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