Satan's Storybook (1989) (V)
Please note: does have some spoilers-I strongly recommend you read this review instead of seeing the movie, however.
This is probably one of the worst movies I've ever seen, and this is coming from someone who saw Battlefield Earth . In fact, I would actually rather sit through BE again, because at least that one had some unintentional humor and was fascinating due to the fact that it cost 60+ million dollars and managed to look like a made for USA movie.
I love anthology horror movies. I've seen almost of all of them, from excellent (Creepshow, Tales from the Darkside)to mediocre (Twists of Terror) to completely wretched, like this. I only saw one other anthology horror movie with only 2 stories, which was 2 Evil Eyes. From now on I'm going to steer clear of any that don't have at least 3, though 2 Evil Eyes was like John Carpenter's The Thing compared to this video.
I knew I was in trouble when 1. the opening credits looked suspiciously like something someone did with some do-it-yourself home video kit they got from Radio Shack 2. when I saw it was shot on video and 3. when the 'bookend' story was so incredibly ridiculous and incoherent that I began to wonder if I had misunderstood the box and rented some...some...AAAAGH! I can't even find the words. The project for some film class they taught at the Learning Annex "Make Your Own Movie On Videotape for the Beginner, using your friends and relatives as actors" maybe.
I don't even know how to DESCRIBE the bookend story, but it has to do with some satanic witch-woman who is going to be put to death by these ninja-looking guys dressed in white. Then, Ginger Lynn Allen shows up and makes some bizarre speech to the devil-woman (who looks like an 80's metalhead chick who is really into Ozzy) about (I think) being her sister. A painfully long amount of time later, we cut to Satan on his throne. His makeup looks like someone's theatrical make-up school project, and these two, uh, minions or something come in, looking like they are wearing Halloween masks they ordered from Fangoria (to give them credit, they look like masks on the higher end of the cost scale). He orders them to do something along the lines of retrieving his bride, In the meantime some jester comes to entertain him by telling really, really bad stories. Please note that I am making the 'storyline' sound much more coherent than it is.
The first story is about some serial killer in his teens called 'the Demon of Death', who picks out his victims using the phone book. He picks a house with a mother and father their young metalhead/wicca daughter. You don't really know whether you are supposed to hate her or if she is the heroine. He comes in and kills everyone except her, the police burst in at the last minute and wound him. Around this time I was still waiting for something interesting to happen so I would actually be drawn into the story, or there would be some sort of suspense. The kid killer confesses, then gets taken to the chair. The set the execution room is on was so amateurish I was cringing. Meanwhile the metalhead chick is either praying, casting a spell, or doing some kind of seance, it's not really clear which. He gets executed and shows up at the chick's house. THis is due to some spell she cast for revenge, though it's never made clear what her ultimate goal was to the whole thing. He explains something to her, but unfortunately his voice is in that sort of synthesized, slowed-down standard satan/monster voice, to the point where I literally could not understand one word he said. So, I have no clue what in the hell (no pun intended) the payoff to that story was, or what the point was, if it even had one. Probably not.
We cut back to the stupid bookend story with Satan on his throne in his Planet Of the Apes-style makeup (i.e. nothing on his face moves except his eyes, and his mouth moves maybe a tiny bit when he talks, if you look carefully). The Satanic Jester Dude comes in after some more of the incoherent bride/sister/whoever plot. I have next to no idea what Satan was saying, since his voice also sounds like a series of belches. Much, much later, the jester goes to tell another story.
For this one story only, I guess they remembered that this was supposed to have an anthology structure, since the jester says this story is called something like "Clowntown". Though the exterior of "Clowntown" looks like a funhouse ride at a carnival, inside it looks like some old vaudeville theater (or at least that's what they tried to make it look like). Turns out Mr. Clown (his name may have even been "Chuckles") has, get this, a drinking problem! He sits in his dressing room, seeming to add the final touches to his makeup pretty well for a character that is supposed to be falling-down drunk. He's 'missin' his cues' and 'causin' them to lose business' due to his drinking, see, so the manager has to go in and fire him. This leads to an exchange so cliché ridden that causes the only unintentional humor in the movie, though I didn't exactly laugh out loud, I just kind of smirked in amusement. "But...how can ya do this to me, Charlie? Me and your old man, we started this gig together, see? I promise I'll lay off the sauce, but don't fire me...bein' a clown is all I know, don't ya see?" The manager fires him, which clearly leaves him no choice other than immediately hanging himself. Then it starts to not make sense again. Kind of. Some sort of devil-clown appears in a puff of smoke, convinces Mr. Clown that he really is dead and not dreaming (shows him his body hanging there...what, did the first clown not think hanging himself would result in death) and proceeds to explain to him in an annoying high squeaky voice why he is going to hell. I don't even know how to describe how it ends other than saying the last two things that happen make NO sense whosoever, do not fit into the storyline, and are never explained. I kept waiting for something to happen to explain every thing, but it I'm still waiting.
We go back to the stupid Satan bookend story, which makes even less sense than before. I was hoping there'd be a third segment that would be at least a slight improvement, and maybe make me not have entirely wasted my rental fee, but no. The bookend story just sort of dwindles off with no explanation, resolution, or payoff, and that's it. They ran out of money, or just gave up.
Do not rent this movie even to see how bad it is, no matter how tempted you are. It's not bad in a fun, MST300 way, just boring and badly made. You'll hate yourself much less if you rent "Battlefield Earth" instead. Count yourself lucky that this one is out of print and hard to find.
Gore-Gore Girls, The (1972)
(sound of me being violently sick)
Well, this stripped my nerves raw, the tagline got that right. I first rented this movie back in the 80's, when my friend opened a video store that carried every rare movie he could find. He also carried all the shock, horror, and exploitation movies he could dig up, and I went through almost of all them. Previously I had seen Blood Feast and 2000 Maniacs, and the Wizard of Gore. They were gruesome (especially for the time period), and the Wizard of Gore got pretty nasty. The Gore-Gore Girls, however, was the one I remember as being the most disgustingly gory.
I rented it on DVD a little while ago because I wanted to hear the commentary, and thought it might have some cool dancing and clothes. Also, I was probably in a lazy mood. I guess I don't really have a good excuse. I forgot that it was made in the early 70's, so fashion had kind of gone downhill by then. I also realized this was a movie I didn't really need to see more than once. It had amusing parts, but gaaaah! It was much more disgusting than I remembered. If you've read my other horror/chock movie reviews, you probably are aware that I'm very jaded to movie gore but a couple of times I just got too grossed out and had to look away. This wasn't a good choice of movie to put on DVD all crisp and cleaned up with better sound and picture quality. i liked it better when it was all cloudy and foggy.
The commentary is amusing in parts, and interesting (I think HG said the budget was $6100.00) Maybe HG Lewis wasn't feeling well that day, but he sounded tired overall and also had the nerve to get offended when the interviewer fromSomething Wild compared him to Ed Wood Jr. Sorry pal, but you're not exactly Tim Burton yourself.
The extremely thin (even for an HG Lewis movie) plot is about a series of murders of topless go-go dancers in strip clubs. A cute reporter and a really unattractive private detective team up (sort of-he can't seem to stand her) to try to solve the crimes. Henny Youngman owns a strip club. A bunch of really ugly murders happen.
I'm pretty easygoing, and never like to sound like I need to lighten up, but this movie was so misogynistic it pissed me off more than "Company of Men". Mainly because here the main character's and the director's extreme dislike for females- and the audience- just oozes from every frame. It's not just the murders. The highly unattractive detective (and that's being kind-honestly, I'd rather go on a date with Joe Pesci, no offense to Mr. Pesci) goes out of his way to treat the female reporter like dog dirt at every opportunity, for no apparent reason. Again for no apparent reason (he's not exactly a threat to George Clooney, like I said) she still follows him around like a puppy. At one point she understandably faints upon seeing a horribly mutilated body and the guy looks distastefully at her, then pours cold soda from a can onto her face to wake her up. Later he calls the police to report the crime- "No...no hurry...she just seems to have...lost face." This guy is THE HERO. You can imagine how the other characters feel about women. I could go on and on but you get the idea. Please note that I am making this movie sound much more politically correct (and much more fun) than it actually is.
Most of the cast are the type of actors you pray will never take their clothes off- not too easy on the eyes, so don't watch the movie just to see the nudity unless you're not too picky. Sorry. The go-go dancers all look like they desperately want to have the scene end so they can get their $10 or whatever the going rate HG paid them was and get their drug fix. OK, I should go easier on the poor women, there was one dancer that looked like she might have been a pro and also one other cool dancer with a huge afro that didn't look as miserable as the rest, but still not too thrilled.
The only slightly entertaining things were a couple moments of brief unintentional humor, such as when a policemen in charge at a murder scene angrily yells "Get outta here before I have you all arrested!" not to a bunch of reporters but to someOTHER POLICEMEN calmly going about their work (they mutter and stroll off, though). Henny Youngman is kind of funny... though, like Lewis says, he said his lines so fast that they almost needed subtitles. I'm pretty sure he was trying to get the whole day over in a hurry so he could get paid and get the hell out of there, though he doesn't look like he minded watching some naked chicks.
Can I find anything good to say about this movie? I'll give it a shot, because for some reason, I find Lewis' old skool, low-budget type of style somewhat likeable.
Might be worth seeing just out of morbid curiosity- for the era the movie was made, it was probably the most gruesome thing on film at the time- or if you're really big HG Lewis fan and find him or low-budget film-making by anyone fascinating. Otherwise, if you've seen it once, you've seen it and can move on to other disgusting but much more entertaining low-budget movies from the early 70's...this movie doesn't even come close to, say, "Pink Flamingos" when it comes to the skip-the-popcorn factor. If you've never seen an HG Lewis movie, I recommend you try "Blood Feast" first instead, you'll have a much better time. Anyone who john Waters devotes a chapter to in "Shock Value" can't be all bad, but this, to put it kindly, is not his best work.
Grade: D- (would have gotten an F if John Waters hadn't interviewed him)
Some Nudity Required (1998)
Alright, That Does It!
Disclaimer: This may be the most scathing review I've posted so far (other than The Hollow Man). I make it a rule, when I attack a movie viciously, that I don't make it personal-I tear apart the movie itself rather than the creators. However, this managed to piss me off so bad, that I am making an exception in this case. You'll see why. Read on if you want to hear me go medieval on SNR's ass.
Reader's Digest version of my review: Directors' personal agenda ruins what could have been a good documentary.
I saw this in the video store, and it looked like a cool documentary about B-movies and actresses. I saw the interviewed Roger Corman, Sam Arkhoff, Julie Strain...
This is great documentary material, and the documentary would be great, if you cut out oh, 1/3 or so of the movie consisting of Odette Springer's political and personal views and reflections. 10 minutes in, she was already getting on my nerves; I suppose it could be nice to have a background on her, even though most documentaries, the filmmaker doesnt give a biography. She went way more into her personal background and past history, than I wanted to know almost right off the bat. The first thing I said was, OK, enough of your bio and resume, could we get back to the documentary? Not only do we have to hear all about this womans life and views, she isnt at all likable or interesting. I would not want to spend even 3 minutes with her. In fact I would pay money to AVOID spending time with her. She has no sense of humor, is often condescending and pretentious, and never smiles once during the too often footage of her personal reflections. Also, every time she did a transition shot, she'd do this blurry annoying trick that would have looked amateurish used even once, but she uses it 90% of the time! Arrrrrgh.
Im sorry, Ms. Springer, but I did not rent this movie because I was interested in your personal life. I rented it to see a documentary/background/history of nudity in B movies and exploitation movies. For awhile, this is OK, and she's got some good material, even though you can hear her asking questions like, "why was it necessary for a woman to be strangled in the scene?" or "why is it necessary to show her breasts while shes having sex?" She manages to make herself look more and more stupid as the movie goes on. Halfway through we get a montage of her talking about her own body image, which parts she didn't like growing up, etc. Guess what? WE DON'T CARE, because we did not rent this movie to hear about your journey through life or see what it's like to 'inhabit your skin'. Actually, it's worse than 'inhabiting your skin', but I just wanted to give you an idea of the psychobabble that occurs.
She shoots herself in the foot, too, because the male exploitation filmmaker that she's trying to make look bad, end up verbally outwitting her quickly. Typical samples of Q & A: Why was it necessary for this stripper's breasts to be shown? uh, because this is a b-movie, the movie takes place in a strip club, and this is the kind of thing guys rent the movie for? Q: Why did you feel it was required to have this female character be strangled? A: Well, its a plot point. Some are nicer than others. She's mostly fine with the women, but every time she interviews a man...you can tell she started out the interview wanting to say something that would piss them off, but she's the one that usually gets all bent out of shape, because the guy will make her look ridiculous. With one actress, Maria Ford, I found her interviews to be quite interesting. Ford gets worked up at the end talking about how she hated being looked upon as nothing but a bimbo, but the way the movie is cut, it looks suspiciously as though Springer provoked her to get her worked up and prove her own opinions about the industry, then take it out of context to prove her agenda. yeah, I know that's her right, but I don't have to like it!
I did not rent this because I wanted to see a movie that spent at least 1/3 with the director going off on personal tangents (and boring ones at that) , why she might feel excited by a certain scene of a domanatrix, (too much information!), and I really did not want to hear her personal discoveries, which sound like something written in one of those really horrible memoirs about personal tragedies that were trendy a few years back about how she was, supposedly, molested when she was a toddler. And I really, REALLY did not want to hear a graphic description of what her relatives (who aren't around anymore to defend themselves, conveniently) did, play-by-play, and things like how it made her body "tingle".Gaaah! I've seen plenty of documentaries, and this has to hold the record for the number of times I said, "OK, too much information there" or, "That I did not need to know"..
Frankly, this is the kind of woman that gives feminists a bad name by making us all look like we have no sense of humor and thinking all men are evil.
Now let's discuss the negative aspects of the movie. Just kidding. OK, now that I've gotten that off my chest, if you take out all of the completely irrelevant material about her personal life, and her political views (which she hits us over the head with about 89 times), the interviews and clips are interesting. One actress talks about how she really was molested as a child and had to do a similar scene, and how hard and easy it was at the same time. Julie Strain talks outright and honestly about how she is deliberately choosing to use her body to become an A-list actress within 3-5 years (her personal goal). A female director was very entertaining, blunt, and was realistic and made points about how sexist the industry really is without bashing the audience over the head with it. One director was so blunt he was hilarious, figuring out right away what Springer was really up to, asking, almost immediately "now, youre trying to lead this interview in a certain direction, I can tell it right now, and I don't like it" and ending up blowing up( he doesnt have the most pleasant personality, but I don't blame him) flat out saying what a stupid interview this was and getting up and leaving. good for him.
Roger Corman and Arkhoff, the old-skool b-movie makers, are always entertaining. Many of the clips they showed were amusing. Maybe they were meant to shock and horrify us, but we just giggled at the cheesiness. They were one of the few entertaining bits in the movie.
Even if you don't mind Springer using this film to proclaim her personal agenda, which revolves only around her, it's really not a big revelation that in Hollywood, women who want to be cast in exploitation films are, get this, encouraged to get implants, or that some women in the industry are... believe it or not...treated as sex objects!! Also, and I never knew this before, men like to look at women with large breasts! Get outta town!! Some of the directors (gasp) are just making the movies to try to make money! Can such a thing possibly be?? I'm not saying its right, or good that this is the case, I'm saying that's just Hollywood, and it's not new information to most of us.
Take this movie, get a good editor and make it about half an hour shorter, and youd have a fine documentary. The message is supposed to be feminist, but it had the opposite effect, as I ended up actually being embarrassed just to be the same sex as the director.
Ms. Springer, if you want to make a movie about yourself and your opinions on how hollywood treats women, and how memories were uncovered, and your personal journeys, how you're working through your emotions, fine. You have every right. But make it a different movie, or write a memoir, or get some therapy. Don't inappropriately intercut it in with what could have been a great documentary. I'm not usually this blunt, but for the love of God STOP THIS WOMAN BEFORE SHE DIRECTS AGAIN.
Grade: Is there something below an F?
Hollow Man (2000)
My pick for the worst movie of 2000...hands down.
Note: This review contains minor spoilers, though there isn't much to spoil and you'll be doing yourself a huge favor if you read the review instead of seeing the movie.
I rushed to review this movie and tear it apart so fast that I almost sprained my fingers. I keep trying to go back to what I could have been thinking when I selected this at the rental store. I heard a lot of bad things about it, enough to keep me from seeing it in the theater. Maybe what stuck in my mind were a few people saying it had one or two really good FX scenes, and also Kevin Bacon's diary of the filming, which made it sound so grueling and unpleasant that I felt some pity for him and thought I should give it a chance. Big mistake. Big, BIG mistake.
You may have read some bad reviews that say it all...but I need to write down how bad this movie is and hopefully purge it from my system. You know, I don't ask for the impossible when I sit down to watch a movie. All I really want from a movie, at minimum, is to be entertained or to escape for 90 minutes or so. The movie started out fair but after the gorilla scene, and the two other invisible transformation scenes, it really went downhill. And got worse.
Oh yeah, in case you haven't seen the trailer, or read a review, the plot is: a group of scientists is working on an invisibility formula, for the government. The leader of the project is smart, but an arrogant pr**k. He meddles with mother nature (bad idea in a sci-fi/scary movie) and deliberately deceives people who trust him (again, another mistake) so the formula can be tested on him as the first human. You'll never guess what happens then: things go horribly wrong! People turn to murder! Disaster strikes! You waste 2 hours of your time and a rental fee because you should have just watched the trailer, which gave the whole plot away anyway!
Again, I had low expectations for this movie-all I wanted was for something to surprise me, or there to be a special effect or shock that made me watch the scene/moment again a couple times. Or at least want to. For instance, "Deep Blue Sea" was stupid and mainly lame, but at least had that one big surprise (you know the one I mean-I won't give it away like someone did to me before I saw it). Nope.
Where to begin? I didn't find any of the characters likeable. Sorry, but I don't have too much respect for any character in a horror/thriller movie that does any of the following:
1. walks backward when they know they are in danger 2. turns their back on someone dangerous that they've conked/injured and strolls away without checking to see if they've really been incapacitated
3. immediately separates when they first realize they are in an isolated area being stalked by someone or
4. says something to the effect of "well, I'm glad *that's* over" when things obviously aren't-and if you've seen even one other scary movie, everyone knows this is always a precursor to the villain/monster immediately swooping down on them again or lunging into frame. This movie has ALL of the above-which I could overlook if the movie was at least slightly entertaining (Bruce Campbell in any of the Evil Dead movies usually does all of the above, but makes it fun to watch, to name just one example).
Also-and I don't think I'm alone here- I get really insulted when, especially on top of all the other crap, a villain conveniently becomes indestructible in the last half hour or so with no explanation. About every possible debilitating injury happens to him and it doesn't seem to slow him down. All that was missing was him being shot and the bullets bouncing off him. Hey, maybe that happened and I was so numb with boredom I missed it.
I expected there to be one interesting or memorable concept, especially since (or so I thought at the time) the movie had such meticulous attention to detail and seemed to take a very high-tech, scientific approach to the story. The trailers and background info on the making of this film, plus how long it took in post-production, gave me that impression. The reviews gave it more credit than it deserved. I was at first slightly interested in the fact that an invisible character couldn't close their eyes, because they had transparent eyelids. I never thought of that! Hmmm, maybe they came up with some other cool twists. Sorry, but that's about as interesting as it gets, and the only new idea they came up with. Then, that got shot all to hell, because about 1 minute later it occurred to me that the person could wear a sleep mask, or go in a completely blacked-out room. A person graphically stripped of all their layers, reminding you (if you're old enough) of the 'visible man' kit you had as a kid? Been done before (though not as well technically as in this movie). A gorilla doing the same thing? OK, I'm pretty sure that hasn't been done before, at least not that I know of, but that's maybe 30 seconds that are slightly interesting.
Let's face it, you thinking "hey, good CGI" occasionally is not enough to build a good movie on- in fact, it's pretty sad.
I would run out of room if I went into even half of the continuity errors.. Now, I'm the type of person who people have to point out continuity errors to before I notice them. Here I noticed ones I didn't even LOOK for. What happened? Did they run out of time? Money? The studio rushed them? What's really depressing is someone probably noticed, but they either were too lacy to care or figured the audience would be so impressed with the CGI that their IQs would drop about 50 points and they'd miss it. Not to beat a dead horse, but if the movie had a character that was interesting, or if any scenes surprised me, or entertained me, I could overlook it being stupid and built around some 'ground-breaking' CGI.
Yes, I know what a 'popcorn movie/turn off your brain movie' is, where you just sit back and enjoy the mindless ride. Starship Troopers, Total Recall, Scary Movie- *those* are popcorn movies. Hollow Man is also not a camp/so bad it's good type movie. Showgirls, Mommy Dearest, Glen or Glenda- those are ones you can sit and make fun of with your friends. No, instead The Hollow Man is just a waste of everyone's time and money, and that's putting it in way more polite terms than I want to.
I would only recommend this if you are a CGI/FX junkie, if you thought "Armageddon" and "Patch Adams" were deep, insightful masterpieces and and you didn't understand why everyone said anything bad about them, or if you really have the hots for Kevin Bacon (though skip the 'becoming invisible' scene, among others, if you don't want to get completely turned off). Interesting premise that goes absolutely nowhere. I warned you!
Hei ta yang 731 xu ji zhi sha ren gong chang aka Laboratory of the Devil aka Man Behind the Sun 2: Laboratory of the Devil(1990) (I put all the titles down just so there's no danger of anyone accidetally seeing this)
I want 90 minutes of my life back.
No no no no.
I foolishly rented this, thinking that...uhwhat was I thinking? I've seen Man Behind the Sun and while I can't exactly say I 'enjoyed' it, it was shocking, powerful, and deeply disturbing. I watched it once around 5 years ago, re-watched it recently to review it. For some reason I thought I'd read the sequel was much more disturbing. So, what do I do? Like an imbecile, out of morbid curiosity I have to check it out.
If you've seen the original, just quit while you're ahead. I said QUIT. I mean it. RUN! If you haven't seen any of the 'series' and feel the need to see any of them (whether or not that is a good idea for you to do is a whole different topic; you may want to read my review under "Not for the Faint of Heart") just see the first one. In the name of God, STOP THERE.
In the original, the plot centers on camp 731, where horribly inventive and vicious medical experiments are performed on prisoners under the guise of 'scientific research' for warfare. That one actually has a plot, and some characters you care about. The reason I'm going on at length about the first movie is that 90% of this movie "Laboratory of the Devil" is simply the first movie, re-staged, only done very badly.
The plot' goes something like this: a guy, who I think was supposed to have been at camp 731, goes to a house for a meeting, post WW2. A bunch of Japanese men sit stiffly around the table. We find out via some very badly written dialogue (though to be fair, the movie is dubbed, so maybe the translation lost something) that the main evil guy from the first movie wants to restart the medical experiments. Why he would want to is not that clear, other than out of sheer meanness. After more boring dialogue that I was tempted to fast forward through, but foolishly didn't, the guy that came in says something to the effect of 'have you no honor? Don't you remember what happened before?' No, for some reason they don't, even though they were all there the first time. "Well let me tell you about it..." (sound that they made on Wayne's World when they went into a flashback)
We go into flashback mode and I optimistically figure it'll last maybe 5 minutes, summing up the first movie. Uh-oh, it seems to be going on longer. And the plot seems kind of familiar. OK, well, maybe they'll wrap it up in the next 15 minutes. After I realized the movie was half over, I resigned myself to the fact that the whole movie was going to be a re-hash of the first.
Now that's bad and lazy enough, but not only do they just blunderingly re-stage the first movie, they manage to completely f-*$k it up in every way possible. To try to add pathos, there's a lame romantic subplot. The experiments that are restaged are the most boring ones, and they only include one from the first movie that was a real shocker, but since most of us have SEEN the first movie, it's not shocking. The first movie was well paced, but in this case, it seems like the screenwriters just wrote down all the scenes from the original on index cards, put them all in a hat, and picked them out at random and filmed them in no particular order, making sure to leave out the most powerful ones and substituting incredibly stupid ones in their place.
There's an autopsy at the beginning on a corpse that goes on way too long and is obviously intercut with actual autopsy footage. Not only is this lazy, but if I wanted to sit there watching endless scenes of autopsies, I would have, well, rented a video that consisted of actual autopsies
instead (yes, you can rent those now, they're in the Shockumentary section of Scarecrow Video). I didn't think a movie could be disgusting and boring at the same time, but LOTD manages
But wait! There's more. They also figured that maybe the first movie wasn't humorous enough (yeah, you really need humor in a movie about POW torture), so they stuck in some really, really unfunny "comic relief". Here is an exact quote, to give you an idea. Two guards are walking out of the lab after a frostbite experiment. Guy #1:"...they found out that women have a greater resistance to cold than men." Guy #2-"Yeah well, I guess that explains why my wife is frigid!" (rim shot) They roar with laughter. HAHAHAHAHA!
Stop, you guys, I'm laughing so hard it hurts! Whooo-hooo! I'm still holding my sides! Oh man, look out Chris Rock, cause you got some stiff competition!
There is, however, some unintentional humor ...though let me beat a dead horse and stress that it is NOT worth watching the movie for-if the forthcoming description of the unintentional humor amuses you at all , just LEAVE IT AT THAT. You got off lucky. I'm making it sound much more entertaining than sitting through the movie is. For instance, the English dubbing is so laughably bad it sounds like a parody of baddubbing in an Asian film (Your Kung Fu is lousy!) It sounds like they have maybe 2, 3 guys tops doing all the characters. In one scene a bunch of scientists or commanders or whatever they're supposed to be are wearing surgical masks. One sounds completely normal while the other guy sounds like he's yelling into his cupped hands or through a saltine box. Also, the characters, both heroes and bad guys, are amazingly stupid. At one point, the hero (I think he was the hero, anyway) helps with one 'test' that consists of prisoners being lined up and shot. Why they need to research what happens when they do this, I don't know, but anyway, the hero reluctantly fires at the commander's order, naturally killing them, then looks shocked and horrified at the results. What did he think was going to happen? Oh, and this is after he watches the same thing being done 3 times in a row before this with no expression at all on his face.
In another scene, the bad guys inject a slice of watermelon with what I assume is some sort of toxic substance. Then we see a guy being dragged, struggling, into frame by the other bad guys,: "No! No! You can't make me eat it!" "You WILL eat this!!" They force feed it to him, though it looks more like they just rubbed it into his teeth, he foams at the mouth a little, and dies. Was that supposed to scare me or disturb me? Why the hell didn't they just give it to him to eat and not tell him what it was? In the first movie, during several scenes prisoners are tricked into the experiments, which is much more believable and has much more powerful and disturbing results. In the first movie, it had the effect of making you hate the villains even more. Here, you just think they're badly organized morons. Speaking of that, there's another scene where the prisoners are all in one room with huge numbers on their uniforms so large that the digits would be visible from another planet, and when they need them for experiments, a guard just walks in with a clipboard and calls out their numbers, and they call out "here!" like it's roll call in a class or something. For some reason that struck me as funny. Maybe I was just so bored I was trying to entertain myself by finding anything I could to jeer at.
Not enough reasons to skip this? OK, I got some more. The makeup effects (other than the real autopsy footage) are really, really cheesy and unrealistic. Several workers are beaten and slapped for disobeying. I've seen more realistic punches thrown in Dolemite movies-seriously, we're talking the hand visibly not coming within six inches of the person's face and the person reacting like they were hit. Terrible continuity, too-in one scene, a guy bites into a small corner of a guards earlobe while fighting, then we cut (they always cut away instead of going to the trouble of showing any sort of effect) to a shot of the guy with a huge chunk of flesh in his mouth. Oh, and every once in a while, they stick in some stock war footage that is so grainy you can barely tell what's going on (I *think* that was a shot of something being blown up there...)
The characters look so much alike (I'm not saying this in a racist 'Asians all look alike' way) that you can't tell them apart. In the first movie, I had no problem telling who was who, but here the screenwriting is so goddamn sloppy I didn't know who was who. OK, is that guy upset because they just killed....uh...his father?his brother? Was that his roommate? Who the hell was that?
The only positive things about this wretched excuse for an exploitation movie are that it leaves out the suspiciously realistic, unnecessary scenes of animal cruelty included in the first one,and that it has the guts to have a downbeat ending (though again, it's just a really inept rip-off of the first movie).
SPOILER AHEAD: WARNING TO THOSE WHO STILL WANT TO SEE THIS THING
As far as I'm concerned, any movie that ends with the hero suddenly being decapitated should get a tiny iota of credit, I guess. The first movie was so disturbing it made me lose sleep, this one just put me to sleep. I repeat, do NOT waste your time with this (especially if you've seen the first one). If you want to see something really shocking, upsetting, and disturbing, just rent the original. If you want to be bored, mad at yourself for wasting your money, and have your intelligence insulted, then rent this one. I take that back, rent You've Got Mail instead.
Grade: the finger (F didn't seem suffiecient)
You've Got Mail (1998)
Even Worse Than I Thought it Would Be
I stayed away from this movie before because I really don't care for Meg Ryan and think she is seriously overrated. I rented it because I figured it would at least be sort of romantic, and I like Tom Hanks ok. I was wrong. Where did they screw up? First, she falls for him way too fast, even though he was responsible for ruining her business. Suddenly, since she has a man in her life, she gets completely over the fact that the business that she put her heart and soul to and was in her family for generations died a slow, painful death at the hands of his chain bookstore. Second, it would have been so much more interesting if it was reversed and the woman was the one with the big business. I'm not saying that to be feminist. I mean, they really made a big deal about how this was an "update" with "a 90's feel" and blah blah. I would have liked Tom Hanks more if 30 min into the film we didn't have this cutesy little montage to the tune of "splish splash" ( Wow! Baby boomer songs on the soundtrack! Bold choice, guys!) where Hanks takes some kids to a street fair and they get their faces painted, bob for apples, try on oversized sunglasses, etc until you want to puke. I mean, Tom Hanks is a pretty appealing guy when he turns on the charm--they didn't have to hit us over the head with it.
I can't beleive Ryan's character didn't figure out who her email pal was sooner. An idiot would have been able to put 2 and 2 together and at least suspect. Their love letters they wrote to each other were trite and nauseating, though at least we were spared scenes of them meeting cute in a chatroom or newsgroup . As far as Meg Ryan, she was as annoying as she gets. Also, she is not aging well. Sorry, that sounds catty, but she doesn't look too good in this movie (not that I thought she was all that great looking to start with). Hanks has taken off some weight, but still looks bloated, though he can probably pull it off. He used to be a pretty good-looking guy in the 80's.
Oh, and I hated Sleepless in Seattle too, but I think I hate this more, because at least Sleepless wasn't a 2 hour long commercial for AOL (notice how they never got a busy signal or had to wait to be connected). It seems like most people either loved or hated this movie. I think I made it clear which category I fall into.
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