Friday, January 8, 2016

Three Films Make A Post: For fourteen thousand years... It waited.

Manborg (2011): If you want to understand the kind of movie this Astron-6 production is, you need to imagine the fabulous video store in the sky, where all the most bizarre elements from the cheapest post-apocalypse, martial arts, action, videogame and probably Godfrey Ho  movies have somehow been genetically merged, turning into the mighty MANBORG, a culmination of the art form that could not have come to pass until the 2010s because people crazy enough to make it on the monthly budget of a not particularly rich family of three do not fall from trees. All more concrete description would make this sound like a Troma film, but unlike Troma, Astron-6 cares, their jokes are actually funny, and their films not just pretend they’re fever-dream crazy, they actually are. They’re also not feeling like parodies to me so much as the ultimate love letters to things utterly ridiculous and therefore awesome.

Wrecker: Staying in Canada, but entering a much less rarefied space, Micheal Bafaro’s film is an ill-advised backdoor remake of Steven Spielberg’s Duel that really can’t survive the comparison with the original movie. And because Spielberg’s film was a TV movie shot on a tiny budget and on a very tight schedule, you can’t even excuse this one’s failings with it being a low budget film. It’s just that Bafaro is no young Spielberg. Not many directors are, of course, but then not many directors are inviting the direct comparison this openly.

The only interesting change here is replacing Dennis Weaver’s character with two young women (Anna Hutchison and Andrea Whitburn), but since their interactions are not exactly riveting, and this also eats into the feeling of isolation for the films’ respective heroes, this looks more like a film desperately trying to do at least something differently and failing. The rest of the affair is easily described as “Duel but bad”.

Lighthouse (1999): Our final film of the day leads us to the UK, and while it is not the catastrophe that Wrecker is, Simon Hunter’s film isn’t exactly exciting. Sure, there’s a lot more talent visible on screen than in the Canadian film, but in the end, this is the ultra-generic tale of various people in an isolated place being murdered by your usual near supernatural psycho. Having read that description and the title, you’ll know exactly what you’re in for, with only a handful of over-constructed suspense scenes to distract you from the fact that there’s little reason to watch a film quite this lacking in personality. If you’re a collector of slightly more famous actors in early(ish) roles in (sort of) slasher movies, this one gives you James Purefoy as “the good, potentially innocent criminal”. Other excitement is pretty much absent.

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