Trash with stars who don’t shine that bright anymore, or do they?
I don’t know why this movie has passed me by for so long. It may have something to do with the director who did the less than mediocre My Bloody Valentine which was a slasher-bore-fest in 3D or maybe because the picture on the cover only showed another The Fast and the Furious-contestant. But then my attention was drawn to the lead actors David Cage and Amber Heard, the one usually playing in some pretty cool movies and the other just eye-candy, I suppose. How could I have known that this was going to be one of the best Grindhouse flicks in years, even making Rodriguez/Tarantino’s efforts redundant (okay, Hobo With A Shotgun did that already with one bloody swipe).
Who needs story if you have buckets of gore?
Like with most trash movies, story is typically an excuse for portraying gratuitous violence and nudity (although in this case it has some nice twists and turns, especially when it comes to the supernatural). Of the latter there was not that much (except for some scenes, one of them involving a blonde who was also naked in My Bloody Valentine; seems to be her râison d’etre), but of the former quite a lot.
But first about the story itself: a father, Milton (Cage), who goes after a zealous worshippers of Satan because they killed his daughter and kidnapped her baby, and picks up a waitress, Piper (Heard), who has a bad attitude and kicks ass (especially of her former boyfriend), is pretty sick and twisted, even in my book, and is open to all sorts of crazy action stunts and shootouts, especially with cars as weapons.
No time for boredom when chasing those cult members
I’ve seen quite a few car chases and people getting run over by cars in a don’t-take-it-serious-kind-of-way (Deathrace, the original, might take first prize home with it with some ideas), but I haven’t seen it in such an action-packed movie. It gets crazier with every scene, one violence excess after the other, with barely time for character development or story. But who needs that anyway? So many movies try too hard to have characters you have to care about, and they end up in 30 minutes exposition, some 30 minutes downtime in the middle of the movie, and then a bit of action. This was one of the major problems with My Bloody Valentine where really not much was happening. Or did I miss something? Maybe I’ll give it another try.
Soundtrack of death scenes with 3D no one needs, or maybe yes?
What also makes the movie fun to watch is its soundtrack which is as fast and furious but also diverse like what’s seen on the screen. There’s never a dull moment where you think “Will I get my money’s worth of action?” Even David Cage’s wooden performance works pretty good, and his oneliners serve the trash factor.
I haven’t watched it in 3D, but I felt that it worked perfectly without the additional effects (like a severed hand flying through the air, one of the cheap tricks one is getting used to after some time). Still this would be a movie I’d try out again on the 3D-HDTV, only not the German BD as it’s way too expensive (this one I got free in a Buy-4-for-the-price-of-3 bargain sale).
A bloody good romp with lots of bumps on the street and corpses left behind
I read (after watching the movie) in some reviews how Rodriguez seems to reinvent the Grindhouse and that he’s better suited to the job of doing trash in the 90ies. This might be true if you look at genre-mixes like From Dusk Till Dawn, but compared to this tour-de-force-of-silliness-action-fest, Machete is too overblown with political statement and Planet Terror too much concerned with its own form (graphics filter and all) and awareness of being a trash movie. With almost a runtime of 2 hours, this is mindless, bloody fun at its most entertaining.