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Paintball

Year of Release: 2009
Genre:  Thriller / Action / Horror
IMDB Rating: 3.9 / 10
Level of Awful: High
Breast-O-Meter: 0 / 5

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Oh dear, another interesting concept with dreadfully poor execution. There’s so much more that can be done in a movie centred around killer paintball with a slight dusting of Hostel for fun, but you’d be amazed at just how boring poor film making can make this concept. It suffers from a number of things: firstly, the camera work is shoddy. The cameraman actually moves bushes where no bushes should be moving. Secondly, the camera also appears to function as the microphone and as soon as anybody moves too far away it’s virtually impossible to ever make out what they’re saying. Finally, it suffers from that terrible movie affliction where the director tries to make it obvious just how distressed the characters are but the outcome is a bunch of whiny little people who scream (unintelligibly) at one another for the entire duration of the movie. Mr Paintball director, I do ask that before you try to make another movie that you and I have a chat so we can make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.

These are not sexy times, ladies.

There comes a time in everyone’s life when you begin to question what it is you’re doing and what the purpose of your existence is. Thankfully many of these questions can be answered with a little intense paintball action. Turns out there are numerous places around the world that cater to individuals who just have that undying urge to shoot paint at moving targets, and our little story takes place somewhere in Europe where renegade paintball is all the rage. It’s a secret little society where the location is unknown, people are brought in blindfolded and made to rely on their teammates (who they’ve never met) and their wits. It’s an intense game of survival and only the best will come away unstained, but for some its just what you need to feel alive.

It's sad when an actor realises their career is dead in the middle of a forest.

And so our little team (whose names I can’t remember) set out on this new adventure to become the ultimate paintball champs. It takes all of 3 minutes before they start arguing with one another, debating on who gets to be leader, how to get to the flags and who can actually read a map. The situation is tense – the other team might be just around the corner and decisions need to be made quickly. The team makes their way to a spot in the forest filled with old cars and one derelict bus. They move with the precision of army commandos, but are about as quiet as howler monkeys during mating season. While searching the area the other team spots them and begins to pelt them with paint, and they duck for cover in the old bus. The action begins to diverge from usual paintball practice when the opposing team throw two smoke canisters through the bus’s window, followed shortly afterwards by a box containing a bullet proof vest. When things go quiet and the team begin to make a move they realise just how different this game really is – the opposing team has started to use live ammunition, and our little group is running in plain sight.

The ghosts of paintballers past.

Faced with this new terror our group does what they do best: panic and scream at one another. So they panic off as fast as they can, only to discover that the entire forest is surrounded by a highly charged electric fence. After screaming at one another they panic off in a different direction, but soon pause to scream about where they’re actually going. Some more panicking and screaming ensues, and nobody really knows what’s going on, and gradually they’re all being shot. Along the way there’s an Asian person who adds nothing to the story, and a few booby traps here and there to make things a little bit more exciting in this game of cat and mouse. But who would be so evil as to corrupt an innocent pass time like paintball? Surely such people have been sent by Satan himself to vilify what our dear, screaming characters once held to be so positive and character building? The answer, unfortunately, isn’t anywhere near as exciting.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Taking part in super elite, top-secret paintball tournaments is the absolute height of badassness.
  • Part of staying well hidden involves screaming at the top of your lungs wherever you go.
  • Part of hiding from enemy fire involves running around in the open.
  • Fat guys are always the first to panic when a paintball massacre breaks out.
  • Asian people make terrible paintball hostages.
  • The smaller your knife, the better your throat slashing abilities.
  • It’s incredibly difficult to speak when you have a machete rammed through your chest.

PAINTBALL TRAILER

BUY PAINTBALL AT AMAZON.COM

Zombie Wars

Year of Release: 2008
Genre: Horror
IMDB Rating: 3.1 / 10
Level of Awful: High

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Zombie movie fans of the world unite and bring me the head of director David Prior! I love post-apocalyptic movies, and when the end of the world comes at the hands of a horde of the undead I’m in my element. And what hurts me the most with this movie is that the premise was good! It could’ve been the Daybreakers of the zombie sub-genre! But no, this good concept was left in the hands of a fool with no budget and we’re left with this hot mess of a survivalist zombie movie.

Focus the zombie head!

It’s 50 years from now in a world ravaged by a zombie apocalypse. The ghostly voice of the narrator tells us that nobody knows how it happened, most likely because the budget didn’t allow for an extensive back story. Across the land small pockets of survivors have set up camp and go about the daily struggle of foraging for food, supplies and ammunition while dreaming about these ‘cities’ they heard their parents talking about when they were young. On the last expedition to find other survivors and supplies our beefy, studly hero David manages to rescue a band of virginal, supple females from a horde of zombies. You see these are smarter-than-your-average zombies that have learned that they can cultivate humans as a renewable food source. The rescued girls have lived their entire lives with the zombies and have no way of communicating with the other people in the camp but one of the girls, the blonde and delicate Star (named by David) has all she needs to communicate with her hero.

Do you have battery humans or are they free range?

To ensure a bountiful harvest of human flesh the zombies have built themselves a farm in the middle of the woods where they’ve learned how to grow and breed humans in a sustainable fashion, securing themselves a food source while keeping their carbon footprint low. In a move of expert organisation the zombies decide to attack all of the human settlements in the area one night to try and increase their stocks and David and Star are taken captive and David quickly learns that the key to survival at zombie camp is to keep your mouth shut (apparently human speech offends them). The zombies divide their captives into groups and decide what person is best suited to what job and David is put out to stud. Now let’s face it, if you were captured by zombies and forced to work, constantly sexing would probably be the best job to get. Tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.

It's not organic!

Now while we’re all praising the zombies for evolving a thought process and hierarchical system of governance, there’s a little more to this human farm than initially meets the eye. David can believe they’ve learned how to grow food for their captives, build cages and take photographs of the new arrivals but he’s not entirely willing to believe that they can manufacture soap and preserve and can fresh fruits and vegetables. Someone, somewhere, for some strange reason, has to be helping the zombies out and providing them with the goods to keep their humans alive. It’s now up to David, his friend from zombie camp Sliver (which the director confused with the word ‘slither’) and the newly educated and sexed up Star to find a way out while his friends and brother back at the base camp try to figure a way to break in to help him escape.

Up until this point I was willing to give the movie a ‘Medium’ Level of Awful, but then the ending happens. And after you’ve sat for nearly 80 minutes watching the poorly designed zombies achieve very little in the way of killing this ending will be enough to make you stand up in fury, rip your TV off the wall and throw it off the balcony. If you don’t have a balcony walk the streets until you find one; it’s the only way you’re gonna feel better when the Zombie Wars ending roles round.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Zombie skin and clown makeup are remarkably similar to one another.
  • Zombies only rot in their face.
  • You don’t need to worry about aiming; no matter where you shoot the bullet will find its way to the zombie’s head.
  • Bitch slapping is an excellent interrogation method.
  • Human quality control is both an involved process and an exact science.
  • Zombies are good at managing resources.
  • Zombies control and manage bustling trade routes.
  • Zombies are excellent businessmen.
  • You should always use your dumbest soldiers as sniper guards at border controls.

ZOMBIE WARS TRAILER


Vanishing on 7th Street

Year of Release: 2010
Genre: Horror / Thriller / Mystery
IMDB Rating: 5.1 / 10
Level of Awful: Low

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Disappointment, thy name is Vanishing on 7th Street. This movie had so much promise (interesting concept, people who can actually act, $10 000 000 budget etc.) but something about it just isn’t right. It’s main problem lies in the fact that, while very watchable, you never feel very engaged with the movie – the characters do not interact well with one another and none of them are particularly likeable. What it reminded me of a lot was Pulse, another movie that I just couldn’t quite get into – you know what’s happening and you know when something’s gonna come out and grab someone but you have absolutely no clue why any of it is happening and the movie never cares to explain any of it to you. Unlike Pulse, however, Vanishing on 7th Street doesn’t have any answer to the problem so you’re left hanging at the end. All in all it was a fair attempt but it never feels like much effort actually went into making it or trying to make the story and characters pan out properly.

♫ Beaten down by a Moonlight Shadow ♫

Something very strange is going on in the world. Our 4 characters Luke (a TV presenter), Paul (works at a Cinema making sure the movies work), Rosemary (a physical therapist) and James (son of a bartender) were all going about their daily lives when a blackout hit the city. The strange part is that, when the power came back on, everyone else was gone. All that was left of them was whatever they were wearing, bunched up on the floor (a little bit like the aeroplane in the mini-series adaptation of Steven King’s The Langoliers). The problem is that, while the people are gone, their spirits aren’t. Everywhere across the city their shadows / souls stalk around any place that’s dark, hunting down those few people who were not taken in the initial blackout. Thriving in darkness and forced back by any light source, the few remaining people need to survive night time with the help of any available light source they can find. Unfortunately for them the sun is taking longer to rise and setting much quicker, giving the shadows more and more time to hunt them down.

Hayden Christensen's 'Dark & Broody' method of acting.

As the night takes longer and longer to pass Luke manages to find his way to a little bar on 7th Street where James has managed to keep the lights on with the help of a little backup generator. A delusional Rosemary makes her way there a little later, desperately trying to find her lost 9-month-old son. Paul is dragged there after he is found screaming in a bus shelter where the lights have managed to stay on thanks to them being solar powered. Now when all of these people rocked up at the pub I was just waiting for the twist later on that would explain the shadows and why these people (a) were not taken and, (b) brought together. Sadly, this was not to be. What the movie does instead is try to play on the Roanoke Colony, an English colony established in 1585 on Roanoke Island just off North Carolina. The entire colony disappeared, leaving only the word ‘croatoan’ scratched onto a fence post. The movie makes it all sound a lot more ominous that it may have been, but it fits into the whole disappearance storyline so they just took it and ran with it.

And for a brief moment you'll think you're watching The Walking Dead

With the generator in the bar slowing dying our hero Luke decides that they have to get out of town. While the shadows somehow manage to drain electricity from most things they come into contact with Luke has managed to find one car that still has a charge in its battery. Since things are never really that simple getting out of town will require going to fetch the car and dragging it back to the pub to hook it up to the generator to charge the battery enough to make it go. This will prove to be tricky since all of the flashlights the group has die within a matter of minutes as the shadows drain the batteries in an attempt to get closer to their prey (why the shadows hunt people in the first place isn’t something that’s really explained either). To add to their woes the shadows are tricky, able to play tricks and alter their whispered voices in an attempt to fool the survivors into thinking that their lost loved ones are close by, and some members of this little group are dumb and easily fooled.

In closing if you’ve never watched Pulse, The Langoliers, Blindness, I Am Legend or The Walking Dead and feel like a watching them all quickly, rent Vanishing on 7th Street and you’ll get the main points to all of those movies, just without the cohesiveness or enjoyment.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Never trust a delusional, grief stricken black woman with a gun.
  • Never trust a traumatised 12-year-old boy looking for his mother with a shotgun.
  • Most pubs come ready equipped with a fallout shelter in the event of a nuclear war.
  • The earth’s rotation can be sped up or slowed down depending on the whim of the evil forces ruling over it.
  • Shadows have issues when it comes to their own existence and sense of self-worth.
  • As a result, shadows are incredibly whiny.
  • Milla Jovovich crashing into a church on a motorbike is stylish. Hayden Christensen crashing into a church in an old pickup truck isn’t.

VANISHING ON 7TH STREET TRAILER


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