Wishin’ II: Rape Boogaloo

DWtitle

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[THE CHALK-OUTLINE]

Death Wish II (1982): Breakdown by Rutledal

Like Death Wish, but with more action. And rape.

[THE EXECUTION]

This sequel to Charles Bronson’s signature movie, Death Wish, brings Bronson, Winner and pretty much no one else back in action for another vigilantastic adventure. Since the last movie, 80s low budget action movie factory # 1, The Cannon Group, has taken over the production duties. Meaning that this will be quite a different animal than the movie it follows. Cannon big shot Menahem Golan wanted to direct the movie himself, but Bronson refused to work with anyone but Michael Winner. This might have been just as well, considering Golan’s biggest directional merits include Over the Top and Enter the Ninja.  Not exactly the same style of films.

Since we last saw him at a Chicago airport, Paul Kersey has moved to L.A. with his daughter and has acquired a new girlfriend. But, as we all know, lightning strikes twice. And by lightning, I of course mean rape. Michael Winner sure has a thing for brutal rape scenes; they are to him what explosions are to Michael Bay. This time he gives us what might just be the most disturbing rape scene I have ever seen. At least I can’t think of any other scene that… oh no… Irreversible flashback. Oh God, make it stop! Please, make it stop…

maid

Sorry about that, I had to sit in the shower and cry for a couple of hours. But let’s finish this breakdown.
So one day Kersey ends up rubbing a gang (featuring a pre-Morpheus Laurence “Larry” Fishburne!) the wrong way. Rubbing them in the guts with his fist that is. Since street gangs only know how to do one thing, they decide to get back at him by raping and killing his maid and daughter. Pretty much like the first movie, except this time it’s personal because Kersey knows exactly who did it. Also, instead of a “becoming a vigilante” story like the first movie had, this time we get a romance subplot.

gang

The gritty feel of the original is gone and gets replaced with a cheesier 80s action movie feeling. One of the few things that are as good, if not improved, from the first one is the score. This time Kersey goes hunting to the guitar riffs of none other than Jimmy fucking Page of Led Zeppelin and it’s pretty awesome. Death Wish II is probably my least favorite entry in the Death Wish series, Part V excluded. It’s just the first movie all over again except not as good.

[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]

kersey

Charles Bronson is back as Paul Kersey

Not much has changed since we last met Paul Kersey. He is still trying to juggle a normal life with his nightly activities as a vigilante. Another thing that hasn’t changed about Kersey is his attitude towards the police. And it’s a good thing, too, because when his daughter is raped and murdered he doesn’t think twice about taking the law into his own hands. Kersey is also so manly that instead of crying over his daughters death he simply chops wood over it.  In front of gorgeous scenery.

wood

[THE BODY COUNT: 14 + 1 UNCONFIRMED]

It all starts of with Kersey’s maid and daughter being treated to some rape and murder. Bronson follows up by adding another 10 corpses to his dead bad guys collection, with the rest dying at the hands of the gang of rapists and another by a cop. The unconfirmed is a cop who gets stabbed once, but his fate is never revealed. Once again it’s mostly about handguns when it comes to the killings, but the blood is upped this time which means more violent deaths.

Goodbye, Morpheus

[MOST SATISFYING DEATH]

Shocking!

The leader on the gang of rapists, Nirvana, gets his hand stuck in an electroshock therapy device. Bronson doesn’t think twice about turning it on and electrocuting his rapist ass to death.  It’s funny, it’s awesome, it’s Death Wish.

[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]

With good old asexual Bronson at the helm and more tits per frame than a porno, this movie is straighter than…um, something that’s really straight.

dudesweat

[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]

misogony

As previously stated, the movie is littered with gratuitous breast shots and brutal rape scenes. The movie does, however, contain an entire female character that neither gets raped nor killed, a rare sight in the Death Wish series and it will not be featured again until the final entry.

She gets sidelined for most of the movie because she isn’t important to the plot, but this isn’t such bad thing since she is played by the always annoying Jill Ireland. Still, I’m really starting to think that Michael Winner hates women in general.

[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]

I have to go with Nirvana’s escape from the police, or rather, his attempt to do so. He is outnumbered and surrounded by cops, but puts up one hell of fight. He knocks down and beats up 5 or 6 cops before they manage to subdue him. Thus he proves himself to be a worthy opponent for Paul Kersey.

rAWR!

Kersey spots a crucifix around the neck of one of the rapists and delivers what might just be the most classic line from any Death Wish movie.

Kersey: “You believe in Jesus?”
Punk: “Yes, I do.”
Kersey:
“Well, you’re gonna meet him.”

[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]

If it worked the first time do it again, just add more rape.

[THE CHECKLIST: 10 outta 25]

[  ] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[  ] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[  ] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[  ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Factory/Warehouse*
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[  ] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[  ] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[  ] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[  ] Manly Embrace(s)
[  ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting

[  ] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[  ] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[  ] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[  ] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[  ] Tis The Season
[Christmas]
[  ] Torture Sequence(s)
[X] Unnecessary Sequel
[Death Wish 3]
[X] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice

lovitz

The 8th Wonder of the World: Jon Lovitz wedding picture painted on a wall.

Command Performance killcount

Command Performance (2009)

CP guitar break

Starring Dolph Lundgren

Watch video:

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Total killcount: 120.

Lundgren kills 10

Discuss

Command Performance rights held by Nu Image.

The Power Of Rock Is Lethal

command performance poster

[THE CHALK-OUTLINE]

Command Performance (2009): Breakdown by Kain424

Die Hard at a concert.  An ex-biker gang member (and current rock band drummer) is trapped in a concert hall with a group of Russian terrorists who have kidnapped the President and his daughters.

[THE EXECUTION]

Lundgren’s had a spotty directorial record, The Defender isn’t much to talk about, The Mechanik being actually pretty decent, Diamond Dogs interesting but ultimately lackluster, and Missionary Man rather bland.  But Command Performance puts the big guy back on track, being violent, fun, loud, and damn good.  As the title card explodes, you know this one’s gonna be a blast.

Dolph Winks

Though most of the ‘Die Hard on a _____’ movies died out about ten years ago, this one comes out guns blazing, never looking back.  This fearlessness helps to distract from the old ideas, and allows the movie to move forward with its sense of humor and bloody goings on.  Dolph performs well here, probably better than he has in a long time.  He gives his character a sense of humor and a past that makes sense, grounding him as more likable and believable than I think we’re accustomed to seeing from the Swedish giant.  And it’s been far too long since I’ve seen a good lock and load montage.  So hell yeah!

Rock and Load

Watching the movie, which Lundgren also spent time writing, one gets the idea that they must have been having a blast putting in all sorts of these awesome ideas.  There are people being killed or foiled by musical instruments, little girls embarrassing their presidential father by gyrating to plastic pop music, and a weed-smoking Dolph, seeming less like a band member and more like a roadie.  And everything still seems to gel, including his hair.  The humor sets the mood for such a wild time you can’t help but enjoy the results.

That’s not to say it’s all good news.  Some of the acting is a bit distracting, Russians are speaking English a bit too often, and the ending comes as a bit of a letdown.  I’m not saying it was disappointing, but rather that it didn’t quite reach the excellent fun that was Command Performance‘s first hour.  The use of shaky cam in a few scenes also detract from the enjoyment of the movie, but the fight scenes are done well enough to make up for it.

This is DTV, but it is good DTV.  At only an hour and a half, the film is a breeze to sit through.  The action, Lundgren, and the humor are all thoroughly entertaining.  This is Dolph’s best in a long time.

[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]

Joe

Dolph Lundgren is Joe, the Drummer

Joe has played the toughest gigs, ridden in a Californian biker gang, and killed Columbian drug dealers to avenge his brother’s death.  He can kill with all rock instruments, literally.  Of the people he kills in this film, only two are slain with guns.  He is a brute, preferring to beat his opponents to death with blunt objects.  Rock and roll, he’s a bad-ass alright.

[THE BODY COUNT: 120]

Crowd Pleaser

Dolph Lundgren is, quite possibly, the deadliest Action hero of all time.  All tallied up, he has killed over 600 people in his films.  As this is so, it will come as a bit of a surprise that he only kills 10 people over the course of Command Performance.  This doesn’t mean the total count is low, however.  In one of the more violent DTV flicks yet produced, the villains manage to rack up most of the film’s 120 kills.  Most of the victims die from gunshot wounds, but there are also impalements, stabbings, slit throats, and deaths from repeated blows to the head.  All of which are shown in violent, bloody ways.  In one scene, the terrorists fire into the crowd, bodies are dropping from the balcony and people are fleeing and screaming.  So my count is as close as I think is possible.

[MOST SATISFYING DEATH]

Ali Connor

With all the terrorists running about, it’s strange that I gained the most satisfaction from the death of one of the hostages.  There’s this reporter named Ali Connor, an opportunist bitch who ignores her interview subjects and schemes, while people are dying, to become rich from the incident.

Seconds From Her Demise

As all the rest of the hostages are being rescued, she alone seems to think, because she has a data disc with the events recorded onto it, that she deserves special treatment.  The Russian special forces members order the hostages to lie down, but Ali does not, instead just raising the disc into the air and yapping about, as if it were some badge of magical safety.  She is promptly mowed down.  Ha! Ha!

[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]

I keep trying to figure out Joe’s sexuality in this film.  In a flashback sequence, we see a man shot and an emotional Dolph clutching and hugging him.  Later it is shown the man was his brother, but it set the ball rolling.  There’s a funny scene where Dolph and another man get into a fight and Lundgren shoves a drumstick up through the guy’s head and out his eye socket.  “Don’t touch the hair,” he quips.  Then he puts his face eerily close to the dead man’s.  I don’t know why.

It's A Guy Thing

Dolph manages, even in his fifties, to run around the stadium either shirtless or nearly shirtless for almost the entire picture.  This, even during scenes where he’s hugging and cuddling with his male bandmates.  He also seems reluctant to bang the little pop singer who clearly wants a personal drumming lesson.  Still, after all is said and done, the Dolphster rides off into the sunset with the girl.  I guess the life or death situation showed him what was important in life. Plus, his badmates were all dead by this point, so what else is the guy gonna do? At least she can further his career, right?

[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]

Without going too far into the specifics of pop music in general, I’ll just say that it’s a misogynistic machine that turns kids into sex objects and adults in perverts.  This film only reinforces that interpretation.

Venus

The main bad guy frequently refers to every woman simply as “bitch”.  This is done several times during the film and is actually pretty damn funny.  Especially with his accent.  With the sole exception of a military woman who is seen several times throughout the film, the women of Command Performance are all shown as either mindless followers, superficial, or unsympathetic opportunists.  The movie’s pop star character, Venus (so, you know, right there…), sells out her looks and talent for millions of dollars rather than do anything creative.

…Of course, now that I think of it, that’s probably not such a bad idea.

[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]

The terrorists have taken some of the hostages to the stage, where they plan to execute them.  But rock and roll drummer Joe is having none of that.  He cranks the amps on the stage, plugs in a guitar, and takes out the bad guys with the power of ROCK!

Judas Priest Would Be Proud

I’m not kidding.  Dolph then proceeds to smash a guitar over a terrorist’s head, breaking it, and then killing the guy by stabbing him with the broken axe’s bridge.  It’s fucking beautiful.  Eat your heart out, Jason Voorhees! This was easily the single best guitar-as-a-weapon kill I’ve ever seen, and that includes all of Slumber Party Massacre II.

This One Goes Up To 12!

As for the one-liner, Mr. Lundgren’s got that one set up from day one.  The pop singer, one of the President’s daughters, and Joe are outside of the room where the terrorists are holding the President.  Venus, seeing Dolph getting ready to storm the baddies, says, “Joe, don’t get killed.”

He replies, “And when this is over, I wanna renegotiate my royalty rate.  I may need your contacts.”

“How can you talk about business at a time like this?  Those bastards are trying to kill us!”

Cool as only he can be, and before rushing in on the bad guys, he responds, “Dying’s easy.  Rock and roll is hard.”

[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]

Rock isn’t dead, it’s deadly.

[THE LIST OF LUNDGREN: 3 outta 5]

[X] Ends The Movie Smiling
[  ]
Gets Captured
[X] Screams While Shooting
[X] Shows Off Buffness
[  ] Teaches Values

[THE CHECKLIST: 15 outta 25]

[X] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[  ] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[  ] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[  ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Factory/Warehouse *
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[  ] Manly Embrace(s)
[  ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[X] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[  ] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[  ] Tis The Season
[  ] Torture Sequence(s)
[  ] Unnecessary Sequel
[  ] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice

* There are long empty corridors and a huge arena, so I think I can get away with this one.

Command Handshake

In Soviet Russia, The Hand Shakes YOU!

Command Performance (2009) © Nu Image Films

THE AOBG MONTHLY UPDATE: NOVEMBER 2009

NINJVEMBER

Ninjvember

Rant here, with the first AOBG Monthly Update, to inform the masses (all 12 of you) just what the fuck it is we’re working on. And as you can tell from the above title and picture of my girlfriend*, this November will be Ninja Themed and will feature no less than 5 Breakdowns by myself (starting with G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA), that all involve Ninjas. This is being done in honor of the first film with the word Ninja in the title to hit a wide theatrical release in what has to be at least 12 years: NINJA ASSASSIN 11/25/09. So get out there and support it, even though it doesn’t look even half as cool as Scott Adkins’ soon to be released (~fingers crossed~) Ninja film, cleverly titled, NINJA.

Ninjvember 02

Other than NINJVEMBER (which may very well become an Annual event…), I will also be covering the 2009 Action biggie, STAR TREK as it is hitting DVD shelves on the 17th. And as for the rest of it? I’m not quite sure. I have plans and a couple concrete flicks I have been longing to get to, leaving me with a couple openings for whatever inspires me. Which, could end up being nothing… I’m trying to find time for personal projects and as the holidays come closer, I know I’ll be working more and have less time and drive to sit down and crank shit out. So, we shall see. I am also tentatively working on possible formats for reviews outside of movies, that still stick to our Bad-Ass credo, such as Action-Video Games and Hard-Rock/Metal Album reviews. You know, keep the site fresh with Bad-Ass Entertainment Critique on a wider scale. But again, we shall see.

Kain?

NINJVEMBER?  Are you serious?  Well, I’ll see if I can’t dig up some obscure ninja flicks.  I’ll hopefully be doing a lot more killcounts this month, and I’m planning on finishing up the Terminator movie breakdowns.  First, however, I’ll be doing a write-up on Dolph Lundgren‘s Command Performance.  See you all around.

Have A Happy Fat-Fuck-Day Thanksgiving and thanks for reading ~TEAM AOBG

Any questions, comments or requests you may have, please let us know. Responses are guaranteed via our Forum, be they private or posted on our update/conversation thread, The Meat Grinder. Or, email us at allouttabubblegum@yahoo.com .

*I wish

Van Archangel

Van Helsing 01

[THE CHALK-OUTLINE]

Van Helsing (2004): Breakdown by Rantbo

The guy who plays Wolverine, channels Batman, to play legendary demon slayer, Van Helsing.

[THE EXECUTION]

Before getting into Steven Sommers’ masterpiece, VAN HELSING, I feel I must address the prequel. Yes, this film actually has one…

Van Helsing 02

Van Helsing: The London Assignment (2004)

Released straight to DVD, oddly a week AFTER the theatrical release of the main film, this little animated feature went virtually unnoticed. And for good reason.

The story follows Helsing, on assignment in London. No shit, right? As he hunts down all “evil so ancient, all have forgotten it”, Dr. Jekyll and his alter ego, Jack the Ripp-er, I mean, Mr. Hyde, to stop him from gutting hookers, stealing their life essence and using it to de-age and hypnotize the Queen of England into a young babe worthy of marriage. Take THAT, mythology!

Van Helsing 03

Helsing pulls off his best Dark Knight impression, stalking the city and generally fucking up the architecture battling Hyde from the roof-tops, to the subways, to the pits of Hell(?). I don’t know, that’s what it looked like. And it was filled with zombie royal guardsmen, summoned back from the dead by Hyde—which, admittedly, was pretty cool. But, sense it made not! And as for everything else, meh. The running time is around 30 minutes, so I don’t feel too raped of my time, but there wasn’t anything of substance making it worthwhile either.  The animation was standard television fair, with some added blood gags to appeal to teenagers, I’m guessing. Overall it does a barely passable job of setting up the feature, as when Helsing is unveiled in the live-action flick, he is finishing up said case with Hyde. But the fact remains, this was made for the sole purpose of cashing in on the hype of the assumed blockbuster status of VAN HELSING. And to take advantage of people too oblivious to read the DVD title carefully, which subsequently makes it feel quite rushed and of poor quality. So, I don’t condone it.

On to the main attraction.

Van Helsing 04

The opening of the movie, featuring a highly (unintentionally(?))comical Count Dracula and the storm of the Frankenstein  Castle, was supposed to be an homage to Universal’s classic monster movies (even going so far as to have it shown in black-and-white), but it all comes off more like a MadTv skit, and it doesn’t get much better. Helsing works for this shady religious organization, traveling around the world and fucking up various monsters and unholy creatures of the night, in a sort of penance, as he lost his memory several years ago and is lead to assume that kicking-ass for the lord will eventually render him cured. Why not? And we join him on a particularly difficult and taxing mission of throwing down with Dracula, his Brides, Frankenstein’s Monster, Egor and the Wolfman. With the aid of Kate Beckinsale and her silly accent. Directed by one of the Four Horsemen of Shitty Action, Steven Sommers.

There is corny, there is hammy, there is ridiculous, there is idiotic and then there is VAN HELSING. A film so overly melodramatically goofy and special effects ridden, it’s practically unwatchable without constant groan induced laughing spurts. From the fact that Dracula employs a team of fetish dressed Jawas,  to the plot of using werewolf blood and monsters to activate Frankenstein’s experiment in order to “jolt” his slimy egged brood into being birthed, it‘s all just so—dumb.

Much like Sommers’ re-imagining of the Mummy tale, and michael bay movies, this film is plagued by constant un-funny humor and when added in with the terrible dialogue, ridiculous story and over-the-top CG, it just becomes too much to stomach.

This is all made worse by the fact that this is simply a shitty, 160 million dollar actiony version of the classic 80s horror/comedy, THE MONSTER SQUAD. A rag tag team must defeat a series of Universal brand monsters with the aid of Frankenstein’s monster. The only difference being, MONSTER SQUAD was about a group of kids. Oh, and the script was clever, the dialogue witty, the monsters practical, scary and treated with a degree of respect. All things missing from this shit-bomb.

Van Helsing 05

Best way I can think to describe this movie is with a Halloween allegory. You know as a kid, when you spent all night walking door to door collecting candy, all building to the one moment when you’d dump it all onto the kitchen table, to marvel at your haul? It was great, was it not? But then, you sat there and pigged out till you got a stomach ache, and for the next couple days, didn’t even want to think about candy. That’s what this movie does with special effects and nonsense. It sounds like fun, it looks fun, is fun for about an hour, but by the time it gets to the showdown with Werewolf Helsing and Giant Bat Dracula, your stomach will be churning. Sometimes, less is more, and this is something Sommers and the other Horsemen need to get through their juvenile skulls.

[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]

Van Helsing 06

Hugh Jackman is Gabriel Van Helsing

“Some say you’re a murderer, Mr. Van Helsing. Others say you’re a holy man. Which is it?”
“It’s a bit of both, I think.”

“You are the great Van Helsing! Trained by monks and molas, from Tibet to Istanbul. Protected by Rome herself!”

I’m sad to say that the filmmakers managed to take one of literary history’s greatest demon slaying heroes and reduce him to a wiener. As aside from flying around a green screen via Batman’s grappling-gun, he doesn’t really get to do much of anything.

I’m actually hard pressed to think of any singular Bad-Ass defining moment. I could consider his ability to bounce back to his feet after being thrown 50 feet into something (an event that happens no less than 20 times) as something close, but resiliency alone does not a bad mother fucker make. Every time he comes close to doing something awesome, they have him bumble it up or get his ass handed to him.  Which leaves his eventual victory up to his team, or just plain dumb luck. And this from a man that they hint at is the left hand of God, the angel Gabriel. How do you fuck THAT up!? Christopher Walken would ass-fuck this Van Helsing like the mighty fist of an angry god.

Even after he kills Dracula, barely a minute goes by before he fucks up his victory by killing his love interest, Kate Beckinsale. And while some may see this as Bad-Ass defining, I do not. She was the best part of this film, she was hysterical! Although, you do get to see her “soul” in the clouds of morning light, crying a whispy tear of gratitude(?) for Helsing re-uniting her with her dead relatives, which was pretty funny, and subsequently gave him a couple of B-A points. Just not enough to make the title character a non-wiener.

[THE BODY COUNT: BETWEEN 150 AND 500]

It all depends on whether or not you would count Dracula’s offspring. ‘Cuz there is a shit-ton of them and they all burst like piñata’s filled with over-ripe fruit.

Aside from them, an entire village is all but decimated by the Brides and brood. Helsing in turn, slays two of them, Beckinsale the third. And Dr. Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll, Two Wolfmen, Egor AND Dracula were all but guaranteed to not be able to return for a sequel.

But easily the most corpse-ridden deed of the film goes out to Helsing’s monk buddy, Faramir, who takes out an entire ballroom of bloodsuckers with a primitive version of the light bomb from BLADE II. The attendance of which I estimate to have been around a hundred.

[MOST SATISFYING ASS-KICKING & DEATH]

Remember when I mentioned that Dracula has a small army of mutated S&M midgets?  Yeah, well Helsing spots one and for some reason gets pissed. He grabs the little fucker, smashes his face into a wall, screams at it and then throws it out a window.

Van Helsing 07

This doubles as the most Epic Moment.

[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]

Seeing as how this movie features werewolves, you know there are some sweaty, tattered-clothed men just a cloud covered moon away.  And I would also have made the case for Faramir, but midway through the picture, he requests sex from a peasant girl for payment of heroism, and it works. What a whore. Both of them. But, at least the act of depravity was manly, which is more than I can say for Helsing.

Van Helsing 08

Look how disgusted and confused he is when literally faced with Beckinsale’s vag. Most men should be so lucky and this twit can’t even smile at the situation? What a fag. What’s worse, the audience is supposed to believe that there was a chance at a romantic relationship between these two. Yeah, RIGHT. I don’t think so.

[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]

Aside from the aforementioned slutty townie, the females are reduced to two categories. The hilariously ridiculous, (Beckinsale) and the annoyingly ridiculous, (Dracula’s Trio of Bitches).

Van Helsing 09

Even though I can’t take her seriously, Beckinsale is still an undeniably strong-willed, independent fighter. But any fuel she might have added to the flame of female empowerment is rapidly deluded by the emotional psychotic flying cunt-bags.

When they aren’t screeching or crying at the top of their well-endowed lungs, they’re busy showing them off. Not to mention their entire reason for existence is to broodmare for the Count. Furthermore, after the first one dies, Dracula expresses sorrow, but conversely explains how he is incapable of feelings after being yelled at by the remaining Brides for suggesting that he’ll find a replacement for the dead one, as though they simply lost a pet gerbil. It’s all very silly.

[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]

“Nothing is faster than Transylvanian horses. Not even werewolves.” Except for Vampires. Oh, and werewolves.

[THE CHECKLIST: 16 outta 25]

[  ] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[  ] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[  ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Factory/Warehouse/Castle
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[  ] Manly Embrace(s)
[  ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[X] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[  ] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[  ] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[X] Tis The Season
[All Hallows’ Eve]
[X] Torture Sequence(s)
[  ] Unnecessary Sequel
[  ] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice

Van Helsing 10

Yiff-Yiff-HAROOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Van Helsing (2004) © Universal Studios and Universal Studios Home Entertainment

The Crow: “What the FUCK you all painted up for, crackhead, huh!? Halloween ain’t till manana!”

The Crow 01

[THE CHALK-OUTLINE]

The Crow (1994): Breakdown by Rantbo

Undead goth kills drug-dealing rapists with guns, knives, swords, morphine, grenades, gothic architecture and some poetic verbal nuance.

[THE EXECUTION]

THE CROW. A movie so good, they’ve tried remaking it 5 times. Soon to be six. And one of those times was with Edward Furlong, Tara Reid and David Boreanaz. “Can’t rain all the time” my ass. But, there is some good news. Each one of these films has been exponentially less popular then it’s predecessor, rendering the last couple all but forgotten. And this gem by visionary director Alex Proyas was before all that buggery.

“People once believed that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead. But sometimes, something so bad happens that a terrible sadness is carried with it and the soul can’t rest. Then sometimes, just sometimes, the crow can bring that soul back to put the wrong things right.”

The Crow 02

THE CROW follows one of these rare cases, Eric Draven. A young musician robbed of both his life and true love during a vicious act of violence enacted upon them by a thuggish group of anarchist scum on the night before their wedding, All Hollow’s Eve. One year later, Eric returns from the grave for sweet revenge. And as we all know, revenge is a dish best served with dreary tid-bits of gothic literature AND BLOOD.

Back in the day (the 90s) I wouldn’t have thought twice about giving this film a 10 outta 10, but re-watching it after another decade and having seeing the seeds it so casually sowed grow, it’s hard to forgive it for almost single-handedly creating a demand for Hot Topic stores and it’s overpriced junk movie merch that I wouldn’t even piss on for laughs. So, I’d say it sits around a 9 now. Unfair? Sure, it is. But this is my fucking review, not yours. And a 9 still ain’t too fuckin’ shabby.

To me, Alex Proyas is like a reserved, (far) more talented Tim Burton. He has the dark, skewed gothic style down pat, and delivers it without cramming his contacts and arty weirdness up your ass with Johnny Depp’s insufferable kooky tongue. And I appreciate that.

The Crow 03

The powers that be chose wisely, in casting b-list, up-and-coming action star Brandon Lee to head-line.  Having always played the short-haired, straight-laced guy, the proposition of Lee donning KISS make-up and a consistently wet mop of goth-rocker hair is an odd choice, but damn if it didn’t work. Add to this some tight leather pants, oversized hobo-boots and an ever (well, sorta*) badass leather trench coat, and you have a recipe for ass-kickery.

Combining the talents of Proyas and Lee, with an archetypal revenge killer story so simple, yet fresh and stylistically original, ended up creating dark magic. I don’t know anyone who didn’t think this movie was kick-ass back in ‘94 and I don’t know anyone now that doesn’t look back on it with fondness and positive wisps of nostalgia.  The score is pitch-perfect in complimenting the visuals and even the whiny complaint rock inter-strewn throughout added to the atmosphere and didn’t annoy me. The set design is perfectly saturated and dark, much like it’s comicbook cousin film, BATMAN. The supporting cast is great, especially Michael Wincott (ROBIN HOOD, ALIEN: RESURRECTION) as the Kingpin, Top Dollar, and his lead enforcer and bane of Draven’s afterlife, T-Bird, played by action industry legend, David Patrick Kelly (THE WARRIORS, COMMANDO). And they even threw in a shotgun wielding Ernie Hudson for good measure. He came, he saw, he kicked some ASS! So, needless to say, I completely recommend this flick. It’s a Reese’s Peanutbutter Cup of THE MATRIX and DEATH WISH flicks and it’s not to be missed. Especially now before they no-doubt taint it’s existence with another sure-to-be-shitty re-make next year. Ah, well. At least there is one good version out there. “Can’t rain all the time…”

*Made before THE MATRIX sub-culture of brooding 23 yr-olds decided dressing in them was the ultimate “Fuck You!” to society, thus rendering them lame and ineffective. So having Lee sport one of his victim’s was still cool and bad-ass.

[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]

The Crow 04

Brandon Lee is Eric Draven

“You are seriously fucked up. Would you look in the mirror? I mean, you need professional help!”

“So you’re him, huh? The Avenger. The Killer of Killers. Nice outfit. I’m not sure about the face, though.”

“What are you supposed to be? A clown or something?”
“… Sometimes.”

Lee had really begun to hit his stride and evolve out of his father’s well-toned shadow, and I think that had he survived this film, he would have been in a Keanu-after-The Matrix situation of new ground, status and opportunity. Would he have fucked it up like Reeves? Who knows, but I can’t help but think he would have been considered for the role of Neo, which is tragically thought provoking in and of itself.

As for the character, if Charles Bronson were a twenty-something emo-rocker, he’d be Eric Draven. And I haven’t decided if this is a good thing or not. Paul Kersey is bad-ass, and Eric Draven is cool, despite the culture he wroth, so I think his defining adjective falls somewhere in-between.

On the downside, he’s a brooding, poetry spewing,  furlong lover, but on the plus, Lee plays him as a fuckin’ psycho… Plus, he is impervious to all physical damage and possessed with a rockstar’s penchant for theatrics, and he never resists the urge to go apeshit on his girlfriend’s torturers… Alright, I’ve talked myself into it. Eric Draven is most definitely a bad-ass mother-fucker.

– Is undead.
– Played guitar for a band called Hangman’s Joke. And subsequently wrote himself one bad-ass piece of theme music, which he plays before trashing his one-man set. Totally METAL!
– Pioneer of Parkour.
– Bitchslaps an airborne knife away from his chest.
– Get shot, hundreds of times AND stabbed through the mid-section with a katana before becoming incapacitated.
– And, lest we forget, HE ROSE FROM THE GRAVE TO KILL THE BASTARDS THAT DARED FUCK WITH HIM!

[THE BODY COUNT: 31]

Draven sends 25 souls down to the pits of Hell in a grab-bag of gruesome ways. Watch. As for the other 6, you have Shelly and Eric (of course) then Top Dollar takes out Gideon the pawnshop owner and a whore, Ernie Hudson takes out Tony Todd and the Crow even gets a kill by blinding Dollar’s psycho bitch sister and causing her to fall down a bell-tower. Ding Dong!…

[MOST SATISFYING DEATH]

Fun-Boy Takes His Shot(s)

Creeping in through the window of T-Bird’s resident heroin junky soldier’s 2nd floor apartment, Draven calls to Funboy as though he were a lost house pet, while rubbing his painted forehead in circles around the rooms hanging light bulb, successfully scaring the shit outta his prey. Fun-Boy pulls a gun and Draven pulls up a chair. Placing his palm on the pointed barrel, Draven tells him to “Take your shot, Funboy. You got me dead bang!”. Funboy does, but begins his celebration a little too soon, as Draven’s hand heals almost instantly while he laughs and hollers back to the now disconcerted junkie.

The Crow 07

Funboy: “Jesus—Christ !”
Draven: “Jesus Christ? Stop me if you heard this one. Jesus Christ walks into a hotel…
Fun-Boy’s Gun: “BANG!”
Draven: “Ow. He hands the innkeeper three nails and he asks…”
Fun-Boy’s Gun: “BANG!”
Funboy: “Don’t chu ever fuckin’ die!”
Draven: “…could you put me up for the night!”

Then Draven proceeds to disarm Funboy and stab a handful of illicit-substance filled needles directly into his heart. MEH-TALL!!!

The Crow 5

[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]

While he does meander around shirtless after unearthing himself, is more ripped than Jesus AND wears make-up and black leather, the fact remains that Draven is here on Earth to kill for his lost love. A woman. And a good looking one at that. But where this film lacks in gayness, it over exemplifies in unabashed degradation of all things feminine…

[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]

Beginning with the beating, stabbing and raping of Shelly (Draven’s fiancé), ending with an evil sexual deviant getting her eyes torn outta her sockets by the crow, and enough in-between to make even the Little Rascals cry, this film is unrelenting.

The other women in the picture are Sarah, a young girl who was pretty much raised by Eric and Shelly (we know how that panned out); her mother, a barroom whore; some woman that gets sexually abused to death by Bai Ling and her brother (yes, BROTHER). And Ernie Hudson’s wife, seen only in a picture as she left him in the backstory.

So, lets do the math: Woman tortured and raped to death the day before her wedding + a sexual black-widow + a 48th trimester aborted girl + her druggie-slut mom + some dead skank + an apathetic, abandoner wife = One Bleak World For Womankind.

And I didn’t even mention the nudity…

The Crow 6

[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]

EP-M: …It’s A Lovely Way To Shop…

The Crow 08

Draven crashes a dubious local pawnshop after learning it’s stock includes his dead fiance’s pawned engagement ring. And I mean, CRASHES it. After beating the scumbag owner, Gideon, and stabbing his hand to the counter, Draven regains his lost bobble and begins to soak every last inch of the store with petrol. All while lecturing Gideon about the lives he helped ruin by knowingly accepting stolen merchandise. On the way out, Draven grabs a shotgun and fills the barrel with the other stolen engagement rings, walks outside and discharges a round of diamond infused justice unto the building. Badda-BOOM, MOTHA-FUCKA!

THE LINE:

The Crow 09

That is some cold blooded shit to say to a dude seconds before you use his own knives to stab him in all his major organs. In alphabetical order, no less.

[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]

I learned all sorts of stuff! For instance:
“This is the really real world, THERE AIN’T NO COMIN’ BACK!”
“Mother is name for God on the lips and hearts of all children… Morphine is bad for you.”
And onions make you fart. “Big time!”

[THE CHECKLIST: 19 outta 25]

[X] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor” [Brandon Lee]
[  ] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[  ] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[X] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Factory/Warehouse
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[  ] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)*
[X] Manly Embrace(s)**
[  ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[X] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[  ] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[X] Tis The Season
[Devil’s Night & Halloween]
[X] Torture Sequence(s)
[X] Unnecessary Sequel
[  ] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice

*Facepaint? I’ll allow it.

**FIRE IT UP! FIRE IT UP! FIRE IT UP!

The Crow 10

The Crow (1994) © Crowvision, Inc. and Miramax/Dimension Home Entertainment

The Crow killcount

The Crow (1994)

The Crow

Starring Brandon Lee

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Lee kills 25

Discuss

The Crow rights held by Miramax.

The MedEvil Dead

AoD 01

[THE CHALK-OUTLINE]

Army Of Darkness [Theatrical Version](1992): Breakdown by Rantbo

Bruce Campbell vs. The Army Of Darkness

[THE EXECUTION]

As this is the 3rd movie in the EVIL DEAD TRILOGY, I feel I must briefly summarize what happened previously, if for no other reason than if this breakdown happens to be read by some poor bastard that has neglected to see these amazing films…

AoD 02

THE EVIL DEAD: A group of college kids; Ash (Bruce Campbell), his girlfriend Linda, his sister Cheryl, and friends Shelly and Scotty, are on a weekend vacation at a reclusive cabin, deep within the woods of Tennessee. Once there, they find a book entitled the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis (translated, “Book of the Dead”) and a tape recorder that plays the translated passages of it’s pages. Upon listening to the tape, Ash and crew inadvertently awake a gaggle of evil parasitic spirits. Chaos ensues.  Eventually Ash is the lone survivor and manages to finally quell the spirits by destroying the Necronomicon in the cabin’s fireplace. Or, at least, so he thought. The film ends on a slightly dark note with Ash possibly being possessed himself.

AoD 03

EVIL DEAD II: DEAD BY DAWN:  After having lost the rights to part one, director/creator Sam Raimi decided to open this sequel with a re-filmed, “cliff-notes” re-cap of part one, covering much of the same ground: Ash and Linda go on vacation, find the book, unleash the spirits, Linda is possessed, killed by Ash, who is then possessed himself.

Continuing The Story: The effects of Ash’s possession appear to only impede him at night, so the film follows as he tries futilely to escape and battle the evil dead, or ‘Deadites’ as they are called and get out of the woods alive.

After losing a hand and most of his sanity, Ash is eventually ‘saved’ by the returning cabin owner and Necronomicon research team, who work together and open a vortex for which to banish the evil spirits. Which it does, but it also takes Ash, his car, his chainsaw and his trusty shotgun with it, to England, circa 1300 AD…

AoD 04

ARMY OF DARKNESS: Trapped in time, surrounded by evil and low on gas, Ash sets out to reclaim the Necronomicon, which a wise man tells him can return him home. Along his journey he mistakenly unleashes the evil dead, for a second time and begrudgingly agrees to aid the local “primitive screwheads” in fighting off the Army of Deadites that have risen to lay siege to Lord Arthur’s castle, that happens to be lead by Ash’s undead clone, Bad Ash (a.k.a. Evil Ash).

So, does Ash stave off the Deadites, rescue the girl, save the settlement and return to his own time? Of course. But it’s all about the journey, not the destination and this adventure simply must be viewed for full appreciation.

Alright, that was a ton of exposition, I apologize. So, the question is: Is it any good?  Answer: Does Bruce Campbell have an epic chin?

AoD 05

Fuckin-A.

The Evil Dead films are quite unique, as the progression in style over the course of the trilogy is unlike any other. The first film is straight up horror, with mild comedic moments peppered in-between (tree rape). The second sacrifices a portion of the terror in exchange for much larger comedic play, which, best I can describe, is like watching a THREE STOOGES film, where the Stooges have been possessed by demons and are trying to kill one another. Then with the third film, Raimi decided to take the style of part two, but set it in medieval times and add a large scale epic-action battle and love story into the mix, thus making AOD an Action/Horror/Romantic-Slapstick-Comedy/Period/War film. And the fucked up thing is, it works.

In my opinion, AOD is the best film Raimi has ever done. And all his now classic directorial traits, amassed from a decade in film, make appearances: The whip pan, the inanimate object POVs, the extreme kinetic zooms, the reversed shots, the large-breasted windswept beauties, Bruce Campbell, ‘The Classic’ yellow 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88, Ted Raimi, all of them present, accounted and in top form. The make-up, masks and creatures created by the now industry legends at KNB Studios, take a mix of Harryhausen and Savini-inspired special effects and make classic camp gold. Effects so clearly fake, but so intricately and lovingly created and used in such inspired and creative ways, I can’t help but marvel at their craftsmanship and heart. And when added to the hilariously slapstick screenplay, lead by cult super-hero and world-class BAMF, Bruce Campbell, the result is B-Action/Horror magic.

The film is so fast, witty and fun it transcends it’s forgettable bottom-shelf styling its dismal box-office receipts doomed it to, and has rightfully become one of the greatest camp-classic cult movies of all time. ARMY OF DARKNESS isn’t just worth watching, it’s worth owning and along with it: a framed poster, an Ash action figure and a replica wrist chainsaw (I myself am still working on that one…). So, if you haven’t seen it, or don’t own a copy, get off your Ash and go get some, baby.

[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]

AoD 06

Bruce Campbell is Ashley J. ‘Ash’ Williams, Housewares

Lord Arthur: “Are all men from the future loud-mouthed braggarts!?”
Ash: “Nope. Just me, baby. Just me.”

Armed with his tattered shirt, modified chainsaw amputee attachment, a top-of-the-line sawed-off double-barreled 12-gauge Remington “BoomStick” and his infamous quick wit, Bruce Campbell’s Ash is one of the greatest BasAsses of all time.

– Kills Evil Dead with a sawed-off shotgun and chainsaw-hand.
– Gets hand fed by beautiful wenches.
– A master craftsman, he’s able to build complex mechanisms with bare minimum and primitive resources.
– Beds a woman after doing nothing but insulting her.
– Rides a horse and wears a cape.
– Able to chug boiling water.
– Turns his beat-up old car into a steam-powered death-machine.
– Invents gun powder.
– Trains and commands an army of men.
– Takes on the Army of Darkness.
– His only match—is himself.
– Good, bad. He’s the guy with the gun.
– And he might be a Chinese jet pilot.

AoD 07

[THE BODY COUNT: HUNDREDS]

Man, I always end up writing the pieces with undead in them. Fuck. OK, so, counting the only ONE death per Deadite, and combining the total to the dead humans, I would estimate the body count to be upwards of 250-300. As this movie is clearly about an entire ARMY of the dead, fighting and killing an army of humans, it gets far too crazy for me to keep an accurate count. I wish I had more time to do this, but even if I did, I’d probably just end up using it to masturbate and play video games anyways, sorry.

[MOST SATISFYING ASS-KICKING & RE-DEATH]

Good Ash vs. Bad Ash

AoD 08

The ultimate showdown. Spears, swords, torches and a catapult with a giant sack of gunpowder, what a fight. Traversing three levels of a keep and involving more blows and cheap shots than a cat-fight, this end-of-the-film battle truly delivers the goods. I don’t want to spoil it by recounting scene-by-scene, so I’ll just leave it at that.

[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]

Bruce Campbell is a pretty good looking dude and spends the first 20 or so minutes in his tattered ED2 work shirt, which lackadaisically displays his nip-nip. But outside of that, there isn’t anything else I really have to go on. The embrace of the warring human factions, Eric the Red and Lord Arthur, at the end definitely has some subtext, but it’s over so fast that no real overt homosexuality lingers.

[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]

Sheila: “But what of the things that we’ve shared?  What of all the sweet words that you spoke in private!?”
Ash: “Ah, well—peh, uh-peh… Well that’s just what we call “pillow-talk”, baby. Heh, that’s all.”

AoD 09

Ash is a pimp. Taking full advantage of his enigmatic presence and ass-kicking skills, he takes pleasure in treating the local “primate” women like garbage, even going so far as to insult a maiden that sows a cape for him by saying, “Good, I could use a horse blanket.” The girl, Sheila, does slap him, so she isn’t completely without self-respect, but a couple seconds later Ash strong-arms her and orders her to give him some “sugar”. And she does. Bow-Chicka-Wow-Wow!

Furthering her shame, Sheila is later kidnapped and turned into a Deadite after being forced to “give sugar” once again to Bad Ash. And for seemingly no reason at all, other than for gratuity, another unknown slave girl is dragged before the camera, sans top, by a skeleton captor. Why she was there and what happened to her, nobody knows.

AoD 10

[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]

Ash Gives The Townsfolk Some Consumer Consoling

After being sent back in time, captured, put in a mobile stockade, thrown down a pit, forced to face not one, but two Deadites and barely escaping the pit’s enclosing spiked walls, Ash is understandably a little on edge…

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[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]

AoD 11

“Hail to the King, baby.”

[THE CHECKLIST: 17 outta 25]

[  ] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[X] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[  ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Factory/Warehouse/Castle
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[X] Manly Embrace(s)
[  ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[X] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[  ] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[  ] Tis The Season
[X] Torture Sequence(s)
[  ] Unnecessary Sequel
[  ] Vehicle Chase(s)
[  ] Vigilante Justice

AoD 12

Army Of Darkness (1992) © Dino De Laurentiis Communications and Universal Home Entertainment

DOOooooooooM!

Doom 01

[THE CHALK-OUTLINE]

Doom [Unrated Extended Edition](2005): Breakdown by Rantbo

Space Marines battle alien monsters that killed off a colony. Sounds familiar…

[THE EXECUTION]

Based off of one of the Most Bad-Ass Mother-Fucking Games of ALL Fucking Time, and featuring striking similarities to James Cameron’s Masterpiece, ALIENS, the question is, how does this movie fair in comparison to it’s inspirations? Answer—Not so good. BUT, it’s still far from a complete shit-burger.

The rail-thin story is as follows: A portal was discovered on Earth capable of transporting people and items to an ancient civilization on Mars. Naturally, a scientific colony soon followed and inhuman experiments commenced and some spooky demon shit occurs and a team of ass-kickers is sent in to remedy the situation. And, as you would expect, the shit hits the teleportation device and the team gets fucked like a space sailor on shore leave.

Doom 02

The problems begin with the fact that this movie doesn’t take much at all after the game. The only idea they seemed to fancy was a bit of first person pov and the look of the game’s imp creatures. Oh, and the BFG. But that last one’s in name and size only. Plus, the imps don’t even shoot fireballs, which even if they did, it wouldn’t change the fact that they are easily the lamest enemy from the game. The least they could have done is thrown in a couple of the pink bull-demon things or some acid floors, or something. But, no. Instead you get a bunch of lame horror movie clichés like faulty flashlights and animals popping out of the shadows for over an hour and twenty-five minutes, and then twenty minutes of sheer awesome to make you forget how terribly bland everything you just watched before it was.

There isn’t very much else to really say about this one. I never found it to be slow, but nothing of any real interest or importance happens until the end of the second act, and since I plan on talking about all the awesome parts down below, there isn’t much sense in continuing here. So, to wrap up, DOOM is your average, everyday ALIENS rip-off with a cheesy, though inspired worthwhile ending. I’d recommend it to fans of the sub-genre, but only if you’ve run out of Alien sequels you haven’t seen and already watched EVENT HORIZON.

[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]

Doom 03

Karl Urban is John Grimm, Handle ID: REAPER

A big ‘joke’ of the movie is not knowing just who the real hero of the story will turn out to be. The big musclely beefcake, or the scruffy brooding guy (Urban). And the ‘punch line’ goes so far as to have Dwayne Johnson break the fourth wall and say ‘I’m not supposed to die!” whilst being dragged away by the mutant demons. Leaving us with Karl THE PATHFINDER.

Urban looks as though he performed his entire role straight through, without sleep and after a 3 day bender. Not sure if this is what actually happened, or if it was what he was going for with the character, or door number three, but whatever the case, it works.

Reaper’s general McClane-ian style of ‘this world is bullshit’ apathetic demeanor breaks with pure rage in the face of evil and he begrudgingly puts foot to ass in the name of justice for his departed comrades and to save his hot scientist sister’s glorious gyrating mammary glands (and the rest of her body as well) from demonic destruction.  And in doing so, he riddles a few dozen infected ‘zombie’ people with bullets, annihilates some mutant imps and successfully sends back what the Rock was cooking. With a grenade. Not too shabby.

[THE BODY COUNT: 70ISH]

SPOILER. Everyone dies except for Reaper and Rosamund. Death variations include: Gunshot, head trauma, devoured alive, fire, falling and explosions. And they involve: humans, mutated humans, dogs, rats, monkeys and what ever the Hell Dwayne turned into.

[MOST SATISFYING ASS-KICKING & DEATH]

Reaper vs. Sarge

Doom 04

Both infused with metal and chromosome 24, the former brothers-in-arms dux it out wire-work style and—well, it’s pretty lame. It’s not shot with shaky-cam, but it’s still pretty hard to understand the geography of the scene. Probably has to do with the black-as-Bill-Duke lighting and gravity inconsistency during the goofy body slams. BUT, it’s the best this film has. Well—there was this cool little kill in the FPS sequence where Reaper shoots the hand off a ‘zombie’ holding an axe and the blade falls into his head and then Reaper shoots him in the face. Come to think of it, that’s my most satisfying kill. Forget all the Karl vs. Dwayne bullshit. Sorry, The Rock.

Doom 05

[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]

Very little. Dwayne Johnson does appear shirtless when we fist meet him, but like a PG-13 Teen Sex comedy, they only show his back and side-boob.  Lame. And the rest of the movie pretty much just involves these guys in full space-S.W.A.T. gear trumping around poorly lit metal hallways shining their flashlights on each other. Which sounds like some awesome slumber-party shenanigans, but it isn’t queer enough to register on the ol’ gaydar.

[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]

As this is the Unrated Extended Edition, they put back in the topless ‘zombie’ chick. Woot.

Doom 06

Other than that, like the D&M section, not much. However, for some reason or another, Rosamund Pike spent the entire film sans bra and some spectacular tit-capades occurred when she walked with purpose through the chilly corridors of the science station. Double-Woot.

[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]

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Copyright held by Universal Pictures. Those lucky bastards.

J/K, It’s THE FUCKING FPS SEQUENCE! What else!?

Doom 07

This shit single-handedly saved this film from sheer mediocrity. Watching this go down on the big screen was so refreshing and fun, especially after the rest of the movie. And it made me wish the whole fuckin’ thing was shot like this. Sure, it probably would have gotten old after about 15 minutes, but at least it would have been a memorable chunk of mediocrity, as apposed to the forgettable chunk it is now.

And here’s the one line you wait the whole movie for…

Doom 08

[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]

Nothing could save Dwayne ‘The Toothfairy’ Johnson’s action career.

Doom 09

Not Even Doom Movie

[THE CHECKLIST: 09 outta 25]

[X] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor” [Dwayne]
[  ] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[  ] Crotch Attack
[  ] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[  ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[  ] Factory/Warehouse
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[  ] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[  ] Manly Embrace(s)
[  ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[  ] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[  ] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[  ] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[  ] Tis The Season
[  ] Torture Sequence(s)
[  ] Unnecessary Sequel
[  ] Vehicle Chase(s)
[  ] Vigilante Justice

Doom 10

“What’s Goin’ On!!!”

Diesel-Fueled Action

Pitch Black

[THE CHALK-OUTLINE]

Pitch Black (2000): Breakdown by Kain424

A spaceship crashes on an unknown world.  After finding out the planet may be teaming with frightening and dangerous lifeforms, the survivors are forced to work together with a murderer who may or may not want to help them at all.

[THE EXECUTION]

With the Action stars of yesteryear waning at the end of the century, Schwarzenegger having mostly left the genre for family-friendly fare, Stallone seemingly heading toward DTV Hell with Lundgren, Snipes, Seagal and Van Damme, fans like me looked out into the sea of dark emptiness, in search of the next big Action hero.  It was in Pitch Black that I thought I’d found him.

The movie itself is a sort of Alien-in-the-open kind of film (though also very similar to the classic western Stagecoach), but with much more emphasis on the characters.  In a short time, and without too much dialog, the movie is able to convince us to fear Diesel’s Riddick character, establishing him as something possibly primordial, less than human.  For a good deal of the film, whenever Diesel is shown, he is out of focus, far in the background, too close in the foreground or, most importantly, in the shadows.  We learn why he stays just out of the light, when the shit hits the fan, and why he may be the only hope these people have.  Diesel clearly relishes the role, playing it at top form, chewing up every moment he’s on screen.

Rid-drink

By working at our societal prejudices and natural need for protection, the film manages to be both clever and captivating.  We understand, at some level, nearly every character almost completely.  And therefore, we can relate.  All of this is established fairly early on, before much of the movie’s action.  And once that begins, the characters are free to perform actions and make choices that are easily understandable.

Suns

The look of Pitch Black is carefully crafted around the story.  The bleached desert feel is replaced by a dark, muddy Hell towards the end, going from wide open spaces to cavernous pathways.  There are wrecked spacecraft parts and abandoned buildings in one half of the film and bones and rain in the next.  This hot and cold change seems natural, but uncomfortable enough to keep things moving.

At times, the effects on the alien creatures aren’t so great and other times the CGI is obvious.  Within ten years, the movie can already be dated because of this, but fortunately, the creatures are largely, like Riddick, kept in the shadows.

Riddick In The Shadows

All in all, the movie still somehow holds up.  Diesel is great, as is the rest of the cast, which includes Radha Mitchell and the always awesome Keith David.  Worth watching for its excellence, but also to see the mighty Action star that could have been.

[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]

Riddick

Vin Diesel is Richard B. Riddick

Fry: “Is he really that dangerous?”

Johns: “Only around humans.”

Riddick is a survivor.  He’s learned to live instinctually, only the most base remains of the uncivilized human mind keep him ticking.  Though he’s never seen to kill anyone in the movie, we learn that he has and feel certain that he would again, if the opportunity presented itself.

Pitch Black

-Can pop his arms out of their socket to escape confinement
-Can see in the dark with his special eyes
-Kills with “shivs”; home-fashioned blades
-Can fly spacecrafts
-I’m pretty sure the “B” in his name stands for “Bad-Ass”

[THE BODY COUNT: 14]

Despite the protagonist never killing anyone, nearly everyone dies in the film.  Only a few of the deaths are shown as violent ones, with heads getting crunched, a woman being torn in half and a few teenagers being eaten alive by small alien creatures.  Several of the deaths are caused in the ship’s original crashing (according to Riddick’s estimation, over 40), but I’ve only counted the bodies shown.

[MOST SATISFYING ASS-KICKING & DEATH]

Vin Diesel vs. Cole Hauser, Round 2.

Riddick vs. Johns

Riddick, planning to use Johns as bait to buy the rest of them some time and distance from the creatures, battles again with his captor.  The fight isn’t too well choreographed, but it’s what’s going on during the fight that’s interesting.  Diesel is put in an armbar, pops his elbow out of its socket to escape and then replaces it.  All the fight, he is actually trying to lure Johns out of the light, breaking the small lights he’s wearing, cutting him so the creatures can smell his blood, and leaving Johns in the darkness where the alien beasts will see him.

CRUNCH!

Once in the dark, Johns is quickly taken out in violent fashion.

[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]

Johns: “Or maybe he’ll just come back and skullfuck you in your sleep.”

S&M Diesel

Diesel starts the movie bound, gagged and blindfolded, presumably by Cole Hauser.  The two are constantly fighting, with Hauser whipping Diesel at one point with a prod and chaining him up.  So yeah, there’s some subtext in this one.

[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]

Though problems occur in the film’s plot at the fault of the female characters, all of the women in Pitch Black are seen as strong and usually clear-headed.  Still, one character renames herself and seems to want to be a man.  So you could claim that as a point for this category.

[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]

Riddick is attacked by one of the monsters.  Instead of being torn to shreds, ripped in half, or any of the things that happen to the other victims, Riddick muscles down the beast, slices it up with his shiv, disembowels it, and breaks its neck.  Because he’s a fucking bad-ass.

Monster Slayer

Riddick: “Did not know who he was fucking with.”

[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]

Life or death situations can bring about the good in anyone.  Especially if that “anyone” is an opportunist killing machine.

[THE CHECKLIST: 13 outta 25]

[  ] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[  ] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[  ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Factory/Warehouse
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[  ] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[  ] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[  ] Manly Embrace(s)
[  ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[X] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[  ] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[  ] Tis The Season
[  ] Torture Sequence(s)
[X] Unnecessary Sequel [The Chronicles Of Riddick]
[  ] Vehicle Chase(s)
[  ] Vigilante Justice

You're not afraid of the dark, are you?