Watchin’ Stuff #47

So it turns out the hype surrounding this one was true. While it’s true that it is a slow-burner that has very little in the way of graphic content, it’s a very well constructed story that takes an old, familiar concept of “are they crazy or is there actually something supernatural happening” and gives it a fresh coat of paint with great writing, performances, and pacing. The mystery sure takes its time building up, but it never feels boring and there are so many interesting little hints and details sprinkled throughout that keep things entertaining until things finally start getting revealed in the later parts and everything comes together, or more like crashes together in a very impressive and memorable finale that really rewards your patience.

Boar is an Australian movie about a big killer boar that looks almost criminally similar to that old movie Razorback, but from the trailer it looked like it might have some pretty good practical effects. Having seen it now, it doesn’t even quite live up to Razorback’s already pretty low standards. There are a few parts with decent effects, but the lack of budget really starts showing when most of the boar scenes end up being basically the same scene, with the boar’s body standing perfectly still as only the head thrashes around menacing its victims, who end up looking a bit silly getting killed by a seemingly immobile monster. Clearly they couldn’t afford to animate the whole body with practical effects like they did with the head, and so the few rare times that we do see the boar actually moving on screen and in broad daylight, they switch to some sketchy CGI instead. It doesn’t look terrible, I’ve seen much worse, but it doesn’t really stand out as anything particularly impressive either.

Likewise, the actors and their characters aren’t that bad, but they’re pretty one-note and forgettable. The story is really nothing more than “there’s a boar in the woods and it randomly eats people”. It’s a watchable movie, but it’s just too lacking for me to ever want to watch it again.

Ugh. This movie just bothered me. It’s kind of a Ready Player One type deal where they just constantly name-drop 80’s stuff and seem to have been going through a checklist of “things that were in 80’s movies” without really understanding what made any of it work. There’s a stereotypical group of kids, the main character, the brainy one, the fat one, and the tough one, and they clearly tried hard to find a nerdy kid that looked extremely like nerdy kids used to look in movies and a tough kid that looked remarkably like a poor man’s River Phoenix, except…these kids have absolutely no charisma. They all LOOK the part, but they’re not even remotely compelling characters, seeming to have no personality traits beyond their cliches. They just sit around casually mentioning 80’s movies at every opportunity, talking about jerking off a lot, and being really oddly excited about learning that a serial killer that targets boys their age has been found to be operating nearby (who does that, even in movies?).

There’s also a retrowave soundtrack that just isn’t up to par and sounds too obviously modern, a horribly generic plot, a lot of really badly implemented 80’s movie tropes that always seem to miss the mark, and one painfully cringey romance subplot. I don’t want to sound like some 80’s hipster, but this movie just doesn’t get it. It’s all nostalgic references and no soul. It’s like a bargain bin Stranger Things. Hell, even The Guest was more authentically 80’s feeling and it didn’t even take place in the 80’s. I don’t know, it just didn’t work for me.

I didn’t even realize that this was made by the same people that did the excellent Turbo Kid either. I don’t know how you can go from a movie like that to something as weak as this.

This really was much better than the second one. It’s not an amazing movie, but it’s pretty enjoyable for having such a noticeably low budget. It is indeed a much more dark and brutal movie than the previous ones, and it has some pretty intense fight/action scenes. It has a very Scott Adkins movie feel to it, even though he’s not in this one yet, where it’s definitely not an A-list action movie, but I wouldn’t insult it by calling it a B-movie. It’s more of an A-minus-movie! (Did I use that joke already before? I can’t even remember anymore!)

This one was even better than the third one, surprisingly. Scott Adkins is the main character this time and has his usual amount of impressive fight/action scenes. This one also had a really weird, dark tone to it, almost feeling a horror movie at times. Adkins is out for revenge for the death of his family and stumbles onto a nest of wild Universal Soldier clones led by…Van Damme? Or is it a Van Damme clone? I don’t even know. Things get weird though and this revenge plot isn’t as simple or straightforward as it seems, which leads to some unusual and surprising developments for Adkins’ character and a really strange ending. Strange in a good way though. I actually wish there were more of these. I’d like to see where director/writer Peter Hyams would have gone next with this interesting take on the property.

This has been getting some pretty bad reviews and I almost forgot it even existed, but tried it out anyway and it was actually quite good. I can kind of see why people would be upset about it because the trailers and marketing were definitely trying to make it out to be some kind of James Bond/Black Widow spy action thriller, but it’s definitely not an action movie or one of those sci-fi-ish spy movies full of futuristic gadgets. No, this is just a surprisingly dark drama/thriller that’s all about deception and survival. It’s long and relatively slow moving, but the good performances and complex plot kept it interesting the whole time.

One more from the horror crap pile, Forever Evil started off being somewhat amusing as an even poorer man’s Evil Dead. The effects were laughably cheap, the acting was awful, and the dialogue was hilariously bad, but after the first 20 minutes or so the movie seems to suddenly lose its momentum and just became painfully boring. Couldn’t finish it. It’s getting harder and harder to continue pushing through these, as it seems like it’s been a long time since I actually found a good one in here, and I’m still only up to the F’s. Oh well. Better luck next time!

8 comments on “Watchin’ Stuff #47

  1. raistlin0903 says:

    So glad you enjoyed the two Universal Soldier movies. I was hoping you would, and I pretty much had a feeling you would too. I agree…it would definitely have been interesting to see more of these films. Don’t think there are any more of them coming though 😊😊

  2. I’ve only seen the first Universal soldier. I might have to check out the other ones. I haven’t watched anything from Van Damme in ages. (Ever since I saw the pilot of his tv show and got very dissapointed that it got canceled)

  3. ignitedmoth says:

    Glad to hear you liked Hereditary and Red Sparrow. 🙂 They’re two I’ve been curious about, so it’s good to hear they were done well.

  4. Peter Saturday says:

    I’ve been looking forward to Summer of 84 for a while now, but i’m a total sucker for the Amblin style horror stuff, this week tho I’m most looking forward to checking out that new Nic Cage movie, Mandy…it looks incredible!

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