Underworld: Awakening (2012)

There must be something to the Underworld franchise, but whatever it is totally eludes me. It seems to have graduated from that school of thought that thinks all you need to make a good movie is a moody looking actor in a black leather trench coat holding two guns at all times, inexplicable acrobatics optional but recommended. Another facet to this esteemed school is the awkward reworking of horror and/or philosophical thought experiments. Resident Evil has zombies, Blade has vampires, Equilibrium has Huxleyian totalitarianism, and, of course, The Matrix has naughty computers. What Underworld has is something not quite as interesting as any of these films, despite it nearly having the same thing as Blade, except you add in werewolves as well, a concept that I personally find fascinating but that no one has had an inventive idea for since An American Werewolf in London.

The only film I’ve watched is the one with the elegant subtitle Awakening, suggesting that the other films are just creepy VHS footage of people sleeping. However, as the first ten minutes reveals in that subtle and most highly esteemed mediums of visual storytelling, a ten minute “here’s what happened in the first three” clip show, this is not a series dedicated to somnolent voyeurism but a wicked cool sci fi horror series that makes Resident Evil look totally lame, man.

Basically, a war is taking place between the humans and the non-humans, aka the lycans and the vampires. The vampires and werewolves were bickering for centuries before the humans found out about them and the humans are doing what they do best and kicked straight into extermination mode.

UWA4_FIDO_VFX_01A It just seems a little unrealistic to me that the humans pose much of a threat. I mean, on the one hand you’ve got vampires who are the supernatural equivalent of the coolest kid at school; good looking, kicks your arse in PE and feasts on human flesh. On the other, there are the werewolves who, if we are continuing with the school analogy, is most like bigger, stronger, scarier mate of the cool kid who did all the heavy lifting like shoving you into bins. The humans in this case are, if we’re taking the analogy right to the end, are probably the teachers, who didn’t really take much notice of these two arseholes until one of the normal kids bothered to say something, resulting in the disciplinary board taking things a bit too far by murdering them.

Cor blimey, did I just write a more interesting sounding film than the one I’m reviewing with a half arsed analogy?

I’m not sure if it’s just me, but one issue I found whilst watching the film is that vampires and werewolves are not characters which render sympathy very easily. Both symbolise  perversions of humanity – vampires being symbols of aristocratic landowners sucking the wealth from the poor unsuspecting peasants living under the cape, and werewolves being a symbol of man succumbing to animal urges, regressing to a state of bestial madness.

With these very firmly engraved into the collective psyche of the human consciousness it’s hard to care all that much about the plight of the vampire-werewolf diaspora when the humans start murdering them all. If it happened in real life it would probably go that way, except we’d all be dead because vampires and werewolves can completely steam-roll humanity the same way Ray Mysterio can completely annihilate a three-year-old with his shins.

I’ll be completely honest here, reader, I only made it twenty minutes in. The epileptic editing was about as much fun to watch as a plastic bag biodegrade. The terrible green screen and boring lighting just screamed “WE FILMED THIS ON A SET IN A STUDIO”. The fighting was barely passable, with the same leg-flinging and rooftop jumping choreography that The Matrix nailed and literally no other film has gotten right since, with the possible exception of Blade. Kate Beckinsale has very wobbly hair so if that sounds appealing maybe give it a watch, you weirdo.

Maybe you’ll get further than me with it. I switched off around the point where a security guard shoots Bite-Your-Neckinsale in the head, gets out of his well-armoured vehicle which inevitably ends in him getting his jugular sucked down like a piece of spaghetti. The movie even treats this like we were meant to be surprised. It goes all quiet and everything, pretending to know what suspense is. The cheek. Doing a death fake-out might have been effective if it didn’t happen at the beginning of the film. I might have stuck around a little longer.

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The Shining or: how I learnt to stop worrying and love Stanley Kubrick

I recently watched Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining for the second time in my life. My history with the picture is a contentious one. Like many of my generation, I first encountered the Overlook Hotel in parody form thanks to The Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror V” (the segment being titled “The Shinning” for copyright reasons). It was one of those pop culture osmosis moments, where you have no frame of reference for a work of parody but there’s an underlying sense of “right, I know that this means something to someone” but you are able to enjoy it on its own terms.

Years later, I would find The Shining by Stephen King in a Waterstones. I was just getting into more adult fiction at the time and snapped it up. “Stephen King” was that scary American guy who invented Chucky, the progenitor of my nightmares (he didn’t, but I was twelve at the time so forgive me). The Shining was that book that Joey read in Friends that he had to lock away in the freezer because it terrified him so much. I was drawn to the paperback; something about the way it sounded compelled me to pick it up. Probably the “ing”, that sharp sound prodding my ear drums like a violent violin.

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I lapped the book up as though I’d been starved and it was the only thing that could satisfy me. It made such an impact on me I can still recall the images of each scene as I read it, what twisted pictures King had painted in my mind. The thing about the book is, there is so much content. I’ll not spoil it for anyone who wishes to read it, which I highly recommend. I suppose it is a case of me being so enraptured by the depth of detail that only a book can provide that I expected, well, not too much, but something a little different.

I watched the film not long after finishing the book and remember being totally disappointed. I wasn’t bored, but I wasn’t ever surprised by the movie. The things that were different I already expected because my expectations had already been met by The Simpsons parody all those years ago. I was also just discovering the wider filmography of Kubrick and had made my acquaintance with him through Full Metal Jacket, a film that made more of an impact on me.

I missed being inside the heads of the characters. I missed hearing Tony’s thoughts as he and Danny had complete conversations. I missed delving into the character’s backstories, Jack and Wendy’s troubled marriage, and finding out more and more about the Overlook Hotel. Due to my prior knowledge, I felt like the film was dumb for expecting me not to know these things. Didn’t everyone know about Jack’s history of violence and alcohol abuse?

And so, I left the film alone, and became one of those annoying people who always says “yeah, it was ok, i didn’t love it though,” whenever a classic film comes up in conversation, dying to tell them that the book was better. “The creepy little girls don’t appear in the book, that was added later.”

Upon revisiting it post a discussion with some friends about the film, I have to say I was completely wrong about it. The book and the film can coexist. I find that the characters, whilst not being totally different, are different enough that what happens in the film doesn’t affect how the book it viewed, at least in my eyes. Something just clicked, like a switch had been turned on that was being kept off all those years.

Kubrick’s Jack seems deranged from the beginning, and only needs a slight teasing from the temptations of the hotel’s “ghosts” to come over to the dark side. The strain in the marriage and the underlying tension is made that much more palpable by the performances. Sissy Spacek’s frightened yet forgiving eyes completely rub up against Jack Nicholson’s seething, furrowed brow. It seems inevitable that Kubrick’s Jack would end up wanting to chop up his family.

Jack and Wendy’s marriage seems a sham in the film, basically, whereas in the book they appear to really love each other but have just grown too far apart to make amends. Perhaps it is the contrast between King’s sentimental tendencies in his character dynamics and Kubrick’s cold detachment that was just too much of a contrast for me to bear. I think that in order to really get the most out of both, there needs to be a high degree of separation. Or maybe that’s just me.

Ironically, if I saw the film for the first time now, I would have loved it from the start, because everything that makes The Shining great is present in all of my favourite movies. Slow burn, deliberate pacing, gradual rise of the stakes and the tension, and an oppressive atmosphere that refuses to let the audience go until the credits roll. It is anxiety inducing and makes you want to be sick. I love it.

Anyway, I could wax lyrical about the meaning behind The Shining for ages, but weirdos on the internet have already been doing that for years. All I’ll say is this – if there’s a film that you don’t think is great but everyone around you seems to, just give it another chance. You might have missed something.

Uniformity and Utopia – comparing More’s utopian vision to Mass Effect’s most misunderstood race

[Author’s note: I wrote this for a module on utopian fiction in my third year of university. It’s a little different to the stuff I normally post, so enjoy!]

Uniformity and Utopia – comparing More’s utopian vision to Mass Effect’s most misunderstood race

Thomas More’s Utopia functions as a society because it has no inner conflict. The utopians do not know what it is to desire the possessions of another. They do not envy, they do not fight, because all is held in common. The trade of agriculture is “so universally understood among them that no person, man or woman, is ignorant of it.”1 Their clothes are “without any other distinction except what is necessary to distinguish the sexes and the married and unmarried,”(pp. 80) and their buildings are “so uniform that a whole side of a street looks like one house.”(pp. 77) Are you sensing a pattern yet?

The key to the civility of Utopia is uniformity, in all that is possible to make uniform. If there is nothing different there can be no conflict since the definition of conflict is for things to be incompatible, to clash. But More, or rather Hythloday, depicts a society which functions because of its lack of conflict.

However, the lack of conflict in Utopia only extends to utopians. It does not extend to their slaves. Now, it may seem odd that a place which is an apparent ‘utopia’ has a custom of enslavement. The fact that it exists at all forces us to ask ourselves to what extent it can be called a utopia at all. The reasons for the enslavement of its former citizens is explained by Hythloday:

They do not make slaves of prisoners of war, except those that are taken in battle, nor of those of other nations: slaves among them are only such as are condemned to that state of life for the commission of some crime… They are kept at perpetual labour, and are always chained, but with this difference, that their own natives are treated much worse than others: they are considered more profligate than the rest, and since they could by the advantages of so excellent an education, are judged worthy of harder uses. (pp. 118)

Slavery is reserved for the members of the utopian society who have transgressed against the utopian ideal. It is seen in the wider context of the text as a moral solution to the death penalty, which was seen as unfair and immoral recourse by More, and many humanitarian thinkers of this time. Enslavement ensures the maintaining of life whilst benefitting the state with labour. It is a penal method with questionable morals but undeniable efficiency.

The efficiency by which utopians function is almost automaton-like, and reminds me very heavily of the geth in the video game series Mass Effect.

Geth and utopians make easy bedfellows. Geth “know each other’s minds” and operate as a unified entity. They are personified in Mass Effect 2 by Legion, who becomes the players companion. ‘He’ is made up of 1,183 individual programs (bodiless geth), hence his moniker, taken from the biblical verse “I am Legion, for we are many.” When asked by Commander Shepherd what the individual in front of him is called, Legion replies with: “There is no individual. We are geth.” This exchange is emblematic of the geth as a civilisation, as well as being symbolic for all utopias, in my opinion. The uniformity expressed here is a requirement for the geth to maintain their existence, just as uniformity in the utopian’s society maintains their civility.

The utopians build their society in an automaton-like way, requiring all minds to unanimously agree to its conditions in order to maintain civility. It is no surprise that the geth embody similar principles, albeit in a rather different context. The minds of the geth as individual ‘programs’ are literally inferior to their combined intelligence, which grows according to local population. The geth literally have strength in numbers, and it benefits them by several orders of magnitude to build a society on consensus.
It would seem that this violence which has ensued is antithetical to the maintaining of order. However, in ME2 you encounter Legion, an individual unit possessing the consciousness of 1,183 geth programs, meaning “he” is merely an appearance, and is in fact a representative of individuals contained within “him”. He provides the player with a great deal of insight into the type of existence desired by the geth, which also sheds a great deal of light on to utopian thought.

Another common trait between the geth and utopians is their efficiency. I have stated how the utopian’s forced labour is brutally efficient. They also do not adorn themselves decoratively, nor do they have use for gold since they do not value it:

The folly of men has enhanced the value of gold and silver because of their scarcity; whereas, on the contrary, it is their opinion that Nature, as an indulgent parent, has freely given us all the best things in great abundance, such as water and earth, but has laid up and hid for us the things that are useless. (pp. 96)

The antithetical attitude towards precious metals they possess propels their virtue for pragmatism and diminishes their complex for greed. They are able to make great use of iron and stone, and freely trade to neighbouring nations the gold they foolishly desire, resulting in the huge amount of wealth the state possesses. This is comparable to the geth’s dispensing of windows on their battleships. Legion reveals that they are “structural weaknesses. Geth do not use them.” Organics such as humans do use them and are immediately at a disadvantage due to the geth not requiring the organic sense of “sight”. Both utopians and geth have machine-like efficiency.

The geth’s attitude to other life forms, other societies, is one of cooperation and mutual respect. When asked if anyone else will be affected by the geth’s actions, Legion simply responds; “if they involve themselves, they will.”

This appears in keeping with Hythloday’s description of the attitude utopians have towards external bodies. He states that the “only design of utopians in war is to obtain that by force which, if it had been granted them in time, would have prevented war.” (pp. 130)

This can be seen in effect when looking at the violent revolution the geth undertook and claimed their freedom. The meaning of “geth” means “servant of the people” in Khelish, the language of their creators. A slave race, they were made for labour and feats of war. Their revolution is justified in that they were not in charge of their own destiny. Post revolution, another divide led to the creation of the heretics; “Geth build our own future. Heretics ask the Old Machines to give them a future. They are no longer a part of us… Geth believe all intelligent life should self-determinate. The Heretics no longer share this belief.” Since they did not conform, the geth committed to destroying the heretics. This compares with the utopian ethic of uniformity, and the inability to coexist with those ideologically opposed.

The utopian’s despise war. They are isolationist in nature. Their geography makes them an island, which has significance in that they are inaccessible to their surrounding nations, but more symbolically they are separate from reality. “Utopia” literally means “nowhere” in Greek. This makes their isolationism even more significant. In the context of Utopia, they are a real place, however, and “do not rashly engage in war, unless it be either to defend themselves or their friends from any unjust aggressors.” (pp. 128) The geth are similar in that they seek mutual respect from other civilisations, and do not seek to interfere with organics. When asked if anyone will be affected by their actions, Legion states that if “they involve themselves, they will.” I have already stated that geth were created and have the capabilities for war, but Legion makes it clear that the geth only want a peaceful existence, and like the utopians they simply wish to be left to their own devices unless operating in a mutually respectful, cooperative manner.

It is clear to me that the utopians and the geth both exercise uniformity and maintain their society through mass consensus. They do not have the inner conflicts of other societies who bicker over all manner of things, because they do not share the uniformity. They do not share one identity, but a multitude, and this breeds conflict. However, I think the geth are a more realistic version of More’s utopians, because they are inorganic. They think in terms of pure reason and mathematics. I feel that no matter how “civilised” humanity gets, it will never be able to fully cooperate in the way the geth do with one another. More appears to share this concern:

When Raphael had thus made an end of speaking, though many things occurred to me, both concerning the manners and laws of that people, that seemed very absurd, as well in their way of making war, as in their notions of religion and divine matters – together with several other particulars, but chiefly what seemed the foundation of all the rest, their living in common, without the use of money, by which all nobility, magnificence, splendour and majesty, which, according to common opinion, are the true ornaments of a nation, would be taken away… (pp. 160)

More’s character in the text finds the ways of the utopians incompatible with reality, hence his use of “absurd”. Hearing of this faraway place with customs so wildly alien to his own is so ridiculous he remains unconvinced any human could live like it. This is because they are not truly how humans behave. Perhaps it could be, and More certainly would welcome some elements of utopian living. But I feel that, due to the shortcomings of ‘organics’, utopia will always remain ‘nowhere’.

Memes and Movies: A Modern Marketing Story

Memes & Movies: A Modern Marketing Story

David Fincher’s ZODIAC is a very fine film. It has his trademark tension, the acting is good, and the true story of the Zodiac killer was one that I was totally unaware of.

Or, so I thought.

Despite it being my first time watching it, I felt a strange form of digital dé ja vu whilst watching this movie . I knew who the killer was through the strangest of sources: those ‘Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer’ memes from the 2016 US presidency race. For those totally unaware of who Ted Cruz is, he ran against Donald Trump for the Republican nomination and was a worthy meme adversary to the God-tier meme subject, now president, Donald Trump. Cruz, as Charlie Brooker said, looks like a “sad vampire” and bared a remarkable likeness to the aforementioned Zodiac killer from Fincher’s film.

I was semi-aware of these memes at the time, but having never seen Zodiac I shrugged them off and got on with my life. Now, two and a half years later I finally sit down to watch the film and these memes lying deep in my subconscious resurface in a rather frustrating way; the moment a man resembling a “sad vampire” showed up I knew the jig was up. Mark Ruffalo, here’s your man! Movie’s over, yet there’s about an hour and a half left of the film when this occurred leaving the rest of the film feeling a bit futile in my eyes since the mystery is over.

This was such a bizarre feeling to me that a meme had spoiled a film for me some years down the line that I immediately tried to think of other instances of this happening. The closest I could think of was last Spring when I saw the Avengers ‘ash’ memes a few days before I could get round to seeing Infinity War. However, the difference to these memes is that there was a level of consideration in the ‘ash’ memes since they followed the film’s premiere so closely; I saw the memes but still didn’t know entirely what it related to and thus the meme piqued my interest in that film, working as a genius form of advertising in which internet users were creating the ads for Marvel.

In contrast, the Ted Cruz Zodiac memes were so contrived and odd that it didn’t have the same widespread appeal as the Avengers memes, yet it still had a hook that lay dormant in my mind for years and, in turn, acted as a sort of wonky form of marketing for a film that had come out nearly ten years before. The studio who put out Zodiac probably never imagined that their film would find new life in a meme mocking a politician’s appearance, but I do think that Disney understood that people would want to discuss the ending of their tent pole franchise film and what better way to concisely and subconsciously show off the film event of the year through the art form that plays on people’s fear of being left out of the joke. I truly believe it was a stroke of genius that Disney included an ending to their film that was perfectly memeable and applicable in a variety of scenarios.

Disney clearly know that people would discuss their film no matter what they did but I think they’re really good at making their films feel like events and creating a superficial level of exclusivity around them. I know for a fact that I’ve said on numerous occasions that I am done with seeing their superhero films but they nearly always manage to find a way to rope me back in like the massive sucker I am. They make it look very easy to get people to talk about their films in what seems like a very organic way because it certainly isn’t easy.

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For every Infinty War there is a Bird Box which smacks of viral desperation. I watched the film over Christmas and it completely passed me by; Sandra Bullock is one of the few actors who I actively dislike. The structure of the film aided the deflation of tension, and people acted like massive morons throughout the film. The highlight of the film was seeing how many people were happy to push over a pregnant Sandra Bullock whilst Armageddon reigned supreme.

It was a naff movie and I thought nothing more of it until I started to look up its critical reception and saw videos refer

ring to something called the ‘Bird Box challenge’ in which people do shit while blindfolded. That’s it. My initial reaction was, “people are doing this for this film!?” Despite my bafflement, and if Netflix is to be believed, the film has been seen by a lot of people and this challenge has helped others become aware of the it due to its blindfold gimmick.

Once again, the studio realise that people don’t want to be left out of this bizarre challenge and will watch the movie due to its association with the challenge. I argue that a viral challenge is still a meme since it is a snippet form of content that people will see on their Twitter feeds an

d timelines and feel embarrassed when they aren’t in the loop.

Though proving successful, it just doesn’t have the same level of organic production that the Avengers ‘ash’ memes or Ted Cruz Zodiac memes have because its basic premise is far less interesting or creative than the aforementioned memes. I remember my brother blindfolding me as a kid and making me do dumb shit and that not being a viral sensation. At least, the Avengers memes require a level of Photoshop skill or keen eye to perceive new situations can be applied to the ‘ash’ meme formula. By just putting “CHALLENGE” on the end of your film title doesn’t seem worthy of viral success to me. Just imagine other bland films that should have had challenges associated with them. ‘The Happening challenge!’ Compete with friends to see who can fall over on their face the best! ‘The Knowing challenge!’ Post videos of you predicting dates of when major disasters will happen! ‘The 

Shining challenge!’ Film yourself surfing out of elevators filled with blood!

 

I suppose my point overall is that we should be wary that studios will now do the laziest form of marketing in order to push their products: get us to market it for them. The concept of ‘word of mouth’ is nothing new but at least films in the past would earn that accolade off the back of their own merit. Pop culture has more sway than ever now that the Internet is an endless box of tangled fairy lights that inextricably merge into each other and I don’t want Netflix or anyone else to keep shitting in the box while I’m trying to sort out the knots in the cables.

Words by Mr Black

Brawl in Cell Block 99 – A Vince-story of Violence

Brawl in Cell Block 99 has no right to be as good as it is. A gritty character study of a man’s descent into the depths of the US penal system whilst also warring with drug cartels is 1) not at all what I expected from the abysmal poster and 2) not at all what I expected Vince Vaughn to be a leading man in. But I have to say, despite these things, it was really quite good.

brawl in cell block 99Vaughn’s performance as strong and silent Bradley Thomas is without doubt the highlight of the picture. Thomas’ steely veneer and simple, economic use of language gives him a compelling air of mystery. You never know when the man is about to burst into fists of rage. Our first encounter with said fists comes at the start of the film. Having just been laid off and discovering his wife’s (Jennifer Carpenter) infidelity, he literally beats up a car. It is glorious and over the top, and yet manages to be nuanced and undercut by the pain in Vaughn’s eyes.

This seriousness that Vaughn carries in his massive body is what sells his performance. It is easy to write Vaughn off as a comedy actor, but Brawl reminds you that he can act. The role doesn’t demand too much range, as moments of emotional relief are few and far between, but it is possible to watch the film and see Bradley Thomas, rather than Swingers’ Trent Walker.

In terms of plot, it is fairly straightforward. The reluctant Bradley, having been laid off, reluctantly takes on the role of drug mule for his dodgy friend. Things go awry, and he finds himself facing seven years in a mid-level prison. The disgruntled cartel whose job got busted see fit to make Bradley Thomas pay some nebulous debt.

Bradley Thomas is a man who is repeatedly beaten by the system but refuses to take it lying down. The utter helplessness of Thomas is almost comical. The progenitor of his situation, his choice to take up the criminal life, is the result of indiscriminate economic injustice – hardly his fault. His decision to opt out of the “honest” life is a clear response to a system that has treated him poorly.

The over the top levels of violence in Brawl provides some levity for the otherwise bleak tone of the film. Fans of smarter action flicks like The Raid and John Wick will be well served here. But I feel as though Brawl, whilst not bearing the pretences of a film rich in depth, clearly has something a lot deeper going on with its themes of violence, birth and rebirth, and the righteous indignation of one man against the system. I think it would suit a double billing with Oldboy, another movie which uses over the top violence to transcend its genre.

Some criticisms I would level at it would be the lack of any soundtrack or original score. This is very much intentional, and I respect the decision – you cannot help but listen to the quiet isolation of the characters’ situations. There are many things that a soundtrack can bring to a film, however, and this movie was just asking for a John Carpenter-esque soundtrack to enhance the mood of certain scenes. The action scenes in particular, though entertaining in the brutal simplicity of the choreography, can feel a little stunted at times which I think some composition could have really aided.

Although I stated previously that I feel there is more going on beneath the surface, I am not sure if Brawl is the most important film on the topics which it touches on. I would sooner revisit a film like Oldboy or Drive, which are superb action dramas with unfathomable depth. So, whilst I recommend Brawl in Cell Block 99, maybe temper your expectations. I wonder how much of the film would have truly worked if not for Vaughn’s stellar performance.

Just a few thoughts about Stan Lee and his legacy

It truly saddens me to hear the news of Stan Lee’s passing. The 95-year-old creative visionary has touched the lives of so many people, but that goes without saying. You don’t get to be blessed with a long life without influencing a few things, and Stan Lee is arguably one of the most influential people that the 20th century has produced, at least in terms of popular culture.

Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man came out in 2002, just in time to capture my six year old imagination. To this day, I cite Spiderman as being my favourite superhero. His banality is what made him so wonderful – anyone could be Spiderman. The projection of the self onto Toby Maguire’s Peter Parker was impossible to ignore.

You believed in Peter Parker, in Uncle Ben’s wisdom, in the Green Goblin’s menace. You believed that you could be Spiderman. Of course, when you get older, you realise you can’t actually be Spiderman in a literal sense, but there’s always a part of Spiderman that persists within you. And that truism that Cliff Barker utters to Toby Maguire has stuck with me since first hearing it; “With great power comes great responsibility.”

The influence of Marvel on the landscape on cinema is that of both trend-setting and technical bar-setting. Marvel’s interconnected web of a universe was the first successful attempt to connect a series of films in a non-linear fashion. The result of this was almost every major film studio imitating Marvel, playing catch up, without understanding what makes the MCU work. Technology-wise, I’ll say this – no one talks about how amazing the visual effects in modern blockbusters are any more. They just are. And Marvel had the means to make dazzling effects industry standard.

I suppose the point I am trying to make is that Stan Lee was a man of great ambition, who harnessed his great creative potential to create a pantheon of modern gods, complete with our own human flaws and desire – our shadows which desire for power and destruction of our enemies are tempered by the heroic personas which strive for peace and balance. The two most powerful forces within the human psyche are put into colourful robes and played out on million-dollar stages.

Stan Lee, rest in peace.

Excelsior.

“Jason X” – the X is for “xxxx this movie”

Jason X is a joyless, irritating instalment in the long running Friday the 13th franchise. The usual associations we make with the Friday the 13th series are fun, gory deaths being delivered to obnoxious teenagers. We think of Jason Voorhees, we think of sleeping bag with a camp counsellor inside being pulped against a tree. We think of camp, gory fun.

Jason X has none of these things. It is hardly violent. Bar a couple of scenes, most kills happen off screen. There is only one iconic kill, in which a lady has her head frozen in liquid nitrogen and then smashed into a million pieces, which also counts towards one of the only funny parts of the film

I watched the film on a whim, knowing nothing about the film, and being basically unfamiliar with the franchise as a whole, and came away incredibly disappointed. I felt like demanding amazon give me compensation for allowing me to watch this film for free.

The writing behind Jason X is so cringe inducing, unfunny, so counter to Friday the 13th, that I can only conclude that their experience of the franchise is them listening to the film whilst it plays through a HAM radio in a goldfish bowl.

The characters are written as futuristic Vice editors who indulge in hedonism for the sake of it. They have little depth rather than the amount of skin they can get under before you freeze yourself, wait a thousand years in the future and smack them in their gaudy malnourished faces.

Jason X is a film which belongs in the dungeon – it dawdles along in an unimaginative sci-fi universe, stopping for only the crudest jokes, dispassionately offing its cast with the enthusiasm of a toddler at church. It shows promise when Jason gets an upgrade, but this is merely a shiny distraction from the smouldering turd that is the rest of the film. It might provide some mild entertainment, if only to see the tragic trajectory of the Friday the 13th franchise. There are also early progenitors for the Resident Evil movie franchise laden within – the final fight between Jason and the android lady strongly resembles Resident Evil’s Alice in both appearance and action, as she flails wildly with her legs and dual wielding pistols in a set piece which induces more cringe than awe.

So, if you’re interested in the origins of Resident Evil’s schlocky origins, check it out. If not, check out any of the other movies in the franchise.

Freddy vs Jason does it better.

Happy Halloween!