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: Mathew “Samurai Cop” Karedas , Mark “Samurai Cop” Frazer , Bai “Crank: High Voltage” Ling , and a VERY special appearance by Tommy “The Room” Wiseau
Director: Gregory “Mad Cowgirl” Hatanaka
Writers: Gregory “Mad Cowgirl” Hatanaka, Rich “Sociopathia” Mallery, Tony “American Nudist” Young
Follows: Samurai Cop
Hey. So… I’ve been gone awhile. Let’s just say it was something funny like a whiskey-fueled vision quest through the Gobi Desert with the ghost of Hunter S. Thompson so I don’t have to talk about my actual problems. Groovy? Groovy.
Anyway, 2015 ended on an omega level downer with the passing of Our Lord Lemmy Kilmister, and so far 2016 has been a Hollywood hit parade of death. I won’t post the ever growing list of the lost, as we’ve all got enough to be down-in-the-dumps aboot. Prior to anybody pointing their accusation fingers, let the record show that their deaths weren’t my doing! My bosses in the Pantheon decided that they were doing away with letting vacation days roll over, so I’ve been on a break from the reaping race for the last few months with that whole vision quest thing, lest I lose my paid days cache. Nobody fucks with my vacation days, ya dig? Dunno who’s been covering my shifts since, but I’d bet my life savings (an abandoned van buried in upstate NY that’s full of empty bottles and cans) that you can direct your digital hate mail to Tuoni via email@example.com if you’re looking for someone to vent on. Those Finnish gods can be real pricks when no one’s looking. He’s the hemorrhoid who pulled the trigger on Donald Pleasence after finally seeing The Puma Man on “MST3K”!
The year kicked off on a total wet fart start and has rolled mercilessly down that same path ever since. But, let’s just see if we can’t open up a Glade Freshness Bomb© and dissipate some of this emotional flatulence with a few laughs! Before we grab our garlic buttered popcorn and our pitchers of Jack & Coke (now known as “The Lemmy”), let’s catch the neophytes up on just what a “Samurai Cop” is.
In 1991, a thistle thong bikini of a movie named Samurai Cop was let loose on the metaphorical bathing suit area of cinema seekers the world over. The penultimate picture for since-dead Iranian writer/director Amir Shervan, SC was made on a budget that would make so-called “shoestring” projects look like summer blockbusters in contrast. Known by some as the homeless man’s Lethal Weapon, the flick was an offense to the senses. At the plot’s epicenter, two Asian gangs were at war over some prime crime Los Angeles real-estate: a Chinese gang known as the Ginza and a Japanese Yakuza splinter group calling itself The Katana, who were such a tiny splinter of the Yakuza that there were only two Asian members (one of whom may have actually been half Mexican), with the remainder of the roll call being filled with black and white extras in thrift store “$5 Bag of Rags” wardrobes. The most notable of the Katana was their big white enforcer, Yamashita, whose full beard wasn’t enough to disguise the monstrous jaw behind it. Yep, it’s our dear dearly departed friend of the Tomb: Robert Z’Dar. The Maniac Cop himself. May his chin forever rest in peace.
Assigned to take the bad guys down were LAPD Detective Frank Washington (Mark Frazer) and SDPD Detective Joe Marshall (Mathew Karedas), who was flown in to help with the case given his extensive background in Japanese culture. Yep, our titular titan of law enforcement is a white guy name Joe. Such brave casting. Bravo.
Between Joe's sped-up sword fighting powers (and the poorly attached lady mop upon his brow) and Frank's penchant for indiscriminately shooting bad guys on a whim (and his arsenal of goofy facial expressions and bad jokes), the villains had no chance. The bad guys were brought down, invitations for sex were thrown around between characters more than an '80s porno, cake was served, and another awful movie slipped into the obscurity it was condemned to, not even getting a riffing aboard the Satellite of Love like fellow '90s trash bin refugees Future War, Werewolf, The Final Sacrifice, and Soultaker.
The acting, the dialogue, the dubbing, the action-free action sequences, the FF>> car chases, the FF>> sword duel, the inconsistent film quality (and tint), the unbalanced audio, the awkward sex scenes (one preceded by the seduction of a woman via birthday cake and banana hammock), the 4th grade art class wall decoration of a lion’s head, the random gay Costa Rican waiter with an affinity for cops (or “cawps” as he calls them). It all added up to a mind-boggling murder orgy for the IQ points of all who watch it. I was lucky to have the commentary track of Trash Movie Master Joe Bob Briggs hold my hand through the initial viewing, so I recommend you seek out the same DVD release to lube up your sanity sphincter rather then just trying to cornhole yourself dry with this one. Barring that, I suggest getting your wittiest friends together and ingesting some mood enhancing chemicals if nothing else, because it is a sanity train wreck.
I honestly couldn’t tell if Samurai Cop was a clusterfuck of outright incompetence, or the many-layered master plan of a diabolical genius who was crafting a legacy that would inspire others long after his death. Either way, thanks to the total corruption of humanity by the internet’s reach, some of history’s failingest failures that ever failed have been brought to the attention of people who probably would have avoided them otherwise. And thanks to another arm of the worldwide web’s spider god (crowdfunding sites), Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance was conjured from the darkest depths of The Deep Ones to rain emotional trauma upon us as like a golden shower of madness from All-Father Odin himself. That guy downs a LOT of mead too, so you know that’s gotta be a frothy, odorous, volatile shower.
So yes, my own cinemasochism aside, I place a mountain of blame for the mental meltdown given to me by watching Samurai Cop Part Deux upon YOU, the sadists who threw their disposable income at the creators of this project, thus enabling them to commit their proposed sin upon the rest of us! Speaking of, we’re two pages into this episode, so I should probably prematurely eject the pregame show and make with reviewing the actual movie whose moniker adorns the above subject line! Don’t worry, since it’s still a relatively new release I won’t be going into a lot of detail about the plot, so this is gonna be a shorter read for those with a bus to catch or a loved one waiting for you to pick them up from prison. But not for you dominatrices out there. You’re being paid to be in charge, damn it! Earn your paycheck and subject them to the sweet abuse of tardiness!
Also, ignore the irony of letting me tell you what to do if you actually took that last bit to heart. *wink*wink*
For anyone who wasn’t sure what tone the movie was going to take (like myself), here’s a hint: the opening scenes flashbacks to 1991 to focus on detectives Washington and Marshall and the tragic event (and Joe’s subsequently hilarious reaction – the greatest repeated delivery of “NO!” since Dr. Loomis lost his shit during the Halloween IV finale) leading up to their eventual separation from each other… and no attempt is made at concealing how much both actors have aged in the quarter-century since. So, yeah, this flick is gonna be intentionally terrible. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is relative to your personal preferences. As for me? It’s a fine line between dumb and fun and dumb fun when it comes to intended crappy movie-ness. That said…well, if I told you right now, you might not read the rest of the review, so let’s carry on!
25 years later, Joe and Frank are estranged. While Detective Washington has continued the civil struggle to uphold law and order (the state of social being, not the TV show) in LA, Marshall-san has gone off the grid to live the hermit life away from the temptations and torments of humanity. You know, like a “Facebook break”, but in real life. The conflict that will inevitably bring the pair back together? The Katana and Ginza are at it again! Despite being killed in the prior feature, Katana patriarch Fuj Fujiyama (Cranston Komuro) is back, older than dirt and twice as ugly. Since the slapdash “take what you can get” assemblage of random black and white guys didn’t serve his needs so well in ’91, Fuj Fuj’s since outsourced his goon hiring to one of those talent agencies that works solely in porn actors. Not to be confused with one of those video series where it’s a fake porn agency and the guy’s just pounding amateurs on a casting/blasting couch to post on his xHamster account.
Fuj Fuj’s Clitori Quorum cuntcists (“Cunt cysts”? Might wanna get to your gyno.) of adult actresses Bai Ling, Lexi Belle, and Nicole Bailey (aka Zoey Monroe – check out “Princess Peach Gets Fucked By Her Kingdom” for more of Miss Monroe’s thespianism). Ling plays Doggé, not to be confused with Doge the canine meme. Snoop Doggéy Doggé is Fuj Fuj’s current Katana enforcer, while Hera (Belle) and Tessa (Bailey) bring up her rear (much where I’d like to be) as her kinky muscle. And if you expected a muffdive-a-trois scene in a movie where a trio of porn actresses play deviant characters in roles involving power differentials, well, you’re right. Don’t get too excited though, cuz it looks like the movie’s Kickstarter didn’t make it to the “hardcore sex scenes” tier. It’s 10 seconds of 2am Skinemax at best.
A series of assassinations have sprung up in the LA area in recent weeks, with bigwig power players from the Ginza (no longer Chinese and instead now ALSO members of the Japanese Yakuza for no apparent reason) being the targets. The killers leave Katana medallions behind, so it seems we’ve got a Yakuza civil war on our hands. Not nearly as cool as Captain America: Civil War, but what is? You know what else isn’t? Batman v. Superman. Fuck you and your Christ allegories right in the gall bladder, Zack Snyder.
In their rise to power, the Katana also start shit with their other rivals, the Shinjuku, turning this tale into a 3-way war to keep the Shins and Gins from treaty-ing up against them… I think? I don’t know. Either I’m being dragged through a shit pit of a script or I’ve suddenly been stricken with ADHD. I re-watched the first 15 minutes half-a-dozen times and I still couldn’t make heads nor tails of this clusterfuck! Anyway, Frank’s investigation brings him into contact with an emaciated Joe Marshall who looks like human beef jerky. After killing an impromptu gang of pop-up ninjas, the Black Gift and the Wonder Bread Warrior re-buddy up and get down to hero business.
The remaining hour boils down to oddball fight scenes, Joe using the old Samurai Cop magic to seduce a young Joan Jett look-a-like, random cameos from returning bit characters, Tommy Wiseau in bad Black Mask cosplay shouting incoherent lines of dialogue fed to him from off-camera, and all manner of oddly shot scenes awkwardly cut together with flashback footage and unexplained clips from fake TV commercials. The callbacks and parodizing of the original movie (like the return of the random lion head!) give way to weird-ass fever dream nonsense that was either included as a film school freshman effort to “art up” the production a la David Lynch, or was the result of the movie being edited with a wood-chipper and an industrial sized jar of Elmer’s.
Whereas much of Samurai Cop was shot in generic outside settings (parking lots, presumably abandoned property, etc), Deadly Vengeance was shot almost entirely on closed sets, many of which resemble the backgrounds for any number of direct-to-video Aliens and Terminator knock-off features from the far gone ’80s and ’90s. Exterior scenes mostly consist of fly-by footage of LA and the actors standing in front of green screens… mostly. Green screens? Yeah, Executive Producer Wiseau definitely had more than one hand in this hole. My favorite instance of this? A Tor Johnsony Yakuza goon marches in place in front of a Chinatown backdrop, only said backdrop stays stationary, thus killing the illusion of movement outright. If Ed Wood were alive today, this type of screen tech tomfoolery would be one of his hallmarks.
Speaking of Ed Wood, the acting is all bad. Very bad. Very very bad. Not sure if it’s all just part of the joke (which Mark Frazer is clearly in on, if nothing else) or what happens when your cast is made up of more than a few professionals from the meat market back lots. Or back door lots if you pay them an extra 20%. Bai Ling’s performance is particularly horrendous, but she’s such a coke-fueled dynamo that it was impossible for me not to witness! She’s the type of woman you equally want to get drunk with and fear getting drunk with because you’re almost positive that she’s the 29th Lord of Chaos. You never know which direction she’s gonna take her Wonkavator in, but you should have your life insurance paid up before you get on board! Speaking of things I unironically enjoyed, I would legit pay real money for a copy of the movie’s soundtrack. Why? Because I’m a manimal.
A couple interesting tidbits of triv for y’all – at one point, Joe comments that he’d heard everyone on the force thought he was dead. Chances are this is an inside joke. The movie was originally supposed to feature Frank teaming with Joe’s daughter to fight the almost exclusively Caucasian Japanese marauders…because Hatanaka and friends didn’t realize that Karedas was still alive to reprise the title role! Once they found out, though, everything was rewritten and so we got the movie we have today instead. Also, despite his passing before he could be involved with the actual production of the movie, Robert Z’Dar’s visage plays “Where’s Waldo?” a few times along our trek to the end credits, as well as an homage drop of someone being called a “maniac cop”. Finally, were you aware that one-off 007 George Lazenby was originally enlisted to play a part in the pic? True story. Unfortunately, the geezer was a bit under the weather when he was scheduled to shoot his part, so his “shaken, not stirred” ass had to be written right off Her Majesty’s secret service and out the proverbial door. Oh what could have been though…
And that’s that. Samurai Cop 2 was part fanboy love letter sequel and part Russian Roulette of retarded nonsense. The good, the bad, and the mediocre. I came, I saw, I did the walk of shame after. It outdoes its predecessor in terms of production value and general competence, but doesn’t snag that coveted “so bad, it’s good” category that it seemed to want to be. There are hushed whispers in these haunted hills of a making-of documentary on Deadly Vengeance‘s origins rumored to see release this summer. If said fruits reach a ripened state, you can bet I’ll be throwing up my thoughts here like so much expired canned lobster meat. So, look forward to that! Or don’t. I’m not responsible for your personal expectations.
For those who tried to call me out (including one person who actually sent me a fax!) over my disdainful comments about black licorice in my last review, let me state very clearly right now so everyone knows it: I do NOT discriminate against candy based on its color nor country of origin! I’m no Reescist. *rimshot*
Oh, and on the topic of call outs, this one goes to the Donald Trump supporter who called me a “faggot” for my negative comments about said sentient anal wart Chia Pet marinated in Nacho Cheese during my Danger 5 review: I am unvexed by your lazy slur. It doesn’t apply to me, so it has no power over me. It’s about as effective as calling me a giraffe or a dining room table. If I were gay, I’d feel empowered to separate your jaw from the rest of your no doubt misshapen skull, rattling your tiny pea brain around like the stirring bead inside of a can of spray paint. As is though, your insult was flaccid. Actual gay men would probably be more insulted at you calling me a “faggot”, as I’m far from being the sexiest bear in the Yellowstone circle jerk. Either way, get your head out of your grandpappy’s ass and check your calendar. It’s 2016. If you can’t come up with something portraying a little spontaneous wit (might I suggest “shit juggler” or “coconut fuck” to get you started?), don’t waste our air oxygenating your racist, sexist, xenophobic, fetid gray matter. And you know why I can call you a racist, sexist, xenophobe? Because you’re supporting someone who is literally those things! I’d toss some more unsavory truths your way in retort, but you’ve already outed yourself as a Trump Thumper, and it’s hard to hit you below the belt when you’re so proudly wearing it around your ankles. Besides, insults coming to me from a Drumpf guzzler? You might as well be shooting spitwads at a Sherman. Hell, you didn’t even have the chutzpah to use your real email address in your feedback form! If you wanna live under the rule of a propaganda propagating penis potato (or “dick tater”), break out your Mr. Fusion and go heil Der Fuhrer with the rest of your time displaced ilk. #MyStruggle #DoTheDrumpftyDrumpf
Now, I’m off to watch “Lucha Underground” and make love to the root beer float birthday cake my Evil Dead Bride made me before she gets home from the killing fields. Will I be back soon with another mediocre episode of tepid humor and unwarranted angerlust? I make no guarantees beyond the guarantee that there are no guarantees…I gare-own-tee! Later, nerds.
I guess Troy McClure is renting his place out for porno shoots now. Here’s a screenshot from Gropers & Groupers, cumming soon!
Jeezus. I used to think I was 100% hetero, but after this I think I may be a Bai sexual. *rimshot*
Ladies, if your ass has never caused a black man to make a face like that, you need to drink more milk. Yowza!
“You’re lucky. I wanted a machine gun too, but they just gave me this weird Spencer’s Gifts disco ball piece of shit. How the fuck am I supposed to kill anybody with this thing!?”
Special guest appearance by “Strangers with Candy”’s Jerri Blank.
Holy Nefertiti’s titties. After 25 years, Joe looks like an unwrapped mummy.
Kids, THIS is why you always use a lubricant when masturbating. *The More You Know*
Tommy Wiseau’s next project? A remake of the David Hasslehoff “drunken cheeseburger consumption” video.
The lion patiently stalks his prey. As much as we want to interject and save her, we cannot interfere with nature. We can only continue filming as Joyce DeWitt’s fate is sealed.
Wiseau is not shielding his eyes to view an atomic blast or a solar eclipse. He’s simply heeding the Surgeon General’s warning for the safest way to watch Paul Blart 2.
Sure, it’s only a repainted NERF gun, but in her hands it might as well be a grenade launcher! RUN!
Don’t worry Joe, everyone’s probably too distracted by the naked lady sword fight to notice you desperately sucking in your gut back there.
One of the gaffers filled Joe’s suit with centipedes during his last bathroom break.
There are worse ways to wake up than with a woman’s nipple giving you a Wet Willy. Joe’s just upset because he was having that nightmare where he’s Chekov in Wrath of Khan.
“Yes, I am Joe Estevez. Yes, I am the brother of Martin Sheen, and the uncle of Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez. And yes, I was the villain in Rollergator. Now, if you’re done being starstruck, could you direct me to the craft services table?”
President Donald Trump with Vice President Nightman (ahhhAHHHHahhh!).
(The Nightman Cometh)
A still from Greg Hatanaka’s new Kickstarter campaign to fund his next Tommy Wiseau vehicle: Black Mask 3: Meet Joe Black Mask.
Anubis will return next time in
“Big Top Beatdown”
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”
Featuring: Jared “Supernatural” Padalecki , Danielle “Piranha 3DD” Panabaker , Amanda “The Mentalist” Righetti , with Derek Mears as Jason
Director: Marcus “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)” Nispel
Writers: Damian “Freddy vs. Jason” Shannon , Mark “Freddy vs. Jason” Swift , Mark “The Messengers” Wheaton
Editor’s Note: None of that last part happened. He paid $200 for a cheap plastic elephant bottle filled with Country Time Lemonade drink-mix powder.
Writer’s Note: Damn it…
This is the first of a four part series I’m calling “Shake, Bake, & Remake”, focusing on remakes (duh) of otherwise infamous flicks that I can’t actually review here in the New Tomb, thanks to my self-imposed “Current Millennium Movies Only” edict. I’m not saying I’ve got it as hard as those religious kooks who put themselves through self-flagellation to prove their piousness, but I’m not not saying I’ve got it that hard either… and yes, I just said “I’ve got it that hard” ladies, in case you’re feeling frisky.
There have been a LOT of these remakes in the last 15 or so years, so it was only a matter of time before I could stop ignoring the epidemic and had to spread awareness though my only available portal to the masses. “The more you know” and all that. Anyway, it seems that every 365 days the Hollywood Xerox machine is sputtering out new half-assed paper jam abortions to try and cash-in on recycled ideas, much to the chagrin of long time movie lovers. The kingpin of this human centipede-inal process of turning food into shit into somebody else’s food is Michael Bay. He’s not just a boogeyman that creative thinkers use to scare their children into brushing their teeth and washing their ears before bed, lest he steal their imagination, either. Depending on who you ask, Bay’s career is either one big punchline (with an explosion at the end) or a new holocaust that will be marked as one of the darkest times in human history. I personally would like him to hang himself with his own intestines, but I write the same thing whenever I get one of those damn customer service surveys on my receipts. That’s just the kinda Death God I am.
In honor of the holiday (What? I always take Friday the 13th off from work. You don’t?!), I’m kicking things off with a figurative kick in the balls: 2009’s Friday the 13th. Now, since it’s officially hit its 5 year expiration date, this movie’s now ripe for spoilage. If you haven’t already seen it, and you’re expecting anything beyond “a guy in a hockey mask kills a bunch of horny teens”, you may want to close this window now and go on with your blissful ignorance until you can see it for yourself. For those of you who have seen it, or could care less about watching paper-thin plots put through the proverbial shredder, I’ll do what I can to make your stay a pleasant one. Now, onward to violence!
Not a true remake of the original (because 95% of casual slasher movie fans don’t even know who the fuck Pamela Voorhees is), this F13 takes the broad-minded clusterfuck approach of jamming an un-lubed speculum into a 106 minute running time and trying to stuff four movies worth of dongs into it. Sure, most people would say, “Dude, they’re just slasher movies. You’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all, so what’s the big deal of cutting four down into one?”. Jane, you ignorant slut. You know not of the things you speak, so I’ll forgive your lack of awareness long enough to let you get out the front door and leave this place, never to return again. Seriously though, you’d be surprised how much more there is to the story of Jason Voorhees than “kills naked thirty-somethings pretending to be teenage camp counselors”. But, I’d probably have better luck trying to teach a cat how to evolve into a squid. Either you get it or you don’t. I’d rather eat razor blades than watch Twilight, so different strokes get off different folks…unless you get off to “Diff’rent Strokes”, in which case there’s help for your sickness – at the bottom of a well. Go find it. Headfirst. The world thanks you.
The original movie gets put through the Cuisinart worst of the four originals, being hacked into little more than a black & white flashback played during the opening credits (yes, the opening credits) of Pam voiding her hat-of-the-month membership thanks to the final would-be victim of her Camp Crystal Lake murder revenge tour. The story’s still the same – she blames the counselors for the drowning death of her special needs son Jason, having been too preoccupied with cavorting of the pants-less kind to watch the little mutant while he was swimming. As any parent would like to do, Momma hacked ’em up like a butcher on bath salts. But, her death by self-defense decapitation was viewed by her still-living little boy. Taking up the very machete used for the aforementioned decap attack, Jason would go on a lifelong crusade of surviving on his own and serial killing anybody unfortunate enough to set foot on the campgrounds of Crystal Lake. The time it took you to read that is about 3 times longer than the movie actually spends setting things up.
There are a number of barbs this movie maliciously drops down the back of our pants, but there are two in particular that gave me the greatest trouble sitting down after experiencing them. I’m now going to address the first – of all the things the writers could’ve done to tweak the tale of Jason Voorhees, the one most in need of adjustment are his years between seeing his mother die and starting his successful career as a killer of the people that Mountain Dew and Miley Cyrus are marketed to. It never sat well with me that we were expected to believe that a deformed retard child not only survived his drowning (The police never recovered his body from the lake?! Are you fucking kidding me?!), and not only chose to live in the wilderness rather than seek help from anyone in the community, but he actually MANAGED to live off of small animals and berries and raccoon shit for two decades, then just happened to witness his mother’s death, which sent him a killing spree for the next 20 years?! All of this is stupid! So, perfect chance for the reboot writers to retcon it the fuck out and make something more sensible, right? Like, maybe Jason survived the swimming incident and Pam’s killing spree wasn’t due to his death, but still due to the negligence of the counselors? She obviously wasn’t the sanest kumquat on the fruit cart, right? So it would make sense, especially if she brought Jason along with her to witness how much she loves him by striking wrathful vengeance in his name. It would definitely go a long way in explaining his own use of violence in avenging her death for the rest of his life. As far as the whole “living off the land for twenty years licking moss” bullshit, just put him into foster care following mom’s rampage, have him murder his caretakers at some point in his teens, then let him make the trek back to Crystal Lake to set up shop and we’re on our way! But no, let’s not do that. Instead, these dipshit fuck bags decide to fart in the face of effort and just stick with the whole Mowgli thing – Jason’s raised by squirrels or some nonsense and he’s just there and he’s always been there and when everybody who goes out there is never heard from again NOBODY WILL NOTICE OR DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT! GRARRGHGRRRRRAAAAARRRRRRRRGH!
Pardon my embolism. Uggh. So, yeah. New Jason is an adult now who may or may not have his own marijuana crop out in the woods around Crystal Lake. He lives in the abandoned remains of the camp (abandoned following the mass murder incident), probably drinking his own urine or just coating his intestines with parasites from chugging the lake water. There’s probably a whole hive of squirmy things in his guts. He probably doesn’t even poop anymore because the colony of colon worms just eat all his feces for him then re-poop it back into his blood stream, gradually turning him into an unstoppable dung golem. Where was I? Oh yeah, Jason’s pot field. For something like 10 minutes we’re introduced to a small group of friends who have come to Crystal Lake to sleep (and pork) under the stars. Two of the guys (one of which is a poor man’s Seth Rogen that looks so much like Ragnarok from Cinemasochist Apocalypse that I had to rub my eyes in one of those slapstick comedy double takes to make sure I wasn’t imagining it) are secretly there to steal weed from this legendary crop the one guy’s dealer told him about, the third guy is there to snoop around the campgrounds with his “girl next door” lady love, and the remaining female is there to show off her nauseating botched ’80s boob job and have silhouette doggystyle with one of the weed guys in their tent. They’re solely here as Jason fodder, hence all the marijuana and sex and trespassing. Jason himself is wearing a sack on his head a la F13 2, but it looks more like a pillowcase wrapped around his face than the traditional potato sack. Back to the delinquents. Imperfect Ragnarok Clone gets hacked up, his New Wave Holdover pot hunting partner gets macheted in the face like Leonard Lies, Gross Tit Job gets torched alive in her sleeping bag, Unthreatening Trespasser Boyfriend gets dragged through a floor and presumably slaughtered off-screen, and Appropriate Acting Trespasser Girlfriend is presumed also macheted. Until later on, when it’s revealed that Jason just takes her captive because she looks kinda like this picture of his mom that he keeps in a locket.
Hey, I told you I was gonna be spoiling this nonsense like 6 month old milk! If you stuck around to drink it, you’ve only got yourself to blame, Jermaine. Hope you like sour and chunky, cuz I’ve got plenty more to pour down your gullet. NO WASTE!
After ALL of this, we finally get our title card, some 25 minutes in. Somebody cal Guinness, because that’s gotta be the longest pre-title prologue sequence ever witnessed. From here we fast forward to “6 Weeks Later”, where a second group of irresponsible twenty-somethings are also making an ill-advised trip to corpse country. Since this is supposed to be the part where the Friday the 13th Part 3-D “homage” initiates, this rainbow coalition (well, it’s 5 white people and their token black and Asian friends) is assembling at the family summer house of their leader Trent (Travis Van Winkle) who, if you couldn’t already tell by his name, is such a massive douche bag that he might as well be played a gallon milk jug filled with vinegar that has “Summer’s Eve” stamped on the side. The only real elements of note from this group are that goofy blond pretty boy slacker Nolan is played by Ryan Hansen of “Party Down” (a criminally under-appreciated comedy from Starz that NOBODY watched), and token black guy Lawrence (Arlen Escarpeta) who, despite the *wink*wink* moment of not wanting to be stereotyped as one of those black guys, doesn’t even come off as an n-word, he comes off like a whigger because he tries too damn hard to be one of said black guys! I’m pretty sure he graduated Valedictorian of the Black Acting School’s Class of 2008… Hollywood Shuffle? Nothing? Really!? Isis help me…
Transitioning into the Friday the 13th: the Final Chapter section of our movie, lone wolf heartthrob-on-a-motorcycle Clay Miller (Jared Padalecki) is also in the area, not just to play the forbidden love interest to our female lead – King Douche’s set-upon good girl girlfriend Jenna (Danielle Panabaker) – but to find his sister Whitney (Amanda Righetti), who went missing in the area 6 weeks earlier. Yep, Locket Girl. Speaking of, she’s spent the last month and a half captive in Jason’s underground cave lair (which is way more “influenced” by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 than anything F13), and looks WAY too clean for someone shackled in her own filth for 40 days and nights. Here’s a sticking point that Michael Bay’s welcome to stick in his boom boom hole: despite Camp Crystal Lake being long abandoned, it’s still wired for electricity, which Jason turns on with one of those big mad scientist switches that just don’t carry the same panache without the “It’s alive! ALIVE!” schtick accompanying it.
Clay’s search for sis isn’t helped by the incompetent local podunk police force (an F13 series staple), especially Officer Brackle (Richard Burgi, who looks like the bastard spawn of Patrick Warburton and Huey Lewis) who recommends that Clay go looking elsewhere because Whitney and her friends probably just ran away somewhere else to disappear without a trace…having NO CONNECTION WHATSOEVER TO OTHER STORIES OF ERRANT CITIZENS THAT HAVE REMAINED UNSOLVED IN THE CRYSTAL LAKE AREA ALL THESE YEARS ……… and there goes another embolism. Though there’s no Crazy Ralph proper in this movie, there is an unnamed old demented lady (Roseanne Knower) who does the job, filling in Clay on the whole sordid history of Crystal Lake being a Bermuda Triangle for missing credit card applicably aged delinquents.
And beyond that? Not a whole lot to report. Jason kills everybody. In fact, he starts with a local yokel white trash stoner (who my Evil Dead Bride perfectly described as “exactly the kind of guy who would lick the pages in Hustler”) who I can’t help but feel is playing a part that was originally written for Jason “Jay of Jay & Silent Bob fame” Mewes. Whether you agree with me at first glimpse or not, once he starts sexually harassing a decrepit mannequin, I think you’ll come to my side of the opinion pond. Beyond licking porno mags (bet they taste salty) and groping inanimate objects, this guy’s reason for being isn’t just to be killed, but so Jason can find a certain iconic piece of sporting equipment in the dumbass’ smoke & stroke shack. Having taken up his sword (machete) and donned his magic helmet (hockey mask), the mighty masked mauler can go about his destined destruction of these purveyors of moderate debauchery. Using more skillful hunting techniques rather than simple smashery & slashery for the most part, the result is the same – everybody ceases to be and joins the choir invisible. I’m fine with that, except for Jason’s more agile feats, like climbing onto a roof with relative ease (ninja fart style: silent but deadly), then leaping down afterward to stab someone through the eye. I prefer my mute murdering juggernauts to be more the lumbering colossi type, but maybe I’m just old fashioned.
By the last reel, it all comes down to the final four: Jason, Clay, Jenna, and the recovered Whitney. In somewhat of a shock, Jenna ends up the victim of implement impalement while trying to escape Jason’s silly underground lair. Which he probably fixed up at the cost of *dramatic pause* one BILLLLLLLION dollars! Man, nothing says you’ve got your bloody talons on the pulse of humor like a 12 year old Austin Powers joke. Blart. The chase eventually ends with a chain around Jason’s neck and our mongoloid mangler being dragged headfirst into the business end of an industrial wood chipper (which I would’ve expected to immediately screech to a halt once the first few feet of chain got wrapped up inside the blades, but hey, movies and stuff) which shuts down after leaving the top of Jay’s dome looking like he just tried on a toupee made of piranhas. I could have done without the Velveeta that Whitney vomits on us in triumph over her captor (“Jason! Say hi to Mommy…IN HELL!”), but as far as endings go, I’ll allow it. No yellow card.
Sorry. The Tomb’s marketing department told me to try and pander to the World Cup crowd. I wouldn’t review Shaolin Soccer, so this was the best I could do to get them to stop poking me with their stupid marketing pitchforks…still don’t know how those slipped by me during the annual budget review…
Immediately following the figurative disposal of the villain is the literal disposal of the villain, and this is where the movie’s second GIANT ass barb falls squarely betwixt my seat cushions. Okay, if you were in Clay and/or Whitney’s shoes, and you’d just stopped a crazed serial killer in a mask who slaughtered a dozen or so people around you… What would you do? Yes, you’d call the police and have them rush out to you immediately while keeping a sentinel-like watch over said murderer’s body, probably while wielding a large, sharp, weaponized gardening tool. And if you’ve seen slasher movies at any time in your life, you’d go the extra mile and chop off his hands and feet, crush his head with a cinder block, and/or park a tractor on top of his corpse as added insurance. What do the siblings do? Dump his body into the lake. What do you think happens when the cops show up, find a whole bunch of bodies, and a brother and sister say “It wasn’t us! It was this big redneck in a hockey mask that we managed to kill in self-defense, then dumped his body in the lake! No, really, we dumped him in the lake! Why!? Uhm… hey, Clay? Why did we dispose of the biggest piece of evidence corroborating our story again? Shit. We’re going to prison, aren’t we?”. But no, none of that matters, because the whole lake dumping thing is done solely for the goofy last-minute movie jump scare attempt when Jason leaps out of the water to finish off our heroes before the end credits roll. This is what happens when you get a friggin’ music video director to helm your slasher flick.
I know movie criticism has a long history of people saying, “That sucked! I could’ve done a better job and I don’t even make movies!”, but in this case I have to agree. As of this review, I’m happy to report that we can at least find solace in knowing that none of F13‘s trio of writers has done anything of note in the half-decade since, possibly crushed by the torrent of hate mail from the Friday Faithful following this fart-in-the-wind remake. As for director Nispel, he seems to have ignored the bloody writing on his bathroom walls and chosen to soldier on with pissing off children of the ’80s, because his next credit was that Conan the Barbarian remake. As least the “slick kinetic Hollywood production” look fits something like a swords & sandals monster mash better than a slasher production, because aside from the hockey mask and all of the stuff lifted directly from the previous F13 installments, this is in no way a Friday the 13th movie. Just like other Michael Bay productions like Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in no way represent their source material in any means other than the duplicitous “name only”. Jason looks like he’s been sticking to a strict routine on a BowFlex he found in one of the abandoned cabins, and has apparently mastered electrical engineering with one of those “earn your degree through the mail” programs. I blame the deaths of these people squarely on YOUR shoulder pads, quasi-celebrity Sally Struthers!
Final judgment time: Friday the 13th has some decent violence, but any idiot with a blunt instrument can commit violence. A butcher can turn meat into a meal with skill. An artist can turn violence into entertainment with creativity. In the hands of these people, it’s just “stab stab kill kill”. An uninteresting story with even less interesting characters. A lazy for-profit attempt on a storied slasher franchise (just go with it) disguised as an homage to a legend when it’s really just an excuse to reuse someone else’s leftovers and try to call it your own fine cuisine creation. I’d rather watch Jason Takes Manhattan for a weekend straight than bother with this “re-visioning” by people blinded with dollar signs made of diarrhea. When you try to legitimize an illegitimate genre like cheesy ’80s slashers, you miss the point entirely. They put so much effort into being tongue-in-cheek that the whole affair ends up being way too on-the-nose, which eventually turns it into some kind of awful tongue-in-nose thing that’s just nauseating. And that’s all the time I’m willing to put into this review. Join us next time to see who the next slasher icon is to be put through Tinseltown’s imperfect cloning machine in “Shake, Bake, & Remake Part 2”! But for now, as Uncle Gunter would say, “Leb wohl mein kleines Schnitzel-Abgründe!”
Moral of the Story: You know those parents of handicapped children who say that one day their special needs child could grow up to be the President of the USA or some other really huge achievement as such? Jason Voorhees just makes me want to go down to the Special Olympics and smother every last potential serial killer in the lot before they can come to maturity and take their hatred for the world out on me. I am the comic relief for any slasher movie, so there’s no way I make it long enough to hear the awful nu-metal shit they’re gonna shove into the end credits!
“Damn it Steve, if you forgot to pack the tweezers my brow line is going to look like a Pakistani during No Shave November! We have to go home and get them NOW!”
See what I mean?! Switch out the Star Wars shirt for something Godzilla and this guy’s the movie version of Brother Ragnarok!… and clicking that link will result in no support for my argument, because Raggy doesn’t have a pic of himself on his profile… blart.
Jason is terrifying enough on his own. These two just walked in on him jacking his jerky to bathing suit photos of his mom. They’re scarred for life. But, on the plus side, at least their lives won’t last much longer!
If you thought termites were hard to get rid of, once you’ve got a Voorhees in your floor boards you might as well just burn the place down and start over… on another continent.
“Excedrin Headache #13: the camping trip”
Wearing a pillow case on his head and standing next to a burning effigy?! I know he’s a vicious serial killer, but I never realized Jason was a white supremacist too! Things are gonna be very awkward with Candyman at this year’s MurderCon.
No, I haven’t. I don’t really like Whitney Cummings, and I’ve heard that show was unwatchable anyway. It was also canceled a year ago, so… no, poster, I haven’t seen ‘Whitney.
“Are you on drugs, young man? Because, to be honest, I want a new drug. One that won’t make me sick. One that won’t make me crash my car, or make me feel 3 feet thick.”
That moment you realize that the secret ingredient in your buddy’s “special brownies” wasn’t marijuana…
No, before you say anything, I didn’t boot up the Maniac remake by mistake. Believe me, I really wish that was the case, but no such luck.
The Invisible Man? The Mummy? Darkman?! Nobody knew who Jason was supposed to be at last year’s Halloween party, and every time someone asked he stabbed them in the eyes with candy corn!
FYI – he was dressed as Hush. JV’s a big Batman fan.
All she’s missing is a naked Richard Branson clutched on her back like a baby lemur.
Kids, never go drinking with William Tell. That guy doesn’t just carry a chip on his shoulder, he’s got the whole stack of Pringles. After a few Pink Squirrels it always comes back to that stupid apple and, well, this happens.
Michael Bay’s veiled threat to ruin the Puppet Master franchise next… oh wait, Charles Band’s been doing that since 1993. Never mind.
This is why you’re supposed to take your contacts out at night, folks. The warnings on the box are there for a reason!
“Hail Hydra.” (I’m not 3 months late, I’m just moving up the timetable for bringing it back.)
There you go, ladies. Don’t say I never gave you anything… well, other than the creeps… and hepatitis.
Anubis will return next time in
“Pizza Puss Reborn”