Watchin’ Stuff

A decent little action/spy thriller, despite the movie slightly overreaching with its lesser budget. By this I mostly refer to a few CGI scenes later on in the film that are of a pretty questionable level of quality. Still, it has interesting characters and some pretty well-executed action scenes, most of which are terribly violent. The title may make it sound like it might be one of those goofy over-patriotic military recruitment type movies, but luckily it didn’t take that route at all.

This was much like The Conjuring, in that it wasn’t terrible, but I don’t really see what the big deal was. It’s a pretty standard haunted house movie that puts a slight twist on the usual plot, but it’s not one that really alters the fact that it’s still just another haunted house movie. Ok, the house isn’t actually possessed, the son is possessed. What does it matter? The results are the same.

It’s a well-produced and well-acted film for what it is, but it relies way too much on cheap tactics like cliched jump scares and the sudden blasting of really loud music, which is so loud and so frequent that it actually hurts your ears.

Overall, it was average at best.

Carried on to the next one anyway, because the first one ends with a complete cliffhanger so what the hell. This one was a little better in some ways, as it actually stops to explain a lot of the completely unexplained shit that happened in the first one and shows off the ghosts/demons a little more.

Man, the characters are so fucking dumb though. The family is just so painfully oblivious to the fact that the dad is possessed. He’s already acting really strange as it is, but at one point the wife even plays this song for him and asks him if he knows it, he says no and she responds “but that was the song I wrote for you. You don’t remember that song??”. She looks suspicious for a second then just shrugs it and all his other strange behavior off and moves on to something else and then acts surprised later when he stops pretending to be normal and just starts trying to outright kill everyone. Ridiculous.

It all ends on another semi-cliffhanger too. Dammit.

Now the 3rd one is suddenly a prequel, which is supposed to be related to the end of the 2nd one somehow. You know what though? They actually completely forgot to explain what that random ending of the 2nd one was about. OH WELL, MAYBE NEXT TIME! This time a really dramatic and annoying teenage girl is possessed by spookums and we have to watch the old psychic lady from the first one dramatically act like she’s quit being a psychic rescue lady. The family has to spend a good chunk of the movie trying to convince her to get off her ass and help, which we all already know she will because she clearly was doing it again, and without hesitation, in the first movie. Why are we still watching these? I don’t even know. They make good background noise I guess.

Really? This was in theaters? That’s surprising. This is a pure straight-to-video action movie. It’s a lot better than your usual modern day straight-to-video Van Damme movie, none of which I’ve actually been able to sit through, but it’s pretty average. Scott Adkins has some good fight scenes, but the aging Van Damme’s fights looked like they were probably done by a stand-in. It’s watchable, but I wouldn’t exactly recommend it.

What a cheerful movie. Very well-made and well-acted, but utterly miserable. Two and a half hours of terrible things happening to people with no real resolutions for almost anyone in the end. It was certainly compelling enough to sit through it all just to see what would happen in this fucked up situation and if anyone was going to get out alive, but this is one of those movies that I doubt I’d ever watch again now that I’ve seen it. Once is enough.

Well, nothing washes the taste of a depressing movie out of your mouth like…a fucking awful cannibal movie? I guess? This is a special kind of bad.

Some fine examples: the three main characters are driving their jeep through the jungle, they swerve and crash because there’s…a lizard in the road. The guy in the group actually says “God damn jaywalking iguana!”. The girls get out and take a break while the guy’s fixing the car, and one of them sits in the grass and some big weird bug comes crawling up next to her. I’m not even sure what kind of bug it was, some weird brown mantis kind of thing, I don’t know, but the guy rushes over and kills it before it can attack the girl, and the girl says “Why couldn’t we have made it Acupulco, instead of this poison paradise?”, to which the other girl replies “All you would have found there would have been white widows”. What? But…it wasn’t even a spider? What? I get the joke, but urghgh!

Anyway, it’s kind of funny in it’s terribleness. It’s just so badly made and acted, and the dialogue is such a baffling mix of witty one-liners, complete nonsense, and casual misogyny, that you can’t help but laugh that people actually devoted such time to creating this abomination. Boy does it get incredibly gruesome when they meet those cannibals too. Avoid this like the plague if you’re at all squeamish. Some of it was a bit much even for me.

Another modern “horror” series that I’ve never bothered with until now. The Purge is exactly what it looked like, an interesting, if somewhat unrealistic, premise that’s entirely wasted by spending the whole movie in a single house. The result is just another “house under siege” thriller that does nothing new or good. The victimized family members are annoying, cliched idiots, the only bad guy that really speaks is so heavy-handed in his bad social commentary speeches, and there’s very little action to speak of, much less any horror. It just wants to beat you over the head with the not-so-subtle analogy to modern America where blah blah blah the rich exploit the poor under the guise of patriotism, but really it’s secretly about money and the class divide and hey kids, did you know that murder is bad, and etc etc! I mean, it’s not entirely wrong, but we’ve heard it all before, and conveyed in a much less sloppy way than this. Not a good movie at all.

You may be surprised to see that I continued to the next movie then, but I heard that the sequels were actually better than the original so I figured I might as well. Surprisingly, people were actually right and this was much more entertaining than the first. This one expands the scope of the original premise and stretches the plot out into the streets of a whole city instead of confining it all to a single house. The result is a much more chaotic and action-packed story that doesn’t take itself quite as seriously as the previous movie. It just takes it all completely over the top, with a group of people that find themselves trapped out in the open and caught between colorfully-clad roaming purge gangs and groups of high-tech government kill teams that have apparently been sent out to help clear out specific low-income areas. Big improvement over the first one if you ask me.

And finally there’s the most recent Purge. This one very loosely continues from the last one, with the same returning main character, but not really much of any other connection. It’s kind of more of the same, with another group getting stuck outside during purge night and trying to survive, but this time they have the additional goal of trying to keep this senator alive who’s trying to become president so she can end purge night. Didn’t quite like it as much as Anarchy, but it was still decent, and still much better than the first movie.

15 comments on “Watchin’ Stuff

  1. Red Metal says:

    I didn’t like Detroit as much as Zero Dark Thirty, but it was decent. I’m not annoyed that it didn’t get a best picture nod, as I enjoyed the ones that did get one more.

    • Agreed. It felt like it was missing something compared to her previous movies, but I’m not quite sure what it was. Something about the way the end just kind of trailed off I guess.

      • Red Metal says:

        Yeah, I think that’s the inherent problem with with downer endings; oftentimes, they don’t feel conclusive. Indeed, Detroit just kind of runs out of energy with no idea how to end, and it’s a weaker effort for it. To be fair, it was based on real events, so it couldn’t really be helped. Still, I wonder if Zero Dark Thirty would’ve suffered the same fate had real-life events not forced the team’s hand? It did end in a “now what?” manner, but it did feel like a natural conclusion, and there were plenty of classic films such as Apocalypse Now that ended in similarly without feeling like the writers left several things unresolved.

  2. ignitedmoth says:

    Nice post. 🙂 I always like reading your “Watchin’ Stuff” posts. I like the types of movies you tend to cover.
    Oddly enough, the only Purge movie I’ve seen was the third one. It wasn’t bad though, and it sounds like I didn’t miss much not seeing the first one at least. 😛

  3. I’ve yet to see any of the Purge films, but I agree about Insidious. They’re watchable but wholly unremarkable.

  4. raistlin0903 says:

    Well, you certainly watched quite a few entertaining movies. I agree, Insidious is okay, but it’s certainly not as remarkable as some people make it out to be. I have yet to see the third installment of the Purge, but I agree that part 2 was even more entertaining.
    Scott Adkins has made quite a number of decent action flicks . I mean, they won’t win any awards or anything, but he has certainly made a number of fun films such as Universal Soldier Day of Reckoning and Hard Target 2. This one was okay.
    Great post! 😊

    • Thanks. Yeah I saw Ninja – Shadow of a Tear on Netflix a while back, the first time I’d seen one of his movies (at least where he isn’t playing some background character) and his fighting was crazy in that. Been looking into his other stuff lately. Hard Target 2 and many others are on the list. Never seen any of the Universal Soldier sequels either. Maybe I’ll have to check those out too.

      • raistlin0903 says:

        Yeah he has definitely got some crazy mad martial arts skills. While not all of his movies are great, he certainly has made quite a few movies that I always like to call “mindless fun” 😊😊

  5. The Otaku Judge says:

    Looks like anime doesn’t hold the monopoly on finishing with cliffhangers. I wonder if anyone has ever tried to claim car insurance by citing the cause of accident as “God damn jaywalking iguana.”

    • I forgot to mention that after all that brief scene with the bug they get the Jeep running again and then IMMEDIATELY crash into a mud bank and get stranded again. I don’t know why they even bothered having them fix it, they only made it like 50 feet further. So ridiculous.

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