Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Movie Review: "Logan's Run" by David Pretty

Hello, Runners and Runnettes!

Honestly, I'm convinced that sci-fi has such a dubious reputation as a genre because of movies like Logan's Run. With it's overwrought performances, stilted dialogue, terrible costumes, obvious sets and trippy visuals it's sure to alienate a lot of viewers. Which is a friggin' shame since it also happens to be one of the most damning remonstrations against the last acceptable form of discrimination in modern society.

Unfortunately this isn't made particularly apparent in the film's cheddar-riffic trailer:

In the 23rd century mankind has sealed itself inside a huge domed city, away from a world that's been ravaged by ecological ruin, war and overpopulation. In this sterile environment, its citizens are freed from toil and responsibilities and are now only preoccupied with pleasure, entertainment and vice.

There's only one minor hiccup: as infants every citizen is implanted with a Lifeclock in their palm.  It's a crystalline object that starts to break down as soon as its owner approaches adulthood. When citizens reach their "Last Day" at age thirty, the Lifeclock begins to blink and turn black, signaling that their time is nigh. When this happens, people are sent to "Carousel" where the promise of reincarnation awaits.

Well, as you might well imagine, a few folks who don't blindly believe in the revitalizing powers of Carousel start to get slightly twitchy around age twenty-nine and try and make a break for it. This is where our hero comes in.  Michael York plays Logan 5, a "Sandman" who's job it is to catch and kill "Runners".

During one of his assignments Logan recovers a small silver ankh pendant amongst the personal effects of a dead runner and takes it with him. Later, while at home browsing for casual sex on "The Circuit", Logan encounters Jessica 6 (Jenny Agutter), a beautiful civilian who's also wearing an ankh pendant. Logan is instantly smitten with her but after they get into a debate about the pros and cons of Running, Jessica gets upset and leaves him alone and unfulfilled.

The next day Logan heads to Sandman headquarters and the command computer analyses the ankh. Turns out the symbol represents a Runner resistance cell in the city that helps people approaching Last Day escape to a place called "Sanctuary". Logan is given a secret assignment to make contact with the rebels and destroy this Promised Land and everyone in it.

In order for him to infiltrate the group, the computer excellerates Logan's Lifeclock to "the blink". When Logan asks the computer if his time will be restored after his mission his complete, the silence is deafening.  Needless to say, Logan's mission starts to go awry almost immediately and soon he goes from being the hunter to the hunted after he ventures out into the forbidden world outside the dome.

Since the engine of social commentary purring underneath it's hood is sound, Logan's Run could never be characterized as a terrible movie.  I truly believe that its intelligent premise is what prevented the film from vanishing into oblivion, in spite of being the perfect candidate for a cinematic version of What Not To Wear.

The domed city exteriors are represented by a stupendously fake-looking model. The interiors appear to be a set-decorated shopping mall.  The costumes look like they should be worn by Bob Mackie-clad back-up dancers for the Sonny and Cher show. The maze cars are about as convincing as golf carts set on train tracks. The weapons used by the Runners are laughably inept.  It was as if director Michael Anderson had only ever seen B-grade sci-fi films from the 50's and decided to "update" them with the most tasteless and garish fashion and decor that the decade could offer.

This extends into technical aspects of the picture as well. Compared to the film's insanely bold color palette, the camera set ups are static and boring. In fact, most episodes of the original Star Trek television show was shot with more energy and verve. To match the stagey look of the film, most of the dialogue is alternately impenetrable or workmanlike and delivered by the actors as if they're appearing in Invasion of the Saucer Men.  Only perennial pro Peter Ustinov bothers to invest any subtlety whatsoever into his performance as the "Old Man".

This is one of those rare occasions where you'll actually see me excited by the prospects of a remake. In the hands of a (hopefully) capable film-maker, we could be in for a real treat. Despite it's visual pall, the original film is chock-full of thematic relevance.  Indeed, since Logan's Run rails so strongly against ageism, vapid living, overindulgence, ignorance and blind civil obedience, I'm convinced that modern audiences would be ripe for it's Swiftian-style commentary.

Indeed, if someone can just give Logan a much-needed makeover, we could have a real winner on our hands here.

Tilt: Way (the fuck) up.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Movie Review: "Gattaca" by David Pretty

Greetings, Valids and Not-So-Valids!

Y'know, as much as our Canadian-flavored Netflix pisses me off (with its constantly varying video quality, lack of selection and over-representation of films starring giant sharks, crocodiles and/or octopi), there are still some pretty cool things about it.  For one, it's kinda like home video's answer to The Gong Show.  After all, if you're watching a movie on Netflix and it starts to suck like a Dyson, you can just abandon it without feeling as if you paid money to see that specific thing.  You can then promptly move on to something else.

Another good test is to see how many sittings it takes to get through a film.  If it's a three or four night slog, then you probably would have been better advised just watching a half-dozen old X-Men cartoons instead.

But the opposite also holds true.  We live in a time when a million things are constantly vying for our entertainment attentions, so it's pretty high testimony when you fire up a flick at home and it keeps you absolutely rapt for a hundred and six minutes.  Hell, nowadays, that's positively miraculous...

And so it was with Gattaca.  The premise is intriguingly odd and original, revelations are doled out economically and the characters are fully-realized.  In other words, it's a one-sitter.

Here's the trailer:

In the early 90's there were emerging concerns about genetic engineering.  Herbicide-resistant crops were being produced.  In 1996 Dolly the sheep became the very first artificially cloned mammal.  Genetic knockout experiments on mice altered their appearance and behavior.  Gattaca cleverly extrapolated the headlines of the day to create an original sci-fi dystopia in which people are locked into societal roles based entirely on the genetic hand of cards dealt to them at birth.

In the "not too distant future", prospective parents routinely use eugenics to select the gender of their children and eliminate any unwanted characteristics.  The hero of our story, Vincent (Ethan Hawke) is conceived the old-fashioned way and comes into the world burdened by a whole host of passé deficiencies.  His poor eyesight, short stature and bum ticker immediately disqualify him from most desirable career paths, including his ultimate wish of becoming an astronaut.

But the film wisely posits that for every societal inequity there's always an illegal solve.  Vincent opts for the  "borrowed ladder" route and assumes the identity of Jerome (Jude Law), a genetically pristine ex-swimmer who became irreparably "marred" when an accident left him paralyzed from the waist-down.  Using Jerome's hair, skin, blood and urine samples, Vincent manages to weasel his way into Gattaca's space training program, all the while risking constant danger of exposure.

After taking great pains to forge the perfect public mask, Vincent proves to be a crackerjack navigator and eventually he's selected for a manned space mission to Titan.  At the same time, he begins a tentative relationship with a co-worker named Irene (Uma Thurman), who's own genetic lottery has curtailed her own progress and left her envious of Vincent's illusory "perfection".

Things are complicated when an on-site director is brutally murdered, prompting the authorities to sweep the facility with a fine tooth comb (literally).  When Vincent's real eyelash is discovered close to the crime scene, he's forced to avoid a series of increasingly tough snares designed to drag his real DNA kicking and screaming into the light.

Sci-fi, good sci-fi, should operate successfully on two levels.  First, it should take advantage of modern day cinematic whiz-bangery to create a visually compelling story.  Second, it should be about big ideas.  Both of these qualities need to be complementary.  One shouldn't outstrip the other yet both elements ought to be thoroughly enjoyable when taken by itself.  This is where Gattaca shines.

In fact, it's one of those rare films where the big idea is actually allowed to rise above the spectacle.  Wisely director Andrew Niccol fosters the film's powerful premise by lensing things as realistically as possible.  There are no elaborate visual effects to speak of.  Most of the sets are real locations in and around Los Angeles.  His cool, crisp shooting style is successfully married to genuine moments of cinéma vérité, all of  which foster a sense of realism.  For example, the scene where Vincent and Irene witness the sunrise is particularly evocative.

Of course the film has loads of subtext and social commentary to boost its pedigree.  I'm particularly keen on the philosophy that aptitude and hard work can overcome the limitations of physical imperfection.  I appreciate that Vincent is able to best his genetically superior brother Anton (Loren Dean) because he's   hungrier, more determined and doesn't feel entitled for being blessed with a perfect double-helix.

Ethan Hawke is well-cast.  He's able to convincingly sell Vincent's transformation from mawkish dweeb to illusory Übermensch.  Even though he's asked to adopt a convincing air of swagger, there always seems to be a little hint of susceptibility lurking just under the surface which always threatens to betray him.  His performance is a great mix of steely determination, desperate guile and tentative bravado.

Uma Thurman has no problem whatsoever convincing us that she's a genetically superior entity.   Although only 27 at the time of Gattaca's release, she clearly had the acting chops to pull off refined, dignified and self-assured even then.  It certainly helps that Niccol didn't write Irene as a lowest common denominator love interest and actually had the temerity to invest her character with a real arc.  Thurman does a stellar job taking Irene from a perfection-obsessed drone who's resigned to her lot in life to a willing rebel.

Jude Law is a particular treat as Jerome.  The first time we see him, he's sitting slumped in his wheelchair like an unwanted pet while Vincent and German (Tony Shalhoub) casually discuss co-opting his identity as if he isn't even there.  In some odd way, Vincent's mission seems to renew his purpose in life.  Living vicariously through his new charge, Jerome diligently toils away at maintaining Vincent's facade as if railing against the system itself.  When we learn the true story behind his accident, his circumstances become even more tragic.

Which brings me to a few of the film's flaws.  Above and beyond the anachronistic trappings (such as the inexplicable proliferation of smoking in the film and this future's dogged insistence on using standard keyboards), Jerome's final fate is almost inconceivable to me.  I understand why he does what he does, I just can't wrap my head around the method he uses to see it through.

But these are minor quibbles.  Perhaps the most encouraging thing Gattaca says is that human nature will always rail against inequities.  We even see this in the role of Lamar (Xander Berkeley), the test scientist who's own genetically imperfect son longs to follow in Vincent's footsteps.  Even if shady forces lead the development of the human race down dark paths, there will always be enough people wronged by the system who will do whatever they can to dismantle it from the inside out.

And that, for some reason, is supremely comforting thought.


                     Tilt: up.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

Movie Review: "Cube" by David Pretty

Let me put this on the table right away: "Cube" is a tremendous revelation.
Cube (Theatrical Trailer) by NakedBrotha2007 The premise brings to mind a particularly elaborate "Twilight Zone" episode. A cop with anger management issues, a paranoid doctor, an insecure student of mathematics, an e... read more

What Up, Cubical Monkeys?

Let me put this on the table right away: Cube is a tremendous revelation.  Don't believe me?  Just watch as the film's theatrical trailer posits some very intriguing questions:

The premise brings to mind a particularly clever Twilight Zone episode. A cop with anger management issues, a paranoid doctor, an insecure student of mathematics, an enigmatic defeatist, an autistic savant and a seasoned escape artist all wake up trapped inside an elaborate cubical structure without any memory of having gotten there.

They soon discover that this chamber is attached on all sides by similar rooms, some offering a possible route to freedom and others concealing deadly traps. Slowly clues begin to emerge about their unorthodox prison and our six "heroes" start to gain insight into each other's unique abilities. The question then becomes: will these divergent personalities work together to facilitate their escape or will paranoia, fear and desperation tear their hopes to shreds?

As I said before Cube is truly a marvel.  Although at face value the setting appears to be a labyrinthine construct, I believe director Vincenzo Natali employed innovation, creativity and guile to take a clever premise with a limited budget and turn it into something really special.  He likely requisitioned only one cube chamber set and with some brilliant editing, inventive lighting and dexterous camerawork, he built a structure limited only by the audience's imagination.

Although you can solidly classify Cube as a sci-fi film, there are certainly some horrible moments where the judicious use of incredibly convincing gore effects wallop the audience out of any doldrums. The practical set ups are used so deftly that every occurrence is designed for maximum impact.  CGI is also applied intelligently and primarily used to realize the many nefarious traps the characters must circumvent.

Right from the first few frames the scenario instantly snags the attentions of the audience and the smart scripting keeps us guessing. One particular sequence towards the end of the film wherein the characters must navigate a room filled with spring-loaded sound-sensitive blades is truly nail-biting.

The enigmatic nature of the titular cube itself is also fascinating.  For example, the numbers assigned to each chamber are obsessed over, misinterpreted and then decoded piecemeal with engaging effect. The cast is also absolutely fantastic and make the well-defined characters really come alive with tremendous realism.

It's high testimony when every personage in the film undergoes some sort of notable arc and also manages to defy audience expectations.  Thematically, you can have a blast considering the rich subtext at work here. Is the cube symbolic of 21'st century bureaucracy?  Is it a parable about being swallowed whole by our own overcomplicated modern lives?  Is it an observation about how we always misjudge human worth?

It was originally my intent to watch only about twenty minutes of this the other night but I couldn't keep my eyes off the damned thing.  It's a stellar film that serves as a perfect example of how an innovative film-maker can overcome budgetary restrictions and craft a completely convincing illusion rife with suspense, mystery and food for thought.

       Tilt: up.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Movie Review: "Pi" by David Pretty

Hello, Mathletes!

This is the third Darren Aronofsky film that I've seen.  Requiem for a Dream, about the ravages of drug abuse, is one of the scariest movies I've ever witnessed, horror or otherwise.  The Wrestler was a painfully realistic, unrelentingly tragic character study chock-a-block with incredible performances.  Both pictures were incredibly daring and went of their way to kick expectations right in the cubes.  Turns out, the blueprint for Aranofsky's rebellion was on display all along in his debut film, π.   

Before we start calculating to π to five trillion digits, here's the film's grainy-looking but frenetic trailer:

π wastes no time introducing us to it's unconventional protagonist, Maximillian Cohen (Sean Gullette), an obsessive-compulsive numbers theorist who's convinced that everything in the world has a mathematical component.  This single-minded pursuit of a theory has nearly pushed poor Max to the brink of boob-hatchery.  Although he's capable of performing Rain Man-like calculations in his noggin, he suffers from crippling social anxiety, chronic headaches and moments of borderline dementia.

Max is shown attempting to put his theories to the test by making predictions on the stock market.  After a orgy of high-clocking numbers-crunching, his computer spits out a seemingly unrelated string of 216 digits as well as a single market call and then promptly crashes.  Frustrated by what he sees as a dismal failure, Max discards the results. 

The very next day, Max discovers that the computer's lone prediction was actually bang on and he feels compelled to recreate the random string of numbers that accompanied the calculation.  His intrigue is further sparked when his retired mentor Sol (Mark Margolis) reveals that he had his own encounter with this mysterious 216-digit number.  Naturally, when after Sol encourages Max to step away from his research, this only fuels his pupil's obsession.

The mystery further deepens when Max encounters a Hasidic Jew named Lenny Meyer (Ben Shenkman) who's using a numeric code to interpret large tracts of the Torah as a direct message from God.  Max is particularly intrigued when some of Lenny's theories dovetail with the famed Fibonacci Sequence, a string of digits which manifests itself so frequently in nature that many people believe it to be the mathematical basis for life itself.

Employing an advanced processing chip provided by some shady Wall Street types, Max manages to recover the 216-digit sequence.  While scribbling it down by hand, he experiences a mental breakthrough whereby the code suddenly makes perfect sense.  After blacking out from the strain, he awakens to discover that he's developed psychic powers, allowing him to predict the stock market's wax and wane with unerring accuracy.  

But then everything goes to hell.  His headaches turn to crippling migraines.  He begins to hallucinate.  An inexplicable growth manifests itself on the side of his head.  To make matters worse, both his corporate sponsors and Lenny's orthodox sect begin to play hardball after Max refuses to share his new-found discoveries with them.

Trust me, I'm not very adept at mathematics (otherwise I'd have a real job) but the mysteries, enigmas and challenges to our traditional definition of reality on display here are genuinely intriguing.  In quick succession, Aronofsky effortlessly knits together Kabbalah, gematria, Archimedean spirals, messianic epiphanies, hardcore numerology and even the board game Go.  All of these elements are so advanced, esoteric and barely grasped that it creates a genuine mood of unease that permeates the entire film.  

The script inexorably builds on these feelings of paranoia with Max's story about going blind as a child after staring into the sun and Sol's references to Icarus.  Constantly the viewer is assailed by a creeping feeling of dread.  We can't help but think that that Max is just moments away from catching a glimpse of something so great and terrible that he won't be equipped to survive the experience.

This is further served by Aronofsky's stylistic choices.  The film is shot in stark, grainy black and white and is brilliantly lit.  Scenes inside our hero's cramped and tech-choked apartment are suitably claustrophobic.  When Max is walking around in the real world, Aranofsky makes tremendous use of the actor-mounted "SnorriCam" in order to ramp up feelings of besieged disorientation.  The movie is also a masterwork of tempo editing and composer Clint Mansell takes advantage of this by overlaying a memorable score that  really augments the film's tonal beats.  

Since Aronofsky dutifully serves up a wealth of back story, character development and authentic dialogue, lead actor Sean Gullette responds in kind with a bravura performance.  Major credit has to go the Gullette for making such a socially stunted character seem likeable.  Mark Margolis also provides plenty of gravitas to the role of Sol.  After Max likens his impending discovery to merely walking through a door, Sol counter by insisting that it's "a door at the front of a cliff. You're driving yourself over the edge!"  We silently hope that Max will come to his senses, but we also feel compelled to see what lies just beyond that forbidden door as well.    
π is one part Eraserhead, one part Tetsuo: The Iron Man, and one part Twelve Monkeys.  It's quite disjointed at times and doesn't completely pay off in the end, but the finale is true to the film's low-budget aesthetic and also ensures that we aren't set up for large-scale disappointment.  After all, I don't think any film could posit such grand concepts without letting the audience fill in the blanks with it's own superior imagination.               

If you're looking for a film that excites the mind with original concepts (as opposed to baffling it with such ludicrous sights as a fifty year old man clinging to the wing of a fighter jet), π might the sort of tasty cranial dessert you've been craving.  

Tilt: up.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Movie Review: "Brazil" by David Pretty

Greetings, Big Brothers and Sistahs!

Y'know, I used to like watching dystopia-type sci-fi movies like Blade Runner, 1984 and even Demolition Man just to see what kooky and grim scenarios writers might project for our future.  But now I watch them just to see how close they've come to predicting the sad, current state of our society.  Brazil is no exception.  It's a brilliant cautionary tale, a triumph of production design, an imaginative visual palette and a veritable actor's showcase.

But before I confess my totalitarian opinion, here's the film's visionary trailer:

In Brazil, Jonathan Pryce plays Sam Lowry, a low-rung government drone who toils away in a cramped, tiny workspace filled with technology that barely works.  He escapes the repetitious doldrums of his daily work life with dreams of rescuing a beautiful damsel in distress.

One day his paranoid and tightly-wound boss (Ian Holm) asks Sam to untangle a bureaucratic nightmare which resulted in the state-sanctioned capture, torture and murder of an innocent man due to a printing error (!).  When Sam hand-delivers the resulting compensation check to the man's widow, he encounters Jill Layton (Kim Greist) who turns out to be the spitting image of the woman in his dreams.

After Sam grudgingly accepts a promotion with the nefarious Ministry of Information, he begins to dig into his dream girl's file and finds out that she's flagged as a terror suspect.  Soon his obsessive probing starts to raise the eyebrows of his peers and Sam begins to fall under their suspicions as well.

The screenplay by Terry Gilliam, Tom Stoppard and Charles McKeown plays out like a veritable checklist of things that have come to pass.  We see people frustrated by reams of impenetrable red tape.  Sam is subjected to invasive security procedures.  The specter of terrorism is raised to foster a constant sense of fear.  Basic infrastructure is falling apart.  People are fingered as terror suspects and can be snatched up by the state without warrants or due process.  Interrogation and detainment techniques are questionable at best.

Into this dark world Gilliam interjects some truly magical imagery.  The dream/nightmare sequences are flawless, such as when Sam defeats the giant samurai during a flawlessly realized "David and Goliath" moment.  This is one of those rare films where the physical design of the sets are actually incorporated into the thrust of the scene itself.  I love Sam's titanic battle for desk space that occurs in his broom-closet sized office after his promotion.  Or when Spoor (Bob Hoskins) gets his nose out of joint and tears Sam's apartment to shreds merely due to his inability to produce the proper form.

The cast is so accomplished and talented that they're never overshadowed by all the spectacular visuals.  Jonathan Price is delightfully frantic, funny and sympathetic.  He's plays a terrific everyman who's clearly fed up with being an interchangeable cog in a cold and cruel machine.  Ex-Python Michael Palin is perfect as the twitchy, smarmy and superficial Jack Lint.  I love how Gilliam throws away little clues to the nature of his "work" while Palin himself fans the fire of our suspicions with deft humor.

Kim Greist is certainly fetching as "Dream Jill" but her "real life" persona is a refreshing contrast to how Sam imagines her to be.  Instead of being the helpless McGuffin in a Super Mario game she's sassy, unrefined and a more then a little bit dangerous.

Amongst the minor characters, Katherine Helmond is the real standout as Sam's mom.  Her character perfectly embodies society's obsession with chasing the impossible physical ideal.  When she's not exhibiting some bizarre fashion statement, she's having her face lifted to the breaking point by her quack plastic surgeon.  Her performance is a sheer delight and she's able to switch gears effortlessly from protective to pushy, from nosy to oblivious.

This is Terry Gilliam's best film.  I don't think the perfect storm of concept, scripting, performances, production design and direction has come together this well for him before or since.  But if you define cinema as a purely visual medium, I'm really hard-pressed to think of a film that's a better example of this.

In the documentary The Battle for Brazil we learn that the picture's original cut almost didn't see the light of day in North America.  Frankly I love the film's original bleak ending since it really drives home my belief that societal change can only be possible after we all experience the sort of epiphany that Sam goes through here.  When slogans like "Don't suspect a friend, report him" become an acceptable sentiment (if not an acceptable window dressing) then we know it's time to start humming "Aquarela do Brasil" and fighting for change.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Movie Review: "Doomsday" by David Pretty

Greetings, Dystopians and Dytopi-ettes!

I was really quite shocked that I didn't care for this, since I'm such a fan of Neil Marshall's previous films Dog Soldiers and The Descent.  But here he proceeds under the assumption that the viewer of Doomsday hasn't seen another film made in the last twenty-five years.  What he serves up is another threadbare post-apocalyptic/dystopian vision of the future that steals liberally from about six or seven more superior films.

Hey, why not make a game out of it?  Try and see how many ripoffs you can spot in the film's trailer...

The creatively bankrupt premise: a virus outbreak in Glasgow, Scotland results in the entire country being walled up by their British neighbors.  The disease is contained but Scotland is reduced to a depopulated wasteland.  When the infection flares up again in downtown London, the Prime Minister (Deep Space Nine's Alexander Siddig) and his opportunistic Home Secretary Michael Canaris (David O'Hara of The Tudors) send tough-as-nails security agent Major Eden Sinclair (Rona Mitra) through the fence.

Her goal: to look for a cure after satellite images reveal survivors walking around.  With the aid of her boss Bill Nelson (Bob Hoskins) and a crack team of scientific and military experts, Sinclair leads them into the heart of darkness.  Needless to say, the mission goes horribly awry almost immediately and our heroes are forced to contend with overwhelming odds in order to escape.   

Doomsday might have gotten away with G.T.A. (Grand Theft Auteur) if it wasn't so massively illogical.  As audience members we're ask to swallow that the British were able to construct a modern-day Hadrian's Wall virtually overnight to prevent a single person from escaping confinement in Scotland.  Even if we're to accept this preposterous notion, we then have to accept that it would take only about fifteen years for the entire population of Scotland to either become castoff extras from Lord of the Rings or, even worse, crazed cannibalistic rejects from the set of Mad Max.

Indeed, the roll call of cinematic thievery here is unparalleled.  I really don't mind if a director wears his inspirations on his sleeve but this is ridiculous.  Just some of the  victimized films include 28 Days Later, The Road Warrior, Aliens, Escape from New York, The Warriors, Gladiator, Excalibur and, most inexplicably, Waterworld.  Honestly, this is just shameful.

With such stale material, the performances are equally uninspired.  Instead of joining the pantheon of classic kick-ass screen heroines, Rhona Mitra's character is so criminally underwritten she just comes across as the poor man's Kate Beckinsale.

Bob Hoskins is literally playing the same character he's played in a good half dozen previous films, particularly Harold Shand in The Long Good Friday.  Malcolm McDowell is similarly wasted as a generic heavy and he practically phones in his performance.  Also, I've seen David O'Hara now in a few film and television projects and I still can't figure out if he's totally brilliant or completely rubbish.  I can tell you one thing: most of his line deliveries make him sound like a narcoleptic automaton.

As if he knows that the premise and the story are a complete house of cards, director Marshall bombards us with copious amounts of raw, cruel and gratuitous violence that inevitably makes the viewer feel both numb and bored.  Since so little time and effort has been invested in making the characters anything other then stereotypes, there is very little empathy generated by their plight.

It's really a shame that there wasn't a more original and visionary engine under the hood of Doomsday since the ambitious production design and often exhilarating action set pieces are well mounted.  For example the final chase sequence at the end of the film may have been blatantly ripped off from The Road Warrior but at least it's a competent rip-off.

Next time I hope Marshall can deliver a project with a foundation of originality that's just as solid as it's visuals.  After all, it's not like he's incapable of it.  He's done it twice before!

Tilt: down.