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Saturday, 20 December 2014

Blu-Ray Review - Nekromantik (1988) - Arrow Films

Reviewed by Paul Crowson

Made in 1988, the German extreme horror movie Nekromantik, directed by Jorg Buttgereit, finally gets classified uncut in the UK, and Arrow Films have given it the very special deluxe treatment.

PLOT
Rob is a cleaner who, along with his work colleagues, cleans up after rather awful accidents. A perfect job for Rob as he and his wife/partner are also necrophiles. He collects body parts in jars and, one day, brings home a full corpse for both of them to, ahem, enjoy. After Rob then loses his job, his love life and world begin to collapse around him.

MOVIE
First off, if you are a horror fan and your definition of horror is seeing Jason, Freddy and Chucky running around chasing teens, I warn you now, Nekromantik is certainly NOT of that ilk.
It’s an EXTREME movie, I don’t even know if I can class it as horror. The special effects are great for a low budget movie and are horrific, but Nekromantik seems more like an art house movie, made purely to push boundaries, or, to be more precise, push censorship and people who work at the likes of the BBFC into meltdown. You can see them now with their heads in their hands saying, "cut this, cut this, cut this!" As the world has grown somewhat, so has the relaxation of the BBFC it would seem, hip hip hooray!
Well yes censorship is bad, but then again, in my opinion, so is seeing a rabbit really killed onscreen, for nothing other than a somewhat arty sequence. There is definitely something about Nekromantik, I get why its a cult favourite and I get why people are over the moon its been finally released. I just don’t get everything about it. I think that behind the pretension, there is a movie I could really get behind. A really quite horrific weird, twisted love story.
If you are an extreme fan, as in, the more a movie pushes boundaries, the more you love it, then this movie is for you, and this release will delight you. For general horror/movie fans, it's a curious watch, but, just be advised, your 89 year old Great Aunt won’t be happy if you make her watch it after the Christmas dinner. Hmmmmm or will she? I myself am still pondering on it.
Yeah there are some bits, the animal death being the main one, that I could do without, but the movie is still making me think after it's finished, and that, is always the key.

BLU RAY REVIEW
For this release, Arrow have really gone to town, and I mean gone to town! This is the blu version of champagne and limo style going to town. There is so much on the disc by way of special features, short films, documentaries, trailers, interviews and an audio commentary. If you are in anyway a fan of extreme German horror, or are a Jorg Buttgereit fan, you owe it to yourself to grab a copy of this limited edition set. Everything you need to know is featured. Audio is great, although speaking no German, I read the subtitles. The score was great and so it's a good thing that the soundtrack is also included in the set.
Being a low budget movie, made back in the 80s, the remastering of the blu is very impressive. Obviously don’t expect it to be like todays blockbusters, but Arrow have done a great job here and should get elbow ache from patting themselves on the back.

TECHNICAL SPECS
Release Date - Monday 15th December 2014
Certificate 18
Formats - Blu-ray and DVD
Language - German
Running Time - 71 minutes
Aspect Ratio - 1.33:1
Audio - Stereo
Colour
RRP Digipak £19.99
Blu-ray Cat Number FCD1020

SPECIAL FEATURES
3-DISC DIRECTOR-APPROVED LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS
· High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of three Buttgereit films: Nekromantik (1987), Hot Love (1985) [29 mins] and Horror Heaven (1984) [23 mins]
· Optional English subtitles for all three films
· Limited Edition packaging featuring new artwork by Gilles Vranckx
· Individually-numbered #/3,000 Certificate
· Set of 5 Exclusive Limited Edition Nekromantik “polaroid” postcards
· 27 track Nekromantik soundtrack CD
· Exclusive Limited Edition 100-page book.

DISC 1 [BLU-RAY] & DISC 2 [DVD] – NEKROMANTIK & JÖRG BUTTGEREIT SHORT FILMS
· Nekromantik audio commentary with Jörg Buttgereit and co writer Franz Rodenkirchen
· Hot Love audio commentary with Buttgereit
· Horror Heaven audio commentary with Buttgereit
· Director’s introduction to Nekromantik
· Alternative “Grindhouse Version” of Nekromantik, newly-transferred for this release from the only existing 35mm print [Blu-ray only]
· In Conversation with The Death King – A brand-new 2014 interview with Buttgereit conducted exclusively for this release
· Morbid Fascination: The Nekromantik Legacy – A brand-new 2014 documentary looking at the impact of the film on the horror scene both in the UK and abroad, featuring interviews with genre critic Alan Jones, Marc Morris, producer of Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide Parts 1 & 2, and Buttgereit biographer David Kerekes
· Q&A with Buttgereit recorded at Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts (2014)
· The Making of Nekromantik – A vintage documentary featuring a wealth of behind-the-scenes footage, newly-transferred in HD and viewable with two different audio tracks: an English commentary with Buttgereit, co-author Franz Rodenkirchen and David Kerekes, and a German-language audio track featuring radio interviews with Buttgereit, Rodenkirchen and producer Manfred Jelinski
· Nekromantik Featurette – A look back at the film’s production, featuring interviews with Buttgereit and Jelinski, produced for the film’s 10-year anniversary German VHS release
· Nekromantik Premiere – A short featurette comprised of footage from the film’s premiere in Berlin, January 1988
· “Das Letzte” – A short featurette comprising footage from the 1985 premiere of Hot Love
· Horror Heaven trailer featuring outtakes from the film
· Two Buttgereit-directed music videos: ‘I Can’t Let Go’ by Shock Therapy (1995) and ‘Lemmy, I’m a Feminist’ by Half Girl (2013)
· Complete collection of Buttgereit feature film trailers: Nekromantik, Der Todesking, Nekromantik 2 and Schramm
· Extensive image gallery including behind-the-scenes stills and the rare, surrealist German-language Nekromantik comic by Berlin artist Fil, reproduced in its entirety.

DISC 3 [CD] – NEKROMANTIK SOUNDTRACK: ULTIMATE EDITION – LIMITED EDITION EXCLUSIVE
· 27-track CD featuring the complete Nekromantik soundtrack composed and performed by star Daktari Lorenz and musicians John Boy Walton and Hermann Kopp, plus rare tracks from Hot Love.

100-PAGE BOOK – ‘ROMANCE IS DEAD’ – LIMITED EDITION EXCLUSIVE
· Exclusive perfect-bound book featuring a new article on Nekromantik from critic Graham Rae, alongside pieces from writers David Kerekes (Sex Murder Art: The Films of Jörg Buttgereit), Kier-La Janisse (House of Psychotic Women), Linnie Blake (The Wounds of Nations) and an archive interview with real-life necrophile Karen Greenlee, all illustrated with new artwork and original archive stills.

Written by Paul Crowson

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Blu-Ray Review - The Killers (1946) - Arrow Films

Reviewed by Paul Crowson

After their great blu-ray of the 1964 remake of The Killers earlier in the year, Arrow Films are releasing the 1946 film noir original.

PLOT
After two hitmen find and kill The Swede, played by Burt Lancaster, an insurance investigator Jim Reardon (Edmond O’Brien) tries to find out more about him. Who was The Swede, why did he leave his money to a cleaner and, more importantly, why did he want to be caught by the killers and not run. Kitty Collins, the femme fatale of this film noir is played by Ava Gardner.

MOVIE
If you are a fan of film noir or looking for a movie that clearly shows what a film noir is then this is definitely one to watch. A movie like this, with a lot of flashbacks, can usually feel hit or miss, but The Killers clearly hits the mark and never muddles the storyline. We are carried through the story by Reardon. We learn what he learns, as every stone is unturned, as every film noir double cross is told.
Richard Siodmak directs a fantastic script by Anthony Veiller, based on the story by Ernest Hemingway. The script has some of the very best dialogue, the opening scene in the diner especially. Lancaster as the mysterious Swede also makes a great fallen hero with Gardner sizzling as the femme fatale our hero becomes besotted with.
You can see, while watching the movie, that maybe Tarantino is a fan.
I watched the fantastic Arrow release of the remake earlier in the year and it's a great movie but, for my taste, the original is the better movie.
It really is a fantastic film and very worthy of your time. It does the one thing every movie should do, it keeps you engaged, entertained and wondering what is going to happen next. In fact, more happens in the movie than most movies nowadays can only dream of.

BLU RAY REVIEW
For a film made in 1946, Arrow have done quite an incredible job on this edition. It looks and sounds fantastic. I admit it's a first time watch for myself, but can say, I’m sure its never been better seen. It's presented in it’s original frame and, most importantly for a film noir, the shadows are dark. The movie was restored from the original Universal elements.
Arrow have once again proved that when it comes to delivering the goods, they more than succeed. They clearly have a love for their product and will only give us the very best.
Yet again, Arrow also deliver on the special features. For a movie that is now 68 years old, there is a wealth of supplementary material, with the cream of the crop being a very interesting analysis by film noir expert Frank Krutnik.

TECHNICAL SPECS 
Region B
Run Time 103mins
Languge: English
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating PG
Aspect Ratio 1.37:1
Audio 1.0
Black and White

SPECIAL FEATURES HD
Newly restored High Definition (1080p) presentation of the feature, transferred from original film elements by Universal
Original uncompressed PCM mono 1.0 audio
Isolated Music & Effects soundtrack to highlight Miklós Rózsa’s famous score
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
Frank Krutnik on The Killers, a video piece by the author of In a Lonely Street, which introduces the film and offers a detailed commentary on four key scenes
Heroic Fatalism, a video essay adapted from Philip Booth’s comparative study of multiple versions of The Killers (Hemingway, Siodmak, Tarkovsky, Siegel)
Three archive radio pieces inspired by The Killers:
The 1949 Screen Director’s Playhouse adaptation with Burt Lancaster and Shelley Winters;
A 1946 Jack Benny spoof;
The 1958 Suspense episode ‘Two for the Road’ which reunited original killers William Conrad and Charles McGraw
Stills and posters gallery
Trailers for The Killers, Brute Force, The Naked City and Rififi
Reversible sleeve featuring one of the original posters and newly commissioned artwork by Jay Shaw
Collector’s booklet containing new writing by Sergio Angelini and archive interviews with director Robert Siodmak, producer Mark Hellinger and cinematographer Woody Bredell, illustrated with original production stills

Written by Paul Crowson

Friday, 24 October 2014

Listen Up Philip

The above retro-fonted, artfully faded but otherwise dull poster should tell you just about all you need to know about Listen Up Philip. If you had it in your hand while listening to nondescript dinner party jazz and waved it around really close to your eye then the comparison to the actual film would be complete.
Moody
It's at this point in the review where normally there'd be recap of the plot. The trouble is the plot is nonexistent, as is the character arc for the titular Philip, a burgeoning arrogant author with delusions of importance, played with usual baggy eyed, hirsute and hipster aplomb by Jason Schwartzman. Other nonexistent things include use of a tripod, empathy for anyone and a decent reason for the always wonderful Jonathan Pryce, playing an older, equally arrogant and pompous writer, to waste one of his best performances in years on this very disappointing, semi-naval gazing load of old crap.
Elisabeth Moss at least gets the thankless task of going from a quiet, mumbly, nonchalant, sour faced photographer girlfriend character, without a personality, to an equally quiet and mumbly but sometimes conflicted and occasionally smiley photographer ex girlfriend, fulfilling the bare minimal requirements for a character arc in a film since the alien in Alien.
To clarify the comments at the top of this review, the entire film is shot in a sort of autumnal brown filter the DP no doubt saw in an 80s Woody Allen movie, filmed entirely in erratic and, quite frankly lazy handheld and all at a distance about an inch and a half away from the actors faces. This, I am sure, was intended to get the obvious reaction from the audience of them screaming "keep the cocking camera still and for bastard's sake please stand the hell back!" I imagine that one of the oh-so-clever layers this film clearly thinks it has is one of audience frustration and participation.
Wes Anderson called he wants his titling idea back!
Occasionally and to fill in the irritating absence of dialogue, a Royal Tenenbaums style voice over would fill in vast swathes of what the characters were meant to be feeling. This was helpful because damned if I would've known what was going on half the time from the dialogue and the facial expressions alone. As the camera never stopped buzzing about the faces of the actors like an annoying wasp, we never got to get an establishing shot of where any of this was taking place or what the people's spacial relationship was to anybody at any point. While the voice over would sometimes fill in the blanks, there were parts that it and the dialogue just simply forgot to explain. This gave you the enjoyable, Where's Waldo, type task of guessing who people are, what they were doing and, most commonly, why.
This whole, almost 2hr long, training video to over come motion sickness, was scored with repetitive and endless jazz that seemed to drift under every scene to the point where tuning it out became relatively easy. I would occasionally think, as I chewed my fingers down to the bone in sheer mind numbing frustration and/or boredom, 'I wonder if the jazz is still going on?' and sure enough, if I retuned my ears to it's bland drone, there it was, ever present making the whole thing feel like one of those 'quit smoking' hypnotist videos that were popular in the 90s.
There's utterly punchable and then there's this guy
As if all of this technically incompetent and excessively clichéd filmmaking wasn't bad enough every single main, speaking character in the film seemed thoroughly unlikeable, self involved, arrogant, self pitying, whiny, incompetent, pompous and generally unfulfilled. As I haven't really clarified let me explain that two of the characters in this film, Schwartzman and Pryce, are respected, published authors and lecturers and Elizabeth Moss plays a photographer for which only good things happen. I am not sure what tweed jacketed, three day bearded, Brooklyn stoop this achingly hip director has no doubt been hanging out on but there's been a recession going on and a dearth of jobs around the place lately; why he thinks any of us should give two shakes of a lamb's penis what these wealthy upper middle class, bickering twats are up to, I have no idea.
Yes, she's French and depressed, that's art right? I am not kidding they even reference Mon Oncle in a scene!
When the film began, the cod Wes Anderson like attempts at brevity in the script and the enjoyable performances from Schwartzman and Pryce in particular, were enough to get me to keep watching. There is some creativity in the language patterns employed and some genuine, interesting humour in the interactions that I could see, for a moment, why the actors involved took the project on. There was also a short scene near the beginning where an actor acquaintance of mine from New York, Steven Boyer, showed up for an excellent, surprise appearance. However when it got to the 40 minute mark, nothing was happening and I still had over an hour to go, it became very painful to carry on and just 'eyes front/grit teeth' get to the end.
I don't remember this character in the film at all.
I recently saw St.Vincent with Bill Murray, another, so-called, indie dramedy that went absolutely nowhere. It was humorous enough, charming enough in places and acted with an eye on the Oscar but the script was all over the place. It was written like a series of rambling vignettes that, to add insult to injury, tacked on an utterly generic, implausible and 'all past transgressions forgiven' type ending we've seen a bazillion times. While I would never suggest another film take this sort of approach, I have to say, what could've possibly saved Listen Up Philip from descending into tedious masturbation would have been some sort of resolutions to the tenuous and irrelevant stories it deemed to set up. Oh and voice over man filling in the uninspiring rest of the characters lives at the end doesn't cut it!

The irony to end all hipster, soul patch stroking, jaunty hat wearing irony was Philip never did seem to ever listen up. Not that anyone told him anything worth listening to but, you know, I am sure that I just didn't understand the true deepness of the film. I am almost certain that somewhere the director, Alex Ross Perry, is laughing with some guy called Chad, who's probably wearing a frayed cotton scarf, retro pumps and has a big floppy fringe about how this isn't a film for the critics but for the people who brazenly and seemingly without any self awareness, call themselves artists loudly in restaurants that only serve quiche.

2 out of 5

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The Movies of John Carpenter

From guest blogger Brandon Engel 

John Carpenter is often referred to as the Master of Horror, with many of his most popular films, such as Halloween, The Thing, and The Fog, remaining present in the mainstream eye today. His contribution to the film world has been legendary, a point proven when he was recently interviewed for Robert Rodriguez’s The Director’s Chair on the El Rey Network to discuss his impact on the slasher and sci-fi genres, as well as his influence on fellow filmmakers. Though many filmgoers have enjoyed Carpenter’s biggest hits, some readers may not realize that Carpenter has contributed much more to the film industry than a few horror films, including many bizarre horror and sci-fi genre films. A few of these films have reached cult status, but there are still plenty which deserve increased recognition and remain underrated today:

Dark Star: An interesting and somewhat humorous film following a team of astronauts who are sent to space to help in colonizing other planets. Along the way, the astronauts are faced with alien life forms that resemble beach balls, "god like" machinery with a conscious, and space junk. The astronauts face such a large number challenges on their journey that even their own minds become an obstacle to overcome.
Assault on Precinct 13: One of Carpenter's earlier releases, this film centers on a group of police officers who find themselves trapped in their own precinct building, surrounded by gang members who are willing to do anything to extract revenge.
Escape From New York: This film centers around a convicted bank robber who is sent to rescue the president from New York, which has become a maximum security for citizens and criminals alike. Will he save the president in time before the world is overtaken and run as a totalitarian society?
Starman: An original film created by John Carpenter focusing on an alien who has taken the shape of a woman's deceased husband. As the woman, Jenny, begins a romantic affair with the alien in disguise, her world is turned upside down. This movie is not considered a horror film, but instead falls within the romance, sci-fi and mystery genres.
Prince of Darkness: This 1987 classic from Carpenter indulges viewers in a mix of both horror and sci-fi as one priest begins to search for another priest who has subsequently gone missing. When he discovers a vat of unidentifiable green goo within the church, a team of graduate physics students are called in to help in solving the mystery. Little do they know that something even more sinister and evil lurks within the church walls.
They Live: A 1988 film from Carpenter that brings viewers into a totalitarian state of government. Nada is out in the city one afternoon when he stumbles upon a deserted pair of sunglasses. Curious, he begins wearing them, only to discover there is an entirely unseen world beyond his – and it's horrific. When wearing the glasses, Nada discovers that the human race is being overtaken by an alien race, subduing humans and causing them to "obey" with the use of subliminal messages.
In The Mouth of Madness: This film centers on a couple who find themselves in a deserted town after a boat of theirs crashes. The man, John Trent, an investigative journalist, also discovers a well-known horror author has also gone missing from the location. In attempt to find the missing author, John also stumbles upon more evil than he could have ever imagined.

John Carpenter is still considered one of Hollywood’s most talented directors, despite only making one film in the last 13 years (The Ward), it has hardly diminished his continued impact and influence across the film world. A resurgence of his work might in fact be just what the horror and sci-fi world is in need of. Luckily for horror and sci-fi lovers, Carpenter no doubt greatly affected the many filmmakers who viewed his films in their youth, and so will continue being a much homaged director for years to come.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Grindhouse Sundays - American Muscle and Bounty Killer

I am not sure if this will become a regular spot on the review site or not but as I took it upon myself to watch two modern, Grindhouse style, B-movies this afternoon I thought, why not.

AMERICAN MUSCLE (2014)
First up is American Muscle. It was released September 30th in the States and is available on DVD, Blu Ray and On Demand. It is the directorial debut of editor Ravi Dahr and is the fifth produced feature length script of Canadian screenwriter, actor, director, producer and friend of The Diner, John Fallon.
In typical, stripped down, b-movie fashion the plot is simple enough. John Falcon played by Nick Principe (named, coincidentally enough before John Fallon was hired to write the screenplay) has done 10 years in prison after being double crossed and left for dead at the scene of a crime. A crime organised by his dealer brother Sam Falcon, played by Todd Farmer, that he was only participating in to grab some fast cash and escape the life with his wife Darling, played by Robin Sydney.
The story starts on his last day in prison and tells of his hunting down and annihilating, in typical brutal fashion, any and all people even remotely, tangentially involved in his incarceration. We see the events that lead to him being banged up in various flashbacks scattered throughout the film.
There are desert roads, fast cars, beautiful, often naked women, shotguns, fist fights, bloodshed, deaths, swearing and tattoos. In its bones it's a Roger Corman, low grade 70s revenge, road movie dragged kicking and screaming into 2014 with all the exploitive permissiveness we now enjoy.
Where it gets interesting is the way Ravi Dahr chooses to film and edit it. A lot of it reminded me of Oliver Stone's more excessive, kinetic and stylised work in films such as Natural Born Killers and U Turn. The slick, hyper real photography and the montage, jump cut editing style is unusual, more beautiful than you'd expect from the subject matter and mostly successful, in as much as it never gets 'music video' annoying.
While John Fallon's script does have some good one liners and there is obviously some truly ludicrous, exploitation moments in it, the film, at times, comes off as serious as a heart attack. It may be the way it was shot, it may be the way it was acted or it could be that the script dares to make the audience genuinely sympathise and empathise with the lead character. Despite John Falcon being a muscular, tattooed, porn tash wearing giant of a man who dispatches people with monosyllabic, gruff whimsy and thinks casual adultery is fine as long as it's 'from behind', his mission, at its heart, is one of saving the women he dearly loves, who is also less than faithful or pleasant, and getting the fuck out of dodge. It's almost Shakespearean in its unabashed romanticism isn't it?
Overall I enjoyed it. I thought it was an interestingly shot, perfectly well acted, low budget, exploitation, revenge road movie.
The criticisms I would have would be that, on occasion the editing goes a little too manic, that the film maybe took itself a little seriously and that CGI bullet hits and blood spurts, while cheaper and safer than the old traditional squibs, should be used sparingly and preferably not up close. The decision to have several of them hit the camera lens seemed one layer of 'style' too much. Although there is one scene, right at the end, where it is effective, overall it's a silly, 'seemed cool in the edit suite' idea that adds little to the film.
Anyone though, as I have seen online, criticising this film's misogyny, violence, acting or plot points needs to realise what the exploitation/B-Movie/Grindhouse genre is and shut up. I have also heard that this film is 'trying too hard' and on that front I would also disagree. You can tell when a film is trying too hard because it keeps winking at the audience to get validation that everything they are doing, while gross, is all fine and in the spirit of the thing, whereas American Muscle doesn't bother with that for one second. It simply doesn't give a shit what you think. It sets up its situation and plays it out to its logical, tragic and gruesome conclusion.
3 out of 5

BOUNTY KILLER (2013)
Bounty Killer is far more cartoony and over the top than American Muscle and it's hardly surprising as it is based on a graphic novel, directed by Henry Saine, a graphic artist and written by his cousin Jason Dodson. In fact it may be its 'sense of humour' or 'goofiness' that could be its weakest point but more of that later.
The film is set in a future where government has been destroyed by the corporations. The corporations fought a war against each other, decimating most heavily urban environments to rubble. Slowly regular folk have fought back across the wastelands, forming a panel of nine judges who despatch celebrity 'Bounty Killers' to scour the land looking for white collars (corporate types, in this world all indicated by wearing yellow ties) to kill horribly. Then there's the gypsies who, seemingly, don't care about anyone.
Two such bounty killers are The Drifter played by Brit Matthew Marsden (Rambo, DOA) and Mary Death played by relative newcomer Christian Pitre, who oddly acts Marsden off the screen and back again. Then there's the gun caddy Jake LeMans played by Barak Hardley who, more so even than Marsden, made me question his casting several times.
Once we are sufficiently introduced to our main players a more intricate plot emerges that basically serves to make our protagonists race through gypsy camps and radiated badlands to the hidden city where the judges live to figure the whole sorry thing out.
The film has a very nicely realised, desolate, fairly Mad Maxian, slightly stereotypical post-apocalyptic world design to it which, along with the violence and bloodletting, is pleasingly done for real as and where it can be. When there are CGI landscapes or cities they have the intelligence to keep it in the background, the dark or the distance.
It is this design, the plot and the anti-corporate, social commentary (or should that be catharsis) that elevate this film above just a generic, meandering, post apocalyptic, graphic novel inspired case of style over substance.
Sadly where it falls down is in its acting and its attitude. There is a much better film to be made with these elements that isn't so loose, attempting to be humorous and so knowingly a silly grindhouse film. The ideas and plot are almost too good for a throw away B Movie. Their, self confessed, inspiration being the original Death Race 2000 makes sense as it's also a film that doesn't quite work despite the best intentions. However that Bounty Killer got made at all is excellent and please don't think I am disparaging it too much, just that there's always a desire for a film with this cool a backbone to, overall, be bit stronger.
The only other let down is, sadly, the acting. Apart from some delightful cameos from folks as diverse as Kevin McNally, Gary Busey, Beverly D'Angelo and Abraham Benrubi, the main pairing of Marsden and Hardley, that we are meant to be rooting for, is uninspiring at best. Marsden isn't Mad Max, tough guy material at all and no amount of stubble, dusty leathers and guns will convince me otherwise and as for Hardley well his inept, speechifying, panicky sidekick schtick is irritating from the get go and doesn't let up. His one humorous scene was with a mug of moonshine and apart from that he was mostly awful. It's sad that he's the audience surrogate and that so much of the questioning and resolving dialogue is delivered through him.
Christian Pitre though is an absolute wonder and I don't just mean drop dead gorgeous, which she is but I mean in conveying her character. She is the most stylised and superhero like of all the characters and yet you believe her and love to watch her slay the bad guys, over power and dominate the good guys and ride off into the sunset.
The action, stunts, weapon work and explosions are pleasing enough. To be really awesome you would need some actual action guys in there like a Scott Adkins or at least a decent choreographer but working with what they have and a few camera tricks, they pull of some pretty enjoyable and gory, bullet flying, set pieces. There's one in particular at the end of the film which is both unexpected, very very cool and pretty damn funny.
It's definitely worth a watch and I would recommend it if you are an action fan, a post apocalyptic road trip fan or a comic book fan.
3.5 out of 5

All in all as a double bill it was pretty strong. It had similar themes of revenge, fast cars and bloodshed in the desert but two completely different tones. It definitely worked watching the serious movie first and the silly movie second. If you can find them streaming or, indeed, if you want to pick up some copies, I can definitely recommend this as a Sunday afternoon's grindhouse viewing.
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