Monday, November 22, 2010

HUMAN CENTIPEDE: YUCK!....but in a good way.

I know.  Believe me, I know.  I know I shouldn't like a movie about a mad surgen who sews three people together ATM to form a human centipede for a pet.  What a vile and cruel concept.  This movie should be nothing more than a castaway in a sea of "torture" porn horror titles.  But HUMAN CENTIPEDE stands out from the rest and not just because of its highly unusual concept.  This is a well acted and perfectly shot film.......about ATM.

The movie is about two girls who BLAH BLAH BLAH....Human Centipede.  The first twenty or so minutes of this movie are kind of boring.  Nothing you haven't seen before happens until HC is formed.  Then things get good.  This mad German doctor takes two girls and some Japanese guy and sews them together ATM sharing one digestive track.  You know what that means.  Somebody is going to get doo-doo in their mouth.  What surprised me about this movie is that it didn't revel  in these moments.  In fact there is only one scene that deals with the whole process of feeding the other two parts of the centipede.  Most directors would indulge in the sick factor of a movie like this and kill all entertainment value.  They would show every excrement that comes from a human being and show them wallowing in it to be more hardcore or extreme because that to them is horror.  HUMAN CENTIPEDE is far more tasteful (I am not sure if that is the right word to use but whatever.  I am not a thesaurus) than one would expect.  Unfortunately there is going to be a sequel and you can imagine (if you want) what that one is going to do.  More of the same but more.

The highlight of the film is the mad doctor.  His name is Dr. Something Something played by some guy.  I don't remember (look it up yourselves, folks) but he is great.  He is way over the top and you can't take your eyes off of him.  Thankfully there is a behind the scenes feature that lets you see that he is just a really nice actor and not crazy perv.  He is in constant conflict with his messed up creation.  The Japanese guy is the front of the Human Centipede and he is a great actor too.  He is strong willed and gives the audience somebody to root for.  He is going to be big someday.  You know?  When everyone forgets that this movie ever existed.  He has a great screen presence.  When he dies at the end (Whoops. Spoiler alert!) you can feel the film deflate a little because of his absence.

The conflict between the doctor trying to control his pet and the Human Centipede trying to get away is what separates this film from other "torture" porn titles.  While there are a lot of scenes where people are tied up and saying things like "Why are you doing this?" and "No, please stop!  Why are you doing this?" the movie doesn't make it about that.  The movie is about escape and not people being tied up and cut up for two hours.  The conflict keeps the movie interesting.  Most horror movies are about watching teens die in horrible ways and that's it.

Lets talk "shenanigans".  HC is methodically shot.  You can tell there is time taken to frame scenes right for the best emotional effect.  Unfortunately there wasn't that much time taken to fill up some of the holes in this movie.  When you think about it there are quite a few holes in this movie.  Most of them really aren't that important but a couple are there because of lack of imagination in the script.  For instance the girls have been tied up for awhile on their hospital beds.  The doctor has his own surgery lab down in the basement.  When it comes time to knock everyone out for the procedure one of the girls simply bites off her wrist straps and runs for it.  Why didn't she do that earlier when the doctor wasn't around?  And of course she gets caught because instead of escaping to get help when she had the chance she goes back to try and pull her drugged up friend out of the house.  Stupid.  Also two cops show up at the end and are offered roofied water.  One takes a sip but the smart cop doesn't.  The doctor did the same thing to the girls at the beginning and you see when one girl takes just a sip that it effects her right away.  But these cops leave to get a warrant and when they return suddenly the drug takes effect causing him to get killed.  Dumb.  I think the Human Centipede has magical teleportation powers too.  HC can appear on top of tables or down in the basement with no explanation but later when it comes time to escape they have a hard time going up stairs without bleeding all over the place.  They almost detach for crying out loud.  Gross.

I got to admit it took me a few months just to watch the trailer for this sucker.  I thought this movie was going to be way too disturbing or sick for sick's sake.  Yet I felt compelled to watch it.  It was calling to me over and over again.  I had to watch.  I can't believe I liked it.  The beginning of the film is really slow but that is where all the tension is.  You don't really know how you are going to feel when you finally see the Human Centipede.  But when you see it in all it's glory its no big deal.  Its not a gory film but it is a little uncomfortable to watch at first. The ending was pretty good too but it could have been more original but I don't want to spoil that.  See it for yourself, folks.  See the amazing HUMAN CENTIPEDE!  You know, if you are sick in the head......but in a good way.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I think the funniest thing that happens to a Dolph Lundgren movie on its release day is that it immediately becomes obscure.  Nobody watches his movies anymore nor have they ever in all honesty.  Lundgren is kind of a Hollywood oddity.  He isn't Arnold Swartzenegger or Sly Stallone but he isn't Michael Dudikoff either.  He is somewhere in the middle waiting for that one movie that fully utilizes his presence and strengths.  His strengths of course are that he can kung-fu and pull a trigger.  And he is really tall.  THE KILLIING MACHINE comes close to doing that.  I said close.

What makes THE KILLING MACHINE awesome is Dolph Lundgren.  He fully lives up to the over the top title.  He, in his business suit walking around with all sorts of guns shooting bad guys is why you watch a film like this.  Lundgren is a mean looking badass.  It works.  The movie delivers on the violence.  When guys get shot, blood shoots out of their bodies.  If a guy takes one in the leg it looks like it hurts.  Blood is effectively used.  Bullets look like they puncture more than just the outer clothing.  I don't think it was digital blood either.  Maybe it was.  I couldn't tell.  The action is well filmed and you can always tell what is going on.  This combination of strong badass Lundgren and great bloody action should have propelled this film into immediate cult status.  This film should be bigger than what it is.  This film should have been released in theaters but something got in its way.

What deflates the greatness of THE KILLING MACHINE is the story.  Lundgren plays Icarus a hit man for the Russian mob.  He gets setup (of course) and now he has to protect his family from a bunch of killers that you have no idea who they work for.  Two things ruin this movie.  The first is the overly complicated story.  By the end I still have no idea who set up Lundgren.  I am pretty sure it was the C.I.A. who show up and capture Icarus and his family.  But it could easily be the rival Russian mob who I think Lundgren goes after when the setup occurs.  The C.I.A. tells Icarus to kill the head of the Russian mob (Bo Svenson) and Icarus at first refuses.  That really confused me because I figured Icarus was going to kill him anyway.  Wouldn't you want the C.I.A. to endorse your revenge so that you don't go to jail afterward?  Wouldn't they be helpful getting you the guns you need to take down a heavily protected mob boss?  I don't know.  I just couldn't tell what was going on storywise.  Secondly, did you notice that in my plot description I mentioned the word "family"?  That's right.  The Killing Machine has an ex-wife and a daughter who is about seven.  The best thing that can happen to a family in an action film is that they get gunned down or exploded right away.  This way there aren't any scenes where the The Killing Machine is called "Daddy" over and over again and there is no weird reconciliation with your ex-wife sex scenes.  The plot about Dolph balancing his personal life with his "shooting people in the face" life is out of place in a movie called THE KILLING MACHINE.  Its weird seeing Dolph "act" like a normal person.  These kinds of plots are put into an action film to make the film seem deep and intelligent.  See its smart because they are talking and crying and not blowing up.  Oh, no the Killing Machine missed his daughter's school play!  Who cares? 

Most action movies need to be boiled down to there basics.  Complicated characters and high body counts are what drive action movies into greatness, not complicated stories based on "whodunits" and intrigue.  Especially in revenge movies, villains are nothing more than dominos knocked over in a long line until the final last domino is down.  Everytime a bad guy dies the story takes a step forward.  When you don't know who the villain is you don't know the progress of the story.  Killing bad guys becomes nothing more than a mindless inserted action scene that has no point to the story whatsoever.  That is one reason why I don't care for car chases.

Dolph directed this one and his skills behind the camera are improving.  Slightly.  At least he understands the violence aspect.  THE KILLING MACHINE is probably Lundgren's third best film starring him.  I COME IN PEACE  and THE PUNISHER  are still his best.  This is a good movie and I really enjoyed it despite the family scenes.  Watch it for the violence, folks.  You won't be disappointed in that department.  Now, if you will excuse me, I must leave to take on my WASHING MACHINE!  HA-Ha.........what?