Wednesday, December 9, 2015

On DVD/Blu-ray: WAR PIGS (2015) and RE-KILL (2015)

(US/UK - 2015)

This dull and pointless WWII actioner rips off THE DIRTY DOZEN, THE INGLORIOUS BASTARDS, and just about every other men-on-a-mission outing and even borrows two stars of THE EXPENDABLES but can't even muster the energy to function as a remotely entertaining dumb movie. Funded in part by Panzerfabrik, a Colorado-based company that manufactures reproductions of WWII German tanks and other war equipment and offers its services for WWII re-enactments, WAR PIGS is basically a bunch of coasting C-listers playing dress-up while wandering around Utah's Uinta National Forest and pretending it's 1944 France while dodging an occasional CGI explosion. Luke Goss, who's devolved from passable second-string Jason Statham into arguably the most boring actor alive, is Capt. Jack Wosick, a disgraced soldier ordered by Maj. A.J. Redding (Mickey Rourke, whose kamikaze squandering of his SIN CITY resurgence and Oscar-nominated WRESTLER triumph is now complete) to team up with Capt. Hans Picault (Dolph Lundgren) of the French Foreign Legion. Their assignment: whip a team of military malcontents, ne'er-do-wells, and all-around fuck-ups into shape to take out a secret weapon being developed by Hitler. Cliches abound, usually with Wosick butting heads with smartass, pretty-boy soldier August (Noah Segan), before they all grow up and emerge heroes. There's no humor and barely any action, Lundgren doesn't even pretend to give a shit, with his French accent coming and going throughout, and third-billed UFC icon Chuck Liddell is killed off five minutes into the movie in a role that's not so much a cameo as it is "POLICE SQUAD! special guest star." Most depressing of all is Rourke, always seen behind a desk and clearly arriving to work in his own clothes, sporting a cowboy hat with his long hair dangling down the side of his head and shirt unbuttoned halfway down in regulation, by-the-book 1944 military style. Looking less like a high-ranking officer and more like he got the part after some Panzerfabrik re-enactors found him dumpster diving on the Uinta campgrounds, Rourke is just a sad sight here, and since Lundgren is in a coma, Liddell has the good sense to get offed 300 seconds into the movie, and there's absolutely no such thing as a fan of Luke Goss movies, there isn't a single reason for anyone to watch this. (R, 87 mins)

(US - 2015)

After a five-year hiatus, the "8 Films to Die For" After Dark Horrorfest package returns with more indie horror from around the world. Most of the titles released from 2006 to 2010 ranged from completely forgettable to thoroughly awful, but there were a few notable standouts, like Nacho Cerda's THE ABANDONED, Xavier Gens' FRONTIER(S), Sean Ellis' THE BROKEN, and Joel Anderson's disturbing LAKE MUNGO. Lionsgate is no longer involved, and the 2015 relaunch came and went with little fanfare on VOD and has now arrived on DVD courtesy of Fox. One of the new offerings is RE-KILL, a bottom-of-the-barrel zombie shoot 'em up shot so long ago that it was originally announced as part of the 2010 lineup before it was abruptly yanked from the list and shelved for five years. Shot in Bulgaria and Baton Rouge, RE-KILL is a borderline unwatchable 90 minutes of handheld shaky-cam that would've seemed stale even in 2010, set after yet another apocalyptic zombie outbreak, this time generated by some botched government experiment called "The Judas Project." As cities are overrun with the sprinting dead (called "Re-Ans," short for "Re-Animateds"), military officers are followed by a camera crew for a reality TV show called RE-KILL, which documents their pursuit and extermination of Re-Ans. And that's pretty much it, other than frequent breaks for some Paul Verhoeven-esque would-be satirical commercials that lack the bite of similar bits in ROBOCOP and STARSHIP TROOPERS (and furthermore, with 80% of the population dead and hordes of undead in the streets, who's really in the mood or even has time to keep up on reality TV?). The cast is headed by Bruce Payne (PASSENGER 57), doing a Russell Crowe impression as a fanatically religious, thousand-yard-staring hardass soldier, and a badly-utilized Scott Adkins (NINJA: SHADOW OF A TEAR) as a fist-pumping, chest-thumping war hero ("You got questions about soldierin', you come to me!"). Both actors are better than the material (Payne actually appears to be taking it seriously), but both are killed off well before it's over. You can never tell what's going on or who's who or where--it's just a lot of posturing ("This is what we do!"), stating the obvious ("You gotta destroy the brain stem"), yelling ("Get down!"), gunfire, and CGI splatter. There's little nuance or subtlety in the script by Mike Hurst, but that's about what you should expect from the guy who gave us such renowned gems as HOUSE OF THE DEAD II and PUMPKINHEAD 4: BLOOD FEUD. Hurst co-directed with Valeri Milev, who parlayed this success into getting the coveted WRONG TURN 6: LAST RESORT gig in 2014. Payne's effort is the only thing keeping RE-KILL from stumbling off the ledge into utter uselessness, and when it wraps up at the end, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more fitting metaphor than the RE-KILL TV show closing credits rolling on a TV in an empty house with no one watching. (R, 87 mins)


  1. No such thing as a Luke Goss fan?
    You're American, and you perhaps don't realise that as a teen, Goss and his brother Matt were teen boyband sensations Bros.
    They had a huge following among teenage girls, with a rabid fanbase known as Brosettes.
    If you wonder who keeps his career alive, it is these forty-something fans.

  2. It's gotta be those fans keeping his career alive, because his movies are terrible.

    1. To you. I happen to like this movie. It was better than 4 Got 10. As far as Dolph Lundgren movies go. You hate a lot of stuff anyway.