Archive for February, 2010

Universal Soldier: The Return (1999) Mic Rodgers

Posted in U on February 22, 2010 by moviemoses

Production Budget: $40 million
Worldwide Gross: $14 million
Subsequent Earnings: unknown

Sh*t, this movie. I had forgotten about it until the last couple of posts. You know, I am not expecting Dickens or Shakespeare when I watch a Van Damme movie, I just want something that makes the least bit of sense. So maybe someone can tell me why the main character of the movie, Deveraux, would work for the Universal Soldier program again after being re-programmed, hunted down and nearly killed in the first movie. Not just work for them, but be the top technical advisor and design a new breed of Universal Soldier for production. Seriously, this makes less sense than a Highlander sequel (if they existed).

It’s bad when you come into a movie with the lowest of expectations, looking for something/anything to entertain you and the movie fails to deliver. It is truly the mark of an awful director who can’t even entertain you with how bad it is (you gotta hand it to Ed Wood or Uwe Boll, at least their crap is somewhat funny). I can spend hundreds of words describing how Van Damme failed in this movie, but that is about 950 more than I care to.  This movie sucks: the action sucks, the actings sucks, the story sucks, Goldberg sucks big hairy ones, Megadeth sucks for selling out and making a lame theme song for this movie, and I suck for watching it.

Re-Review:

I remember when I first wrote this review it was a few years since I originally saw it so I was working on memory.  I wanted to re-review my old articles because frankly I hated that practice and want to give the movie a fair shot.  But man, did I ever hit the nail on the head in my original review.

I had reviewed the recent Direct to Video movie Universal Soldier: Regeneration where former stars Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren returned.  I remarked on how it was an awesome movie for a DTV production but was confused by the continuity of the production.  Van Damme’s character Luc was back to being this shell shocked and borderline psychopathic ex soldier with recurring flashbacks and is haunted by the war.  This was in stark contrast as to how we saw Luc in part 2 and I didn’t realize how bad until I saw it again.

In The Return, Luc is back to being completely living (a doctor cured him of being dead) and was a well adjusted wise cracking individual with no negative effects of the war.  In fact, he even was married and has a daughter!  Not only that, instead of fighting the Unisol program he is working for it and is their biggest supporter.  I mentioned how baffling this was in my old review but let me restate this again.  This makes no freaking sense.  Yeah, Luc tries to justify it by saying it would be more suitable then sending thousands of people to die in wars but that doesn’t fly.  :Let’s just sidestep the moral quandary of re-animating the dead and taking away their free will making them unquestioning automatons.  The simple fact is Luc is an incredible hypocrite for not wanting to be a Universal Soldier by not just fighting them but exposing them to the press and also by reversing his operation.  But now he wants to subject hundreds and even thousands more to the very treatment he opposed before?  This continuity really is on par with a Highlander sequel.

The plot of the movie is that Luc is trying to work on better Universal Soldier.  They do this with the help of an artificial intelligence that runs the base called SETH (later in human form by Michael Jai White).  Wow, this is so incredibly stupid I almost can’t put it to words.  This is like re-starting the Skynet program and putting HAL 9000 in charge of it.  I mean, does no one see even the possibility of a problem of letting an artificial intelligence run a group of unquestioning/nearly indestructible killing machines?  To top it all off, the base is sitting on a store of biological weaponry.  So if anything did go wrong, there was no chance to bomb the base from the air stopping the soldiers from rebelling.  Too…stupid…for words…THE PAIN!!!  Sure enough the Unisols rebel when the project is terminated by the Government and Van Damme has to kick box all the Unisols to death.

This movie is facepalmingly bad.  The acting is horrendous.  Van Damme is trying to top Guile from Street Fighter for the most incomprehensible smug dipshit he has ever played.  His constant mugging for the camera is almost too much.  He also has a love interest in the film who is this shrill Lois Lane type reporter who shrieks out lines like “You can’t hide this from the press!  You are my story!  Blargh!  Waaaaaahhh!”  The worst however is wrestler Goldberg as the recurring villain of Romeo.  I know SETH is the main villain, but really Goldberg is taking over for Lundgren’s role and it is pathetic when you see it.  You go from a psycho scary dude who collects ears to the comic relief of Goldberg.  Van Damme and Goldberg have like 6 scenes together which all amount to Goldberg trying to attack Van Damme and Van Damme finding some comical way to escape.  For example in one scene he sidesteps a spear from Goldberg and locks him in an elevator or in another scene Goldberg jumps out and Van Damme quickly kicks him out a window.  This is all followed by the recurring joke by Goldberg is when he says “I really hate this guy.”  There isn’t enough Wah Wah music in the world to make that funny.  When did the villain become a Wily Coyote cartoon?

This movie is just pathetic.  Even the fight scenes are staged like a Uwe Boll movie.  Every fight scene is just a music video.  I really am not kidding here.  A hard rock song starts up, a chase scene or a fight scene starts, and we keep going and going and going until the entire song is done.  This happens in every one of the action scenes.  You know music is supposed to compliment the action; it is not the other way around.

Look I like a cheesy Van Damme movie as much as the next guy.  But even in a ‘so bad it’s good’ kind of way it is still just bad.  Nothing about this movie is good or redeemable.  This makes Knock Off (the story of exploding jeans) seem like War and Peace by comparison.  This movie is horrible and I feel dumber for having watched it again.

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Taking Woodstock (2009) Ang Lee

Posted in T on February 17, 2010 by moviemoses

Production Budget: $30 million
Worldwide Gross: about $9 million

I suppose to cut to the chase: this is one boring ass movie.  From trailer one, this looked like a tired concept and I knew it would take some serious finesse to breathe life into this dead horse of a plot idea.  The plot is about a son who is trying to save his parents run down hotel and accepts an offer to host the Woodstock concert much to the chagrin of the stuck up townfolk.

Now I know ‘boring’ does not tell you much so I will try to explain myself as best I can.  My main issue with this movie is the comedy plain sucks and therefore the movie is a tired slog.  There are no real characters and instead we get lame one dimensional characters.  Oh look, we have talented actress Imelda Staunton playing a grating mother who’s quirk is she calls everyone a Nazi.  Funny, huh?  Or Eugene Levy owns a dairy and whenever people come to his house he pushes his chocolate milk on people.  That resembles a joke right?  Ok, ok, let’s have a hippy band manager who spouts out 70’s hippie things like “Groovy” or “far out”.  I know, I know, let’s have Liev Schreiber as a cross dresser.  Emile Hirsch having Nam flashbacks?  Anything?

I mean, shit, I know people always say they can write this crap, but I really feel I could write this crap.  What jokes do you expect in this movie?  Let’s have a joke about how the townspeople are stuck up squares.  Great, now let’s contrast that with some hippies doing goofy hippie stage plays.  By the way, I got my fill of crappy hippy stage plays in Billy Jack thank you very much.  Where was I?  Oh yeah, let’s have the parents trip on hash brownies.  Nobody has seen that before.  We also have to have out main character take an acid trip.  And so on and so on and so on.  I swear, did the writers of Two and a Half Men write this screenplay?

The plot isn’t all that special either.  What with “inspired by a true story” you would think the process of setting up Woodstock was some arduous and epic struggle but really it wasn’t that bad.  Yeah there were problems, but that’s what you get when you make a concert for over 150,000 people; hippies or no hippies.  Really, this is a small story about our main character and he’s not all that interesting either.  He is an uptight kid trying to do right by his parents and Woodstock teaches him to be his own man and enjoy life.  The actor for this role is bland, wooden, and is completely incapable of carrying this movie at all.

I mean, god this was a hard movie to get through.  This wasn’t bad or offensive in any way, but you have seen this movie.  You have heard these jokes a million times before.  There is absolutely no reason to see this movie in any capacity or for any price.  It is unoriginal, unimaginative, and worst of all unfunny movie.

The Scarlet Letter (1995) Roland Joffe

Posted in S on February 17, 2010 by moviemoses

Production Budget: $50 million
Gross: $10 million

Watching the movies isn’t the hard part of reviewing.  No the hard part is coming up with crap to say about trash like this.  It’s moments like when Hollywood tacks on a happy ending to the Scarlet Letter that makes me embarrassed for Hollywood and hard to defend at times.  It doesn’t help when Demi Moore says it’s alright because nobody has read the book anyway.  Seriously Demi, sit down and shut the fuck up.

So anyway, the movie is about Hester Prynne (Demi Moore) who is sent to Massachusetts to set up a house for her husband.  Hester is now portrayed as such a feminist even G.I. Jane would think it over the top.  Hester meets the young preacher Arthur Dimmesdale (Gary Oldman) and they fall in love.  When Hester’s husband supposedly dies, she and Arthur sleep together.  Hester gets pregnant and the community label her an adulteress putting a scarlet A on her.  Hester gets released from prison with her new baby Pearl and finds her husband who she thought died had come back.  And we have come to the beginning of the book.  That’s right, we spend an hour of the movie getting to the point where the book f*cking starts.  Anyway, Hester and Dimmesdale try to keep their affair secret while Mr. Prynne (Robert Duvall) devises his revenge.

This is hilarious as to how, well, Hollywood this is.  We just can’t have Hester and Arthur in love, we need Demi nekkid! (I personally don’t have a problem with that)  As I mentioned before, we can’t have Hester simply be strong willed for the times she was in, but the Norma Rae of the Puritans.  We need a voice over because us stupid people don’t get that Hester and Arthur are secretly in love with each other and hate being apart.  And we can’t have Mr. Prynne try to psychologically torture Hester and Arthur, we have to make him f*cking Robert DeNiro in Cape Fear.

Duvall is seriously hilarious in this movie and the Cape Fear comparison is apt.  He apparently goes all native when he gets captured by the Indians so he is like a two face when he returns to civilization.  In the Puritan camp he is all super prim and proper and stiff.  When its night, he strips down, shaves his whole body, carves things into himself, whoops, hollers, and kills motherf*ckers with a knife.  Everyone else tries to be all stiff and have proper accents and talk formally and whatnot.  No, not Duvall.  He went all Martin Riggs in this movie and it’s glorious.  I f*cking love this guy.

Demi Moore is simply no good.  She has always been a pretty, but incredibly wooden actress.  She is asked to carry this movie which is crazy.  Gary Oldman is alright, but he really has nothing to play off in this movie.  He has countless scenes where he is all alone professing his love for Hester.  He really is at his best when he’s chewing scenery and showing others up and here he just doesn’t do that.

When it comes to the ending you guessed it; an action climax.  For some reason Dimmesdale was doing charity work for the Indians and when sh*t turns south (some Indians in the panic are put in internment camps)  the tribes raid the village and bail him out.  The only thing we miss out on is a final fight between Mr. Prynne and Dimmesdale.  Come on Scarlet Letter, don’t pussy out on me now!  I want Prynne with knife and tomahawk fighting Dimmesdale with a cross/rocket launcher on the other.    What?  You already piss on us by giving it a happy ending.  What is this ending like?  It’s like Romeo getting on top of a soapbox at the end of Romeo and Juliet and giving a Shatner-ian speech about how foolish both families are by not accepting their love.  Then Romeo and Juliet go off and live happily ever after and have a dozen babies.  That is essentially what this ending is.  It is stupid, it is insulting to the audience, it talks down, it doesn’t work, it’s it’s…poopy.

Good grief this movie is dumb.  If this weren’t for Duvall’s over the top performance I would hate this movie.  With it, I can only say it just sucks.

Town & Country (2001) Peter Chelsom

Posted in T on February 16, 2010 by moviemoses

Production Budget: $90 million

Worldwide Gross: $10 million

Warren Beatty had a string of bad movies in the 90’s however he wanted to get back on the right track.  When he signed on with New Line it was to produce Bulworth but also the promise of another movie.  Beatty, using his massive Hollywood clout he got himself involved in a small comedy by the up and coming director Peter Chelsom.  However, with Beatty, came his contract of $8 million dollars.  And with that contract suddenly this was no longer a small picture anymore.  The producers hired on actors such as Nastassja Kinski, Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, Garry Shandling, Jenna Elfman, Josh Hartnett, Andie McDowell, and Charlton Heston to round out the cast.  Before you know it, $40 million was spent on the cast alone (Fiasco: Parrish).

Of course as soon as Beatty came on the problems started to mount.  You see, in addition to being something of a diva, is also a fanatical manipulator.  The moment he was attached to the project, he asked for the script to be rewritten.  Actors and crew sat for hours on end while the pages for that day would be written and even longer when the older members of the crew would work the lines on their own.  In the end the script cost $3 million dollars and was mostly written after the movie was even greenlit.

Test screenings for the movie were generally good but most thought the ending was crap.  Producers were left with the option of simply cutting their losses and releasing the movie as is or reshooing the ending.  Producers finally opted for the latter and the actors were wrangled up again to continue shooting on the final act of the film. However the longer this movie went, the stronger the gossip was the movie was another Waterworld type disaster.  Despite all that, producers tried to advertise the hell out of it to get back some of their losses.  It didn’t work.  It was a movie three years in the making and had nothing to show for it.  Beatty has not done anything in movies since its failure.

Is it any good?  Normally when it comes to massive bombs like this I usually say “Well if you forget all the money that was spent and focus on the movie, this is not that bad…” and yada yada yada blah blah blah.  Well, focusing on just the movie I can still say it is a complete mess.  This movie feels like it was written day by day.  Scenes just happen with no thought of the plot as a whole and sometimes are just random.  In the beginning for example we see the main characters go on vacation to their townhouse.  We spend about three minutes with them just having small talk and then they fly back to New York.  What purpose was that trip?  None.  Did it do anything to advance the plot?  Not at all.  Other side characters have similar useless plot threads.  Like for some reason, Porter’s daughter is seeing the Spanish house servant and the recurring joke is they have loud sex.  Is that even a joke?  There is no point though.  Or take Charlton Heston’s plotline for example.  He plays a jealous father who is also a gun nut.  You would think that is a funny scenario but this movie sucks all the life out of it plus it also has the bonus of being another waste of time.  The Andie McDowell/Charlton Heston plot line could have been cut with it affecting nothing else about the story.

The poor writing even follows when we are talking about the main plot.  Why does Porter (a supposedly devout husband of over 20 years) decide for two weeks to f*ck everything with two legs?  Never explained.  Why does he decide to stop when apparently he is enjoying this lifestyle?  Um, he has a change of heart.  Well, why?  I don’t know…shut up!  Nothing ever follows logically in this story and you are dragged along from one incomprehensible unfunny mess to another.

I still don’t think I am getting across how frustrating the writing really is but I will try one more example.  We are shown early on in the movie that Garry Shandling’s character is gay (even though he is married) and later on states he wants to be true to who he really is.  Fine.  I am totally fine with that.  But the rest of the movie we see Shandling picking up on and f*cking chicks.  And no, he is not bi-sexual: he admits he is gay and only likes men.  Yet he tries to pick up women…DO YOU SEE HOW STUPID THIS IS!?!?!?

What is the humor like?  Well it is like it is trying to be Woody Allen but ends up like Three’s Company.  Beatty gets in “crazy situations” where he almost gets caught sleeping with another man’s wife.  Oooo how is he gonna get out of this goofy pickle?  Mixed in with that is *groans* slapstick and even Beatty dressing up in a bear costume.  First the Avengers with the bear costumes and now Town & Country: I am seeing a disturbing trend.

But let’s have some borderline racist humor when all else fails.  Let’s have their house servant be a Latino who has his shirt off (because that’s what all those crazy Latin people are) and speak comically broken English.  Or how about some Japanese tourist characters that just don’t understand us Americans.  Look I know some movies can’t stop from having at least one token character.  I can forgive those movies and not just toss out that label for a movie.  But when a movie portrays all foreign characters as offensive jokes, it raises my hackles.

The most embarrassing part is that Beatty is still living out his glory days in this movie.  This movie really isn’t a self deprecating look at an aging lothario.  No, this is Warren Beatty, pretending to be Warren Beatty in his 30’s.  You simply don’t buy the frumpy looking Beatty in his 60’s still being able to f*ck endless waves of models in their 20’s.

This is the worst kind of movie to me, and that is an unfunny comedy.  Because if the movie isn’t funny, then what else have you got?  The writing is terrible, most of the performances are wasted, and the direction is amateurish.  I could not recommend this movie to anyone at all.

Can’t Stop the Music (1980) Nancy Walker

Posted in C on February 11, 2010 by moviemoses

Production Budget: $20 million

Gross: $2 million

Link to the trailer:

I mentioned before in my Xanadu review this movie was originally a 99 cent double bill with Can’t Stop the Music.  This was a double feature so spectacularly horrible it was the inspiration for making the Razzie awards.  Can’t Stop the Music also won the first Worst Picture Razzie.  The movie, oddly enough, is about the formation of the Village People and their rise to stardom although many of the members didn’t like it.  For one this really isn’t a biography of how they got together but also in that the producers toned down the gay subculture in the movie.  That’s right people; look at this movie and remember the gay subculture is toned down.

The movie is about Jack Morrell (a VERY young Steve Guttenberg) who is apparently a DJ/music composer who is looking for his big break.  He lives with a model Samantha (Valarie Perrine) who decides to help bring together a group.  After one day she forms the Village People and they spend the rest of the movie trying to sign for a big record label.  Oh and Bruce Genner is in this movie for no reason whatsoever other than to be Perrine’s love interest.

That’s it; that’s the movie.  Can you believe that plot takes TWO HOURS to get through?  I just love that in the movie Perrine spends one day just walking down the street, questions supposedly random people on the street, and just happens to create the Village People.  And keep in mind, these are not the members of the Village People trying to play ordinary people.  No, they are playing their on stage characters as real life characters.  Samantha is literally walking down the road and you see a half naked Indian wearing a stereotypical headdress just walking down the streets of New York City.  We get the same for Leatherman, the Construction Worker, and The Police Officer.  Are they seriously trying to tell me there are actual police officers roaming around with tight ass pants with shirts only buttoned up halfway and their hairy chests poking out?  What kind of reality are these writers living in?

But to get back on track, there really is no plot or conflict.  The Village People just form and they go around auditioning until they have their big concert.  There is no antagonist or any real conflict here.  Yeah they get turned down once or twice but they just get another gig and they eventually get their contract.  This is like an 80 minute movie made into a 120 minute movie for no reason.  The rest of the movie is padded out with humor you see coming 2 miles away yet the director stretches it out about 10 miles.  Take for example a joke where Samantha makes lasagna for dinner.  She drops a contact lens in and she is concerned someone is going to eat it.  We get three separate scenes where she is trying to strain the sauce or dig through it to find the contact lens.  Then after 10 minutes we get the “payoff” where some b*tch at the party bites into it and you hear a crunch.  I have never seen a movie take so long for a joke and to have it die such a quiet and pathetic death.

There really is no build up for the music scenes either.  I swear to you there is no rhyme or reason or prompting by the plot.  The musical numbers are just pulled out of thin air.  Take for example when Samantha goes up to the Construction Worker and asks if she would like to join a group and before saying yes he imagines what it would be like.  BAM! Musical number.  Or because it is mandatory we put in the YMCA number, for no reason whatsoever they decide they have to spend a night at the YMCA.  I will give this movie only one bit of credit in that I find the Village People’s music catchy; repetitive as hell but catchy.  Hell, the Milkshake song will burrow into your brain like that worm in Wrath of Kahn and slowly drive you mad.

What is truly odd (yeah, for this movie anyway) is that I kind of agree with the Village People’s complaint about the toning down of the homosexuality.  Don’t get me wrong, this movie is gay (not that there is anything wrong with it) and I could do a whole video of the subtext and full text.  But for example, the Village People (an openly homosexual group) are shown having heterosexual relationships.  Contrast that scene with the YMCA musical scene where you see a male shower and you are wondering what the hell was going on with the producers.  That’s right, we get a male shower scene with 30 guys playing snap towel and we see both full frontal and back nudity!  I just don’t get that!  Look if you are trying to tone down the Village People (which is admittedly very stupid) and make it a “family” movie then why have a full on male shower scene?  I am not advocating that however; I say be as gay as you wanna be.  If you are going to make a gay musical then just do it.  I mean, who the hell do you think is going to buy a double feature of both Xanadu and freaking Can’t Stop the Music if not the gay/lesbian community?  And it makes you look hypocritical when one of the plot conflicts is people not giving them a contract for how they look and act, and you make a movie about them and you tone down the feature that makes the Village People so…well, fabulous!

I know this will also come as a surprise but the acting is sh*t.  I love the Gutt as much as anybody but this was very early in his career (before Police Academy) and before he learned anything about subtlety.  It is like he was on helium, speed, meth, and about 10 other pharmaceuticals during the making of this movie.  In every scene his eyes are bugged out, his mouth wide open, he is hopping around, and sqeaking out his likes like a chipmunk.  Interesting fact from IMDb is that Bruce Genner turned down the role of Superman.  On behalf of everyone everywhere I say thank you Bruce because you suck.  You may not suck as bad as the rest of the cast, but that is like saying you are the least annoying character in a Rob Schneider movie.  Guess what, you still suck.

It almost seems like I shouldn’t even bother with this complaint but to be complete I might as well add it.  The direction of this movie is crap.  Amateur doesn’t even begin to cover it.  This movie has errors galore, crappy cuts, horrible effects, no idea of scene construction or blocking, etc.  There is no sense of any competency behind the camera.

This movie hurts.  Yeah, the Village People are fine but I would just rather listen to the Village People on Youtube than watch all two hours of Can’t Stop the Music.  Everything about this movie is just crap.  While not the worst musical ever (Paint Your Wagon comes to mind as one worse) there is no reason for anyone to see it.  Damn you Can’t Stop the Music.

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*quietly sings to self* do the milkshake, the milkshake…DAMN IT!

Mary Reilly (1996) Stephen Frears

Posted in M on February 10, 2010 by moviemoses

Production Budget: $47 million
Gross: $6 million

I bet you forgot about this movie right?  You had filed this movie away in the deep recesses of you mind as a completely worthless and forgettable adaptation and I just dredged up the memories right?  Sometimes it is not that hard to find out why a movie fails.  It certainly isn’t a good sign when a movie goes through literally 25 rewrites.  It doesn’t help when the two lead actors have a public rivalry making the production a debacle and tainting the perception of the movie as a whole.  Finally I don’t need to mention Julia Roberts trying an Irish accent is one of the biggest movie FAIL moments in a long time (although I just did mention it).

So what is this movie about?  I’ve seen the damn movie and I’m still asking that question, but I’ll first start with the book.  The book is apparently a Saturn award winner (although I had not heard of it until now).  It is based on the Robert Louis Stevenson novel Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  Mary Reilly is about a maid for Dr. Jekyll who has a romantic relationship during his experiments.

Knowing that still doesn’t change the fact all during this movie I was asking myself what the point was and what this movie was trying to be.  This isn’t a horror movie.  At no point did it seem like it was trying to scare me or horrify me.  This movie feels kind of like a Burton-esque gothic romance.  It should be no surprise then after checking IMDb Tim Burton was signed on but decided to make Ed Wood instead.  Mary Reilly doesn’t have the same quirky humor or imagination of Burton, but it has the same feel of a goth fucked up romance.

This romance also has all the passion and heat as sticking your junk on a block of ice.  There is no “romance” here.  Dr. Jekyll is only interested in Reilly clinically speaking.  Reilly is a f*cked up girl with a lot of emotional baggage.  There are extended scenes of Jekyll psychoanalyzing Reilly and I almost expect him to say “The lambs Clarice, tell me about the lambs…”

It also doesn’t help the pairing of Malkovich and Roberts are rather disgusting as romantic leads.  Roberts has been uglied up in this movie with almost bald eyebrows and pasty makeup that makes Seamus look like George Hamilton.  And I would sooner think of Tom Hanks as sexiest man alive than John Malkovich as a convincing romantic lead.  I won’t just pick on Roberts for her god awful accent (although its hilarious); even Malkovich has an equally inconsistent and terrible accent.

This is not a good adaptation of either the Stevenson story or the Mary Reilly story (based purely on reader accounts).  In fact, if you are not acquainted with the Stevenson story, it is almost not mentioned what the hell Dr. Jekyll is really doing.  Jekyll is just doing some secret lab work and he creates this douchebag alter ego.  Why?  For what purpose?  It’s never told in this story.  That leads to my next problem.

Mr. Hyde is not all that compelling in this movie.  He is built up all during the first half (kind of like Harry Lime in the Third Man) where we only get glimpses and whispers of how evil he is.  When we finally meet him we find he is not so much evil as just an asshole.  He beats up a few people but the majority of his evil acts are insulting people and drawing penises in medical textbooks (I’m not kidding).  Heck I can get than from any episode of House.  This culminates in a hilarious climax where Jekyll and Hyde mutate together.  We get a CGI Malkovich baby head pushing through Hyde’s chest and both screaming out.  If one of them said “Quuuuaaaaaiiiiiddd!” I would have lost my shit.

But I still come back to the tired question; what is the point?  What is the moral?  What does Mary learn?  I know what the original story had to say.  I have no point what this movie has to say though.  This movie just exists; it sits on your head and crushes you.  Mary Reilly is a dull mess with nothing good or interesting in any way.

Soldier (1998) Paul “The Man” Anderson

Posted in S on February 10, 2010 by moviemoses

Production Budget: $75 million
Worldwide Gross: $15 million

Soldier is set in the same futuristic universe as Blade Runner (useless nerd trivia) except not on Earth.  The movie is about Sgt. Todd (Kurt Russell) who was picked from birth to be the perfect soldier.  Todd becomes a experienced veteran but he is replaced by a genetically engineered soldier (Jason Scott Lee, roided up since Jungle Book).  Todd is dumped on a garbage planet inhabited by a small human community.  Through the community, Todd learns to become more human.  However the new soldiers come to the planet for military drills and Todd must protect the community from the new soldiers.

What’s strange about this movie is just how cheap it looks.  When I first got this movie on VHS I thought this was a low budget release.  You really don’t get the feel this is a big budget action blockbuster.  Many of the scenes are on cave locations and stock spaceship sound stages.  There are only a few effects shots say when they land on the planet.

What’s odd is that this isn’t a good movie, yet I have seen this several times.  I guess I have to give a lot to Russell who despite saying a grand total of like 97 words this whole movie is fun to watch.  Probably my favorite moment is when Todd grabs and enemies radio and gives his own “I’m your worst nightmare” message.  Except in this case he just growls and the evil commander gives the perfect WTF reaction.  That is just funny as hell.  To say he plays the strong silent type well is a massive understatement.  This whole movie is built around the premise Russell is a buff mofo who will f*ck your shit up.

I kind of mentioned Rambo before, but the comparison is rather apt.  This is Rambo in space.  Todd is a one man army picking off enemy soldiers one by one while Connie Nielsen tells him “you no expendable”.  All the while Gary freaking Busey plays the Col. Troutman equivalent telling the smarmy commander he’s going to need a whole lot of body bags.  There is a certain fun of seeing an even cheesier Rambo IN SPAAAACE!

This isn’t a great movie though.  The story drags in the second act when Todd interacts with the humans and comes out of his shell.  I realize its necessary to the story, but its the equivalent of finishing your meat before getting to the pudding.

There is not much defending this movie.  This is cheesy actionspoitation, but it’s fun for me.  Soldier has enough cheesy lines, good action, and goofy performances you will be entertained.  It’s a bad movie, but fun at the same time.