Return to the Movies

Just for the record, I decided to change the scale of how good a movie is. Previously, I only had 4 settings: Worth paying full theatre price to see, see it at reduced price if you can, rent on DVD, and see it at the dollar theaters. After this weekend, though, I decided to add a few new rankings: So good it’s worth seeing at full price multiple times, Worth downloading but not worth paying for, and downloading is its own punishment. One of the two films prompted the new additions to the scale; the other wasn’t nearly as bad…

In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale: I think the MPAA needs to adopt a new rating: SAM or Suck Ass Movie. It could go to any film that is a complete was of celluloid. The closest warning label can be seen in the credits: Uwe Boll, or BOLL KG.

What else can you say to a Smokey American King (Burt Reynolds), who leads a medieval army with its own battalion of Ninjas, who gets betrayed by his nephew (Matthew Lillard, in what is clearly the worst role he’s ever played), who is in league with an evil Magi Cop (Ray Liotta, who makes a better cop than wizard), and who finds out shortly before his death that his son The Transporter (Jason Statham, the guy who gets the starring credits here), who he believed died 30 years ago, is now a martial-arts-mastering farmer with the most appropriate name Farmer? To make it worse, said king has his own Magi (John Rhys-Davies, who looks pretty similar to his Lord of the Rings days as Gimli) who fails to see that the King’s daughter (Leelee Sobieski) is also capable of magic, and is protected by none other than a former Patriot (Brian J White whom I confused for Spawn’s Michael Jai White).

As for Farmer, after his child is killed and his wife (Claire Forlani) is kidnapped by Galleon’s henchmen The Crog, goes off with Hellboy/Sandman/Beast (Ron Perlman, who must have been tipped off ahead of time that this movie would suck ass) and his wife’s brother on a revenge quest, and get tripped up in the trees by a former Terminator/Vampire (Kristanna Loken, who should have known better!), who wants nothing to do with the war initially but decides to fight in the main battle.

The acting was OK, given the circumstances (I sincerely hope Mr. Boll was holding them at gunpoint and they did not WILLINGLY jump into this travesty of a joke of a movie), and the special effects and camera work, while nothing special, didn’t have anything noticeably horrible about it. The first 10-20 minutes of the film (you literally lose track of the time) were horrible, as it jumps from story to story to story to story – really annoying. The story itself wasn’t half bad, either, though it does something that I hate movies doing and ends the film almost immediately after the battle is over, with only a clear enough picture of who survived. If it weren’t for the fighting, Farmer would have been very believable (Sword-fighting is ok, but if you’re setting it in the middle ages, leave the kung-foo at home), and Perlman seemed to walk through it as if it were just a check. (If it weren’t for the lines he has, I’d be POed at him for that.) Surprisingly, Matthew Lillard, whom I’ve always thought was funny, is his best here – the bad thing is, you’re SUPPOSED to hate the character. (Note to Matt: Save your best acting for movies that will matter – don’t waste them on the spumkofspunk here.) Reynolds is a believable King, and it’d be nice to see him as a king in a different film. The only thing any of the female leads could have done (short of NOT working on this film) was to have been naked in any of their roles – after the Ninja and kung foo bit, the believability of the film disappeared completely.

As a fantasy film, it’s ok – there’s been far worse than this. As a video game film, it ranks BELOW Streetfighter, which is the worst video game film I have seen. Again, I should stress that I sincerely hope the movie execs were too doped up to realize how horrible this would be, and that a gun was aimed at everyone on the production team and that no one (other than Uwe Boll) did this willingly.

With all of this bad, is there anything good? Actually, there is. First, given everything I have heard of Mr. Boll (whose only film I’ve seen is “The House Of The Dead”), this is probably his best film to date. Second, it wasn’t so bad that it could be recommended to either film students as something not to do, or bad enough to be good MST3K material – it’s just not good enough to recommend to any else either. Third, it is barely stomach-able enough that you will sit through it – though you’ll still wish for your money and time back when it’s done. Finally, a sequel is workable – just replace the director/producer with someone who actually KNOWS what the hell they’re doing.

Ranking: So bad you’ll feel the MPAA is torturing you for downloading it illegally – it’s not worth the electricity needed to download – and it’s not worth seeing in theaters – DOWNLOADING IS ITS OWN PUNISHMENT!

Aliens Versus Predator : Requiem: First, I need to give people a warning: I actually LIKED the original Aliens Versus Predator film, something trashed by a lot of critics and fans alike (although, surprisingly, not by very many of my friends), so I have a slight slant towards wanting this film to be good. Thankfully, I was not disappointed.

There’s no big names, and few recognizable faces – in fact, the only people I actually recognized was Reiko Aylesworth, who 24 fans will know as Michelle Dressler, and John Ortiz, who I recognized from the Miami Vice movie. Most of the people are fairly new, including the Predator, whose only other two credits was a witch in a Harry Potter film (I won’t say which witch, but it disturbed me), and the previous Predator in AVP. The only real veterans, other than who I just listed, is Tom Woodruff Jr, who’s been involved on the Alien side and as an Alien since “Aliens.”

Unlike most film sequels that change from the original production team, the continuity of its roots were NOT compromised. Some might question the Alien/Predator Hybrids substituting the Aliens in this film, but by no means is this unbelievable for either type of alien.

The movie picks up where the last one ends, on the Predator ship with “Scar”, the last Predator, having an Alien bursting out of its chest. (Sorry if I ruined the ending for those who did not see the last film.) This new Alien is a hybrid of both species, and it soon wrecks havoc on the rest of the predators on the ship, releasing the captured facehuggers and killing its crew, causing it to land in a little town in Colorado.

In this town, we have a friend of the sheriff who comes home after being released from the state penitentiary system; his brother, a pizza delivery guy in HS who has a crush on a girl whose dating the high school jack-off-err-jock; and a military woman coming home to her family. You also have some homeless people who live in the sewers and a father and son who are hunting who become the Aliens first victims.

One of the Predators who dies gets a transmission of this new Alien/Predator hybrid back to its homeworld, thus dispatching a new Predator to Earth and continuing the war between the species.

Now, no one is going to argue about how shallow the stories are, as all of it is developed just enough that you feel a little something for the victims of this town later. It bears a resemblance to “Resident Evil:Apocalypse”, in that the monsters soon over run the town and the survivors get trapped in the city (along with the ending, which I will not spoil for you.) The fighting and scares, while below the marks for the series that this has spawned from, is still lightyears beyond most of the horror dreck beyond produced today.

I’d only advise those who might get offended by little kids and pregnant women becoming victims to stay away – this may not be pooling in blood, but there are plenty of turn-your-head-away scenes, as well as a few thank-god-it’s-off-camera scenes as well. Beyond that, anyone who liked either series and/or the movie spawning this sequel should enjoy this.

Ranking: Worth seeing on a discounted price.


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