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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Crime > Murder > Motorcycles > Exploitation > Horror > Supernatural > Demonic Posession > Haunted > Born To Ride (2010/Image DVD) + Hobo With A Shotgun (2011/MagNet Blu-ray) + Insidious (2010/Sony Blu-ray) + [REC]2 (2009/Sony DVD) + Tekken (2010/Anchor Bay Blu-ray + DVD)

Born To Ride (2010/Image DVD) + Hobo With A Shotgun (2011/MagNet Blu-ray) + Insidious (2010/Sony Blu-ray) + [REC]2 (2009/Sony DVD) + Tekken (2010/Anchor Bay Blu-ray + DVD)


Picture: C/B-/B-/C+/B- & C     Sound: C+/B-/B-/C+/B & B-     Extras: C-/D/C-/D/D     Main Programs: C-/D/C-/D/D



After watching the following new releases, I wondered if there was an intellectual version of Fox, would they create a special called “When movie genres go wrong!”  I think these are all bad, so we are now talking about to which degree of bad we’re talking about.


James Fargo’s Born To Ride (2010) is a second reuniting of Casper Van Dien and Patrick Muldoon after the goofy Turbulent Skies, though they are lightyears away Verhoeven’s influential and underrated Starship Troopers.  This time, they are old friends and bikers involved with other tough bikers and about to find themselves involved in a plot to influence government illegally.  This is silly, goofy and never believable for a minute, but it is actually consistent in this and by default, is the most watchable dud of these duds.


The music is awful, editing silly and overall results preposterous, but they seem to know this on some level and it is just plain wacky.  William Forsythe and Theresa Russell also star and to everyone’s credit, no one laughs when they are not supposed to.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is softer than I thought it would be, which gets in the way of some nice shots.  I don’t know if a Blu-ray would resolve this better, but even color suffers, while the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix does not have the soundfield it should and the location audio is not always good.  A trailer is the only extra.



The result of a contest held during the Grindhouse theatrical releases from Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, where contestants made a faux trailer and the winner got to make their trailer into a feature.  Jason Eisener’s Hobo With A Shotgun (2011) is sadly the result, now with Rutger Hauer in his nadir as the title character, a homeless man in a nightmare post-apocalyptic world (yes, yet another tired one) where he is keeping to himself until he cannot take it anymore when he becomes the specific target of violence and…  Well this is that predictable.


However, it is also the most pointlessly, idiotically violent feature release I have seen since the unfortunate Ray Stevenson third Punisher film, which I consider the worst Marvel Comics movie that will ever get made.  Like that film it tries to take the ideas of torture porn films (long played out at this point) and tries to make them into some kind of film.  It instead plays like a bad elongated version of a grindhouse trailer with no point, as well as a bad music video and then it cannot decide if it wants to imitate the films of the 1970s or 1980s.  What a mess, in all kinds of ways.


As for the violence, it happens gruesomely every time and wants to suggest gruesome violence, then pretend it will not happen, then allow it to happen in as gross, vulgar and explicit a fashion as possible.  This would have definitely received an NC-17 had it had a wide release, assuming theaters would even play it.  It has an opening that wants to emulate a monophonic 1970s film and we get some more of these at times, but this really wants to be the 1980s including a Tom Cruise/Cory Hart imitator, the New Wave look, early videogames and even some XXX sex productions.  However, this is just one 0of the worst films of 2011 including the Arthur remake and Sucker Punch.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image wants to imitate the old three-strip dye-transfer Technicolor format in some kind of way, but the makers are clueless about this too and color is quickly abandoned for a sloppy look to match the motion blur and downstyling that makes no sense like the rest of this mess, while the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix goes from intentionally monophonic sound to an awkward soundfield at best.  The combination is confused.


Extras include Digital Copy for PC and PC portable devices, BD Live interactive features, Shotgun Mode for more info as you watch (it does not help), various trailers, the contest trailer, Fangoria interview with Eisener and Hauer, two audio commentary tracks, HDNet promo special, making of featurette, Camera Test Reel, useless Alternate Ending, Deleted Scenes and Video Blogs all to no avail.



I knew we might be in trouble when the hacks who gave us Paranormal Activity were going to be behind Insidious (2010) from the awful Director James Wan, giving us yet another tired haunted house/human demonic possession that wants to cash in on a few films that managed to make some money recently, but like 99.9% of the Exorcist imitators is a stupid bore throughout.   You know the makers know this here by turning up the sound loud suddenly, not to punctuate suspense to shock anyone, but to keep the bored audience awake.  It does not work, though I had a few unintended chuckles that the makers would never get.


Patrick Wilson is stuck in another project below his potential and the would-be comical addition of two nitwits with equipment to find the evil spirits has zero credibility from the start.  Sony did better a few years ago with The Exorcism Of Emily Rose and after this, Exorcist II – The Heretic actually looks ambitious.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image has that clichéd “horror style” that is beyond played out, but it is at the expense of definition and we get more motion blur and some downstyling that only gets in the way and the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix has the aforementioned issues and never a great soundfield.  It is as if the audio is too low before it gets too high.  Lame.  Extras include BD Live interactive feature, Insidious Entities, On Set With Insidious and Horror 101: The Exclusive Seminar, or one you should skip.



Showing that Hollywood is not the only entity that screws up genres, Co-Directors Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza (it took two people to direct this?) give us the unnecessary sequel [REC]2 (2009) which pretends to mix technology and the horror of evil spirits, but is really just another bad videogame feature release.  We are back at the same haunted apartment building only 15 minutes after the last [REC] (and what a wreck it is!) and this mess lasts a very long 84 minutes.  Guess this place did not offer renter’s insurance.  This is a one note run-on bore that barely makes sense, is very un-scary and unless you’ve seen the first (lucky you), skip this one.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image is the least weak of the DVDs here, but we have bad definition on purpose, shaky camerawork, flat Video Black and yet more motion blur that is tired after a minute like its predecessor.  Forget about color, because we get it in very limited ways.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix has too much monophonic sound and is too much in the front and center channels, so the soundfield is a problem, party on purpose.  Extras include three featurettes and Deleted Scenes that make no difference.



Finally we have the last title to cover here and the third and last (for now) that is really wanting to be a videogame.  Dwight Little’s Tekken (2010) is the latest clone of the new death sport cycle where the government (and/or civil rights) have collapsed (think the Death Race remake, Mad Max franchise a while ago or the awful Rollerball remake of the great original, even the disastrous Speed Racer movie) so this somehow follows that a sports game with a huge audience (looking more and more digital these days) there to watch people fight and kill each other.  Oh, and more and more, they know mixed martial arts all of the sudden.


The people hired to do the fighting may have some of the necessary skills, but just showing up doing them is not sufficient to making the fights or a narrative feature work.  Being a franchise in advanced, it is even more overly cosmetic, safe and very, very predictable.  If the idea was to do another Mortal Combat, which has not aged well itself, this is not as cynical, but is a bomb and not “da bomb” so skip it.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on the Blu-ray is darker than it needs to be to the point of satire and to no avail, with color limited and that styled-down look (you cannot help repeating yourself when these releases are this bad) and don’t forget the motion blur, which is always a sign of sloppiness.  The anamorphically enhanced DVD included is even worse and more pale.  The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix on the Blu-ray easily has the best sound of all the discs here with a palpable soundfield, but it is still nothing special.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD is weaker and though lossy, retains a semblance of that soundfield.  Extras include Digital Copy for PC and PC portable devices, BD Live interactive features and empty Stunt Stars: Tekken featurette.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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