Why I do this to myself I have no idea. For you, my readers, I suppose. Or a deep-rooted sense to intellectually cut myself at every possible opportunity. My roommate and I sat down last night and for the next hour and a half submitted ourselves to every bad camera angle, shot, corny piece of dialogue and unintelligible moment of Mutant Chronicles has to offer. It was painful, but Mutant Chronicles is one of those movies that are so bad they're good.
Mutant Chronicles, based on a role-playing game, is directed by Simon Hunter and written by Philip Eisner (whose only respectable screenplay is Event Horizon). God, where to start. The movie is all over the map, though it's hard to tell what is intentional and what is not.
Had Hunter set out to deliver a surrealistic, Sin City-esque depiction of an alternate future, then some compliments should be thrown his way for the world that is shown here. Nothing looks realistic, as buildings, mountains and everything else were clearly added in after extensive work against a green screen. The movie thrives in a world of grays and browns, where the only vibrant color is the computer-generated, bright red blood that splatters all over the place. Visually, the special effects are poorly done and yet there's something about them that seems intentional, like the throwback visuals used in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. If all of this is intentional, then Hunter's efforts aren't a complete waste; his vision of this future, where spaceships survive on coal power and crazy mutants jump out of the fog-filled darkness to kill dozens of men at a time, has its moments.
The thing is, I don't think much of this movie came out how Hunter envisioned it. The graphics are, frankly, quite terrible, and the world Mutant Chronicles is set in makes little sense. Sky Captain, love it or hate it, had a very distinct style that was carried out from beginning to end; Sin City had the same thing going for it. Mutant Chronicles is visually chaotic and inconsistent, as it varies from gritty war movie to zombie film to cheesy adventure, both stylistically and thematically. To make matters worse, Hunter throws in a lot of "this would be a cool shot" moments that are laughably bad, like a shot where he zooms in on one of Ron Perlman's eyes to show a reflection of an explosion coming his way. Things come out of nowhere and all you can do is shake your head and laugh your ass off.
Even if all of this was Hunter's true intentions, Mutant Chronicles is not very good. The coal-powered spaceships really don't make any sense whatsoever, along with a bunch of other things. More importantly, the setting, people and everything else are never given the appropriate back story; Hunter dives right into the action but never stops to embrace this world of his where technology barely feels futuristic and mindless mutants pour from deep within the Earth, but at times are also able to fly spaceships or show some intellect. Furthermore, the editing is a complete disaster. Hunter jumps from one scene to the next and you're often left scratching your head, wondering if you missed something. There are several instances where the editing appears to have been done by a monkey with paper scissors a few days before the film's release.
The acting and dialogue don't help matters. Ton Perlman is horrible, as are most of the other cast members. Thomas Jane is the only one who doesn't completely butcher his role, and it's sad when Jane is the best actor in the movie. Eisner's script is embarrassing, which doesn't help the actors in the slightest, and the plot rarely makes sense. Mutant Chronicles is a movie that starts off bad and only gets worse.
Mutant Chronicles is a God-awful movie, but one that is so bad it's hard to turn off. The best thing about the movie is that it ended 20 minutes earlier than what IMDB or Netflix indicated, which meant I could go back to watching Pulp Fiction and cleanse my mind of this disaster. We actually started taking whiskey shots halfway through, but we ran out before the alcohol could take effect. Recommended only if you are able to get a large group of friends together to point and laugh at this mockery.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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