Feature 67 – The Condemned 2 (2015)

or “Snake’s On a Game (of Death)”

Featuring: Randy “12 Rounds 2” Orton , Eric “The Pope of Greenwich Village” Roberts , Steven Michael “Breaking Bad” Quezada

Director: Roel “The Man with the Iron Fists 2” Reiné

Writer: Alan “Halloween 4: the Return of Michael Myers” McElroy

Origin: USA

Sequel to: The Condemned

Review_____

“One man’s pain is another man’s profit. And the only way to ensure profit, is to be the one bringin’ the pain!”

Surprise! You thought you were going to get some more international flavor this week with a new “World Tour de Farce” review, but instead you’re getting yet another “professional wrestler thinks he’s an action movie leading man” flick in The Condemned 2! Again, we see there is nothing you possess that I cannot take away. Especially when I’m the one giving you said thing, and the actual transferal of possession has not yet been enacted! Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha *cough*cough*cough* HAAAA! *cough*

World Wrestling Entertainment gave us the original Condemned in 2007. It was like a grown-up, paramilitary, pirate internet version of Battle Royale. Or, a Running Man minus all the neon lights, gimmicked killers, and Richard Dawson. Being a WWE Films production, they cast one of their own as its star – former wrestling icon “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, not to be confused with “The Six-Million Dollar Man” Steve Austin (who, in turn, isn’t to be mistaken for “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase). Though it was a massive financial boondoggle to the company (their biggest cinematic money pit to date), most wrestling fans consider it to be one of, if not the best of the company’s movie offerings, so it makes sense that they’d eventually sequelize it.

Now, having made The Marine 4, Behind Enemy Lines 3, 12 Rounds 3, and See No Evil 2, The Condemned was the last guy in the power plant not to receive “Employee of the Month”. As WWE doesn’t employ inanimate carbon rods (they’re very careful about their hiring practices these days, since you never know when Linda McMahon might run for Senate again), it’s The Condemned‘s time to shine!…with Randy Orton as the lead. By the racist fucking skullet of Hulk Hogan, what did I do to deserve this?!

Randy Orton. Randy “STUPID!” Orton. Randy “Just do enough to get by” Orton. Randy “Shitbag who shits in bags” Orton. As he’s known in our household, Blandy Bore-ton. As the chaps at Old School Wrestling Review once described him, “oozing with banality”. In the wrestling world, he is the alpha and omega of douchebags. He’s a legacy (his grandpa and dad were both wrestlers), he’s a crony (he’s best friends with Paul “Triple H” Levesque, one of the heads of the company), he has a history of drug abuse (cocaine [Randy Snortin’], steroids and painkillers), had a dishonorable discharge from the US Marines for going AWOL (a fact that came up when veterans protested his casting as the title hero in The Marine 3) and he’s an outright asshole (including defecating in female wrestlers’ luggage and breaking character just to berate other wrestlers during matches). He also goes by the nickname of “The Viper” (hence this episode’s alternate title) and has a stupid tribal tattoo on his arm that he tried to cover up with another of a pile of skulls, but is fooling no one as the original is still prominent. What a fuckin’ knob. Enough of the miserable reality, let’s get to the miserable fantasy.

Will Tanner (Orton) is a bounty hunter. He leads a posse of similarly minded individuals in the pursuit of wayward criminals for fun and profit. The latest target of these roughneck rednecks is one sinister son of a cunt named Cyrus (Wes Studi – a.k.a. Sagat in the Street Fighter live-action movie!) who runs an underground gambling operation where sick fucks bet on disturbing shit like which homeless guy hooked up to a Kevorkian Express will shed their unwashed mortal coil first. In a fit of movie irony, Will tells his boys to keep it non-lethal (this a “Wanted: Dead or Alive minus the ‘Dead’ part” contract), only to manslaughter the crap outta Cyrus when the villain is impaled on one of his own death machines. Hmmmm, a double scoop of irony? I really shouldn’t. I’m on a diet.

This fight shows us right off the bat that our protagonist probably only won the leadership role because he picked the longest straw, as it clearly wasn’t for his intelligence or tactical wits. When he has Cy dead-to-rights and lined up in his sights, Willie makes the incredibly stupid move of getting within the bad man’s reach. From there it’s elementary for Cyrus to disarm the doofus and prompt the ensuing struggle. Guns are made to kill and/or maim from a distance. From. A. DISTANCE. Why in the names of Horace Fucking Smith and Daniel Fucking Wesson (weird how they both had the middle name “Fucking”) would you flush the entire advantage of having a firearm down the metaphorical shitter by getting so close to your still very upright target that you can smell whether or not he had onions on his Whopper for lunch?! And Tanner’s supposed to be a trained bounty hunter!? If anyone reading this happens to know Alan McElroy or Roel Reiné, would you please punch them in the dick for me? Hell, even if you know neither but still know someone else cursed with either of those names, kindly do the same. But don’t mention my name. I’ve got enough “conspiracy to commit bodily harm” charges pending as it is.

Due to his epic botch, six months later Tanner ends up on trial for manslaughter. Though the judge presiding over the case makes her disdain for bounty hunters known (if ya wanna chase bad guys, become a cop), she gives him a suspended sentence and probation. Remorseful for his actions (though you wouldn’t know it by Orton’s expressionless “acting”), Billy goes home to his dad Frank (Eric Roberts) to tell him that he’s quitting the family business. Ah, so Will only got the manager position for the posse through nepotism. That makes sense. Having spent the last 30 years building the Tanner brand as the number one name in independent ne’er-do-well nabbing contractors in ALL of lower mid-western New Mexico, Frank’s not happy about the fruit of his loin turning his back on the bond jumper biz over one little unintentional murder.

Their resulting argument is almost like that scene in Varsity Blues where James Van Der Beek shouts “I DON’T WANT YOUR LIFE!” at his dad, except the actors are twice as old and all of the passion and defiance is instead replaced with lazy, even toned sarcasm while a mood of “When do we get our paychecks, again?” hangs heavy in the atmosphere. Riveting stuff to watch…in that I’d rather have rivets fired directly into the sides of my skull than have to wade through another minute of this cinematic landfill.

By the way, for anyone wondering why I’d use such a classy arrangement of letters as “cinematic” in this review, it’s in no way because I find anything professional or artistic about The Condemned 2. I’m using it in the “having qualities characteristic of motion pictures” manner. Inasmuch as this movie has moving images and is thus, technically, a “motion picture”. Carry on.

Without the big bucks of the manhunting industry to keep him in Wrangler jeans and Ford trucks, Billy Bob takes on a new job as a tow truck driver to make ends meet. One of his first calls is a pair of young women in Daisy Dukes and crop tops (likely local models, friends of the cast/crew, or just hopefuls fresh off the casting couch) who giggle and whisper things to each other while he changes their tire. There’s no real implication of what it is they’re saying to each other, but I entertain myself on the possibility that they’re talking about how the guy changing their tire looks like he doesn’t have two brain cells to rub together, and they’re formulating a plan where in he’ll give them all of his money before he leaves or straight up Knock Knock him. Oh but to dream my dreamy dreams, with their creamy dreamy filling. Mmmmm, filling.

Our hero’s next service call changes his life forever, as it’s from his old bounty hunting pal…uhm… honestly, I didn’t bother to write down any of their names. They’re mas macho types who call each other by their last names (being on a first name basis is apparently too intimate for tough guys), and as such I remember the sniper’s (Dylan Kenin) name is Travis [like singer Randy] and another (Morse Bicknell) goes by “Michaels” [like Shawn]…uhm, the retired pro-wrestler, not the one-man Mandingo party porn actor. That’s Sean Michaels. In case you were wondering. Okay then.

Anyway, when Willie fixes said former co-hunter’s car (his battery connector just came undone…hint hint), the guy awkwardly invites him out for a beer in thanks. Unless this was just this dude’s way of trying to get Will out on a man-date with him to lube his inhibitions up with a few brews before confessing his long held secret romantic intentions for our leading man (only if he’s “leading” us straight to Nap Town), his nervous demeanor betrays that there’s some ulterior motive to this social exchange. Given that there’s also a camera equipped drone following the pair around, this is clearly our entry point (front door or back?) into the figurative Thunderdome that is to be The Condemned 2: the Search for Randy’s Personality.

Each member of the Tanner bounty party has been assigned to assassinate their erstwhile chieftain Will, lest their failure to comply be taken out in the form of ultra-violence against them and/or their loved ones. Meanwhile, a speakeasy of high rollers have gathered to watch the spectacle as they gamble on which of the contestants will be the one to finally finish off their deadpan prey. The troublemaker organizing this Laff-A-Lympics of death is Cyrus’s surviving sidekick-turned-avenger Raul (Steven Michael Quezada), who’s vowed a blood vendetta against his ex-boss’s bored looking butcher-by-circumstance. The rest of the movie is pretty much what you’d expect: Tanner runs around shooting guns at people, trying to save his neck while getting to the bottom of Raul’s game and doing his best to keep collateral fatalities to a minimum, as a good guy does. That’s pretty much it. Now you don’t need to see it for yourself, unless your medicine cabinet is pulling a “Mother Hubbard’s cupboard” and is barren of the sleep aid of your choice, in which case 20 minutes of The Condemned 2 will put you out in a pinch!

That wasn’t a joke. I’m serious. This movie put me to sleep during my first attempted viewthrough. Granted, that may have been my fault for starting it at 1AM after a long day of soul reaping and Underworld political crap (we had to fight management hard to get that break room back!) without any type of artificial ambition boosting my brain, but even sitting through the last twenty minutes the next morning were like going 5 rounds of bare-knuckle with Morpheus! For fuck’s sake, just writing this review right now is tantamount to drinking a tall glass of warm milk prepared by Bill Cosby. I have to keep deleting the *yawns* I’m unconsciously typing out in every paragraph!

Randy Orton speaks with such an eyelid burdening monotone. Terminators have more emotional resonance than this guy! As a former drug addict, maybe he’s on mood stabilizers or something and his complete charisma coma is medically induced? Wherever the true blame lies, the reality is still right there, dropping steaming dumplings in our figurative luggage: this man should NOT be starring in even the directest of direct-to-video action flicks. He’d be more relatable as the leading role in his own autopsy video than what he’s giving us here, and I’m not exaggerating. Was he contractually obligated to be in this movie by WWE and just did his best impression of a cardboard cutout so they’d never bother him about being in any more movies!? Z’Dar’s CHIN (my version of “Zeus’s BEARD!”), the man is the Typhoid Mary of digitally transmitted Narcolepsy! I have never, EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVER (thank you, Chris Jericho) watched a movie with Eric Roberts in a supporting role and thought, “Wow, if he were the star, this movie would be so much better!”. If nothing else, The Condemned 2 has proven to me that anything is possible.

I’ve never seen any of Orton’s other movies, so I have no clue if this is how he tackles all of his roles. I do know that Quezada was never one to chew the scenery in “Breaking Bad” though, so maybe all of the blame should go on Mr. Reiné’s back? It could be another The Dark Knight situation where Chris Nolan made Chris Bale do the gravelly voice until all of Batman’s scenes were just a big joke and almost completely unwatchable. Either way, Orton should stay away from all future movie sets and just keep his shtick in the squared circle. Be happy with your athletic prowess and leave the acting to the actors. Or Eric Roberts.

The rest of the movie is just as sterile as its star’s performance. The camera work is fumbly (I think it’s supposed to be shaky cam, but as directed by a 10 year old), the overall direction feels like a slog through plain oatmeal from Point A to Point B with zero spices or fruit thrown in. The rest of the cast’s acting ranges from “good enough” to “please just shut up already”, the fight choreography is slow and sloppy (great for a blowjob, not for a fight scene) despite the attempts to cover it up by jostling the camera around while they’re happening. The music has to be some of the most generic background crap I’ve ever heard. This entire feature was just a poorly planned shit show from opening credits to end credits. It’s not even bad from a fun-to-mock standpoint. The moderate production values keep it from being a full blown skid mark, but that’s as good as it gets. Forgettable and regrettable.

There’s one unintentional running joke I’d like to end this on though, to make the writing of this review and your reading of it at least somewhat worthwhile. As mentioned prior, like any copy-and-paste paramilitary group, Tanner’s team-turned-tormentors has one member who’s a skilled sniper. In case you forgot already (and I don’t blame you), his name is Travis. Well, Travis is supposed to be a skilled sniper, but he’s not. The credo of the sniper is “one shot, one kill”, denoting that their job is to kill with surgical precision, needing only one bullet to put down their intended target. Throughout his time stalking Tanner, Travis fires 30+ rounds from his rifle (not including the 60 or more fired from his uzi) and manages to kill…well, let’s just say the spoiler free version of his murder math is something far far FAR (like “a galaxy far far away” far!) less accurate than the gold standard. If I gave my 80 year old grandmother a single-shot rifle with 30 rounds of ammunition, put her inside Dorothy Gale’s house while it was caught in the twister that carried it to Oz, took away her glasses and tasked her with shooting half a dozen Munchkins also thrown into the cyclone, I guarantee you her fatalities-to-rounds fired ratio would put this Travis guy into a shame spiral so deep that he’d need a grappling hook and half a mile of rope to pull himself out of it!

Whew! I’m winded just reading that last sentence. I need to lay down and catch my breath after this. By the beers of Billy Carter, I’m too Murtaugh for this shit.

Even when he’s pulling a “spray and pray” with his uzi, Travis still manages to miss his targets! He has no problem perfectly strafing his shots in an almost impossibly narrow line along the top of a fruit and veggie stand (sending fragments of splattered produce into the air), but hitting the trio of full grown adults scuttling in an orderly fashion directly behind said stand is just impossible for this fucking career marksman to hit. My rage over this, combined with my need to count the amount of ammo this guy burned through to such minimal effect, are pretty much all I had to keep me from giving out on my second viewing. When you’re on the Titanic, the best you can do is grab whatever flotation device you can and hope you get back to shore before the bitter death grip of Mother Nature can drag you down into her frigid black oblivion. I think my metaphor got a little out of hand there, but the initial message is still in there somewhere. I’ll leave it up to you to exhume it.

Okay, that’s enough of that. Bottom line: the truly condemned in The Condemned 2 are the people who pay for this movie. As for me? I’m going to see if I can discover a way to distill its essence and market it as a cure for insomnia! Provided I can withstand extended exposure to its background radiation….long enough…to……….stay…awake………… *zzzzzzzzzzzzzz*

Moral of the Story: *YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWN* Huh? What are you still doing here? There’s cab fare on the nightstand and $20 for breakfast. You can keep the change if you go away right now. Don’t call me. Goodbye.

Screenshots_____

That thing should come with a Surgeon General’s Warning.


Elderly people hooked up to suicide machines against their will while non-white criminals gamble on which dies first? I’m not sure if this was taken from the movie or a 2013 Faux News report about ObamaCare.


This profile leaves out the “Zach Galifianakis impersonator available for private parties on weekends” part of Mr. Cooper’s resume.


This photo was taken of Mr. Merrick after the sandwich shop regretfully informed him that they were all out of jalapeno cream cheese for his cheddar bagel. Sorry Cyrus, early bird gets the jalapenos!


“I have you, a man armed with a knife, at a great disadvantage due to my possession of a firearm! Though I should be forcing you to the ground so one of my partners can restrain you, allow me to approach you until I’m well within range of your knife, giving you ample opportunity to disarm me and put my life in immediate danger!”


Don’t get your hopes up, like I did. This isn’t the moment where the whole movie turns into a surprise sequel to Maximum Overdrive and we see Randy Orton run over by a pissed off truck. “When you wish upon a star” my hairy ebon ass!


“You just sit back and watch how a real actor carries a low budget action movie, Junior.”


“You think if we flirt with the tow truck driver he won’t charge us?”
“Duh! Why else would we dress like this!?”


This is what happens when people don’t respect the “my quarter on the table means I get next game” rule!


“I was a supporting character in one of the most critically acclaimed television shows of all time! Don’t you dare mock me for chewing scenery in one crappy movie! I’ve earned a pass on this one!”


Ever since “Breaking Bad”, wanna-be meth cooks have caused staggering rate increases in the “mobile home explosion” insurance industry over the last few years.


Awww, it’s so cute when rednecks watch car movies and try to emulate them. I see somebody finally rented Fury Road from the Red Box kiosk at their nearest WalMart!


Hanukkah casino parties are becoming a popular trend for the kids at the synagogues these days. Let that gelt ride, bubbale!

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Anubis will return next time in
“Life of Pi(e)”

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.

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Feature 54 – Faust: Love of the Damned (2000)

or “Son of Satan”

Featuring: Mark “‘Doctors’” Frost , Andrew “Wishmaster” Divoff , Jeffrey “Re-Animator” Combs

Director: Brian “Beyond Re-Animator” Yuzna

Writer: David Quinn

Origin: Spain

Review_____

“There’s no grand design, just an outbreak of chaos. Like a pimple on the face of God.”

Fox’s Fant4stic came out a few weeks ago and bombed harder than Fat Man and Little Boy. In “honor” of the flick’s release from the Hollywood poop shoot, I could have reviewed the studio’s two prior attempts at bringing Marvel’s first family to feature length glory. But, that would’ve been too easy. For those of you who know me, you know I always do things the Max Power way (look it up). For those of you who don’t know me, uhm, I’m Anubis Von Mojo – the proprietor of the shitty movie review site you’re currently reading. Nice to meet you?

Fuck it. Anyway, rather than go with the obvious, I thought I’d obscure it up a bit and insert a stiff finger-blasting of wordplay into the mix. As such, this “reviews thing” will highlight four movies from Brian Yuzna’s no-longer-breathing horror production company, Fantastic Factory. I even opted to slip a a second wordplay finger into the backdoor by using Marvel horror comic book references as the alternate titles for these episodes! Now, if I’m done geeking myself off, let’s turn this factory’s lights back on and start making some fantastic. What better place to start this so-called event off than with FF’s premiere production!

[Writer’s Note: despite being from Spain, the Fantastic Factory movies are NOT considered part of “World Tour de Farce 2015”. That would be cheating. I have something else in mind for Spain, which you’ll find out about once I get around to that neck of the woods…which will be sometime around 2017 at this rate. Blart.]

Faust: Love of the Damned” originally started as a 1987 comic book series of the same name plucked from the demented minds and talented hands of independent creators Tim Vigil and David Quinn. It took 25 years and two different publishers (from Rebel Studios to Avatar Press) before the pair finally finished the tale’s 15 issue run. And you Song of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones) nerds thought George R.R. Martin took his sweet time? Fuckin’ artists and their “process”.

As you’ll notice, Quinn was also brought on as the writer for this live-action adaptation, which is a good thing if you want your movie to feel more like a comic book. In this case, it definitely does. Not to the audience taxing extents of Ang Lee’s Hulk with all the gimmicky comic panel shots and such, but more through dialogue, story structure and scene progression. That’s not necessarily a good thing, but it’s still a thing, whatever your tastes may be.

Aaaaaaanyway, let’s make like BTO and get to takin’ care of the proverbial business!

Though the movie is presented in a very “broken and out of order” story sequence, I’m just going to work through it chronologically to make it more cohesive.

Aside from having a very old skool Marvel Comics-esque alliteration heavy moniker that’s confusingly close to Jasper Johns’ name, and a self-indulgent status as an “artist”, John Jaspers (Mark Frost–not to be confused with Jack Frost or Mister Frost) also has a beautiful girlfriend. The exotic Blue (Jennifer Rope) is JJ’s muse, his beloved, his everything. Too bad for him that she’s also an illegal immigrant who was brought into the country by less-than-legal means, courtesy of a gang of ne’er-do-wells. When the goons (are they hired goons, perchance?) come looking to punish Blue for not repaying her tariff, wimpy little Jaspers tries to intervene. Instead of being the roundhouse kicking Dalton that his chromatically monikered madam needs though, Double J’s just her dime store Eric Draven, held impotent and agonizing while the woman he loves is tortured before his soggy eyeballs. He’s cold cocked and left to sleep it off while presumably unspeakable acts are performed on the lovely lady with the painful accent.

When he comes to from his ass kicking, a disheveled Jaspers (who should wipe that smear of ketchup off of his mouth before his mother comes at him in a public place with a spat upon napkin) discovers his corpsed-up soul mate/mail order bride inversely crucified upon one of his easels. It’s actually a cool visual that I’d never considered before seeing it here, and given my tendency to daydream about the different things I could crucify people to, I’m surprised. Anyway, with his beloved now be-deaded, JJ declares life a crushing boulder of searing agony squatting on his chest and no longer worth living. He’s the personification of every Morrisey song: boo-hoo poor me emo tripe all day and all night.

And now, courtesy of the Meat Council, this free tripe!

On the verge of taking his own life via bridge bungee jump (sans bungee), our protagonist’s approached by a touchy-feely harlot named Claire (Mónica Van Campen) and her ominous looking white-haired boyfriend referred to only as “M”. “Why so ominous?” Because, Joker, M’s played by Andrew Divoff. When Wishmaster‘s demonic djinn is in your movie, 95% of the time he’s got evil intentions a-brewin’. Sure enough, the mono-consonantly titled stranger offers John Boy immortality and the power to take revenge on those who have wronged him, but makes no bones about warning him that his payment for such power will be his eternal soul now, and a future thing that Jaspers holds closest to his heart, to be named later. Ready to end his existence anyway and having no belief in a “soul” to begin with, JJ figures “Fuck it! I’ll take the demonic revenge powers!”.

From suicidal pessimist to optimist who thinks he can get one over on the Prince of Lies in a matter of moments. Now me? I hate optimists. They’re just in denial of how the world is nothing but a barb wire wrapped dildo trying to butt fuck us every chance it gets. The kind of people who think that the massive potholes in their lives are part of some “god’s plan”. The kind of people who try to put a positive spin on being shat upon by avian airstrikes, calling it “good luck”. NO! YOU WERE SHIT ON BY A FUCKING BIRD! YOU’RE NOT DUE GOOD LUCK, YOU’RE TARGET PRACTICE! YOU’RE A LOWER LIFEFORM’S TOILET! And if everything’s part of “god’s plan”, then why the fuck are you praying to him to make changes in your life?! Aren’t you supposed to just sit back and let the guy in the sky do his thing? Do you think you know better than “god”?! Monkeys.

No sooner does John start smearing his gory signature on Mephistopheles’ contract, you can practically hear Hugo Weaving proclaiming “the sound of inevitability” in your ear, because you know deals with Ol’ Scratch generally don’t end well. Until the fine print bites him in the ass though, John at least gets himself a slick pair of forearm mounted, retractable stabby talons with which to perforate his adversaries’ innards! He wastes no time surprising the gang in their warehouse hideout (how he knew where said hideout was is never explained) and relieving the three members he finds there of the massive tumors they call their heads. Returning to M, JJ’s told that his job isn’t done yet because he’s now Satan’s assassin. He tries to put his new boss in His place, only to discover that, surprise, the claws won’t come out against their bestower. The Great Deceiver’s not new to this game, dummy. I am curious as to why the Lord of Darkness would enroll a simpering little art school dropout as his hired gun though, since you’d imagine a soldier or an MMA fighter or even Uwe Boll would be a better option physically. Maybe M just didn’t want to have to travel far from his home office and JJ was the closest suicidal person he could find on such short notice.

Being M’s loaded gun isn’t all bad, though. The benefits plan includes shower sex with Claire, after all. As Satan’s fuck toy, she’s probably immune to STDs…or flooded with them. Maybe it’s not such a benefit after all.

JJ is sent by his new boss to a Chinese (maybe?) embassy to turn the place into an international house of pancakes carnage. He carves up 19 people, but rather than go for a nice round 20, stops short of killing police Lieutenant Dan “Hound Dog” Margolis (Jeffrey Combs!). Instead of rending Dan into itty-bitty pieces fit for an itty-bitty-ditty bag, the wild-eyed Jaspers sheaths his claws, utters “No” to a nearby Claire (concealed behind a veil), then mutters “The Hand.” to the Lieutenant, then slips into a completely unresponsive state of total mental meltdown. Before the rest of the fuzz can gun down JJ like an unarmed black teen in the park, Margolis interjects and takes the mentally disturbed human lawnmower into custody. This to the chagrin of the Lieutenant’s “oh you KNOW that dick bag is a bad guy!” boss Commissioner Marino (Fermi Reixach), who tries to have Jaspers filled with more lead than a Chinese toy factory, only to be disappointed because now Jaspers the Friendly Ghost will likely get off on a plea of insanity.

Due to said regression into an unresponsive vegetable (his brains have turned into figurative cauliflower), John is given accommodations in a padded room rather than a jail cell. Here he soon meets his appointed psychoanalyst, Dr. Jade de Camp (Isabel Brook), who has experience with bringing patients out of traumatically induced consciousness crashes through “unusual methods”.

At first blush I thought this meant she was going to be one of those therapists you see in 2 a.m. Showtime softcore flicks who fix all of their patients by having hilarious, poorly choreographed sex scenes with them, but Jade’s atypical tactics of treatment basically just consist of trying to trigger a cognitive reaction by playing music. So you can make me cry uncontrollably by playing “The Humpty Dance”. Big deal. It proves NOTHING!

While Jade is trying to finger our hero’s trigger, Lt. Dan (“Have you found Jesus yet, Gump?”) flexes his Netscape-Fu and scours the worldwide wasteland for information on an occult sect known as “The Hand”, as per Johnny’s utterance of the words at the embassy slaughter. He finds the information faster than you can look up “Thundercats hentai” or “dump cake recipes”, as the group appears to have their own Angelfire page! Not very clandestine of them. Hell, I can’t even get my page near the top of search engine results when you type in “The Tomb of Anubis”, so they must put a LOT of their marketing budget into their internet advertising if they’re showing up in the top 10 for something as commonplace as “the hand”! Movies. What’re you gonna do? Blart, that’s what.

While silently drawing seemingly Satanic symbols on the walls of his cell (at first with his own blood, then with a Sharpie provided by Dr. J), John has a reaction when he sees a certain CD in Dr. de Camp’s pile of mood music. Desperate to get her patient to say anything, she puts the disc (presumably a choice track from the Faust soundtrack, available NOW 15 years ago from Roadrunner Records!) on and gets just the manic lashing out that she’d hoped for! He breaks down in a bit of acting that can’t help but recall Jeff Daniels’ award-winning performance in Dumb and Dumber as he tells Jade his story (which I already covered previously, so you and I can fast forward through this next part). You’re welcome.

During story time, JJ gets all “artist speak” on us and shows us the “depth” of his “tortured soul” by yammering on about the shallowness of art in comparison to love and how evil is a thing despite the existence of science and technology (Duh! Ever hear of Decepticons?!) and blah blah blah. The line between pseudo intellectual and actual intellectual isn’t a thin line: it’s a gaping chasm and this guy’s sitting at the bottom of it, standing on his head and jerking off into his own mouth. Guys, never get high on your own stash. It’s like meth: Not Even Once.

Having bucked M’s control and thus avoided an LAPD style “excessive force” demise, JJ is now wanted by the bad guys. He’s snatched from his padded room after hours by Dr. Yamamoto (the head doctor in charge of him who also happens to be M’s personal physician), and two of the goons responsible for Blue’s death. Now, is this all a big coincidence that M’s both the cause of Jaspers’ misery, as well as the provider of his power? Or, was it part of an overarching scheme? Whatever the case, Jpeg’s drugged and dragged to a cemetery, where M gloats over him a bit before burying the blonde blood-letter alive and sending him to eternal damnation in Hell. In the fiery beyond, Jaspers is strangled by a skeleton until he uses his talons (stupid of M to bury him with the damn things like some kind of Bond villain) to crack-a-lack its cranium and return to life. Amidst the dirt (and an inordinate number of worms), he claws his way from the earthen womb of his resurrection! And Yuzna ruins any awesome factor the scene once had by having a headstone to Jaspers’ makeshift grave with “AUS” and three conveniently placed scratches upon it spell out “FAUST” when JJ’s claws cast a shadow across it.

See? I literally face palmed at this and had to walk away for a breather. If I’d known things were going to get this corny I would’ve brought some butter and salt. Fuck.

Making good on his promise to take away something important to JJ (despite having just buried the guy alive with the intention of sending him to Hell), M sends his henches to snatch Jade. As they surround her in an ominous alley that’s on loan from a Death Wish movie, a caped figure descends upon the fiends from above. Looking like concept art for a Clive Barker Batman movie (and with the red light-up eyes of a drug store Halloween mask), Jaspers proceeds to eviscerate the villains as his new, blood crazed, eponymous persona Faust. He’s dressed like the Dark Knight, cracks demented one-liners a la The Joker, and murders with the savagery and bladed protrusions of Wolverine. All things that should be amazing, but the rubber muscle suit is distractingly silly and the line delivery boils just a little too far over the top of the pot. It needs to be more Jack Nicholson Joker and less Frank Gorshin Riddler. Hell, even a bit more toward Jim Carrey Riddler might not have been so bad.

No, wait. I’d rather swallow a nest of vipers than praise anything related to a Joel Schumacher Batman movie. Carrey on.

Dan and Jade combine their powers to form a Captain Planet of an investigation (he is our hero, after all), against the orders of the so-obvious-that-he’s-in-on-it Commissioner Marino. Who’s your favorite Marino? Dan Marino seems like a nice enough guy, but I have to stand by Ken Marino. Guy’s amazing. And no amount of touchdown passes or Isatoner commercials will ever top repeated declarations of “I WANNA DIP MY BALLS IN IT!”. Where was I? Oh yeah, Marino’s clearly under M’s employ and if they’re not going to be upfront with it from the start, Yuzna probably shouldn’t have had the guy’s voice dubbed by someone so blatantly sinister sounding. That motherfucker is up to no good. Up to no good. Like a spark on a wire. Or a splinter of a wood. I gotta stop listening to Rancid while I write these things.

Back at the baddies’ den o’ sin, succubus nympho Claire conspires against her sugar devil, but Big Daddy Mammon lets her know that he’s aware of her plans and puts her in her place by turning her into a big slimy pile of boobs and butt flesh with a face and tiny stick arms. You know, pretty much what you’d expect to see out of a Screaming Mad George concoction. Unless you’re a narcissist who fears this happening to you, the whole sequence is much funnier than it is terrifying. The silly music doesn’t help, and my respect for Yuzna as a horror guy dwindles as a I realize, intentionally or not, the guy’s trying too hard to emulate Charles Band’s ’90s stuff and it’s not to his (or our) benefit. My hopes for the other three movies on this “reviews thing” is dipping to dangerous levels. My hope for my hope chest (i.e. my DVD collection) is dissipating like a fart from a dead body’s voided bowels.

JJ visits a towel clad, post-bath Jade at her apartment, vowing to protect her from M’s machinations and the threat of whatever “worse than death” plans he has in store for her. When the officers assigned to watch her intervene, he transforms into Faust (through the magic of late ’90s low budget computerized morphing technology – a trauma we’d all like to overcome), tells them to take a message to their boss, then proceeds to lick one of them (he’s got an odd, homo-erotic sadism fetish where he keeps making mouth time with decapitated mens’ faces) before gutting them both. So, I guess the delivery of that message was purely symbolic then? As Jade runs off scared out of her mind (but not too scared to have grabbed her trench coat), Faust goes to a window and shouts the best line of the movie at her: “I’m the pornography that gets you HOT!” It’s one of the brief moments that Frost’s exaggerated delivery works and it’s amazing.

One of the porcine peacekeepers survives his sticking long enough to call in backup, leading to a chase scene as the 5-0 show up to “help” Miss de Camp. But, when she sees Yamamoto there, her guts tell her something’s not right, confirmed when he tries to poke her with some sleepy juice (now known as a “Cosby Non-Consent Cocktail”). She runs onto a conveniently waiting subway train that Margolis manages to miss, but Faust does not. In fact, he does a little comically needless/needlessly comical hop into the car! Faust adds a few more notches to his one-eight-seven bodycount and wins the award for Most Subway Passengers Traumatized since Predator 2 took the prize a decade earlier. Given the choice between the sleazy Commissioner and the blood-soaked one-man killing streak, our heroine opts for the latter. These days, when given the same choice, I think most people would do just that.

Back at Johnny’s place, the two debate over tea and scones whether he’s retained any of his humanity, whether evil is a curable mental condition or an incurable primordial state of being and what the hero’s intentions are for her lady parts. Actually, they just yell at each other about said subjects until ultimately banging like hamsters on Viagra. Here’s a tip, folks – when someone asks you if you want to rape them, there’s a good chance that means they’re floating a role play fantasy out there and are waiting for your reaction without straight up asking you if you’d do it. Never do anything to someone without their consent, but definitely evaluate whether you want to continue this relationship or not, because things can get REALLY tricky. Not necessarily bad, but tricky. Always establish parameters for consent and even then be prepared, because your partner is probably going to get freaky in your ear. Personal experience, that’s all I’m saying.

In the throes of their humpening, Jade tells John that she’s wanted to jump his bones from the moment she saw him (therapists love damaged people they can “save”, it’s an ego driven Jesus complex thingy), then declares that “this is forever”. Yikes! I’ve been known to bring out the ‘L’ word (“Lesbians?”) a little too soon with a couple of gals, but “this is forever” is something better saved for wedding vows and contracts with your internet provider, not first time flings! Making the scene all the more awkward (aside from the bits of demonic residue/cop blood still sticking to nekkid John) is the “love making” track that plays over it, dominated by a woman humming sensuously as if she were sipping on a chocolate shake and getting her feet rubbed while recording it. What makes it even more awkward is when Jade’s own trauma kicks in and her mind is flooded with the horrors of a hideous faceless creature she refers to only as “Smooth Man”. Not Barry White smooth, but “fat guy post Brazilian wax drizzled in baby oil” smooth. Gross. Evidently, when she was a little girl Jade was molested by the Incredible Melting Man. He’s incredi-meltable!…and on the Public Sex Offender List.

The mood for their first time officially killed, Jaspers does the right thing and just cuddles with Jade while she opens up about her PTSD, then promises to protect her after. Good man. Meanwhile, The Hand are on the verge of seeing their centuries old plan to fruition, as tonight is the night their dark god Homunculus will finally be summoned and the Earth will be transformed into Hell…except that there’s another day’s worth of scenes, so I guess they meant tomorrow night. Margolis tails Marino to a roundtable meeting at M’s mansion and watches as the Commish rakes M over the coals for not being able to control his own human Cuisinart. The rest of their cabal also show faltering faith, so the Morning Star makes an example out of the rabble-rouser and absorbs him into his stomach using these big abdominal demon arms a la that crazy shit at the end of The Evil Dead. With his minions back in their proper place of fear-based reverence, our main antagonist needs to have a sit and get juiced by Yamamoto, as his human form is getting weak. Not weak enough to overlook Margolis though, whom he sees from the other side of a two-way mirror and puts some evil whammy on.

Margolis calls Jade and tells her that he’s uncovered the truth about what The Hand have planned. He also says he’s found JJ’s contract and has a plan for how they can void it, but tells her to meet him at M’s estate before he’ll go into any details. Oh, and he wants her to come alone…riiiiiiiiiight. Danny Boy’s heel turn might not have been so obvious had they not just ended the previous scene the way they did! Damn it, Yuzna.

Jade finds nothing strange about how she’s able to just waltz through M’s unlocked front door untouched, and follows Dan further in the bad guys’ inner sanctum. She finds the contract and deletes any empathy I had for her when it turns out she’s one of those obnoxious people who moves her fucking lips and mutters when she reads something to herself too. She’s approached by M, who offers to trade her JJ’s freedom for full power of attorney over her body. Dan reveals his official switching of teams as well, jealous that Jade chose doing the bed spread rumba with Jaspers over him, finally giving Combs a chance to sink his teeth into some scenery like he does so well. Elsewhere, Claire conspires with Dr. ‘To to poison the big boss and steal his wealth of knowledge and powers for their own, seemingly unfazed by the whole “Dali Meets Picasso” pile-of-tits-and-ass flesh fiasco she went through before. Claire even tells ‘Moto to his face that he can’t trust her, but the threatening seeds she plants in the doctor’s ear of his loss of usefulness once M gains his full power are enough to convince the portly physician to go into business for himself. Elsewhere still, John wakes up in bed, discovers Jade has left and freaks out. For all he knows she went out to get them coffee and crullers and he’s throwing a spaz like a codependent child over nothing. Lighten up!

The conspiracy against M seems to go off well, as Yam’s lethal injection leaves his now former boss dead in a heap of gross on his fancy Oriental rug. Too bad for the doc though that M managed to kill him too before giving up the ghost. Oh well, he would’ve ended up dead either way. But, if given the choice, I’d probably rather my throat slit by a sadistic succubus in mid-climax than having my face chewed off by an old man with coke junkie nails. Claire doubly confirms her newly widowed status by turning what’s left of her hubby’s head into a 12 gauge smear. Upon taking charge, the black widow goes full Domme on Jade, locking her in a stockade and whipping her ass with a cat-o-nine tails, then dressing her in a belly dancer bikini and putting her in an electrified cage while she turns her sexual nightmares about Smooth Man into fantasy, transforming her into a horny sex kitten almost as fast as Japanese schoolgirls learn to lust after monster tentacles. So the fastest way to cure severe emotional damage in someone is to inflict severe physical damage on them instead? Gotcha.

Turns out it’s not as easy to kill the Prince of Darkness as Claire thought, as M then pops up to take back his baby momma-to-be. Yep, M’s going to pull a Demonic Toys and impregnate a human woman with his new form. Though why someone would want to relive childhood, even in an instance like this, is beyond my comprehension. The ritual sees M pull a huge yellow anaconda out of a bound, mud caked Claire’s stomach then feed the snake to a mud caked Dan while Claire’s body is engulfed in flames. Dan falls over dead (what the fuck was the point of the snake!?), Jade does interpretive dance on an altar and random minions stab chanting extras to death all around them. Faust bursts through a window to interrupt Beelzebub’s bacchanal, killing several goons wearing red KKK hoods (on laundry day, you’d think racists would know not to mix coloreds in with whites *rimshot*) before reverting to his emotionally crippled human form upon seeing that Jade’s willingly turned into Satan’s breeding slut. He watches in horror as two-pump chump M gets his rocks off in his girlfriend while she has the ill-timed breakthrough that Smooth Man was actually her father. Disturbing as this is, I was worried they were going to reveal that it was M who’d raped 11 year old Jade as part of his long term plot to eventually manipulate her into being a Hell whore. Though less nauseating that the incest thing, it would’ve been hokey as fuckin’ pokey.

Upon M’s climax, the Homunculus is summoned. Wait. That’s their Homunculus!? No. By definition a homunculus is a small, artificially made human being. I saw Verne Troyer at a comic convention last weekend. HE is a homunculus. The thing M is summoning resembles something out of the nightmare a lesbian has right before she realizes that dicks aren’t her forte. It looks like Ultraman monster villain Bogun by way of a Ken Russell fever dream after he’s downed too much absinthe and LSD. It’s Satan’s wedding tackle. We can thank Screaming Mad for this, as the monster’s design is his own. The comic book form of the Homunculus was more in line with a werewolf…which STILL ISN’T A HOMUNCULUS!

M sends Jade to commit her final act of devotion by killing the now bound John, but she does the hero thing instead and cuts the straps, thus freeing him to become Faust again. The Non-munculus proceeds to turn the entire ceremony into a mass funeral pyre, burning all of its followers while Faust does this embarrassing “hop and flail” thing, attempting to slash the monster as it sits just out of his reach. You know what he needs? Judge Doom’s spring shoes. Cartoony, yes, but they’d actually be less goofy than just watching him hopping up and down like a little kid whose big brother is holding his favorite toy out of reach. Silly little demonic superhero guy. Maybe if you keep drinking your milk you’ll be big enough one day to not be the object of harassment and ridicule for some cock beast from the Lake of Fire.

The frightening phallic fiend (sounds like a Scooby-Doo monster) grabs Faust in its tractor beam, but before it can eat him, Jade stabs M in the neck, causing the creature to flinch due to its apparent link with the villain. It drops our hero, allowing him to do another of his silly little hops, this time close enough to plant his talons in its soft, fleshy head. I told you it’s a mutant penis! It’s like the dickasaurus from Tromeo & Juliet! Defeated, the not-a-homunculus is sucked back into the portal from whence it came…swirling around in circles like it’s being flushed down a toilet. Fetal’s fraggin’ gizz.

John still can’t lay a claw on M though, so the bad guy hovers semi-triumphantly over the gateway, mocking the hero and vowing to send him to Hell…which didn’t work the last time! Still, Jade strikes a deal with El Diablo for John’s freedom, giving him the soul of the baby that M just planted in her nurture purse. The baddy negates JJ’s contract, only to have Jade tell him she put one over on the Great Deceiver, because her prepubescent assault didn’t just mess up her brain, it also fucked up her womb (poor choice of words?) and left her barren. M seems pretty nonplussed by this though, saying that he always puts his money on long shots. He must’ve read the unmade part of the script where we were supposed to discover (in a post-credits sequence) that Jade does wind up with a miracle spawn despite her condition. Anyway, M takes away John’s Faust powers (why didn’t he just do that in the first place?!) and declares him dead, but through sheer will and a bit of encouragement from the woman he loves, JJ finds the strength to jam his claws (the second time M should’ve just taken the fucking things away from him!) into his former boss’s digestive tract and sends him back to Hell in a wash of computer generated flames like something out of Diablo II. Maybe if M had actually tried to evade the attack rather than floating in place and just yelling “YOU’RE DEAD! I BURIED YOU!”, he could have avoided his demise. Oh well. “Hindsight’s 20/20” and all that.

To end the picture, John falls to the floor and utters another stupid artist epitaph as Jade lays on top of him and mourns his passing. To confuse matters, this is interspersed with cuts of a different scene where John’s saying the same things to Jade before he jumps from the bridge he was originally going to kill himself on following Blue’s death…so… this might’ve all been a figment of John’s delusional mind after all!? Huh. Interesting twist, I suppose. You know, in that “Newhart” kinda way…now I wish I had enough ambition to draw Bob Newhart as Faust…

Okay, wrap up time. Where to begin? I think I made it clear that I wasn’t a fan of Yuzna’s directorial decisions. I think the levity, both intentional and un, were out of place. Normally I’m okay with Yuzna’s stuff, but this just rubbed me the wrong way on this material. Stuart Gordon was supposedly pegged to direct Faust back in the ’90s when it was being shopped around. Back to Batman terms, I think we deserved something more Tim Burton-y and less Joel Schumacher-y, and Gordon probably would’ve provided that. Yet another one for the “Oh, what could have been” pile.

The acting is all horrible. Well, not all of it, just most of it. It doesn’t help that half the characters are being dubbed to cover up their no doubt heavy Spanish accents (or lack of English), but even the people using their own voices are painful to listen to. Frost is trapped somewhere between Jeremy Irons in Dungeons & Dragons and Tommy Wiseau in The Room. His scenery chewery never quite hits either extreme of “so bad, it’s good”, so it just sits meandering at “bad” for the entire movie beyond his delivery of that one sweet aforementioned line. Combs is serviceable for the most part except when watching Margolis try his awkward best to hit on Jade. It’s painful and reminds me why I only pick up victims women online during the one week a year that Geek2Geek offers me a free trial membership. Combs definitely gets higher marks once his character falls from grace and goes full evil though. I’ve been saying since From Beyond that I want to see the man play Renfield in a Dracula flick, but his brief work as evil Dan further solidifies that opinion like a cockroach in concrete.

Much like my review for Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation however, Divoff outshines my hero JC and is the real linchpin keeping this movie from disintegrating into Werewolf territory…or is it pronounced “warr-wilf”? Unlike Combs, Divoff’s role is perfect for him to be on top of his game out of the gate. The guy exhales sinister like it was smoke. He reminds me of Christopher Lee in his legendary Hammer Dracula run. High praise, I know, but I believe what I say. The man plays his roles so well that it comes off as effortless and he deserves so much more than he’s been given. It pains me that my own review limiters forbid me from doing episodes for the first two Wishmasters or either of Full Moon’s Oblivion movies, because they’re pure showcase material for this guy.

The practical and makeup effects by frequent Yuzna co-conspirator Screaming Mad George work. Everything’s got that slimy gloss to it, which works as a gross out thing, but risks portraying them as the rubbery creations they really are. The digital stuff isn’t great, but we can chalk that up to technical and/or budgetary limitations at the time. The metal music soundtrack features names I’ve heard of like Type O Negative, Sepultura, Coal Chamber, Fear Factory, Machine Head, and a Soulfly song that lauds the inclusion of Fred Durst for some fucking reason. Even in 2000 that wasn’t something to be proud of. It all sounds generic to mine non-metal detector ears, so to me it all leans less bad-ass and more cheese-ass, metaphorically stinking of Velveeta and farts. Incidentally, you can pick it up used at this Amazon link http://www.amazon.com/Faust-Various-Artists/dp/B000055YAH for the same price as your 10th spatula at the Spatula City https://youtu.be/4BUDwj_mXKE clearance sale!

Speaking of metal, today’s episode is sponsored by Pantera Bread™ – Re! Spect! Bread! WE BAKE IT FOR YOU!

As I finish this up, for those who think this entire premise sounds too much like The Crow for your tastes, stick a pinch of this factoid between your cheek and gum: Faust was published in 1987, while The Crow wasn’t published until 1989’s Caliber Presents #1. So, even if you discounted the fact that today’s feature takes its name and influence from a Medieval German legend, the vengeful anti-hero himself still predates his better known peer by a couple of years.

And for the jerk-offs who think Faust is just ripping off Spawn, Todd McFarlane didn’t drop that deuce until 1992, so sit your ass down and stop pretending you’re the fanboy you think you are, skid mark.

Speaking of the four color funnies, in 2003 DC Comics decided to cash-in on the Tokyo Drifting craze (that wouldn’t actually happen until 2006) and put out a 6 issue mini-series called “The Demon: Driven Out”, that centered around their demonic character Etrigan getting involved with the activities of a female street racer and her conflict with the Yakuza. The painted cover of the first issue (courtesy of Jo Chen) is one of my favorites.

It’s enough to make you wet , right? If there were any justice in the world, Brian Yuzna would give us a sequel to Faust that borrows heavily from that mini-series, rather than any of the other comics in Faust’s actual exploits. The resultant production could be known by no other name than The Faust and the Furious

Yes, I just spent two paragraphs of your time to shoehorn a “Faust and the Furious” pun into this review. Dropping bombs like President O-bomb-a with a fleet of drones. Baracka Barolla!

And on that note, I’ve stolen enough of your precious precious time for today. Tune in for our next episode as we partake in part two of this “Fantastic Four” reviews thing. Until then, my friend, this is the end. This is the end, my only friend. The end. Praise the Noodle Gods. Ra-men. *click*

Moral of the Story: Never dance with the Devil in the pale moonlight. Or the bright sunlight. Or any light for that matter. Unless you’re REALLY good with a fiddle. If John Jaspers had been a musician instead of a painter, he’d still be alive today.

Screenshots_____

“You remember me from my role in Cyclone? Nobody watched Cyclone! I’m pretty sure I remember the director wearing a blindfold the whole time so he didn’t need to watch it while we were making it!”


That moment when you’re trapped in a straight jacket, the inside of your nose starts itching like a motherfucker, and you realize you’re about to lose whatever sanity you have left.


Did somebody delete their icons folder by accident, or did Yuzna not wanna pay the rights fee to use the search button graphic?


You know their dark lord’s serious business when they spell out his name in all caps.


Shit! TimeWarner is really strict about their penalties for early contract terminations!


Ladies and gentlemen, I give you your bad-ass demonic hero… prematurely ejaculating, apparently.


That awkward moment when your parents walk in on you practicing your kissing on a mannequin head… while dressed like a comic book character… At least you’ll be ready for the Comic Con key party next year!


Janice Dickinson finally has too much plastic surgery.


Sure, being the star of a bukkake party sounds like fun when you’re rollin’ on a Molly high, but eventually you come down and just end up with another entry for your Regrets Journal.


Speaking of bukkake party regrets…


Hey! That cop’s got a tail light out! Somebody give him a ticket!


“I’ve been spending a lot of time at the gym blasting my abs. Can you tell?”


Excedrin headache #666


“The only way to be rid of severe emotional trauma is to replace it with different severe emotional trauma. As such, you will now watch 27 uninterrupted hours of Carrot Top stand up! It will make you a stronger person… if you survive.”

Check it out: it’s what Rush Limbaugh thinks a lesbian wedding ceremony looks like.


Next in our freak show: the most normal guy at Burning Man.


“But I made sure to order the three pronged claws! My Wolverine cosplay is ruined! Now I’ll never get laid at the Comic Con key party!”


Oh good! Nice to see Satan’s been getting some use out of that BowFlex™ I got him for Antichristmas. Another few months of that and my dude won’t have a single sleeve in his entire wardrobe!

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Anubis will return next time in
“Spirit of Vengeance”

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 38 – See No Evil (2006)

or “The Grand Kill-the-Rest Hotel”

Featuring: Glenn “WWE’s Kane” Jacobs , Christina “Welcome to the Dollhouse” Vidal , Steven “Salem’s Lot (2004)” Vidler

Director: Gregory “Dead Man Walking (no, not that one)” Dark

Writer: Dan “SmackDown!” Madigan

Origin: USA

Sequel: See No Evil 2

Review_____

“I’ll let you smell my fingers later.”

I was watching Dollman the other day for the first time in what had to have been at least a decade. You know who plays the villain in that movie? Jackie Earle Haley. Yep. Fucking Rorschache. Also known as the unfunny, sinister retard version of Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm Street reboot I skidmarked all over a few months ago on this very site. And thus, I have scrounged up a tiny thread of reasoning for including this completely random information in this review! Progress! You know what’s NOT progress? Candy Corn Skittles. Uggh. Quick marketing research survey: would a better name for those little abominations be “Shittles” or “Skattles”? Please leave your answer in the comments section located at the bottom of this review. You will not be compensated for your time.

What was I doing again? Oh yeah, the review. Every once in a while a movie comes along that surprises the crap out of you with just how unassuming, yet spleen jarringly awesome it turns out to be! See No Evil is not one of these, but let’s just say that lowered expectations make for a much smoother ride down the bumpy back roads of writing opinion pieces on bad movies.

The time was 2006: World Wrestling Entertainment (formerly the WWF for those of you who missed out on the whole World Wildlife Fund lawsuit many, many moons ago) had decided to get into making their own movies. With former company carrying beefcake charisma machine Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson making a sizable name for himself as the new go-to “action hunk with perfect teeth” for Hollywood, WWE head honcho Vince McMahon decided it was time to take preventive measures, lest any more of his potential bank makers jumped ship for the high glamour, big pay-off, easy living life of the Tinsel Town set. Wanting to get as much company exposure as possible without risking the loss of his contractual work horses, Vinnie Mac started a movie production division of World Wrestling Entertainment that would solely feature WWE contracted performers in the top billing. Not only was the hope to get the logo out there into the mainstream again (something the company’s been struggling to do since the booming days of “Austin 3:16”), but to possibly placate the locker room prima donnas’ egos. Or just drive their so-called “good names” deep into the Hollywood sewage so as to make them box office poison, killing their sad little dreams of starring in summer blockbusters. Either way, WWE Films is still manufacturing crap like a Play-Doh Fun Factory full of feces these many years later. But today we harken back to its original dipping of toes into the modestly budgeted movie hot tub. Embracing the “horror movies can be made for cheap and are guaranteed to turn a profit” commandment of the movie industry, it’s a simple little slasher called See No Evil. Not to be confused with the 1971 movie where a blind Mia Farrow is stalked by a maniac, though they do share both the visual impairment and deranged murderer themes.

Instead of going with a big name wrestler who already had some mainstream exposure (say “Stone Cold” Steve Austin or Paul “Triple H” Levesque who had slightly-more-than-minor roles in Adam Sandler’s The Longest Yard remake and Wesley Snipes threequel Blade: Trinity respectively), the WWE decided to play it safe and push ahead with a lesser known (by the mainstream) performer by the name of Glenn Jacobs. The staunchly libertarian Jacobs is better known by most as his in-ring alter ego “Kane”. For the uninitiated, Special K’s origin goes a little something like this: he’s a former full-body burn victim (amazing the advancements medical science has made with skin-grafting over the last 20 years) and the not-so-little brother to fellow WWE horror show phenom character The Undertaker; who himself played the role of an intergalactic bounty hunter with the voice of a small child in the Hulk Hogan vehicle Suburban Commando. I will never get the sound of “You’re a dead man Ramsey!” out of my brain for the extent of my deitic existence… Anyway, Kane came to the then-WWF to take revenge on his older brother, who he blamed for the fire that both scarred him for life and took the lives of their parents. As “South Park” so succinctly put it years ago (long after my Evil Dead Bride had been saying the same forever), this is the male soap opera.

Jacobs aside, the rest of the movie’s players aren’t household names, but neither are they unknowns fresh off of squeegeeing the casting couch. No, this cast is pretty much made up of “Hey, wasn’t she in the Freaky Friday remake?”, “Wasn’t he that guy in Stella Got Her Groove Back?” and “Is she Jesse Ventura’s daughter?!” types. By the way, for those keeping score at home, the answers to the previous queries are “yes”, “yes”, and “no”.

So, we’ve got a gang of never-weres headed by a guy who throws around half-naked men for a living. Not exactly a good start on the road to financial success for the hitchhiking WWE Films’ first feature. Will they have better luck using their thumb to flag down a ride to success? Well, when your other thumb consists of a writer whose sole experience is penning stories for televised professional wrestling programs and a director whose resume lays in the realms of music videos and spank-your-crank skinema (including such wank classics as Between the Cheeks , The Devil In Miss Jones 3 and a personal favorite from my barely pubescent days: Deep Inside Vanessa Del Rio), you’re setting yourself up for critical and box office suicide. Or maybe not.

Yes, it’s taken me an inordinate amount of time and space to get to the actual movie itself, but now let’s shed the formalities, do like they do on Mud Wrestling Night at Big Earl’s Drunk Hole, and get straight to the down ‘n’ dirty! One sunny afternoon, a pair of cops investigating a house upon reports from neighbors of screaming heard inside, discover a borderline Texas Chainsaw residence. If Leatherface had become a Born Again and gotten his interior decorating certification through ICS’s “At Home” program, this place would’ve been his first paying job. Thank you, Sally Struthers!

Inside the disturbing domicile, the fuzz find a young woman whose peepers have been jeepered right outta their head holes. One of the blue boys gets his face suddenly bisected via ax courtesy of a hulking, inbred looking sort of man, while his partner (Steven Vidler, who resembles the poor man’s Aaron Eckhart in this scene) is relegated to a life of having no need for left handed gloves. Despite losing a good 35% of his other arm though, the pig keeps his cool and pops a cap through the creep’s eyeball with his good arm, sending the mongoloid packing. Impressive. He must’ve studied at the same sharpshooter program Laurie Strode did that allowed her similar perfectly placed shots on both of her big bro’s visual receptors at the end of Halloween II. Our hero (who we come to know as Sgt. Frank Williams) manages to call in the emergency and keep from bleeding to death long enough for help to arrive…several hours later apparently, given that it’s well into the night by the time he and the man mountain’s victim are carried away from the scene.

Said man mountain is Jacob Goodnight (Glenn Jacobs), a name that’s never uttered in the movie, because some dipshit edited out the scene where Williams tell us this necessary tidbit! Like most movie slashers built like brick shithouses, Jake had a rough childhood. As if having a name that sounds like it belongs to an Amish vampire hunter weren’t bad enough, his crazy conservative religious fanatic of a mother had a thing for punishing his young male masturbatory efforts by locking him up in an animal cage, beating him repeatedly, and constantly demeaning him in an effort to make him a good little Christian soldier for the Falwell militia. Momma Goodnight was the type of matriarch that makes Norma Bates a strong contender for Mother of the Year… well, a strong contender for one of those “Best Mom Ever” coffee mugs… well, one of those “Not the Worst Mom Ever” shot glasses… maybe.

There was a heavy emphasis on the visually alluring form that Satan’s influence likes to take (in other words, “attractive women are evil!”) coupled with the message that the eyes themselves are the ground zero for sinful acts (I guess?), hence why Jake grew up to be a demented serial killer whose calling card was leaving his victims sans soul windows. Also, being forced to listen to “Jesus Loves the Little Children” on an infinite loop would turn anyone into a serial killer. Naturally, following his run-in with Sgt. Williams, Goodnight’s body was never found. Somewhere out there is a demented goliath with a bullet in his head and revenge in his belly, so you can bet a new bevy of blinded victims will be littering some poor community sooner or later. In fact…

“4 Years Later…” Sgt. Frank has been reduced to a plastic handed corrections officer, babysitting society’s teenage no-goodniks at the local juvenile confinement facility. Insert the generic hip-hop “heartbeat of the mean streets” music here. One such group has been deemed worthy of a shaving of their juvie sentences by a month if they do a weekend of community service under the supervision of our handicapable hero. In this case, the youngsters are tasked with cleaning up the burned out remnants of a luxurious old hotel so the local Historical Society can turn it into a homeless shelter. Juvenile delinquents are nothing if not an exploitable source of free labor! And because nothing promotes good behavior between young hoodlum males exploding with angst and hormones like grouping them into a social engineering sleepover with some equally non-law abiding female ne’er-do-wells, let’s make it a co-ed outing! Besides, sausage parties aren’t good for a slasher movie’s bottom line. There needs to at least be the potential for 24 year old boobs pretending to be 17 year old boobs to be shown on screen to keep the horn dogs wagging their tails.

If you’re still not 100% sure of the types of teen fodder we’re looking at here, think of one of those movies where the hard life city kids turn their lives around thanks to a loveable yet bumbling, camp counselor/youth league football couch who never gives up them. Only the Jim Varney/Rob Schneider/Cuba Gooding Jr. character’s replaced with a reject from The Hills Have Eyes. In other words, we’ve got your standard Rainbow Coalition of shoplifters, purse snatchers, pot heads, car thieves, wearers of miss-matched socks, “political activists”, and kids who stabbed their stepfathers to death after years of bad touches. They’re cookie cutter in the litany of slasher movie stereotype fodder. You’ve seen their types a million times, and nobody’s even bothering to try giving these characters depth anymore because we all know they have no real value beyond being turned into hamburger through graphic forms of violence. Speaking of cliches, to further the movie stereotype of people in charge making nothing but bad decisions, one of the boys named Mike (Luke Pegler), happens to be the racist, violent, drug dealing, ex-domestic abuser/pimp of one of the girls: Kira (Samantha Noble). I see no risk of conflict here. Smooth sailing for days… until that big inbred iceberg inevitably sinks this Titanic-in-the-making.

Meanwhile, Frank shows us he’s not a huge dick about protocol when he flirts it up with the girls’ handler (who may or may not be engaged) and lets the young ladies suck on stolen cancer sticks when they’re on break without doing the skeez thing and trying to make them tug on his Slim Jim for the privilege. SNAP INTO IT! To try and shoehorn another dimension into this deli-sliced thin tale, while everybody else is trying to hook up and avoid/engage in other uncomfortable social interactions, two of the boys go in search of a safe packed with money lost somewhere in the burnt out structure. The story goes that the safe is the legacy of the hotel’s creator and previous owner, Mr. Blackwell, who left it behind upon his death in the 1971 fire that claimed the building. Blackwell was said to be an eccentric Howard Hughes type to boot, so naturally the hotel is rumored to be littered with secret passageways and two- way mirrors and all that haunted funhouse bullshit. Perfect place for a homicidal maniac that was supposedly killed 4 years prior to hang his hat, right? And by “hat”, I mean the severed heads of his victims, whose eyes he removes to turn them into an affordable way of dodging the potential embarrassment of ordering a Fleshlight™ from Amazon…

Oh yeah. I took it there, Pvt Pyle. Now wipe that stupid grin off your face, stop sucking on that garden hose, and sound off like you’ve got a pair!

After our 30 minutes of mandatory “meet the victims” establishing scenes, the slaughterhouse goes live and the bodies begin to pile. From here on out it’s pretty standard murder music: the monstrous amateur eye surgeon plies his hobby on the sinners, adding a good half-dozen notches to the handle of his meathook. Well, more like five and a half notches, since he can only get an assist credit on one gal. A pack of stray dogs did the bulk of the work on her. And since the only cell phone in the place was stolen by one of the last two people to find out there’s a bloodthirsty colossus on the loose, nobody can call the proper authorities to rescue their asses. No one is safe from Jake’s wrath, as young and old alike are taken out with lumpy’s meathook-on-a-chain (that’s pushed as his signature kill utensil) and numerous painful looking eye gouges/pluckings. Makes me wonder if writer Dan Madigan didn’t take at least one happy memory away from his assumed viewing of Gigli.

Back to the cell phone thing for a side note, it’s too bad Jake-Off couldn’t have gotten a job as a theater usher. Given what he does to said victim with her phone, I’d love to see him enforcing the “please turn off your cell” suggestion before the features play. It’s one request that SHOULD be turned into a law punishable by a cruel and unusual death sentence!

Margaret, the elderly lady who organized this whole clean-up project, eventually reveals herself to be Jake’s mom (one of those spoilers that’s barely a spoiler because it’s practically rubbing against your face the entire time), and she’s really got her granny panties full of fiberglass over the way her baby boy has kept Kira as a pet (due to his reverence for her big dumb Christianity themed back tats). To teach her goon spawn a lesson, Marge threatens to pop the gal with Williams’ recovered revolver. After 30 or so years of being cockblocked by Momma, though, Jake’s ready to throw off the shackles keeping his testicles cobalt tinted, and impales the old broad’s face on a spike! Good thing he never actually gets his dick wet though, because according to director Dark, Vince McMahon (who was an executive producer) reportedly wanted the towering meathead to be swinging one disturbingly huge tailsplitter (a full yard long, to be exact!) between his grimy thighs. I’ll let that horse cock sized image of depravity spit-roast your psyche for a money shot moment. Move on to the next paragraph once the little red light *dings* and your mind has been properly fried.

Oddly enough, Mike, the least redeeming of the cast of miscreants is the hero of the ordeal, as the racist, drug dealing, white trash pimp returns to save Kira and her girlfriend Christine (Christina Vidal) from the lumpy lumbering lout. Jake is beaten with a lead pipe like Mikey Myers getting wailed on by Paul Rudd at the end of Halloween 6 until the brute’s sent careening out of a 7th story window to his comical and ironical demise. Think Homer Simpson falling down Springfield Gorge, only with a length of plumbing in his face. And when he hits the bottom? A mangy stray dog uses his eye socket as a puppy urinal. It’s pretty much the highest high note you could hope for a movie like this to end on. Fuck, it’s a better ending than any of those big budget studio slasher re-hashers ever gave us!

See No Evil tries to be at least a little creative, even if just in regards to its antagonist. For instance, ever wonder how those celluloid slashers seem to have no problem finding their victims, even in a big place like, say, a 12-story hotel? In this case, Lumpy McEye-stab has tied lengths of wire to various items throughout the hotel (things dirty sinners would use, like beds) that all connect back to an old-fashioned service bell set-up. As such, every time someone sets off one of these bells, it’s labeled for whichever part of the hotel the victim-to-be is in. Hey, it’s pretty friggin’ clever in lieu of a Sliver Special (i.e. security cameras) if you ask me, so this works as a big pointy check mark in the “Positives” column. Hell, it’s a similar tact that was used by Re-Jason in the Friday the 13th remake 3 years later to help him patrol his Crystal Lake stomping grounds, so somebody else obviously agreed with me.

The gore is graphic, squishy, and passable for the most part, with many of the killings inducing the occasional cringe or wince of pity pain from yours truly. The final resting place for the cell phone is particularly satisfying. It’s painful, justified, left me with a warm glow in the pit of my torso, and put a soft smile across my chapped lips. Though this is a nice little change of pace from the plucking of peepers, there is a slight problem with the cell phone death scene, as it doesn’t involve the destruction of the victim’s oculars in any way. We already established that Jakey-Pooh’s got OCD for mutilating eyeballs, so why does he choose to break character for this one death? Could it be that he hates loud cell phone users enough to break his murderous mantra momentarily in the name of semi-ironic violent retribution, or am I just being a nitpicking shithead? To paraphrase an old adage: shitty is in the eye of the beholder.

Commenting on the caliber of acting in a slasher flick is like criticizing the thespians in a third grade Christmas play, so let’s just get to the man behind the camera. Though I can’t speak for Dark’s prior work, his aesthetics make it obvious that he came from music videos. Everything looks dirty and dreary and swimming in amber while the camera jumps around frantically and things tremor violently from time to time like the whole thing was filmed on top of a fault line for a Nine Inch Nails vid. Though many will thumb their big critical noses at this type of generic “frantic” movie making, I hold no such grudge. I wouldn’t call Darky or his final product “genius” in any definition of the word (especially since two of those definitions are for a Roman guardian spirit and a Muslim genie), but I do call it a half way entertaining way to butcher off a couple of hours from your day while waiting for something better to happen. All in all, there are a hundred-thousand worse ways I could think of to spend your time and money and a few hundred of them are sitting on the shelves of my DVD collection right now.

I took 8 years for a See No Evil sequel to happen (review incoming… like, next episode… HINT HINT), and that’s not really a surprise, given how pretty much no one saw/remembers the original. SNE managed to double its budget at the box office though, so even without setting the target audience on fire, it was a success for WWE Films’ maiden voyage. Glenn Jacobs didn’t become the next Dwayne Johnson (or even Kane Hodder), nor did Dark become the next David Fincher, but I stand firm (well, firm enough) behind my belief that See No Evil deserves better than to be lost in the bowels of slasher obscurity the way it has been. It’s a simple-yet-solid stab at an original “slash & scare” that deserves a rental/download by any appreciator of brutal bloodletting bad men the likes of Misters Myers and Voorhees.

One last happy thing to say about Glenn: before he became Kane, he had a far more hilarious other-self by the name of Isaac Yankem D.D.S. whose whole gimmick was that of a large and menacing dentist with a taste for pain and inflicting the kind of dental work that would make Dr. Alan Feinstone (a.k.a. The Dentist) take notes. Check out the following video for a taste of what Dr. Yankenstein had in store for his opponents, then come back here next time for some more visually challenged antics in The Tomb of Anubis! Keep fucking that chicken, kids!

Moral of the Story: Mommas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys, chipmunks or eye-gouging serial killers.

Screenshots_____

Lionsgate and WWE Films? The hallmarks of quality. Truly a match made in Hell… not to be confused with the main event of Summerslam 1991… wrestling nerd humor.


Thank you, Thing. You’re always there when we need a hand. *rimshot*


Photo taken during JCPenney Portrait Studio’s 2003 Labor Day Sale. They were such a cute couple.


Production still from the new prequel movie, Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Pups. [Disclaimer: in no way associated with Quentin Tarantino].


Are you sure TL Hopper wasn’t supposed to play the villain of this movie?… more wrestling nerd humor.


AH! HE’S A VAMPIRE! HE’S ONE OF THOSE DREAMY VAMPIRES!


For those who want to ride the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, but can’t afford a day at Disney’s California Adventure, just head down to Big Zeke’s Discount Amusements in downtown Stockton! Get the real deal feel of what it’s like to be trapped in a falling elevator as Big Zeke himself gives you the (possibly final) thrill ride of your life! Cash only.


Actress Rachel Taylor proves, with this single screenshot, that she has all the range of higher paid “actress” Megan Fox. Possibly more. Probably more.


Do all women shower like this? I mean, do they only buy shower curtains so they have something to hide the unsightly soap scum when company comes over?!


On the back of Samantha Noble’s 8×10 headshots, it says “For when you can’t afford to pay Hillary Swank to do a nude scene”.


“I know having a giant meat hook stabbed into my trapezius should hurt like hell, but DAMN is it loosening up some deep stress tension! Don’t stop!”


“Nothing personal, kids. But, as a white man in a uniform, I’m afraid I have to place you under arrest for suspicion of having brown skin. I will also have to assault and possibly shoot you a few times whether you resist or not. Sorry, but it’s protocol.”


In that brief moment, Craig T. Nelson regretted every fishing trip he’d taken in his life… which was flashing before his eyes.


The truth behind what really happened to Katie Vick… sorry, last wrestling nerd humor. I promise.


I know this looks bad, but clearly he’s just helping adjust her jaw due to an obvious case of TMJ Syndrome.


Teenage Vinnie Jones’ mom tries to get him to eat some traditionally horrifying British cuisine. No doubt while saying something about not having pudding if he won’t eat his meat.


Not all that shocking, really. My grandma has to pull her piece anytime some jag-off cuts in front of her at the pharmacy.


What Republicans think Obamacare does to your grandma when she turns 70.


Okay, I know you want your shot to count, and I know you didn’t take lessons at the Laurie Strode Sharpshooting School, but I don’t think you need to get that close to somebody to score a headshot.


Kids? This is why, when your parent/teacher/doctor/dominatrix tells you “don’t pick at it”, you DON’T FUCKING PICK AT IT!

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Anubis will return next time in
“Raising Kane”

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 17 [Rerun] – The Condemned (2007)

or “Stone Cold Killers”

Featuring:  Steve “The Expendables” Austin , Vinnie “Snatch” Jones , Robert “Man-Thing” Mammone

Director:  Scott “The Marine 3: Homefront” Wiper

Writers:  Scott “The Marine 3: Homefront” Wiper , Rob “Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan” Hedden , Andy “Simon & Simon: In Trouble Again” Hedden

Origin: USA

Review_____

This is not war Breck, this is television. It’s much more complicated!”

 Intro: I may not have made it clear enough in my Tag Team review, but I’m a huge nerd when it comes to wrestling. None of that legit shit though, I’m talking the really stupid stuff with grown men in tights with gimmicks who pretend to fight each other amidst bizarre pageantry that shames those creepy mini-prostitution contests that mutated the ‘L’ in TLC from “Learning” to “Lascivious”. And not in the good way! As much as I thought WWE Studios (they changed the name from WWE Films shortly after this “film” underwhelmed both monetarily and critically) would’ve gone the way of the XFL years ago, there must be some solid home movie market keeping it alive, because their theatrical saturation is badly dehydrated… heh, moisture humor. Even the screens they do end up shown on make shit for box office. They did wise up as far as not making their wrestlers the front and center of every movie, relegating most of them to much deeper territory on the movie credits totem poles and casting legit actors for the starring roles. They had an oddly successful production last year with their Halle Berry vehicle The Call, which debuted at #2 in the country and pulled in about as much domestic dollah dollah as the studio’s 10 prior poopers combined!

Anyway, here’s my rerun for The Condemned. It’s basically The Hunger Games for adults… so it’s basically Battle Royale with convicted criminals instead of high school students… so it’s basically a “serious” modernization of The Running Man. It’s not unlike the way Death Race 2000 beget Death Race, only without having to pay Stephen King for the “Running Man” name. Have at it, kids.

Original Review:

“They shot my fucking Arab?!”

Tired of everybody else making money off of their trained monkeys, Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment (formerly the World Wrestling Federation until the World Wildlife Fund decided to throw a judicial fit over the use of the initials “WWF”) started up their own movie division in the hopes of getting a big chunk of the paycheck from the next wrestler to make the successful crossover from squared circle to action movie notoriety, like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Of course Lionsgate picked up the distribution for all of WWE Films productions because, well, Lionsgate are whores looking for the next underdog success story, like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, only with less fellatio… I hope.

WWE Films’s (and I hope they’re using the term “films” in an ironic sense…) first release was the slasher flick See No Evil, which was a combination knock-off of Friday the 13th Part 2-D, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: the Embarassment Generation, and Four Rooms, only the killer didn’t wear a mask… because you can’t try to whore out your employees to Hollywood if nobody can see their face. See No Evil bombed like Al-Queda at an Easter Egg Hunt. Their second flick was the generic action hero revenge movie The Marine, which saw Robert Patrick sink to a new low when he kidnaps the girlfriend of, you guessed it, an ex-Marine. The titular protagonist was played by John Cena, the so-called star WWE has been trying to force down our throats outside of the ring as hard as they’ve been forcing him down our throats inside of the ring for the last 10 or so years. Explosions and adrenaline fueled hijinks ensued to mild financial success. Yay. For this third effort, WWE expanded their plagiarism sights to the far east, ripping off Japan’s Battle Royale franchise. To make it more palatable to American consumers though, the bizarre twist of desperate school kids dragged out of the comfort of their safe little lives is replaced with the basic stand-by of convicted criminals with nothing to lose fighting for their freedom (*cough*TheRunningMan*cough*) in an effort to appeal to the US audience’s taste for testosterone… which probably tastes like chicken… or armpit sweat… or chicken wingpit sweat… Obviously this falling back on traditional tropes wasn’t enough to convince people to crack open their wallets at the box office, cuz I seem to remember The Condemned doing the lowest box office numbers of the three WWE celluloid bricks pinched to this point.

Defamed Hollywood producer and raving racist ratings rapist (say that ten times fast, I dare ya!) Ian “Breck” Breckel (Robert Mammone), along with his semi-likeable a-hole technician Goldman (Rick Hoffman as a cross between Jeremy Piven, Joe Rogan, and a dozen donuts), is ready to make a fortune on the project that will put him atop the world: a globally broadcast internet Pay-Per-View event that will pit 10 death row killers from all corners of the planet (a term no doubt coined when people didn’t realize that Earth is a sphere and HAS no corners) against each other to the death on an otherwise deserted island for a 30 hour murder marathon with the winner getting freedom! Some call it a live snuff film, some call it extreme sports combat at it’s finest, some call it a rip-off of Battle Royale, but either way it should be an interesting train wreck to watch. Each of the ten “competitors” is fixed with a high-tech tracking ankle bracelet that, you guessed it, will detonate if its pull tab is yanked. It’s the deadliest game of flag football you’ll ever play! Also, if they’re still sporting the weaponized jewelry when the 30 hour time limit expires, well, so do they!

As for who these guys and gals trying to kill each other are, here’s what we’ve got:

  • Jack Conrad (former WWE figurehead turned action movie maven “Stone Cold” Steve Austin) – the American hero with the mysterious past who’s just so darned tough that he won’t even accept the keys to his manacles when he’s dropped on the island!… but mostly stands around and does pretty much nothing until properly “motivated” into defending himself. Obviously his jail term was one of those “miscarriages of justice”, likely due to killing someone in defense of himself or a loved one. Jack’s picked from an El Salvador prison when he shit beats an Islamic fundamentalist behemoth Breck (not to confused with “Brak”) is scouting. Though this denies him his Arab contestant he was hoping to use to appeal to Middle Eastern audiences, Jack will bring in the Anti-American crowds! He hails from FuckYourMomma, Alaska (I hear the fishing there is amazing) but Breck bills him as a redneck Good Ol’ Boy extremist from the South to help sell the image.
  • Ewan McStarly (bad ass soccer hooligan turned cinematic cockney thug Vinnie Jones) – the downright evil and remorseless misogynist bastard Brit with special ops military training who gets “condemned” to having the stupidest name of the cast. The sinister heavy of the flick and Jack’s inevitable antagonist.
  • Petr (failed former WWE wrestler turned generic action movie shaved gorilla Nathan Jones… no relation to Vinnie) – the Herculean Man-Sasquatch (or “Mansquatch”) of the group, who we’re introduced to while killing three men in some unnamed zoo of a prison. He’s also mute because, well, Nathan Jones shouldn’t be allowed to speak. Trust me. He makes Schwarzenegger’s early work look like Brando.
  • Saiga – the prerequisite crazy little Japanese guy who prerequisitely knows martial arts and has a weird thing for sunglasses.
  • Kreston Mackie – the angry black American… or, if you’d ask a Republican to describe him (without using a slur), the black American.
  • Yasantwa – the angry black African who might get it on with the angry black American… oh, and she’s a woman. Sorry to anyone who was coming into a testosterone dripper and hoping for sword fights of the fleshy kind. The homo-eroticism is only implied here.
  • Paco (Manu “30 Days of Night” Bennett) and Rosa Pacheco – modern day Mexican Bonny & Clyde. So, I guess they’d be Boné y… Clyde? I don’t know. I took Spanish for 3 years in high school and didn’t retain mierda.
  • Helmut – the grumpy old German guy who’s just there so the Germans have some representation. He’s not a Nazi war criminal, nor does he go into battle dressed in the traditional Lederhosen combat garb of his people, so there’s really not a lot to care about in Helmut.
  • Dominic – the Italian guy whose sole purpose is to talk a lot of shit, threaten to gut everybody, and then get dropped onto a wooden spike by accident for comedy relief before the show even starts. In the wrestling biz, he’s what’s known as a “jobber”.

No offense to the cast members whose real names I didn’t list, but when you do something worth talking about, I’ll gladly make a note of it… Is it just me, or do I come off as King Asshole sometimes? Or am I thinking of King Vitamin? Either or.

In a lame effort to try and make this more of a “legit” movie with some actual plot and less of a simple down and dirty bloodsport flick, there’s all manner of side shit going on involving the FBI trying to track down the secret secluded island locale of Breckel’s broadcast, dramatic morality conflicts between Breck’s production crew, and an uncovering of Jack’s background that includes following his waitress ex-girlfriend around and some government cover-up conspiracy that got our hero El Salvadored in the first place. That’s not what we’re here for though, so anyone interested in the counts for this Super Bowl of carnage, here we go: 1 spike impalement; 1 neck stabbing (via wood splint) followed up by numerous “testi exploder” kicks to the jimmies; one guy beaten mercilessly for several minutes with multiple bones broken before he’s shot through the stomach with an arrow and SET ON FIRE!; 1 arrow in the back; 2 knives in the guts; 2 slashed throats; 9 people gunned down; 1 very harsh scene of McStarly beating and slashing one of the female contestants with an implied extended rape afterward; and 7 folks turned to fine particulates by ankle bombs! Add to all of that the inmate who gets his neck broken by Petr before the show even starts and you get a bodycount of 23! Overall, a pretty fair bit of bodies and bloodshed for a movie that makes no illusions about not being Shakespeare… though, much like Hamlet, pretty much everybody’s dead by the end credits, so maybe it is trying to be Shakespeare?

For a movie whose action is all supposed to be being broadcast on stationary cameras, it’s irritating as Hell to have to sit through shaky cam during some of the fisticuffery. Thankfully the shaky doesn’t come into play too much, with the exception of the the Conrad vs. Petr fight. Then again, the five or six wrestling fans who remember Nate Jones’s short stint in the WWE probably remember he wasn’t exactly one of the better guys at making fake fights look real, so that might explain why it looks like the cameraman’s having seizures for this scene.

When it’s over, The Condemned tries to be a morality tale about America’s unsettling love for violence and depravity while simultaneously giving us the same. You can call that art or you can call it bullshit, I don’t really care. As a Direct-to-DVD feature it would be great, but as a theatrical release it’s a basic low-level action production. It’s hard watching the “making of” stuff on the DVD for The Condemned because you see the cast, the filming crew and the stunt people setting up and shooting this nightmare and physically beating the hell out of each other in hideous conditions on gruesome terrain and you almost get this Ed Wood pity for the thing. I’ve also got a personal bias as a guy who likes Vinnie Jones, Steve Austin (though he should keep his acting to a wrestling ring and cutting promos), and any version I can get of that “Old Black Betty” song, so if you want the “real” rating for this flick, you might want to drop a good point or so before you run out and rent it based on this review… not that I imagine anybody making their rental choices based on my reviews, to be honest.

Xtro: Since this was originally a Shorty (i.e. capsule review), having watched it again there’s a few things I’d like to add to my thoughts on The Condemned.

For starters, Rick Hoffman is probably the best non-killing part of the movie. I liked him when I originally reviewed the movie, but this time around I appreciate him even more. As the beset upon “Goldy” (coincidentally enough, a nickname often used for WWE wrestler Goldust), he’s the manic Jewish comedy relief. Thanks to Breck’s cost cutting measures (i.e. cheap-assiness) the laborers on the show employ nothing but local work-for-Pepsi-and-bits-of-string natives. Naturally this region doesn’t speak much English, so Goldy’s trying to put together and maintain a production that’s, as he puts it, “bigger than Farm Aid meets We Are the World and I’m supposed to do it with sign language?!” Goldy’s humor gets cut off once everything turns into a conflict of dollar signs vs. being able to sleep at night though, so his best contribution to the flick farts out about 2/3 of the way through the running time.

Funny enough, Helmut (or “The German” as he’s referred to in the credits) is played by actor Andy McPhee, who hails from Australia…Germans – so universally distrusted that Hollywood won’t even hire them to play German characters! Trivia note: McPhee went on to some notoriety as Keith McGee in “Sons of Anarchy”… possibly… I don’t know. I still haven’t watched it. What? Shut up. Continuing on with the cast, Steve Austin was bland as bleached flour here. I’ve seen him do a helluva lot better, but maybe it’s the writers’ fault. He probably wasn’t allowed to do anything other than read his lines, cuz in this case the actor has way more to offer than the role. He can be a leading man, but much like his wrestling promos, Austin needs the barest of direction so he can be allowed to direct his magic to wherever he wants to take it.

On the plus side, this is the kind of movie that relies more on a compelling villain than a hero, and we actually get two decent baddies. Like Dr. Frankenstein, Breck’s obsession with his goal pushes him beyond humanity until he’s as much a monster, if not more so, than the actual monsters he’s created. Also, just like Victor (or Victor Von if you’re going by Hammer mythology), Breck and everything he’s created are ultimately destroyed by his creations. Speaking of, Vinnie Jones is detestable as McStarly. I feel nastier in my guts from watching the impression of the shit he’s done and had done to him than anything I saw in anything the Saw or Hostel movies had to offer. It’s because the worst stuff isn’t shown for MPAA purposes, but it has a Texas Chainsaw Massacre mental brutality to it for that reason. Jones’ monstrous portrayal makes McStarly irredeemable, and even though you can’t help but want him to die, he pulls this last minute sympathy turn at the end about his hideous military past and what he suffered through for his loyalty to make him what he is. He’s a rabid dog – there’s no helping him and it’s better off for everyone with him dead, but for that brief instant you can’t believe you actually pity the creature…

Enough of this nancy pants “emotions” crap! I don’t know what the Hel I was thinking when I first wrote this review and said that the shaky cam stuff only ruined ONE fight scene. I hate shaky cam. Maybe whatever makes me able to see the pathos underneath an otherwise generic torture porn action flick also made my already heavy intolerance for shaky cam flat out toxic, because every time somebody started throwing fists, I had to pop another Dramamine!

As for writer/director Scott Wiper, he would go on to do nothing. Well, not nothing, since WWE Studios did bring him in to work his “magic” with their threequel The Marine 3: Homefront, but he did NOTHING ELSE for the 6 years in between. Being a financial flop, The Condemned didn’t exactly lead to an illustrious post-flick career for “The Wiper”, as he was pretty much wiped from the collective consciousness of audiences before even getting in there in the first place. You might say he’s condemned to languish in obscurity… good thing they don’t make those exploding anklets set to detonate when amateur movie reviewers use shitty puns based on movie titles, or I wouldn’t be here typing this follow-up line describing the idea… in which case the device wouldn’t have come into existence anyway… I think I just created a time paradox. If I just ended all reality, I apologize.

Oh, and one massive urethral parasite to finish up with – the movie ends on a Nickelback song… if that’s a good thing for you, please go slam your head in a car door until you’ve learned your lesson. And on that note, this rerun is OVER!

 Moral of the Story: When filming a gang of the world’s deadliest criminals on an island killing each other, make sure your productions facilities are on a different island. You think Jeff Probst stay on the island while they shoot “Survivor”?! No. The further away from the “talent” the better.

Screenshots_____

“Shaun? Why don’t we ever make love with the lights on anymore? Be honest.”


It’s Sweet Dee’s doppleganger!


“Jeezus. I didn’t think it was possible for someone to cultivate one zit on top of ANOTHER zit, but there it is!”


Steve Austin stars in the re-remake of Willard.


Call me old fashioned, but no prison guard should EVER have as well practiced a rape face as that EVER! Fuck! I’m gonna have nightmares about this guy now!


“I was promised prune juice and Werther’s Originals! WHERE’S MY DAMN PRUNE JUICE AND WERTHER’S ORIGINALS!?”


“Damn it Pedro, why can’t I QUIT you!?”


I know Antonio Banderas hasn’t been doing as many movies in recent years, but the man’s REALLY letting himself go!


No, Vinnie. No Maverick-ing. Stop it. Just stop it now.


“Hello? What? Uhm… I don’t know. What’s ‘Prince Albert in a can’?!”


“What do you mean what’s ‘Prince Albert in a can’?! It’s a brand of tobacco that comes in a can! What do you mean you don’t use tobacco?!”


“I’M SORRY! I DON’T SMOKE TOBACCO AND I DON’T KNOW WHO THIS PRINCE ALBERT PERSON IS! PLEASE STOP YELLING AT ME! WHAT?! WHAT DO YOU MEAN, ‘IS MY REFRIGERATOR RUNNING?!’ I’M HANGING UP NOW AND I’M CALLING THE COPS!”


Swamp Thing takes his voyeurism to a new creepier and incriminating level. He’s got a tree stump full of these tapes back at his place.


Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes a cigar is a cigarillo. And sometimes a guy smoking a big thick cigar is a sign that he likes other big thick things in his mouth. So, I guess smoking a cigarillo means that Vinnie Jones likes Vienna Sausages. Flawless logic wins again.


These leaked production photos prove it: the next Jurassic Park will center on a gang of motorcycle riding raptors! Called it. Clever girls indeed.


Reaction shot of Steve Austin using the toilet after the Undertaker – a mistake he never made again.


“I’ve got your bloody ‘Hunger Games’ right here, you little twats!”


“Somebody’s gonna explain why my cable bill was so high last month, and they’re gonna fix it right fucking now!”


Steve Austin battles government surveillance devices this summer in his next Direct-to-DVD epic, Drone Hunter!


“This was on the floor while I was vacuuming today. I think it goes to one of your He-Man dolls?”
“They’re not ‘dolls’, they’re ‘action figures’… and yes, that’s mine… Thank you.”

Anubis will return next time in
“African American Explosive Device!”

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