So, you’ve decided to become a time traveller…

Why?

Surely not?

Erm, okay. Are you sure? Why can’t you destroy it in your own time? Can’t be bothered? *sigh* “It’s complicated”. Yes, time travel is complicated and not something to be pissed around with. Get it wrong and you might as well drop a toaster into your bath or chew through a live electricity cable wearing a metal brace.

Why?

WHAT?

…right?

Time travel is a useful tool. Whether you want to use it to alter the past, present, future, all of these, destroy something, steal something, kill somebody or create a paradox there is one thing that you’re going to do: create a paradox. And a mess. And almost certainly, abject confusion. It really is a rocky road to travel down and should only be considered as a last resort. An absolute last resort. You have to be sure that you have exhausted all possibilities of achieving your goal without the need for time travel. Unless you’re just a time tourist, in which case, get fucked loser. No one likes a time tourist – this isn’t some goddamn game. It’s amateurs like you that screw it up for the rest of us.

Motivation

Why are you doing this? Really think about this. This is your last chance to turn around, walk away from your underground megalomaniac science lab/sports car or wherever it is that you’re attacking to punch through the arsehole of time with and go and do something less boring instead. Time travel isn’t for the faint-hearted. In fact, you really need balls of steel (or coltan-titanium alloy if you happen to be a T-800). Motivation is often boiled down to the following:

1. Kill someone in the past to stop someone in the future from being born
2. Stop a really bad thing happening in the past. Usually some sort of apocalypse.
3. Totally by accident
4. Tourism
5. To cause some shit to go down in the future
6. Shits and giggles
7. Primer
8. So, you’ve literally just decided to become a time traveller?
9. Editing a 15 second old Tweet because of a fucking typo

I mean, it really doesn’t matter what your motivation actually is. You’re going to fucking travel through time. Unless you believe that time is a construct and it’s all happening at once, in some sort of circle and that we’re all just threads on the ragged noose of the death sentence of time. Still…

Yeah science, bitch

How?
No, I mean it. How?
What is your method of time travel? You’re not just going to walk through some convenient backstreet half-baked ramshackle time tunnel, are you? ’cause they’re few and far between.

Think this through. What is your mode and method of time travel? Are you the architect of this journey through time or are you the test subject for some science project that started to get out of hand when you woke up with the faint whiff of chloroform around your nostrils? Because you’re pretty screwed if it’s the latter in fairness.

Now, is it some sort of machine which for some reason will only transport living tissue meaning that you are left with a “hilarious” situation of trying to obtain clothing? I mean, honestly, someone is totally dicking around here. If you ever find yourself in this situation with some scientist trying to tell you that they have built this hugely complex piece of machinery that can transport matter through time but for some inexplicable reason they just can’t calibrate it to also take your fucking clothes, then tell them to stop fucking around and learn the maths needed to do it. It’s like an portrait artist who can’t do noses – plain and sloppy.

Or is it some car which will only travel through time at a certain speed? This is pretty important, because the car here is a critical component of keeping your ID intact when you arrive “Back in the Past”. I mean, you wouldn’t want to arrive there and everyone has some preconceived notion that you’re a dick because you’re driving a certain type of car. Or because it’s a complete anachronism. Or because your car is so shit that you can’t even reach the crucial speed.

It could be that you’re travelling through a rip in the space-time continuum, or are stuck in a time loop. We’ll deal with those later. Much later. Maybe never, or they’ve already been done in another timeline. Who knows? You certainly won’t if you’re suddenly wrenched from one place in time to another with very little warning or just keep living the same day, over and over.

You could just climb into a fucking box. Thanks Primer. I mean, way to go so lo-fi that I could literally order something online and it’ll arrive yesterday. Oh, Primer…..

What exit plan?

You don’t have one?
Okay, so this is your one way trip into the past or future and you’re definitely not going back. Your actions in the future are of no one’s fucking concern in the past, but if you go back in time you are going to fuck up your own timeline, other timelines, timelines that you never knew existed, or, pretty much everything you possibly can. You could even fuck yourself out of existence, both physically and literally. And then who did everything? I mean, didya think about that? Really?

But if you do want to go back, then the above also applies. This is time travel, not a rail replacement bus service. Which is kind of like time travel, but only in terms of special relativity whereby the time inside the bus is much greater than the time outside the bus.

Your means of return might be the same route that you travelled through time initially, and you might need to seek fuel. Which could be a little tricky for those longs trips back in time to a land before time. Or, if you’re a cyborg killing machine from the future your programmed intention might simply be to do the shit you came back to do and then just shutdown and wait. Or self destruct….

Oh, wait, you didn’t think about that when they told you they were putting a tracking device in you head, did you? Noooo, that was the last thought that went into your head as they attached a little bomb to your cerebral cortex which will blink you out of existence in a mere nanosecond. Yeah, don’t let the bastards go near your fucking brain.

Or perhaps you have to complete a specific task that corrects history from going down the wrong path, perhaps at an individual level or a national/global level. “Sam…it looks like you’ve leapt into Donald Trump.” “Oh boy. Oh fuck”. SEASON ENDS.

Perhaps your exit plan is to dispose of all the fucking duplicates that you created of yourself. Thanks Primer.

So, you think you’ve created a paradox

OF COURSE YOU FUCKING HAVE. You can’t correct it, and you’ll only make it worse. What’s that you say, you’ll go back further in time and correct the paradox that you’ve just created….OH LOOK, YOU’VE JUST GONE AND CREATED ANOTHER ONE DIPSHIT! Cause and fucking effect: did no one teach you that at time travel school? What do you mean “I didn’t go to time travel school”? This is elementary shit, it really is.

Don’t touch anything, don’t speak to anyone, don’t kill anyone, don’t fuck anyone, don’t leave anything behind.

Oh look, those bastard time tourists were right all along. And no one fucking likes a time tourist because they’re oh so perfect and never do anything wrong.

But we’re the bad guys

Oh, that’s okay then. Just go ahead and fuck everything up. Be our guests. It’s not like there aren’t millions of timelines that fragment with every single action and decision. It’s not like you’re going to shit over ever single timeline and possibility, is it? You just don’t have the time to do all that. Right? Unless this really is the Darkest Timeline. In which case, we’re all doomed.

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Posted in Sci-fi, Time Travel | Leave a comment

Mom and Dad (2017)

Dir: Brian Taylor
Starring: Nic Cage (Rage Mode), Selma Blair

In an alternate reality, every Nic Cage film is an event film. Like, an EVENT. I mean, not like Gary Busey whirling in a tornado and beating the living shit out of it event, but more like an event where Nic Cage is digging a random hole in some unchartered territory, climbs down said hole, opens up a casket and finds Nic Cage digging a random hole in some unchartered territory, climbing down said hole where he opens up a casket and finds Nic Cage kicking the shit out of Gary Busey.

LIke waiting for a Busey and then three come along at once

That kind of event. Once in a lifetime, but really maybe four or five times a year, with varying degrees of quality.

That all said, this is a vast improvement on the last collaboration between Brian Taylor and Nic Cage (Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance). I mean, that’s not hard at all.

I’m going to say it right now though, Mark Neveldine was likely bringing Brian Taylor down. The Crank films were fun modern exploitation flicks, but would they really be remembered if it wasn’t for Jason Statham? What if Chev Chelios was played by Danny Dyer? I’m not going there, that’s a dark path and I’m treading water in a narrow well of a metaphor that I lost track of before I even started it.

Gamer can fuck off. Clearly.

But Happy is an absolute joy and that is down to Brian Taylor. It’s a TV series which plays on the gratuitous style from his previous work, but is also something which contains itself without fucking itself over in a wave of self-mutilation. I guess I’m trying to say it’s great and that you should watch it.

Okay, so back to Mom and Dad. It’s great, of course. And I really could leave it at that. It wouldn’t be fair though. Because this is one hell of a fucking great film.

From the 70s style opening credits, to the implications of the brutally sinister ending, this film shoots for the moon and totally keeps it in orbit. It’s the most primal of concepts – parents driven to murder their own children by the sheer fear that they’re in danger from other parents.

In the brisk opening 40 minutes, it develops like the classic zombie and alien invasion films. There’s no surprises here, you know exactly what is going on. And you are literally waiting for Cage to lose his shit in a big way. He loses it several times.

It’s a surprisingly adept genre film with it’s own rapidly beating heart. The first half is the set up and the drive to make it an insular family driven film. The pivot point is set up, and the film just switches from the big scale to the small scale.

And this is of course where Nic Cage absolutely loses his shit and smears it on the walls. Not in some kind of dirty protest, but in an Alpha Male in a child killing Armageddon kind of way. It’s obviously beautiful to behold. He’s not phoning this role in, he’s taking it seriously, right from the first cold hard Paddington stare at his son in the opening few minutes, right through to the ending where he’s….fuck off, I’m not spoiling it.

Oh, go on, only a bit. Nic Cage smashes up a pool table to the Okey Cokey. Yeah, that level of crazy.

Just watch it. It’s simply hilarious, and of course, highly irreverent and exploitative. And as for Lance Henriksen’s cameo, you will love it.

Score: 8/10

Cage Rage Factor: 9/10

Posted in Cage, Comedy | 1 Comment

Geostorm (2017)

Dir: Dean Devlin
Starring: SPARTA!
Words: Fumbfilms
Music: Trad

O Geostorm! O Geostorm!
It’s Gerard Butler here to stop the fuss
There is no way that this won’t be shite
But please oh Gerard don’t prove me right!
O Geostorm! O Geostorm!
It’s Gerard Butler here to stop the fuss

O Geostorm! O Geostorm!
Will you be a guilty pleasure?
No, no….I think I’m right
Oh Gerard, please get in a fight…
O Geostorm! O Geostorm!
Please just be a guilty pleasure…

O Geostorm! O Geostorm!
Half an hour in, I’m already bored
You don’t excite, your action’s flat
You’re pulling clichés from a hat
O Geostorm! O Geostorm!
One hour later, yes, I’m still bored

O Geostorm! O Geostorm!
Gerard Butler has saved the day
But he can’t save this pitiful mess
That’s no surprise, but then I digress
O Geostorm! O Geostorm!
Gerard Butler, I’ll make you pay

O Geostorm! O Geostorm!
You know, your concept was pretty good
But what you did was really daft
You’ve made a film that’s worse than Shaft
O Geostorm! O Geostorm!
For Gerard Butler, another dud

Posted in Conspiracy, Space, SPARTA!, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Terminator Genisys (2015)

Directed by: Alan Taylor
Starring: Arnie, a pair of Clarkes, Jai Courtenay and a very frustrated JK Simmons

Terminator Genisys is not a terrible film. It’s also not a particularly good film. Which is a shame, because this has now probably killed off the franchise now. Well, that is until Skydance Productions realise the rights are expiring and rush out another poor effort.

Time travel films are one of five things:

1. Ridiculously simple – just time travel from one timeline to another (original Terminator)
2. Simple – creative use of minor aspects of timelines/paradoxes (Back to the Future)
3. Complex – not muddled and uses timelines/paradoxes logically (Timecrimes)
4. Unnecessarily complex – all over the show with timelines/paradoxes, mostly poorly written (most stuff)
5. Primer

Needless to say, this falls firmly into category 4 and chokes a franchise with essentially treating this as a retread of the original film crossed with the excellent TV Show The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Once you realise that it’s not a remake, it should be time to actually propel the story forward. Instead, it goes down the action tent-pole route of blowing shit up with a series of what are essentially “boss-fights” whilst the story depressingly catches up with it and takes a massive dump on the whole franchise. It’s one of those films where you cannot judge it on its own merits because it is clearly trying to be part of franchise canon. As a time-travel action film, it’s just about passable. Decent action etc.

But, as a Terminator film, it brings absolutely nothing new to the table – and this is simply because it refuses to leave the stories of the Connors and Reese as completed. For all its faults, at least Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines had a different angle when it came to who we met in the past. And again, Terminator Salvation kept everything in the future so as not to retread old ground. It really is just is rehash of the previous Sarah Connor focused material.

There are some neat ideas in there and the Genisys idea itself was one of them. It’s certainly not original, but had there been more focus on this then it could have had an element of social commentary about social media and inter-connectivity without even moralising over it. Yes, basically, it could have been a Black Mirror episode with Terminators. But no, its the Connors & Reese and a few new Terminator models – including one that seems to age.

It’s all a big mess, with John Connor turned into a Skynet slave Terminator in some attempt to bring a new angle to the franchise. It would have been so easy to take the Genisys idea and still produce an action tent-pole. Instead, it was a bunch of muddled ideas, too much time travel, the same old characters and all in all, a complete mess. Easily the worst film in the franchise.

Just leave the Connors alone now.

Overall: 4/10

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Battleship (2012)

Directed by: Peter Berg
Starring: Him from that thing, Alexander Skarsgård, Rhianna, Rob Roy

There are clearly three camps when it comes to making films from toys/games:

Camp 1: Toys (Lego, Transformers, My Little Pony)
Camp 2: Board Games (Clue)
Camp 3: Computer games (Let’s not go there)

Battleship is so loosely based on the game that it barely belongs in Camp 2, but let’s fucking put it there to finish off this clumsy opening to a film that barely deserves any words written about it.

When you think about the game Battleship, the first thing that would come to mind when hearing that a film is being made about it would be a tense sea battle set during a war. The last thing that you would think about is it being an alien invasion film. Okay, perhaps that wouldn’t be the last thing and maybe kamikaze puppies riding flying unicorns into narwhal ships piloted by kittens might ACTUALLY be the last thing you’d think of, but really, I know that this is “loosely” based on the game but I wouldn’t have thought of it unless a joint effort between Taito and Hasbro had been announced called “Battleship vs Space Invaders”.

Because this is EXACTLY that fucking film. And it could have been an absolute blast had it been done right.

Sadly, for such an expensive tentpole of a film, it seriously lacks the Viagra it needs to avoid it becoming a long drawn out non-penetrative tantric journey to a disappointing climax. [end: sex metaphor]

In general, Peter Berg has a pretty decent track record as a director, despite not actually directing a true classic – Friday Night Lights is probably his most well known work. He actually walked away from Dune to direct this, so perhaps we have something to be thankful for because that would almost certainly have been an utter disaster. Still, Battleship does seem out of place for him when compared to his other films.

Hasbro obviously misjudged the popularity if the risible but hugely profitable Transformers films. I half believe that they have warehouses full of unsold Travel Battleship that they would hope to shift with a post film popularity surge.

Obviously, that never happened as this flopped and basically sunk without trace. And it’s easy to see why when watching it on the small screen. It tries so hard to be a character driven film at times, that when the action scenes do come, you’re barely woken from the comatose state you’ve been in. Yes, great, they’re nice visual FX, but come the fuck on, did these aliens seriously come here to play some fucking game?

The concept of some of the world’s navies convening in the Pacific for some war games is quickly discarded as soon as the aliens plummet to Earth. It is also the same point that any chance of credibility goes. What follows once the 45 minutes are done is just a loud 90 minutes of explosions and splashes with the odd grunted line.

OF COURSE THEY’RE GOING TO WIN! Of course they’re going to beat a vastly superior pre-invasion force that have travelled across the stars with some contrived method to beat their defences. Because America, fuck yeah!

That’s it basically. A film that cost over $200m to make that brought in a little over $300 and probably more in vain attempt to market it. At the very least, they could have made it fun, but it wasn’t. It was painfully turgid and felt like what I would imagine falling asleep on a train toilet whilst constipated would feel like. Really, they should have gone with the kamikaze puppies idea.

But, as they didn’t, I now own the rights – and even if Roger Corman buys them from me, it would still be better than this utter shite.

2/10

Posted in Aliens, Disaster, End of the World, Space | Leave a comment

London Has Fallen (2016)

Directed by: A man directing carnage via semaphore & interpretive dance
Starring: SPARTA!, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman and the 2016 champions of the Terrorist Glee Club

Straight off the bat, this is not the worst film ever made. It’s bad, oh so bad, but it’s not even SPARTA’s worst film. Whilst Law Abiding Citizen spunks its premise all over the wall of abject misery, London has Fallen falls at the first hurdle, gets up, hits the next one, falls down a pit, climbs out and somehow manages to stumble over the finish line having delivered what it set out to do: be a functional sequel to Olympus Has Fallen and provide a few actors with a contractually obligated paycheck.

Apart from SPARTA! – this kind of shit is his bread and butter. When a film has the SPARTA mark of quality, you know what you’re getting into. He’s basically the gruff Scot to Jason Statham’s faux cheeky Cockney.

Basically, the whole film is just one big revenge flick played out on a grand scale in London, which destroys great chunks of London and obviously has a high ranking British guy as an insider that assisted the terrorists (who were apparently from “Fuckheadistan” according to SPARTA’s character). Because of course.

Over the years, we’ve become accustomed to action stars being indestructible, shaking off bullet wounds like it’s a mere scratch, surviving falls from heights without a broken limb. There’s no difference here, except whereas the action films of the 80s or 90s much of this was made semi-believable because of carefully choreographed action set pieces played out for reals, this is just another in a long line of tiresome action scenes where any sense of danger is eradicated in favour of visual FX. So, when SPARTA! and President Eckhart survive what is shown to be an absolutely catastrophic helicopter crash, you shrug it off just like they do as they run away from the scene as if they crash a helicopter a day.

This kind of scene is not the fault of London Has Fallen – this is endemic to today’s action films. No time for long and gruelling shoots: get them done and dusted, and then let the visual FX people take over. Most of the big set pieces were in the trailer – these looked atrocious on the big screen, but on the small screen they somehow looked even worse. At times, it looked like a war zone in Trumpton. It all had a model village look to some of the overhead shots of things blowing up.

You could forgive some shoddy FX if the action scenes were up to scratch, but apart from one half-decent car chase, everything else was all head-shots & CGI blood, or post-Bourne shakey-cam fight scenes. It’s just plain awful, but like I said, functional. It doesn’t try to moralise on anything. It’s sincerely dubious with its own morals, but it’s not lecturing you on anything. Some will say that it’s deeply racist, but in the end with a British mole, and a seemingly endless supply of corruptible Western mercenaries, it wasn’t as bad as many other films in this genre.

Still, it all ends well. President Eckhart survives, all the bad guys seem to die, no one ends up in courts tying up the criminal justice system and no one’s tax dollars are spent keeping the bad guys in jail for years. Everything is done and dusted and SPARTA! can go back to his family until the same shit happens to the same guy for a third time in the next instalment, The Planet Has Fallen, which will be an alien invasion flick. For reals.

Overall: 3/10

Posted in "Action", Conspiracy, Revenge, Sequel, SPARTA! | Leave a comment

The Last Stand vs Sabotage

The-Last-Stand-Soundtracksabotage-arnold-schwarzenegger-poster-

Let’s face it, Arnie has never been a great actor. He’ll be the first to admit this if I ever dared to say it to his face. However, it cannot be denied that he was once a great action star. From 2003 and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines to 2010 though, he was barely in anything and was clearly concentrating on his political career. The roles he did have were small non-action roles. Then Stallone came along and gave him a cameo in The Expendables and an extended role in the two sequels. Since then, it’s been pretty much all action.

As these two appeared on Netflix, it was time to investigate. None of The Expendables did it for me – I mean, If I fucking wanted The Dirty Dozen then I’d fucking watch The Dirty Dozen and not some half-baked, humourless and convoluted attempt at updating them.

Thankfully, Night 1 of the 2 Night double bill proves that Arnie can still make good choices when it comes to films. The Last Stand is Kim Jee-woon’s first Hollywood film. You may not know his name, but you might have seen one of his three most well known Korean films (A Tale of Two Sisters, The Good The Bad The Weird and I Saw the Devil). The Last Stand was never really going to exceed any of these, but at least it knows its limitations and gives you a fun ride. It is as close to one of Arnie’s 80s action films as you would hope. In terms of humour and ridiculous overblown characters, it is not too far removed from Commando. The balance between humour and violent action is just right – it never goes too far and is never gratuitously nasty (although Harry Dean Stanton’s unceremonious execution early on comes close). The supporting cast are good fun, especially the indestructible Luis Guzman and another polished rent-a-psycho performance from Peter Stormare. If there was one complaint about the film it’s that the bad bad guy is, well, a bit shit. Nothing against Eduardo Noriega who is a fine actor, but he just doesn’t seem bad enough and his attempts at being a psychotic drug cartel leader are the wrong kind of comical. Otherwise, this is a pretty solid film and a Arnie’s best for years.

On the other hand, Sabotage is an utterly risible piece of shit. It’s a nasty piece of work that is pretty close to gratuitous exploitation. The problem is is that it takes itself so seriously that it just comes across as mean spirited revenge (and at times, torture) porn. The poster states “From the Writer of Training Day and the Director of End of Watch” and you might think that you would be in for something akin to those. How wrong you would be. This is more like Law Abiding Citizen. In fact, it’s even worse than that. It’s one of the worst films I have ever seen, perhaps the worst now I’ve had a week to think about it. By setting up Arnie’s team of DEA Agents as dirty cops, it attempts to make you feel little sympathy for them as they are picked off one by one in bloody and vicious ways. Obviously you don’t, but after the first couple of deaths it just gets boring. There is absolutely no fun to be had here. There is very little action and when there is, it’s just shambolic and poorly orchestrated. There’s no real humour and when it attempts to be funny, it comes across as that one joke a comedian regrets. It also takes itself far too seriously. I know it’s a complete work of fiction, but the seriousness against the gratuitous gore just gets tedious quickly. Basically, fuck this film.

The Last Stand – 6.5/10

Sabotage – 0.5/10

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment