Archive for the D Category

Deconstructing Harry (Woody Allen) 1997

Posted in D, Woody Allen Retrospective on March 5, 2013 by moviemoses

Harry Block (Woody Allen) is suffering from writers block.  Block is known for writing stories based on his real life which upsets all the people who know him.  We follow Block as he is going to be honored at a college.  During the trip in which he brings his son and a prostitute, he is haunted by characters and stories from his past.

After about 15 minutes of watching Deconstructing Harry I let out a sigh.  It wasn’t a sign of boredom or exhaustion but of relief.  I had been waiting for this Woody Allen for a long time.  After seeing many of what I consider to be lazy efforts, this felt like the first time in a long time where Allen got his edge back.

The plot is similar to a Bergman film called Wild Strawberries.  But with the dreamy elements and for those not familiar with Bergman, the better comparison is with Allen’s own Stardust Memories.  Stardust was Allen essentially copying Fellini’s 8 ½.  I was left a little cold with Stardust because it felt too much like Allen was straight up emulating Fellini.  What I love about Deconstructing Harry is that this feels like a truly Allen style interpretation of 8 ½.  This is not Fellini’s voice but Allen’s.

The humor in this movie kind of reminded me of a Monty Python movie.  Holy Grail for example seemed to be several knight related sketches they corralled together under a loose main plot.  Deconstructing Harry seems like several joke concepts Allen had written out about writers and sex and creativity all tied around the main plot of Harry Block having writers block.  For example, Block is explaining his writers block to his shrink and he relates it to a skit about an actor (played by Robin Williams) who is literally out of focus in the world so he walks around as this fuzzy blob.  Another skit involves Harry going to hell to get back his girlfriend from the devil played by Billy Crystal.

There is some debate as to who this movie is about.  Some argue this is partially about Allen while others say this is critical of Phillip Roth.  I’ll plead ignorance on this one cause while I know some about Allen, I know absolutely nothing about Roth.  I do see some merit in the comparisons to Allen.  I am not someone who believes Allen’s films are strictly biographical but I do think loosely based.  I don’t think we are seeing real life Woody events on film but Allen’s thoughts on creativity, philosophy, and love reflect his real attitudes.   So I don’t think his girlfriends are shrews or any of the crazy stuff happened, I do think the underlying nugget is that Allen recognizes he has done some crappy things in his life.

Like I alluded to before, I love the fact Allen is going all out on this one.  While before, he might make a single movie out of a joke concept, here it is rapid fire skits.  Allen is going full on adult humor and his witty rapid fire dialog returns.  It may be argued that the movie is hard to get into because Block is unlikable but I don’t see a problem.  For one, the movie isn’t asking you to side with him on everything and I find that for all the crap Block dishes out, the world gives it back in equal measure.  Block acts like a juvenile and gets treated as one by the people around him.  Allen has always been his best critic and the self deprecating humor is especially biting.  The ending also doesn’t feel sugar coated and seems somewhat optimistic while not being rose colored.

Deconstructing Harry had been one of the first Allen movies I had seen.  While I liked it, I had not seen it since that time due to the DVD being discontinued (DVD copies are now rare and expensive).  Seeing it again for this retrospective I forgot how much I absolutely love it.  This was such a relief to see Woody Allen back in stride and this movie easily is one of my favorites from him.

The Devil’s Tomb (Jason Connery) 2009

Posted in D on November 1, 2012 by moviemoses

I seriously can’t explain Cuba Gooding Jr.‘s career.  I really can’t.  I don’t know if he picks these roles or if he, in fact, the worst agent in history.  But whoever it is, he needs to give that power to someone else.  I would seriously buy a justified homicide defense if he killed his agent for thinking Chill Factor was a good follow up project after Jerry Maguire.  I’m sure he could still land big roles if he wanted to, but every year you see a Norbit, or a Daddy Day Camp, or a Boat Trip.  I needed a reminder though of how bad his career is so I chose the horror film for Halloween.  I thought this DTV film might have more of a chance than others because it also had Ron Perlman, Ray Winstone, and Henry Motherfuckin Rollins (I’m pretty sure Motherfuckin is his middle name).

In the Devil’s Tomb you have an “elite“ group of soldiers which is led by Mack (Cuba Gooding Jr.) which is sent to an underground (aka cheap shooting location) lab in…Iraq?  Afganistan?  I don’t think they really say where.  Anyway, there is some ancient evil that is getting out and the squad has to find Wesley (Ron Perlman) to extract him.  Oh, and they run into a priest (Henry Motherfuckin Rollins) who likes to yell a lot.

It is bad when after only the first five minutes I sigh and say to myself “I think I made a big mistake“.  We are introduced to our squad which is our rip off of Aliens and we only need five minutes to know we are going to hate every one of them.  They are all dickheads who harass one another, who are rock stupid, and who don’t know how to follow orders if their lives depended on it.  Their lives did depend on it so they didn’t.

So, yeah, all the characters need to die.  But I’m watching The Devil’s Tomb.  I knew I was getting into Direct to Video schlock and not getting The Exorcist.  All I was expecting was some decent action, some good effects, and some cheesy lines from our all star cast.  I knew the movie would be shit, but I at least wanted it to be some entertaining shit.  But in the Devil’s Tomb there is no fun, and that is the most horrific thing of all.

For the most part, the film makers were too cheap to do any real special effects.  There are a few scenes where characters get massive cuts or skin legions when they turn evil, but that is it.  I want Event Horizon gore, and instead I get cheap Halloween scabs.  Instead of actual demons or spirits in this Devil’s Tomb, our characters are lured to the dark side by being tempted.  When they turn evil, they just have pale skin and have some legions on their face.  The action in this movie is just the characters standing out in the open and shooting the zombies wherever.  Strike three comes when you see the acting.  Ron Perlman makes the easiest money as all he has to do is make some Vlogs which play on the screens of the facility.  I didn’t even know Ray Winstone was in this movie till the last five minutes when he takes off all his military garb and they wash his face and even then he is only in the movie a few minutes.  Cuba Gooding is embarrassed to be there and grunts out bland orders to everyone.  Henry MF’n Rollins tries to ham it up but isn’t given enough material or screen time to make a difference.

So honestly four strikes and this movie is more than “out“ for me and that is even before getting to the completely shit story.  I absolutely love it when the characters point out the blaring plot holes.  The reason behind this mission was to get into the base and trigger a self destruct mechanism so basically a demon couldn’t escape.  One of the soldiers asks “So, why couldn’t we just bomb this facility from the air?“ to which I could swear I could hear one of the writers exclaim “Fuck!!!“ as he realizes the hole he dug himself into.  I also don’t know if these characters are being tempted to the dark side or if they are simply having their minds taken over.  Because if it is the former, then these people are beyond rock stupid.  I’ll give you two examples.  The first is when a female member of the team sees a little girl and she runs after it.  The squad member then sees the little girl turn into a demon and try to snack on her, but is saved at the last second.  No more than fifteen minutes later, the squad member sees THE SAME LITTLE GIRL and she runs after it again at which point she turns into a demon and snacks on the squad member.  Example #2  The horn dog macho dude is ordered to sit and protect the corridor.  Keep in mind all this guy has seen in this lab are horrifically mangled dead bodies and infected people.  He is sitting there when a completely naked woman comes out and basically orders him to have sex with her right then and there.  One would think and ordinary person might think that a tad peculiar.  You know, being in the middle of nowhere in the Middle East in an underground bunker  with no women and everyone is murdered he runs into a naked women who doesn’t even bother to say “Hello“ but wants to hump the shit out of him and he doesn’t find that the least bit odd.  Now is his mind being controlled or is he really THAT stupid.

With even my lowest expectations of Z grade schlock there is nothing to like about this movie.  The acting is non-existent, the action is nil, the effects are ten times worse than lame, the characters are annoying, and the writing is bad and not in a good way.  Everyone now is dumber for having witnessed what you have filmed.  I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Don’t Drink the Water (Woody Allen) 1994

Posted in D, Woody Allen Retrospective on September 12, 2012 by moviemoses

*sigh *

Okay I can’t have a review consisting of just an exasperated sigh but it seemed to come every ten minutes of this 1 hour and 30 minute television movie.

Don’t Drink the Water is Allen’s 1960’s stage play which was adapted again for television in 1994.  The movie is about the Hollander family (Woody Allen, Julie Kavner, and Mayim Bialik) who is on vacation in a Eastern European country and who have to flee to the American Embassy after being wrongly accused of being spies.  Their only hope of freedom relies on the son of the Ambassador who is a bumbling failure Axel (Michael J. Fox).

Now I’ll go ahead and say Don’t Drink the Water is not a bad film.  I’m not one of those people who say there is no such thing as a bad Woody Allen film (there are quite a few stinkers) but I recognize this is nowhere near the lowest.  Maybe I was admittedly not in the mood for such a wacky farce.  But so much of this movie is (excuse the unintentional pun) watered down Allen and lame bits.

I am going to jump a bit and talk about one member of the supporting cast.  I’ll straight up admit I flat out don’t get Dom DeLuise.  Seriously, I don’t get it.  I don’t get why people love him so much.  You know that tired joke about how French people think Jerry Lewis is a genius?  While I don’t think Americans consider Dom DeLuise a genius, I have no idea why everyone thinks he is so gut bustingly hilarious.  Maybe that is why the movie seemed to drag for me.  Every ten minutes, Allen decided we needed another “hilarious“ bit with Dom playing a priest who sucks at being a magician.  His bit sucks, Dom hams it up like he’s telling the greatest knock knock joke ever, and another part of me dies a slow painful death.

Moving on to the rest of the supporting cast, they are fine but underused.  Mayim Bialik, whom you may know as TV’s Blossom, is pleasant enough although she is delagated to love interest to Axel.  I would have liked to have seen more of her but she was pushed to the background.  Edward Herrmann is usually very charasmatic but his character is non-existant.  Julie Kavner was funny as Allen’s wife although it is still bizarre to hear Marge Simpson talking to Woody Allen.  Finally we get to Michael J. Fox.  Fox has always been a charming actor but he is constantly being overshadowed by the over the top Allen.  Whenever he gets scenes by himself, Fox is very funny, but he struggles when he has to yell over Allen’s nebbish stuttering.

Speaking of yelling, that was a big part of my frustration.  There were scenes that were absolute clusters of people fighting to get their line in or to have their character be the center of attention and I just wanted them to shut up.  I could not understand why the usually sharp Allen would have things be so aggressively annoying.  Reading up there were two points that stood out.  One was that the stage play did have sharper dialog and two was the fact this was a very rushed production.  And looking back those points are valid.  I would be frustrated watching it and all of a sudden get an exchange of dialog that was very funny and witty.  I’m sure looking at a better directed stage play I would be able to appreciate the dialog a lot better than this rushed production where you obviously aren’t getting the best take.  It is strange that we aren’t getting the best version of the play from the person who did the play.

Don’t Drink the Water is frustrating.  There are times when the play is very funny and you can see why people like it.  I think Allen is surprisingly the thing that hurts this movie as sometimes he can overshadow the other players in the film and his direction is substandard here.  All in all it is an okay movie but not one I would ultimately recommend.

Drive (Nicholas Winding Refn) 2011

Posted in D on September 29, 2011 by moviemoses

Ryan Gosling is the Driver, a Hollywood stunt man who moonlights as a getaway driver for anyone who is willing to pay his fee.  He gets involved with a woman who lives on the same floor of his apartment (played by Carey Mulligan).  Driver tries to help Irene (Mulligan) and by driving her boyfriend on a job.  This is because he is stuck paying a debt for a local mobster.  The job goes bad and the mobsters are hunting for the Driver.

I recently did a review for Contagion in which I stated my biggest positive remark was the fact the director did not fuck the movie up.  By that I mean there was no crappy dialog, there was no stupid twist ending (which in Hollywood is now a standard ending) and no contrived plot devices.  Sometimes the best twist is no twist at all, and sometimes a simple but well cooked burger is more appealing than an overly complicated dish at a fancy restaurant.  The same sort of thinking applies to Drive.  Drive is a simple story/concept but it is done so well that you don’t care.

What do I mean by not screwing things up?  For starters let’s talk about the driving. You have no idea how freaking happy it makes me that there are actual cars and actual driving in this movie.  Compare this to the awful Fast and the Furious franchise which has CGI cars which look so cheap and awful it feels like I am watching a PS2 game.  Nothing takes me out of those movies faster than seeing the actors and knowing they are surrounded by green screens.

Another thing which sells the movie is bringing in good actors.  I feel stupid for typing it because it should be one of those DUH things but I guess I have to bring it up.  In a movie where characters and plot are kind of put on the back burner, it is nice to have people with personality instead of cardboard stand ups like Paul Walker and Jessica Alba.  It is something when Gosling can say more with a few subtle looks than someone else could with some fakey badass lines fed to him.  You also have good character actors rounding out the supporting cast like Bryan Cranston and Ron Perlman.  The big surprise is Albert Brooks who is usually a comic actor but here gives a great villain you gives a real sense of menace.  Now I will say the dialog is sparse in this movie which can sometimes make scenes a little awkward; especially the romantic scenes between Gosling and Mulligan.  But again, I would rather have too few words spoken well rather than extremly cliche and hammy dialog coming from crap actors.

There are a few films this reminds me of.  First is of a movie last year called The American starring George Clooney but the style of the film more resembles an 80’s movie called To Live and Die in LA.  And if you haven’t seen that movie; do it.  This is not a film which has wall to wall action but builds things up and has some shocking flashes here and there.  The opening scene does a very good job of setting up the tone of the movie for the audience.  Here Driver is on one of his jobs as a getaway driver.  At first he is trying to elude them by being in a common vehicle and trying to outmaneuver the cops by hearing them on a police scanner.  There are times when he has to go fast and do some fancy driving when a police helicopter spots them or a police car gets a possible sighting but the tension comes from the cat and mouse game and not necessarily the car chases.  You feel more tension by the fact he is trying to sneak past several squad cars rather than in car crashes and whatnot.

Refn does a great job with the tone of the movie.  He can lull you into an enjoyable romance and at a moments notice snap you back with an extremely graphic scene.  The music and the 80’s feel of it recalls those recolections of To Live and Die in LA or a less than great comparison by saying its GTA Vice City if you made it into an art house film.  Refn establishes the characters and makes you care about them which in turn makes you care more about the action which happens later on in the film.

Drive is not a perfect film.  As I mentioned sometimes the dialog is too sparse which makes some scenes‘ pacing stunted and awkward and sometimes the pacing is a tad slow.  But that being said, I found Drive very enjoyable.  The acting is very good, the action is well done, and the direction is great is establishing a good tone and crafting a solid story throughout.  It does everything so well it moves beyond a simple genre piece into a thoroughly enjoyable film.

 

The Damned United (Tom Hooper) 2009

Posted in D on August 2, 2011 by moviemoses

The Damned United is about Brian Clough’s (Michael Sheen) 44 day manager’s job at Englands top football club Leeds United in 1974.  Why is this so important?  To put it in some kind of perspective, this would kind of like a manager taking a baseball team like the Royals to win the World Series, then going to the Yankees, burning all his bridges, bad mouthing not only his old club but the new one he was working for, and sending the Yankees to the worst losing streak in team history.  Amplify that by about 100 and you have some idea what this meant to soccer fans of the time.  Clough is an iconic figure in the face of world soccer.

This movie is not so much a look at soccer though (we get little game footage), this is more a look at the man.  This is a tragic and devastating look at a man who is brought down by his massive ego and grudge against the Leeds manager Don Revie.  Clough felt he was snubbed by Revie during one game which turned a pleasant rivalry into a Kirk/Kahn type bloodsport.  The interesting thing about Clough is that he did not win championships by himself.  He had a partnership with Peter Taylor who was kind of the brains behind the organization.  As he says in the movie, “You are the flash in the store window, and I’m the goods in the back.”  They really complimented each other and that was the reason they won so much.  Clough abandoned Taylor to take the job at Leeds to show up Revie and by the end he was a shell of a man.

This might still illicit a “so what” attitude from most people reading.  What really sells this movie is the acting by Michael Sheen who is quickly becoming one hell of a compelling actor.  He gives a near Shakespearean performance of a man who almost loses everything over a petty feud with an opposing manager.  This guy’s ego and attitude is charming in tv sound bytes but is a f*cking asshole behind closed doors.  When you really get to the end of his days at Leeds, I was thinking this was the most depressing ass movie of the year.  Clough becomes one sad bastard.  Thankfully he does learn from his mistakes and there is an attempt at turning his life around that makes you feel good.

The movie itself is nothing that spectacular.  The main reason to see this movie is the masterful performance by Michael Sheen.  He really carries the movie on his back and the other aspects of the movie don’t really shine as much as Sheen.

 

 

Daybreakers (The Spierig Brothers) 2009

Posted in D on April 19, 2011 by moviemoses

There are a few different ways the creation of vampires is handled.  The first is the more traditional of siring where the vampire has to make a decision to make another a vampire.  The other more recent one is the concept that vampirism is a disease spread by just a bite (From Dusk Till Dawn or Vampires for example).  I always had a quibble with those vampires simply because that causes the problem of an exponential growth vampires.  Within a few months, the whole world would consist of vampires.  I have to give credit to the Spierig brothers with rolling with that concept and going all the way.

This is a world where the majority of the planet are vampires and they harvest humans for blood.  The problem is their supplies are dwindling.  The problem when vampires don’t feed is they degenerate into monstrous man bats with purely animal instincts.  Ethan Hawke  plays Edward, a person who was turned by force and is working for the world’s biggest blood supplier.  He is trying to come up with a blood substitute as a solution to the whole killing people thing.  Humans (led by Willem Dafoe) come to Edward since he’s sympathetic to the humans and try to get Edward to help them.  Apparently, Willem was a vampire but was cured for an unknown reason.  Edward tries to figure out why he was cured.

I have to give the directors credit in that they made this movie for only about $20 million.  In some areas you can see where they cut corners with the budget, but they made a fully fleshed out world with great special effects on a relatively shoestring budget.  They handle everything from the practical vamp effects to the man bats and it all works.

I wasn’t really expecting much with this movie but I was won over by it.  I can only say that I was drawn into this world.  The characters all interact well and the story is well written.  At no point did I really throw the bullshit flag.  The action scenes are well done and the scenes with the bat creatures are really cool.

The acting is all around good.  I really don’t know why Ethan Hawke gets shit upon by critics.  He’s no Phillip Seymore Hoffman, but he gives consistently good performances in everything he is in.  Believe me, you can do a hell of a lot worse than Ethan Hawke people.  Dafoe and Sam Neill both have limited roles but they play them as well as you expect.

There were a few times I was worried the movie would resort to bullshit jump scares and some other bad horror cliches but thankfully they stay away from it for the most part.  Overall I thought this was a very good movie.  Maybe I’m being a little generous, but in the current world of uninspired sparkly vampire movies, I appreciate any attempt at being original.  But yeah I really liked this movie.


Death Warrior (Bill Corcoran) 2009

Posted in D on April 14, 2011 by moviemoses

I was walking down the aisles of my Blockbuster video contemplating what bomb to view when I saw Death Warrior.  The box cover screamed out to me.  You have Quinton Rampage Jackson, George St. Pierre, Keith Jardine, and Rashad Evans starring in a Tapout endorsed movie.  It was a movie about people caught up in underground cage fighting.  The possibilities were endless.  We are talking about something that could be on the level of WWE Big Apple Takedown awfulness.  This is a movie where the massive egos of the Tapout brand was screaming out and let loose.  Everything that is poser about Tapout was personified here.  I just had to see it.  Well, it is bad…dear god its bad.

The movie is written and made by Hector Echavarria (the lead actor).  Echavarria really is an unknown actor with Cradle 2 the Grave (credited role is “Ultimate Fighter”) being his biggest role.  This movie truly is one big ego stroke even Tommy Wiseau could take some notes.

The movie is about Reinero (Echavarria) who is apparently so badass an MMA fighter he would make Fedor his bitch.  He is a fighter who has not lost in his whole 20 year career.  We start out the ego strokes by light fingering as we see Echavarria being swarmed by big breasted hos all wanting him to sign their breasts and his manager sucking his cock to get him to endorse an energy drink.  His wife is also fine with this as we get a Skinamax soft core porn scene showing he truly is the man and on top of the world.  The eeeeeeevil Ivan enters the scene, injects his wife with a virus that will kill her in a few days and will only give Reinero the antidote if he will fight in several underground fights to the death.  Now I have several issues with this motivation.  First, it seems the only real goal is to stage fights in order for rich snobs to make wagers.  Couldn’t they just gamble on ordinary MMA fights?  I guess you could argue MMA is just not ballsy enough for these guys which leads to my second issue.  If you are going to go to the trouble of capturing the best MMA fighters in the world and murdering several people to do it, why just have them fight in an octagon?  I mean, why not put em in a steel cage or toss weapons in or do some stipulation.  Its kind of like creating a whole new football league because its not tough enough and the only rule you change is “no fair catches” (obligatory XFL joke).  My third problem is the bad guy matches up Reinero with someone he was slated to fight next anyway on a PPV.  What is the fucking point of kidnapping people and murdering others if you are going to make the same match we would have seen on a fucking PPV a month anyway!!!

Fourth, its later revealed (SPOILER ALERT) that the Dana White character of the movie was the one that sold Reinero out to Ivan.  Well that’s f*cking stupid isn’t it.  Let’s see, a small payoff for killing your biggest draw in MMA, or keeping him around for years and making lots more money.  Hmmmmmmmm which is smarter?  Fifth…um…no Chuck Norris?  Okay, I’m done with that.

Anyway, Reinero’s first opponent is Rampage Jackson whom he Cena squashes in a minute.  Oh and I forgot to mention that before each fight there is a hilarious Mortal Kombat like graphic that shows up like  REINERO V. THE WOLF  $$$PLACE YOUR BETS$$$  Ivan then has a lengthy talkie scene with Reinero about how “you and I are a lot alike” and blah blah blah blah.  I guess it should be noted that the guy playing Ivan is trying for like a half David Carradine/half Al Pacino type performance here.  It really is odd.  One minute he is all calm talking about the Zen of MMA and purity of the warrior spirit and grasping the pebble from his hand, then the next getting pissed off and talking about a chick having a GREAT ASS!!!  It truly is something you have to see to believe.

The next opponent is Sugar Rashad in the only match that kind of has a stipulation.  They are in an octagon but in a kind of Texas Bull Rope match.  Yeah, they suck in WWE and they suck in a death sport too.  Anyway Reinero Cena squashes him in two minutes with a back breaker.  A back breaker in MMA!?

I suppose now is as good a time as any to mention the fight scenes.  They suck.  I guess I should say more.  Picture a slightly more advanced version of rock em sock em robots.  The fight scenes consist of two people trading haymakers until one falls down.  Reinero is “the best” because he does frilly spinny kicks while his opponents stand still in one place, put their hands down, and tilt their chin up.  These fights make the one’s in Future War look like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

Next up, Reinero fights a ninja.  That’s right.  Reinero’s next opponent is honest to god a full blown goddamn ninja.  It’s rare I feel shame for people but I feel shame for the writer of this movie.  He seemingly has an underdeveloped brain that he must put in plot points that match my short stories in 2nd grade of Mega Man fighting Bowser.  What does this movie need?  Ninjas, obviously you dumb f*ck!  You know what, just have him fight a pirate next.  Asshole.

Anyway that match kind of ends abruptly as the ninja (an assassin who does not fight fair by his very nature) pulls out a sword and Ivan shoots him.  Why?  Because he was not fighting fair.
.
.
.
let’s just move on.

Reinero goes home to find his wife look like a plague zombie from the virus Ivan gave her.  She is barely holding on and waiting for Reinero to save her.  What does Reinero do?  He has another soft core porn scene with her!  He has a soft core scene with a girl who looks like a zombie and who had been vomiting in the toilet 10 minutes ago in the movie!  Not only do I have to say GAAAAAAHHHH!!! but EWWWWWWWW!!!

Now maybe it was my stupid induced trance I was in but I could have sworn Reinero’s next opponent was a guy called the Russian.  Reinero then steps into the ring with Rush St. Pierre.  GSP then speaks in FRENCH that he will destroy him.  Isn’t he supposed to speak, I dunno, Russian?  Now I get GSP speaks French but how come you can’t have him be silent or teach him to say “I must break you.”?  Honestly people!  Well GSP gets booted through a pane of glass which also impales him as well.  Yeah, I don’t get it, f*ck it.

We then get a scene where Ivan captures Reinero’s girl again and wants to rape the plague ridden woman.  Double EWWWWWWWWWW!!!

Cutting away thankfully we get Reinero trying to convince others he is being forced to do these fights leading to the heel turn of Dana White.

I have to say the scenes with Echavarria are awful.  And no, they are not a “so bad its good” awful.  It’s just f*cking awful.  This guy is a black hole of charisma with no talent whatsoever.  I could say this movie could have been camp awesomeness, but his performance just makes it suck.  You need a C or D list campy action star to make this work.  You need a Reb Brown or a Jean Claude or Steven Seagal, etc.  You need all the hilarity and camp you can get.  Instead we get amateur porn level acting.  The MMA fighters aren’t much better.  You would think with the simple character motivation of “You are an MMA fighter” they could pull it off but no.  I feel bad for Rampage who thinks he is going to make it as an actor.  His line reads are so stunted and unnatural its like “Hello…Rain.  What’s up…in the…hood.  Homie? *pause pause pause cheesy Shaq grin*”

Ugh, we then get Reinero running into The Dean of Mean Keith Jardine.  In an effort to pad the movie out, Jardine is another fighter being forced by extortion of his girlfriend/sister (not exactly clear in the story) with an explosive collar around her neck. Jardine believes Reinero is the one behind the plot; a misunderstanding that is resolved in two f*cking minutes.  Seriously, Jardine corners him and they exchange a few “hands down, chin up” punches and kicks and Reinero says “I DON’T WANNA KILL YOU BRO!” and Jardine immediately accepts this as all the proof he needs that he’s not the mastermind.  Holy crap, I’d hate to see Jardine’s character in a screening of The Usual Suspects.

So Ivan captures Reinero AGAIN and tortures him all night to make him weak for his fight against Jardine.  Cause we need to make Reinero an MMA version of Jesus I guess.  Remember, Reinero died for your sins.

So Reinero and Jardine square off in the octagon and they finally get the bright idea maybe they should just kill Ivan and get the damn antidote instead of playing by his bullshit rules.

So our final fight scene is Reinero and Jardine fighting men armed with submachine guns with their awesome MMA.  Soooooo yeah, a lot of people just run up to him with their machine guns, lower their arms and wait for the jumping splits kick to come to them.  Ivan decides to take matters in his own hands and kills Jardine.  But instead of using a useful gun against Reinero, he instead pulls out a katana and sword fights him. Then a pirate comes out.  Ok, kidding on that one, but I’m not kidding about the sword fight.  Ivan is a better fighter than most in that he doesn’t wait for the split kick to come to his chin but he still gets decapitated Highlander style.

In the meantime, Reinero’s wife just gets better from her plague…just fuck it movie’s almost over…and she calls the cops.

Reinero is spent after kicking so much ass, passes out, and wakes up in his apartment.  He wakes up with his wife over him and he says (I shit you not) “Wow!…You are so beautiful!”  I want to thank Stephanie Meyer for that line there.  Anyway, Reinero is in no way responsible for the deaths of dozens and we pan away with him the king of all MMA.  YAY!

This movie hurt.  Like I said, there is a lot to laugh at but Echavarria is so bad that it almost turns the movie into a chore than funny.  There are a lot of fight scenes, but I was so f*cking bored with all of them it really didn’t matter.

All I know is, there is another Echavarria MMA movie with Anderson Silva, GSP, BJ Penn, and Heath Herring…and now I have to fucking see it.