(aka Deadwater, 2008)
Lord knows I have no problem with double-genre crossover films. My script
for Loan Wolf ("mortgage broker by day, werewolf by night") makes me proudest
of anything I have ever written. I hear it may be back up on the front burner
again because of its timeliness during the current mortgage crisis. It gives
Americans real comfort to know that the meltdown of their lending institutions
is not caused by their own sloth, the corruption of their leaders, or the
avarice of their corporations, but rather by werewolves.
I am having some script problems with the sequel, though, since the wolf
gets killed in the first film and the mortgage crisis is averted by government
intervention. I'm thinking of having him come back to life as a zombie
werewolf, but he'll obviously need a new profession. Maybe I'll make him a
maverick cop who doesn't play by the rules. And by that I mean the cop rules,
not the werewolf or zombie rules, which are actually quite flexible. It makes sense
for him to balk at filing all of his arrest reports, because zombies hate to
fill out paperwork.
Particularly when they can smell fresh brains nearby.
Having established my sympathy for multi-genre entertainment, however, I still think it's kinda silly when
a film which spends its first half developing a plot about the U.S. military's
struggle against the top al-Qaeda terrorist then makes a crazy 180 in the middle when
the Americans free the terrorist so they can team up with him against an
immortal Nazi ghost. I mean, would Hulk Hogan have teamed up with the Iron
The Americans, by the way, are confident of victory in this quixotic
struggle because "even ghosts have to follow the rules of nature and physics."
Er ... like, for example, human mortality?
That gives me another script idea. What if he is a maverick immortal
Nazi ghost who doesn't play by the rules of physics?
I think you have probably already determined that this film is pretty far-fetched. It's also quite
claustrophobic since it takes place almost entirely within the hull of a
disabled WW2-era battleship. You see, the CIA can't really get any good
torturing done any more, even in Gitmo, because of those pesky liberals, so
they re-commission a floating museum to active service and keep it permanently
at sea as a base for black ops, far from the prying eyes of the press and
Democratic legislators. This naval museum turned interrogation chamber is the
very same ship which once transported a German super-soldier, who was the
result of the medical experiment gone awry toward the end of the great war.
The super-soldier was tortured on this very ship, and the new round of torture
Oh, I don't know. Does it matter?
The important thing is that the immortal Nazi goes on a brutal slaying
rampage, the ship goes incommunicado, and a rescue team is sent on board,
headed by rugged Lance Henriksen. Ol' Lance is sent on the mission with the
knowledge that his own son, a naval enlisted man, was assigned to the crew of
this very ship. Lance's swabbie son turns out to be unconscious, but
alive, and the weird part is that he's a 40-year-old British guy! (I'm not
One of the rescuers is a woman
(Katherine Randolph). She gets covered in the blood of one of the victims, so
she does what I think any of us would do on a disabled ship filled with
brutally murdered swabbies, an al-Qaeda terrorist, and an immortal Nazi ghost.
She isolates herself from her colleagues, sets down her weapons, gets naked
and takes a shower.
And it's probably a very cold shower, since the ship was drifting and
I have to be honest and admit that this film actually looks pretty good and Henriksen brings some laconic, world-weary macho credibility to the special
ops team, so it's not an incompetent film by any means. By the standards of
straight-to-vid actioners, the acting and direction are above the norm.
But, damn, is it a silly idea.
|Here's the Katherine Randolph film clip. (Sample right) The
naval shower scene is edited to show a minimum of skin,
so there are no views down below, but there are some fleeting glimpses of the upper deck.
Yet another apocalyptic virus strikes the British Isles. Boy, there's a
spate of those goin' around. The virus strikes in Glasgow in 2008 and, in
order to contain it, the authorities in the UK quarantine Scotland by sealing
it up along the old Roman frontier, closing its airports, and patrolling its
sea coasts. That last one must have been no easy task, but Britannia does rule
the waves, I guess. Essentially, the rest of the world goes about its normal
business and leaves the Scots to live or die in lawlessness. Most die, but
others survive and create various warring post-apocalyptic tribes. The tribe
which rules Glasgow consists of the leftover extras from Mad Max, who spend a
good deal of their time creating some highly stylized pseudo-savagery while
they hold chaotic raves. The other main tribe recreates medieval life as
envisioned in the tales of the Round Table, with perhaps a touch of ancient
Rome added to the stew for seasoning.
In other words, after 27 years of lawlessness and savagery, Scotland is
pretty much the same as it is today.
After all those years of successful
containment, the deadly virus finally breaks out in London. The only way to
save England from Scotland's fate is to send a team into the anarchy of
Scotland to analyze why some people were immune to and survived the virus,
thus facilitating a cure or a vaccine. For that team, headed by tough-chick Rhona Mitra, getting into Scotland is a sample matter. Finding what they seek
is difficult. Getting out is just about impossible.
The bad news is that the film really has no real heart and soul, and is
just a sequence of more or less unrelated action sequences. There's the
mandatory "walking through dark places with guns and flashlights" scene, the
"medieval combat" scene, the "road warriors car chase" scene, and so forth. If
your friends are movie geeks, you can play "spot the movie reference" with
them. To begin with, there's Aliens, The Road Warriors, 28 Days Later,
Resident Evil, The Warriors, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Escape from New York,
and the complete oeuvre of Robert Rodriguez. Plus a touch of Excalibur.
The entire effort is consistently over the top. There's plenty of gore and
splatter virtually everywhere, almost always presented in fast cuts and
accompanied with wild music to make it all seem even more hectic.
As any good genre entertainment should, the film contains a gratuitous nude scene.
Not only is the nudity unnecessary per se, but it occurs
within an entire sequence which is utterly unrelated to the
main plot. A big thumb up from us to the director for not cutting it! Actually, it's a pretty cool action scene, as grisly shoot-'em-ups go.
At any rate, it would
not have been possible for the director to cut all the scenes in this movie
which seemed stranded from the others, since the entire movie seems like a
sequence of unrelated action scenes featuring a common character.
The good news is that the action sequences are actually pretty good, and
mostly done with real cars and horses and stunt performers rather than CGI and
miniatures. Although Doomsday seems less like a single film than like a
collection of four or five separate and vaguely related shorts, those shorts
are not so bad, if violent, crazed action is your bag, baby.
This film had a 2000-theater release in March, grossing about $11m
altogether, so there are several critical analyses available:
- Metacritic: 52/100
- Rotten Tomatoes: 38% positive reviews.
- Berardinelli: 2/4
- IMDb: 65/100
Catch the deluxe
version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles,
The Civilization of Maxwell Bright
Maxwell Bright is an asshole. He owns a TV sales outlet, and is a total
slob and misogynist. As the film opens, he chases his naked girlfriend into
the front yard. He is also naked. Two female cops arrive, and they take her
side until she opens his chest with a garden hoe. Later, during a drunken poker game,
he decides what he needs is an Asian mail order bride.
The film starts out as a dark
comedy, but makes its way through an examination of cultural differences, and ends up a three-hanky weeper.
Act one is a portrait of a totally unsympathetic character, act two becomes a
dying man drama, and act three features redemption and enlightenment.
I should have
hated this film, but found it the best thing I have seen so far this year.
It garnered numerous festival awards and many positive reviews, but also a few
negative ones. This is decidedly not a studio sort of film, which I see as a good thing, and
uniformly well acted, especially by Patrick Warburton, Marie Matiko and Eric
Roberts. Also watch for Jennifer Tilly and Carol Kane.
IMDb readers say 6.8, with men at 6.3 and women at 8.6.
It has yet to be released on Region 1 DVD. It is available from RLDVDs.com
on an all-region PAL.
Patrick "Puddy" Warburton and his girlfriend (Nicole Gian) open the
film running naked into the street in a fight. The scene features full frontal
nudity from both.
Notes and collages
Amy Smart, captured by paparazzi on the set of Crank 2
Joanna Bending in Tick Tock Lullaby (2007)
Ultra Violet in Maidstone.
I think this was her only screen nudity.