Sunday, January 18, 2009

MUTANT CHRONICLES (2008)

SCIENTIFIC FACT LEARNED: Steampunk doesn’t involve listening to The Ramones at a spa.

THE CARD:

The Punisher’s quick paycheck, holy Hellboy, deadly little Miho, a chip off the old Doctor Who, being John Malkovich phoning it in, Computerized Gore Imagery, and the most black-white-and-bleak movie ever.

More details here.

THE ANGLE:

Jeez, another gloomy, depressing post-apocalyptic story. Believe me, I’m selecting these things at random; there is no rhyme and certainly no reason. Anyway, a giant malevolent do-hickey from outer space landed centuries before recorded history with intent to transform humans into mutants for some unknown reason. A great battle waged between the aliens and a tribe of warriors that united against the menace. When the humans won the war and drove them away, the aliens’ giant war machine was buried deep within the Earth. A sect of monks documented these events as “The Chronicles” and has kept this war secret, but centuries in our future when the world is divided into corporate states engaging in a global war, the alien menace resurfaces to reclaim its prey. The aliens sport sword hands and possess incredible strength and speed and attack a squad led by Major Mitchell Hunter (Thomas Jane). Again, no Joe Don Baker. He loses most of his men including his John Wayne-channeling pal Capt. Rooker (Sean Pertwee) in the attack. Brother Samuel (Ron Perlman), a leader in the Chronicles sect, enlists Rooker and other elite soldiers including Asian hotty Duval (Devon Aoki). The diverse team of ethnic misfits (the Mexican guy says stuff like “Aye aye aye!” and “tu mama” and other crap) descends into the alien stronghold in the hopes of destroying the machine. Down in the CGI carving in the Earth, they encounter alien armies, chop off a few heads, descend elevator shafts for half an half, kung fu fight like they’re under water, and answer the question as to why this movie took a year to get released.

THE FINISHER:

Unoriginal, hard to see, and humorless, The Mutant Chronicles is I guess a long-awaited adaptation of a role-playing game I’ve never heard of, not that I’m into role-playing in anyway imaginable. Well, there is one way, but I won’t divulge details of my costly Saturday night indulgences. Anyway, the movie is mostly a dreary steampunk/horror affair filled with unlikable heroes, big videogame guns, and an uninteresting villain derivative of the Blade movies. One highlight of the movie was a visibly embarrassed John Malkovich as a leader of one of the megacorporations mumbling his way through his brief appearance which recalled Ben Kingsley's red-faced turn in Uwe Boll’s awful BloodRayne. The production values are blah as this independently-produced, modestly budget movie is almost completed filmed against a green screen and loaded with muddy CGI but semi-decent gore. The ear-ache inducing script is courtesy of Philip Eisner, the man who brought you the appalling Event Horizon, the only bad movie the real Paul Anderson has ever made. Not surprisingly, the movie doesn’t go into any of the background history that may have made the story worthwhile such as the formations of the nation-corporations, religion’s place in this chaotic world, or the much more interesting premise of a non-technological war against an advanced civilization. It’s just another customary, effortless adaptation of a game that’s probably a thousand times more interesting, despite getting nerds involved. Mutant Chronicles is drab and murky, permanently stuck in a world like that first Macintosh commercial, only there’s no hot Olympian swinging shot-putter to save us.

1 comment:

Francisco Gonzalez said...

I was kind of looking forward to this one, but everywhere I turn its a bad review. It even has a respectable cast...but no matter how good a cast, if the script and direction sucks...the film will more then likely suck as well.