Saturday, June 28, 2014
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: Abandon all hope ye who watches this shit.
Review: First off, it's schoolgirls, not school girls. Second, this movie is INSUFFERABLE! I know what you're thinking, "Ryan, I didn't know you were reviewing pornos now?" Yeah, I wish. This shit is on Netflix, and I was under the unforgivable delusion this was supposed to be something along the lines of "The Machine Girl." I figured, hey, Asian schoolgirls kicking ass--can't go wrong there, right? I don't think I have been more wrong in my entire life. Forget all the stupid movies I've been making fun of like "616: Paranormal Incident," "Yoga," and "The Haunted Dollhouse." As hard as it is to believe, this blows them all away! Only "Howling VII" is still worse in my eyes and at least that made me laugh. This film is beyond bad--it makes you feel gross, embarrassed, and ashamed to be a member of the human race. I don't care if this movie cost 5 bucks to make...it was too expensive. It really should be criminal to allow something this stupid to exist. And seriously, fucking Netflix, you get rid of "White: The Melody of the Curse" but add this? Are you fucking kidding me?! Rika won't even answer my prayers anymore after watching this! I'm sorry!
Oh shitty movie, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways. I often showcase some amazing Asian babes on this blog, but the chicks in this movie are busted up; only one could be considered remotely attractive. They really needed to lay off the clown makeup caked on or did they need it that badly? The tattoos weren't helping either. They also play into every Asian stereotype shamelessly in an overly fetishistic way as if to make you feel bad for watching it. Well, that is a special accomplishment...have to admit that. The girls are supposed to be under 18, hence the schoolgirl aspect, but they're so obviously in their twenties, or maybe even thirties, and look worn the fuck out. They wear Halloween costume uniforms or something you'd get from a sex-shop; I'm so sure your school would let you wear skirts that barely come past your ass. Plus, the makers are so idiotic that they showed a shot of the school with no one else wearing the uniforms. Guess it's a fashion choice, eh? The entire premise is that the girls get drugged and raped and then seek revenge. While this is nothing new from exploitation films, I wouldn't say this qualifies under that category. The gravity of the situation is never taken seriously and the girls act stupid in response. If you just got raped would you then dress all slutty and go work at a stripclub? And for alleged schoolgirl virgins, they sure know their way around the pole...with pierced nipples. Really? Really?! Come the fuck on. And yes, there is nudity, but it's so awkward and is not attractive. Believe me, stick to porn as you will just feel disgusted with yourself after watching this. I'm not sure why they have four girls on the poster because one kills herself after the rape. You'd think this too would be a serious subject but they show an upskirt shot right before she dies, and they kind of imply the only reason she felt compelled to kill herself was because her parents are mad she wasn't a virgin anymore. I don't have words to vent how ridiculously moronic that sounds. When the girls get revenge it comes off pitifully stupid, and I doubt even a misandrist would be amused. They spent all of one second supposedly learning to fight and yet these little girls are kicking big guys' asses with ease (horribly choreographed mind you)? I know I'm probably reaching to the stars with this complaint, but clearly there was no script supervisor on set as the clothes the girls are wearing keeps changing between scenes; it is painfully obvious too. At the end, a cop actually offers them a job to work with him which I guess makes sense considering he was willing to potentially lose his job to help them get revenge. Sounds reasonable. There are just too many stupid moments it's giving me a headache thinking about it.
I think it goes without saying that the acting is HORRENDOUS, the action is laughable, the effects are terrible, everything looks cheap, the music hurts my ears, endless contrivances, plot holes, idiocy run rampant, and the story is implausible and not thought out for shit. Essentially, everything that can go wrong, went wrong. This movie fails in all conceivable respects. Honestly, a porno would have had higher standards than this. I don't know what else to say. This is just a flat out insult to Asian girls everywhere. Do NOT, under any circumstances, waste a second of your life watching this shit! I cannot stress that advice enough. If anyone you know claims to like this movie, immediately punch them in the face as a reflex...and an extra punch for me. This is easily worthy of a position on my top 10--no, top 5--worst movies I have ever watched list. Everyone involved with the production of this film should be ashamed of themselves.
Notable Moment: Probably the lesbian scene. Not because it was hot or anything...but because it was the moment I officially became homicidal from the overwhelming levels of stupidity. I am so flustered with anger I feel like Mrs. White in "Clue."
Final Rating: 1.5/10
Friday, June 27, 2014
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: After moving to China, a boy is bullied until he learns kung fu from a surprising source.
Review: I still remember groaning with annoyance when this film was announced with the rumored title "The Kung Fu Kid." That's a good one...makes me laugh for sure. But, when I did finally watch it, it wasn't too bad and surprisingly better than I thought possible. In a weird way, this would have been better if it weren't a remake at all and they ditched the ideas from the original and tried to tell their own tale. They just had to capitalize on the franchise, right? As it stands, they improved greatly in many aspects while falling short in others and, of course, lacking in the charm that made the original so iconic. So let's take a look at this last entry, thus far, as we put this franchise to bed.
First, let's look over the positives and improvements when compared to the original. Obviously the fighting is a million times better, but, to be fair, fight choreography was pretty tame, even in action movies, until the '90s with rare exceptions. This leads me to the main draw of the movie and the reason why I think it managed to be successful: Jackie Chan playing Mr. Han aka the Miyagi replacement. We get more or less the same kind of action from Jackie you'd expect, but I felt this was one of his best performances in years. Rarely does Jackie give us a lot of range beyond being a nice guy reluctant to fight, but, this time, he came off truly genuine as a depressed individual who develops an unlikely friendship. The regret Mr. Han had for his family dying had weight and gave us a little more insight on why he felt inclined to help out. I dare say Mr. Han was more interesting and believable than Miyagi. Blasphemy, right? As for Danny-boy's replacement, Dre, played by Jaden Smith, he is obviously a better fighter. His transition from weakling to capable fighter felt more natural and believable as we see him training profusely. I wouldn't say Dre is more likable than Daniel, but the immediacy of his bullying and the move to a foreign country was more apparent. Making Dre's mom more involved with the situation at hand was better as well. It also helped that she straddled that milf line a few times especially when wearing the traditional Chinese dress (a cheongsam). As for Dre's love interest, Meiying, she's no Ali but she's still interesting and quite talented. I liked that her parents became accepting of Dre after a certain point unlike Ali's tight ass, yuppie parents. The culture-shock plot element was another nice touch giving us absolutely beautiful shots of China in the process. Overall, there was a nice attention to detail, the cinematography was great, and they didn't try to outshine the original in favor of telling their own story.
Okay, now let's examine the flaws and failures. Probably the aspect that bugged me most was making all the characters considerably younger. Was this simply a ploy to get more kiddies to come out and watch it? Danny-boy turned 18 in the first movie and Dre is only 12; I felt high school was a better setting than whatever the hell grade this is supposed to be. Although everyone fighting better and faster was an improvement, it can appear absurd with the characters all just little kids for the most part. And it felt weird with Mr. Han beating up little kids, granted they attacked him, but still. The stakes also felt lower due to the age, because I find it hard to believe Dre was in serious danger unlike Daniel who might have actually been killed. The villains are forgettable and come off more as punk asses who honestly thought they could take on an adult. I'm sorry, but a grown man, with no martial arts training, is still going to obliterate a little kid in one hit no matter how tough. There also wasn't much of a motive for why they were bullying Dre since there was no girlfriend/boyfriend drama this time. There was one random kid with a mohawk at the final tournament who was more memorable and carried more presence than all the villains combined. Something unintentional that bothered me was how, umm, awkward Dre and Mr. Han could be at times. Miyagi and Daniel felt like friends and maybe even father and son, but Mr. Han and Dre occasionally feel like victim and molester. As for the references to the original movie, they did a lot of "fuck yous" to the audience like catching a fly with chopsticks. The scenes of Mr. Han teaching Dre to fight indirectly felt forced as well since he later just teaches him normally. The more memorable quotes also felt out of place at times as they didn't quite align with Mr. Han's perspective unlike Miyagi. The tournament is significantly lamer and goes by really fast. They employ too much slow-mo and the finishing move on the villain is idiotic. They ditch the crane kick in favor of some bullshit about using your chi to control your opponent...right. And finally, perhaps the most egregious offense, the movie plays a Bieber song during the end credits. That's just inexcusable.
If you took out all the references to the original, I think this movie could have stood on its own merits. Since they didn't do that, it lowers the score a bit because they didn't incorporate the ideas properly. This doesn't mean the film is bad though, because it is entertaining and fun, it's just they didn't need to leech off an established franchise. While the film failed to capture the charm of the original, it succeeded in numerous other respects making it a worthy addition with much needed improvements and infinitely better than part 3 and 4. If they do make another movie I would hope they deal more with how Mr. Han learned kung fu and give Jackie more room to stretch his legs.
Notable Moment: When Meiying reveals she's an amazing dancer. Uhhh...okay. That came out of nowhere. Kind of awkward too...
Final Rating: 6/10
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: A sort of bullied girl learns karate to help her stop being a whiny bitch.
Review: If you thought part three sucked you haven't seen anything yet. This is easily one of the most unnecessary sequels in film history having nearly nothing to do with the first trilogy. On top of that, the story is ridiculous with outlandish scenarios and didn't even attempt to innovate or bring something new to the table. Oh wow they made the karate kid a girl this time...big fucking deal. Having a female hardly changed anything except to create lame scenes where Miyagi feels awkward; this was the only draw of the film, and they didn't take advantage of it in the least. Exasperating the situation further, the villains are stupid, the love interest is forced, every scene feels idiotic, and the ending is lackluster and moronic.
The most annoying aspect for any fan is the complete disregard for the previous films. Hell, the remake was more loyal to the source material! We get one whole line discussing Daniel and it doesn't tell us anything. Where the hell is Danny-boy? They could have easily had a scene with Daniel talking on the phone to Miyagi or a postcard or anything. They could have said he was in Japan with Kumiko or running their stupid bonsai shop or whatever. So much for best friends. It's okay though, because Miyagi has a whole slew of new friends that popped up out of nowhere. How convenient. I like how the entire plot of this movie is set in motion by a character who gets written out early on. Then there is Miyagi's monastery friends who semi serve as comic relief which we really didn't need. There are also the kids living next door who Miyagi magically knows and pulls toys out of his ass for. The...fuck? Plus, we have to include endless ignorant assholes always trying to start fights with Miyagi. I don't know about you, but I never just come across people looking to fight me over nothing.
As for the next karate kid herself, Julie, played feebly by Hilary Swank, they decided to go with the annoying bitch route; a good choice, right? There's something about her parents being dead or whatever, but, shut up, you live in a fucking mansion, in the '90s, without a care in the world! Julie loves making a big deal out of everything and is a stereotypical, whiny teenage girl. To be fair, she does become more likable toward the end, but, at that point, who cares? You'd think they would approach Julie learning karate and everything differently, but it's more or less the same crap--wax on, whack off, whatever. There are a few changes, but nothing worth noting, and she comes off just as weak as Danny-boy especially when they have to keep using slow-mo to make her appear capable. I suppose she is kind of bullied, but I'd say she's more stalked by a weirdo obsessed with her...for an unknown reason; it sure as hell isn't for her looks and charming personality. This leads to perhaps the dumbest aspect: the villains. There is a Cobra Kai ripoff group calling themselves the Alpha Elite. I honestly don't know what the fuck these idiots are supposed to be. They mention football, but all I see them doing is standing around looking like douchebags, doing dumbass shit, stalking Julie, and fighting each other. Believe me, these goofballs are beyond lame and are straight-up copies of the Cobra Kai except less likable and more one-dimensional somehow. If you thought Terry Silver was over the top and screaming "hey, I'm a villain," wait until you get a load of these clowns. Michael Ironside plays their leader, but he's wasted and does absolutely nothing except create many contrivances. Also, the little boyfriend of Julie quits the Alpha Elite, because he's seemingly the only one not insane.
The movie doesn't really switch into stupidity overdrive, however, until the prom rolls around. Yeah, the first movie had a tournament and this one has a final battle on prom night. Ugh. The Alpha Elite decide they will go bungee jumping from the ceiling for no discernible reason. This scene looks horrendous and is only made more pathetic by the fact that no one in the school seems to care. Uhh okay. Then they decide to attack Julie's little boyfriend, lure him to a fight, blow up his car, and seemingly intend to kill him. Why exactly are they doing this by the way? Because Julie was in such a hurry to help her boyfriend, she decided to take the time to change and get Miyagi to help her go to the fight. After only learning karate for like two weeks, Julie can magically beat up a big guy who appeared to know karate himself. And since we can't end the movie without Miyagi beating someone's ass, of course he beats up Mr. Ironside with ease...big shock. And that's all that happens. Can't wait for "The Next Karate Kid 2: Revenge of Daniel-san!"
They had to have known this was going to suck from the beginning. I mean, come on! None of the charm was left at this point and '90s suburbia is not a good place to deal with bullied kids. Julie is super annoying and a rightful pain in the ass. Trying to elevate Miyagi into a zen master was pushing it for me...and for realzies, where the fuck was Yukie this time? Still cleaning up in Okinawa?! Writing out Danny-boy and everything from the first three movies felt like a huge cop-out. Everyone involved with this movie needs a swift crane kick to the face in slow-mo.
Notable Moment: When the Alpha Elite crash the prom quite literally. This is one of the most absurd scenes I've had the misfortune to watch in a while.
Final Rating: 4/10
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: A maniacal villain decides it will be his life's mission to...uh...annoy Daniel and Miyagi.
Review: You know, "The Karate Kid" would have a lot of imitators over the years, but this movie felt worse than the pieces of shit trying to mimic the franchise. What were they thinking? It's as if they were trying to compete with that retarded karate kid cartoon in who could have the shittier story. The first movie was about Daniel, the second movie was about Miyagi, and this movie is about the two breaking up...I guess. If that weren't lame enough, they decided to throw in nonsensical plot elements and an over the top villain with such an asinine plan that could only work in Hollywood. I want to fucking crane kick everyone involved!
You knew this was going to suck the moment the film opens with a mistake. Why would you try to set the story only one year after the end of the first movie? Essentially, part one ended in December 1984, part two took place summer of 1985, and this garbage takes place in fall/winter 1985. Typically you could pull this off, but Ralph Macchio was looking too old I felt. Also, if they allowed real time to pass, that would open up options to take the plot in a new direction with Daniel having time to perfect his karate. Oh well, the biggest problem was that they immediately write Kumiko and Yukie out of the script! Ugh. Are you fucking kidding me here?! I don't even know what to say--it's that stupid. For Kumiko we get a line about how she decided to go to a dance school in Tokyo. Riiight. And Yukie is...uhh...cleaning up in Okinawa? Hell if I know. They couldn't or didn't want to bring back the love interests, but you bring back that fucking old lady who had ONE scene in the first movie?! Arrrgghhh. Urge to crane kick writer rising! How are you going to cheapen the experience of part two this blatantly and not expect backlash?
There's something about Danny and Miyagi needing money, because Miyagi lost his job or whatever. Danny-boy decides to use his college money to buy Miyagi a store to sell bonsai trees. Yeah, that's totally going to work out. This leads to Danny meeting the supposed love interest for the film: Jessica. Okay, not only is Jessica lame as all fuck, but she makes it clear up front she has a boyfriend and only wants to be Danny-boy's friend. Ugh. From Ali to Kumiko to the fucking friendzone?! Arrrrgg. Allegedly some claim this was a last minute change due to Mr. Macchio's wife or that some felt the actress playing Jessica was too young. I don't care if either are true, because neither changes the fact that this is beyond idiotic! Okay...soooo...maybe they were going for a more realistic approach this time around, right? Cue the over the top villain who actually says his business is revenge! I hate this movie. The reason why they wanted the story to take place one year later is so that Daniel would be defending his title from winning the tournament. Danny-boy isn't going to do it, but the villain, Terry Silver, wants to use the tournament to humiliate Danny so he concocts this farfetched scheme. Apparently Silver is the owner of the Cobra Kai franchise and wants to help Kreese, from part one, since they believe Danny-boy and Miyagi ruined his career...or whatever. To his credit, Silver is amusing, but does he have to be smirking in every damn scene! It's like he's winking at the audience or something. "Hi, I'm evil...in case you couldn't tell."
Silver hires some bitch-boy to screw with Danny in order to force him to join the tournament. Somehow things work out that Danny is pressured to join the tournament, due to various dumb reasons, and he wants Miyagi to train him more. Miyagi refuses and the two get all emo together and it comes off stupid rather than endearing as it was with part two. Silver tries to turn Daniel to the darkside claiming he will help Danny beat the bitch-boy. Silver keeps calling Daniel, Danny-boy, while training him. Hey, that's my line! Antics ensue as many stupid scenes occur. Danny STILL finds ways of getting his ass kicked as well. Eventually Daniel realizes what's happening when Miyagi comes to save the baby. Blah blah blah, you know what happens. Danny-boy joins the tournament, gets his ass handed to him, and then wins at the last second. Never saw that shit coming. What a miserable and pathetic end to what could have been a legendary trilogy.
You know, this wouldn't have been so bad if they at least made Danny-boy tougher finally! It's the third movie and he's as helpless as he was in the beginning of part one...maybe worse! Pretty much all the ideas for this movie suck. They shit all over part two as if that didn't leave them plenty of room to continue. Hell they could have traveled to China or something to learn the origins of where the Miyagi family's karate came from. Silver is ridiculous, but he's probably the best part of this movie. The lameness to the love interest was terrible, and the entire film felt like a rehash of part one. Despite this, the film is mostly competent in other respects. If it weren't for the fact that this was the real part 3, this could have passed for a mediocre ripoff on its own. I hate this movie tremendously, but I will generously say it is average and bland and call it a day.
Notable Moment: When Danny-boy finally figures out he's being tricked by Silver, and, not only gets his ass kicked, like usual, but runs away like a huge bitch. If any scene demonstrated how idiotically they handled this character, this would be that moment.
Final Rating: 5/10
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: Daniel and Miyagi travel to Okinawa, Japan to see Miyagi's dying father and to settle an old vendetta.
Review: You'd think with a movie like "The Karate Kid" there wouldn't be much of a story to continue on. I mean, let's face it, the first one was just about a kid learning to stand up for himself, an unlikely friendship, and getting the girl in the process. But, surprisingly, they played it smart and switched focus; instead of Daniel having trouble, we explore more of Miyagi's life. The result is that part two is well done, surpassing the original in a few aspects, but lacking that same level of charm that makes the original iconic. Honestly, the original and this one are the only two I like...three and four are terrible, and the remake is meh.
As amusing as it is to see Danny-boy getting his ass kicked every 10 minutes in part one, I preferred the change of pace to deal with Miyagi. We didn't know enough about Miyagi in part one and this allows for a major expansion of his character. The story feels deeper somehow as Miyagi has lived a life trying to be honorable and sacrificed his happiness to maintain this honor. Things can come off a bit corny as we learn Miyagi's past and how he came to leave Japan. Apparently Miyagi loved some chick, named Yukie, who was arranged to be married to Miyagi's best friend, Sato. Miyagi made, what would appear to be, a declaration of love for Yukie in front of his village. Feeling dishonored by this action, Sato challenged Miyagi to a fight to the death, but, not wanting to fight his best friend, Miyagi sailed off to the USA. Umm, a bit dramatic don't you think, Miyagi? Obviously Miyagi later reconnects with Yukie as she is a bit on the gilf side (never thought I'd write that) after Miyagi and Daniel return to Japan to see the dying father that Yukie's been taking care of. I also think it goes without saying Sato still holds a grudge and wants to fight Miyagi even though this is the battle of grandpas. To give Miyagi a proper love interest, they explain that Yukie never did marry Sato and has been seemingly waiting for him. On a side note, shouldn't they have worked in the fact that Miyagi had been married and his wife and kid were dead? Maybe it's me, but this whole "I've always loved you" implication feels flimsy knowing Miyagi did technically move on.
In essence, this is Miyagi's adventure and Danny-boy is along for the ride, but the two still manage to bond all the more. It was cool seeing their friendship grow stronger as Daniel was willing to go to Japan to be there with Miyagi in his time of need. A moment that subtly emphasizes their friendship is when Miyagi thinks Daniel isn't coming and he looks so disappointed, but then he's trying so hard to hide his happiness when Danny-boy shows up. How cute. Unfortunately, Danny-boy still manages to find ways of getting his ass kicked by local thugs working with Sato's punk ass nephew. Ugh. Have you learned nothing, son? However, we do get resolution with the Cobra Kai situation after their instructor goes apeshit and Miyagi has to put him down, but they write Ali out of the story in the most lame way. Come on, she was such a nice girl...how are you going to say she dumped Daniel over such stupid reasons and decided to date another guy?! This plot line has always bothered me, but the new love interest for Danny-boy is, in fact, the better girl in my opinion: Yukie's niece, Kumiko, played by Tamlyn Tomita. Ms. Tomita has this very traditional look to her, and her character has this girl next door vibe that fits Daniel's personality better than Ali. Also, there was a distinct attempt to make Kumiko a tad tougher than Ali as she tries to help Danny-boy when he gets his ass kicked.
Eventually Sato, who owns the town, says he will destroy everything if Miyagi doesn't finally fight him. Miyagi reluctantly agrees just as some random typhoon or something comes through. Sato conveniently almost dies but is rescued by Miyagi and Daniel, thus, ending the feud. Well that was fucking easy. Of note is Danny saving some little girl during this same storm who tries to choke-hold Daniel for his trouble (was this shit intentional?). Anyway, Sato's nephew acts like a bitch and later challenges Daniel to a fight to the death, because he saved that little girl and the nephew wouldn't help. To kick things off, the nephew just lays Kumiko out in one punch. DAMN. Then Danny-boy starts to hear the movie's theme song, "Glory of Love," playing in his head and beats the shit out of the nephew. Well, it's about time. The movie ends with Miyagi looking on all proud and secretly says in his head, using the emperor's voice, "Gooooood Danny-boy...your training is complete." The ending does feel similar to the original's, but they play it off differently enough and the stakes were higher with Danny's life hanging in the balance.
Overall, the story is actually better this time around. Yes, it can be as cheesy as the first movie, but Miyagi is more interesting than Daniel and switching the setting to Japan opened up a lot of possibilities. At the same time, the characters grow and we got to know them in a different way and watch their friendship strengthen. They also successfully capture the same '80s magic while increasing the scale and scope of the story. The music is good, the scenery looks beautiful (even though it wasn't really filmed in Japan), there were plenty of cool moments for Daniel and Miyagi to shine, and they maintain that fun, crowd-pleaser tone. With that said, there are flaws like Danny-boy looking amateurish, a few cheap effects, corny and unrealistic romance elements, writing characters out, and a decline in the charm. None of this is a serious detriment, but it should be clear that part one is still the superior film in most regards. Nevertheless, this is a worthy sequel and definitely a great film in its own right.
Notable Moment: When Miyagi beats Kreese, the Cobra Kai's teacher. Oh man, that was way overdue.
Final Rating: 7/10
The lovely Ms. Tomita. Although, I wish she would keep her hair out of her face if even for one scene!
Friday, June 20, 2014
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: A bullied teen befriends an old man who teaches him karate in order to become the best around!
Review: It's time now to go over "The Karate Kid" franchise in all its glory (of love). I don't think my views on each film will come as much of a shock since the general consensus on each sequel is fairly accurate. It should also go without saying this is the best of the five films and is a rightful '80s icon; I find myself quoting lines often--sometimes without realizing it--and it's one of those movies you have memorized from how many times you end up seeing it in your life. However, as much as I love this movie, you need a certain understanding and appreciation of the era or this will come off oh so corny. Okay, let's have a little look-see, shall we?
The best part of this film is most certainly the relationship and character dynamics between Daniel and Mr. Miyagi, played by Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita respectfully. The kind of friendship they form, almost father/son-esque, is not something we often get to see especially considering the difference in their age, culture, and life perspectives. The two have a good chemistry together as Daniel helps Miyagi become less of a recluse and Miyagi helps Daniel stop being a little bitch; watching the two bond together along with Daniel becoming Miyagi's student and protege is endearing. At the same time, the audience can relate to Daniel, because he's just a regular kid trying to finish high school after moving away from all his friends. The only aspect I wish they focused on more was Daniel's mom reacting to Miyagi...it's like she's grateful but absent from the equation half the time. The secondary characters complement the story well with the luscious Elisabeth Shue playing Daniel's, sort of, girlfriend, Ali (with an 'i'), and of course the Cobra Kais as the bullies. The story is entertaining what with Daniel getting his ass kicked multiple times until Miyagi intervenes and decides to teach him karate in the most roundabout way imaginable; yeah, I'm sure Danny-boy waxing off was second nature at that point. I never understood, if Miyagi had such a badass house, why is he living at the apartment complex with Daniel? Anyway, watching Daniel learn to fight is cheesy, but it somehow works because of the '80s magic. By the time Daniel enters the tournament to fight the bullies, the movie shifts into overdrive of pure schlock...but in the best of ways of course! I mean, you knew Daniel was going to win, but it's still satisfying to watch the Cobra Kais get their comeuppance. Though, to be fair, I'd say Danny-boy would be dead in a heartbeat if the fights weren't controlled with refs.
There's a lot to love with this surprise hit. The music is awesome, the story is satisfying, there are genuinely humorous moments, the characters are interesting, and you simply feel this sense of entertainment the whole way through without noticing how long the movie is. Yes, the film can come off lame at times, but that's half the charm; if only the rest of the franchise could have maintained this charm. I have my own criticisms, like Ali's friends not dying, but most of the problems are minor aspects that hardly influence the overall experience. This movie is definitely a certified classic and everyone should check it out. It's not groundbreaking but I think calling it a crowd-pleaser, as critics have, is the best way to sum up "The Karate Kid."
Notable Moment: When Daniel does the infamous crane kick to win the tournament. The entire scene is ripe for parody due to its overwhelming awesomeness. You've got that line from the screaming extra about Johnny being a cream puff, "sweep the leg," and so much more! What's not to love?
Final Rating: 8/10
Monday, June 16, 2014
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: The worst special forces team on earth attempts to recover a blood sample to, somehow, save the world from zombies.
Review: Why, oh why, was this ever greenlit? I mean, was there really someone out there that was like, "We need a House of the Dead 2 stat!" Now, while this movie is technically better than part one, it's so bland, boring, and pathetic that it's nowhere near as entertaining. Yes, the first HotD was pure ass, but it was so over the top and ridiculous you can't help but laugh a little. There are few laughs to be had here except maybe about how inept the main characters are. Uuughhh, this was painful to sit through--too much eye rolling, too many facepalms, and too many moments of begging Rika to strike me down and end this cruel torture. They basically ripped off 25% "Resident Evil," 25% "Aliens," 25% "28 Days Later," and 25% every zombie movie ever. What does that add up to? That's right, 100% pure, unadulterated shit.
One of the first things you'll notice about this movie is the horrendous film quality; were the cameras leftovers from the early '90s? Did they not realize this ahead of time? Anyway, forget everything that happened in part one, because it's completely irrelevant to this movie except for a couple bullshit moments I'll touch on. This time the setting is a random college overrun by zombies. I will try to explain this setup the best I can since clearly this was not thought out whatsoever. Here we go: some scientist is conveniently trying to make zombies for no reason when all hell breaks loose. Of course the zombies begin to spread until the entire college is taken over. As with the worst films in the zombie sub-genre, the amount of time it takes to turn into a zombie is arbitrary and completely inconsistent. So we skip ahead to 29 days later...oh, I see what you did there! Wait, hold up. It's been 29 days and no one realizes this college has been overrun by zombies? No kid's parents, for example, ever wondered about them? No one escaped and called for backup? No one else visited? Nothing? A completely self-contained incident where people can die and turn into zombies with no one noticing for an entire month? Okay, that's kind of funny...good one, movie.
Wait, no, someone did notice...this covert division of the government knows exactly what's up. Apparently, zombie outbreaks are fairly common to the point that these idiots refer to zombies as "hyper sapiens." Really? Let me get this straight HotD writer, zombie outbreaks can occur naturally and have instances of being man made? And the public is clueless? So you're saying a random cough somewhere and whoops we got zombies and then also a mad scientist developing a zombie formula coincide yet unrelated? Can't compute...too much ripping off in play...trying to reconcile. Sorry about that, the stupidity of the scenario was giving me an aneurysm or something. Since no one has noticed the zombies at the college yet, the best way to clean up the mess is to simply send in a dozen troops, right? Fuck an entire army, we've got the highly skilled idiots in this movie! It's hard for me to properly do justice to how incompetent this team is, but suffice to say the movie wants you to see them like the badass colonial marines of "Aliens" when they're more on par with those flunkies from "616: Paranormal Incident." Oh and magically Casper is like in charge of this group. How the hell did she survive part one? And even if she did, why would she be the leader? It doesn't matter because she's only in the beginning. Do I even need to explain that the team dies laughably easy and puts up virtually no fight all the while trying so hard to act tough? I can't believe they also made one of the soldiers trying to get a zombie sample to sell for money...right out of fucking "Resident Evil!"
You may be wondering what the hell is this team supposed to be doing anyway, and I don't have a very good answer. At first I thought they were meant to kill the zombies, but they are more focused on collecting blood samples which they claim will lead to a cure. A cure? How? If zombies are both naturally and artificially created, how the fuck could you create one, all encompassing cure?! Whatever. So the team storms the college, but they don't bother to secure the perimeter; well, there goes containment out the window. It's okay though, they're sending in missiles to blow the place up for some reason. Can't believe I have to do this again, but, what? I understand you claim no one noticed a college overrun by zombies, but how will you explain how the entire school got blown up? Eventually they try to create a connection to part one by saying the first zombie of this particular outbreak was fencing girl that I thought died. That makes no fucking sense. The zombies in the first HotD were created from the blood of the villain. Oh and nice try with a jab at the first movie by indirectly calling it stupid--have you looked at this shit?! Later, we get to the dumbest parts of the movie as the main two soldiers, Nightingale and Ellis, get a sample of blood from that fencing chick only to lose it. Then, they waste more time to get another sample before the school gets blown up in one of the worst explosion effects I've ever seen. Guess what happens next? They lose that sample too! Alright, that's kind of funny too--well, funny in that the movie is quite literally pointless! The movie then ends with Nightingale ambiguously infected (she should be dead) as they imply the zombies have spread around the country. Well, considering you didn't do jackshit to contain the outbreak and sent in a whopping 12 people to handle the situation, what the fuck did you think was going to happen?! Argh. And what the hell is this...how dare you have a pointless after the credits scene! I hate this movie...
I could tear part one to shreds all day long and have fun doing it. With this movie, it just pisses me off with its blatant idiocy. This is about as generic as a zombie movie can get with dullness galore and mediocre everything. It's not all bad though--Nightingale is hot, they added more random titties, and there are a few mildly entertaining moments like using a picture of Paris Hilton for target practice. But, trust me, none of this makes up for how bad this film is. This is a definite avoid, and I think I'm being waaaay too generous with the rating as it is.
Notable Moment: When Ellis covers himself in zombie blood to trick the zombies yet can't take his guns, because zombies can magically smell gun powder. To make matters worse, his whole goal was to open a vent that they could have simply kicked open. For fuck's sake.
Final Rating: 4/10
Friday, June 13, 2014
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: A group of idiots head to a mysterious island for a rave that has been overrun by zombies.
Review: Well, it's another Friday the 13th, and I thought I'd do something special. Why not review a movie notorious for being scary...scary that it was ever created. Often a contender for worst horror film in existence, "House of the Dead" is based on the video game franchise of the same title. Funny enough, Sega fully backed this piece of shit until the backlash hit and they dropped any kind of association. I think it's fairly easy to pinpoint the source of the problems: Uwe Boll. You do not have Uwe Boll's name attached to your movie unless you're prepared for it to be an absolute abomination. I remember as clear as day the first time I watched this movie after hitting rental stores, because HotD was a game I loved to play when arcades were still around. To say I was not pleased would be an understatement. But, over the years, this movie has become like a "Batman & Robin" to me. It's simply so unbelievably moronic you have to see the humor in it all. I'm laughing now just thinking about it!
I keep forgetting, have I mentioned my friend's one stupid little brother yet? Well if I haven't, back in, maybe, 2001/2 he wrote a story strikingly similar to HotD. The sad part was his story was a whopping 3 pages long and he was like 11 or 12! Did Uwe Boll and crew somehow get a hold of this kid's magnum opus?! Anyway, this movie does surprisingly have a few legitimately good aspects that people overlook. For one, I thought the zombies looked decent with a few looking pretty cool. They mostly stuck to traditional gore effects, and there are a lot of these effects heavily strewn about. You do get random bouts of titties here and there that should, surely, please the demographic this film was going for; that first girl in particular was nice. Umm, there are a few B-movie actors that it's nice to see them working? I think I'm all out of good things to say.
Okay, now let's examine the seemingly endless faults, in no particular order, and why they're so bad they're good. First up, what's with the ridiculous character names? Liberty, Karma, Captain Kirk, Casper, etc.? Why would there be a rave on an island in the middle of nowhere that is apparently sponsored by Sega? If the island is so scary, and the main cast has such trouble getting there, how the hell did all the other ravers make it? Did we really need corny and irrelevant plot devices with the main cast...or was that supposed to be character development? Obviously the dialogue is horrendously bad with some of the worst lines you could possibly imagine. The characters make idiotic decisions, but that is almost to be expected. Yes, please introduce the villain halfway into the movie and then not even have a real appearance until the last 15 minutes. The villain's motives are beyond retarded and he gets killed very easily for someone who has survived for like 400 years. Why is Clint Howard always asked to play Clint Howard? That's nice and convenient that Captain Kirk brought a shit ton of guns, ammo, and grenades to the island for no discernible reason. "Nah uh, he was using it for smuggling!" Oh really, he uses the island for smuggling yet never noticed the fucking zombies?! Speaking of which, the zombies are created from the villain's blood...how? So the main cast are just everyday douchebags, but you slap a gun in their hand and they instantly become expert marksmen? Hell, they also become incredible martial artists while they're at it too. Oh, that's perfect you mention the one chick dumped you to focus on fencing so she can have a contrived sword fight at the end; plus, who dumps anyone to focus on fencing? For the "lulzzz," right? Why did the main guy have like a LSD trip when Liberty is killed? For that matter, why is he tripping out instead of saving the poor girl? He just lets her die while she's begging him, specifically, to save her. The fuck is with the 360 camera spins around the characters? Yes, please make every other transition a shot from the video games--makes perfect fucking sense. While you're at it, sure, cut randomly to shots of the video game as these expert marksmen are flawlessly killing zombies without batting an eye. Using slow-mo isn't always a good idea if it gives the audience more time to notice the visible set pieces like springboards and stunt mats. Seriously...you're going to add a song that has the title of your movie in it? That worked fine in the '80s, but you can't pull that shit in 2003 and especially in a movie like this; and that song is terrible. Huh...so the main guy that survives is supposed to the villain from the first video game? How does that work? Why are the opening credits giving me a seizure? Why would any girl, no matter how attention starved, allow a creepy dude to film her chest in an almost hypnotic state? Everyone is dying and you're on an island full of zombies but ahahahahaha a guy is covered in shit? Brilliant. With everyone wild firing and chucking grenades around in the graveyard fight, how the hell was there no friendly fire? Here Captain Kirk, I'll leave you one extra bullet and zoom in on this scene only for it to serve no purpose or ever come into play. Hi, we're some shady government agency and we've arrived to save the day without ever explaining how the hell we knew to show up! And finally, the overall experience comes off as so juvenile, pathetic, and bordering of self mockery.
It's not hard to realize why this movie is universally panned. However, it's over the top nature and off the charts level of idiocy are truly something to behold. It gets better, to me at least, upon each further viewing as you let the hate slip away and allow the humor to fill your black heart. You must appreciate that one does not simply set out to make a movie like HotD, but it comes into creation via serendipity. Alternatively, you can wish this movie never existed and see it as the blight to cinema that it is. Either way, it's an interesting way to spend your Friday the 13th and gives you the entire weekend to continue raging over your decision to watch it! And you can take solace in the fact that the movie bombed hard enough to never get a sequel...wait, what?!
Notable Moment: "You created it all so you could become immortal. Why?"---"To live forever!" Oh goodness gracious. That is a good one.
Final Rating: 3/10 (10/10 for comedic value)
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City intent on fighting the crime that has taken over.
Review: Based on the famous comic book mini-series of the same name, this film attempts to shed light on the up and coming Batman trying to find his identity. From what I can tell, this appears to be a faithful adaptation of the original material which should please hardcore fans. At this point, most should be familiar with the basic plot as it has had bits and pieces put into virtually every Batman media since its 1987 run. While this is an interesting look at Batman's early struggles, there are still flaws and a few plot elements assume the audience already knows the ins and outs of the Batman universe.
Essentially, Bruce Wayne comes back to Gotham after years of training, and he's eager to make a difference. Bruce knows he has the capability to fight crime, but he feels something is missing. Bruce is especially weary after an attempt to infiltrate goes awry and nearly gets him killed. Injured, an unbelievable omen appears as a bat crashes through Bruce's window, thus, inspiring the creation of Batman. Soon after this, Batman reports appear around the city as Bruce makes his presence known. I'd love to say that the entirety of the movie was dedicated to Batman's first fights, mistakes, and triumphs, but realistically this movie should be called Jim Gordon: Year One. It's as if Batman takes a backseat to the rise of Gordon as he must fight the internal corruption within the police. We get a significantly greater understanding of Gordon's situation than we do for Bruce as well. I'm not saying this is a terrible thing, but it feels misleading when you think the story's perspective will be from Bruce and it's not. I suppose a more accurate understanding of the film would be that this is the tale of how Batman became established more than a deep look at his creation.
Though I wanted more emphasis on the man himself, there are definitely great moments like Batman trying to elude the police for the first time when he's cornered in a basement. Or another instance is when he almost gets beat by a few punk thieves, because he approached the situation badly. Gordon too gets a chance to show he's a badass, but he felt overly tough which was another reason why it felt more like his movie. Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, is here too, but she doesn't do as much. Though, there is a ridiculous moment where she holds her own against Bruce which is laughable; she's merely a prostitute in this incarnation yet she's like an ultimate martial artist? Right. Selina does become Catwoman after a certain point, but people think she's like a flunky of Batman which was humorous. Harvey Dent cameos pointlessly, but, again, it's to emphasize how Batman made connections even though it's not elaborated on. Actually, considering how super short this movie is (little over an hour), they could have beefed up these moments; there is an add on with Catwoman having her own adventure, but that still only lengthens the run time by maybe another 15 minutes. Anyway, in the end, Batman helps Gordon, saving his kid, and there is the implication that Gordon knows Bruce is Batman but is okay with this. The final shot is exactly like "Batman Begins" talking about someone calling themselves the Joker messing with the water supply.
The animation is pretty good, the music is nice, and the voice acting is excellent from a lot of recognizable actors. I think fans will appreciate this the most since it is so iconic and the material has been borrowed from heavily over the years. While I think this was a decent stand alone Batman film, I wish Bruce had more screen time with Gordon in the background rather than the reverse. The tiny details that would typically enhance a movie such as this feel tacked on with little explanation for casual fans and viewers. I don't know, I liked this movie, but it's missing something that allows it to be fully accessible. Definitely worth checking out, but there a few aspects to be considered.
Notable Moment: When Selina fights a disguised Bruce. What a bullshit fight. Yeah, Bruce was stabbed and all, but Selina would be dead in like two seconds...come on now.
Final Rating: 6.5/10
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Plot Summary: A film studio, about to be sold, awakens the wrath of a deadly ghost.
Review: I have been waiting a few years for this movie to finally get a DVD release, and that time has come at last. It's hard not to be excited when you have my darling Danielle Harris, the voluptuous and underutilized Lacey Chabert, and Billy Zane all together. I don't know what I was actually expecting from this movie though. I imagined, from the trailer, that the story would be a film within a film sort of setup, but that's not what this turned out to be; that was probably a missed opportunity. The other aspect I was not expecting was that this would be a comedy horror; albeit, light on the comedy. None of this really changes much, but I guess I had a completely different idea of the direction this film was going toward. So was it worth the wait? Ehh, yes and no. It's over the top, corny as hell, and no one seems to be taking their roles seriously, but, on the other hand, the comedic moments worked better than I thought, there is a plethora of beautiful girls, and the ghost was kind of creepy.
The film takes place at, what's supposed to be, a film studio, but it was once just a regular house; they say they're an indie studio so I can cut them some slack in this respect. The studio has had bouts of mild hauntings from the ghost, but, with news that they're selling the place to be turned into a restaurant, the ghost becomes angered and violent. Umm, let's just say the ghost's motives are questionable, and we'll leave it at that. The story regarding the ghost is probably the least thought out plot element, but I think that was only half the goal of the movie anyway. To sum it up, back in the '60s, there was some hippie girl who ran off and found herself impregnated by--ready for this--Charles Manson! Don't worry though, they make fun of this in the movie and find it as hard to believe as any audience would. The hippie girl seemingly gave birth to an evil daughter that allegedly made the hippie mom kill herself. Then one day the evil daughter killed her stepfather in a bloody attack...leading the grandmother to drown the girl in the bathtub and magically the cops didn't care. Even though the house was then haunted by the evil daughter, and the grandmother knew this, she sold the house as it currently found itself under the management of the film studio. The ghost herself looks decent, in a Kayako-esque way, as she lurks about, although, she keeps doing this chomping shit at the screen. What, you think you're Iceman from "Top Gun" or something? The deaths and gore are good, but they could have been better. I especially liked that the ghost possesses Ms. Harris and works through her; there was a great fight between her and Ms. Chabert as well. The film's ending leaves much to be desired, however, with the ghost simply told she can keep the house and they cut to four years later with the ghost semi-possessing a real estate lady trying to sell the house. Uhh...okay.
Although the ghost is the driving force of the movie, the vast majority of the scenes focus on the studio's staff and they're an interesting bunch. There are surprisingly a lot of funny gags and jokes heavily strewn about, but something is a amiss in the presentation. It's hard to place my finger on the issue, but I can say for certain that the music is bad and the timing cues are way off which may be a contributing factor. It's tough to judge what people will find humorous, but this film's approach won me over in the long run after a shaky start. I feel like Mr. Zane didn't even have a script and they let him improvise all his lines. He is funny though with a subtle performance and a "what am I doing here" kind of attitude; I would say he gets all the best lines in the film too. The style to the comedy is nuanced, without being blatantly obvious that they want you to laugh, which can work against the film but helps it more in my opinion. I really liked that after one of the editing guys gets killed they try to continue his work but realize he spent most of his time looking at a porn website called "Sexy Asian Girls." Oh, Dean and I are extremely proud! Speaking of sexy girls, almost every chick you see, including background extras, are smoking hot. I have to give extra points for this aspect, and of course I can't neglect the sheer awesomeness of having Ms. Harris and Ms. Chabert together. My only gripe is they don't fully capitalize on the ladies when they could have pandered hardcore to fans.
Overall, this is an undeniably cheesy horror film packed with ridiculous moments and over the top reactions from the characters. The story can feel jumbled, pointless, and nonsensical with sloppy editing and an ill timed musical score. The acting feels wooden with terrible delivery from most of the cast that occasionally hurts the jokes. But, despite these numerous flaws, I can't deny how entertaining the movie really is. There was a certain charm and sense they were having fun making this. I laughed a lot at the jokes and setups, the sexy babes enhance every scene, and the story amused me profusely. I definitely feel as though the positives outweigh the negatives to at least allow this to be rental material. But if you're a fan of the actors involved, and have been waiting too, this shouldn't disappoint.
Notable Moment: I'll let the photo speak for itself...
Final Rating: 6/10
Ms. Harris and her busty friend, Christine Bently:
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: On the anniversary of a train crash, current passengers find themselves heading toward a similar demise.
Review: Try not to confuse this with that other movie...with the same exact title, made the same year, and instead of a train that one is about a plane! But, I should mention, this one was made first. Anyway, we have yet another instance of wasted potential; I should go back and count how many times I've written that phrase, because surely I'm at a hundred or more by now. This would have worked better as a 30 minute TV show episode or something, because they added way too much filler. More so, the filler is boring and drags the movie down as a whole. Then you have to account for the fact that they waste every good chance for a scare which is combined with a completely incoherent mess of a plot. I never would have imagined a haunted train story would be this complicatedly stupid.
To sum things up quickly, years ago there was a train that crashed and just about everyone died. That same day was the main girl, Mi-sun's, birthday and her dad was blamed for the crash...he was like a patrol guy or whatever the hell. To make her story all the more tragic they pointlessly decided to kill off Mi-sun's grandmother too...you know, for good measure. Now, years later on the anniversary of the train crash, Mi-sun is grown up and is like a stewardess for a train that has incorporated cars from the original wreckage. Obviously shenanigans occur since this is allegedly the final trip for the train, and the ghosts always sense these things. There were a few good ideas though, like the notion that the two trains merged in a way, but most of the better concepts are utterly wasted.
I think maybe the biggest offense is the overabundance of characters. I mean, who the hell are half these people? Not only do you not have time to remember them, but they're still introducing people by the last half hour! For example, there's one point that was supposed to be all emotional but you're just like, "Who the fuck is that?" It is kind of a cool twist as you realize a bunch of the characters are ghosts from the original crash, but the rest are current passengers with too many conveniently having a connection to the first crash. It's also a bit ridiculous as there's a psychic and a makeshift group of amateur paranormal investigators on board as well...among many other contrivances. But none of the characters are as stupid as the sudden appearance of a couple that is possessed by the ghosts of kids who want this current train to crash. Apparently they have a connection to the original crash and the movie wants you to think they actually lived at first. In fact, this movie thinks its twists are bigger and better than they really are. A twist can't be shocking if we had absolutely no time to be surprised by it. Like, we just met these characters, so who cares if they're really possessed and didn't actually survive the first crash; I'm not exactly attached to these idiots. And the whole mystery as to why the train originally crashed is beyond lackluster, and, of course, you knew Mi-sun's dad wasn't responsible. It would seem the father of the ghost kids was planning to kill his family, but his bottle of poison was broken so he decided to crash the train. Right.
While that is the gist of the story, the action plays out soooo slowly. The movie keeps cutting back and forth between the 50 characters while Mi-sun is losing her mind. If anything interesting were happening this wouldn't be too bad, but nothing ever happens except with Mi-sun for the most part. They clearly did not have enough of a plot to keep things rolling for 90 minutes. To make matters worse, the few scares that had a lot of potential--like the ghost coming out of luggage or the ghost rising out of a pool of blood--are rushed and end up being edited to look like shit. Then there are the super stupid scares where a random character is killed off just to push to story forward a tad, because even the makers must have realized how boring things were turning out. I really cannot stress enough that the majority of the film is comprised of filler scenes to pad out the time between Mi-sun doing or seeing something. By the end, we get a huge bitch slap to the face as Mi-sun dies and now her ghost is haunting another train or whatever. Oh come the fuck on.
I really want to hate this movie a lot, but it does enough correctly to skate by into mediocre territory. I imagine they had this vision for a creepy, ambient haunted train, but somehow the direction was led astray. I swear, some of those filler scenes had to have meant something in the original script or storyboard; like that guy and the dissertation, the music box, the one guard surviving the first crash and his love interest, the whole thing with the psychic girl, the guy taking the ghost photos, etc. Regardless, there were some good ideas, the music was decent, and the effects were kind of cool. If you can overlook the massive flaws, filler, contrivances, and wasted potential, you may find this slightly less boring than I was able to.
Notable Moment: With so many cool moments screwed up, I guess I'm going to have to focus on something they did right. There were two moments when a guy had a music box playing Bach's Air on G String (as it's more commonly referred to as). This doesn't connect to the plot for shit, like most of the movie's events, but it's my all time favorite musical work and that uniquely music box rendition was to my liking.
Final Rating: 5/10
Monday, June 9, 2014
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: A couple staying in the middle of nowhere encounter a mysterious artist as zany antics ensue.
Review: Not to be confused with a chick flick of the same name, this "Mr. Jones" is disappointing as hell when it had a cool premise. I don't know what they were trying to accomplish with half-assing the found footage angle while mostly following a conventional film's approach. Just pick one! I would have preferred they simply chose to make this like a regular movie as it would have allowed the events to play out smoother and with more chance to build up the story. I mean, if you're going to go to the length to claim the main couple would have a camera looking over their bed, why would you show shots that are clearly not being recorded by anything? Beyond this technical confusion, the story goes nowhere and spirals into shenanigans quickly when it should have been played straight. Ugh...what a mess.
So the story centers on a couple, Penny and Scott, that decide to stay at a house, in the middle of god knows where, as Scott attempts to make a nature documentary. After a month or so the two begin to fight, because Scott just wants to sleep and enjoy the scenery (can't say I blame him there). One day, a shady character steals Scott's backpack while he's out filming and he chases the guy back to a shack that looks to be Leatherface's bomb shelter. The shady character has a bunch of scarecrow-looking sculptures that later Penny notices from an art book as belonging to a mysterious "Mr. Jones." Mr. Jones is apparently a nickname given to the artist, because no one knows who the hell he is or what's the point of his art. Scott is then prodded to make his documentary about Mr. Jones as he travels to interview alleged experts on the artist as well as those who have received his sculptures in the mail randomly. They hype up Mr. Jones quite a bit but sadly there is not a lot of payoff; in fact, I think they forgot about half the shit at some point.
When Scott returns, a few weird things do happen, but the couple tries too hard to fuck with Mr. Jones when they should have left well enough alone. I get that they're supposed to be curious, but why not simply approach the guy and ask questions? Maybe it's the weird mask he wears that scares them? Wait a minute...this guy is fucking Leatherface! The couple experiences bouts of hallucinations and nightmares as Scott eventually sneaks inside Mr. Jones' shack and finds an underground tunnel with an apparent ritual set up. After Scott idiotically decides to take a doll, all hell breaks loose with the couple seemingly sucked into a nightmare world. Nothing makes much sense, with the couple being pursued by doppelgangers trying to film them and Mr. Jones seemingly dying. There's something about dreams and nightmares and Mr. Jones being a shaman that protects the world from this different dimension and blah blah blah. I don't know and I doubt the creators do either. Scott manages to return the doll and everything goes back to normal but now he's Mr. Jones...or always was Mr. Jones? Ehhh. I say, forget all the bullshit you see in the movie--which should be easy since it doesn't make sense--instead, interpret the film as this: at one point Scott says he's off his medication. Combine that fact with the pressure to make the documentary and we can interpret the film as one giant psychotic episode. That makes a helluva lot more sense to me. Even if everything were meant to be real, there are a lot of unanswered questions. Why would stupid scarecrows stop this nightmare world? Why did Mr. Jones give sculptures to random people? How did all of this begin as it seems implausible to say the least? Oh whatever.
Overall, I thought this premise held a lot of promise, but it turned into a complete debacle at one point. They squandered every opportunity to do something cool like...I don't know...maybe making one of the scarecrows come to life, showing the nightmare world instead of just saying it's night that doesn't end, playing off these visions rather than stupid doppelgangers, etc. The attempt at found footage made little sense when there's no follow-through or consistency. Most aspects felt tacked on with questionable editing and no discernible flow to the events of the film. This story would have worked significantly better if the couple went looking for Mr. Jones as the basis for the film rather than stumbling on to him 20 minutes in and then wasting more time to establish the character. But, as much as the movie made little sense, it's not terrible and has its moments. It feels mediocre when the potential to do something unique was certainly there.
Notable Moment: When Scott and Mr. Jones are in the tunnel together and both turn off their flashlights. This was kind of tense and what they should have been doing more often.
Final Rating: 5/10
Saturday, June 7, 2014
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: The masked killer, ChromeSkull, is magically alive as he and his flunkies kill more imbeciles.
Review: I know after the unbelievable levels of incompetence with the first one you may expect this movie to be worse, but it's a little better. Now, I'm not saying this was good by any means just that it is better than the first movie by a decent measure. They did manage to give the story more focus, but there are still shenanigans out the ass and plenty of stupidity to go around. I'm really trying to wrap my mind around these two stupid movies and how on earth they were made. The best thing I can compare them to is the outlandish stories my friend's little brother used to write when he was like 12. Surely I've mentioned this kid before, right?
First off, the gore is still good...maybe even a little better. They also added my dear Danielle Harris in a cameo but she does almost nothing, and that is pretty much the only things going for this film so let's move on. If you actually decided to put your brain in a blender and watch the first film, you would have witnessed ChromeSkull clearly die. Well, he's brought back to life through nothing short of movie magic. Apparently he has a whole team of flunkies working for him that come to his rescue. At first I thought this might be cool with the implication ChromeSkull was just one of many killers or he was working for an organization but nope. They never tell you where he gets all this money or how he finds people willing to assist him in killing considering most of them seem normal enough. I think I'm going to have to call pure bullshit on the entire setup. ChromeSkull's main flunky finally does what needed to be done in the first place which is killing the dumb bitch from the first movie who has been replaced with a new actress; this was especially puzzling since the original actress was the director's wife. What, he couldn't convince her to come back? That should tell you something!
We skip ahead 3 months to establish ChromeSkull's recovery, but the movie appears to forget this fact often. If you actually liked ChromeSkull as a character, for whatever reason, he doesn't do much here and he's even more idiotic than in part one; his main flunky is seriously smarter than him. There is also lameness with the main flunky wanting to be ChromeSkull, but I think they wanted this to be an epic showdown that failed miserably. For some reason, they make a big deal out of some chick who's going blind which really begs the question of how ChromeSkull selects his victims as there appears to be no discernible motivation. Also, that blindness does not come into play for shit, but was that meant to be a form of character development?! And again, ChromeSkull won't just fucking kill the girl! The police eventually figure out what's going on, but they are probably more retarded than you would imagine in how they handle the situation. Besides deliberately putting themselves in situations to get killed, the ending scene is laughable when "reinforcements" show up and it's like 5 or 6 cops. Are you fucking kidding me? A known serial killer...with accomplices...known to have already killed detectives...and you only send in a handful of guys?! The whole goddamn state and swat would be there! I'm not even going to acknowledge how they didn't secure the outside or anything like that, because clearly the writer/director has no fucking clue to begin with. The FBI shows up too (again with like 5 guys) once you think ChromeSkull is dead, and the main agent is played by the brother in law from the last movie pointlessly. Big shock, Chromeskull is still alive but thankfully it is Halloween, or something all of a sudden, and he can blend in with someone conveniently wearing his mask in gold right there! Pft, come the fuck on for realzies! Then there's a scene at the end of the credits with ChromeSkull's pregnant wife who doesn't know who he is, and she kills herself when she finds out. Umm...okay?
Ugh. I love horror movies, but this genre seriously contains some of the dumbest movies in existence. I can't believe a few of the bigger horror websites gave this shit a 9/10 while still claiming part one was better. So wait, that would make the first movie 9.5 or 10/10 material?! Ahhhhhhhh!!! Well, let's be real, they're probably paid to push these shitty movies. Overall, this is basically more of the same from part one except slightly less stupid and aided by the minor appearance of my darling Ms. Harris. If you liked part one chances are you will like this one more due to the improvements.
Notable Moment: When the one cop is killed by the spring-loaded blade. What the hell that weapon was so badass, and the movie suddenly forget it exists after wasting a scene to establish it?!
Final Rating: 4.5/10
Friday, June 6, 2014
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: A masked killer pursues the one that got away in this agonizingly bad slasher.
Review: How on earth do you fuck up this badly? It's almost as if the entire film is improvised or they were writing the next scene right before shooting it. I have never beheld such stupid characters and decisions before in a movie, seemingly, taking itself seriously. Oh, sure, there are occasions like "Howling VII" that eclipse this film in shitacularness, but even that made sense in its own, special, way. This movie, however, is a complete mess with just one idiotic scene after another with little substance stringing it together. It started off so promising too.
I might as well express the only good aspect since this is all anyone brings up: the gore is exceptional using practical effects. Honestly, the only reason why I didn't rate this movie lower was due to this. I have read others defending this movie with the gore as the sole reason it's so great. That's funny. Of course slashers are about the kills, but you need a little more than that to call it a movie. On top of that, the real classics used the slasher formula while telling an awesome story. Mere gore is nothing to brag about and, hell, it wasn't that good to begin with...simply a redeeming quality. If you want to just watch someone die painfully and that's it, watch something like "Flower of Blood and Flesh." There were also a few titties bouncing around and the killer is sort of interesting, but these hardly qualify in the positive category.
As for all the shenanigans...I hardly know where to start. The main girl is borderline retarded. I'm not even joking, they make it appear as though she is mentally disabled after being hit with a baseball bat. She would either be severely injured or dead, but not instantly suffering brain damage yet functioning normally; you can't have both. This might not make a lot of sense from me explaining it, but if you listen to her you'll understand. Or, maybe everyone in this backward town is an idiot naturally. One guy doesn't know what the internet is and acts like a computer is this alien device. Really, dude? But he understands cell phones just fine?! The characters keep putting themselves in situations to get killed, but due to massive and excessive contrivances they continue to live pointlessly. For example, the main girl runs right past the killer and traps herself in a barn with absolutely no reason or a plan...she simply does it for the sake of doing it. But beyond this, the movie keeps introducing bullshit scenarios like not having gas, the police conveniently dead, the one guy's car can't go over 40 mph, the killer's omniscience, etc. It's truly pitiful to watch this shit in action as your eyes keep rolling. I want to say the killer is a complete idiot too, but the guy playing him tried to bring some life to the character with a few subtle nuances; this really is the director's fault. The killer is perpetually dicking around with the main girl for no discernible reason as we see him easily dispense with one of his other captives without hesitation. What makes capturing this girl such a big deal instead of killing her? Well, you have to fill the 90 minutes, I guess, right? The main girl has memory issues, and, even though they don't play it up for shit, you think there will be a reveal as to why the killer wants her so badly but nope. Apparently, she was just some prostitute the killer lured to a hotel room and that's it. Oh good lord. You know, had her identity been a cool twist, I might have been more forgiving of this trash.
The pacing is all over the place, no one seems to think leaving this fucking town is a good idea until the end, we don't learn jackshit about the killer, all the half-way decent ideas are wasted, and the movie flat out sucks! I could go on and on with this terrible movie, but I have to hold back a little...there is the sequel to cover after all! I'll just add one more bit of input: nothing I say could properly explain how moronic every moment of this movie feels. If you stripped away the decent special effects and they had used the stupid CGI blood a lot of movies do, would anyone in their right mind have anything positive left to say about this movie? Obviously this is an easy pass unless your masochistic tendencies demand mental torture. I think I need to lay myself to rest after this.
Notable Moment: The few scenes with Lena Headey. It's not that these were good moments, but, seriously, what the hell is she doing in this shit? If there was ever proof actors must surely owe favors this has got to be that instance. I don't know, maybe Thomas Dekker talked her into it.
Final Rating: 3.5/10
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: Returning home for her mother's funeral, a woman finds herself haunted by long buried family secrets.
Review: I think this is going to be another mixed bag for me. There is a lot of back and forth--certain aspects come off great while other moments appear flat out stupid. I had read others mentioning this film recently in regards to its fantastic twist, but I think that's actually one of its weaker aspects. Where this movie truly shines is in the excellent atmosphere especially at the beginning when you don't know what's going on. The story does play out unconventionally which helps when you would typically expect an all too familiar and cliched path. Unfortunately, things don't make complete sense by the end, and I'll touch on some of the more nonsensical elements.
Let's take a look at what works first. As I mentioned, the atmosphere is wonderful. Man, those early scenes are near perfect for building tension. Other filmmakers in this genre need to take notes, because this is how you successfully get people on edge with little effort and little budget. The scenes where the Nicole character disappears and later when the main girl, Annie, keeps finding things knocked over around the house are excellent. It's all about the lighting, claustrophobic camera angles, and subtlety to the sound and the actors themselves. Speaking of which, the acting is pretty good even from the likes of Casper Van Dien who I have never seen turn in a non-smirking out the ass performance until now. The mystery as to what is going on is intriguing as the film takes a surprising direction at one point; however, the clues and setup at the beginning are far superior than the later twists and turns. While there aren't really a lot of scares per se, the few that there are were decent and, again, effectively made use of a small budget. Finally, the twist is original and mostly unpredictable, but it feels problematic when considering other elements to the story. Eh, it has its moments, but I can understand why it would feel so shocking to others though.
Honestly, the negative aspects of this film mostly involve the twist and how it contradicts previous story elements. At face value we are intended to believe the ghost is the mom, but it's easy to realize it's not her. Then you are meant to wonder who the ghost was and how it relates to the mom. We finally get the revelation that the mother had a brother who was a serial killer that killed the ghost originally. But the main twist is that the brother has been secretly living in the house all this time in a room that was covered over to appear as a wall. This is a bit ridiculous and hard as fuck to swallow. First, we see the ghost doing all manner of shit and quite violently to boot. The ghost even saves Annie at one point which makes me wonder why the hell the ghost didn't just kill the brother herself?! You can't have a ghost this prevalent and powerful yet seemingly incapable of exacting revenge on her own! Plus, why the hell did the ghost wait all these years to take action? There is no explanation for that. And come on, a guy lived under some floorboards for like 25 years without anyone ever spotting him or catching the mom talking to him?! They imply Annie did see him once at some unidentified moment in her life, but it could have just as easily been a vision so who knows. Weirder still, are they implying Annie was actually the daughter of the brother and the ghost? I mean, they want you to make some association with Annie and the brother both having heterochromia (two different eye colors). And what the fuck is with that final zinger at the end? It felt so pointlessly tacked on I wanted to hit someone. Other than the ending related issues, there are a few lame moments like the makeshift ouija, a clairvoyant character out of the blue, and pointlessly making the setting Christmas when it does absolutely nothing for the story.
Overall, as much as the ending actually disappointed me, I think the positives far outweigh the negatives in this case. The atmosphere is simply spot on and they establish an engaging mystery that unfolds nicely. If the ending weren't so farfetched, I would have rated this much higher, but, as it stands, I think it was a good movie nevertheless. They could have downplayed the ghost entirely and reworked a few ideas to make the true reveal that there never was a ghost and only the brother running around the house. Oh well. If you can overlook or enjoy the ending, this would definitely serve for a nice little rental with genuine tension and a mystery that will keep you guessing.
Notable Moment: When Nicole slowly approaches the closet and fades into the shadows. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for something to happen, but, alas, the scene cuts. Incredible atmosphere though.
Final Rating: 6/10