Feature 80 – Dead Rising: Endgame (2016)

or “Not Just Another Zombie Movie (Yes It Is)”

Featuring: Jesse “John Tucker Must Die” Metcalfe , Jessica “iZombie” Harmon , Dennis “The Unit” Haysbert

Director: Pat “Degrassi: the Next Generation” Williams

Writers: Tim “Dead Rising: Watchtower” Carter & Michael “Catwoman” Ferris

Sequel to: Dead Rising: Watchtower

Origin: USA

Review_____

“You’re outta control Chase. Are you a journalist or a vigilante?”

Welcome back, boils and ghouls. ‘Tis I, your humble narrator, thriving on the mundane and bleeding mediocrity as always. The Master of Mating Magnetism himself… keeping in mind that magnets both attract and repel… props to the Sonic commercial I stole that punchline from. Anyway, if I sound a bit disappointed today, it’s because I fell for one of those click bait articles about “SHOCKING CELEBRITY SUICIDES!” that uses a picture of Johnathan Taylor Thomas in the link. I clicked through all 200 pages of that fucking site and JTT wasn’t among them! From now on, I’m checking IMDB before getting my hopes up about forgotten ’90s quasi-celebs murdering themselves. Speaking of shat upon expectations, there were two things I was very much looking forward to experiencing last week: Burger King’s newest lifespan eroder, the Mac & Cheetos, and Crackle’s new original zombie-a-go-go, Dead Rising: Endgame. Of the two, one was moderately satisfying and the other was monstrously disappointing. Here’s a hint about which is which: the following review is for the shit show. Spoilers.

In case you missed my review for last year’s Dead Rising: Watchtower (Episode 47, as seen here), here’s a quick refresher for the sequel. It’s based on the Dead Rising video game series. Each installment of which centers around a different male main character stuck in the middle of a zombie outbreak and forced to survive with an armory of do-it-yourself weapons that combine everyday objects like a sledgehammer and a fire ax, a broadsword and motor oil, a vacuum cleaner and buzz saw blades, and so on and so forth. Watchtower opted not to adapt any of these games, and instead introduced us to a new protagonist named Chase Carter (Jesse Metcalfe). Chase is an investigative reporter (cuz reporters are always chasing stories… get it?… do you get it?… you get it.) for an online-only news outlet that covers all the stories the “lamestream media” won’t, due to the whims of their corporate overlords and being on the short leash of their Wall Street masters and blah blah occupy blah blah blah.

Chase uncovered a conspiracy (as reporters in movies are oft to do), killed some zombies, “Point A? Meet Point B.”, nothing was resolved (gotta set it up for the sequel after all!), roll the credits. If you didn’t watch it and are one of those spoiler-phobic types, you might wanna end your experience here and return the unused portion of this review for a full refund. Being a sequel, major plot points from the previous picture need to be touched upon, and like a doctor giving you a physical, I wanna make said touching as non-awkward for you as possible. Your body is a magical, disgusting pile of nerves that react to stimulation in an aroused fashion independent of your brain sometimes. Don’t be embarrassed. It happens to everyone… please stop masturbating.

Still here? Okay. Let’s continue with the Ballad of Chase Carter… not to be confused with “The Ballad of Chasey Lane”, which is a Bloodhound Gang song that has nothing to do with zombies and everything to do with analingus.

When we last left our venturesome muckraker, he had made a deal with one of the big TV news outlets to provide them with an exclusive story about the behind-the-scenes of a recent undead outbreak, including how it may have actually been caused by Phenotrans – the pharmaceutical company that produces the zombieism sytmying drug Zombrex™ and NOT a Phoenix based social group for trans people with dyslexia. It had something to do with bitten people being implanted with microchips that would track their vitals and release Zombrex™ into their systems as needed to prevent them from turning. Sinister Army man General Lyons (Dennis Haysbert) wanted to weaponize the chips (or something. I don’t remember a whole lot from the first movie, to be fair) and instead used a portion of them to turn their users into the living dead, taking advantage of the resultant panic to manipulate things to his favor somehow… maybe… I don’t know. The end result was the eponymous program “Watchtower”, which instituted mandatory chipping for millions of otherwise uninfected civilians.

As we join our journalistic joy-boy Chase, he has indeed parlayed himself a well paying gig as a World War Z correspondent for UBN (let’s say “Universal Broadcast News”?). While sticking his nose into every hole he can find (dirty dirty dirty) to try and uncover evidence of Lyons’ wrong doings, he’s also trying to track down his former producer Jordan (Keegan Connor Tracy) who went missing at the end of Watchtower. It’s been a pair of calendars since the big outbreak, and despite East Mission City being voted Zombie Digest‘s “Biggest Necropolis of 2016”, the streets aren’t exactly teeming with bite bags. Another unfortunate instance of a low-budget movie bragging about having a 10 inch pocket monster when all they’re packing is a 2 inch pelvic thumb. Denoting your shortcomings beforehand is better than trying to excuse your lies after the fact. Admission over apologizing, people.

Despite his efforts, Chase is story-blocked by his bosses, who don’t need the hassle of a Phenotrans lawsuit or a government sanctioned mass execution to bring down their executive cocaine lunch highs. To continue down his checklist of “movie reporter tropes”, Chase ignores the demands of those-in-charge and continues to meddle in the matters of General Lyons, the Scooby-Doo to his Old Man Withers. Monotoned Army guy’s big scheme continues to revolve around those damn Big Brother chips, only this time he plans to insta-kill a few million people instead of just turning them into ghouls. With just 24 hours to put the ki-bosh on this “Afterlife” contingency, Double C and his elite Channel 6 News Team strike out to bring down Iran Contra II before it turns into September 11th IV. Said crew includes such movie caricatures as “sassy computer hacker girlfriend who owes the hero her life” (Maria Avgeropoulos), “tough talking cool guy that supplies the group with guns, who we first meet playing the video game the movie’s based on before he answers the door in his underwear and a robe” (Patrick Sabongui), “experienced news person who uses their connections to try and take down the evil corporation with the Power of the Press” (Jessica Harmon), “corporate whisteblower who will either turn on the heroes to save their own ass or die proving their dedication to doing what’s right” (Ian Tracey) and “character from the hero’s past who shows up to save them in the nick of time”. You know, all those old “seen it before” chestnuts.

Endgame follows much the same path that Watchtower did in regards to its influence from the games, only this time around the Zombie-Go-Round the marauding rejects from a Mad Max movie are replaced with a scurrilous gang of heroin handling (which is never reasoned why) mercenaries, the wacky interview segments with Dead Rising hero Frank West are dropped in favor of a much less wacky deus ex machina cameo by Dead Rising 2 protagonist Chuck Greene (Victor Webster), the creative engineering of mash-up weapons (all of which look too silly for a serious toned tale) feels tacked on now rather than a fun nod to fans of the games, and the previous flick’s “boss battle” finale is dropped in favor of a pair of dramatic stand-offs – one about two guys waiting for lab test results and the other over a computer virus’ upload progression bar… As the constipated old man said to his Depends, “I shit you not”.

By the time it was over, my faith in Dead Rising as a movie series had expired. Were you here, you would’ve heard the last gasps of hope leave my body via an audible sigh. It was as if the ghost of my own enjoyment had been exorcised by an ordained priest from the Church of Mediocrity. Though some would praise Endgame‘s eschewing of its comedic roots in favor of a more dire tone, I say thee nay. If I wanted my made-for-TV ghoulocausts to be low-budget bowls of freezer-burnt vanilla ice cream, I wouldn’t have relieved myself all over Rise of the Zombies way back in episode 6! No, I want my Dead Rising ice cream to be filled with sprinkles and gummi worms and little chocolate zombies, damn it! I said it when Michael Bay prison sexed the Ninja Turtles and I’ll say it again – if you’re just going to ignore 90% of the source material and do your own “in name only” thing, spare the fans your lazy cash-in and just call it something else! Then again, when one of your writers was responsible for the crime against geek humanity that is Catwoman, I should’ve known what I was setting myself up for, right? No. That’s victim blaming, you asshole. Fuck you.

On the good side of things, Billy Zane himself shows up for a payday as a not-quite-mad-but-definitely-morally-spotty scientist! Not-so-good? His role has him onscreen for all of 5-10 minutes and lacks the Zane zaniness of something like his turn in Demon Knight that I was hoping to get when I saw him mentioned in the opening creds. On a less lackluster positive note, though, I have to admit that what action pieces we get are generally better put together than what we got in Watchtower. Chief among them for me being a Chase chase (wakka wakka!) sequence where he tries to escape the dead menace amid a series of escalators and an interestingly shot fight between the hero and some zombos in an operating room that shoots for what I can only describe as “tethered filming”.

So, all said and done, Endgame isn’t all bad. Generic, sure, but not a totally wasted 90 minutes of wear and tear on the eyeballs. It doesn’t leave me looking forward to the purported TV series that Crackle has in the works, but as a stand alone zombie movie, I’ve seen worse. Far worse. Skin-peelingly bad “I’d rather jam toothpicks under my toe nails than watch another minute of this” worse. Toe suckingly terrible stuff, folks. Seriously.

As previously noted, the biggest problem with the movie is making it 100% serious while still keeping the “Dead Rising” moniker. It’s tantamount to taking a charismatic, over-the-top madman like Jesse Ventura and casting him as a cookie-cutter, potatoes-without-the-meat, bland as raw tofu, good guy. How do you make an intergalactic space cop played by one of professional wrestling’s greatest a-holes a walking, talking sleeping pill? Abraxas. How do you suck all of the fun out of Dead Rising‘s wholesale zombie murdering and DIY death dealers? Endgame.

Hey, I wonder why they named the first movie after Lyons’ plan (“Watchtower”), but didn’t do the same with the sequel? “Afterlife” would’ve made for a better title, especially given that this clearly isn’t the series’ “endgame”, what with the TV show planned. Just junk food for thought.

Since it’s a Crackle exclusive, if you want to check out Endgame (or Watchtower for that matter) you can do so for free on the Crackle app for your phone, tablet, gaming console, or TV streaming device of choice. Of course, you’ll have to sit through a shitload of commercials for that privilege, but nothing is truly free… unless you download it from a torrent site. Technology, you sex us so good!

Oh, and despite not making Mac & Cheetos wretched fried tripe, BK isn’t off the hook! One time they sold me onion rings and didn’t give me the designated sauce that goes with it. Onion rings without onion ring sauce is as much a crime as a Dead Rising sequel without Rob Riggle’s Frank West. And I was told this was the land of liberty. Oh the unabashed verisimilitude. Not cool, guys. Not cool.

Moral of the Story: At least I still have Dead Rising 4 to look forward to this year! Yay video games!

Screenshots_____


Those sadists in the Jackass crew have run out of wacky ideas and are just straight up mutilating themselves now.


I see someone never figured out how to turn the on-screen display off on their camera…


“Damn, baby! You looked a hell of a lot better last night when I had my Jack Daniels goggles on!”


She’s Selena Gomez-ing.


Dennis Haysbert parodying the McConaughey Lincoln commercials? You’re a few years late to the party, Allstate.


Hey, movie. You’re not endearing me to you any more so by showing me what I could be playing instead of watching you. Stop it.


“You mind if we stop by my dealer’s place real quick on the way to the airport? I’ve been itching for a fucking hit since lunch and I just can’t drive straight when I’m, well, straight! Oh, and can you give me a 5 star rating on Uber? It hasn’t been a good week.”


“Thanks for meeting me in secret… here in this public place… out in the open… during the day… You’ve never done corporate espionage work before, have you?”


A human pinata! THAT’s what I want for my birthday next year!


“My custom weapons are NOT stupid looking and cumbersome! They’re friggin’ AWESOME! You’re gonna owe me so many Mac & Cheetos when you see how right I am and these save your dumb life!”


For those cold footed husband-to-be out there hoping the zombie apocalypse will be a good enough reason to cancel your marriage? She will find you. And eat you.


“What are you two doing?! Do you have a permit to film here?! Fuck off before I call the cops!”


“So you’re not going with a crazy, over-the-top tone with this one? You just want me to play my role straight? Okay… you have until my bank clears the check, then I’m out of here.”


Hey kids, remember Hackers? Remember how cool it is to watch a fucking progress bar for 10 minutes?! Have we got a movie for you!


“Chuck? I know your cameo is completely superfluous and all, but could you have at least worn your bright yellow motocross jacket so the gamers could have had some kind of fan service?!”

———————————————————
———————————————————

Anubis will return next time in
“What Do You Call 8 Teens At Crystal Lake?”

Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!

All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.

Advertisements

Feature 75 – Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance (2015)

or “Heads on Pianos: Return of the Black Gift”

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

Origin: USA

Follows: Samurai Cop

Review_____

“I am not you! I will NEVER be you! I. Am. Joe. MARSHAAAAAAAALL!”

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 tuonideathmaker420@pantheon.fi 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.

Moral of the Story: Love is one continuous stream that never ends. Didn’t know that? You should’ve gone to Japanese school.

Screenshots_____

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.

Feature 68 – Pizza (2012)

or “Life of Pi(e)”

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

Writer & Director: Karthik “Jigarthanda” Subbaraj

Origin: India

Sequel: Pizza II: Villa

Review_____

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screenshots_____

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Ketchup on pizza?! This is a horror movie!


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

———————————————————
———————————————————

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

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.

Feature 64 – Rocky Horror Show Live (2015)

or “It’s Not Easy Having a Good Time”

Featuring: David “Jerry Springer: the Opera” Bedella , Haley Flaherty , Ben “Jesus Christ Superstar – Live Arena Tour” Forster

Director: Christopher “Theater director guy” Luscombe

Writer: Richard “Shock Treatment” O’Brien

Origin: UK

Review_____

“Society must be protected!”

In honor of today’s episode, I’ll be holding The Tomb’s first ALL NUDE REVIEW!… which basically just means that I’ll be doing all of the viewing and typing and screen caps and editing while butt-ass nekkid! Which I technically do all the time anyway. Yes, everybody, it’s time to come clean: Anubis is Anudist. *rimshot*

After 40 years, it’s time to do the Time Warp again!

Well, I say “again”, but there’s a very populous group of fans that have been keeping Richard O’Brien’s (demented) brain child alive and well since its debut via midnight movie viewings, shadow cast shows, conventions, and reproductions of the original “The Rocky Horror Show” stage play that gave birth to its cinematic offspring. In honor of the movie’s big 4-0, O’Brien collaborated with noted stage director (I’m presuming, as I know shit all about the world of the stage beyond seeing “Evil Dead: the Musical” and “Re-Animator: the Musical” off-off-Broadway) Christopher Luscombe to put together a production of The Show in London for the first time since it’s original showing! Which is kinda weird since the original show premiered in 1973, so it seems a 40th anniversary gala for said stage performance would’ve been better held in 2013 instead…

The BBC broadcast the performance a little over a week ago, which is why I’m able to complain about it here today! Thank the BBC, kids. “Thanks, the BBC!”

My background on Rocky Horror reads as follows: I’ve seen the movie a few dozen times (not bad for someone who generally treats movies as a single-serving entertainment experience), including a regular midnight screening and a full-on shadow cast. I’ve never seen the original play version though, so I guess that technically makes me a Rocky Horror Show virgin all over again going into this. For those unfamiliar with the legend of the Rocky Horror (for shame, you gods damned philistines!), it’s not about that time noted Doctor of Punchology, Rockford P. Balboa, fought the fightingest fight of his fightin’ life against Jason Vorhees to avenge the time Big J punched the head of off Apollo Creed’s nephew during his weekend in Manhattan (*cough*Vancouver*cough*). Just give me your hand and let me lead you down the dark paths of this magical forest of preversion, self-empowerment, and “puuuure imaginaaaaation”.

Oh, and despite this broadcasting just a week ago, there will be blood(y spoilers) ahead for this episode, since the movie it mirrors has been around for four friggin’ decades. GOYA (Get off your ass)!

Our tale takes place in the bygone era of the early ’70s. In the waning days of the Nixon presidency/shame parade, and during the birth years of such classic manufactured horrors as The Exorcist and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The heroes/victims of our story are Brad Majors (Ben Forster) and Janet Weiss (Haley Flaherty) – a disgustingly pleasant pairing of wholesome Americana college kids who look like they fell off of a Norman Rockwell TV tray. Following their mutual friends’ wedding, Brad proposed to his virginal flower and the two are now newly engaged. Head over heels (not literally, as they’re saving that for the honeymoon) with the proceedings, the kids make it a point to share the good news by paying a visit to their favorite college professor, Dr. Everett Scott (Richard Meek… huh huh, “Dick Meek”), in whose class they first met. On the way to Dr. Scott’s place, on a dark and stormy night, their car has a blow out and they’re forced to seek shelter in hopes of finding a phone to call for a tow at a nearby castle (looks more like a mansion if you ask me…not that you did). Or, as Brad presumes it to be upon their entrance, “A hunting lodge for rich weirdos”.

A lanky, twisted, heroin chic, Igorian mutant named RiffRaff (Kristian Lavercombe) that serves as the butler/groundskeeper/handyman invites the straight-laced nerds in, where they discover a party’s being held by a bunch of festive oddballs wearing tuxedos and sunglasses. Amidst them, Riffster’s sister, the mansion’s castle’s maid Magenta (Jayde Westaby, who also sings the show’s opening and closing theme “Science Fiction/Double Feature” dressed as an usherette) and an overly excitable party girl/groupie named Columbia (Sophie Linder-Lee). After the trio of non-extras leads the young couple in a song-and-dance lesson through their favorite trot “The Time Warp”, the mansion’s castle’s owner injects himself into the festivities with a grand sing-and-strut of his own. Dr. Frank-N-Furter (David Bedella, who’s in ridiculously good shape for a dude in his early-50s!) is, in his own words (well, lyrics), “not much of a man by the light of the day”. But that’s okay, because we’re told that once the sun goes down he transmogrifies into “one hell of a lover”. I guess that means he’s a sex werewolf?

Frank’s also a self-proclaimed sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania. Not a gender-bender convention in Count Dracula’s hometown, Transsexual is actually (but not really) a planet in the galaxy of Transylvania. And what are these extraterrestrial perverts doing on our planet? I think they’re supposed to be spying on the US government, but Frank’s more interested in gorging himself on the many sexual flavors of the indulgence buffet known as the human race. Following his introductory “Sweet Transvestite” song, Frank invites Brad and Janet to join he and the rest of the party guests in his laboratory (not lavatory), where he’ll introduce them to his new pet project…after the kids have been stripped down to their tighty-whities, so as to not catch cold in their wet clothes… ?

F-Bomb’s latest experiment in the field of deviance is a DIY boy toy named Rocky Horror (Dominic Andersen), whom the mad doctor built to satisfy all of his macho muscleman fantasies. He looks more than a little like Gordon Scott as Tarzan, what with his oiled-up muskles and leopard print briefs. Upon giving life to his Speedo sporting Frankenstein fetish freak, Dr. F sings a lovely song to him about how eager he is to deflower the 5 minute old bodybuilder, but the shenanigans are interrupted by Frank’s former boyfriend Eddie (ol’ Dick Meek again), who breaks out of a cryogenic freeze (that Frank put him in) to jump around and sing about how much he loves Rock ‘N Roll and “hot patootie”. He means ass, right? He’s not talking about potatoes? I mean, I’m with him in either case, I just wanted to confirm the inference Edward’s going for.

After his solo segment is complete, Ed’s gone just as soon as he’d arrived, stalked screaming back into the walk-in freezer by a pickaxe wielding Frank to what we can only assume a messy doom. Columbia, who we learned is Eddie’s girlfriend (well, ex-girlfriend, situationally), screams in mourning at losing her man for a second time due to Frank’s corrupting and psychotic influence. Having had enough excitement for one night, Frank retires from the festivities to his Honeymoon Suite with Rocks in tow, while Brad and Janet are shown their separate rooms. The doctor shows them both his bedside manner, though, as he sneaks in on each pretending to be their significant others under the sheets and seduces them, starting with Jpeg then moving on to B-rad. Both resist at first, but both also end up giving in to the prevert’s persuasive powers after a few short moments of “Doesn’t it feel nice?” and “I promise not to tell your partner that you were easier to bang than a girl on Cosby candies”.

Janet regrets her decision, wondering if she’s still worthy of Bradley now that she’s no longer able to wear a white wedding dress in good conscience. Her remorse is soon cured though, when she witnesses Brad getting Frank-N-Furter’s frankfurter in his cornhole. Confused and likely disturbed at the idea that her fiance might prefer the company of men (Homer: “Who doesn’t?!”), she grabs the nearest dick (in this case, Rocky’s) and has a distraction ride, embracing her sexuality and going from virgin-to-sexpot almost immediately. As she sings, she’s tasted blood and she wants more (more! MORE!).

No, she’s not a vampire. It’s a metaphor. She means she’s a dick fiend now.

Dr. FNF’s afterglow post lightening of Brad’s load is interrupted by Riff, warning the Boss that there’s an intruder in the mansion castle. Said intruder? Why, it’s Dr. Scott! Yep. The wheelchair bound professor that B&J were seeking out when this all started just happens to have made his way over to “the Frankenstein place”! Frank captures the mustachioed meddler with a high-powered magnet, but as he’s explaining what business it is that brought him here, the cavorting Jan and Rock’s infidelitous actions are unveiled in front of everybody! After a bout of shouting each others names (Janet! Brad! Janet! Dr. Scott! Rocky!), the awkward moment is interrupted by Magenta, declaring that dinner is prepared! At least in the movie.

Yeah, sorry to say that the amazing dinner scene of the “Picture” rendition of The Show is not a thing in this stage version. Bummer.

Scotty sings about how Eddie was a good-but-troubled boy who get wrapped up with the wrong people, after which Frank freaks out everyone by revealing Eddie’s remains (under glass like a carved turkey in the movie, or as a garbage bag full of meat that gets Hot Potato-ed in the play). Accusations start to fly with Frank accusing B&J of being spies working with Dr. Scott (who is implied to be a former Nazi scientist!), who are there to steal the secrets of his mad science. Speaking of, Frank ensnares them with his Transducer (it will seduce ya) machine, turning them into statues. He tells his minions to prepare their guests for some grand scheme, but Columbia goes rogue (not Anna Paquin) and stands up to the doc only to join the others, leaving Riff and Mags to do the grunt work…after they do some bizarro incestuous Lambada elbow shit. Great for a secret handshake, just not with a family member.

The captives are dressed up like extras from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and do a big number with Frank centered around not being ashamed of your desires and making your dreams your reality. This meeting of the Mutual Admiration Society is interrupted by Raffie and Maggie though, who declare a mutiny against the one-man bacchanal that is their captain. Their first order of business? To pack up everything and head back to Transsexual. Frank’s oddly cool with the idea, and sings a soliloquy about going back home, but has his good day chewed up and barfed out when RiffTrax clarifies that he was only referring to himself and Magenta going back. Dr. Furter is to remain on Earth…”in spirit, anyway”.

Columbia dies first, zapped to death with RiffRaff’s ray gun, before he gives Dr. F some of the same. Rocky too is executed when he tries to protect his fallen master. Scotty commends the new commander (you now are his prisoner!) on doing what he had to do, for the good of “society”. Riff replies by telling the normies to get the fuck out, hissing “Gooooo…. nowwwww!” before launching the mansion castle into outer space. Brad, Janet, and Dr. S are left in the rubble that remains (a metaphor for their own broken lives) wondering how they’ll deal with the can of Graboid sized worms that a night with a cross dressing extraterrestrial sex pest opened for them…

Such is the story, now what about the stage show? Well, if you’re like me and you’re going in expecting it to mirror the movie, you’re gonna have a bad time. This is way more sing-songy than Picture Show. It feels more like Grease than the Rocky Horror I know and love. That undercurrent of menace and macabre that RHPS gave us is softened to the point that there’s no dread here. The whole production feels almost overproduced, giving it the weird air of an awards show, what with the more upbeat music, applauding audience and commercial breaks.

Though I love the audience participation of the film (it’s the progenitor of riffing! And it features a guy named RiffRaff!), the crowd for this live performance does the same and it actually kinda pokes the show in the eyes. According to an interview with BBC (as seen here – http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-33715874), O’Brien isn’t the biggest fan of said interaction, as it threatens to overshadow the show and can turn off Rocky Horror virgins who don’t know the heckling is done for fun rather than malice. From personal experience, you can also feel like someone who came to a karaoke party not knowing it was a karaoke party, and wind up feeling like an outsider asshole when everyone else knows the lyrics while you just mumble or move your lips, trying to be cool too. Same as I did in junior high band when I’d just finger my trumpet while everybody else played the actual notes. Fake it till you make it, kids.

Yes, I just said “I’d just finger my trumpet”. I’ll finger yours too if you’re nice, ladies.

Some of the cast members came prepared though, likely having some experience with improv acting and/or being well-honed heckler deflectors. They earn the audience’s respect by ad libbing responses. Good because it makes the crowd feel like part of the show, but bad for the performers who weren’t as equipped. David Bedella, already playing a role that requires zen master precision to keep a straight face, was reduced to nigh-“Jimmy Fallon on SNL” levels of character breaking awkward laughter. If that’s the type of thing that you enjoy (which I do, sometimes), then this should be on your to-watch list. If you don’t like being taken out of the show though (which I don’t, more often than not), keep some Preparation H close because I’m predicting some butt hurt during your viewing experience. Individual results may vary.

One interesting twist to the live show is the Narrator’s role. Played stupendously by former Bond baddie Blofeld (one of many) Charles “Diamonds Are Forever” Gray during RHPS, here the part is divided amidst a small troupe of quasi-celebs. Perpetually suicidal comedian Stephen Fry (I hope you find peace of mind before you’re forced to go to the point of no return one day, Sir) kicks things off, while Richard O’Brien himself gets the biggest pop of the night for his moments later. Former Baby Spice Emma Bunton also shows up, along with former “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Giles, Anthony Head. Adrian Edmondson and Mel Giedroyc also get their a few segments, but I don’t know shit about British TV outside of reruns of “Flying Circus“, “Peep Show“, “Red Dwarf“, “Are You Being Served?“, and “Danger Mouse“. Whomever he is though, Edmondson (who does his parts pantsless and wearing stockings) handles the audience participation/interference the best of the group, so I give him props on that for sure.

It’s odd seeing Rocky have actual lines here, since the movie version had so few. Limited in the script because the Swede playing him knew no English, I’m sure. But it makes better sense to me that a newborn creature like Rocky wouldn’t have a whole lotta speech processing power while he’s waiting for his brain to straighten out and is back to a learning curve. Dave Bedella’s body is bulkier than Tim Curry’s Slenderman frame, so his Frank’s not as lanky. He’s too muscly and wide shouldered for my tastes, but again, I’m basing my ideals for these roles on their movie counterparts. Keeping with that, I don’t like Ben Forster’s Brad either. In an exactly opposite complaint, I found him to be too small and wimpy in comparison to the big, goofy, tries-to-be-a-tough-guy Barry Bostwick version. It’s more fun to watch a moderately macho man reduced to an abandoned little boy crying for mommy than seeing it happen to just another nerd from an AP Calculus class.

Kristian Lavercombe’s RiffRaff was more a background letdown than the twisted attention grabbing one O’Brien himself gave us before. Oh, and don’t even mention Magenta to the Evil Dead Bride. She may just bite your face off. Vegetarians can get vicious when you fuck with their favorite characters and Jayde Westaby is NOT her Magenta. And what was the fucking deal with Dick Meek’s Dr. Scott?! Where in the Crispix encrusted HELL was his German accent!? That cheesy accent was the best part of the doctor and now it’s nowhere to be seen!? Fuck that.

Finally, the songs are pretty much the same, with the same lyrics and tunes that you remember, but they’ve been cheered up a level or two. Most egregious being “I’m Coming Home” sounds like a fucking Kenny G remix with the addition of a distractingly prominent sax part. It threw me off like Christopher Reeves’ horse. Brad also gets a song of his own that wasn’t in the movie. It’s nothing life changing, but when I’m already not a fan of your Brad, giving you more time and a solo bit aren’t helping. It all plays into that aforementioned “If you really like Grease (or Hairspray), then you might like this!” feeling.

If I weren’t in love with the movie, I might like this version more than I do. The different cast and tone were jarring at first, but I warmed up to Bedella’s Dr. F (his lizard/Joker mouth and elongated diddler tongue give him a deviant tone unique from that of Mr. Curry’s Frankie) and I thought the set pieces were done well, especially Frank’s ’50s sci-fi movie lab. The seductions of Brad and Janet were standout sequences too, shot vertically to give it an “overhead” feel that gives the audience a better angle to see the players at work.

I didn’t Hapschatt my pants with joy for the play, but despite my numerous bitchings, to quote Columbia, I thought it was “okay”. In all fairness, this rendition is O’Brien’s intended form of the story. He only changed things for the movie to give it a more palatable pace for the format. My Evil Dead Bride would give Rocky Horror Show Live a 1.5-out-of-5, but I’ll settle on a 3. Not horrible, but considering that I hold Picture Show in 5 star regard, still a let down. I give it one severed thumb up and a “there are worse ways to spend my time”… *cough*like the next episode*cough*

Oh yeah. 20th Century Fox apparently found out about the big birthaversary a little too late to do anything special this year, but are putting together a TV movie remake aiming to air next year. If you’re a stickler for technicalities (like I tend to be), it actually makes more sense, since the movie’s legit 40th anniversary will be 2016, as anniversaries don’t start being counted until the completion of the first year. Said remake’s already shaping up like Dogma‘s Gologothan (i.e. a huge, hideous, septic sludge golem) though, so the less said about it the better. Especially the whole part about how they’ve cast a female actor to play Frank, since they’ve learned nothing about how not to piss of the RHPS fans from that menstrual blood clot of a “Glee” episode they did years ago. Cunts.

And yes, I’m well aware that Laverne Cox is a transitioned female and thus used to be a man. It doesn’t change the fact that she’s now a woman being cast to play a male transvestite! It’s fuckin’ limper than Dick Cheney’s prick. I will likely put up a review for it after it airs, just so I can add my own gripes and miserable old man groans to the sea of enraged fans the world over. If you have any hopes for it, take note: Richard O’Brien doesn’t support it, sees no need for it, and the only reason he hasn’t verbally vomited all over it is because he’s of that “If you can’t say anything nice, blah blah blah” mindset of polite rebellion through silence.

If you missed the original broadcast of “The Rocky Horror Show Live” and this episode wasn’t enough to dissuade you from seeing it, BBC America will be doing an encore airing on Halloween at, you guessed it, midnight. So, if you haven’t blacked out on candy corn vodka by then (you disgust me), and you’re not otherwise busy questioning your sexuality while being seduced by a guy in high heels and a teddy, give your peepers some creeper time.

Or, if you lack cable, you can just do like we did and watch it in the eviscerated entrails of a virgin.

OR or, you could finally figure out how torrents work! Damn it, people, it’s almost 2016! Show some fucking initiative! Cable companies are just gonna keep using you for a urinal so long as you let ’em! Viva la revolution!

Moral of the Story: The best way to celebrate something is to just celebrate it. Don’t try to remake it. Don’t sequelize it. Don’t replace it. Just embrace it. We’re about to celebrate our 16th anniversary and EDB and I aren’t planning to do so by getting romantic dinners and hotel rooms with people we’ll be picking up on Craigslist. That’s the week after.

Screenshots_____

“Candy! Popcorn! Soda! French ticklers! Butt plugs! Candy! Popcorn! Soda! French ticklers! Butt plugs!”


Brad and Janet reenact their favorite scene from Dumb & Dumber. “Wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?”


Brad proposes to his lady love while his van watches nearby, clearly enraged. Brad probably promised Christine that he was on the verge of leaving Janet… Hell hath no furry like a Winnebago scorned!


Stephen Fry: proof that the bully in school who harassed you for always having “your nose in a book”, was trying to protect your proboscal integrity the whole time!


Our heroes are harassed by a Ramones cover band!


If you wanna be my lover,
you gotta dance with my friends!
Pulls your knees in tight,
the Time Warp never ends!


Rue McClanahan is Bram Stoker’s Dracula.


In an attempt to modernize the story during the ’90s, O’Brien did a Rocky Horror production that saw Frank teach everyone how to dance the Macarena. It was rightly shit-canned by everyone and never spoken of again.


It’s time for everyone’s favorite new game show: “Name That Tarzan!


Oh, I’ve heard of this! Rich people with nothing better to do with their lives sleep in upright standing beds because they think it reduces wrinkles. They call it “flamingo-ing”.


That awkward moment when you both wake up in the morning and discover someone shit the bed… and realize it was both of you.


Unhappy with his pay from “Name That Tarzan”, the king of the jungle sets up a conference call with his agents: two orangutans and a Jewish panther.


“You’ve got an Interocetor?!”
“I’ve been using it to make hot chocolate!”


That day, Brad learned that people in wheelchairs aren’t helpless. In fact, their situation makes it much easier for them to punch you in the dick when you call them “Wheels”.


Oh come on! Even Grace Jones thinks your outfits are a little much!


In the final stage of his evolution, Richard O’Brien resembles the love child of Graf Orlok and Bat Boy.

———————————————————
———————————————————

Anubis will return next time in
“Willy Wonka’s House of Horrors”

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.

Feature 62 – 23:59 (2011)

or “What’s Eating Gilbert Chan?”

Featuring: Tedd “Paper Moon (not that one)” Chan , Henley “Kepong Gangster” Hii , Mark “‘Police & Thief‘” Lee

Writer & Director: Gilbert “Ghost Child” Chan

Origin: Singapore

Review_____

“His face is paler than my ass!”

Singapore! Not just Super Mario’s response to why he never pursued a career in opera (“I sing-a poor!”), Singapore’s also a major global city-state and the southern-most point of continental Asia. AKA “The Lion City”, “The Garden City”, “The Red Dot” (“Where ever the red dot goes, ya bang!“), and the World Bank’s “Easiest Place to Do Business” 9 years running. An original founding member of Malaysia, Singapore was punted from the team after just two years over “ideological differences”, i.e. race riots. They’re currently celebrating their 50th anniversary as an independent nation, so happy golden anniversary, Singapore! Sadly, the only gold I can offer you as a gift is my golden sense of humor… or a golden shower if that’s what you’re into. I mean, I’m not into it myself, but if it’ll get you off, I’m cool with it. It is your birthday after all.

Singapore also has one of the lowest unemployment rates amidst developed nations the world over, as well as some of the lowest rates of violent crime and homicide. Possibly due to it also having one of the lowest rates of alcohol consumption per capita. Angers up the blood! The population is over 40% foreigners and the Economist Intelligence Unit (sounds like a Wall Street thought police group) ranked Singapore 6th in the world for qualify of life and 1st in Asia! Damn. Kinda getting the urge to move here. But what Singapore isn’t is a plateful of bacon, so enough buttering it up. Singapore’s dark side is pretty infamous for gangs, prostitution, and gambling. Plus there’s apparently still a lot of racism issues that haven’t been worked out in the last 5 decades too. If they’d just import a bunch of American Republicans though, racism would stop being a thing simply because they’d say so! Ignorance is bliss. Oh, there’s also dangerous insects to be had in the ‘Pore, but nothing a little insect repellant won’t fix. When you’re in the deep jungle, you can’t beat Off!

Fuck you. I find jungles and forests to be very erotic and I’ll beat off anywhere I damn well please! *rimshot*

In case you’re not savvy on the concept of the 24 hour time cycle adopted by the global military as a whole (you know, that “oh eight-hundred hours” type stuff), the title of today’s feature is a reference to 11:59 PM. Sadly, it’s not a cinematic sequel to Iron Maiden’s song “2 Minutes to Midnight”, which would have then been followed by a multimedia project consisting of a VCR flashing “12:00” while accompanied by a Muzaked rendition of Powerslave to finish out a proposed trilogy. No, really. I proposed it to Bruce Dickinson’s cousin’s stepdaughter’s legal representation and they said they were “really excited at the prospect” before having me escorted from the building by security personnel! “REALLY excited”!

As I was saying, what 23:59 is instead is an Asian ghost story. Yep, yet another one. Just like The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity made every American filmmaker-to-be think they could lure a lightning bolt into their empty Zima bottle too via a $500 “found footage” video of their own, the entirety of the continent of Asia have their chopsticks crossed that they’re on the verge of the next Ring or Grudge that’ll earn them big American party dollars on the 1-in-300,000 shot that Hollywood comes knocking on their door for the remake rights. Ghidorah H. Christ.

Let’s grab hold of the duct tape and see if we can’t pull this off quick with only minimal pain, and without having our righteous Magnum PI mustache torn out by the roots in the process! As always, since this movie comes in under the 5-year age of spoiler consent for this site, I will NOT be posting any major twists or revelations. So, should you feel it’s worth the trouble of tracking down and sitting through, fear not, as there be no spoilers here.

Our introductory pre-credits sequence finds us back in the bygone days of 1983. The Men at Work emerged from a land down under to introduce themselves to the world! Jason Vorhees acquired his now iconic hockey mask in Friday the 13th Part 3-D! “M*A*S*H” ended and “Fraggle Rock” began! In a Singapore boot camp, a young soldier named Tan (Tedd Chan) is asleep in the barracks when a ghostly child (along with its presumably spectral matriarch) interrupts the lad’s R.E.M. (the state of sleep, not the folks who gave us “Shiny Happy People”), scaring him shitless, courtesy of a face that resembles a giant prolapsed colon. Sound gross? Now imagine two people with faces like said inside-out buttholes, but they also have long, slimy tongues and they start licking each others facial rims. Hope you liked the last meal you ate, because you’re probably gonna be tasting it again real soon if you haven’t already! 😀

This leads us into some decidedly poor opening credits, ran over what looks to be storyboard material. I appreciate that ‘boards are just to structure the shots of a flick and not meant to be works of art or anything, but if yours look like they came from a comic book an 8th grade school kid would draw in their spare time, you might not want to open your movie with it. Upon first viewing, I worried that said illustrations were spoiling what looked to be some decidedly decent moments from the oncoming 90 minutes. The only thing worse than laying your scares out for your audience WAY ahead of time, though? Nothing interesting from them actually comes to fruition! Yep! On the arbitrary thermometer graphic of “Things You Shouldn’t Do to Your Audience”, I’m pretty sure “Telegraph your best moments in the opening credits” ranks lower than “Tease them, only to give them ZERO payoff”.

I couldn’t find confirmation to support the previous assumption, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find that said storyboard art was from scenes that had to be cut from the movie for budgetary concerns or technical limitations. They feel like Gilbert Chan’s way of saying, “I’m not bland! I have fun, scary ideas too! See what I wanted to have?! THEY wouldn’t give me the money! If you don’t like this movie, it’s not my fault!”. These probably should’ve been saved for the end credits though, rather than the openers. Maybe Chan just did the same backwards thing Asians do with their printed material and edited the movie right-to-left, so what would have been the end credits sequence wound up at the start-up instead? Honest mistake.

Back to the barracks, we catch up with Tan and some of his fellow freedom fighters, who are sitting around listening to ghost stories told by resident jerk-off Dragon (Lawrence Koh). They’re pretty much the Singapore branch of the Midnight Society. Despite being the most superstitious member of the group, Drags stink faces everybody else for getting the terror sweats at his tales. He sets the running theme for us when he tells us that midnight is the apex of evil, and the soul of anyone who dies at 23:59 (and we have a character saying the title of the movie! And less than 10 minutes in, too!) will be forced to remain on Earth, wandering for eternity…for some weird reason that nobody can explain beyond random, made up superstition. Hey, if being terrified of the unproven is good enough to establish religions on, it’s good enough for generic ghost stories!

One of said stories is 100% true and involves a former recruit named Lye. Three years prior, in that VERY bunk, on a night VERY much like this, Lye punched his own ticket, hanging himself while everyone else slept. Why do the Hangman Tango? Turns out he was bullied and harassed by some of his bunk-mates for being “effeminate” and apparently threatening their own masculinity (i.e. they didn’t like that they were so attracted to him, obviously). Fuck that. If I were ever tormented to the point of taking my own life, you know damn well I’d be taking every asshole along with me! Then I’d leave a note detailing the trauma I’d been subjected to before taking myself out David Carradine style! And I’m not talking about Uma Thurman giving me the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart technique, either.

The bard of the barracks continues his tales of terror, telling us about the Kuntilanak (sounds like a Conan villain) – the particularly vicious and violent spirit that results from a suicided pregnant woman. Coincidence that its name starts with “Kunt”? It’s not clear (like a lot of this movie), but I think one of these Kunts was summoned by a trio of nameless recruits (the credits are full of ’em) using a makeshift Chinese knock-off Ouija/Witchboard in one of Drag’s stories. When they asked her to leave, spooky lady indicated “All Signs Point to ‘No'”, then terrified them by leaving wet footprints across their floor (and wet spots in their shorts). The horror of the creeping moisture! Now, imagine that last line in Vincent Price’s voice. You’re welcome.

Though this ends the shirtless punk’s story hour for the night, he does break out another scareative later on about a local ghost whisperer whose impregnated womb became haunted by a Kuntilanak (so she had a Kunt in her cunt!) during a seance. Immediately after which she gave birth to a mutant baby who would grow up looking like the daughter of the Toxic Avenger and is said to still lurk the island. So Asian people used to think birth defects were the result of angry ghosts possessing mother-to-be? Maybe stop smoking, drinking, and sitting on active microwaves while you’re gestating and you wouldn’t get so many flipper babies! Anyway, the Rule 63 Quasimodo’s name is Yi Gu, which my geek brain interpreted as “YuGi”, then responded to by shouting “It’s time to D-D-D-D-D-D-D-D-DUEL!” before realizing I’d activated my own trap card… almost no one over the age of 25 is going to get that joke, but if any younger type card slingers do get it, well, I don’t pander to you often so you can have that one.


(Go “Medium“!)

Each of these stories is accompanied by their own filmed segment, and given how they’re presented I feel like Chan originally meant this to be an anthology that wound up being paired down into a straight feature with a Frankensteined script instead. Makes all the more sense when you consider the unused storyboards, right? By the time you get to the finish line, so much of what’s established makes so little sense otherwise, so that’s the theory I’m sticking with.

Unlike Lye, Tan (by name, not by skin pigment) only has a sole tormentor in Dragon. He doesn’t show signs of taking his own life. Plus, several of the guys in the group do stick up for Tan, including their platoon leader. I bet a good old fashioned “soap in a sock” party would get Dragon to turn his dickhead dial down to ‘1’. Tan’s childhood buddy-slash-bodyguard Jeremy (Henley Hii) looks out for him too, but instead of fistally re-educating the bully, he opts to victim blame his buddy, telling him that he’s gotta stop being a pussy and man up. Tan’s problem isn’t that he’s a wimp though, he’s just got PTSD – Phantasmal Traumatic Stress Disorder. That close encounter of the ghostly kind in the opening has left him with a yellow streak. Uhm, that wasn’t a racist thing because he’s Asian! Scout (Taylor-Compton)’s honor!

Later that night, Dragon and four accomplices tie up and gag the sleeping Tan, stuffing him into a locker to torment him further. Naturally he’s visited by the ghostly hand of the Kunt, who leaves deep scratches on his neck by the time Jeremy (spoke in class today) wakes up and lets him out. Jer blows off Tan’s neck wounds, excusing them as being caused by a tussle with a wire hanger during his panicked spaz out. Sticking up for his little buddy, Jer get physical (physical!) with Draggy and the pair fight. Well, by “fight” I mean they shove each other, then Jeremy holds the scrawny little shit down and gives him some really weak punches. After those love taps, I wonder if maybe Tan’s not the bunker sissy of this group. Jer would’ve done more damage giving the prick an Indian Burn! Then again, they might not know what those are over there. On that side of the globe, “Indian Burn” is probably the rectal fallout of a really spicy curry dinner.

The group’s commanding officer, Sergeant Kuah (Mark Lee), arrives and breaks the tussle up. He reminds them that they have an incredibly important 24km road march in the morning, so they better stop with all the Grab-Ass and get some sleep. But coach, the Grab-Ass Championship Games are in two weeks and we gotta train! While we’re on the subject of Kuah, we learn that he’s a superstitious lot (and cowardly too, right Batman?) and asks that his own higher up, Captain Hong (Benjamin Lim), postpone the road march until a less unlucky date. Seems the moons of Jupiter are in the house of the seventh planet or some malarkey and that’s bad voodoo for the boys. Hong looks at him like he has three heads, gives him the workplace appropriate equivalent of a double middle finger, and declares that the march will go on as planned. To which, Kuah calls his c.o. a “fake caucasian” behind his back. Well, he’s Asian, so at least that makes him half Caucasian, right? Yeah, I deserve a smack for that one.

Tan has a bad feeling in his gut about going on the march, but Jeremy again denounces him for being a wimp. Tough Guy says he doesn’t believe in the supernatural because his father was a charlatan medium who used to use him to con marks out of their Singapore Dollars (yep, not unlike M. Bison in Street Fighter, they just tack “dollars” onto the ass of their name to name their currency!) with a Jon Edwards-style “chat up the dead” scheme. It left one bereaved old man heart attacked into the afterlife himself though, and that incident left the father and son pairing forever estranged. Also as a result, Junior is Singapore’s biggest skeptic, i.e. the most reasonable person in the nation. In fact, when Kuah insists on giving his men good luck talismans (that look oddly like dry cleaner tickets) to ward off evil spirits and bad juju during the trek, Jer not only refuses one, but denies one for Tan too. “Tan too”? I feel there’s a joke I should be making right now, but the heat from my laptop is making my Ballpark Frank plump and it’s too distracting. You win this time, phallus perspiration!

The marchers are beset by an inopportune thunderstorm and our main cast (Tan, Jer, Dragon, and porcine comedy relief character Lim) fall behind the rest of the group. Without spoiling anything specific, I’ll tell you this much – we’re only half way down the hasenpfeffer hole at this point. The events of the march that night change the dynamics of the group greatly, as Tan isn’t the only one being haunted once it’s over. Can they ever be rid of the Class IV Anchored Remnant (bone up on your Tobin’s, nerds) on their backs, or are they destined to just become another sinister anecdote in the book of “Scary Stories to Tell in the Barracks”? Are the ghosts even real, or did Gilbert Chan opt to make an ode to Jacob’s Ladder and what we’re actually watching is, in reality, just a shellshock allegory? What does this all have to do with a fellow recruit named Chester? And why is his name Chester?! What kind of Asian name is “Chester”?! Or “Jeremy” for that matter!?

Though I won’t be going any further into the story beyond this point, I will say this much – the finale involves what will either be a very touching, very depressing, very cheesy (or very arousing…depends on your brain chemistry) moment that features one of our characters crying profusely. Unfortunately, the intended emotional impact of the scene collapses in on itself as I was incredibly distracted during the whole thing. What by? Not only do the character’s eyes leak the whole time, but their nose flushes like they just ran a Neti Pot through it. We all know that the locks are blown open on the Panama snot canals when a heavy bawling front rolls in, but wipe your damn nose, character whose name I will not divulge!… Huh huh, “but wipe”.

Though not entirely bad, 23:59 feels like a movie that could’ve been better than it is. I know that almost any movie could be “better than it is”, technically, but this is the statement that stands out the largest in my mental word cloud, having watched it twice now. My biggest problem is the story’s structure. It’s shoddy and unstable. If it were a building, it’d be condemned by code enforcement. Even the junkies would reconsider squatting in it. As stated prior, the whole thing feels as if it was intended as an anthology, but was converted into a basic “Point A to Point B” feature without wanting to throw out the leftovers. Like they put up the house over the Indian burial ground, but didn’t feel like removing the grave markers and just built around them instead. Or if a storefront that was originally a beauty parlor was turned into a Carvel© store and they chose to keep the big hair dryer chairs to soften the ice cream; except they left them right in the middle of the damn floor, inconveniencing the customers who just want a spot to sit and eat their damn Fudgie in peace!

I don’t watch a lot of Singaporese movies, so forgive my ignorance if this next annoyance is a common practice, but the dialog was littered with some kind of bastard ManderEnglish for some reason! Is this how their movies are usually done?! The cadets would slip in an English word here or there, which was fine because I get that there are some words we Yanks have that they don’t. Instead of making up their own, they figure “Fuck it, I guess we know slightly more English now!”. However, when the Sergeant and Captain were in the picture, everyone was speaking better English than half the kids in your average American graduating class! It was jarring. This does explain why every original audio copy of the movie I tried to download was labeled “English dub” though.

The Americanising of the feature is furthered by the inclusion of US movie posters on the walls of the bunkhouse, including ’80s classics The Terminator, Platoon, and Blade Runner. Is this a military training facility or an AV Club?! Funny enough, of the three flicks, only Blade Runner (’82) was actually released prior to 1983, the year this movie takes place. Terminator was ’84 and Platoon was ’86, so a hearty dick kick to the prick in charge of continuity for not doing his damn job.

In the end (also Sean Connery’s answer to “Where does Alex Trebek’s mom take it?”), what could’ve been something good (or at least not as bad) just peters out into something completely unsatisfying, thus making 23:59 Singapore’s cinematic parallel of Adam Sandler’s career. Or, every episode of my sexual congress as told from my partners’ points-of-view. There’s some decent tension building, but it’s bogged down by too many attempted jump scares, some acceptable-to-terrible makeup effects, a congested story structure, and the disappointment of the opening credits promising more graphic imagery than the movie itself puts out. An unfortunate let down from the country that brought us the pure chewing satisfaction of the Michael Fay caning. Oh well.

For our next World Tour stop, I’ll be spoiling the crap out of an early 2000s monster movie that’s been collecting dust on my “To Do Pile” for over a decade! Drain the last of your Dirty Banana and join us, won’t you?

Moral of the Story: Blaming your miscounts at work on the supernatural won’t go over well with your boss. Especially if those miscounts mean the registers come up a few hundred dollars short on your shifts…

Bonus Moral: If someone dies at training camp in the Singapore army, recruits are given a half-day to cope. The turn around for mourning over there is stricter than their anti-chewing gum laws!

Screenshots_____

That’s exactly how my head feels every time a Linkin Park song comes on the radio.


Well, at least that would be convenient for people with shoulder problems who have no one else to brush their hair.


“The camp talent show is in 3 days and you still haven’t figured out how to make the puppet talk while you’re drinking the glass of water!”


“Because I will Frank Castle your asses in the blink of an eye!”


“Sure he’s got a Cheetos™ dust addiction, but everybody knows he’s a stand up cat otherwise!”


When grandpa asked to play a card game during their visit to the retirement home, they had no idea he meant Strip Poker. Worst. Visit. Ever.


Wait. Did this movie suddenly turn into a tampon commercial?


Yup. It’s definitely a tampon commercial.


Maybe you should stop squinting your eyes then, dipshit. We in the audience can see everything just fine thanks to ALL OF THE PRODUCTION LIGHTS!


“Oh my god… did I remember to turn the oven off before I left for boot camp!? This could be VERY bad.”


“She sounds hot. Is she seeing anyone?”


Sadly, he’s right. I’ve been trying to do that with those fucking Kardashians for years and they’ve yet to fade from existence.


We used to put completely black contacts on the first guy that fell asleep back during high school b-movie weekend parties. It’s hilarious watching them run around screaming “I’M BLIND! I’M BLIND!” while falling all over everything. Ah the memories.


And I thought the Asian takeout places in the U.S were aggressive with their doorknob menus. Yikes!


“Well, I don’t know her personally, but I’m a high ranking official in her fan club! I’m sure Mrs. Arquette would be happy to help us!”


Yeah, I’ve had ghost pepper sauce thrown in my oculars too (true story!). Trust me, just clench your eyes as hard as you can and pray for death until it stops hurting. Should be about an hour or two.


Hence why his friends gave him the nickname “Arby’s”.


Oh man, he’s having one of those “dislocate your shoulder trying to reach it” level itches on his back.


Just another one of the ProActiv™ horror stories they never tell you about in the commercials.

———————————————————
———————————————————

Anubis will return next time in
“The Unexpected Vishnu of Ignorance”

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.

Feature 61 – The Raid 2 (2014)

or “Undercover Boogaloo”

Featuring: Iko “Merantau” Uwais , Arifin “Macabre” Putra , Alex “Rokkap” Abbad

Writer & Director: Gareth “The Raid” Evans

Origin: Indonesia

Also Known As: The Raid: Retaliation , The Raid 2: Berandal

Sequel to: The Raid: Redemption

Review_____

“If the worst thing that happens during your time with us is that you suffer the indignity of an old man seeing your cock, then I’d say you got off light.”

Yep, I decided to stick around Indonesia for an extra week and knock out The Raid 2 while I’m here. I will neither confirm nor deny the rumors that I’m still here because a giant shark leapt from the ocean and ate my private helicopter, as that’s a matter for my insurance company to decide. Instead, let’s talk about Raid Harder and get this undercover boogaloo underway!

Oh. Uhm, before we get started, despite my best efforts to keep the twists and results of the first movie unspoiled, the simple act of reviewing this sequel is going to require that I undo my own efforts. So, if you don’t want me to pull the thread and unravel the poorly stitched monstrosity that was my Raid: Redemption episode, I suggest you take Lord Humungus’ advice and “Just walk away.” At least until you get a chance to watch the first one.

Are they gone? Cool. Now, everyone reading beyond this point has either seen the first flick or doesn’t give a dry hump about seeing a cheat sheet for it, right? Cuz even though I’m still restricted from typing word one about anything that could prematurely hasten the sequel’s “Sell By” date, I will be turning some MAJOR events of the original into a mold maligned mess in a matter of moments, starting……..now: – Jakartan SWAT team rookie Rama (played by real life Silat martial arts champion Iko Uwais) survived the eponymous raid upon the apartment complex from Hell. Crimelord-turned-slumlord Tama’s fortress of operations made him seemingly untouchable, but Rama’s Jenga™ game (and the help of his brother Andi) was just too legendary to withstand, and Tama’s Tower was toppled.

Well, supercop Ramadan is back. Picking up almost immediately where the previous film left off, our hero has uncovered the terminal cancer of corruption in the Jakartan justice system that allowed Tama to operate unabated. Upon Andi’s advice, he gets in touch with a man named Bunawar (Cok Simbara), who is one of the last corruption-free cops left on the police force. With a few of his trusted men, BunWarmer has the injured Bowo (yeah, he survived too) taken to a safe hospital, feng shuis captured traitor Lieutenant Wahyu’s brains outside of his skull, and recruits Rammy into their small operation of on-the-level officers. He promises to protect Rama’s wife and son-to-be but wants to send the Raid-er of the last arc (har har) undercover. The plan is to get him deep enough into cahoots with the syndicate that he can get the names of all the pigs on the bad guys’ payroll and flush ’em out fiercer than the trans-dimensional warp toilet that took Mario and Luigi to the Mushroom Kingdom in “The Super Mario Bros. Super Show” intro.

While Ram considers whether he wants to get this dedicated to his work or not, brother Andi (Donny Alamsyah) gets wasted by underworld figure Bejo (Alex Abbad), who plans on overtaking Jakarta as its new kingpin once current head bad guy Bangun (Tio Pakusodewo) is removed from power…or gets his face blown off. Whichever happens first. According to Bejo, Andi apparently pulled an Icarus and let his ambitions carry his ass too close to the sun when he succeeded his previous employer Tama, following his death in the prior flick. Unlike Tama, Andi didn’t know well enough to know his role, shut his mouth, and smell what The Rock was cookin’. He dipped his finger in the brownie batter and ends up on the receiving end of a Nicky Santoro Special as a result. Don’t get it? No, it’s not a sandwich. Or a sex act. Go watch Casino. Joe Bob Briggs has a cameo! I’ll wait.

Before we get back to progressing with our protagonist, here’s the quick-and-dirty on the Jakartan underbelly. As mentioned, Bangun (which is presumably more powerful than a ban hammer) runs half of the city, while the other 50%’s governing faction is a family of ne’er-do-well Yakuza from Japan known as the Goto. If you need bad things done and laws broken, you might say they’re your “go to guys”… After which you’ll likely be stabbed in the stomach for making the same gut groaningly bad pun they’ve no doubt heard more times than Connor MacLeod’s katana was folded. The two sides have been at peace for the last decade, staying out of each other’s business. Crime and let crime. They each have their own bribery deals with the police, headed by the evil Commisioner Reza (Roy Martin), who’s the big fish BunBun is hoping to land with Rama’s help, provided that he agrees. Which I’ll bet he does, otherwise we wouldn’t have much of a movie.

And what is Bun’s means to his end? Ram Man’s going to prison under the alias of Yuda: a nobody from nowhere that nobody knows about. Yep, our big man’s going to the big house. Once there, it’s his job to get in good with ‘Gun’s sole son, Uco (Arifin Putra), which may or may not be short for “Yucko”. It’s never really addressed. To make sure Rammstein catches the bad guy’s eye right out of the gate, the crime he gets arrested for is beating the shit out of the son of the politician who got Ucky put there in the first place. Like any good actor, what’s Rama’s motivation for beating said offspring’s ass? He works with Bejo. Yeah, after seeing what this guy did to all those machete assholes a la Redemption, I wouldn’t want to be in the British Knights© of anybody under the employ of the guy who shotgunned Andi’s face straight into a shallow grave.

Ramrod goes through with the plan, kicking the shit out of the senator’s son (not such a “fortunate one” now, eh?) and getting himself incarcerated. When trying to get the attention of the major players in the clink, it doesn’t hurt to single-handedly take on fifteen guys in a toilet at once (in a fight, not a gangbang, ya perverts), which Rama does to moderate success. Punching out the biggest guy in the place? Not good enough when you’re doing time in the Eastern Hemisphere! You don’t cripple at least 5 guys in the first hour, you may as well get “fuck hole” tattooed around your mouth. Peacocking his titanium beach balls makes our hero the number one draft on wanna-be-Greaser haired Uco’s recruiting drive, especially given that he needs all the protection he can get what with his high profile status.

The two hit it off (kinda), and before you know it we FF>> a pair of calendars to Rama finishing out his sentence. The since freed Uco greets him at the prison gates and ushers him back into the fresh air of freedom, immediately taking his new BFF to meet dear old dad. After some awkward introductions and a getting a new set of threads, Rams is tasked by Bangun (seriously, his name sounds like an Ultraman villain!) to babysit Uco, making sure his brash, youthful aspirations don’t make the lad too big for his britches and put him on the wrong side of the wrong people. Speaking of the wrong people, Bejo’s consolidated his power enough to get some attention by the bosses, and may be eyeing his own ill-fitting pair of Dockers.

Our main man falls by the wayside for the middle piece of the movie, as the focus shifts to all of the basic crime movie political stuff: factions pitting factions against one another, struggles for power, illicit activities, peace treaties, backroom scheming, assassinations and so on. Rama’s really just there to keep Uco from killing karaoke call girls for this section. He comes back adamantium hard for the final act though, breaking limbs, splitting lips, and cracking skulls like ass kicking is his business and he’s having a clearance sale! There’s even a cool (albeit it oddly music deprived) car chase sequence that’s pretty damn spiffy, along with some righteous fisticuffs between Big Hero Ram and the movie’s trio of gimmick antagonists (credited as “Hammer Girl”, “Baseball Bat Man”, and “The Assassin”). It’s some of the best action I’ve seen since Set gave that classroom full of 1st graders PCP and duct taped razorblades to their fists! Every one of them got an A+ that day, I tell you. Except little Duncan. Poor kid never learned to guard his left…

Speaking of psychotic violence for personal enjoyment, for anyone (like myself) who was a big fan of Yayan Ruhian’s “homeless man murder machine” Mad Dog from Redemption, Ruhian returns for the sequel as Prakoso: the homeless man murder machine who works as the personal assassin for Bangun and family, and has done so for so long that Uco calls him uncle. ‘Oso is far more humanized than Mad Dog was (no surprise, since his name was Mad Dog, after all. Duh.), doesn’t share his antecedent’s predilection for unassisted conflict, and manages to look even more like an unwashed hobo. I can’t wait to see him pop up in The Raid 3 dressed like Jed Clampett and wielding a bindle like some crazy-ass Boxcar Willie Chan! That’s a joke that completely shits the bed since Willie Chan was Jackie Chan’s talent agent-slash-co-producer and not a performer. Fuck. Moving on!

This was originally intended to be Evans’ sophomore feature following his debut picture, Merantau, but as a barely proven writer-director at the time, the Welshman had to put it on the backburner and come up with the much more thrifty Redemption first to prove that he was indeed worthy of his original dream’s asking price. It became an international hit and Indonesia’s highest grossing movie of all time (a statistic I just pulled out of my ass, so I wouldn’t quote it if I were you), and as such, Raid 2 was born. The only problem here is that this is only tangentially a sequel. Not a shock, as it was written first and not intended to be a follow-up, but the idea of a rookie SWAT officer thrown directly into an undercover operation grates my cheese. I guess NetFlix training by sitting through half-a-dozen similar movies is enough to get by in the Jakartan crime world.

There’s obviously more story here, so the action isn’t as nonstop as before. But, as I said in the last review, Evans’ strong point isn’t writing, so adding more story and script to the formula does him few favors. Sadly, barring a few exceptions, if you’ve seen one undercover-pig flick you’ve pretty much seen them all. As well-versed in fighting chops as the cast is, they’re not a shade on Donnie Brasco when it comes to acting chops, nor is the tale half as intriguing and well twisted as Infernal Affairs (or its ‘Merican-izing, The Departed). I’m far from being a crime fiction fanboy, but I could smell the (french) twists on this one coming like Nozone can smell Junkyard taking his morning shit in the backyard 5 minutes before he even squats.

That reference is probably gonna require a Google or two, so don’t feel bad if it sounds like I was speaking Aramaic for a minute there.

Not wanting to sacrifice what got him this far to begin with, Evans still puts plenty of bang-pow into his movie. As a result though, the runtime on R the Deuce hits a harder to swallow 2.5 hours. Blame my underdeveloped gag reflex if you like, but 150 minutes for something like this is a bit much. The original cut came in at something short of 4 hours though, which is probably the stuff they’re going to Frankenstein Raid 3 out of. As much as Mr. Evans knows how to shoot a fight scene too, there are needless bits of shaky cam during non-action scenes, as if he’s got some kinda hyperactive disorder and can’t let the camera stand still for more than a few minutes at a time. It kinda kills the drama of the moment when you’re too busy getting dizzy to stay engaged. Oh well. Still not as amateurish and off-putting as Michael Bay’s bowel movie-ments.

As a guy who cites Jackie Chan, John Woo, and Sam Peckinpah as his action objects of idolatry, it’s nice to see Evans make movies that would do them proud. He also does the classic “director who’s also a fanboy” thing and puts in a few nods to other movies while he’s at it, including a *wink*wink* to Oldboy and a *nudge*nudge* to Versus. Shit, he even drops a reference to his freshman feature Merantau, since Rama’s alias Yuda was also Uwais’ character’s name. Pretty sneaky, Sis.

On a whole, The Raid 2 is a groovy slab of movie. Though he won’t win any writing awards, Gareth Evans is still a stellar action guy. He may be one of the best fight choreographers in the world! I probably won’t watch this again without doing the Fast Forward Fandango to soak in the beautiful brutality and glorious goriness, but my complaints are limited. Bring on the finale to the trilogy!

Before I go, I’d like to give every moviemaker ever a bit of solid advice: do something incredibly memorable and parody worthy with your movie’s subtitle. Don’t do something so generic as “The Revenge” or “The Final Chapter”, but do something that will make people remember your movie years after everyone has forgotten what the fuck it was or who starred in it or even if it was good or not. Truly unforgettable subtitles like “The Legend of Curly’s Gold” or “The Destruction of Jared-Syn” or, the inspiration for today’s alternate title, “Electric Boogaloo”. Trust me, I’ve never even seen Breakin’ 2, but I’d have to be subjected to some fucking Manchurian Candidate level brain rape before I ever forget something like “Electric Boogaloo”. Hell, it’ll probably be my activation code when I become a sleeper cell agent!

Moral of the Story: Mud wrestling’s not nearly as arousing when it’s being done by 50 guys in a prison yard.

Screenshots_____

No matter which continent you’re on, “douche bag” is a universal language.


“Uggh! Was that you?! Have you been eating brussel sprouts lately, or did something just crawl up your ass and die?!”


“You may not have noticed, but my hair is beginning to thin slightly. Where do you stand on the ‘keep it natural’ vs. ‘shave it’ debate?”


“You’ve failed this city.”


Looks like the Taco Bell men’s room after Fifty Cent Burrito Happy Hour.


“Can I interest you in some of my homemade ‘Jailhouse Rockin’ hair gel? I mix it in my cell toilet. Just 7 cigarettes for an all-day hold you can depend on!”


Woodstock ’99: the Morning After


Indonesian Bruce Campbell!


“Pfttt! I pay an extra dollar for the Premium Alpo© and it tastes the same as the regular stuff! Waste of money.”


“If you EVER eat the last S’Mores Pop Tart again, I will make it so you spend the rest of your life sitting down to pee. Do you hear me!?”


“No! Please! I had to save up 6 months pay to FINALLY buy this Incredible Hulk #181! It’s the last book I needed to complete my Wolverine collection! DON’T TAKE THIS AWAY FROM ME!”


They’re practicing the new men-only partner yoga – Broga.


“I’m telling you, man, if you bend your fingers up like this when you’re doing it, you’ll hit the g-spot every time! It drives the women CRAZY!”

———————————————————
———————————————————

Anubis will return next time in
“What’s Eating Gilbert Chan?”

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.

Feature 51 – The Babadook (2014)

or “Scary Stories to Tell in the Outback”

Featuring: Essie “The Matrix: Reloaded” Davis , Noah Wiseman , Daniel “Fell” Henshall

Director & Writer: Jennifer “Monster (2005)” Kent

Origin: Australia

Review_____

“I am the parent and you are the child, so take the pill.”

Hey strangers! Long time no see! It’s been a rough couple of months. But, not unlike a boomerang, this man-dingo (not to be confused with Mandingo) comes back sooner or (in this case) later! Despite being forged of mithril, it turns out my otherwise invincible laptop wasn’t waterproof OR whiskeyproof. Since I lost all of the original graphics and write-ups I’d made for the World Tour reviews, today’s episode will be the debut of my new, lazier format! No teasers about the next stop, no comedically morbid trivia about the origin nations, and no customized images. Instead, here’s my immensely slothy banner. Now get reading!

Charlie, Charlie, were the people who “summoned” you (before you were revealed to be a viral marketing ploy for yet another shitty “found footage” ghost movie) just gullible dip shits who would better serve the world as a new Taco Bell menu item called “the Soylent Grande”?
Yes.

Charlie, Charlie, would this gag have gone over better if I’d published this episode two months ago, when I originally started writing it?
Yes.

Charlie, Charlie, did you see the trailer for The Babadook and think you were on the cusp of Australian cinema’s “next big thing”?
Yes.

Charlie, Charlie, were you as disappointed by The Babadook as I was?
Yes.

Unlike when I’m masturbating on the toilet in the dark after waking up from that Barbara Crampton sex dream I’m always having, right now it’s nice to know I’m not alone…

The writer-director of today’s feature is Jennifer Kent. Jenn’s other credits mostly consist of minor acting roles, so my biggest fear was that The Babadook is the result of yet another person in front of the camera getting sick of being told how to utilize the trauma of their childhood dog being hit by a car to force tears, and vowing to prove to everyone that she can do “their job” better than “they” can. The initial trailer promised me something a little more conventional in the game of supernatural hauntings, which I was more than happy to welcome into my home given the scads of pathetic “found footage” spook-show garbage that’s run rampant through the genre for the last however many years it’s been since the first Paranormal Craptivity planted its hooks into theaters and laid eggs from its oozing, inflamed orifice.

If you haven’t scanned the trailer for yourself, pop in yo’ peepers and get to jeeper creeperin’:

At first glance, we’re promised what looks to be a traditional tale of childhood torment, as a boy and his mother become the hosts for a phantasm released from a children’s fable book. Right? Kinda yes, kinda no.

Amelia (Essie Davis) is a single mother. Not an uncommon thing. I know several single mothers. This isn’t even a setup for one of those “I support single mothers” t-shirts with the image of a stripper on a pole. I legit know a few single mothers. Hell, my own sister/mom Isis had to do the single mom thing after poppa Osiris ended up six feet under the Fertile Crescent. Amelia’s got it harder than most mono-matriarchs though, not only because her qualification for MILF dating sites is due to her husband’s untimely demise, but because her boy Samuel (Noah Wiseman) is a problem child. Well, I guess the politically correct term for it these days would be bi-polar or “dissociative personality disorder” or whatever the poor kid’s got rattling around in his junior skull bucket. Speaking of, the Junior Skull Bucket™ at KFC now comes with sugar-frosted coleslaw and one of twelve moderately racist toys based on the hit film A Haunted House 2, for a limited time only! Get your glow-in-the-dark “Shawn Wayans fucking the doll from The Conjuring” plaything with no-slip kung-fu grip TODAY!

As I was saying, Sammy’s the kind of kid that Hank Hill would redneck psychology diagnose as “that boy ain’t right”. As a result of his issues, he has recurring night terrors about being stalked by a monster. Like any kid, he’s convinced that said monster is fer realsies and will one day pop out of his closet like Howie Mandell in Little Monsters (you know, the movie that Pixar ripped the fuck off to make Monsters Inc.), only instead of taking Sam on a wild adventure through an ’80s punk-pop dreamscape and teaching him lessons about friendship and being yourself, it’ll just wear the boy’s dismembered face as formal dinner attire while it goes on to eat his mom’s head…what, you’ve never had that dream? Pffft. Liar.

To prepare for said imagined assault, Sammy proves himself quite the Kevin McCallister-in-training, assembling a dart firing crossbow, a back-mounted personal catapult, and all manner of DIY ballistic devices in their basement using nothing but pieces of scrap wood and the kind of basic doodads you find in those $5 “Made in China” toolbox sets. On top of that he’s also an aspiring Copperfield, but practicing his magic tricks (George Bluth Jr.: “Illusions!” ) for mom only garner the slightest of parental recognition. The kid’s got the potential to be a damn genius, but rather than encouragement he gets scolded by Amelia for always fucking stuff up, causing trouble at school and generally being annoying. Even when he reaches out and hugs mom in a much needed embracive moment of bonding, she violently pushes the lad away and yells at him for lingering slightly too long beyond her comfort zone. Women react like that to me all the time, but it’s usually because they catch me trying to undo their bra or drifting slightly too south of the Equator. That’s our Anubis! [canned audience laughter]

Amelia defends Sammy’s eccentricities to his detractors and insists they see him as an innocent child instead of just some pint-sized pain-in-the-ass. Though your first reaction (like mine was) may be that she’s just trying to save face in front of people so they don’t label her another shitty mom who should’ve just swallowed, Amelia does seem to do her best to show the kid as much love as she’s capable of. Not just out of guilt, but because her own emotional problems don’t allow for anything more. It can be hard to understand for those lacking in empathy, but I view depression like rape – if you blame the victim, you’re a piece of shit and I will personally split your uprights with a fire-ax if you bring any of that Faux News bullshit around my tomb.

While Sam’s in school during the day, Amelia works at a retirement home/geezer palace/grandparent dumping ground, and surrounding herself with cranky old farts doesn’t help her tightrope walk of sanity over the gaping maw of madness that is her life. Her co-worker Robbie (Daniel Henshall) is a nice enough guy and is clearly interested in turning their working relationship into, well, a working relationship. He covers for her at work and cheers her up when she needs it, but never expects anything in return. He’s either the sweet would-be boyfriend our lady deserves or total Friend Zone material, depending on your perspective. Though she could use a visit from Dr. Tube Steak (the Double A’s in her battery-operated boyfriend would agree), Amelia prefers to either be ashamed of her situation or play martyr by not wanting to drag anyone into the personal hell she’s built for herself. Good for her there’s always Convent-sized 200 packs of Energizers on sale at G’Day-Mart!

One evening, when Am’s ready to read Sam his nightly pre-bedtime story, the lad brings her a tome from their bookshelf that she’s never seen before. It’s a strange adolescent grimoire of the pop-up variety called “Mister Babadook” – a dark fairytale similar to something out of the old school Brothers Grimm collections. A lot less like Disney and a lot more like Tim Burton and Clive Barker’s nightmares making a litter of Eraserhead babies. She refuses to finish the tale, which infuriates Sammy and sends him into a fit. In the days that follow, the kid starts ranting about Mr. B (naturally *wink*wink*) haunting them, which only makes everybody else wish the kid would fall down a flight of stairs more so. Mom’s attempts to hide and destroy the book prove futile, as that ominous red cover continues to find its way into their home. Every time it returns, with new chapters serving as sinister portents of horrors-to-come…

As far as movies go, The Babadook is certainly well made. The visuals are clean where they should be clean, dark when they should be dark and a wide awake nightmare when they should be a wide awake nightmare. The eponymous specter himself is done is this weird “static shadow” animation style that’s unnerving without going so over-the-top that it’s goofy. Mr. Dookie resembles a silent film era Slenderman. He looks like something that escaped from Dr. Caligari’s wardrobe, a unique homage to villains of the oldest of old schools of animation. With his ominous top hat, demented face and long black trenchcoat of a body, Dooker’s a perfect candidate for stalking Betty Boop from the inky shadows of an ominous alleyway. Bad guys were all very predatory in that rapey sort of way back then.

I give props to the cast, too. Essie Davis does the besieged mom thing like she’s had personal experience, while Noah Wiseman’s just creepy enough looking that when he goes into his screaming freak out panic attacks, he looks suitably disturbed/disturbing. If he were my kid, I’d put him in a cage and lock him in his room until he calmed down, but I guess that only serves as an abutment to my decision to raise pets rather than rugrats! Everyone else in the cast is serviceable in being selfish cunts to help the audience sympathize (or empathize in the case of we childless viewers) with Am’s plight, while the one or two supportive people around her help keep it from turning into a complete “all against one” pity party.

Unfortunately, my biggest problem comes from the production company’s sales pitch on this one. Whereas the trailer promised me a more traditional supernatural horror experience, Babadook‘s dark fantasization of Amelia’s personal anxiety and the emotionally painful relationship with her son skew it much heavier into the “movie with a message” category. That message is bludgeoned over our collective skulls like a gas-powered shillelagh for an hour and a half until the final parting scene. It’s a heart punching manifestation of severe parental depression to be sure, but as someone just looking for something to watch and NOT a suffering parent looking for an understanding perspective, it just makes me shout “YES! WE GET IT! SHE’S SAD AND THE MONSTER IS A METAPHOR FOR DEPRESSION! MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN OR GET TO THE FUCKING CREDITS!”. It makes an otherwise well done movie feel like you’re Daniel Craig tied to a chair with a hole cut out of the seat and Jennifer Kent’s going all Mads Mikkelsen on your undercarriage. Or, as they call it at Guantanamo, a “Cheney Handshake”.

All that being said, if you’re the kind of person The Babadook strives to give a voice to, give it a viewing. If you’re the kind of person that has a metaphorical titanium plate in your head that helps prevent such heavy handed allegory abuse from turning your patience into applesauce and can just enjoy the flick as sensory stimulus, by all means, jump on Netflix and have a ball. If you’re me? Well, you’re not, so anything I say about that is irrelevant. Be happy about it.

Charlie, Charlie, we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well through the course of this review, and I feel comfortable enough now that I think I can ask this without offending you.
Yes?

Charlie, Charlie, if you’re supposed to be a Mexican ghost, shouldn’t your name be Carlos?
…White kids – what are you gonna do?

Until Children of Men happens? Nothing, Charlie. Nothing. Blart.

See you next episode, boils and ghouls!

Moral of the Story: I’m never having kids. Ever. This may have been the last push I needed to finally get that vasectomy!

Screenshots_____

“Mommy, is it true what all the kids at school say? Was my father really an albino goblin?”


The cast from A Bug’s Life looks a lot creepier when you watch it in HD.


Kid, I believe you when you say there’s nothing up your sleeves. Believe me when I tell you that if you’re still doing that shit in ten years, you won’t have anyone in your bed either.


“I don’t know, Sammy. I still don’t think it’s normal for a boy to want his mother to read him schematics for homemade explosive devices before bed every night.”


Children, if something that looks like that is trying to be your friend, run out the back door of your house and don’t stop running until you’re at the police station.


I haven’t felt so awkward reading subtitles since I watched that closed captioned copy of Last Tango in Paris… you know which part I’m talking about… yep, the scene with Marlon Brando’s Amish Astroglide™.


“Every day Mr. Harris asks me to pull his finger and every day I fall for it! Damn it!” (a little callback for any “Roseanne” fans who might be reading this)


Hence why Donald Trump pulls such high polling numbers.


Look kids, it’s footage of Jared Leto’s Joker from the latest “leaked” Suicide Squad trailer. Whoop-dee-fuck.


I see no one ever taught the Aussies how to bathe properly. It’s the 21st century and they’re still doing it like the French during the Golden Age of Ballooning. (a little callback for any “Flying Circus” fans)


She sleeps with that violin every night. Rednex fiddler Ace Ratclaw signed it for her at a 2012 show in Budapest! (a little callback for anyone who’s ever used Wikipedia to look up the members of Rednex)


A bad night for most women, sure, but a GOOD night for one of Charlie Sheen’s girlfriends! (a little callback for people who still think Charlie Sheen’s cool and domestic violence is hilarious [also, go fuck yourself with a bayonet])

———————————————————
———————————————————

Anubis will return next time in
“Glorious Bastards”

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.