they’re only up to 1992 in their “action movie hero tropes” department. KWIMV? (Know What I Mean, Vern?)
Being the guests of honor to this block party, ‘Chai introduces L&T to the group’s leader Tan (Sornram Theppitak). Tan exposes himself as yet another xenophobic bigot in a government appointed position, wasting no time referring to the pair as “just a foreigner and half-foreigner”. The way Leena reacts, I’m pretty sure Tan called them whatever the Thai ‘N’ word for outsiders is. Granted, the KKK is a horrible group of bigots over here, but at least they’re not holding office and running the army (openly)! Krispy H. Kreme!
Anyway, Tan begrudgingly does his job and escorts the pair underground. Seems the city’s expansion of their subway system resulted in the excavation of a skull that looks especially human, but especially bird-like! Oh and there’s a huge wall of stone that the drill mysteriously couldn’t penetrate. Actually, this was all uncovered back when the nerdly duo were last in town, so what the government spooks were doing the last eight weeks with it is anyone’s guess. Wachai tries to explain it, but he just stutters as if he was trying to improvise an answer on his own before Tan backstory blocks the proceedings and tells him to get to the point. Somebody probably spilled peanut sauce on that part of the script…of which I guess they only had the one copy…?
The nerd pair check the wall of rock out and guesstimate that it’s over 80,000 years old. They also determine that there’s a cave behind it (by putting their ears against it) and request that the National Geology Department be brought in to inspect it. Not a fan of wrapping this metaphorical mummy in any more bureaucratic red tape, Tan vetoes the suggestion and orders his demolitions guy Wit to blow it to shit! Inside of the stone cell they find the tree in which the Garuda bully was imprisoned. Speaking of incarceration, Tan has L&T detained when she goes on this weird tirade about how Uncle ‘Chai and these jackbooted thugs have stolen her father’s work and won’t allow her to investigate the cave. Kids, when a racist dickhole and his heavily armed, government sponsored militia are just looking for an excuse to turn your dome into paste and dump what’s left of you in the sewer, I would suggest you not antagonize them when they tell you to sit down and shut up. Can’t exactly change the world when your entire existence can be wiped from the face of this mudball in less time than it takes to upload a copy of I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle to YouTube.
That reminds me. Could someone do me a solid and upload a copy of I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle to YouTube? Groovy. I loaned my DVD to a friend who lost it in a house fire (that I set) and I wanted to revisit it.
Tim picks the lock to their holding pen with his excavating tools (because nobody bothered to frisk them before locking them up…) leaving the pair to escape, so they can try and catch some visual evidence of their findings in the cave with the video camera that their captors also didn’t confiscate. Nearby, while Wichai is scraping samples from the trees within the cave, he notices the comatose Garuda and starts praying for its forgiveness. Watching this from a monitoring room, Tan has a flashback to a prior mission with his task force where he lost a member who was too busy praying for mercy from their enemy instead of just shooting it in its big, stupid, computer generated face. Said enemy? A giant Naga snake monster! Cue the “Wait! Is this a sequel!?” moment of confusion before realizing that the ops this special ops team was assembled for is to fight monsters! Yes! Spoiler alert: in case you overlooked the big turd rating at the top of the review, this movie sucks. That being said, I’d still watch an entire series of movies based on the exploits of these mythological monster mashers, no matter how deep down the toilet their production values went.
Tan’s teammate Krai (Chalad Na Songkhla) snaps him out of the PTSD episode with a “get over it” and a stick of gum. Who needs Celexa™ when you’ve got Doublemint©?! Thailand – the nation of “walk it off” psychiatric therapy! Lee and Timmy too discover the sleeping giant, but are immediately rediscovered by their gun-toting oppressors. Tim tries to fend off their pursuers with a broken spotlight while Leena hoofs it outta there, but he only knocks over a grunt or two before getting his coconut cracked and being restrained again. This time he’s given a personal guard – a testosterone factory named Harn who wields a big-ass knife inscribed with some mystical whatchamacallit symbol. So he fights giant dangerous beasts with an oversized bowie? Well, that at least explains the game of Connect the Dots going with his numerous facial scars!
40 minutes in, we finally get our Birdman of Bangkok when a misplaced length of electrical cable gives ‘Rudy a Kong-sized hotfoot and revives the beast. Why is it that every time I zap coma patients with the magical sky fire they just die and/or go up in flames, but these accidental Frankensteins breathe life into a prehistoric anthropomorph with ease!? Maybe it’s because the creature’s entirely computer generated (from the dreggiest dregs of SyFy Original Movies Purgatory) and the power surge rebooted the seized up laptop it was running on? Regardless, GarGar’s back in business and pissed that nobody changed the shredded newspapers lining his cage. He takes his anger out on Uncle ‘Chai and a random extra in fatigues before moving on to further prey.
Tan and his men catch up with Leena, and the pair clash over opposing viewpoints, guaranteeing that these two will be working together (and likely staining some sheets together too) before long. Intelligence and faith will learn to co-exist, brains and brawn will be attracted to each other, foreigner and full-blood Thai will gain mutual respect, and the world will be a better place. Until then, our eponymous monster (“eponymonster”, perhaps?) picks up where he left off 80,000 years earlier and just kills every living thing in sight. Guess he didn’t “think about what he’d done” during that extended stay in Time Out, did he? Harn declares to Tim that their unit are “soldiers who kill Gods”, but I’d bank my collection of mint condition Movie Maniacs figures that this time they’re just going to be “soldiers who(m) the Gods kill”.
Shazam! If Tan was having survivor’s guilt before this, he’s gonna need shock treatment after all the underlings he’s bound to lose tonight! But not the weak cheese follow-up to The Rocky Horror Picture Show of the same name. The only thing watching Shock Treatment will cure is any respect you had for Richard O’Brien.
Tim’s escort tries to take on the ‘Ruda Boy cuchillo-a-gara (knife-to-claw) in one of the least intentionally guffaw inducing “actor vs. cgi monster” pieces of mortal-on-immortal combat ever filmed. As we’re less than sixty minutes into this two hour tour, you can probably hazard a decent guess on which participant of Thailand’s answer to the Peter Griffin & Giant Chicken feud walks away from this encounter. Hint: it’s not Agent for H.A.R.N… no Harn, no fowl! (Had to get those last puns in before moving on. (Forgiveness please!)
Leena rescues her would-be-beau from his confinement in a locker (and no doubt a litany of traumatic flashbacks to every day of his years in high school) and reveals her plan isn’t to stop Col. Sander’s worst nightmare (or wettest wet dream), but to help it escape to a life of freedom… in the skies over Asia… where it will probably be sucked into the engines of a Thai Airways jet mere moments after its ascension. Great plan. Despite his initial protests of “Are you crazy?!”, Tim changes stances faster than the Karate Kid (CRANE KICK!) and offers to help in any way he can. Because of course he does. The guy looks and acts like he hasn’t been laid since parochial school, and I don’t blame a single member of the female gender for it either. In fact, keep up the good work, ladies! Pity sex hurts more than it helps in the long run. Believe me, I know. My Evil Dead Bride gave me some when we first met. It’s been 16 years and she still can’t get rid of me!
While L&T formulate their plan to lure the feathered fiend out of the tunnels (i.e. scraping her talon necklace against a hard surface to create a noise that sounds like a Garuda mating call), Tan and his men steel their resolve by clutching their fallen comrades’ dog tags and vowing not to be pushed around by no bully Gods who think they’re better than us! In fact, he denounces it as even being a deity, instead calling it a “beast”, since no God would unjustly punish man the way this motherfucker’s doing. I guess this guy’s never actually read a religious text and just believes what he’s been told all his life. Tan also accuses their deceased allies as having “given up”, which is birdshit. With the exception of the one guy in his earlier flashback who opted for the power of prayer over the power of a full clip of armor-piercers, the rest of his crew fought to the death when their times came, so fuck you, boss man. Chip nothing, Tanner’s got stacks of Pringles on both shoulders.
The team sets a trap for the Heavy G, lining the floor of the cavern with grenades and trip wires. Leena wanders into the darkness, giving the group’s sniper an easy shot to take her out, but Tan tells his man to hold off. Once again his leadership skills shit the bed, as she wanders into the minefield and, through movie magic, manages to casually walk amidst them without tripping a single one. She must have Mr. Magoo’s mutant power of subconscious danger evasion. This goes on for what feels like an absurd amount of time before she finally fucks up this game of Thermite Twister and, just as she’s about to trigger one of the explosives, Tan intervenes, holding her in place while demolition man (John Spartan?!) Wit comes in to disarm it…after getting hyped up by taking a whiff of an unlit cigarette? What in the name of Kali’s g-string was that about?!
While this is going on, Garuda’s just watching from the ceiling with his piss colored beer goggles-vision, probably wondering to himself how such a stupid race of creatures managed to survive for so long. Determined to rectify this obvious evolutionary error, the beast strikes, launching a grenade wielding Wit pirouetting through the air at his sniper teammate, killing both upon the explosive’s detonation. Of which sniper guy makes zero effort to avoid, no doubt captivated by the majesty of his teammate’s trajectory. The spin that Garuda gives that man would bring a tear to any billiard master’s eye. Tears of laughter, because when faced with such madness, all you can do is laugh or go into complete gray matter meltdown. Between this moment and the knife fight sequence alone, you should be doing everything in your power to find a copy of this movie. It won’t be easy, but by Jupiter, it’ll be worth whatever pounds of flesh and sanity you’re forced to sacrifice in its name.
Tan manages to make his men’s deaths worthwhile when he gets Leena to safety before the rest of the bombs go off. He didn’t really need to worry though, because it seems Wit must’ve accidentally planted smoke grenades instead of frags, as they go off in big blossoms of fog rather than like the flaming blast that killed him mere seconds before. Blart. The chain reaction blows a hole in the cave that allows the river above to flood in, flushing out the tunnels and giving our remaining protagonists a new found sympathy for what their turds go through. Tim gives us an amazing slow-motion “HO-LY SHIIIIIT!” (which doesn’t make it onto the subtitle track of my copy) before turning tail like a reverse lemming, as Leena and Tan are swept away (still a better movie than the actual Swept Away) together and wash up in a water treatment plant. Or a sewage treatment plant. The former if they’re lucky. But given the way shit’s been going for them so far tonight, it’s probably the latter, no pun intended. Okay, pun intended.
Blaming the waifish little lady for his associates’ deaths (though I’d say they’re both at fault), Tan isn’t shy about putting on his best Billy Idol sneer, calling Leena a selfish atheist who can’t just let religious people live in happy ignorance (not exactly his words, I’m just doing some biased paraphrasing) and asks why she doesn’t just die and save everyone else the trouble. History’s most awkward first date continues as Lee turns on the water works (appropriate given where they are) and argues that she didn’t ask for these people to die, she lost people important to her too, all of her evidence was destroyed in the flood (and he’s probably happy about that), she’s just doing this because she wants to honor her dead father by redeeming his name, and finally pulls the “Why do you always blame me?!” trump card. Not to be confused with the Donald Trump card, which just blames Mexicans for everything. Leena doesn’t mention it, but it was also his bumble fucks who woke the friggin’ monster up in the first place!
Having been put in his place and completely overcome by Leena’s pity party, Tan makes a big deal about pulling a tiny fragment from a barely leaking scratch on the gal’s arm and giving her a strip of fabric from his sleeve to use as a bandage. Meanwhile, he’s got several gashes on his own arm that are bleeding like the proverbial stuck pig and covering his hands in his own blood, but let’s make sure her tiny wound is taken care of first!. Hell, it probably would have clotted up on its own just fine! But no, cue the cheesy romance music because these two are clearly sharing a manufactured moment. That’s how movies work. But when I offer my sleeve for a woman on the bus to blow her nose on, I’m a disgusting freak! Stupid fantasy worlds.
Oh, and having lost her jacket during their logless flume ride, Leena’s also now sporting a John McClane Special (bloodstained wife-beater) so she can look both hotter and fiercer. You know, like when Savini and Romero “Ellen Ripley-ed” Barbara in their sterile Night of the Living Dead re-hash.
They come across Tim, and the dingus third wheels himself back into the proceedings. This comedy of errors next turns into an error of comedy as the trio walk headlong into an intended joke break next, finding their way out of the tunnels to a subway platform being chaperoned by a clownshoes-looking security guard (played by some moderately successful Thai comedian, I’m sure) who talks to himself while also harassing teenagers, waving his walkie-talkie antenna at them like a long, skinny, black rubber dildo as they do teen things like make out in public and stand on the “do not cross this line” line. Yes Janet, life’s pretty cheap to that type!
Garuda comes in on the next train, kills Chubs, then gets into it with the three. Tan tries to bullet-fu it (watch the incredibly poor work done with the monster’s shadow now that he’s amidst lights!) but winds up knocked on his ass. Big Bird has an Alien 3 face-to-face with our heroine before a SWAT team swarms in and drive it off with tear gas. They pursue it back into the tunnels, but wind up slaughtered like the good little fodder they are. Garuda makes his grand re-entry soon after, emerging from beneath the street (and expanding his wings for the first time, which seem 20 times larger than they were when curled up on his back until now) to snatch an unsuspecting Tim. Serves him right, as the prick was munching some poor soldier’s abandoned McDonald’s Samurai Pork Burger (an actual sandwich I looked up to make that reference!) at said moment of snatchery. Now that he’s out of the picture, no one has to feel resentful toward Leena when she gets serious with the new sweet ‘T’ in her life either. A gory finish would’ve been better fan service though, given how long we were forced to sit through the big doofus’s antics, but I do at least take solace in knowing that he’s DEAD.
Since the rest of the action takes place above ground in the glowing splendor of the Banged Kok, let’s have a timeout for a trivia break! Thailand’s capital is the proud owner of the world’s longest place name. Yep, the capital city the rest of us know as Bangkok (did that once, hurt like a bitch) is just its stage name. It’s real name is Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit. Though it looks like two cats in heat had a fuck fight on the keyboard of your laptop, that orgy of vowels and consonants actually translates into: “City of Angels, Great City of Immortals, Magnificent City of the Nine Gems, Seat of the King, City of Royal Palaces, Home of Gods Incarnate, Erected by Visvakarman at Indra’s Behest”. I’ll take their word for it. Fuck’s sake, even if you just go by its acronym (CoAGCoIMCotNGSotKCoRPHoGIEbVaIB), the damn thing’s still half an alphabet longer than the longest city names in the US!
After yet another uproariously incompetent scene of half-assed (or even just one-third-assed) cgi work with Garuda flying around the city and pestering citizens, the beast finally settles for roosting atop a skyscraper. Hoping to kill the fiend once and for all, Tan proposes that Leena offer herself and her pendant up as bait to bring Gary into a trap. Once he’s out of the sky, he won’t be able to outrun their attacks (which sure didn’t seem to cause him many problems when he was in the confines of the subway tunnels!), and they can nail him with a rocket launcher…which would probably also kill Tan’s new girlfriend in the process, given that she’d be in the immediate blast radius, but let’s not argue semantics! If they think their game of “blow up the birdman” is going to go off as planned though, they’re in for a Garud-awakening. Yeah, I said it. So what? Wanna fight about it?
The guy wielding the rocket launcher, Tanong, gets all gun jumper and fires too soon, confident that he knows better than his team leader on how to kill legendary monsters. Turns out playing every Pokemon game to completion doesn’t make him an expert in monster extermination after all. Garuda just suckers the delayed heat-seeker (“HEATSEEKER!”) right into the building Tan and the other soldiers are stationed at, leading into YET ANOTHER HILARIOUSLY HORRID ROUND OF CGI! The floor lights up with numerous ignitions (including one BIG delayed reaction explosion from outside the building), resulting in a fireball that VAPORIZES every grunt soldier it touches! And when I say it was delayed, I speak no diggity: the fucking thing goes from being right on ‘Rudy’s tail to disappearing for FIFTEEN SECONDS while he’s hovering outside the windows of the building before finally reappearing to turn the place into an inferno! I counted the running time.
Severely pissed for having his intelligence insulted like that, Garuda stops by the building roof from which the missile was launched, and proceeds to keep the local funeral homes’ schedules well packed for the next few weeks. We don’t get to see any of it really happen though, as no deaths are shown and all we get to watch is a storm of bullets fired at the monster, all of which have zero effect. Speaking of zero effects, despite the rocket explosion’s incredibly destructive power to turn everyone near it into atoms, Tan escapes unharmed because his hero-of-the-movie badge gives him death exempt status. Used to be, the only two sure things in life were death and taxes. Then tax exemption became a thing and now, so is death exemption, provided you get to headline an action movie as the hero. Not that it worked out so well for Leon in The Professional… but then, that was more of a drama with action elements.
Also like a ’90s American action movie hero, Tan arrives just as Garuda’s about to make a mess of Leena. He spouts what’s guaranteed to be the next great hero catchphrase in “Hey! Die!”, then lays into Gary with a heavy machine gun. I know what you’re thinking: “But, Anubis! If Garuda wasn’t affected by bullets or shotgun shells or explosives or any of that stuff for the entire movie, why would Tan think this machine gun would work any better?!” Well kids, it’s because he’s a hero. And he’s fighting to save the “opposites attract” girl of his dreams. If her personality is strong enough to get him to look past his own bigotry and religious beliefs to fall in love with her and tear the sleeve off of his jacket to bandage a little scratch on her arm, then surely his bullets will fly with the intensity of his determination to save her behind them, thus ending their shared nightmare!
…And they do. Yep. Unlike all of the other guns in the movie (that must’ve been loaded with blanks or rubbers), Tan’s heavy machine gun swiss cheeses the creature’s big manly pecs, shreds one of its wings, and finally, following an extended sequence where he has to save Leena from falling off of the building (she matadored the monster over the edge using the talon necklace, the Garuda’s attraction to which is given no explanation), Big Man Tan puts a single shot between the beast’s eyes to send it tumbling to its final destination at the corner of Corpse Boulevard and Broadway. Just like King Kong. Except Kong was at least shot down by a small squadron of armed planes, not just one guy making an impossibly precise shot with a big unwieldy firearm created for quantity of rounds over quality of accuracy. Lucky for him ‘Rudy inexplicably pauses for a few moments, allowing Mr. T to shoot around Leena (who’s covering up a good half or more of her hero’s shot), with ONE-HAND, and from a sideways position so it’s not even sighted up in ANY WAY. And he even has SO MUCH confidence that the shot’s going to be perfect, that he defiantly shouts “Go get it in the next world!” before pulling the trigger!
This is the type of movie that doesn’t ask you to so much suspend your disbelief, but straight up lynch it. I can’t murder my common sense though! I’d miss it. Logical thinking is already rare enough as it is anymore, so I’d probably be violating the Endangered Species Act if I did. Upon completing Garuda (twice), I’m reminded of the Murray Head song “One Night in Bangkok”, only with some slight alterations:
One viewing of Garuda makes a hard man humble
– Not much between despair and ecstasy
Two viewings of Garuda and the tough guys tumble
– Can’t be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me
This movie is absolutely horrible. With even the most minute sliver of doubt. The cgi just burns holes into my soul. Garuda makes the creatures in “Hercules: the Legendary Journeys” look like Jurassic Park. Watching the monster jump around and the actors pretend they’re interacting with it (likely the old “tennis ball on a stick” method) is like staring at the sun. You know you shouldn’t, but you do it anyway to see how long you can hold out before that glowing smudge in your vision becomes permanent.
One thing I haven’t mentioned before now that drives me nuts about the movie is one of the same problems I had while watching 23:59: what’s with all the fucking English dialogue!? Tim’s character speaks fluent Thai, yet he and Leena break into English conversations for no reason! If they were trying to use it as a way to converse without Tan and his men knowing what they were saying, that’s fine. But they don’t. Even more annoying is when it happens in the opening scene, as the French Dr. Jeanvier and his Indian dig partner are speaking English to each other! For fuck’s sake, if you’re trying to market your movie to US audiences with shit like this and the numerous uses of American brands in your product placement spots (Pepsi shows up TWICE, including a plastic cup with the logo on it being thrown at Leena’s dad during a protest against him), you probably should’ve hired some competent FX people to make your titular terror look, you know, terrorizing rather than terrible. American audiences don’t settle for this garbage!
Having openly burned through all of the offerings this shit show has to give already, there’s no real point in going over all of its crimes against humanity again. I will say that it makes for perfect Riff Party material, though. Get friends and/or loved ones together, maybe imbibe a little of the mood enhancing substance of your choice (as a Death God, I literally get high on life), and watch as this clusterfuck falls so far below a zero that it comes back around to a ten like an overzealous kid on a swing. Laughter is the best medicine, so laugh. Laugh at the hard work these people want you to think they put into making it. Laugh so hard that any current cancerous cells leave your body, and all future cancers avoid you for fear of the raging uproarious tremors you will bury them with.
Garuda is so fucking awful and stupid, but it’s cinemasochistic fun. Fitting that it hit theaters on April Fools Day 2004, though I don’t think Thailand celebrates April Fools Day. Maybe? Who cares. It’s all a tangled cat-o-nine tails of ineptitude that hurts so good as it lashes across your back. To make it go down a little easier though, here’s a game to play with those aforementioned substances!
The Officially Official TheTombOfAnubis.Com Unofficial Drinking/Smoking Game: Garuda Edition!
Take a drink/hit during the following moments of the film:
That should be more than enough to get you rightly wasted within the first hour, but if you manage to get to the end credits without blacking out, take a moment to brag to me! Let me know what substance you used and how your experience played out and I’ll add your message(s) of triumph to the review for all to see!
So there you have it: Garuda. The worst thing to come out of Thailand ever, if you don’t count the heroin, HIV, and child prostitution rings.
Okay. I feel better now. Good therapy session. This website is a very complicated version of when people text pics of their bowl-busting brown anacondas to each other. It’s a more socially acceptable way of sharing my shameful experiences and physically destructive consequences with close friends and total strangers in a twisted display of pride. I hope you’ve taken some enjoyment from this bathroom snapshot of Garuda‘s digestively devastating results. Some people think I do myself more harm than good by shoving such raw plutonium straight up my nose, but it’s the kind of pain I gladly prefer to the crippling misery of the real world. Maybe one day I’ll find something better to do with my life. Something that’ll make people proud to share the VonMojo name. But for now, as AC/DC said, “One of these days I’m gonna change my evil ways. Until then, I’m just gonna ride on.”
On that note, I’m aiming to Double Stuf two more episodes of The Tomb in by Halloween, but they’ll be a departure from the World Tour. I’ll be back on the road again in November, starting with India. Until then? Come and knock my door! I’ll be waiting for you! I’ve a lovely space (on my wall) that needs your face! Trick or treating with you!
“Twins, Jack! TWINS!”
“Sweet! This’ll make for an epic bottle opener!”
The special effects shartist’s computer every time he’d start working on Garuda.
Featuring special guest appearances by Stand and Deliver Edward James Olmos! 1992 Shane McMahon! And Jessica Alba!
Given the headphones and glasses, he’s clearly the team’s computer/tech expert. He probably reads manga in his spare time and gets nosebleeds when pretty girls are around too.
“Oh yeah, I’m definitely overcompensating! When the ladies call me the ‘2 inch killer’, they’re not exaggerating!”
Gah! Stop it! You’re gonna give the audience eyeball cancer if you keep doing that!
That’s not water. Pepsi© paid Thailand for the dumping rights to dispose of their unsold Crystal Pepsi™ inventory there. That man’s face will be riddled with tumors in a manner of weeks.
Tim is WAY too excited about being held at gunpoint here. I’d say he’s packing heat of his own, but the idea of Tim with an erection makes me nauseous and all I had to eat today was ghost pepper sauce and Crystal Pepsi™. I’d rather not melt my esophagus bringing all of that back up.
“What an important archaeological discovery! This is clearly Frog Thor (yes, that’s a thing that happened)’s mythological hammer Mjolnir!”
Leena catches sight of Garuda’s penis. She’s quite taken aback.
And there’s Garuda’s penis now! Toldja it was shocking.
And that, gentlemen, is why you don’t shave with a straight razor in the middle of an avalanche.
Also featuring a special appearance by Burgess Meredith from the “Time Enough at Last” episode of “The Twilight Zone”!
Stan’s wife knows how much her menstrual period upsets her husband, so she always pranks him by not telling him when she’s on it before initiating sex! He falls for it every time! Punk’d!
Looks like someone forgot to put the bowl of green M&Ms™ and freezer bag full of cocaine in David Lee Roth’s dressing room before the concert…
It’s an ancient mystical inscription that says “Made in China”.
Why does Garuda look like a bad Photoshop of David Cassidy’s mugshots morphed with Big Bird?
“I thought these would be so cool when I ordered them from Hot Topic. Why the Hell did I pay $86 for them!? Fuck. Maybe I can get a refund…”
“It’s okay Tan, you really don’t need to fuss over me and ruin your shirt for this! It’s just a popped zit. It’ll be fine in a minute!”
Guy Fieri impersonators are shot on sight in Bangkok! And for good reason! Do it! Do it! Do it! DO IT!
“Hello, ‘Mom’s Old Fashioned Mothballs’ consumer complaints line? Yeah, I put my favorite shirt into storage with a full box of your product, and now my sleeve looks like swiss cheese!”
“I really like your ‘Lady Die Hard’ costume, lady! Very sexy! Your cosplay game very pro!”
It’s Batman! Oh wait, it’s just Garuda. Never mind. Nothing to see here, people.
Knowing there’s no hope for a sequel to his own movie, Garuda prepares an audition reel in case Disney ever does a live-action “Gargoyles” movie.
Anubis will return next time in
“It’s Not Easy Having a Good Time”
Featuring: Tedd “Paper Moon (not that one)” Chan , Henley “Kepong Gangster” Hii , Mark “‘Police & Thief‘” Lee
Writer & Director: Gilbert “Ghost Child” Chan
Singapore! Not just Super Mario’s response to why he never pursued a career in opera (“I sing-a poor!”), Singapore’s also a major global city-state and the southern-most point of continental Asia. AKA “The Lion City”, “The Garden City”, “The Red Dot” (“Where ever the red dot goes, ya bang!“), and the World Bank’s “Easiest Place to Do Business” 9 years running. An original founding member of Malaysia, Singapore was punted from the team after just two years over “ideological differences”, i.e. race riots. They’re currently celebrating their 50th anniversary as an independent nation, so happy golden anniversary, Singapore! Sadly, the only gold I can offer you as a gift is my golden sense of humor… or a golden shower if that’s what you’re into. I mean, I’m not into it myself, but if it’ll get you off, I’m cool with it. It is your birthday after all.
Singapore also has one of the lowest unemployment rates amidst developed nations the world over, as well as some of the lowest rates of violent crime and homicide. Possibly due to it also having one of the lowest rates of alcohol consumption per capita. Angers up the blood! The population is over 40% foreigners and the Economist Intelligence Unit (sounds like a Wall Street thought police group) ranked Singapore 6th in the world for qualify of life and 1st in Asia! Damn. Kinda getting the urge to move here. But what Singapore isn’t is a plateful of bacon, so enough buttering it up. Singapore’s dark side is pretty infamous for gangs, prostitution, and gambling. Plus there’s apparently still a lot of racism issues that haven’t been worked out in the last 5 decades too. If they’d just import a bunch of American Republicans though, racism would stop being a thing simply because they’d say so! Ignorance is bliss. Oh, there’s also dangerous insects to be had in the ‘Pore, but nothing a little insect repellant won’t fix. When you’re in the deep jungle, you can’t beat Off!
Fuck you. I find jungles and forests to be very erotic and I’ll beat off anywhere I damn well please! *rimshot*
In case you’re not savvy on the concept of the 24 hour time cycle adopted by the global military as a whole (you know, that “oh eight-hundred hours” type stuff), the title of today’s feature is a reference to 11:59 PM. Sadly, it’s not a cinematic sequel to Iron Maiden’s song “2 Minutes to Midnight”, which would have then been followed by a multimedia project consisting of a VCR flashing “12:00” while accompanied by a Muzaked rendition of Powerslave to finish out a proposed trilogy. No, really. I proposed it to Bruce Dickinson’s cousin’s stepdaughter’s legal representation and they said they were “really excited at the prospect” before having me escorted from the building by security personnel! “REALLY excited”!
As I was saying, what 23:59 is instead is an Asian ghost story. Yep, yet another one. Just like The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity made every American filmmaker-to-be think they could lure a lightning bolt into their empty Zima bottle too via a $500 “found footage” video of their own, the entirety of the continent of Asia have their chopsticks crossed that they’re on the verge of the next Ring or Grudge that’ll earn them big American party dollars on the 1-in-300,000 shot that Hollywood comes knocking on their door for the remake rights. Ghidorah H. Christ.
Let’s grab hold of the duct tape and see if we can’t pull this off quick with only minimal pain, and without having our righteous Magnum PI mustache torn out by the roots in the process! As always, since this movie comes in under the 5-year age of spoiler consent for this site, I will NOT be posting any major twists or revelations. So, should you feel it’s worth the trouble of tracking down and sitting through, fear not, as there be no spoilers here.
Our introductory pre-credits sequence finds us back in the bygone days of 1983. The Men at Work emerged from a land down under to introduce themselves to the world! Jason Vorhees acquired his now iconic hockey mask in Friday the 13th Part 3-D! “M*A*S*H” ended and “Fraggle Rock” began! In a Singapore boot camp, a young soldier named Tan (Tedd Chan) is asleep in the barracks when a ghostly child (along with its presumably spectral matriarch) interrupts the lad’s R.E.M. (the state of sleep, not the folks who gave us “Shiny Happy People”), scaring him shitless, courtesy of a face that resembles a giant prolapsed colon. Sound gross? Now imagine two people with faces like said inside-out buttholes, but they also have long, slimy tongues and they start licking each others facial rims. Hope you liked the last meal you ate, because you’re probably gonna be tasting it again real soon if you haven’t already! 😀
This leads us into some decidedly poor opening credits, ran over what looks to be storyboard material. I appreciate that ‘boards are just to structure the shots of a flick and not meant to be works of art or anything, but if yours look like they came from a comic book an 8th grade school kid would draw in their spare time, you might not want to open your movie with it. Upon first viewing, I worried that said illustrations were spoiling what looked to be some decidedly decent moments from the oncoming 90 minutes. The only thing worse than laying your scares out for your audience WAY ahead of time, though? Nothing interesting from them actually comes to fruition! Yep! On the arbitrary thermometer graphic of “Things You Shouldn’t Do to Your Audience”, I’m pretty sure “Telegraph your best moments in the opening credits” ranks lower than “Tease them, only to give them ZERO payoff”.
I couldn’t find confirmation to support the previous assumption, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find that said storyboard art was from scenes that had to be cut from the movie for budgetary concerns or technical limitations. They feel like Gilbert Chan’s way of saying, “I’m not bland! I have fun, scary ideas too! See what I wanted to have?! THEY wouldn’t give me the money! If you don’t like this movie, it’s not my fault!”. These probably should’ve been saved for the end credits though, rather than the openers. Maybe Chan just did the same backwards thing Asians do with their printed material and edited the movie right-to-left, so what would have been the end credits sequence wound up at the start-up instead? Honest mistake.
Back to the barracks, we catch up with Tan and some of his fellow freedom fighters, who are sitting around listening to ghost stories told by resident jerk-off Dragon (Lawrence Koh). They’re pretty much the Singapore branch of the Midnight Society. Despite being the most superstitious member of the group, Drags stink faces everybody else for getting the terror sweats at his tales. He sets the running theme for us when he tells us that midnight is the apex of evil, and the soul of anyone who dies at 23:59 (and we have a character saying the title of the movie! And less than 10 minutes in, too!) will be forced to remain on Earth, wandering for eternity…for some weird reason that nobody can explain beyond random, made up superstition. Hey, if being terrified of the unproven is good enough to establish religions on, it’s good enough for generic ghost stories!
One of said stories is 100% true and involves a former recruit named Lye. Three years prior, in that VERY bunk, on a night VERY much like this, Lye punched his own ticket, hanging himself while everyone else slept. Why do the Hangman Tango? Turns out he was bullied and harassed by some of his bunk-mates for being “effeminate” and apparently threatening their own masculinity (i.e. they didn’t like that they were so attracted to him, obviously). Fuck that. If I were ever tormented to the point of taking my own life, you know damn well I’d be taking every asshole along with me! Then I’d leave a note detailing the trauma I’d been subjected to before taking myself out David Carradine style! And I’m not talking about Uma Thurman giving me the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart technique, either.
The bard of the barracks continues his tales of terror, telling us about the Kuntilanak (sounds like a Conan villain) – the particularly vicious and violent spirit that results from a suicided pregnant woman. Coincidence that its name starts with “Kunt”? It’s not clear (like a lot of this movie), but I think one of these Kunts was summoned by a trio of nameless recruits (the credits are full of ’em) using a makeshift Chinese knock-off Ouija/Witchboard in one of Drag’s stories. When they asked her to leave, spooky lady indicated “All Signs Point to ‘No'”, then terrified them by leaving wet footprints across their floor (and wet spots in their shorts). The horror of the creeping moisture! Now, imagine that last line in Vincent Price’s voice. You’re welcome.
Though this ends the shirtless punk’s story hour for the night, he does break out another scareative later on about a local ghost whisperer whose impregnated womb became haunted by a Kuntilanak (so she had a Kunt in her cunt!) during a seance. Immediately after which she gave birth to a mutant baby who would grow up looking like the daughter of the Toxic Avenger and is said to still lurk the island. So Asian people used to think birth defects were the result of angry ghosts possessing mother-to-be? Maybe stop smoking, drinking, and sitting on active microwaves while you’re gestating and you wouldn’t get so many flipper babies! Anyway, the Rule 63 Quasimodo’s name is Yi Gu, which my geek brain interpreted as “YuGi”, then responded to by shouting “It’s time to D-D-D-D-D-D-D-D-DUEL!” before realizing I’d activated my own trap card… almost no one over the age of 25 is going to get that joke, but if any younger type card slingers do get it, well, I don’t pander to you often so you can have that one.
Each of these stories is accompanied by their own filmed segment, and given how they’re presented I feel like Chan originally meant this to be an anthology that wound up being paired down into a straight feature with a Frankensteined script instead. Makes all the more sense when you consider the unused storyboards, right? By the time you get to the finish line, so much of what’s established makes so little sense otherwise, so that’s the theory I’m sticking with.
Unlike Lye, Tan (by name, not by skin pigment) only has a sole tormentor in Dragon. He doesn’t show signs of taking his own life. Plus, several of the guys in the group do stick up for Tan, including their platoon leader. I bet a good old fashioned “soap in a sock” party would get Dragon to turn his dickhead dial down to ‘1’. Tan’s childhood buddy-slash-bodyguard Jeremy (Henley Hii) looks out for him too, but instead of fistally re-educating the bully, he opts to victim blame his buddy, telling him that he’s gotta stop being a pussy and man up. Tan’s problem isn’t that he’s a wimp though, he’s just got PTSD – Phantasmal Traumatic Stress Disorder. That close encounter of the ghostly kind in the opening has left him with a yellow streak. Uhm, that wasn’t a racist thing because he’s Asian! Scout (Taylor-Compton)’s honor!
Later that night, Dragon and four accomplices tie up and gag the sleeping Tan, stuffing him into a locker to torment him further. Naturally he’s visited by the ghostly hand of the Kunt, who leaves deep scratches on his neck by the time Jeremy (spoke in class today) wakes up and lets him out. Jer blows off Tan’s neck wounds, excusing them as being caused by a tussle with a wire hanger during his panicked spaz out. Sticking up for his little buddy, Jer get physical (physical!) with Draggy and the pair fight. Well, by “fight” I mean they shove each other, then Jeremy holds the scrawny little shit down and gives him some really weak punches. After those love taps, I wonder if maybe Tan’s not the bunker sissy of this group. Jer would’ve done more damage giving the prick an Indian Burn! Then again, they might not know what those are over there. On that side of the globe, “Indian Burn” is probably the rectal fallout of a really spicy curry dinner.
The group’s commanding officer, Sergeant Kuah (Mark Lee), arrives and breaks the tussle up. He reminds them that they have an incredibly important 24km road march in the morning, so they better stop with all the Grab-Ass and get some sleep. But coach, the Grab-Ass Championship Games are in two weeks and we gotta train! While we’re on the subject of Kuah, we learn that he’s a superstitious lot (and cowardly too, right Batman?) and asks that his own higher up, Captain Hong (Benjamin Lim), postpone the road march until a less unlucky date. Seems the moons of Jupiter are in the house of the seventh planet or some malarkey and that’s bad voodoo for the boys. Hong looks at him like he has three heads, gives him the workplace appropriate equivalent of a double middle finger, and declares that the march will go on as planned. To which, Kuah calls his c.o. a “fake caucasian” behind his back. Well, he’s Asian, so at least that makes him half Caucasian, right? Yeah, I deserve a smack for that one.
Tan has a bad feeling in his gut about going on the march, but Jeremy again denounces him for being a wimp. Tough Guy says he doesn’t believe in the supernatural because his father was a charlatan medium who used to use him to con marks out of their Singapore Dollars (yep, not unlike M. Bison in Street Fighter, they just tack “dollars” onto the ass of their name to name their currency!) with a Jon Edwards-style “chat up the dead” scheme. It left one bereaved old man heart attacked into the afterlife himself though, and that incident left the father and son pairing forever estranged. Also as a result, Junior is Singapore’s biggest skeptic, i.e. the most reasonable person in the nation. In fact, when Kuah insists on giving his men good luck talismans (that look oddly like dry cleaner tickets) to ward off evil spirits and bad juju during the trek, Jer not only refuses one, but denies one for Tan too. “Tan too”? I feel there’s a joke I should be making right now, but the heat from my laptop is making my Ballpark Frank plump and it’s too distracting. You win this time, phallus perspiration!
The marchers are beset by an inopportune thunderstorm and our main cast (Tan, Jer, Dragon, and porcine comedy relief character Lim) fall behind the rest of the group. Without spoiling anything specific, I’ll tell you this much – we’re only half way down the hasenpfeffer hole at this point. The events of the march that night change the dynamics of the group greatly, as Tan isn’t the only one being haunted once it’s over. Can they ever be rid of the Class IV Anchored Remnant (bone up on your Tobin’s, nerds) on their backs, or are they destined to just become another sinister anecdote in the book of “Scary Stories to Tell in the Barracks”? Are the ghosts even real, or did Gilbert Chan opt to make an ode to Jacob’s Ladder and what we’re actually watching is, in reality, just a shellshock allegory? What does this all have to do with a fellow recruit named Chester? And why is his name Chester?! What kind of Asian name is “Chester”?! Or “Jeremy” for that matter!?
Though I won’t be going any further into the story beyond this point, I will say this much – the finale involves what will either be a very touching, very depressing, very cheesy (or very arousing…depends on your brain chemistry) moment that features one of our characters crying profusely. Unfortunately, the intended emotional impact of the scene collapses in on itself as I was incredibly distracted during the whole thing. What by? Not only do the character’s eyes leak the whole time, but their nose flushes like they just ran a Neti Pot through it. We all know that the locks are blown open on the Panama snot canals when a heavy bawling front rolls in, but wipe your damn nose, character whose name I will not divulge!… Huh huh, “but wipe”.
Though not entirely bad, 23:59 feels like a movie that could’ve been better than it is. I know that almost any movie could be “better than it is”, technically, but this is the statement that stands out the largest in my mental word cloud, having watched it twice now. My biggest problem is the story’s structure. It’s shoddy and unstable. If it were a building, it’d be condemned by code enforcement. Even the junkies would reconsider squatting in it. As stated prior, the whole thing feels as if it was intended as an anthology, but was converted into a basic “Point A to Point B” feature without wanting to throw out the leftovers. Like they put up the house over the Indian burial ground, but didn’t feel like removing the grave markers and just built around them instead. Or if a storefront that was originally a beauty parlor was turned into a Carvel© store and they chose to keep the big hair dryer chairs to soften the ice cream; except they left them right in the middle of the damn floor, inconveniencing the customers who just want a spot to sit and eat their damn Fudgie in peace!
I don’t watch a lot of Singaporese movies, so forgive my ignorance if this next annoyance is a common practice, but the dialog was littered with some kind of bastard ManderEnglish for some reason! Is this how their movies are usually done?! The cadets would slip in an English word here or there, which was fine because I get that there are some words we Yanks have that they don’t. Instead of making up their own, they figure “Fuck it, I guess we know slightly more English now!”. However, when the Sergeant and Captain were in the picture, everyone was speaking better English than half the kids in your average American graduating class! It was jarring. This does explain why every original audio copy of the movie I tried to download was labeled “English dub” though.
The Americanising of the feature is furthered by the inclusion of US movie posters on the walls of the bunkhouse, including ’80s classics The Terminator, Platoon, and Blade Runner. Is this a military training facility or an AV Club?! Funny enough, of the three flicks, only Blade Runner (’82) was actually released prior to 1983, the year this movie takes place. Terminator was ’84 and Platoon was ’86, so a hearty dick kick to the prick in charge of continuity for not doing his damn job.
In the end (also Sean Connery’s answer to “Where does Alex Trebek’s mom take it?”), what could’ve been something good (or at least not as bad) just peters out into something completely unsatisfying, thus making 23:59 Singapore’s cinematic parallel of Adam Sandler’s career. Or, every episode of my sexual congress as told from my partners’ points-of-view. There’s some decent tension building, but it’s bogged down by too many attempted jump scares, some acceptable-to-terrible makeup effects, a congested story structure, and the disappointment of the opening credits promising more graphic imagery than the movie itself puts out. An unfortunate let down from the country that brought us the pure chewing satisfaction of the Michael Fay caning. Oh well.
For our next World Tour stop, I’ll be spoiling the crap out of an early 2000s monster movie that’s been collecting dust on my “To Do Pile” for over a decade! Drain the last of your Dirty Banana and join us, won’t you?
Bonus Moral: If someone dies at training camp in the Singapore army, recruits are given a half-day to cope. The turn around for mourning over there is stricter than their anti-chewing gum laws!
That’s exactly how my head feels every time a Linkin Park song comes on the radio.
Well, at least that would be convenient for people with shoulder problems who have no one else to brush their hair.
“The camp talent show is in 3 days and you still haven’t figured out how to make the puppet talk while you’re drinking the glass of water!”
“Because I will Frank Castle your asses in the blink of an eye!”
“Sure he’s got a Cheetos™ dust addiction, but everybody knows he’s a stand up cat otherwise!”
When grandpa asked to play a card game during their visit to the retirement home, they had no idea he meant Strip Poker. Worst. Visit. Ever.
Wait. Did this movie suddenly turn into a tampon commercial?
Yup. It’s definitely a tampon commercial.
Maybe you should stop squinting your eyes then, dipshit. We in the audience can see everything just fine thanks to ALL OF THE PRODUCTION LIGHTS!
“Oh my god… did I remember to turn the oven off before I left for boot camp!? This could be VERY bad.”
“She sounds hot. Is she seeing anyone?”
Sadly, he’s right. I’ve been trying to do that with those fucking Kardashians for years and they’ve yet to fade from existence.
We used to put completely black contacts on the first guy that fell asleep back during high school b-movie weekend parties. It’s hilarious watching them run around screaming “I’M BLIND! I’M BLIND!” while falling all over everything. Ah the memories.
And I thought the Asian takeout places in the U.S were aggressive with their doorknob menus. Yikes!
“Well, I don’t know her personally, but I’m a high ranking official in her fan club! I’m sure Mrs. Arquette would be happy to help us!”
Yeah, I’ve had ghost pepper sauce thrown in my oculars too (true story!). Trust me, just clench your eyes as hard as you can and pray for death until it stops hurting. Should be about an hour or two.
Hence why his friends gave him the nickname “Arby’s”.
Oh man, he’s having one of those “dislocate your shoulder trying to reach it” level itches on his back.
Just another one of the ProActiv™ horror stories they never tell you about in the commercials.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Unexpected Vishnu of Ignorance”
Featuring: Alex “The Descent” Reid , Chris “’Kung-Fu: the Legend Continues‘” Potter , Neus “Torrente” Asensi
Director: Jack “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge” Sholder
Writer: Mark “Sci-fighters” Sevi
TheTombOfAnubis.com – Promoting literacy through good ol’ fashioned read-only bad movie pontifications! Video reviews be damned! (Maybe now we can qualify for one of those big-ass educational grants from the government!)
For our final furlong (not Edward) of this field trip to the Fantastic Factory, I’ll be pulling the limbs off of the eight-legged freak known as Arachnid. And as you may have guessed by the rating, said furlong is a fucking death march. I could’ve saved myself a lot of misery had I done the rerun re-view review of Stuart Gordon’s Dagon, which originally left me with the unfulfilled hope that Gordon would be more involved with Yuzna’s company beyond the singular feature he helmed. You know, kinda like how people who hope that House of Re-Animator will ever happen are living in a fool’s paradise, eating the deceptive fruits of the delusion tree. Anyway, Dagon has already been earmarked for another reviews thing, so worry not, I’ll get to it sooner or later! For now? Shit, let’s get this over with…
Arachnid wastes no time dumping our books and pushing us into an impossibly deep mud puddle, establishing itself as our bullying tormentor from the opening scene. An eye blistering sequence of the most amateurish of computer-borne special effects plays out, as a devil-may-care test pilot codenamed Lightfoot (Jesus Cabrero) flies a stealth bomber and rocks us like the proverbial hurricane. He’s blasting ass all over the Pacific Ocean, minus the dulcet tones of Kenny Loggins telling us about his scenic drive to the titular Danger Zone. Speaking of, today’s episode is brought to you by The Danger Zone™!
Parents, do you need somewhere to drop off your little ones while you and the spouse test drive the new gimp suits down at Paco’s Pleasure Palace™? Leave ’em at The Danger Zone™ – It’s like Chuck E. Cheese’s, but with more exposed wiring, broken bottles, and used hypodermic needles in the ball pit to help your brat grow some balls instead of encouraging them to be a weak little sissy like those other family fun centers do! We don’t accidentally hire known sex offenders anymore (or any less)! Just take Exit 37 off the highway to The Danger Zone™!
No sooner does Lightfoot go full stealth (and “mean and extreme”), than he catches sight of an alien spacecraft, camouflaged with some of that Predator brand “wavy air” cloaking tech…because they were too cheap to dedicate any of this already middling computer effects budgets toward designing an actual ship. The craft appears to have been harvesting sea life via a self-generated water spout when ‘Footsie interrupted. When he decides he can’t leave well enough alone and pursues the ship, his plane’s systems fail and he’s forced to bail…I’m sorry, I mean he’s forced to extreme bail in the meanest of totally gnarly fashions, bro! The bomber rear-ends the alien ship (looks like the Pentagon’s gonna be raising taxes to cover the bump in their insurance premium from this one!), resulting in a hilarious explosion that looks like it was lifted out of a ’90s PC game. The first rule of making a low budget movie? If you can’t afford to make something look even remotely realistic, DON’T SHOOT IT! And if you do, and it’s so stank-awful it makes your nose hairs curl and your eyes squirt like Flower Tucci’s twat? LEAVE IT ON THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR! Fuck. And this is the movie’s opening! I told you we were in for some pain and shame, kids.
‘Foot parachutes down to a nearby island (that was NOWHERE to be seen in any of the wide open ocean footage we just saw), and within its luscious green canopy he finds a smoking crater that’s WAY too small for the size of the alien ship he just jackknifed. Also, despite crashing, the craft’s remnants are nowhere to be seen as the alien cloaking system was apparently unaffected by the mid-air collision nor the face plant into terra firma, because fuck the audience. An e.t. (that resembles what I imagine years of inbreeding between the mutants of This Island Earth would produce) appears, but its personal cloaking device must be failing as it distorts in and out of view like the picture on an old TV when someone turns on the Hoover. As Lightfoot watches in horror, gun drawn on the visitor, some giant spidery legs sprawl out from behind it, restrain it, then impale it on what I’m guessing to be a big spider dick. The murderous arachnid then leaps into the trees, with ‘Foot firing after it to no avail while the alien begins to sizzle (at least that’s what the closed captioning “subtitles” call it) before fizzling into nothingness. Goodbye, shitty digital alien puppet thing. You won’t be missed.
Some Silly String looking shit then sprays over our hero (looks like the same stuff the Mothra larva and Kumongas used to jizz out in the old Toho Godzilla movies) before he turns away, coming eye-to-eyes with what I’m guessing is the eponymous subject of the movie. Cue his screams and likely pants filling before we cut to the title card.
As our opening credits fade in and out of reality (not unlike the alien), we’re taken to a small airstrip in Guam, where we meet who’s sure to be the movie’s real hero(ine), Loren Mercer (Alex Reid). Merc’s been hired by one of the local physicians, Dr. Leon (Jose Sancho), to fly a small group out to a nearby island where the natives have been dying of an unknown illness transmitted by mysterious spider-like bites. The fatal sickness looks to me to show the symptoms of onset Brundlefly-itis, but damn it Jim, I’m a Death God, not a doctor! Also along for the trip are Dr. L’s assistant Susana (Neus Asensi), hired gun/field leader Lev Valentine (Chris Potter), Lev’s heavies Bear (Rocqueford Alan) and Reyes (Luis Lorenzo), published entomologist Dr. Henry Capri (Ravil Isyanov, stealing work from Ted Raimi) and native guide Toe Boy (Robert Vincencio, stealing work from that guy who played Pedro in Napoleon Dynamite). No idea if “Toe Boy” is his tribe given name or just a joke name he was stuck with by the missionaries who brought him there in the first place, but Toe Boy’s his name, so Toe Boy’s what we’re calling him! You know, if he grew up to become an orthopedic surgeon he could graduate from Toe Boy to Toe Cutter…
Obviously, Henry’s going because Dr. L suspects some new breed of spider to be the cause of the sickness, but what else is he preparing for if he’s hired a trio of heavily armed military types to escort them?! Turns out Lev’s just one of those “overcompensating” types, as he declares to Lore that his sense of personal security directly correlates with the amount of armaments he carries with him. Or, to use his exact words: “The more guns I have, the safer I feel!”. I’ll let Matt Parker and Trey Stone posit my reaction on that statement:
On the ride over, Lev and Lore chat it up a bit and establish some character background for us. He and Bear are both former Marines, while Loren is a recently retired Air Force fighter pilot. She resigned her commission with Uncle Sam to become a small time charter pilot on a two-bit island to “look for something”, of which I’m sure we’ll learn later. Mistaking Lev’s interest in getting to know her better as smooth talk, Lore makes sure to put it out there that she’s not interested in “companionship, a relationship, or even a hump buddy”… hump buddy?! What ex-military personnel calls it “humping”?! The term is FUCK buddy! Humping is what dogs to your leg. Believe me, as a human-jackal hybrid deity, I know.
Loren’s electronics randomly die out on her, so she’s forced to crash land on the island’s beach. It’s a groaner of a scene, worthy of an episode of “Perfect Strangers” as the passengers throw themselves about in a panic and the camera’s shaken violently. The crash initiates an irritating back-and-forth bickerfest between Ms. Mercer and Doc Leon that carries on until one of them dies later (guess which one), and also divides the others as loyal attendant Susana and inevitable love interest Lev take obvious sides. The only silver lining about putting the group at odds is a scene where Loren makes a comment to Lev alluding to the idea that Susana sucked her doctorate out of the doctor’s dick, only to have Suze lock her smarmy holier-than-thou ass in “Oh Snap!” Jail when she runs down all of the bad ass work she had to do to earn her position! Even when Lore tries to salvage a sliver of pride with “Impressive. I just fly planes.”, Suze straight napalms her with “Apparently not very well”, then puts a black cherry on top of her shit-talk sundae by offering to help Loren with the scads of gnarly blackheads on her nose!
It’s a good thing there are two such experienced medical practitioners in her party, because I doubt this backwoods jungle had a burn center equipped to treat the degree of posterior immolation our heroine just experienced. Her backside’s figuratively looking like some redneck’s after launching a bottle rocket from his butthole: scorched earth. Ouch!
Mercer plans to stay on the beach with the plane and try to hail a cab ride home, but when she notices that Toe Boy’s wearing a scarf made out of a familiar material not native to the natives, she reconsiders and goes into the ominous overgrowth with the others. Could it have anything to do with the mysterious “something” that she mentioned she was looking for earlier? If you said, “Of course it does!” then you get a cookie! If you said “Huh? Why would you think that? I don’t think it does.”, then slap your parents for me. They know what they did…
From here on it’s your basic slasher formula, as everybody gets picked off one-by-one by the killer. In this case, the jungle is the knife-wielding murderer in the situation appropriate mask. Macho macho man Reyes is the first to ride the bus, errr bite the dust, and he’s not even done in by the movie’s title terror! Instead, he ends up infested by some unholy tropical monstrosity breed of super ticks that plant themselves under his skin, crawl around to gross out the audience, mate, then force their way out of the nearest orifices. In this case, that would be his left eye socket and mouth. Somehow, as soon Henry told us the little buggers would extract themselves once they were done filling their gore sacs with Meathead’s life juice, I knew he wasn’t going to get out of this with both oculars intact. As decent an ipecac as this may have been for amateurs, I just re-watched Ticks a few weeks ago, so what happens here is Baby Town Frolics compared to watching a steroid engorged ultra-tick wearing Carlton Banks as a skin suit.
Reyes is no big loss, as all he really contributed to the movie was being the resident douche-knocker who spent his time failing attempts at promoting himself to Susana as desirable breeding stock. That and doing bong hits off of a canister of liquid nitrogen for laughs. The latter serves to prove himself a dumbass while also establishing that liquid nitrogen will no doubt be used again later on, given Doc Leon’s graphic description of what it would do to the human body if swallowed. It’s nothing nearly as cool, but at least when it is brought back later, no one’s left throwing empty beer cans at the screen and shouting, “WHERE’D THE HELL THAT COME FROM?!”. Once the oversized parasites jump their lumpy ship (and are burst via bullets), Bear puts his partner out of his misery with a pity round planted in his coconut, turning the galoot’s ideas that Vitamin B was a pliable alternative to bug repellant into so much red mist. Two things you never turn down when offered? Bug spray and sunscreen. Don’t question me, make like Nike and JUST DO IT!
Upon finding Toe’s village, it turns out that the place is empty. Either we’ve got a Roanoake Colony situation here, or everybody’s already been digested by the abominations of the surrounding terrain. I’d hazard a guess and say they’re all spider poops by now. Lore also discovers more of the aforementioned mystery material amidst the remnants of the tribe, which Lev confirms to be parachute cloth. Remember Lightfoot? Turns out he’s Loren’s brother. Well, more likely was her brother. Seems that after he went missing, the Navy searched two months for him before giving up. Hence, she left the Air Force to continue her own search via part-time chartering. 2-to-1 says he’s NOT living like Robinson Crusoe nearby, while 200-to-1 says he’s become the King of the Spider-People! Just the way Horror of Spider Island should have ended.
Meanwhile, Henry’s study of the specimens he collects reveals that there are species of spiders on the island that have heretofore unseen evolutionary traits, like internal skeletons in addition to their exoskeletons. This Darwinian wet dream continues on as another overdeveloped freak combining serpentine and arachnid traits (but resembling a giant centipede with most of its legs removed), drags off one of Toe Boy’s peers (let’s call him Toe Rag) and pumps him full of what I can only imagine to be some manner of mega-venom. After emptying a few dozen clips of ammo trying to shoot the hellspawn, it hyper-slithers off into the night like a Chestburster on Four Loko.
After the attack, Lev decides it’s time to scrap this death march and get the fuck outta Spiderville, to the chagrin of Doctors Leon and Capri. Lore insists on staying to look for her brother, but agrees to go too when Lev offers to come back with her and continue the search once the civvies have been returned home. Except for Bear, who gets the shit task of going into the hills with no one but another of Toe Boy’s victim-fodder buddies to try and snag an emergency radio signal! You’ve just discovered that the place is littered with super-evolved killing machines and you send the only black dude in the cast out into the woods with an extra who doesn’t get any lines in the script other that screaming “AH! AHHH!” when he gets a bio-acid bukkake 2 minutes later?! Fuck you, Cracker Jack!
Henry wanders off on his own against Lev’s orders to do some more entomological exploring and ends up confronted by the giant alpha arachnid. By the time the others catch up to him, he’s been turned into an incubator for the next generation of mutants and bound up tighter than my colon after that time I ate an entire wheel of cheese by myself. He’s also transformed from a poor man’s Ted Raimi into a slightly less-poor man’s Dominique Pinon (the guy who played all of the clones in City of Lost Children, which is sadly disqualified from being reviewed here) as he babbles about how the spider is trying to evolve-fuck with everything on the island (including him, presumably), and how its structure is far too large to have developed in Earth’s gravity, thus it must be alien in origin. Well, at least that semi-verifies that it came here on the crashed alien ship, thanks to Loren’s dumbass brother. Oh, speaking of which, they found Lightfoot’s remains webbed to a tree nearby, hollowed out and heavily decomposed. Likely what Dr. Capri is gonna look like after his intestinal spider-babies hatch. No mother’s ever the same after she gives birth. Trust me, I’ve seen my share of scrotummies in my eons.
Henry too gets a mercy death, only instead of a slug through the dome he gets pumped full of morphine as he vomits blood and fades out, asking that the group take his spider samples back with them so the species can be cataloged and named after him. Ruining the moment, Big Momma Octo-Legs shows herself in all of her giant puppet glory, and the heroes unload a few dozen rounds into her to little avail. The design’s actually not bad looking, and the numerous active bits around her mouth are pretty impressive! Kinda reminds me of a Graboid mouth minus the cluster of snake monster tongues. After the opening scene instilled the horror in me that we’d be getting some piss-poor CG beast a la Ice Spiders, I’ll gladly endorse a big angry animatronic! Sure, it’s a bit stiff and barely mobile (not unlike Pumpkinhead) in the wide shots, but at least it’s not the furry VW Bug from Giant Spider Invasion! Then again, this movie is actually making me pine for that sweat stained ’70s hillbilly monster matinee, so maybe a furry VW doesn’t seem all that bad right now.
In their escape from Jeff Daniels’ worst nightmare, Susana gets wrapped up in a massive web (look where the fuck you’re going, Miss Brown Belt!) and while the others try to free her (told you that liquid nitrogen was going to come back into play later), dipshit Dr. Leon just casually stands around doing nothing in particular. While everyone else is trying to save his assistant, the geezer looks like he’s nonchalantly waiting for the fucking crosstown bus or wondering if he remembered to cancel his mail service before he left!
With no apparent fucks to give, the old man is naturally the next to die, pumped full of paralyzing toxin and barfed on with alien Alka-Seltzer. Suze, Lev, and Loren escape to an abandoned WW2 Japanese military shed nearby, and Toe Boy has managed to disappear. No doubt he’ll be back later, likely to play cavalry with a machine gun toting Bear in tow, provided the trio can hole up long enough to be saved. Speaking of, when the beast tries to get in through a boarded up window, Lev manages to get himself bitten, which is bound to happen when you’re stupid enough to attack something like that head-on He-Man style with nothing but a machete! While he lays on the floor going into shock, Shelob’s great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter manages to creepy-crawl into the hanger without notifying the girls (maybe because they couldn’t hear anything over the blaring background music), forcing them to escape into a backroom to continue hiding. “Lady Tarzan” Suze, revealing that’s she’s claustrophobic, takes the first chance she gets to bolt from the enclosed space, budging her way to the head of the “who dies next” line. As the last interesting character in the cast goes, so does my already impotent interest. Actually, we’ve still got Bear, so maybe there’s hope yet!
Lev and Lore manage to find some old tunnels underneath the building that lead them to safety. Well, not safety so much, as they’re still in the living death trap ecosystem that is the jungle, but elsewhere none-the-less. They rest, and Loren has a nightmare about her brother becoming a more realistic version of what you’d think Spider-Man would’ve looked like if his movie had been directed by David Cronenberg. Though a nicely gruesome sequence on paper, big brother’s cheap rubber mask face kills the mood faster than the cries of a dumpster baby on prom night.
As expected, she wakes up to find Bear and Toe standing over her, so they load up and go spider hunting while Mr. Valentine continues to cling to life. Tracking the creature feature to its underground lair, they catch it sleeping/molting and find hundreds of eggs just waiting to crack open and unleash new rubbery horrors on the world. What a time to lose your flamethrower at the baggage check! Of course the Bride of Tarantula wakes up and takes out the movie’s real hero, jamming a head spike into Bear’s eye and killing him as Loren spends the whole time just shouting “No! Bear! Oh my God, Bear! Bear, get out of there! Bear! Look out, Bear!”, saying his name repeatedly as a less creative version of the Meow Game in Super Troopers. Just as she too is about to succumb to the monster’s appetite, Lev uses the last of his strength to come to the guns blazing rescue, alongside Toe Boy. TB fulfills several sequences of foreshadowing from earlier and uses blowdarts dipped in Black Widow venom to wound Big Momma further. Loren, connected to the creature via a tow line of webbing, finishes the beast off by pulling it down from the cave ceiling and impaling it on a waiting stalagmite as it shrieks its death rattle, bringing to mind the hilarious finale of Jaws: the Revenge. Fucking roaring shark. Thinking about it puts me in the mood to make love to an angry welder. Or get a hoagie.
So, I guess this means Loren and Lev are off to get married and raise Toe Boy as their own, now? Or, since he’s the last of his tribe, will they just sell him to a museum? Or, will the Amazing Man-Spider watching them from the shadows (likely Loren’s niece/nephew) just kill all three of them? I don’t know about you, but given that we’ll never get a squeakquel on this one (thank Isis for small miracles), I’m going with that last one as the canonical epilogue to this tale. With that behind us, let’s make like a responsible dick owner on a one-night stand and wrap it up!
Son of a Sniglet. What a way to end a reviews thing. Four weeks of episodes dedicated to a dumb theme and this is how it goes – not with a bang, but with a fart. The uptick of Beneath Still Waters was immediately followed with a massive kidney stone. I haven’t seen all of the Fantastic Factory offerings, but Arachnid has to be their lowest of low notes. Their own personal Brown Note, if you will. Now all I can hear in my brain is Depeche Mode singing “Their own. Personal. Brown note”.
Mark Sevi’s first EIGHT writing credits were all forgettable sequels to action and sci-fi movies in the ’90s, most of which were direct-to-video. The biggest titles on his resume that stick out to me are the reprehensible Ghoulies IV and the Corey Haim starring Fast Getaway II. Sevi’s “talent” really shines through in Arachnid too, most notably in one scene straight out of a waaaaaaacky comedy. As Lev interrupts Loren while she’s taking a shit, he makes a comment about being careful because of ticks. She makes her best “Goldie Hawn in Overboard” snooty face in response, then gets stuck in a giant spider-hole full of arachnid spooge. Lev and Bear pull her free before she can be eaten by whatever’s down there, and she falls on top of her boyfriend-in-waiting, only to have their shirts glued together by said spider-goo, causing them both to go topless (don’t get excited folks, she’s wearing a bra), leading to the “hilarious” misunderstanding of everyone back at the group thinking they were off bumping the proverbial uglies in the bushes. There’s even a half-baked jump scare moment, as Lev reaches back into the hole to retrieve Loren’s boot, ignorant that he narrowly evaded an attack by the monster. It’s 5 minutes of movie that not only didn’t tickle my funny bone, but shattered it with a hammer while I had to type the whole scenario out just now. And you know that’s never going to heal right. Blart.
Thematically, I’m down with the concept of a super spider mating with other species to create the apex of predation, but it just brings up the same problem I have every time I’m presented with an alien that mates with Earthlings: how the fuck are their reproductive systems compatible?! I get that a big component of science fiction is the “fiction”, but the other big component is the “SCIENCE”! If you’re gonna have intergalactic baby makin’, show me you put the effort into explaining how it’s possible! Or at least have someone bring up the question! Fuck! We’ve got two scientists in the party and neither one of them says, “Wait, so a spider’s been fucking snakes and ticks and people and everything else it can jam it’s furry spider-dong into, but how the hell are the Earth creatures reproductively compatible?!”. It’s the gods-damned “Saiyan frustration” all over again and it’s gonna make me lose my shit! GRARRGH!
Okay, settle down Anubis. Tranquilizers are your friend. Calm blue ocean. Calm blue ocean. Calm blue ocean. Serenity….now. Okay. Anyway, to be fair, the acting’s not terrible and some of the characters are likable. I would’ve preferred Susana and Bear making it to the end with Toe or Dr. Capri, but you knew they were all destined for the spider’s dinner plate…or breeding dungeon. The gore’s okay too, but those CG effects in the beginning? After already having to sit through them twice, I’d rather wear contact lenses bathed in ghost pepper sauce than do it again. And though the big evil spider puppet looks good when stationary, it’s painfully ugly when in motion (aside from those cool mouth tendrils) and even uglier when reduced to more of that nauseating, no-budget, computer-made rubbish as it jumps around its den.
Overall, I’m glad we were never “blessed” by the sequel we’re threatened with at the end. I never advocate for arachnicide. Hell, my Evil Dead Bride and I welcome all eight-legged guests in our tomb and encourage them to stay a while, so long as they don’t get stepped on or eaten by our cats. I had spiders wind up in my hair, beard, and behind my ear on three separate occasions in one week, so they’re not a source of scares in our home. But Arachnid? Kill it with fire, flush the ashes, and salt the earth it was filmed on so nothing like it can ever grow again.
And with that, we say goodbye to the Fantastic Factory. Probably the best thing to come about from that shit awful Fant4stic box office poison. I hope you had as much fun reading these reviews as I had writing them. The overall quality of the movies wasn’t great, but at least the concepts behind them lived up to the company moniker! They’re a decent atypical alternative to the endless generic slashers, zombie-fests, and found-footage hauntings that overrun the horror show market. There are a few more titles in their cache, so you can bet your Re-Animator 10th Anniversary LaserDisc that I’ll be coming back to finish what I began, not unlike Beatrix Kiddo in her titular revenge quest. Only, you know, less about vengeance stuff and more about being a completionist to whom this unfinished business will be itching powder on my medulla oblongata until it’s done.
With the “Fantastic Four” reviews thing now in the books (and said books going into the pyre as soon as government agents kick in my front door), what depths of darkness and depravity are waiting around the bend? All I can say is that the next new review will be a very special episode of
“Blossom” The Tomb of Anubis, so be sure to tune in with someone you love!
The self-proclaimed “Cheese King of Green Bay”.
There’s a space ship in this shot. Can you spot it? This is what happens when you spend your budget hiring the guy from ‘Silk Stalkings‘ to star in your crappy giant spider movie.
My computer made the same request when I put in the Arachnid DVD.
It’s an adult version of one of those little rubber puppet demons from Rock ‘N Roll Nightmare!
“No, I’m not Ted Raimi, but yes I will star in your Skinner 2 Kickstarter project!”
They’re all laughing because they ate Taco Bell for lunch and this is going to be a LONG plane ride… and Susana knows it too.
“Do you like the X-Men? I was the voice of Gambit in the cartoon, you know. Maybe you’d like to go out sometime, chere?”
“Sure. Have you every been… spelunking?”
“I’m sorry! This has never happened to me before, I swear! Oh jeez. There’s never been so much of it, either. Oh Hell, I got some in your hair too. I have some baby wipes in my pack, just gimme a second.”
I see someone took that “eat with your butt and poop with your mouth” episode of ‘South Park‘ to heart. Uggh.
The Red Ryder BB Gun’s campaign of cycloptic terror continues!
“No, I’m not the wheelchair guy from Alien Resurrection. But, if you get me out of here, I will give you my autograph!”
Every year, 1 out of every 10 entomologists is sexually assaulted by giant spiders. Don’t let this happen to you. Never accept drinks from spiders you don’t know.
[Graboid voice:] “Something smells like Kevin Bacon! Bacon! Bacon! Bacon! Bacon! Only one thing smells like Kevin Bacon and that’s Kevin Bacon! IT’S BAAAAACOOOON!”
“Oh Garfield. If you can hate Mondays as much as you do, but still have the capacity to love lasagna like that, maybe we all have a chance at happiness.”
That guy’s putting his optometrist’s kids through college!
Looks like they’ll have to reset their “Days Since Last Giant Spider Attack” counter back now.
“Rocky Dennis is the Amazing Spider-Man!”
“What? Don’t you get it? ‘A man walks into a bar – OUCH!’? You don’t GET IT?! COME ON! It’s a pun on the word ‘bar’! How are you not laughing right now?! Clearly you’re some kind of sociopath.”
Anubis will return next time in
“Appetite for Duodenum”
Featuring: Takehiro “Vengeance for Sale” Murata , Hiroshi “My Love is a Sniper: the Movie” Abe , Naomi “The Happiness of the Katakuris” Nishida
Director: Takao “Godzilla Vs. Destroyah” Okawara
Writers: Hiroshi “Godzilla Vs. Space Godzilla” Kashiwabara , Wataru “Godzilla: Final Wars” Mimura
Sequel to: Godzilla (1954)
Other movies in the Godzilla “Millennium” series: Godzilla vs. Megaguirus / Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack / Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla / Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. / Godzilla: Final Wars
A diaper full of scarabs to the bastard who created that mock-up, because as one of the only 7 living Jet Jaguar fans on the face of this Earth (as opposed to the alternate Earth I want to live on where all of humanity ARE Jet Jaguars), I’m crushed with the hopelessness of knowing this is not a dimension where the events of this poster will ever come to pass. Speaking of heart eclipsing disappointments (with all due respect to Bonnie Tyler…however little that may be), here’s my review for Godzilla 2000!
Okay, let’s blow up the irradiated elephant monster in the room first. Technically the original Japanese version of this flick, Godzilla Millenium, was released at the asshole end of 1999. Normally this would disqualify it from being reviewed on this site, since my edict stands that only movies from the current millennium are subject to my publicly published punditry. BUT, and there’s a BIG but here (as I like big buts and I cannot lie), the version of the movie I’m dragging onto Maat’s scales is the American dub. This version wasn’t released into theaters until the dog days of the 2000 blockbuster season (where all “big budget movies bound to fail” get their last rites), so you can make the case (which I am) that Godzilla 2000 counts as a current millennium movie. Most of the people who do read this couldn’t care less, but even if you do find yourself disagreeing with me, too bad. It’s my site, shit pants! Now, let’s get down to fucking this chicken!
Toho’s ”Millennium Series” of G movies ran with the incredibly interesting premise of “every story takes place in its own alternate dimension that branches off of the events from the original Godzilla ’54”… with the exception of Tokyo S.O.S., which was a direct sequel to Against Mechagodzilla. But, that’s a (very large and spiny) tail for another review…HOMONYMS! Anyway, this split time line starts us off almost 50 years after Godzilla was seemingly disintegrated by the Oxygen Destroyer bomb, and makes no explanation of why said destruction of his oxygen didn’t quite take so permanently as they’d hoped. Whatever the poorly unillustrated case, the important thing is that Godzilla’s here, he’s queer, now get used to it. He shows up in Tokyo every so often, presumably drawn by the serious output of energy given off by their power plants. Who’s making this presumption? Father-daughter science nerds Yuji (Takehiro Murata) and Io Shinoda (Mayu Suzuki). The Shinodas are a lovable duo, with Poppa Yuji being the soft spoken single dad doin’ the best he can, and Io being the smart-ass little miss takin’ care of business. They’re the heads of the Godzilla Prediction Network – a small group of independent science types whose aim is to study Big G in the name of science, and to hopefully forecast his visits ahead of time so everybody in Japan can lock their doors, turn off all their lights, and just pretend not to be home. Yes, a force of nature given form that causes untold levels of destruction every time he feels like going for a stroll, and these lovable refugees from a rejected sitcom pilot are responsible for trying to map out his next walkabout. Only in Japan, people.
Tagging along with the Shinodas is Yuki “Itchy Nose” Ichinose (Naomi Nishida), a newspaper photographer looking to get some glamour shots of Godzilla to help elevate herself out of the fashion beat and into the hard nose world of real Japanese news, like sex robots and teenage suicide clubs. She might try getting pictures of Spider-Man. I hear there’s a guy in New York who REALLY wants pictures of Spider-Man. Though she gets up close and personal with Godzilla in a way that only the leviathan’s dentist knows him, this Asian O’Neil (which makes no sense because she’s a photog, not a reporter nor a porn star) is shit outta luck, cuz the living radioactive fallout’s nuclear b.o. ruins her film…and probably will result in her giving birth to mutant Mothra larvae within a week. Or just kill her with some form of agonizing intestinal super cancer. Science fictional horror or science factual horror, either way Miss Ichinose is probably going to spend the final weeks of her life in relentless agony while her body rots inside and out as a result.
Just call me Eclipso, kids, because I bring the darkness.
On the flip side of our tale is the government sponsored Crisis Control Intelligence, headed by Yuji’s (not to be confused with Yuki, so try to keep ’em straight) former friend and science collaborator Mitsuo Katagiri (Hiroshi Abe). Given that Godzilla is to Japan as bears are to Stephen Colbert, He’s always atop Tokyo’s Threatdown. As crisis-in-need-of-control number-o one-o, He’s also Mitsuo’s given nemesis, so Mr. Katagiri’s always trying to find a way to kill Godzilla once and for all, not unlike Wile E. Coyote trying to murder the Road Runner. Speaking of, K Fed’s latest shipment from Acme is a series of “full metal missiles” whose penetration factor rates at Wilt Chamberlain levels and come with the money back guarantee that they’ll “go through Godzilla like CRAP through a goose!”. A fantastic quote from U.S general Georgie Patton that makes the English dub all worthwhile! And I typed that without a drop of sarcasm…nor that. Seriously, I love that line.
Godzilla’s not the only item on CCI’s docket though. They’re also responsible for the discovery and recovery of an odd mass of rock found at the bottom of the Pacific. When they attempt to raise the mass, it stirs to life and surfaces under its own strength! Attempts at exploratory drilling through the mass prove fruitless and it just sits there floating like a living island. Though not half as cool Krakoa, the literal living island. 200 geek points to anyone who knows what the fuck I’m talking about without resorting to a searcher. There’s a John Wayne joke in there somewhere, but I don’t have time to look for it, because back to Godzilla! As for those goose crap armaments, Godzilla shows up again and gives the Japan Self Defense Force a chance to prove the Blue Oyster Cult right yet again about how “nature points out the folly of men”. Aside from a few blasted outer dermal layers, the missiles fail to get any deeper into the lizard king than “just the tip”, let alone go through him like the promise goose feces. If nothing else, at least the military has managed to provide Godzilla with something he can use to scrape off his callouses.
The huge rock (which turns out to be an ancient solar powered spaceship caked in 60 millions years of scabby growth) does some kind of long distance bio-scan of Godzilla, flies off to attack our cold blooded anti-hero, and tries to death ray his big ol’ lizard tits off! But, when Zills returns fire with his atomic halitosis beam (which is the only digital effect that actually looks REEEEEEEEEEEALLY good!), the revealed star cruiser beats a hasty retreat. Godzilla heads back to the depths of the Pacific to nurse his wounds, and Yuji discovers some shed skin cells left behind in the reptile’s massive footprints on the beach…of which there is no corresponding tail trail!? Sweet Isis, my nitpickery will be the death of me. Yuji forms an uneasy alliance with his antagonists in the CCI so he can utilize their vast scientific resources to research said cells. He isolates the phenomenal genetic factor that allows Godzilla to heal from traumatic injury, and dubs the radioactive mutation “Regenerator G1”. Yuji hopes to use G1 as the basis for a miracle drug that will cure all ailments of man, both those known and those as-yet-to-be-suffered. So, if Godzilla or the CCI doesn’t kill him first, you can bet that the pharmaceutical industry won’t let him live long enough to even test his proposed creation, let alone save the world with it.
Having shed its stone exterior (and revealing itself to look like what I can best describe as RoboCop’s codpiece), the mysterious ship nests itself upon the Tokyo Opera City Tower (which makes me miss the traditional kaiju magnet, Tokyo Tower) and hacks its way into local data networks to learn more about its new foe as well as the planet upon which they now intend to reside. You know, not unlike how Jeff Goldblum was able to hack into the aliens’ systems in Independence Day, thus providing further evidence that Bill Gates found an alien craft that crashed behind his family’s barn as a child and reverse engineered it to create Windows 1.0. Soaking up citywide input like Johnny 5 on a bender, the craft’s probably stealing the identities of everyone in Japan to sell to the denizens of Planet X, who plan to put Japan’s credit rating deeper down the crapper than Reptilicus’s career. This is why you don’t skimp on your anti-virus program, people!
Everyone becomes terrified that the ship’s theft of their data will somehow plunge their island nation into a world-ending scenario, resulting in the catastrophic deaths of every last man, woman, and child. I’d hate to see what madness would be wrought if they had to deal with the shit data plan my current phone service shafts me with. This apocalyptic reading of everybody’s browsing history (lot of perverts in the land of the rising sun) must be stopped, so CCI plan on blowing up the Tower to stop the downloading before the aliens can finish pirating every season of “Dragonball Z” including all of the side movies! Naturally, Yuki and the Shinodas end up neck deep in the lettuce and tomatoes of this shit sandwich as they remain in the tower to attempt reverse hacking the aliens’ data stream and figure out what it is the out-of-towners are specifically searching for. Speaking of, their creeping of Godzilla’s LinkedIn profile turns up Yuji’s G1 research, which in turn provides them with a way to create bodies that can adapt to Earth’s atmosphere and avoid any embarrassing War of the Worlds or Signs scenarios when they’re ready to make their bid for planetary conquest.
Despite learning that his former friend Yuji is still in the building when it comes time to detonate the place, Katagiri 5 (PUNS!) goes full blown bad guy and authorizes the demolition to go through as planned. The unfortunate thing about Kats is that he’s perfectly positioned to be in the unappealing position of the guy who has to make the hard choices, as the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few and it’s all up to him to make sure the many persevere by whatever means necessary. Even this moment, where he chooses to sacrifice his friend-turned-rival, can easily be handled with a regretful-but-necessary tone. Instead, at least for the American dub, Special K is sold to us as a complete dick from the outset, complete with garish super-villain laugh! For a movie that’s supposed to make people take rubber behemoths stomping model cities seriously, presenting Katagiri as a borderline Dick Dastardly probably wasn’t the best idea, Toho. Blart.
The good guys make it out of the devastation relatively unscathed, as you probably imagined they would. They actually end up joining Katagiri (no hard feeling for trying to kill us, I guess) and the rest of the CCI big wigs atop a nearby building so as to watch the rest of the movie play out. Speaking of, Godzilla shows up for their rematch and the aliens, needing that sweet sweet Regenerator juice, body check Big G with some kind of force blast (okay, the only other good looking digital effect besides Godzilla’s fire) and drop a skyscraper on him! Using what little DNA they were able to scrap from He Who Is Both Large and In Charge, the aliens take form outside of their ship in the form of the massive monster Millennian, which is yet another piece of evidence for the prosecution against computer visual effects. Millennian looks like the bastard offspring of one of those classic gray skin big head “X-Files” alien types after a gene-splice mambo menage-a-trois with a giant squid and one of those forgotten Toho mushroom monsters from Matango. Fortunately, Earth’s polluted atmosphere mutates this form further and by the time it’s taken its final form (the Japanese love their transforming characters), we’re looking at the monstrous Orga, who more resembles a deformed, inside-out crocodile as drawn by H.R. Giger, that was caked in a mixture of Fluff and primer, then thrown into an atomic microwave to bake for a few hours.
Attempting to steal Godzilla’s genetic material (I guess asking him to jerk off into a paper cup would be too awkward) so he can both become a complete clone of Big Poppa G and get the old man out of the way of their plans to takeover the Earth at the same time, Orga throws down his big ham-fisty gauntlet. Despite the high quality of the costumes, the duo’s tussle about the cityscape really isn’t one for the G-Man’s highlight reel. Though Godzilla throws a few impressive tail attacks, his face is emotionless as his mouth flaps unconvincingly and his eyes stare blankly forward. Orga as a whole is a bit unwieldy, so the combat involved a lot of lumbering and isn’t exactly the most visually dynamic. Big O (neither the robot nor the orgasm, so don’t get excited) gets bossed pretty hard by the Zillster, until he drops his jaw like an anaconda and tries to full on devour the king of monsters. Before he can finish absorbing Godzilla though, G just sticks his head inside Orga’s huge flappy vagina maw and fills him full of hellfire vomit, blowing him into chunks. Again, not the greatest return match for a guy who’s last on-screen title bout was his classic against Destoroyah. All the more disappointing since director Takao Okawara is the very same man who brought us that very same clash of titans so very un-samely.
Having triumphed over the invaders, Gorilla Whale (what “God-zilla” translates into in Japanese) for no feasible reason, makes his way over to the cast, still in their spot atop the cheap seats building. While everyone else backs off in utter terror at getting the cockroach treatment, Katagiri stands tall in the face of his nemesis, shouts “GODZILLAAAAAAAAA!” in defiance while Yuji shouts “KATAGIRIIIIIIIIIIII!” (and all I can picture is the “KANADAAAAAA!” “TETSUOOOOO!” scene from Akira), then Kat ends his tale with a 60 story swan dive when the raging reptile casually swats at the rooftop like he couldn’t give two shits. Pro tip: don’t yell at giant monsters. They can make your entire time on this Earth a complete waste with less effort than it takes to scratch their ass. You are less than a dingle berry to them. Our movie ends with Io asking why Godzilla continues to protect humanity (what?!), to which her father ponders, “Maybe because Godzilla is inside of every one of us.” WHAT…THE…FUCK. He’s spent the whole movie telling us his theory that Godzilla was being drawn to the huge throbbing bug zapper-like power output that keeps Tokyo running, but now he says “Fuck it!” and, just like Springfield, GODZILLA IS A PART OF US ALL! A PART OF US ALL! A PART OF US ALL! The two most scientifically grounded members of the ensemble, and they both just turn into the morons who write whimsical morals for kids’ fairy tales for the last 2 minutes of the movie!? Godzilla was not there to save humanity because we’re his beloved children! He was there to prove to the aliens that he had a bigger dick! He beat them down with his dick, he told the humans not to fuck with him or they’d get the same, then he pissed off! Jeezus on a water slide! Is the oxygen they breathe in this alternate dimension heavily saturated with THC!? Oh, wait, I know what’s going on – all of their exposure to Godzilla’s fallout has given them brain tumors and said tumors have grown so large that the logic parts of their brains have been crushed by the weight. I’m a doctor, and this is the only plausible answer. End of story.
Okay, let’s get to the nitty gritty of this shitty ditty. Where do I start? Well, let’s start with the start. Makes sense, right? The movie wastes no time in showing off our titular terror, which bucks the usual Toho blueprint of making the audience earn their pure chewing kaiju satisfaction. Sad to say, this actually leads to a bit of a Godzilla overdose. And not a ketamine k-hole overdose, where you slip into a pleasure coma from which you couldn’t care less whether you re-emerge or not. No, with the horrible green screen, poor light/color correction, and generally miserable computer generated monster effects on display here, it’s more like an overdose on laxatives – cuz there’s SHIT EVERYWHERE! The whole shebang looks like it had about as much budget as an episode of “Bibleman”…wait…is that Willie Aames in the Godzilla suit?! Seriously though, this is the ugliest Godzilla movie I’ve ever seen. I’ll take traditional suitmation with costumes that are coming apart at the seams from overuse being shot at by little wind up toys with fireworks attached to them over these piss poor digital effects. It’s possible it’s all one big elbow to the ribs poking fun at ‘Merica Godzilla being 100% binary, but if Toho really was being that petty to the extent of shitting in their own cereal bowl, that aforementioned elbow is being thrown by friggin’ Ryu Hoshi of Street Fighter fame, and the ribs belong to Karen Carpenter of “skeleton with skin stretched over it” infamy.
I’m not exaggerating when I say this folks: the green screen effects in this movie look like they were done by the remedial class of the visual effects program at a community college. They’re so reprehensibly bad that they drag you kicking and screaming from the movie’s illusion like former senator Larry Craig being dragged from a Shakespeare In the Park men’s room production of Gay Boys in Bondage. I’ve seen better effects work in small town used car lot commercials! Godzilla changes colors between shots because somebody chose to take a nap rather than get the color correction actually correct. There’s a brief scene of Godzilla swimming underwater that looks like a cinematic lifted from a PlayStation 2 game. When people drive away from Godzilla, rather than shrinking into the horizon with the rest of the background, G Money maintains his screen stature, giving the confusing illusion that he’s actually GROWING IN SIZE AT AN ALARMING RATE FOR NO REASON! As salt into our already wounded eyes, tanks, choppers, and ships are pasted over footage of real life landscapes, and in the case of the ships, they sit complacent while the waters over which they’re super-imposed are churned violently. The opposite holds true for Godzilla, whose massive form has NO displacement effect on the waters through which he stomps, even when he’s being bombarded with high-impact explosives! If Archimedes filled his bathtub with this kind of magical Japanese movie water, we wouldn’t have the principle of buoyancy and high school science teachers wouldn’t have that infamous “Eureka!” story of one of history’s smartest individuals running naked through the streets shouting what boils down to “I HAVE FOUND IT!”. Because old man penis is the only way to get kids to pay attention in school.
The good news is that once Orga’s taken his final, rubber-suited form, Toho mitigates and amends their shame a bit, as it becomes all about what brought the franchise to the dance: live-action monster brawling!…with the exception of a miniscule interruption by Orga’s big dumb flying cyborg maxi-pad so Godzilla can finally blow it into fragments and give fans a moderately soothing salve for their PTSSD – Post Traumatic Shitty Spaceship Disorder. The fight itself isn’t anything to sing the praises of, but the suits and model city are glorious to behold. Moreso in the wake of all of the garbage water we were having hosed into our oculars up until then.
The writing and acting are fine. They play it straight for the most part, which is either a relief or a disappointment depending on what you expect from a Godzilla movie. There are a couple of slapstick scenes that feel REALLY out of place in a flick where the light-hearted comedy bits are best left to dialogue only. The funny part is that most fanboys decry the American dub for adding in these comedy lines (all approved by Toho, mind you) for what they swear is a serious movie (a serious movie about kaiju cosplay), but the goofy slapstick stuff that I thought were the real pimples on the production are all Toho’s fault! Speaking of oozing blemishes, generally I wish nothing but violent slow motion deaths for child characters. As such, I was very surprised and very relieved that Io didn’t rile those homicidal tendencies up once the entire movie. She’s not precocious and she’s not naive. She’s smarter than most of the adults in the cast and she’s all serious business with the exception of busting Yuki’s balls on occasion. Given the history of annoyance brought on by kids in giant monster movies with their creepy little shorts and stupid little faces, Io is a breath of fresh air in a genre polluted by Kenny farts. Don’t know who Kenny is? Got 100 or so minutes to spare? Then click this link and arm yourselves with knowledge, kids!
I had high hopes for G2K. After CGG, a return to Coke Classic was just what the irradiated physician prescribed. You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, right? This trailer promised monster smashing action and rang through my soul with the harmonious ear blistering of Rob Zombie’s “Superbeast”. Truly this Godzilla was the one that I wanted. Truly this Godzilla was my Superbeast. And then I went to the movie opening weekend with my compatriot in sub-par cinema and fellow alumni of the H.O.P.E.L.E.S.S. pantheon, Sosab Egroeg, and…I fell asleep. My first theatrical Toho outing since Godzilla 1985, and I was bored into unconsciousness. Given that it opened at number 11 on the box office charts, it looks like I wasn’t the only one. The complete lack of even a lick of Rob Zombie music, combined with those terrible effects that felt like punishment on high from a bitter God(zilla), killed my enthusiasm faster than Nancy Grace kills erections. I woke up half way through the big battle royal finale, regained a modicum of my geek stiffy, then had it shot straight into the floor with that closing exchange about Godzilla saving people (ARGH!) and being a part of all of us… and I swear, if Killer Ken Watanabe or Flyin’ Bryan Cranston say anything to either of those effects when I see the new movie tomorrow, I will make widows of the theater employees’ wives. Mark my words…unless you’re in law enforcement, in which case I’m just kidding and you can un-mark my words. Seriously though, (War)heads will roll!
Moral of the Story: “It woke up after 60 million years, and Godzilla destroyed it the very next day.” In other words, Godzilla 1, History 0.
“I told you to just buy a GPS at the store! But NOOOOO, ‘I can build one myself for WAY cheaper than $50’ you said! You’ve spent $2000 on this stupid thing, and it STILL doesn’t work! Then you bought this van just so you’d have room to fit the stupid thing in! I want a divorce!”
Being Godzilla’s dentist is a dangerous job, and it doesn’t pay anything, he just doesn’t crush your house or office during his rampages.
Sure, you think that going to a sex robot sales seminar with your boss will be good for a laugh, but once you’ve seen such things, they can never be unseen…
I hope that’s just a Baby Ruth… a really, really, REALLY big Baby Ruth. There isn’t a big enough pool net in the world to scoop that up!
Here is one of the 477 government data banks that Japan uses to store the nation’s pornography. This facility is dedicated solely to videos of girls dressed like animals putting live eels up their butts!
I know you guys are sick of Godzilla stomping on your stuff, but come on. You never shoot a dude in the junk, giant irradiated lizard or not. It’s the first fucking tenant of the man code!
If erection lasts more than 4 hours, call a doctor. If erection becomes a 200 foot tall pillar of solid stone… shit, you’re on your own.
And Godzilla replied, “My precious, precious child. I love you, and I would never, never leave you during your times of trial and suffering. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I had stepped on you.”
“Hey mamacita! I was gonna ask you for directions to where all the hot ladies hang out, but it looks like I’m already here!… How much for ass to mouth?”
“Here you go, all Tomb Raider games, all with built in nude mode. Just enter ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A at the title screen to activate it. $200.”
“I know the general said it would go through Godzilla like crap through a goose, but I didn’t expect actual crap… fuck it, I’m not cleaning that up!”
I see the new athletic cup Ultraman ordered finally came in! Those giant outer space monsters tend to fight dirty.
“Yum”? Someone should probably tell Japan that Apple computers aren’t actually made of apples. I guess that explains why denture orders went up 3000% that year.
“Hmmmm, ‘Action Bastard‘ comes on when Gamera’s big arm is pointing at the 6 and his little arm is pointing at the 8, so… I gotta get home!”
Toho uses the movie to debut their newest kids’ educational TV show host, Rapey the Happy Hentai Monster!
Big G looks like he just stepped in a big pile of Hedorah and needs a McDonald’s to wipe his foot on.
I know every grown man in Japan is a creepy voyeur, but come on guys. These two are just young and in love, and they deserve a little privacy.
It still amazes me that this disclaimer needs to be added in on movies like this. But then, I could totally see one of those monster hunting TV show idiots trying to sue Toho for making characters so obviously based on their own life’s work.
Anubis will return next time in
“Alma Mind Over Alma Mater”