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”
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: Zhang “The Guillotines” Wen , Qi “The Transporter” Shu , Bo “The Story of David” Huang
Directors: Stephen “Kung-Fu Hustle” Chow & Chin-kin “Full Strike” Kwok
Writers: Stephen “Kung-Fu Hustle” Chow , Chin-kin “Full Strike” Kwok , Xin “Kung-Fu Hustle” Huo , Yun “Darkness Bride” Wang , Chi Keung “Shaolin Soccer” Fung , Ivy “The Lion Roars” Kong , Zhengyu Lu & Shing-Cheung Lee
Also Known As: Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons
Happy New Year! Unless you’re a native of the country today’s movie calls home, in which case you should come back and read this again on our after February 8th when the Year of the Fire Monkey (appropriate for this flick) gets underway. But for the rest of youse mugs, welcome to 2016! It’ll probably suck like every year before and after it, but why not give it the benefit of the doubt, eh? As the banner above states, the World Tour de Farce has taken some ExtenZe. Despite some roadblocks in last year’s stretch of globetrotting, I’m determined to see it through to the end! If you’re getting sick of movies full of Asian people (you racist!), then you might wanna come back sometime around March. For the rest of you, return your tray tables to the upright position, buckle your belts, and join me on this journey…TO THE WEST!
…By which I mean we’re going East. Don’t over think it.
China! Considered the longest running civilization on Earth (dating back to 6000 BC), China led (not to be confused with Chinese lead, which they paint exported children’s toys with) the world in arts and science for centuries until political and civil unrest gave their overall progress a case of the stutters, killing millions of people. The crown jewel of the remaining Communist nations is home to the world’s largest populace (1,373,000,000+ or 1/5 of the planet’s occupants!), the world’s longest continually used written language, as well as home to the planet condemning toxic industrial pollution cloud that will surely one day spawn Hexxus, setting into motion the next global extinction event.
If you’re a big fan of firearms and the 4th of July, think twice about disparaging the Middle Kingdom, because they invented fireworks and gunpowder. I guess that means we can blame them for all of the US’s mass shootings too? For fuck’s sake, even our domestic terrorism has been outsourced! The next time you wanna take a shit on China, also remember to thank them mid squat since they made it possible for you to wipe your crack with something other than your hand after. Yep, they gave us toilet paper too. They’re also responsible for compasses, printing, and paper, all of which are obsolete so who cares. China invented kites, originally made to scare off invaders who thought the flying paper constructs were dragons and demons. When it came to fending off legit evil spirits (and natural disasters) though, Chinese royalty used to keep Pandas around. Oh, and a number of historians like to credit/blame the Chinese for inventing soccer/futbol. Other popular inventions to come from the nation’s history include chopsticks (duh), iced cream, noodles, earthquake detection methods (for when the Pandas didn’t cut the hot mustard), mechanical clocks, methods of drilling for and harnessing natural gas, the decimal system, the crossbow (for you Daryl Dixon fans), martial arts (you’re welcome, Chuck Norris), silk, tea, and mapping of the circulatory system (“Cut, cut, cut, blood, spurt, artery, murder, Hitchcock, Psycho!”) among a few thousand other things!
The country officially became The People’s Republic of China on October 1st (they share a birthday with The Tomb!) 1949 under the stranglehold of leader Mao Zedong, who kept his grip on the citizens firm and chokey until his death in 1979. A whopping 22% of their export trade washes up on US shores, as can be seen in every day of American life with all of the stuff that has “Made in China” stamped on it. Nothing says “CAPITALISM!” like buying all of our cheap shit products from slave labor Communist manufacturing conglomerates!
Vascular disease and cancer are their leading killers (like pretty much everywhere else), though their infamous one-child law (recently changed to a two-child law) will take the biggest toll on their population depletion in the long run, as so many of their female babies were infanticised or put up for adoption to couples from other nations. This has left a fatal shortage of ladies to birth further generations, but has been a blessing for people around the world who put “diagnosed with Yellow Fever” on their Adult Friend Finder profiles. I admire their singular spawn stance, but feel it doesn’t go far enough. My burgeoning city-state will have mandatory sterilization or, as it’ll be called in government documents, the “All Children Left Behind” Act.
Cricket fights (the insects, not the sport) are a popular pastime (a new hobby for Michael Vick to consider) but stamp collecting is their most well liked way to waste time when they’re not making iPhones for a nickel an hour. Also, during the ’40s, Shanghai was the ONLY port in the entire world that accepted Jewish refugees without requiring an entry visa! This explains the ancient blood oath that sees Jews traditionally patronizing Chinese restaurants on Christmas. Oh, speaking of, the MSG engorged flavor orgies we stuff our faces with at the buffet? You know that stuff’s not actually Chinese in origin, right? Not even the fortune cookies. Those were invented in San Francisco.
Lastly, the highest grossing Chinese language film ever? That would be today’s movie!
Journey to the West isn’t so much based on the Chinese tale of the same name, as it is a prequel. Written 500 or so years ago (give or take), Journey to the West is considered one of “The Four Great Masterpieces” of the People’s Republic’s storied literary history. The other 3 are Water Margin, Dream of the Red Chamber, and Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Not to be confused with the four greatest literary masterpieces of the USA, which are The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Moby Dick, The Godfather, and the novelization of Adventures In Dinosaur City. Not just popular in it’s fatherland, Journey has been a HEAVY influence on a lot of different Asian productions, especially in the last 50 years. Hell, just type in “Journey to the West” on IMDB and you’ll get a good idea of how much influence it has! These include the original “Dragonball” series from Japan and the critically acclaimed (and commercially flaccid) video game Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, which I played about half of before being distracted by something with zombies in it.
Much like Hollywood, China’s movie industry is apparently guilty of the always irritating “they made a movie based on this, so we need to a movie based on it too!” mentality, as one year after Journey to the West, another such influenced flick (starring Donnie Yen and Chow Yun Fat) made its way to the light of the silver screen, called The Monkey King. Where that movie (series) is more about filling in the backstory of the eponymous primate, Journey‘s focus (aside from trying to convince us to “don’t stop believing”) is on the original story’s Buddhist monk protagonist, Tang Sanzang…under the name Xuan Zang?
Yep. Due to various translations across different languages, “Tang Sanzang” has a few dozen different acceptable aliases. I’m not a fucking etymologist, so if you wanna know more (and you generally trust Wikipedia), you can read aboot it >>>here<<< Or just do what I do in these situations: don’t ask questions, go along with it, and hope you’re not being kidnapped for a ransom no one is willing to pay. And that’s the story of why Uncle Anubis isn’t invited to make hand turkey drawings at Thanksgiving anymore. It makes everybody sad. I have to wear gloves so children don’t stare at me in public…
Xuan Zang (Zhang Wen) is a Buddhist monk and aspiring demon hunter. Not in the game for the glory, the money, the pussy, or the dehydrated fish, Xuan simply wants to help people by exorcising the forces of darkness from their lives. While other such hunters rely on an array of mystical artifacts and religious tools of the trade, Xuan’s weapon of choice is… *pause for dramatic effect* …a book of nursery rhymes. *pause for slide whistle “goodbye boner” sound effect*
Yes, Xuan is so faithful to the teachings of his Buddhist Master (Sihan Cheng) that he values the existence of even these dangerous, man-eating horror shows as being sacred. #DemonLivesMatter Demons in this context aren’t the same as their Western cousins. Rather than being twisted hellbeasts from conception, the Eastern demons are humans, brought back from the dead and transformed into monstrous animals by their lust for vengeance against the dickholes who wronged them in life. In keeping with that, Xuan opts to appeal to their inner purity (we’re all born innocent, after all) via capturing them and singing them lullabies to reignite the light hidden in their darkness. The spiritual equivalent of trying to find a peanut M&M in a bathtub full of black licorice jellybeans.
Gimme a second to tamp down the chunder geyser summoned by my amalgamating the words “black” and “licorice”. Uggh. Shit’s nastier than fish liver lollipops.
The problem with singing to demons to make them stop eating children and cutting people in half is that it generally doesn’t get the job done, so Xuan’s not the most successful demon hunter in the land. In fact, he’s the least successful. He’s openly mocked by his peers (and not just because he dresses like a filthy beggar with Ablutophobia), assaulted by ignorant mobs of civilians who really overreact when someone disagrees with them, and questions whether he’s a worthy disciple to his Master, who continually reassures Xuan that he is a great demon hunter. He’s just lacking that archetypal “je ne sais quoi” that most heroes pick up around the mid-to-end of their origin story. He needs his (speaking of French stuff) Voltaire quote as recited to him by a father figure named after a food mascot before said father figure’s tragic death as a result of the hero’s selfish negligence. Or, maybe he’ll luck out and a giant fruit bat will just fly into his face one dark and stormy night, after which he’ll don a cape & cowl and fight the monsters with little metal versions of his corporate logo and incoherent growling.
It’s on one on Xuan’s failed missions that our hero meets the far more accomplished hunter Duan (Qi Shu). Even though she laughs when he tells her about his Mother Goose methods of exorcism, she turns from sarcastic rival to romantic interest almost instantly, admiring the monk’s suicidal levels of bravery to battle beastly bad guys with just his brains, his beliefs, and his berceuses. You’d think she was Pepé Le Pew on Viagra and he was a 3-legged black cat with a streak of white paint down his back the way she Swimfans our man! She will have his babies by hook or crook (or crooked hooker?). Duan’s so infatuated with getting Xuan’s dick wet, she even follows him to the (Wild Wild) West when Master sends him to seek demon combat experience from a legendary figure known as Sun Wukong – the Monkey King (Bo Huang). As per my spoiler avoision vows (and given that this is one of the few movies on the Tour that you can currently stream on NetFlix), I will leave it up to you whether you choose to delve further into the tale or not.
Though I had a fun time watching Journey to the West, it made me realize that Stephen Chow is basically the Guy Ritchie of Chinese cinema – his movies are good, but are so similar in structure that you’d swear one or two of them were just Chinese knock-offs… or whatever the equal to a Chinese knock-off of an originally Chinese made product would be. Did you see Kung-Fu Hustle or Shaolin Soccer? Yes? Then you’ve already seen Journey to the West. A hapless, shabby hero with a good heart gets himself in over his head with deadly forces that will surely kill him in the final act if he doesn’t discover the inner strength needed to overcome his own self-imposed limitations. There’s an awkward romance, super powered martial arts weirdos (with at least one of them being an elderly person) who can explode buildings with a punch, peace & love vanquishing evil, slapstick combat with cartoony violence that leads to characters’ features being stretched like rubber (and making squeaky chew toy sounds in this case), and thinly-veiled morality stuff about not letting your ego defeat you, listening to your heart, helping people being its own reward, the best offense being a good defense, the only certainties are death & taxes, no glove no love, you can’t win friends with salad, and all that other Aesop shit meant to brainwash kids into towing the company line. Stupid kids. So easy to brainwash. I hate you so.
I’m not saying any of this is bad. There’s a comfort in predictability. Chow’s movies are always good for some dumb, well-choreographed fun and the characters are always interesting and comical in their own ways. Xuan makes for a perfectly fine Rudy Ruettiger “loveable failure” hero, Duan is an endearingly awkward tomboy-in-love, Master is a jolly and supportive father figure, Sun is a wily little old con artist, and all of the ancillary hunter characters are fun for their own reasons too. The actors all put on fine performances, despite my having no fucking clue what they were saying. Their mannerisms and body languages carried it. Especially Chrissie Chow, whose overwhelming sex appeal as Si demands that her more sultry scenes be cut into a “spank edit”. Sure, there aren’t a lot of said scenes, but just cut her dancing and grinding into a looping 3 minute clip and I’ve got what I need! *wink*wink*wank*wank*
On the scarred side of this double-headed quarter, Chow’s pacing continues to be a little bumpy. It takes a smoke break near the middle of the movie that elicited a few yawns from me and made the final act feel a little rushed for time. Then again, given the “epic but simultaneously anti-epic” fashion in which the final showdown plays out, it may have ended all the same even if given five more minutes. His special effects budgets never quite catch up with his imagination either. The demons here aren’t perfect, but at least they’re not born of the bottom of the computer generated monster barrel where the SyFy Originals skulk. I’d like to see someone with some pull here in the States give Chow a big fat Hollywood budget like Disney did when they put James Gunn in the captain’s seat for Guardians of the Galaxy. I think we’d get something equally full of heart and wowwy-zowwy sauce.
Chow started filming the follow-up for Journey (someday love will find you) last August, touting a cast listing that may include Chow himself, but has apparently not confirmed any of the first movie’s players making a return. This is older info, so fuck knows how things have progressed since, fuck nose. I look forward to seeing said sequel when it’s settled, whatever the case. Partially because I look forward to another Stephen Chow feature, and partially out of curiosity because I want to see if he changes up his formula yet or just goes continues riding in the same limo that brought him to the dance.
Here’s a bit of trivia for you before we part ways down the crossroads of our days. This isn’t Stephen Chow’s first interaction with an adaptation-of-sorts for Journey to the West. In 1995, he starred in a two-part feature called A Chinese Odyssey, where he played the fabled Monkey King himself, as well as a reincarnated version named Joker! The performance nabbed him a Best Actor award from the Hong Kong Film Critics Society, which has to carry at least some prestige with it, right? I mean, anyone who refers to themselves as a “society” has to be a respectable association, correct?
That’s all for this week! Hope everybody’s 2016 is exponentially better than their 2015 (even if you had a good 2015, because things could always be better) and that the “MST3K” reboot is as awesome as we’re all praying to Prince of Space that it will be. The World Tour continues with our next episode, same Tomb time, same Tomb channel!… provided I don’t get too wrapped up blitzkrieging the teeming zombie masses in Dead Rising 3 or getting embarrassed by 10 year old aspiring Planeswalkers in Magic Origins (Xbox Live tag: TombOfAnubis). Until then, make peace with your gods, you smelly dogs!
“I can’t wait till mom finds out I replaced all of her birth control pills with Tic-Tacs! I’ll have a little brother one way or another!”
Either somebody just got Jaws’ed or someone went swimming without checking her menstrual tracker app first.
“And Saint Atila raised the hand grenade up on high saying, ‘Oh, Lord, bless this thy hand grenade that with it thou mayest blow thy enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy.’”
Gah! He’s Dopey from the Seven Dwarfs as one of those “cartoon character drawn hyper-realistically” pictures brought to life!
So Chinese guys can grow hair on their heads and their faces, but not a single follicle on their chests? They look like big man-babies. Creepy.
[Peter Griffin voice:] “It’s Jackie Chan!”
Big Edna just found out the cake is a lie… she’s not happy.
[Mr. Burns voice:] “Mattingly! I thought I told you to trim those sideburns! Thats it, you’re off the team, for good!”
How every patient sees a Proctologist when the probing gloves comes on…
Look out, guys! It’s the vengeful spirit of women whose serious boyfriends won’t propose to them! Run!
Are anybody else’s pants shrinking/getting wet, or is it just mine?
“My parents told me the angry pig god would hunt me down if I ate an entire package of bacon by myself! Why didn’t I listen?!”
It’s not the size that counts, it’s how you use it!
…Then again, I guess size does play some importance.
“I told you, I’m not a ghost, I just a vegan. And even if I were a ghost, I couldn’t grant you any wishes! That’s a genie!”
“You can watch me deep throat this whole banana for a dollar! For a fiver, I’ll deep throat something else…”
“Thank you mister crackhead, but I don’t have any money to pay you for this. It also smells. REALLY bad.”
A rare picture of Corey Haim in his final days. Hugs not drugs, kids.
Anubis will return next time in
“Heads on Pianos: Return of the Black Gift”
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: Megan “Jennifer’s Body” Fox , William “’Prison Break‘” Fitchner , Will “The Brothers Solomon” Forte
Director: Jonathan “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: the Beginning” Liebesman
Writers: Josh “Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol” Applebaum , Andre “Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol” Nemec , Evan “Snow White and the Huntsman” Daugherty
Once again it’s that time to give thanks, at least here in the US of A (not to be confused with the US of ‘Eh’ – Canada), as we Tetris our guts so full of food that they make Cambodian mass graves look roomy! It also means it’s time again for the ToA to carry on the classic “MST3K” Turkey Day tradition… though the whole concept’s kinda been made redundant since Joel Hodgson’s resurrected the actual Turkey Day marathonal celebration thing online, coincidentally enough on the SAME year I started my homage… thanks, Joel… lovable, fan appreciating, son of a Mad! Last year’s Thankskilling took the “Turkey” theme literally, but this year I’m taking the Day back to its intended “shitty movie” definition. You know what shares its first three letters with “turkey”? Turtles. You know what else starts with t-u-r? Turd. It’s kismet.
Last year I was walking to the chainsaw store and noticed a bird fly out of a tree. I was directly beneath the feathered fucker’s flight path, and had the nigh-psychic inclination of “I think this bird’s going to shit on me”. Sure enough, a discharge of sphincter napalm caught the light of the waning sun as I watched. Rather than step aside, I remained in that spot and watched that rectal blockbuster for the full extent of its descent until it finally ended up on my “I (CHUD face) NY” shirt. The moral of this story? I’m not the type of guy who steps aside when the Crap Express comes barreling towards me. I knew Michael Bay’s latest molestation of ’80s pop culture would knock on my door sooner or later. Rather than turn off the lights and pretend I wasn’t home, I downed a double shot of Rot Gut, snorted a scoop of Country Time Lemonade, and opened that door with my eyes open, my ears back, and my fists clenched. Now, the hunter becomes the hunted. Make peace with your gods and give thanks for the ass-kicking thou art about to receive! Booker T, take it!
Ape Tomb Law, not only am I not allowed to spoil major story moments, but I’m also required to watch every movie I review at least twice. I had to watch the RiffTrax version to stomach said second sit-through without resorting to smashing my hands with a hammer so I’d have an excuse not to type this. Also, on a final pre-show note, I have a very rare form of Tourette’s that only activates when I’m subjected to conservative republicans or any movie associated with Michael Bay. So, you know, be ready for me to degenerate into random bouts of bad word Pu Pu Platter the likes of which would give everyone around the dinner table a Turkey Day coronary.
The big controversies leading up to the release of this Steamin’ Mimi had TMNT fans (like myself) in an uproar. For appetizers, it’s a product of Michael Bay’s diseased digestive system, Platinum Dunes. For soup/salad, they cast Megan “all the range of a wax statue” Fox as April O’Neil. For the entree, the cold-blooded brothers are ‘roided up goliaths whose gargantuan frames aren’t exactly well suited for the stealthiness of Ninjutsu. And for dessert? Bay made the mistake of saying something to the tune of the titular terrapins being aliens now instead of mutants, which immediately turned into a terminal case of butthurt for nearly the entire pre-installed fanbase that these shit twizzling fuck blanket dick tits probably should’ve been at least trying to appeal to!
After the fallout from his comments though, BMMB (Bowel Movement Michael Bay) backtracked to clarify that he never said the half-shelled heroes would be aliens, just that their origins would be alien in nature, meaning they were either going to be the product of alien experimentation (like Marvel’s Eternals) or the method of their mutation was going to be extraterrestrial (i.e. mutagen is E.T. Jizz). Bay’s misremembrance of history’s not entirely true though, as one of the early drafts of the script reportedly did have the turtles as aliens who escape from a Dimension X prison, but was changed following the shitstorm backlash when fans got wind of it. The same thing happened when the movie’s title was originally announced as just “Ninja Turtles”, but was changed to include the entire moniker when, again, fans drowned the production in geek rage. You can tell by the lazy way “Teenage Mutant” is squeezed in above “NINJA TURTLES” in the title logo that someone was being passive-aggressive about acquiescing.
The aliens fuck up was enough that plenty of people to this day still believe that the turtles ended up being HGH fed Spaced Invaders and thus refuse to sit through this movie. Lucky them. As much as I loathe this worst kind of schlock, I make it a note to point out the truth to these misinformed people when I can. If this crapscapade flick’s going to be shit on and/or avoided, it shouldn’t be due to misconceptions, but because of how legitimately terrible it is. I’m a vindictive asshole of a human being, but a fair and balanced jackal-headed God of Death.
The movie opens with an extreme Fruit Ninja montage, as various items ranging from fruits to cinder blocks to VHS tapes are smashed and slashed out of the air by four very familiar ninja weapons. Who’s swinging them isn’t made bluntly apparent (though you might wanna check yourself against the DSM-4 and make sure you haven’t crossed over the Retard Town city limits), but said destruction of otherwise innocent inanimate objects is narrated by Tony Shalhoub, who most will remember of “Monk” fame, but whom I prefer to remember from “Wings”. Fuck you, I liked “Wings”. At least until Michael Bay remade it as Pearl Harbor. You didn’t know? Would I lie to you? Probably. Doesn’t make my statement any less true though.
Anyway, we’ll get back to Shalhoub-job later. Our story begins with April O’Neil (Megan “Not nearly as smart as a” Fox). She’s a news reporter for New York City’s Channel 6 (apparently the only channel in NYC without a broadcast affiliate or call letters) who laments that her 4 years in journalism college resulted in her covering morning news bullshit stories like how to do old person jumping jacks on a trampoline (don’t get excited, kids, this isn’t “The Man Show”) as taught by a guy who says that there’s no such thing as fat birds. Look up “fat birds” in the search engine of your choice and you’ll see this man clearly enjoys shoving his head up his own ass like some freakish M.C. Escher ostrich.
All she’s given are fluff pieces. Fluffy on the kind of level where you’d have to put a Himilayan-Persian in an industrial sized dryer for an hour to get something of similar fluffiness… though actually doing that would result in something far gruesomer, but you get the intended idea. Since her boss Bernadette (Whoopi “cushion” Goldberg) won’t give her a chance to prove herself as a hard boiled investigative reporter, April goes in search of trouble herself, determined to get to the bottom of the recent theft of some rare chemicals from a shipping dock at the piers. In doing so, she witnesses another burgling at the same pier by shadowy militant figures known as The Foot Clan, led by an Asian woman (Minae Noji). Their deeds of misappropriation are broken up this time by a shadowier figure who batters the baddies into retreat using the giant shipping containers (is this guy The Hulk?!) before Batmaning away into the night, leaving a Japanese kanji graffitoed onto one of the shipping containers. Miss O’Neil nabs a pic of the hero’s calling card as her solitary piece of proof, and is laughed out of the office when she goes into work the next day with the story.
If Whoopi ever gave me back sass for anything, I’d just return fire with “Sit down, Theodore Rex!” and watch her curl up into a ball on the floor. Little known fact – that’s one of her Manchurian Candidate trigger words. You don’t wanna know what she does when you say “Jumping Jack Flash”.
And the wind whispered “Boooyaaaaaaaaaaaaaah”.
Tagging along with April is her cameraman sidekick Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett), who tries to get the headstrong lass to be more like Eric Idle and always look on the bright side of life. He’s happy just following her around with his camera and awkwardly trying to flirt with her while she desperately struggles to convey emotion and interest as her job requires. For those familiar with the name, Vern Classic was a staple of the original animated series, but as a professional rival for the original be-jumpsuited April, always trying to sabotage her and steal her big stories for himself. Speaking of that banana suit, see the pic below for those ’90s TMNT fans who always wanted their animated dreams made flesh. Shwing! Anyway, I love Will Arnett like a wacky uncle (not the one who always wanted to “tickle” you as a kid…), but I think he would’ve been perfect as antagonist Vernon more so than the chummy optimist he is here. Ever seen Hot Rod? No? Watch it. That is the Will Arnett character I wanted to see as one Mr. Fenwick. Besides, it would’ve worked way better for the “older creep hitting on the younger woman” dynamic. Then again, making the older guy perv on Megan Fox was probably another one of Bay’s ideas. Art imitating life and all that.
(Porn actress April O’Neil cosplaying as her namesake!)
Pissed by the shadowed avenger’s intrusion into their scheme, the Feet are ordered by their master (a bald Japanese man whose face is covered in scars) to lay a trap for their antagonistic nightcrawler with innocent civilians as bait. Taking a group of hostages in a subway station (including April, whose nose butting inning may cost her this time… though I betcha it won’t), the heavily armed ninja commando squad hold everyone at gunpoint, line the walls with explosives, and call out to their foe, who Karai (the Asian lady ninja from before) knows is “out there”. First, how exactly does she know they’re “out there” playing audience to this random act of terrorism? Second, if “Heavily Armed Ninja Commando Squad” isn’t already the name of something related to G.I. Joe, I’d be very shocked. Cobra Shock Trooper shocked, even.
Naturally, before Kar-Bear can put a bullet through Miss O’Neil’s wooden face for taking pics with her cell phone, four hulking humanoid martial arts kappa (not nearly as catchy a name) swing in courtesy of a conveniently passing express train. These amphibian vigilantes (amphibilantes?) dismantle the trained assassins with so much ease that I’m at a loss for a word to describes something easier than “ease”. Then, just as quickly as they appeared, the midgetine Gameras escape through a similarly convenient construction tube thingy as the dozen or so eyewitnesses who eyewitnessed them try to figure out what the fuck they just saw, rather than running above ground to call 911. Not April though. She hoofs it up a fire escape to the roof of the building the yellow tube is connected to and finds the quartet of so-called ninjas LOUDLY SHOUTING about their accomplishment during a mutual back patting party. “Like shadows in the night” my hairy ebony ass.
They snag the she-peeper and try to intimidate her into forgetting about them, which is hard to do when one of them keeps saying creepy inter-species Jersey Shore scumbag stuff like “She’s so hot I can feel my shell tightening”. Holy shit eating fuck chunder cunt blister cock monkey whore cheese! I’m a skeez, and that shit made me gag! April faints (not a good thing to do around a guy who keeps talking about how much he wants to excavate your womb with his salmonella stick), then comes to with the four hovering over her like aliens prepping an abductee for a poop chute probing. They introduce themselves together as ninja mutant turtle teenagers (“who can still have adult conversations”… VOMIT! BARF! SPEW!), and individually as Leonardo (voiced by Johnny Knoxville… because when you think “I need a hero!”, the first person that comes to mind to provide their voice box is the lead of Jackass), Donatello (vb Jeremy Howard), Raphael (vb Alan Ritchson), and the group’s sexual predator, Michelangelo (vb Noel Fisher). They all have their traditional personalities – Leo is the responsible big brother, Raph is the rebellious a-hole with a chip on his shoulder, Donnie is the DIY tech savant, and Mikey, is it true that you’re the funny one? “Yes. Yes it is… Now somebody watch me while masturbate or I won’t be able to cum!”
Remember those racist stereotype Transformers that got Bay into a boiling cauldron of shit during one of the sequels? Turns out Michaelangelo was originally supposed to wear a big gold chain and be played up as a more “urban” (i.e. what white Hollywood calls the black inner city stereotype) character before outrage over said racial insensitivity forced yet another revamp of the script, giving the doofus back his traditional “Cowabunga, dudes!” gnarly surfer-dude persona. So, due to the outrage of the fans (and people who just don’t like racist schtick!), my spirit turtle went from hip-hop back to flip-flops. Bravo.
When April catches their monikers, it’s like someone finally turned the lights on in the vacant office that is her brain. From here, you’re better left to just turn the friggin’ thing off and walk away. Save yourself the needless loss of brain cells for something more fulfilling, like drinking paint thinner. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it! Without spoiling too much of the 3ft deep pool of turtle turds we’re led through, I’ll give you the “childproof safety cap” version. You’re welcome.
This version of the Turtles’ origin reads like so: the four reptiles and their furry Mr. Miyagi were all guinea pigs in a science lab seeking to utilize a green mutagenic liquid purported to have been from outer space. Titled “Project: Renaissance”, the shelled ones were named after noted artists of the Italian Renaissance period. The rat was named Splinter… for no fucking reason either. Probably because the script monkeys wrote themselves into a corner and figured “Fuck it. Nobody’s gonna care that his name makes no sense, so just go with it”. Prior to its destruction from a mysterious fire, the lab was run by a guy named Eric “nut” Sacks (William Fichtner). In the years since, Sacky has become the head of the self-titled Sacks Industries and a darling son of NYC, meaning he’s in good with the NYPD, the mayor, and probably hunts homeless illegal immigrants with Donald Trump at a private upstate lodge on alternate weekends. Given his high social status and engorged bank account, naturally he’s going to be the Lex Luthor of the movie. Or at least a four-color Gordon Gekko. There’s no spoiler in that, because if you didn’t already figure that part out then you’re either a 4 year-old or you’re a member of the GOP who’s too preoccupied with being sad that Sacks isn’t a real person whose member you could massage with your uvula in exchange for a new Super PAC.
Amidst the blaze, the quintet were saved from their tank and ended up in the sewers. There, the mutagen in their system caused them to gradually grow into their current humanoid bohemoth forms. Splinter knew that the misfit siblings would be ridiculed by society for their appearance (and their rancid sewage b.o. doesn’t help that), so he sought to teach them how to defend themselves physically, hopefully also instilling them with the emotional confidence to execute the “sticks and stones” defense. To this end, Splints discovered a martial arts training manual amid the refuse of their surroundings, and taught himself the ways of armed and unarmed combat before passing that knowledge and skill on to his “sons”… and making them wear masks just because.
It was the blind leading the blind, and all it took was a shit smeared book to become good enough to defeat an army of killers personally trained by the deadliest assassin in the world (Shredder) and wielding the deadliest in military grade munitions?! Fuck you. Though, to be fair, the Foot here are little more than masked guys who probably answered a wanted ad in the back of Soldier of Fortune, but still. Anyway, despite their huge lumbering frames, the Turts can flip through the air like Tony Jaa… and although he learned his own fighting prowess at about the same pace as he in turn taught them, Splinter is still somehow miles ahead of them… Maybe it’s his tail? That thing doesn’t operate like an actual rat’s tail with bones and cartilage, but instead like a squid’s tentacle (one long muscle) that can grasp things and bend like a contortionist in a Russian circus act. Given that classic mutagen was always explained as transforming any living thing it touched into an amalgamation of said living thing and the last other-species thing it came in contact with, maybe somebody in the lab fed Splinter their leftover calamari from lunch the same day of his last injections? Shhhyeah! And maybe the Wicked Witch of the West’s winged monkey bellhops will fly out of my butt! *BLART*
In case you missed this amid the rest of this toxic waste spill of a story, allow me to bring another important notion to your attention: Splinter is just a lab rat. Not the pet of Shredder’s rival, Hamato Yoshi. Not Hamato Yoshi himself. Just a lab rat. Thus he has ZERO connection with the main villain. What he does have though, as our writers expect us to swallow like we’re virgins on prom night, is an extensive knowledge of Shredhead, including his dealings as the most dangerous and powerful criminal in the Far East, and his unmatched lethality when it comes to combat… FOR. NO. REASON.
I want to punch a hole in my screen just typing that! Seriously, if somebody doesn’t “split the uprights” of whomever okayed this all-you-can-eat dookie buffet with a pair of steel-toed boots with knives duct taped to the end of them, I will have lost faith in karma as a universal force for justice. I will piss in the cosmic cereal bowl.
The rest of the run time is spent on your basic good guys vs. bad guys stuff. Shredder has a plan to murder all of New York with a poisonous gas, the Turtles fight him (and his hugely retarded, errr “developmentally challenged” made-from-Decepticon-remains cyber battle juggernaut armor) until they lose, they fight him again until they win, lone-wolf Raph learns the meaning of
Christmas family, the day is saved, and every law of physics is brutalized beyond repair along the way. You know, paint-by-numbers stuff, only the numbers are a Chinese alphabet soup taken from a dozen different dialects and the paint is just an assortment of fluids drawn from the body pit that opens Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. Shit cunt twat snot ball sweat taint sucking hairy asshole slut farm discharge.
Michael Bay. I know he didn’t direct it, since you can actually SEE what’s going on during action sequences (at least there’s that, so thank you Jon Liebsman). Nor did he write it, because I doubt he would’ve bothered to put in all of the little fan service winks we did get (at least there’s also that, so thank you, 3 guys whose names I don’t want to re-type). Alas, as the increasingly punch worthy face of Platinum Dunes, I personally hold every man-made pox they introduce into the populace over his head. Between this, what he’s done to the Transformers franchise, and all of the merit-less horror remakes sifted from the Dunes like so much cat shit from a litter box in the last 15 years, I’m declaring Michael Bay the new Uwe Boll.
Cue The Who – “Meet the new Boll, same as the old Boll. Circling the toilet bowl, fans want him cornholed.”
My thanks to the Evil Dead Bride for influencing the second half of that little musical interlude. Boom goes the dynamite.
Rather than make his own movies with his own ideas (Intergalactic prison break movie? I’d watch that. Guardians of the Galaxy and all.), Bay instead gets the rights to make movies based on pre-existing franchises, then helicopters his lily white pecker in the faces of the fans of those franchises by projecting his own ideas onto said established properties. He’s the grand champion of fixing what ain’t broken. And he does it simply because he’s a petty cunt who wants to ruin the things that other people love. The ’80s must’ve been some of his darkest years too, since the victims of his cinematic rap sheet are some to the few bright spots of the Reaganomics era.
Bay’s more dangerous than Boll though, because he’s got enough financial backing to hire entire teams to gangbang these beloved properties for him, and because he can afford to buy the rights to ANY franchise he wants… that isn’t already owned by Disney or Warner Bros.
As I’m always open to others’ opinions, when I mentioned which movie I was reviewing for Turkey Day, this was the unprompted response by my friend, Ashley –
“There are a lot of things that the phrase, ‘Well, you gotta just accept it for what it is’ that I’m more than happy to accept for what they are. If you make a TMNT movie and don’t stay true to the story, I MIGHT be able to accept that. HOWEVER, if you do so then make the characters, their personalities, and their voices SO LAME, and then don’t at LEAST put in Ken Watanabe (that’s right, I know him, without Google) as the voice for a JAPANESE character, and you use a JEWISH MAN, I’ll spit on it and call it shit cuz you’re kidding yourself, buddy.”
A valid point (except for the part about Tony Shaloub being Jewish, which he’s not) from a fellow fan who’s also been there from the days of “Hot Rodding Teenagers from Dimension X” and “The Case of the Killer Pizzas”. For fuck’s sake this movie is the worst incarnation of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s source material I’ve ever seen, and that includes “The Next Mutation”! I’m not saying that things should have stayed 100% faithful to the material, because you’ll never be able to pander to all of the fans, be they of the original comic books, the current comic books, the original cartoon, the movies, etc. Trying to please everyone is a peril best evaded. The number one rule of comedy is to use humor you think is funny, not what you think others will laugh at… hence why no one else reads these reviews. But that’s comedy. When you’re making an adaptation of someone else’s creation, that you’re exploiting for its name alone and you decide to use your own junior high fanfic for the script? No. You’re a tit face dick snot apple cunt soft serve shit twister!
Though Eastman and Laird did ask fans not to pop a squat all over the whole “now they’re extraterrestrial expatriates” garbage and reserve their judgment until seeing the movie for themselves. Not something that the internet does, but at least the two said something. Then again, if Platinum Dunes threw a bunch of money at me to make The Tomb of Anubis into a feature, I’d sell out faster than a heartbeat, tell the fans to get the fuck over themselves, then just live the rest of my life in hiding so no one could track me down and verbally dick punch me. Not that I have fans anyway, but never let facts get in the way of a good story. Did I ever tell you about the time I tried to stab a family member and the only thing that saved them from total evisceration was their big belt buckle?
Watching this blue waffle (Google it, I dare ya!) of a flick for me had to be an experience tantamount to what Neil Degrass Tyson would suffer through while watching Space Mutiny or Star Odyssey. Wouldn’t be surprised to get a CAT scan after this and find out I had at least one moderate stroke from watching it twice. The prospect of ever having to do so again makes me want to slam my dick in a car door instead, in the most lopsided round of “Would You Rather” I think I’ve ever been presented with. Damn it, I could’ve watched Sexual Parasite instead of this movie. Shit, I could be getting a sexual parasite right now instead of typing this review!
Given all of the other “reworking” of the characters and their origins, it would also make sense to rework the initials from TMNT to HIV while we’re at it, because watching this garbage made me feel sick. Very very very sick. Like I’ve got some of that Charlie Sheen “tiger blood”… which it turns out is just HIV. It’s fitting that this is the 69th episode of the Neo-Tomb run though, because watching this shit cASSerole ruined TMNT for me the same way that deviant art of Raphael and Leonardo “making the Sign of Cancer” (i.e. mouth-fucking each other) stabbed my inner child in the spine with a sharpened broom handle.
The really obnoxious part about TMNT is that despite all of the fan demands that Bay and his co-conspirators gave into, the end result still came out a loaded diaper of poo stew! Once it was all over, I was left perversely wishing once more for that alternate dimension I’m always referencing where the various “what if…” versions of movies were actually made. In this case, my dream version of TeenBay MutBay NinjBay TurtBays consists of telling the loyal franchise followers to fuck themselves furiously by sticking with the initial script! I want every stupid idea laid bare so the budgetary blockbuster blumpkin pies itself so bad that their world’s Platinum Dunes is crippled beyond the point of recovery. Mayhem breaks out in the streets, the world is consumed in the flames and fallout of fan rage, and their George Carlin (who’s gifted with Nick Fury’s Inifinty Formula) just sits back on his observation deck high atop the Carlin Helicarrier and gets high off of the chaos.
And what better mental image to part company on after enduring this ball gobble-gobbler. Happy Thanksgiving, folks!
A rarely seen 1991 commercial promoting LaserDiscs as a superior entertainment format. The same advertising firm was hired to create ads for HD-DVD, much to the same success…
See? Told you this scene wasn’t as fun as it sounded.
An unfortunately perfect screen shot that makes the case against female actors deserving equal pay.
Megan Fox poses for her celebrity Real Doll. I prefer the Sasha Grey model, myself. It’s just as hot but lets you do a lot more to her for a tenth of the cost!
This is why you don’t shave your head with a straight razor after 17 cans of Four Loko.
And there she is! Just like the can says!
Robert Downey Jr.’s character from Tropic Thunder went full retard and kidnapped Not Sasha Grey!
Did I miss the part in ancient Japanese history where ninjas wore old bamboo window blinds on their chests?
Shit. Father Time’s been a motherfucker to poor Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq-Fu can’t save you from the ravages of age, Sir.
You know what makes this image all the more horrifying? Michelangelo’s dick is probably rubbing against the back of the head of whomever is underneath him. Think about it. No, really, think about it. Don’t stop thinking about it. See it in your nightmares. SHARE MY PAIN!
Awwww! This movie is now the greatest film ever made! Look at baby Gamera! Eeeeeeee!
Whoopi Goldberg reacts to Ted Danson’s proposal to reunite for Made in America 2.
“Pizza Rat ain’t got shit on ME! That’s right! That’s right!”
If you think this looks absurd, the salesman tried to upgrade him to the DELUXE model. That includes an air conditioner, microwave, power sun roof, can opener, and two massive cork screws that pop out of the elbows.
“Oh no you don’t, you reject from a Food of the Gods sequel! You know that ‘better mousetrap’ everyone’s always trying to build? That’s me.”
April found the last functional payphone in New York City! Clear out your desk, Lara Croft, cuz we just found our new Tomb Raider!
And here we have unused concept art for one of Michael Bay’s “lost” Decepticons, Crappatron.
“God damn it, Bay! I told you I wanted BLUE Slush Puppies in my dressing room, not this green swill! Read my fucking contract!”
After proving his point that turtle farts are indeed highly flammable, Vernon never doubted Donatello again.
Anubis will return next time in
“Another ‘Slice of (After)Life’ Story”
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: Randy “12 Rounds 2” Orton , Eric “The Pope of Greenwich Village” Roberts , Steven Michael “Breaking Bad” Quezada
Director: Roel “The Man with the Iron Fists 2” Reiné
Writer: Alan “Halloween 4: the Return of Michael Myers” McElroy
Sequel to: The Condemned
Surprise! You thought you were going to get some more international flavor this week with a new “World Tour de Farce” review, but instead you’re getting yet another “professional wrestler thinks he’s an action movie leading man” flick in The Condemned 2! Again, we see there is nothing you possess that I cannot take away. Especially when I’m the one giving you said thing, and the actual transferal of possession has not yet been enacted! Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha *cough*cough*cough* HAAAA! *cough*
World Wrestling Entertainment gave us the original Condemned in 2007. It was like a grown-up, paramilitary, pirate internet version of Battle Royale. Or, a Running Man minus all the neon lights, gimmicked killers, and Richard Dawson. Being a WWE Films production, they cast one of their own as its star – former wrestling icon “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, not to be confused with “The Six-Million Dollar Man” Steve Austin (who, in turn, isn’t to be mistaken for “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase). Though it was a massive financial boondoggle to the company (their biggest cinematic money pit to date), most wrestling fans consider it to be one of, if not the best of the company’s movie offerings, so it makes sense that they’d eventually sequelize it.
Now, having made The Marine 4, Behind Enemy Lines 3, 12 Rounds 3, and See No Evil 2, The Condemned was the last guy in the power plant not to receive “Employee of the Month”. As WWE doesn’t employ inanimate carbon rods (they’re very careful about their hiring practices these days, since you never know when Linda McMahon might run for Senate again), it’s The Condemned‘s time to shine!…with Randy Orton as the lead. By the racist fucking skullet of Hulk Hogan, what did I do to deserve this?!
Randy Orton. Randy “STUPID!” Orton. Randy “Just do enough to get by” Orton. Randy “Shitbag who shits in bags” Orton. As he’s known in our household, Blandy Bore-ton. As the chaps at Old School Wrestling Review once described him, “oozing with banality”. In the wrestling world, he is the alpha and omega of douchebags. He’s a legacy (his grandpa and dad were both wrestlers), he’s a crony (he’s best friends with Paul “Triple H” Levesque, one of the heads of the company), he has a history of drug abuse (cocaine [Randy Snortin’], steroids and painkillers), had a dishonorable discharge from the US Marines for going AWOL (a fact that came up when veterans protested his casting as the title hero in The Marine 3) and he’s an outright asshole (including defecating in female wrestlers’ luggage and breaking character just to berate other wrestlers during matches). He also goes by the nickname of “The Viper” (hence this episode’s alternate title) and has a stupid tribal tattoo on his arm that he tried to cover up with another of a pile of skulls, but is fooling no one as the original is still prominent. What a fuckin’ knob. Enough of the miserable reality, let’s get to the miserable fantasy.
Will Tanner (Orton) is a bounty hunter. He leads a posse of similarly minded individuals in the pursuit of wayward criminals for fun and profit. The latest target of these roughneck rednecks is one sinister son of a cunt named Cyrus (Wes Studi – a.k.a. Sagat in the Street Fighter live-action movie!) who runs an underground gambling operation where sick fucks bet on disturbing shit like which homeless guy hooked up to a Kevorkian Express will shed their unwashed mortal coil first. In a fit of movie irony, Will tells his boys to keep it non-lethal (this a “Wanted: Dead or Alive minus the ‘Dead’ part” contract), only to manslaughter the crap outta Cyrus when the villain is impaled on one of his own death machines. Hmmmm, a double scoop of irony? I really shouldn’t. I’m on a diet.
This fight shows us right off the bat that our protagonist probably only won the leadership role because he picked the longest straw, as it clearly wasn’t for his intelligence or tactical wits. When he has Cy dead-to-rights and lined up in his sights, Willie makes the incredibly stupid move of getting within the bad man’s reach. From there it’s elementary for Cyrus to disarm the doofus and prompt the ensuing struggle. Guns are made to kill and/or maim from a distance. From. A. DISTANCE. Why in the names of Horace Fucking Smith and Daniel Fucking Wesson (weird how they both had the middle name “Fucking”) would you flush the entire advantage of having a firearm down the metaphorical shitter by getting so close to your still very upright target that you can smell whether or not he had onions on his Whopper for lunch?! And Tanner’s supposed to be a trained bounty hunter!? If anyone reading this happens to know Alan McElroy or Roel Reiné, would you please punch them in the dick for me? Hell, even if you know neither but still know someone else cursed with either of those names, kindly do the same. But don’t mention my name. I’ve got enough “conspiracy to commit bodily harm” charges pending as it is.
Due to his epic botch, six months later Tanner ends up on trial for manslaughter. Though the judge presiding over the case makes her disdain for bounty hunters known (if ya wanna chase bad guys, become a cop), she gives him a suspended sentence and probation. Remorseful for his actions (though you wouldn’t know it by Orton’s expressionless “acting”), Billy goes home to his dad Frank (Eric Roberts) to tell him that he’s quitting the family business. Ah, so Will only got the manager position for the posse through nepotism. That makes sense. Having spent the last 30 years building the Tanner brand as the number one name in independent ne’er-do-well nabbing contractors in ALL of lower mid-western New Mexico, Frank’s not happy about the fruit of his loin turning his back on the bond jumper biz over one little unintentional murder.
Their resulting argument is almost like that scene in Varsity Blues where James Van Der Beek shouts “I DON’T WANT YOUR LIFE!” at his dad, except the actors are twice as old and all of the passion and defiance is instead replaced with lazy, even toned sarcasm while a mood of “When do we get our paychecks, again?” hangs heavy in the atmosphere. Riveting stuff to watch…in that I’d rather have rivets fired directly into the sides of my skull than have to wade through another minute of this cinematic landfill.
By the way, for anyone wondering why I’d use such a classy arrangement of letters as “cinematic” in this review, it’s in no way because I find anything professional or artistic about The Condemned 2. I’m using it in the “having qualities characteristic of motion pictures” manner. Inasmuch as this movie has moving images and is thus, technically, a “motion picture”. Carry on.
Without the big bucks of the manhunting industry to keep him in Wrangler jeans and Ford trucks, Billy Bob takes on a new job as a tow truck driver to make ends meet. One of his first calls is a pair of young women in Daisy Dukes and crop tops (likely local models, friends of the cast/crew, or just hopefuls fresh off the casting couch) who giggle and whisper things to each other while he changes their tire. There’s no real implication of what it is they’re saying to each other, but I entertain myself on the possibility that they’re talking about how the guy changing their tire looks like he doesn’t have two brain cells to rub together, and they’re formulating a plan where in he’ll give them all of his money before he leaves or straight up Knock Knock him. Oh but to dream my dreamy dreams, with their creamy dreamy filling. Mmmmm, filling.
Our hero’s next service call changes his life forever, as it’s from his old bounty hunting pal…uhm… honestly, I didn’t bother to write down any of their names. They’re mas macho types who call each other by their last names (being on a first name basis is apparently too intimate for tough guys), and as such I remember the sniper’s (Dylan Kenin) name is Travis [like singer Randy] and another (Morse Bicknell) goes by “Michaels” [like Shawn]…uhm, the retired pro-wrestler, not the one-man Mandingo party porn actor. That’s Sean Michaels. In case you were wondering. Okay then.
Anyway, when Willie fixes said former co-hunter’s car (his battery connector just came undone…hint hint), the guy awkwardly invites him out for a beer in thanks. Unless this was just this dude’s way of trying to get Will out on a man-date with him to lube his inhibitions up with a few brews before confessing his long held secret romantic intentions for our leading man (only if he’s “leading” us straight to Nap Town), his nervous demeanor betrays that there’s some ulterior motive to this social exchange. Given that there’s also a camera equipped drone following the pair around, this is clearly our entry point (front door or back?) into the figurative Thunderdome that is to be The Condemned 2: the Search for Randy’s Personality.
Each member of the Tanner bounty party has been assigned to assassinate their erstwhile chieftain Will, lest their failure to comply be taken out in the form of ultra-violence against them and/or their loved ones. Meanwhile, a speakeasy of high rollers have gathered to watch the spectacle as they gamble on which of the contestants will be the one to finally finish off their deadpan prey. The troublemaker organizing this Laff-A-Lympics of death is Cyrus’s surviving sidekick-turned-avenger Raul (Steven Michael Quezada), who’s vowed a blood vendetta against his ex-boss’s bored looking butcher-by-circumstance. The rest of the movie is pretty much what you’d expect: Tanner runs around shooting guns at people, trying to save his neck while getting to the bottom of Raul’s game and doing his best to keep collateral fatalities to a minimum, as a good guy does. That’s pretty much it. Now you don’t need to see it for yourself, unless your medicine cabinet is pulling a “Mother Hubbard’s cupboard” and is barren of the sleep aid of your choice, in which case 20 minutes of The Condemned 2 will put you out in a pinch!
That wasn’t a joke. I’m serious. This movie put me to sleep during my first attempted viewthrough. Granted, that may have been my fault for starting it at 1AM after a long day of soul reaping and Underworld political crap (we had to fight management hard to get that break room back!) without any type of artificial ambition boosting my brain, but even sitting through the last twenty minutes the next morning were like going 5 rounds of bare-knuckle with Morpheus! For fuck’s sake, just writing this review right now is tantamount to drinking a tall glass of warm milk prepared by Bill Cosby. I have to keep deleting the *yawns* I’m unconsciously typing out in every paragraph!
Randy Orton speaks with such an eyelid burdening monotone. Terminators have more emotional resonance than this guy! As a former drug addict, maybe he’s on mood stabilizers or something and his complete charisma coma is medically induced? Wherever the true blame lies, the reality is still right there, dropping steaming dumplings in our figurative luggage: this man should NOT be starring in even the directest of direct-to-video action flicks. He’d be more relatable as the leading role in his own autopsy video than what he’s giving us here, and I’m not exaggerating. Was he contractually obligated to be in this movie by WWE and just did his best impression of a cardboard cutout so they’d never bother him about being in any more movies!? Z’Dar’s CHIN (my version of “Zeus’s BEARD!”), the man is the Typhoid Mary of digitally transmitted Narcolepsy! I have never, EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVER (thank you, Chris Jericho) watched a movie with Eric Roberts in a supporting role and thought, “Wow, if he were the star, this movie would be so much better!”. If nothing else, The Condemned 2 has proven to me that anything is possible.
I’ve never seen any of Orton’s other movies, so I have no clue if this is how he tackles all of his roles. I do know that Quezada was never one to chew the scenery in “Breaking Bad” though, so maybe all of the blame should go on Mr. Reiné’s back? It could be another The Dark Knight situation where Chris Nolan made Chris Bale do the gravelly voice until all of Batman’s scenes were just a big joke and almost completely unwatchable. Either way, Orton should stay away from all future movie sets and just keep his shtick in the squared circle. Be happy with your athletic prowess and leave the acting to the actors. Or Eric Roberts.
The rest of the movie is just as sterile as its star’s performance. The camera work is fumbly (I think it’s supposed to be shaky cam, but as directed by a 10 year old), the overall direction feels like a slog through plain oatmeal from Point A to Point B with zero spices or fruit thrown in. The rest of the cast’s acting ranges from “good enough” to “please just shut up already”, the fight choreography is slow and sloppy (great for a blowjob, not for a fight scene) despite the attempts to cover it up by jostling the camera around while they’re happening. The music has to be some of the most generic background crap I’ve ever heard. This entire feature was just a poorly planned shit show from opening credits to end credits. It’s not even bad from a fun-to-mock standpoint. The moderate production values keep it from being a full blown skid mark, but that’s as good as it gets. Forgettable and regrettable.
There’s one unintentional running joke I’d like to end this on though, to make the writing of this review and your reading of it at least somewhat worthwhile. As mentioned prior, like any copy-and-paste paramilitary group, Tanner’s team-turned-tormentors has one member who’s a skilled sniper. In case you forgot already (and I don’t blame you), his name is Travis. Well, Travis is supposed to be a skilled sniper, but he’s not. The credo of the sniper is “one shot, one kill”, denoting that their job is to kill with surgical precision, needing only one bullet to put down their intended target. Throughout his time stalking Tanner, Travis fires 30+ rounds from his rifle (not including the 60 or more fired from his uzi) and manages to kill…well, let’s just say the spoiler free version of his murder math is something far far FAR (like “a galaxy far far away” far!) less accurate than the gold standard. If I gave my 80 year old grandmother a single-shot rifle with 30 rounds of ammunition, put her inside Dorothy Gale’s house while it was caught in the twister that carried it to Oz, took away her glasses and tasked her with shooting half a dozen Munchkins also thrown into the cyclone, I guarantee you her fatalities-to-rounds fired ratio would put this Travis guy into a shame spiral so deep that he’d need a grappling hook and half a mile of rope to pull himself out of it!
Whew! I’m winded just reading that last sentence. I need to lay down and catch my breath after this. By the beers of Billy Carter, I’m too Murtaugh for this shit.
Even when he’s pulling a “spray and pray” with his uzi, Travis still manages to miss his targets! He has no problem perfectly strafing his shots in an almost impossibly narrow line along the top of a fruit and veggie stand (sending fragments of splattered produce into the air), but hitting the trio of full grown adults scuttling in an orderly fashion directly behind said stand is just impossible for this fucking career marksman to hit. My rage over this, combined with my need to count the amount of ammo this guy burned through to such minimal effect, are pretty much all I had to keep me from giving out on my second viewing. When you’re on the Titanic, the best you can do is grab whatever flotation device you can and hope you get back to shore before the bitter death grip of Mother Nature can drag you down into her frigid black oblivion. I think my metaphor got a little out of hand there, but the initial message is still in there somewhere. I’ll leave it up to you to exhume it.
Okay, that’s enough of that. Bottom line: the truly condemned in The Condemned 2 are the people who pay for this movie. As for me? I’m going to see if I can discover a way to distill its essence and market it as a cure for insomnia! Provided I can withstand extended exposure to its background radiation….long enough…to……….stay…awake………… *zzzzzzzzzzzzzz*
That thing should come with a Surgeon General’s Warning.
Elderly people hooked up to suicide machines against their will while non-white criminals gamble on which dies first? I’m not sure if this was taken from the movie or a 2013 Faux News report about ObamaCare.
This profile leaves out the “Zach Galifianakis impersonator available for private parties on weekends” part of Mr. Cooper’s resume.
This photo was taken of Mr. Merrick after the sandwich shop regretfully informed him that they were all out of jalapeno cream cheese for his cheddar bagel. Sorry Cyrus, early bird gets the jalapenos!
“I have you, a man armed with a knife, at a great disadvantage due to my possession of a firearm! Though I should be forcing you to the ground so one of my partners can restrain you, allow me to approach you until I’m well within range of your knife, giving you ample opportunity to disarm me and put my life in immediate danger!”
Don’t get your hopes up, like I did. This isn’t the moment where the whole movie turns into a surprise sequel to Maximum Overdrive and we see Randy Orton run over by a pissed off truck. “When you wish upon a star” my hairy ebon ass!
“You just sit back and watch how a real actor carries a low budget action movie, Junior.”
“You think if we flirt with the tow truck driver he won’t charge us?”
“Duh! Why else would we dress like this!?”
This is what happens when people don’t respect the “my quarter on the table means I get next game” rule!
“I was a supporting character in one of the most critically acclaimed television shows of all time! Don’t you dare mock me for chewing scenery in one crappy movie! I’ve earned a pass on this one!”
Ever since “Breaking Bad”, wanna-be meth cooks have caused staggering rate increases in the “mobile home explosion” insurance industry over the last few years.
Awww, it’s so cute when rednecks watch car movies and try to emulate them. I see somebody finally rented Fury Road from the Red Box kiosk at their nearest WalMart!
Hanukkah casino parties are becoming a popular trend for the kids at the synagogues these days. Let that gelt ride, bubbale!
Anubis will return next time in
“Life of Pi(e)”
Featuring: Sandi “Saint Francis” Gardiner , Callard “’Sons of Anarchy‘” Harris , Nick “Albino Farm” Richey
Writer & Director: Jonathan “The Punisher (2004)” Hensleigh
Also Known As: Cannibals
Intro: Hey everybody! This week’s episode is gonna be a rerun, since I had mental-dental surgery and need a lighter workload while I recuperate. The twin that I partially absorbed in the womb has been keeping me up at night grinding his teeth, so I had them removed. Next week’s review will be the whole big “very special episode” whatchamacallit, so until then, just read this!
Oh hey! The Green Inferno FINALLY made it into a theatrical release this weekend! Hooray! For those who aren’t aware, Inferno is the bastard spawn of cannibals (namely Holocaust and Ferox) as birthed from the creative test tube of Eli Roth’s brain.
Seeing as how a review for The Green Inferno is probably a few months off, and since I needed a break to digest all of the fucking Fantastic Factory I crammed into my mental mouth hole at the Spanish bad movie buffet, I figured I’d stick my hand into the rerun cooler and fish out my first can of do-over in over a year. Taking a cue from the week’s new release, I’m revisiting another found-footage romp through undiscovered man-eater country! To that extent, Welcome to the Jungle, won’t you?
Original Review: There are only three reasons that a movie should be titled “Welcome to the Jungle”: (1) It’s a documentary about the rise and fall of Guns ‘N’ Roses (2) It’s a SyFy Original starring Axl Rose and/or Slash (3) It’s a cannibalism movie about people from the “civilized” world going into a jungle and the title was changed because some slime licking studio exec decided the original title of “Cannibals” wasn’t flashy enough to sell the flick. If you’re a sweet child of the ’80s and you’re hoping for doors one or two, well you’re soljwf (dig out your Witchboard and ask George Carlin’s ghost what that means) because we’re giving you what’s behind the curtain. Oh, and look, it’s George Kennedy sodomizing a donkey while chickens peck kernels of corn from his naked ass. ZONK!
In 1961, Michael Rockafeller (“Rockafeller”? I don’t even wanna touch a feller, let alone rock one! *rimshot*) [editor’s note: Rockefeller is actually spelled with an E, not an A. I didn’t want to ruin Anubis’ joke or hurt his feelings, so I left it as written.] went missing in New Guinea while doing some follow-up research on a tribe called the Asmat. A boat that Mikey and his travel partner René Wassing were on was overturned and the two stayed with the boat while their guides swam off to get help. Tired of waiting, Rockefeller decided to swim off himself to get help, but was never heard from again. Wassing was saved the following day, proving that good things come to those who wait… except for Return of the Living Dead 4, because that was just a flaming Hefty bag full of hobo shit.
Son to then Vice-President-to-be Nelson Rockefeller, the search for Michael went on for three years before he was finally declared dead in ’64, though his body was never found. Insert ominous *DUN-DUN-DUN!* here. Well, 40+ years later, in Fiji, college girly Aussie surfer friends Bijou (Veronica Sywak) and Mandi (Sandi Gardiner) get together for a little reunion vacation. Turns out they had one of those “all girls are lesbians at some point in college” relationships, and Mandi’s still carrying a torch in hopes that their reunification will include re-insertion of lady protrusions into each other’s south mouths. Her hopes are dashed before you can say “Lilith Fair” though, when Bij gets introduced to Mand’s boyfriend of two whole weeks, Colby (Callard Harris). Ouch. If you slow the movie down, you can pinpoint the exact moment the poor girl’s heart breaks.
Just so the trip won’t be a total loss of drunken physical stimulation (via the aforementioned insertions), Bij is set up with Colby’s equally American buddy Mikey (Nick Richey). While Colby’s more the “privileged white kid with well-to-do parents” stereotype, Mikey comes from the “pig-headed drunken frat boy” side of the tracks. They’re like the Odd Couple, only I hate them!
The lads heard from a helicopter pilot friend that a 70 year-old white guy who may or may not be the missing Rocker (Marty Jannetty?) was spotted in the nearby jungle of New Guinea. As there’s a standing one-million dollar bounty from the Rockefeller estate for any information as to the lost heir’s whereabouts, the crew decides to go on an amateur jungle hunt (my favorite Atari 2600 game) to investigate the sightings of said geezer. If he turns out to be the legit article, they plan to do an interview with the old man and claim the million bucks so they can buy solid gold sports cars, a lifetime supply of Jack Daniels and all the lesbians Bijou can eat!
A doubly effective joke, since she’s into girls AND we’re watching a cannibal movie! *wink*wink*nudge*nudge* Say no more!
After engaging in the popular New Guinea “x-treme sport” of evading getting carjacked (tourism tip: never stop for children sitting in the road of a third world country – ALWAYS RUN THEM OVER AND KEEP GOING!), the quartet find the local guide who claimed to the helicopter pilot to have seen Grandpa Rockefeller. As proof, the guide pulls out an old timey Zippo lighter with the letters “MCR” monogrammed on it, which the crew trades a bag of tobacco in exchange for. Bijou thinks that the natives could be smarter than they’re giving them credit for and they may very well just be fucking with the stupid white tourists. Meanwhile, Micheal’s frat boy “tough guy” attitude amps up with every scene and really starts to piss me off right around this time, as he picks a fight with some Indonesian border guards (and gets the shit rightly kicked out of them when he calls one of them “zipperhead”, not thinking they know English). This comes after having earlier started shit with some local dudes who almost took his head off for being a posturing prick. He also shows us that he brought a gun with him, because for a brief moment he thought he’d go all Dirty Harry on those border guards before they bitch slapped him around and made him piss himself. Fucking frat boys.
While out in the jungle, the quarter runs into a missionary couple (in that they’re religious recruiters, and not just enthusiasts of that particular sexual position) for an awkward and seemingly pointless scene. If those two don’t wind up impaled on stakes and castrated later on, I’m going to be very disappointed. Speaking of which, if Mikey and Bijou do get eaten, the natives are gonna get so wasted off their whiskey soaked meat. And if they don’t get eaten after making me hate their stupid pathetic alcoholic shit-for-brains asses, this movie immediately gets 1/2 star no matter what happens for the rest of the flick. Seriously, we’re halfway through the movie and if Colb and Mand don’t just leave these two a-holes out in the middle of fucking nowhere to be eaten alive, I’m seriously considering shutting this shit off. On the plus side though, this movie has given me the great idea that, should I ever decide to kill the two most irritating fuckers I’ve ever met, I’ll invite them out into the middle of an uncharted jungle where local cannibals will dispose of the bodies…
Eventually, after many days of wearing thin on each others nerves, Mister and Missus Drunkerton make a raft and break off on their own down river, stealing the group’s only map, all of the money, and probably they keys to their rental van. Sadly, since they also stole one of the two cameras that have been journalizing the journey, we still have the fuckhead couple shoved in our face for a while longer. Oh well, all the better and more satisfying when they finally run into pissed off natives (unhappy with shitweed Mike’s desecration of one of their sacred burial mounds prior) and suffer violent, torturous deaths. By that point though, my lethal exposure to the toxic twins had long killed any and all redemption that might’ve been brought on by said deaths. They’re like a cancer: even though the chemo might get rid of them, you’re still emotionally and mentally ravaged by the experience. Once they’re gone though, it’s back to Colby and Mandi with the second camera as we follow their whiny search for their brain dead cohorts. On the plus side, the whiny stuff isn’t nearly as long or as insanely infuriating as the drunken posturing and mouthing off.
Will Mandy and Colby find Michael Rockefeller, let alone make it out of the jungle alive? Or, will there be some kind of epilogue tacked onto the end to explain how the “footage” made it back to civilization when they didn’t? And even if they do make it out alive, what other shit will the writers put in there to fill out the rest of the running time? Truth be told, I’m not even 100% sure of what the fuck I saw right before the credits rolled. By that point, all I really cared about was that the credits were finally rolling, so fuck it, it’s an ending and that’s all that matters.
Shot in pseudo-documentary style a la The Blair Witch Project (only in digital, because it’s cheaper and makes more sense), it’s hard to tell whether Welcome to the Jungle is supposed to be an homage to Cannibal Holocaust or just an attempt to make a mainstream cash-in on a flick that most “normal” people have never heard of. Obviously Dimension wasn’t too impressed with it, considering the flick went straight to DVD as part of their “Dimension Extreme” label. In this case, “extreme” meant “not good enough for a theatrical release”. To be fair though, Dimension Extreme also brought us the halfway decent Black Sheep, so they’re not all bollocks and ball socks. Whatever the fuck a “ball sock” is.
Considering the lack of explicit gore, vulgar rape sequences, National Geographic style native junk and disturbingly haunting and almost surreal score, I’m assuming it’s just a standard “buy low, sell high” cash-in effort by writer-director Jon Hensleigh. He’s written a bit of everything genre-wise, from Jumanji to Die Hard With A Vengeance. He also took up both writer and directorial chores for the 2004 version of The Punisher.
There are a couple of moments where the graphic special effects are actually done pretty damn well, but the inane dialogue and my general hatred for half the cast (compared to my “moderately steeped dislike” of the other half) just served as a black hole, sucking in any enjoyment I might’ve taken from the rest of the flick. If Cannibal Holocaust is too much for you to handle, but you’re still interested in the “raw footage” motif of a cannibal hunting movie and you can get past nerve baring characters, you might be up for a viewing of Welcome to the Jungle. As for me, well, I’d say it’s pretty friggin’ obvious how I feel about the whole craptacular debacle. Adieu!
Xtro: Damn! I don’t know if I was just way more bitter 8 years ago (“Bit him too!”), or if I just had a vendetta against any and every “found footage” flick between Blair Witch and [REC], but my original 1 star rating for this one is way off! Having re-viewed it for this rerun re-reviewing, I appreciate it a hell of a lot more now than I did upon my initial criticizing! Well, maybe not a hell of a lot more, but let’s say at least a moderately sized purgatory more. Not that we have to actually say that, because as every woman who’s ever gone down on Ron Jeremy has said, “that’s a mouthful”.
For starters, let me put it out there that I have in no way lightened my stance on Mikey: that stance being me with my size 13 boot firmly planted on his neck, making him denounce Adam Sandler movies if he ever wants the canned piss that is Old Milwaukee to cross his lips again. I know he’s meant to be the brain-splittingly obnoxious frat boy stereotype “TO THE EXTREME!!!1!” (especially given that his death is the most satisfyingly drawn out later on), but I also stand by my original statement that he’s so overly annoying that he’s what I call a “human onion”: even well after he’s gone, we’re still trying to get the rancid aftertaste of him out of our mouths. His specter lingers so long that I forget anything else about the “meal” and spend the next few hours wishing I’d asked the waiter for no Mikey.
Though Bijou isn’t much better, and the duo’s “party every night!” attitude gives me oozing pustules on my soul, this time around I actually find myself relating to her. Not because I’m a cunty drunk, but because I know the crushing disappointment of looking forward to reuniting with someone you still carry a torch for, only to have them douse it right out of the gate by introducing you to their new Kama Sutra co-pilot. It’s not the other person’s fault for moving on, but it doesn’t make it any easier to find out you’re the only one still living in the past. So, whether it’s because they’re both soulless partily-heartily types or Bij just wants a rebound fuck to get over the disappointment and/or resentment of having her hype for the clam buffet busted into a million little pieces (or she’s just trying to make Mandi “jealous”), she and Mikey actually hit it off and it makes sense. Depressing, annoying, understandable sense.
Oh yeah, speaking of the boozers, here’s one of the biggest hemorrhoids this movie planted in my crack: How much fucking alcohol did they weigh their packs down with to fuel such a party bus to Drunken Regrets Town?! By Jupiter! B & M (huh huh, “BM”) get shitfaced EVERY NIGHT, and they’re wandering out there for something like a week or more! You’re four people going into the fucking jungle for an extended period of time, yet you waste precious food & water space for rum!? Unless those two are the world’s lightest lightweights and have been getting blitzed on a couple of shots a day, up yours movie! Fuckin’ “Blart of the Day” award winner.
Whether you side with Couple A as people with a goal who want to get things done, or Couple B as people who want to make it party time all the time because life’s too short to be a fuddy-duddy, you’re more than likely going to end up taking a side while watching them pick at each other and come close to blows several times. Did you agree with Bij & Mike when they gave Mand & Colb the double “single digit salute” and ran off with the party’s map and valuables? Or, did you get a little more joy than you thought you would when the rebel pairing start turning on each other because they’re both self-centered knobs (who can’t get along without getting their faces idiomatically shitted first) and deserve the pain and horror they’re in store for? Even if your investment is simply, “I can’t wait to watch (insert names here) DIE!”, it’s still an investment!
I also made notice of something else that helps flesh out the four a bit more in character terms upon this viewing. There’s a short “five questions” segment the group records prior to their expedition, where each answers a handful of queries like “Do you believe in god?” and “What’s your relationship with your parents?”. A quick and dirty way to add a little more depth to them without shoehorning the same shit into forced “this was clearly scripted” conversations later or leaving it out entirely.
Even without a lot of cannibal screen time, the movie still pulls from its action hat (also today’s sponsor: Action Hat!™) to keep tension engaged via conflicts between our Wonder Bread quartet and foreign antagonists in the shape of angry locals, would-be hijackers, and border guards who don’t take kindly to racial slurs shouted by an entitled honkey frat boy whom we can all enjoy knowing will never grow up to be a frat man, constantly telling his wife and kids about how lucky every other guy around him is that he doesn’t “beat their asses”. If only we could’ve watched him raped to death by CHUDs.
And there we have it: Welcome to the Jungle is a lot better than I remembered it. It’s typical found-footage failures (like “Why would you keep filming this when you should be running for your life?!” moments) and movie logic flops (Why would they bring so much alcohol!?) work against it, but it’s nowhere near the bottom of the barrel of festering fish paste that I tossed it into with my original opinionation. Not a big fan of the “surprise” ending where a fat old guy we’re supposed to suspect is the lost feller rocker wanders in front of the video camera, nor of the little detail the movie left out about how this found-footage was supposed to have been found, but that still doesn’t make it a horrid waste of 90 minutes. Overall, it’s a Log™ flick – it’s better than bad, it’s good! But not great.
Before I go, I’d like to say that my newly discovered non-hate for Welcome in no way absolves Jon Hensleigh for his fucking “the blond guy from Deep Blue Sea vs. Vinnie Barbarino” Punisher movie. An elaborate scheme involving parking tickets and diamond earrings just to make a mobster kill his own wife out of suspicion?! Having him slowly pulled behind a car to his inevitable death amidst a exploding parking lot?! Fuck you. Frank Castle would’ve just shot the whole family in their collective faces and burned their mansion down to get any of the survivors. In an otherwise overwhelmingly “okay” movie, those segments brought it down to Dyson Ball Vacuum levels. It didn’t just suck, it sucked so hard that if it were to engage in fellatio, it would implode its partner’s testicles, creating a scrotal black hole! In a more Punisher-centric comparable scenario, that movie sucks so hard that I’m convinced it took detailed notes on how to suck by watching Angela make love to the 2nd Amendment in that Night of the Demons 3 scene! In case your bad movie education didn’t include the NotD trilogy, let me bring you up to speed:
Anyway, tune in this Sunday for that “very special episode” I mentioned! Mark your calenders! Set an alert on your myfacespacebook page! As for me, I’m gonna order my Green Inferno tickets and listen to this inappropriately upbeat song. Keep it sleazy, kiddos!
“As this photo shows, Rockefeller was also apparently the proto-hipster from which all other hipsters devolved!”
When not being used for their intended function of providing milk for a nursing infant, the breasts of the human female have evolved to also serve as pillows! Evolution in action.
That’s either a decorative desk lamp or the world’s second largest martini.
The term is actually “caught behind the 8 ball”, but whatever. Oddly enough, this comes in right around the 13 minute mark…
Looks like we got another cracker who thinks his white privilege includes casual usage of the n-word!
“More of the you fucking white people and your reality shows?! By the nine tribes! How about you leave me alone until you bring The Price Is Right Live! tour with you!”
“Did you guys pull the short stick for your missionary group too? Oh well. At least if we die out here we’ll finally find out if all this Jesus stuff was worth it, right? Haha… ha….. ha.”
I’m all for leaving up the holiday decorations a few weeks past due, but somebody needs to tell these Asmat guys that Halloween was over six months ago!
Look, a big empty bonehead… and he’s holding a skull! *rimshot*
When bulimics go too far, things can get very messy.
“Hey! Get out of that river, you damn kids! That’s our drinking water!”
“Fiiiiiigarooooo! Figaro! Figaro! Figaro! Fiiiiiigaaaaarooooooo!”
“Don’t tase me bro! I’m unarmed!”
“Where the hell did the random old white guy come from?!”
“Oh, don’t mind him. That’s just our neighbor, Mr. Warner. He’s got dementia and wanders around the neighborhood sometimes. He won’t bother us. Let’s get back to our blood ritual!”
Anubis will return next time in
“Werewolves. Mayhem. Soap.”
Featuring: Anita “Dylan Dog: Dead of Night” Briem , Belén “The Whore and the Whale” Blanco , Alistair Freeland
Director: Luis de la Madrid
Writers: Manu “[REC] 2” Díez , Jaume “[REC] 2” Balagueró
The penultimate production of the Fantastic Factory, Part 2 of my “Fantastic Four” reviews thing is, as you may have surmised, a dip in the Nunsploitation pool of sub-sub-genres. You’ll get the unintentional “pool” pun shortly. First, let’s provide some background to what we’re about to see here!
So, The Nun features no actors of prominence. Anita Briem’s done some things in the 10 years since, and continues to find work, but it’s mostly stuff I’m not interested in watching. Don’t expect to hear her name again until I get around to dedicating an episode to reviewing Dylan Dog, probably under the premise of a gimmick where I highlight movies that adapt independent comic books. Of which Faust would have been one, had I not already used it for this gimmick. On the other side of the camera, Brian Yuzna’s still around, but only as a “Creative Producer”, so whether this penguin sinks or swims (more aquatic references) has nothing to do with “The Yuze”. Director Luis de la Madrid is in a different dingy, bobbing in an ocean of obscurity with no other directing credits to his credit outside of a pair of short films I have no interest in pursuing either. His main body of work is actually as an editor! His contributions include chopping up and pasting together such flicks as: Faust, Diary of a Nymphomaniac, The Machinist, Guillermo del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone, and that Anna Paquin movie Darkness that Miramax apparently took a chainsaw to and butchered down to a PG-13 rating for the US release. Pretty sure Luis’ work was the original Spanish version. Call it a hunch.
Two year after The Nun, Jaume Balagueró would go on to write the only “found footage” movie I can openly admit to loving – [REC]. Two years after that, he would collaborate once more with fellow Nun scribe Manu Díez for [REC] 2, which wasn’t as good. In fact, it soured my milk just enough that I have yet to see either of the two additional [REC]-tal exams that followed it. As with Dylan Dog (and a few hundred other movies on my list), I’ll get to them eventually…
Our tale begins in the unconscious brain of Mary (Lola Marceli), where she dreams altered memories of her brief stay in a Spanish boarding school as a troublesome teenager. She and several other bad girls were the pet project of the school’s headmistress, an ultra strict nun by the nom de habit of Sister Ursula (Cristina Piaget). Ursula is just as evil as the other Ursula that moniker brings to mind too, as her first act on screen is to tell a handicapped girl in a leg brace that she deserves her predicament, because it’s a punishment from God. Ouch. This sextet of international no-goodniks were sent to the school because their parents had given up trying to raise them as morally sound ladies of the Catholic persuasion, instead opting to pay someone else to do it! The nightmare climaxes with Urs discovering a love letter that 17 year-old Mary (Katrine Romming) had tried to hide in her bible, tearing the confession of romantic intent up and commanding the rebellious youth to eat it! Before this can turn into a lesbian barely legal Dom/sub porno fantasy, Mary refuses and spits the paper out, so the black & white bully grabs her by the throat and pins her to a wall with almost supernatural (*wink*wink*) strength, shouting “ONLY PAIN CAN WASH AWAY OUR SINS!” before she starts having one of those kinetic horror movie ghost seizures and goes all monster face. Mary wakes up with a bloody nose (did she have an aneurysm?!) and the cosmic ballet goes on.
The single mother and her singular daughter live in Hoboken, New Jersey. A fact unabashedly forced into our faces by a subtle-as-spoiled-sauerkraut delayed shot of the
High School crest as we’re introduced to Eve (Anita Briem), who is at her high school prom. By proxy, we also shake hands with her bestest buddy Julia (Belén Blanco) and her boyfriend Joel (Alistair Freeland). Jules is an exchange student from Spain (played by an Argentinian), whose helmet hair and minute resemblance to Rosario Dawson put her on my cute-girl sonar. Her small stature and baby face make her barely legal status believable despite Blanco being almost 30 at the time of filming…you know, if IMDB is accurate. As for Joel, he’s your typical American high school d-bag (though the occasional escapes of his moderate British accent makes me think Freeland isn’t from the “Land Of The Free”, ironically enough) who carries around a handy-cam to shoot videos of EVERYTHING HE DOES. In terms of story, the camera only serves as a point of purpose for one brief and wholly unimportant scene later on, so it’s really nothing more than a “yep, he’s a douche” character trait for Joel. In hindsight though, it does make for a mildly amusing precursor for things to come, given Balagueró and Díez’s career paths after this.
J&J take time outs from drunkenly dry humping each other on the dance floor to talk about their impending trip to España. Julia tries to convince Eve to come with them, but the castaway from the Garden of Eden refuses because her mother’s already planning a trip to Spain. But mostly because she doesn’t want to risk crossing paths with her parent when she should be engaging in the kind of hedonistic white girl tourist-y activities that would make her the perfect victim for a torture porn. When Eve sneaks off to make some tongue time with her boyfriend in the locker room showers, J&J sneak up on them and pull a Candid Camera, turning the shower on and catching their startled reaction. A seemingly innocuous act that becomes a frustratingly integral plot point in the last 10 minutes of the movie, and is making me grind my teeth just typing about it. So before I hurl something fragile across the room, let’s go check back in with Mary!
Alone at home, Mary finds herself confronted with a plumbing problem better fixed with a call to The Ghostbusters than Roto-Rooter, as her kitchen sink floods, drains, re-floods, and spits in the eye of gravity as water cascades from it towards the ceiling. A window opens via a “not the wind” gust of wind (you can actually peek the stagehand’s arm in the reflection of the glass as they ease it open the first time) and the spectral form of a demonic-looking nun materializes to attack her. Eve returns home just in time to witness the phantom slitting mom’s throat with a butcher knife before it screams and escapes through the window. Eve calls the cops and insists that she knows what she saw, but the members of the constabulary are unable to find fingerprints for anyone else in the house. Julia doesn’t help her amiga’s story any by telling the investigator on scene that not only had they all been drinking earlier at the prom, but Eve also has some unresolved trauma due to Mary’s attempted suicide some years prior. Maybe Mary just realized that she’s a middle-aged single woman living in Hoboken and just couldn’t live with herself anymore. Fuckin’ New Jersey.
At Mary’s funeral (that was quick, especially for a crime scene death!), Julia convinces Eve join her in Spain so she’s not left alone with her grief (in Hoboken…*shudder*). The parentless teen is then approached by Mary’s friend and fellow Ursula victim, Cristy (Tete Delgado). Cris fills in some of the plot, telling our protagonista that mom’s trip to Spain wasn’t for “business”, but to reunite with her boarding school peers following the death of their friend Joanna in England. Eve confirms that Mary’s death is being labeled a suicide (less paperwork) and that no one believes her story about the homicidal ghost nun. Cris gives Eve her hotel room info and says she’d like to talk some more with her before her plane leaves the next day. After Eve leaves, Cris gets uncomfortable as a trio of nuns walk by…
The lighting guys must’ve had to up the wattage for the rigs while shooting, given all the foreshadowing in this movie! Wakka-wakka! *rimshot*
Whilst going through her mom’s things at home, Eve finds a box of letters and documents, including some of those sweet nothings (signed by a guy named Miguel) that Ursula thought made for better taste buds whets than panties wets. She also finds mom’s plane ticket and decides to Nancy Drew this mystery herself. Meanwhile, in her hotel room, Cris’ car key starts leaking water on her bed (something that Mary’s plane ticket did right before her own death) and her toilet goes bonkers, turning into the world’s angriest bidet! Water sprite Ursula forms from the crapper (I wonder if she materialized clockwise or counterclockwise?) and chases her prey into the hallway, where Cris escapes into an elevator. And what better time to take a commercial break!
Today’s episode is brought to us by Toilet Nun™! Just put Toilet Nun’s patented string of “rosary refresher beads” into your tank, say 3 Hail Marys and an Our Father before every flush, and you’ll be praising Our Lord for giving you the freshest bowl this side of the Vatican! Wash away your sins with Toilet Nun™! By Saints Johnson & Johnson.
Eve arrives at the hotel and waits for the elevator in the lobby, seeing the moist antagonist in plain view as Ursula strolls out the front door of the building! Before she can react, the elevator door dings open and Eve’s just in time to witness her second gruesome demise in as many days, as in the lift is a disarmed (well, de-armed) Cris! For a woman whose arms were just torn off in an elevator “accident” not twenty seconds prior, her stumps have already stopped bleeding. Maybe she had really high cholesterol and the panic of what happened pushed two massive clogs away from her heart and into her brachial arteries, thus plugging them up entirely? Or, the more likely scenario is that it’s just a shitty movie and I should stop trying to make logic out of someone else’s fuck-ups.
A quick jump cut to a passenger jet, where Julia is trying to convince Eve that she’s just stressed out of her mind from her mother’s death and that she needs to relax. If Mary and Cris’s deaths were more than just a suicide and an accident, the police wouldn’t have let her leave the country, right? Eve’s still determined to track down Mary’s friends though, so Jules agrees to follow along and to drag Joel (by the balls) with them. Eve then falls asleep while watching the in-flight movie Faust: Love of the Damned (even making sure to show the “a film by Brian Yuzna” opening credit, BLART!), awakens to the horrific image of Ursula on the wing of the plane (a cool tribute to “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”), then wakes up again from what turns out to have been a nightmare, finding herself setting down in Barcelona. Funny enough, as soon as the airplane scene started, I was curious as to how Ursula would no doubt follow the kids back to her home country to continue her killing spree, citing such possibilities as hiding in the plane’s toilet or just “swimming” across the Atlantic. Though I was sure that this wasn’t going to be addressed, I do like that this little nightmare sequence gives us a possible hypothesis. Though silly, again, it was a nice little tip of the hat to one of “The Twilight Zone”’s most loved episodes. Felicitaciones.
In searching for mom’s former associate Eulalia, Blondie makes a pit stop at a local library first to research this mysterious boarding school. Not exactly the sharpest machete in the shed, Eve doesn’t think to bring along Jules and is pretty well fucked when she realizes that, DUH, everything is in Español…and she doesn’t know a fucking LICK of Español! Clearly our heroine didn’t make valedictorian at Hoboken High. She lucks out though (cuz it’s a movie, natch) and bumps into a handsome local named Gabriel (Manu Fullola) at the Xerox machine who not only speaks fluent Engrish, but is such a Samaritan that he offers to help the wayward Yankee out. Like I said before: 100% torture porn bait.
They meet back up later at a local nightclub with J&J, where Gabe tells Eve that the school’s been closed since 1988, after Sister Ursula mysteriously disappeared. He also found Eulalia’s address, and drops the minor blockbuster that he’s in seminary school. No, he’s not studying semen, he’s in priest college! As for Eulalia, she’s still waiting for her friends to arrive. Naturally, those that are still alive won’t get there until it’s too late, because Eul’s going to take a bath. Guess who’s the next to die? Yep, after getting harassed by her plumbing and her dog red herrings us by getting sick (or whatever the hell happens as it’s not explained), Eulalia winds up crucified in her water closet…mere moments before Eve gets there…alone…because taking her friends along would make too much sense and completely ruin that stupid plot twist we’re still waiting on. They’re all of 12 seconds behind her though, so I’ll be sure to bring that up later too.
While at the apartment, Mystery Inc. overhear a message on the new victim’s answering machine that the remaining two ex-schoolgirls, Susan (Natalia Dicenta) and Zoe (Paulina Galvez), are in town and heading straight for the old alma mater. Desperate to find them and warn them about the bloodthirsty wraith penguin, the gang pile into a car (a rental, I guess?) and head out to the site. Frustrated that he’s being dragged on a wild goose chase in a foreign land in the pouring rain rather than getting his dick sucked on a beach while chugging Blood Marys, Joel takes control of the car from Eve, immediately crashing into a parked car that conveniently blocks the path to the school. Well, the story is that he crashed the car, but the reality is that their car is actually parked a foot or so away from the side of the obstacular vehicle, as you can see their headlights shining on the other car’s COMPLETELY UNMARRED BODY. If you can’t afford to wreck a few clunkers in your flick, TAKE THE FUCKING CAR CRASH SCENE OUT OF THE SCRIPT! FOLLANDO RETARDA!
With their car out of commission from all that crash damage (ARGH!), the quartet hoof it the rest of the way to the spook academy, following the presumed footprints of Suze and Zoe. Inside of the abandoned “oddly well lit for being the middle of the night during a rainstorm” structure, Joel uses his camera’s night-vision function to look around a pitch-black room. All he finds is a jump scare (courtesy of a wayward bat), and thus any excuse for making the handy-cam part of the story has passed. Blart.
Susan and Zoe aren’t dead (yet), and the quartet turns into a sextet as Eve finds them and updates them on the body count. Suze wants to call the cops, but Zoe refuses to because…they killed Ursula. Yep, one night the girls caught the hag scalding Mary’s nether parts with a detachable shower head in the basement’s communal bathing room, so they attacked the grizzled cunt and drowned her in a tub full of water. They then disposed of the body, dumping her in a pond on the school grounds. Two weeks prior to tonight, the town drained the pool and found nothing of the corpse, meaning that Ursula’s possessed the water that she didn’t die in (of course), but that her body got super pruny in for almost two decades. Meh.
Further exploring the school, Eve and Gabe come across Ursula’s old quarters and find a bible inside, inscribed to her by a “Father Miguel”. They almost do the horizontal hokey-pokey on the dead sister’s musty bed, but Eve forsakes her namesake and rejects the serpent. Gabe has some personal revelation that he’ll tell Eve (and hopefully the audience) about later, leaving the young lady alone to be confronted by the aqua spook, who emerges from her old bedspread! Urs only passes through Eve though, then leaves. The contact causes our heroine to relive a previously locked away memory of her mom giving her Hel for getting into her stash of love letters, then trying to kill herself in their bathtub. More on that in a minute. Elsewhere, Zoe and Suze are talking about seeing Eve with the young priest-to-be as “history repeating itself” and blaming Mary’s past for what’s sure to be their inevitable demises. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the aforementioned Father Miguel and the Miguel who signed Mary’s love letters are one and the same. When Ursula discovered the affair, and Mary’s subsequent impregnation with Mikey’s boner seed as a result, she tried to “wash the sin” out of the 17 year-old’s evil ham wallet. Hence the hot water abortion attempt that led to this whole I Know What You Did Last Summer rigamarole. But isn’t abortion a sin? Yeah, and so are murder and child molesting. But, when something’s done “in God’s name” by his faithful sheep, it doesn’t count as a sin anymore! Woohoo! So long as I shout “Praise Jesus!” next time I firebomb a car blasting that Reggaton shit, Johnny Law can’t judge me! Somebody get me a tank of gas and few hundred empty whiskey bottles!
Anyway, Gabe’s big revelation is that all of the killings to this point have been Biblical in nature: each of the women were killed in the fashion of the patron saints they share their names with. G-Unit’s theory is that Ursula’s killing them as such because through their pain and “sacrifices”, she can gain penance for their souls and hers, thus regaining God’s favor. And how did Saint Ursula die? Arrow through the heart. With this knowledge, Zoe decides to fight back and try spearing the spouted specter with Julia and Joel’s harpoon guns. Oh, I forgot to mention a previously established plot point from way back at the prom scene: they were going to do a lot of SCUBA diving on their vacation. Sorry about that. Though you’d half expect a movie like this to bring this up out of nowhere (or not at all) and just have the characters armed with harpoon guns for no real reason, but it was there the whole time.
Well, Susan’s had enough of suffering for the sins of others and won’t be victimized for Mary’s crimes any more! Before Eve’s priest defilement can get her in any further trouble, the panicked Suze locks herself in a room and refuses to let Eve anywhere near her. As expected, this only serves to fuck her over, as she’s trapped in there now for another performance of Sister Ursula’s Wild & Wacky Water Hijinks! After being pushed around by the aquatic abbess, she ends up decapitated by a pane of broken glass, dropped on her guillotine style. It invokes happy memories of the superior gymnastics program put on by David Warner’s (fake) head in The Omen. 10s across the board.
Eve tries to spear Ursula before she can disappear again, but when she does, no one else is able to see the Phantom of the Fire Hydrant, which explains why no one saw her strolling through the lobby back at the hotel after Cris’s dismemberment. As for why this is, Zoe theorizes it’s because Eve’s conception was the whole crux of this vengeful comeback so…I don’t know why that would explain why she hasn’t been killed yet, or why Zoe couldn’t see her either. Fuck it. Whatever the case, Zoe’s eponymous patron perished a la immolation, so as long as she stays clear of any open flames or giant ovens, she should be okay. Not hard since every inch of this movie is covered in H2O at this point! Speaking of the source of all life, Gabe theorizes that the only way to make Ursula into killable flesh and blood is to flood the school’s basement and have Eve kill her within the resultant pool of her power source. Which makes ZERO sense, since she already attempted to spear Urs when she was in her material state before and NOTHING HAPPENED! Fuck!
Despite bad shit happening and somebody else dying every time they do it, the group continues to split up as they try to flood the place. Naturally somebody else dies this time too. TWO for the price of one, to be exact! Gabriel is impaled on a broken piece of exposed pipe when he’s forced onto it by a broken water main, and Zoe winds up scorched inside of a giant, human-sized oven. Osiris’ beard, was this school’s kitchen built by Nazis, or was shit like that commonplace in old buildings like this before the genociders ruined it for everybody during World War: The Revenge?!
So, we’re down to the final three: Eve, Julia, and Joel. As our heroine awaits the final showdown in the school’s new in-ground pool, Joel pulls Julia aside and completely shits up the entire movie with the following preposterous postulate (not to be confused with a pustule): as a child, Eve overheard an argumentative phone exchange between her Father father and her mother that included hearing Mary tell Miguel that she had to kill Ursula because he couldn’t keep his plenary prick to himself. In the fallout of said call, Mary tried her Whitney Houston curtain call, the terror of which Joel believes caused Eve to dissociate the whole “my mom killed a nun” thing until now. And what does this amateur Pierre Janet theorize may have brought this mental bobbing back to the surface of Eve’s psyche? Startling her in the shower while she was making out with her boyfriend at the high school prom.
Having seen this scene twice and having just typed it all out and read it, I’m verging on face palming so hard that my entire pantheon will feel it. Bra-fucking-vo.
So yeah, in an effort to rip off the big twist ending to Fight Club, the solution to the movie is that there isn’t a killer ghost nun taking revenge on the girls who murdered her and gave her a totally non-Christian burial, it’s that Eve has a split personality, is “possessed” by Ursula and is really the one who killed Mary and everyone else. Except for Gabriel, whose death was entirely accidental. There are many, MANY reasons this explanation is bullshit, but I’m not willing to rack up another four pages of space just to chronicle all of them, so I’ll present you with the three most glaring.
EVERY one of the victims had interactions with haunted water prior to their deaths. Mary had the kitchen sink, Cris had the hotel room toilet, Euli had her bathtub, Sue and Zoe had run-ins with flying gushes of rushing water that pushed them to their deaths. Those last two could be explained away as being Eve simply pushing them around, but the other three were absolutely interactions with sentient water. There were also the multiple times when Ursula’s cursed fluids seeped out of various items. And don’t tell me those didn’t happen, because when Urs did it to Mary’s plane ticket, the water smeared the information on the Post-It affixed to it, which carried over to a later scene!
Though it’s true that Eve witnesses some of the deaths, and thus could very well have been the cause of them, this makes ZERO sense in cases where the deaths happened BEFORE she even came into the scene! Cris’s arms were cut off by the elevator, NOT directly by any human interaction, and she was there in the lobby with SEVERAL other witnesses when the doors opened and the body was first discovered. And had she been involved at all in driving Cris toward the elevator, are you telling me the hotel security cameras managed to miss the whole thing, hence why the police decided Eve wasn’t involved in any way, and thus allowed to leave the country?! Furthermore, Eulalia also died before Eve made it into her apartment, AND she was followed immediately by her friends who showed up not 20 seconds behind her!
And my biggest argument against this ending – Joanna. Joanna was killed prior to prom night. Two weeks prior, in fact. Right after the pool holding Ursula’s remains was drained. Hear that *thud* sound? It’s Joel’s theory dropping dead at his feet. Fuck. This. Movie.
The twist is a foofaraw. Totally needless and just ends up retroactively plot holing the shit out of what came before into an argle-bargley Swiss cheese clusterfuck. And if you’re really going to push this bullshit on us, why not justify the inclusion of of Joel’s fucking camera by using it here?! Have him set it down while he leaves the room to help someone else, then have Eve kill someone while in frame so there’s evidence to back up the big reveal! A bit hackneyed, sure, but at least it would’ve given some plausibility to the friggin’ bowl of boiling hot piss and pus they tried to force feed us instead!
Uggh. I need to get this over with before I pop an eyeball or some shit. Eve has her final sub-aquatic battle with her other half (grrrrrrrr), and after much struggling, puts a harpoon in the bitch’s gut (not her heart like she’s supposed to) killing her for good. But, when J&J come back, they find only Eve with a self-inflicted ‘poon impalement. Julia swims to her friend to check on her, and we’re jarred into the end credits, where some hilariously out-of-place Spanish nightclub music (see the end of this review to hear what I’m talking about!) serenades us into the final, deepest, darkest stages of utter madness. End.
We already know why I hate the story’s forced surprise ending (I never appreciate getting Shyamalan-ed up the ass) so let’s not hold our hands over that open flame any longer. Had we stuck with the simple “pissed off spirit out for vengeance” theme, I would’ve been fine. Hell, they could’ve copied and pasted the ending of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 and just buried Ursula’s bones on consecrated grounds and I may have even ended things on a happy note! Instead, we got what we got. Sad too, since I was a big fan of the religious context behind the attacks, what with that “killed in the fashion of their saints” jazz. It’s one of the few things that pulled The Nun up to a one-star affair from an otherwise absolute zero. But no, what little bits of delicious sweetness we were given were overrun by bitter, bitter poison. Like having a bottle of Tenafly Viper poured directly onto our brains. Do you smell something, Sheriff?
The low-to-moderate budget computer effects for Ursula are actually not bad. Pretty solid, even. The direction is fairly straight forward, which is to be expected from an editor’s first/only time in the big boy chair. Transitions from one scene to the next could’ve been smoother for the most part, rather than the odd whiplashes we witness. Not something you’d really expect a professional editor to flub, unless he was trying to play into that lame “music video smash cut” stuff that just doesn’t fit the atmosphere of a movie like this. The acting is generally terrible, as you’ve got two American characters being played by a Brit (I think) and an Icelander who mostly suppress their accents, but still sound NOTHING like two kids from New Jersey. Briem acts like she’s zonked on tranquilizers the entire time too, which doesn’t help matters. Also, as a white American (when I’m not an ebony Egyptian Death God) I’m not 100% on this, but is having an Argentinian playing a Spanish girl anything like having a Chinese actor playing a Japanese character? Or having Sean Connery play a Russian submarine Captain? It sounds like something that’s gotta be offensive to somebody. Either or, this cast is only a rung or two above an Ed Wood feature. Maybe when you’re casting for a movie with an English script, you should try to find people to whom English is their native tongue and not just some Frankensteinian monster tongue they bought at an Organs ‘R’ Us going-out-of-business sale.
Lastly (and certainly leastly), I still have no fucking idea what this stupid “Lake Test” is that Joel kept alluding to! It’s supposed to be some dirty joke, that part I get, but I can’t tell if it’s about whether a girl puts out or practices proper hygiene or who the fuck knows, fuck nose. It’s brought up several times and when he finally explains it to Julia he’s still not being direct enough to actually explain anything! If you’re not going to stop tiptoeing around it like a 12 year-old giggling through a sex-ed video, just shut your gob. Dingus.
So, that’s The Nun. Despite the acting and numerous nitpicks, I was fully prepared to give it a 2-out-of-5 before that candiru fish level of twist ending malarkey swam up our collective urethras. Bollocks! We’re now halfway through this thematic mini-marathon, and this purported production facility of the fantastic has as of yet failed to live up to its name. Well, failure in terms of fantastic quality anyway, not so much fantastic subject matter. To be fair, a demonic anti-hero fighting the Devil and a vengeful nunnly water spirit who kills with methods relating to the deaths of Catholic saints are both refreshing alternates to “just another slasher in a mask stabbing naked teens”. Aaaaaanyway, let’s see if Brian Yuzna can’t up the ante a bit for the latter half of this trip through the b-horror side of Spain, shall we?
Damn. I can’t believe I went this entire review without making a single reference to “The Flying Nun”. Oh well. I’ll make a note for when I eventually review The Convent. And on that note, cue my new exit music. Fuck ya later, lip smackers!
The most awkward day of the month at boarding school: virginity inspections.
“So, if God can do anything and create anything, could He create a cigarette with so much nicotine that even He would become addicted to it? Like… wow. Right?”
You know what’s a real sin? Spelling a word with two capitalized letters and one lower-case, like “SiN”. It’s right below spelling words with letters replaced by numbers. Someone needs a penance spanking!
This is why you don’t watch Evil Dead 2 before bed!
(Click HERE if that one went over your head)
For anyone who wasn’t sure this was a horror movie, I give you Exhibit J.
“I don’t know if it’s just the Molly or what, by my shoulder smells AMAZING to me right now! Come over here and taste it…”
“Keith David and I beat the shit out of each other for 6 straight minutes and that bastard still refused to put on these damn sunglasses!”
(Alternate joke: “Come with me if you want to live.”)
A dispenser that holds TWO rolls of toilet paper?! My gods! Who’s the genius that came up with this?! THIS NEEDS TO BE IN EVERY BATHROOM EVERYWHERE EVER!
Rush Limbaugh’s crapper finally fights back. (Hey! The paper’s on the other side of the toilet now! Boooo!)
Twelve years of piano lessons down the drain.
Delta Airlines tries out its new “Poverty Seating” option. The ride’s a little rough, and there’s no food or drink service, but you can’t beat the rates!
This “love at first site” moment brought to you by Xerox™. When you’re making a generic romantic movie scene audiences have seen a hundred times before, what better product to center it around than one from a company whose sole purpose is to make cheap reproductions!
This just became Quentin Tarantino’s new favorite movie.
“I put in for my wake up call at five thirty! FIVE thirty! Not SEVEN thirty, you moron!”
“I know it’s cold, Julia, but this intense training will all be worth it when you and I win every wet t-shirt contest next year at Spring Break!”
Anubis will return next time in
“Haunt of Horror”
Featuring: Temeura “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones” Morrison , Nicola “The Man Who Lost His Head” Kawana , Kate “No One Can Hear You” Elliott
Director: Danny “Rage” Mulheron
Writers: Brad “RoboCop: Prime Directives” Abraham , Joseph “RoboCop: Prime Directives” O’Brien , Briar Grace “The Strength of Water” Smith
Origin: New Zealand
Today’s stop on the World Tour de Farce 2015 has the 3rd largest percentage of vehicular deaths in the world! 20% of their deaths are due to tobacco smoking, and this is actually DOWN by 1/3 from what it was in the ’90s! Their sheep population outnumbers their human population 7-to-1! If human and sheep DNA were compatible, they’d be a nation of Satyr-like hybrid creatures who could knit their own sweaters in the winter! Oh yeah, and for all you big nerd-os, they also have this thing:
Tolkienites, start your whacking, because that’s the Green Dragon Inn. Yes, you can travel to New Zealand and live out all of your Tolkien-based role play fantasies in this replica of Middle Earth’s most famous motor(less) lodge. All the furry footjobs, hobbit holing, androgynous elf orgies, and dwarf sex (with ACTUAL dwarves!) you could ever ask for. While you’re there, surprise your lady with a Stinger! It’s basically just a Shocker, but you paint your hand Day-Glo blue first, call her “Shelob”, and hum while you’re doing it.
So, yes. We’re in New Zealand. Kiwi country. The island nation’s only major contribution to my life has been Peter Jackson, who helped make my high school years a little more tolerable through his brilliantly bat guano creations Bad Taste, Meet the Feebles, and Braindead/Dead Alive. Speaking of those delightfully gore-soaked off-the-wall horror-comedies, today’s feature is in the same vein *wink*wink*.
Before we begin though, it’ll help to have a crash course on the Maori. Actually, we don’t even need a crash course, as a simple summary will do: they’re the NZ equivalent of the US’s Native Americans. They were there first, Europeans came and took over, they were persecuted and poisoned and had their land pillaged, and they’re now treated as second class citizens. I’ll never understand racism, but then I also have a fully functional set of chromosomes and just enough self-esteem and sense of responsibility that I don’t blame my problems and mistakes on others. I am forever denied the bliss of ignorance. Oh well.
Our story begins at the St. Agnes Boarding School for Young Maori Ladies. Like any school that caters strictly to those of the feminine persuasion in the sinema, St. Aggy’s is a lesbo factory, helping to keep the local population down by turning otherwise normal teenage girls into stark raving homosexuals bent on smoking jazz cigarettes and scissoring each other until their vile acts of heathenish self-indulgence summon forth the Morning Star, who will plunge the world into Armageddonous HELL ON EARTH!
Or, here’s a novel idea, it could just be that lesbians are most likely to embrace and explore their genetic disposition for loving the company of other ladies in a place where the hetero pressures of the outside world to be “normal” are minimized to be almost entirely nonexistent, and the likelihood of meeting others like themselves is increased a few hundred fold. It’s not a choice. But being a shit-ass who ruins other peoples’ lives with fear and hatred is. Now go practice not being a scumbag, otherwise I’ll turn your brain A Clockwork Orange and give you the “Full Alex” in front of an endless loop of clips from “Mister Rogers” and “Sesame Street”.
Rather than do a typical rundown of the drama to be had, I’ll be avoiding excessive spoilers by introducing you to the characters themselves first, then getting into whatever nitty and/or gritty and/or titty that remains after. Savvy? Spiffy.
Rina Crane (Hanna Tevita) – our beautiful, barely legal heroine. The opening credits give both her attitude and effort ratings of “Excellent”! She’s a sarcastic little smart-ass artist type student at St. Agnes. She also draws her own comic book characters, making her a Maori Darlene Conner and I’m a little in love with her because of it. Rina’s favorite color is pink (less like Barbie’s convertible and more like the inside of a rare steak); her favorite foods are clam, feline, carpet, and box; despite having never played a woodwind instrument she excels at fingering; and her favorite activity on the swim team is the muff dive. I’d say it’s something of a spoiler by being blunt and telling you she’s a lesbian, but LITERALLY within the first 90 seconds of the movie she’s having nekkid shower time with another girl! I’m talking bare ass and boobs faster than you can say “They have lesbians in New Zealand?”. It’s nothing exploitative either. It’s all soft touches and smiles and gentle lathering while a pleasant track of something you’d hear in Bikini Bottom plays in the background. It’s almost too adorable to masturbate to!
Rina hasn’t come out to her family and friends back home yet. For now she just drops subtle hints, like when dad asks her if she’s been keeping clear of the all-boys schools, she replies with “I’m not even interested in boys… I’m too busy!”. Ah, the words every father used to want to hear their daughter say… back in the ’40s. Speaking of dear old dad…
Hemi Crane (Temuera “Jango Fett!” Morrison) – crazy-looking (but well dressed) father to Rina. His field of study (in which the best he’s managed is an Associates Degree) is the history and traditions of their Maori ancestors and the attempt to keep them alive in the wake of the pale skins’ crushing gentrification of this, their native land. Hemi’s successfully authored 5 papers and 3 books on the subject!… all of which were self-published… and all of which were total boondoggles, selling less copies than those weird niche books you see at Dollar Fandango about the Economics of Crossfit and housewife-on-a-budget stuff where a guardian angel falls in love with the woman he’s assigned to watch over. Hem’s in a constant state of denial, but his pride won’t let him accept these failures, of which those around him are sure to point out. His obsession over their ancestors’ “savage” ways has progressed to the point of re-establishing the long dead Maori cult of the Solomonites, named for the last “pure” Maori – Tommy Solomon. Pretty sure the cult is a product of this movie only, and are named as such for the way you can almost make it sound like “sodomites”. Not unlike the quote that opens this review!
Margaret Crane (Nicola Kawana) – mother to Rina. She’s a celebrity chef with a successful TV show! Like her betrothed she’s also a published author. Unlike her betrothed she’s successful, with 15 cookbooks and an autobiography under her belt. I wouldn’t mind a trip under her belt myself *wink*wink*nudge*nudge*. Hubba hubba! Hem’s more than a little jealous of Marge’s success, and attempts to use her cooking show as a way to promote his failed writing ventures. Also, she may or may not have had a well-publicized affair with her publisher. Margie gets the unenviable task of telling Rina about the little dietary lifestyle change the family has undertaken in her academic absence as a result of their conversion to Solomanism – they’re cannibals now!
Glenn Crane (Kahn West, not to be confused with the Kanye of similar monicker) – brother to Rina. He’s still in high school, where he spends a lot of time playing cricket and… that’s about all there is to him, really. Glenn spends most of the movie in his yellow vest and pleated white pants, which has gotta be the wimpiest sports uniform you’ll ever see. He does get some of the better lines in the script though, so good for him.
Shaun Armstrong (Will Robertson) – childhood friend to Rina. Shaun’s the token white male friend who likes to say he’s “Maori at heart” and goes to excessive lengths to immerse himself in the natives’ ways in an effort to dismiss his genetic pallor and identify more with Rina’s ethnic background. He’s the Middle Earth version of a whigger. Shaun’s been holding a crush on Rina since puberty and has convinced himself that her return to the hometown will finally be the moment of their storied journey where she realizes she’s in love with him too and they live happily ever after. Awww, I remember what it was like being that naive. Medical books call it Ducky Syndrome. The years of self-delusion via wishful thinking almost make up for the crippling heartbreak when you realize that they’ll never be able to view you romantically, and that torch you spent half your life carrying finally catches your shirt sleeve on fire and turns your arm into a mangled mess of beef jerky. Though I can identify with the guy, even I would push him out of a second story window if given half the chance.
Ritchie Tan (Leand Macadaan) – life changing catalyst to Rina. Ritchie’s a big ol’ Pacific Islander lookin’ dude (everyone thinks he and his brother have “Made in China” stamped on their asses) who’s been sentenced to 12 years in prison for murder, kidnapping, and selling fruit without a license. See, I was going to make some kind of funny little comment in there about a whimsical crime he might have committed, just because it was the perfect place to slip in a finger, errrr, joke. Then that “selling fruit without a license” thing popped up and sandbagged me. Such is the problem when reviewing a horror-comedy: competing with the movie’s built-in jokes! It’s easier with common denominator garbage like A Haunted House, cuz that crap biscuit couldn’t make me laugh if it filled my pants with Cool Whip and cracked me in the funny bone with a clown hammer.
Before Mr. Tan can start his stretch in the iron bars hotel (or whatever the Klink’s called down there… and I don’t mean Colonel), his bumbling cohorts in criminal activities dynamite the delivery van tasked with hauling his ample ass to Kiwi Alcatraz. Said suicide squad consists of dipshit demolition man Johnny (Jack Sergent-Shadbolt… what the fuck is a “Shadbolt”?), Ritchie’s uzi-slinging shortfuse spazoid junior sibling Paulie (Ralph Hilaga), and ‘Chie’s shotgun happy femme-fatale girlfriend Gigi (Kate Elliot) who, as a former army cunt, has more balls in her left pocket than the 3 boys she runs with carry combined. They’re packing raisins in a hanky, and she’s wielding billiards in Lord Humungus’s studded leather jock. Fuck with her not ‘lest you’ve grown weary of respiration.
Now that we’ve met The Fresh Meat Players, on with our show!
The gang’s little pre-jailbreak hits a snafu when their getaway car breaks down, leading them to seek shelter in the Crane family’s open garage before they can be spotted by a search helicopter. And just like that, we’ve got a hostage situation…just moments after Rina has discovered a human hand marinating in the fridge…which Mum and Da do not try to pass off as a very realistic jell-o mold, the way you’d expect them to in a comedy. On the Sticky Situations Scale, this rates a “naked sorority girls wearing caramel bikinis wrestling in a bed of cotton candy, then reverse gangbanging the cycloptic tar monsters from that episode of ‘Scooby-Doo Where Are You?‘”.
Who’s gonna come out of this mess alive? Will ANYONE come out of it alive? With a house full of cannibals and killers, which side do you root for!?
Fresh Meat is an oddball of a movie to take in. It’s like a New Zealand comedy rendition of 1996’s Real Killers, without the “oh so ’90s” Dia de los Muertos harlequin skull face makeup jobs and with a lot more wacky cannibalism hijinks. If this movie had had a few dozen scenes of characters dissecting American pop culture, you could also mistake it for a Tarantino movie. Hell, the soundtrack’s even littered with beach party music and the epilogue is a big “we love horror movies too!” homage ending scene that you’re not sure you should enjoy for being just random and referential enough that it works, or give a wet razz to for jamming it’s tongue straight through your cheek and out the other side.
Jango Fett is the real stand out of the movie, as he chews scenery with almost as much aplomb as his character does human flesh. The rest do their thing with talent and competency, but I’m way too lazy right now to call out every individual performance. Sorry, folks. I’m sure you won’t need much therapy to resolve getting passed over by some unimportant Yankee in his review of your movie that will get 10 reads at best. The other few hundred page views will just be perverts who found this by Googling “Scooby-Doo reverse gangbang”, much to the disappointment of their psychologically abused libidos.
Whatever your feelings on the movie as a whole, it’s more than a little weird to watch as a left-leaning American Death God. If Fresh Meat were made in the US, the Cranes would be Native Americans and things would probably be shut down by the PC police before principal shooting started. I’d probably side with the Native Americans on this one too. I mean, Hemi’s got a line where he makes sure to point out, “We’re not Maori cannibals, we’re just cannibals who happen to be Maori!”, but even if, it still feels like kicking someone after years of already holding them down and taking everything they own, then excusing it by saying “I’m not doing this to you because you’re an Indian, you just happen to be an Indian I’m doing this to!”. Or maybe my heart’s just bleeding today and I should “get over it”. Speaking of which, kudos to Parker and Stone for their Redskins episode of “South Park”. Thank you.
Politics and liberal guilt aside, I don’t have a whole lot else to say about the movie itself. It may be a tad long in the runtime, but without ruining things for would-be viewers, I can’t really say much else. So, instead, I thought I’d ramble on for a few more paragraphs due to a lack of anything better to do. As such, let’s start with some fun firearm and human biology facts taught to us by today’s educational feature, Fresh Meat:
Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!
What’s a battle?
Did that boy just say “What’s a battle?”?
No. He said “What’s that rattle?”. It’s about the heating duct.
Hmm, it sounded like “battle”.
I’ve had a cold, so–
Oh so you would hear ‘r’s as ‘b’s?
And that ladies and germs, is why “Simpsons” exchanges aren’t nearly as funny when textualized.
Ending on a bit of random info, in case you ever land on a pink square while playing Trivial Pursuit: NZ Edition, director Danny Mulheron (who’d probably enjoy my labeling him as “Kiwi Tarantino”) was the man inside of Heidi the Hippo (take that as you will [she sure did! Wakka wakka!]) in Peter Jackson’s iconic muppet massacre of pre-mainstream depravity, Meet the Feebles! Not really much of a surprise that he’d worked for Jackson at some point, as everybody in New Zealand has at one time or another by now. Even more interesting is Mulheron’s turn as Blighty Tater in the 1989 TV series “Worzel Gummidge Down Under” which, to be honest (something my Evil Dead Bride would assure doesn’t happen often), I would have no fucking clue what a Worzel Gummidge even was if it weren’t for watching scads of OSW Review (>>>Splicey Splicey<<<) reruns. Whovians take note, though, because the titular straw golem of the series was played by none other than John Pertwee, AKA the Third Doctor, AKA the voice of Spottyman in one of my childhood favorite cartoonies – “SuperTed”! Holy shit, I gotta go see if there’s any “SuperTed” on YouTube after this…
Oh, and on a FINAL final note, before I leave this land of beauty and wonder to travel to my next stop in the Grand Prix of global movie mocking, whatever happened to Old Zealand?…
On a FINAL finally final final note: For anyone not privy to the inspiration for my alternate title on this episode, I yield the floor to Mr. Frederick Krueger circa his lauded line reading from The Bard’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. Take it away, Pizza Face!
“Deputy Head Girl” sounds like a position better suited for a co-ed school… Also, her parents wanted the doctor to put “Aloha” as her middle name on the birth certificate, but he was Chinese. Ouch.
Was the all girls school he sent her to a Stewardess School by chance? Look at that uniform!
“Didn’t you used to sell bootleg DVDs outside of the downtown Dunkin’ Donuts? You got the new Adam Sandler movie?!”
Paulie finally hits his breaking point with people trying to sell him used panties, assuming he’s Japanese.
Am I too late to make a Gigli joke? Really? “At least 7 years”? Shit. Well… I got nothin’. Move along!
“Though I admire you for your bravery in sharing your story with the world, do you think it was wise to go with your bikini photo as the front cover graphic!?”
She looks like a 5 year-old girl dressed a Barbie doll with mismatched outfits, then gave her a shotgun from an older brother’s GI Joe figures. The judges would’ve also accepted “Detroit hooker”.
“No, they didn’t let me keep the Jango Fett costume after we wrapped Star Wars. Can we please keep the interview to questions about my new movie?!”
“You ever just hang your ass over the side and try to shit on somebody’s car? I’d be doing that, like, EVERY day if I were you!”
Uggh, you NEVER wanna be on your knees in front of a fat guy wearing sweatpants. I’ve seen it from both (don’t judge!) sides and just holding your breath isn’t gonna make what’s behind those waistband ties any easier to swallow… LITERALLY!
Maori bling just isn’t “blingy” enough. Now the Aztecs, they were light years ahead of the rest of the uncivilized world when it came to personal accessories!
Don’t get excited folks, that’s just milk. In my weekly support group, we call that a “Mookakke”.
“I don’t care if a bald man wearing a shower cap is like putting gas into a broken down car! Can we go back to the Jango Fett questions now?!”
Anubis will return next time in
“Scum Yuppies Must Die!”