Monday, December 15, 2014

A Ghoul Versus Uwe Boll's House Of The Dead (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1!

Jordan and Greg run afoul of some zombies, leading to a HILARIOUSLY bad sequence featuring the actors running straight into the camera while it's held about a foot away from their faces. Greg manages to evade the zombies by hiding under a hill while they sniff around overhead in a shot that looks SUSPICIOUSLY like when the Hobbits did the exact same thing with the Ringwraiths in Lord of the Rings. Boll must have really liked that movie a lot. This only buys him a few minutes though, as he eventually gets surrounded by the zombies who can now leap into frame like Spider-Man. They dogpile on him to put him out of our misery, but then he's... standing all alone in the forest while the camera rotates around him?! Ohhhhhh, my head hurts so bad right now.

Back to Kirk and the gang of idiots, where they've decided to return to the cabin for some reason. Jordan returns, having written off Greg as a lost cause when she found the pistol she gave him lying on the ground. Kirk takes everyone to one of his crates so they can arm up, cracking “Let me introduce you to my little friend!” as he opens it up. Hey now Kirk, you're in my good graces, don't go fucking it up with shitty one liners ripped off from infinitely better movies. He pulls out a giant gun, joking that size DOES matter. FUCK. YOU. KIRK. Now armed to the teeth, and breasts in the case of Fencer, they approach the cabin. The outside is swarming with zombies, so it's time for another insanely dull shootout! Yay... Only THIS time Boll splices in more footage from the video game, and it's not transitions, it's just... shots of someone playing the game. I don't... how...NO ONE told Boll how imbecilic this looked?! I can literally feel my brain cells dying every second I spend watching this, and I already have a dead zombie brain!

Whoa, a shootout is going on?! Why the hell aren't we ripping off the Matrix now? Ah, there we go. Slow motion pans and bullet time starts erupting everywhere, EACH FUCKING CHARACTER getting their turn for a slo-mo shot. There are numerous continuity errors between each transition, how Fencer's hair goes from frizzy to slicked back, but what's the use in even listing them all? Boll even rips off Neo's iconic backwards dive shot, although here it just looks SILLY when a girl in a Star Spangled Banner bodysuit is doing it. The battle lasts probably longer than the entire Matrix trilogy itself, giving me time to wonder how all of these people are suddenly SUPER skilled soldiers that make Rambo look like a loser. Jordan sure, but I'm really supposed to believe freaking Bodysuit Girl is an ex-marine? That wimp Simon?

This gunfight is also-wait for it- HORRIBLY DIRECTED. Half of the zombies are just standing around, like not even trying to get involved. Some are just walking around the set trying to figure out if the cameras are rolling or not, while others look like they're talking to each other. I think I even saw one bum a cigarette off another. An indeterminable amount of time later (because I fell asleep), something finally happens and Bodysuit gets dragged down by zombies. She yells out for Narrator to save her, so he... begins to have flashbacks of the fight we just fucking saw?! Are you KIDDING ME?!? FUCK THIS!

You know, up until about the half hour mark or so, I didn't think this was THAT bad of a movie. Horribly stupid and cliché, sure, but the whole time I was watching it I kept thinking “I've seen worse”. The last twenty minutes though? God. This is like watching one of those “fan-made” videos you see on YouTube, only one of the exceptionally bad ones. You know the kind I'm talking about, made by a fan that doesn't really understand the source material or the reasons behind why anything is, and just doing whatever they thinks looks cool? House of the Dead is like that, only FAR worse. After Bodysuit dies, we get another 360 view of her alone in a field. Is this something from the video games that happens when you die? It's been so long since I've played them, and I don't really feel like doing the research to see if that's the case or Boll just being nonsensical as usual. If you know the answer, drop me a line and put this EPIC MYSTERY to rest once and for all.

Jordan is the next to die, but she doesn't get a rotating send off shot. Why not? She was a way more important character than Bodysuit or Greg! Everyone fights their way into the cabin, but Kirk gets his leg bit to shit while trying to buy time for the rest. The zombies either get tired or bored, so they just give up and leave them alone. With Kirk lying on a table resting, the survivors decide it's good of a time as any to start MAKING OUT! WHOA YEAH! Let's not bother securing the rest of the cabin and make sure there's no zombies hiding in it, we are MEGA turned on after a bloody shootout where several of our friends died. Kirk, the lone voice of reason in the land of the brainless, points out that MAYBE they should take a look around the cabin to see if they can find anything useful. They uncover Castillo's lab full of dead... deader zombies, along with a blood sample that Narrator concludes has been “mutated”.

While they waste time with this latest revelation, Kirk hears Clint Howard's apparent trademark whistle and goes outside to investigate. He sees his first mate outside the cabin, now a zombie himself. Realizing that he'll soon be a zombie himself, Kirk pulls out a stick of dynamite and lights it as he gets surrounded. The ensuing explosion ends up blowing the door off the cabin, which really makes you wonder why Kirk didn't go out further before igniting it. Maybe he hates the rest of the cast as much as I do and just wanted to troll them. If that's the case, well played Kirk, well played.

They retreat into the lab but just in time for the zombies to come to life... death and attack them. Karma finds a trap door in the room because OF COURSE there'd be a trap door in this cabin, Simon making the heroic sacrifice to buy them time to go down it. And my heroic sacrifice, I pretty much mean stands around and lets himself get grabbed. So much for that love triangle I was anticipating. The trap door leads to a series of tunnels where Karma meets her end and it looks like the others are as well until GREG shows up to save the day. Oh joy, HIM. He does appear to be wearing the exact same cloak we saw Castillo wearing, so my Zombie Sense is tingling. He leads them to a large room where he pulls off his face to reveal his true form as zombie mummies dressed like conquistadors appear to grab Narrator and Fencer. A character impersonating someone else by wearing their skin, never seen that before!

It seems Castillo wants to use their body parts for... I actually have no idea. Through another flashback we learn the mutated blood he's created allows him to be immortal as well as raise the dead, maybe he needs fresh humans to keep making the serum to keep himself alive? The film doesn't think this is too important to explain, so I'm certainly not going to prolong things by asking stupid questions. Fencer sees a nearby sword and grabs it, allowing her to turn the tables and escape with Narrator thanks to those fencing skills that were so subtly hinted at earlier. She drops a grenade on the way out that explodes the rest of the zombie mummies or whatever they're meant to be. They exit the cabin to BRIGHT DAYLIGHT when the previous scene with Kirk showing it was the middle of the night. Oh well, at least these deeply nuanced characters are free of that nightmare!

Fencer, deeply shaken up by the previous few hours of hell, still has time to make a joke about how nice it is to be wanted for your body. That is a TOTALLY appropriate joke to be making right now. Narrator, your witty response to this? “Yeah.”. ALRIGHTY THEN. Sadly though, the movie isn't over. We see Castillo walk out of the cabin, which they really should have expected because he just got done ranting about how he was immortal. Did they think he was joking? He runs at them, and we have ANOTHER slo-mo fight scene on our hands, this one a sword fight. This one is easily the worst yet, Fencer doing THREE Neo backwards dives and I'm pretty sure two of them were the same shot just repeated.

Castillo's centuries of experience trumps Fencer's, as he ends up stabbing her through the chest. This distraction allows Narrator to run behind him and cut his head off, FINALLY ending this fucking thing. Just kidding! Castillo's body begins to strangle Narrator to death while his head watches and grins wickedly. Fencer, who is not quite dead yet, gets up and curb stomps his head to... death? I guess immortality can be ended by a boot now? Doing this uses up the last of her energy, and she dramatically falls to the ground dead. Oh hey, I guess that puts us full circle where the movie began now because Narrator is the Sole Survivor.

Shortly after this, a helicopter marked with the letters AMS lands near the cabin and several agent-looking figures get out. Narrator emerges from the cabin, Fencer draped around his shoulder and looking very much alive. Oh no, he didn't... One of the agents asks who Narrator is, and he replies Randolph Curien. I bet that's REALLY meaningful if you've played the game, but if you haven't it's just pointless and confusing. Randolph Curien fittingly narrates us out, wondering what he's created now that he's given Fencer the serum and wonders if this is the end... or just the beginning? Unfortunately there's a sequel to this, so we have our bitter, bitter answer.

Cue the credits.

I couldn't leave well enough alone because I clearly hate myself, so I looked up the significance of the last scene. The two agents were Thomas Rogan and “G”of the AMS organization, which was created to deal with zombie outbreaks. Curien is a reference to the villain of the game, Dr. Roy Curien, a mad scientist whose experiments yielded bloodthirsty zombies. So there you have it, ANY connection to the game series all took place in the last minute of the film. That is just about perfect given all the other middle fingers this movie threw at the audience.

This was, quite simply, excruciating to sit through. It starts off as every “group of dumbasses get picked off one by one” movie EVER, until the battle in the graveyard when it completely goes off the rails. The action scenes are so terrible thanks to Boll having no idea how to shoot these kind of scenes whatsoever, so it's a good thing they make up the bulk of the movie! It's one of those where it's hilarious at first, but then after a few minutes pass the stunning realization sinks in that this is what you're doomed to for the rest of the run time. It certainly doesn't help the scenes in-between are packed with “writing” and “acting” that rival the bottom of the barrel. Hell, this shit breaks THROUGH the barrel and starts tunneling to China.

Despite all of this though, the film actually turned a profit. Since Boll was new to the “bad movies for profit game” scheme he was probably shocked, so had to redouble his efforts to make sure he would get it right the next time. His next film, Alone in the Dark managed to squeak out 10 million dollars versus a budget of 20 million. That's better, but surely he could do better? 2005's BloodRayne proved he could, as that made three million dollars up against the 25 million that it cost to make. Now most people would be content with that, but not Boll. His follow up, In the Name of the King, cost 60 million dollars and earned only THREE MILLION. Now that's how you do it, kids!

Normally I'd be salivating at the chance to watch those movies because they must be MAGNFICENTLY bad to purposely alienate audiences to that degree, but even I lack the mental fortitude to do it soon. House of the Dead, which often appears on lists of all time bad movies, is considered one of his BETTER video game adaptions. Let that sink in for a moment, REALLY sink in. Boll made a film inferior to House of the Dead, and not only that, but MULTIPLE ones.  This world is indeed a cold and uncaring place.