C.A.T. Squad (1986)

When you think about it, William Friedkin can compare “best five movies” with just about any director. “The Exorcist”, “The French Connection”, “Sorcerer”, “To Live And Die In LA” and “The Boys In The Band” are all absolutely fantastic, in different ways too, and he made the incredibly creepy “Bug” as recently as 2006. One gets the feeling he’s still, even now, just doing whatever the hell he likes – in semi-retirement, he directed a couple of episodes of “CSI” (possibly as a favour to his old star William Petersen) and in 2017 made a documentary about a priest who performs exorcisms, co-written by film critic Mark Kermode, who’s long championed “The Exorcist” as the greatest movie of all time.

So it was with moderate puzzlement I discovered he’d made two made-for-TV action movies in the mid-80s, with a star I’d never heard of (but co-stars I definitely had). After watching the first one, my best guess is Friedkin wanted to see if he could make a classic 70s Euro-spy-thriller, and took whatever opportunity afforded itself to do so. So, ignore the title, which makes you think of some cheesy all-female boobs-n-guns effort, and settle in for one of the more interesting forgotten gems of the 80s.

Carlos (Eddie Velez) is moseying round the world, killing seemingly random people in very different ways – one guy, he snipes from the roof of a nearby church, the other he switches the candles in a restaurant for high explosives, completely destroying the place and dozens of people. Your normal bog-standard cops aren’t enough for this, so we get…the Counter Assault Tactical Squad! Quite why the movie went for such an offputting title is a question we may never get an answer for, sadly.

Head CAT is Doc Burkholder (Joe Cortese, who looks like a weird mashup of three different actors in one body), and we get a sweet “assembling the team” segment, second favourite to the “ultimate badass” speech. His boss is yer man from “Northern Exposure”, Barry Corbin, and they play a very strange game of…poker?…with each other, but they’re only holding a $1 bill and seem to be reading from it. Perhaps if this had been picked up to go to series – it’s very obviously the pilot for a TV show, made by NBC – they’d have explained some of this stuff to us. Anyway, his second-in-command is the late, great Steve James (the sidekick from the early “American Ninja” movies), Patricia Charbonneau from “Desert Hearts” is one of the others, and the new guy, the one who gets the arc, is a very young Bradley Whitford, even predating his star-making role in the second “Revenge Of The Nerds” movie (or was that just me?)

The script is from the same guy who wrote “To Live And Die In LA”, Gerald Petievich, and he used to be a Secret Service agent, so there’s at least half an idea that the stuff on screen bears a decent relationship to the truth of this sort of operation. The team, each of whom has a nicely defined area of specialty, patiently tracks Carlos down throughout a variety of locations, all over the world.

Even though it’s a TV movie, there’s plenty of artistry on display, as it was shot by Rbert Yeoman, who’d go on to be nominated for Oscars, and with Friedkin at the helm, it’s almost inevitably going to be classier than your normal effort. I mean, I could have done with a few fewer Dutch angles, but I guess it was less of a cliché back then? Also, and this might be the weirdest credit of them all, the soundtrack was done by Ennio Morricone! According to experts, it sounds like offcuts from his other work, but I’ll take it, even the bits that don’t really fit the scenes they’re in.

In what amounts to a small roadblock to enjoyment, it’s a little difficult to get over the mental disconnect of there not being a huge amount of “action” in “C.A.T. Squad”. When you see Steve James, you expect him to kick a little ass and look amazing doing it, but here he’s a quiet family man (he has a deaf son and shows off his signing skills in a touching little scene) who throws a grand total of one punch, and then throws someone off a balcony. Or they fall off after getting punched, which is sort of the same thing.

But what mostly happens is people look pensive in a wide variety of locations. Carlos doesn’t so much seem ahead as running on a different track until the last third of the movie – he gets no joy from his actions, the C.AT.s get no joy from tracking him down. While it’s not fast or action-packed, it’s a more cerebral affair, with much more in common with a 70s spy movie than an 80s action one.

It’s an interesting one, for sure, and I’m looking forward to the sequel, the too-many-animal-words-in-there “C.A.T. Squad 2: Operation Python Wolf”.

Rating: thumbs up

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Joy Ride (2001)

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When you’ve got over making “Fast and Furious” references at Paul Walker doing car stunts (and have, for the deep cut fans, noticed that the voice of “Rusty Nail” is also in that movie), there’s a surprisingly good movie lurking somewhere. It’s also a relatively early credit for genre titan JJ Abrams – after writing and producing a couple of Harrison Ford movies in the 90s, he was in the middle of his first TV show “Felicity” when he turned his hand to this.

Walker is Lewis, and he’s been in love with Venna (Leelee Sobieski) since forever; while chatting from their separate colleges, she mentions her ride back to their home town has cancelled on her. He, like any fine man, sees an opportunity so cancels his plane ticket and uses it to buy a car to go and pick her up with. So far, so good, and I was right there with him – but there’s a snag, and that snag is his brother Fuller (Steve Zahn). He has to bail Fuller out of jail on the way, and Fuller just decides to tag along; however, it’s when he decides on a whim to buy a CB radio and fit it to the car that the movie really kicks off.

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Really, it’s about Lewis continuing to make bad decisions, inspired by his Fuller for sure, a character who seems pathologically unable to do the right thing – but bad decisions nonetheless. While flicking through the CB radio “channels”, they encounter the rather unusually sounding Rusty Nail (an unbilled Ted Levine, one of the greatest voices in the business), and Fuller pressures Lewis into putting on a female voice and pranking the trucker. This escalates, involving murder, and then Rusty Nail decides to get his own back on the two brothers – and Venna, when she gets picked up too.

If you’ve seen “Duel”, you’ll have a bit of an idea of how things progress. A seemingly magic, unstoppable truck pursues our heroes, with the added creepiness of a voice (we never really see Rusty Nail) using a kidnapped friend to force them into ever tighter corners. There are some fantastic set-pieces in it and lots of clever little moments, and if you ignore the overarching plot completely, you’ll have a really good time. But, of course, it’s really difficult to ignore the plot of a movie.

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I guess the chief issue is Rusty Nail’s supernatural abilities. He identifies the car the brothers are driving in, then follows them all the way to Venna’s college, tracking them and remaining undetected despite the fact he’s in a huge big-rig truck. Then he figures out that the woman our three heroes had a casual conversation with outside the dorm was actually Venna’s roommate and not some vague casual acquaintance, and kidnaps her too (while staying in CB range). And there’s the time he figures out what road they’re going to use, then spraypaints a message on road signs, one word at a time. So, he’d have needed to work out how many words he wanted to use and paint them in reverse, or he’d have been driving for miles on the wrong side of the road. No other road user stopped him or reported him to the police in all this time. It’s also exceedingly unlucky that the one guy they picked at random to prank is a grimly determined psychopathic murderer, but I guess without such coincidences, the movies would be a less busy place.

There’s justification for all this stuff, and Roger Ebert (who loved this movie) goes through a few of them…but I don’t buy it. Given the movie’s only 97  minutes long, it could have spared a minute to explain just how he’s able to do what he does. Or perhaps I’m complaining about the wrong things, because it’s still packed with fun and excitement (Zahn’s ability to be comic relief in the middle of a pretty tense thriller is a lot of fun to witness), with a crescendo that really knocks it out of the park. Director John Dahl seems to be a TV guy these days, having not directed a non-TV movie since 2007, which is a shame; he’s got a great ability to make the ordinary into the frightening. Plus, his commentary on the DVD is excellent, full of self-deprecating humour and stuff like “I never want to shoot another car as long as I live”.

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When you find a question forming in your mind that starts “how did he…?”, just cut it off and enjoy the movie. And wonder about the shape it could have taken – three separate endings were filmed, and Sobieski filmed “romantic interludes” with Zahn and Walker, both of which were cut. The lack of any real romance at the heart of the film is odd, but a good kind of odd I think. Also, if you’re in the UK or Australia, the title of the movie will be “Roadkill”, because joy-riding is a slightly less pleasant thing over here.

Rating: thumbs up

Maniac Cop 2 (1990)

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I enjoyed “Maniac Cop” recently, but had been told by a few smart people that part 2 was better, that director William Lustig and writer/producer Larry Cohen had figured out what worked and what didn’t and built on the strengths. And those smart people were absolutely right – “Maniac Cop 2” is a stronger, leaner, more fun movie, with its weaknesses buried way down and its strengths magnified. Plus, it’s got an amazing purpose-written rap song playing over the end credits! One of my favourite movie things is when they have a song which is about the movie – in fact, I might make a compilation of them one day.

 

What “Maniac Cop 2” does is bring the slasher movie subtext out, front and centre. This is about a horribly disfigured, supernaturally powerful killer with a very strange moral code, who relentlessly pursues his goal, slaughtering everyone who gets in his way (although he does hide his actions quite cleverly at the beginning). We see Matt Cordell (the late great Robert Z’Dar) thanks to this movie repeating the last few minutes of part 1, getting a metal bar to the chest and driving into the bay, but as part 2 starts – with Bruce Campbell and Laurene Landon being cleared by the Commissioner – he’s nowhere to be found, as he wasn’t recovered with the dredged police truck he was driving. But you know that he’s just biding his time before going back to work!

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The Commissioner is still trying to stick to the line of part 1, that it’s just a large psychopath dressed in a police outfit, but luckily this rather pointless stance is mostly ignored. As Campbell and Landon are both dispatched – in classic slasher movie fashion – fairly quickly into the sequel by a revitalised Cordell, with grey skin, horrible scars and a missing nose. Now, this might be a problem with HD versions of the movie, but as they try and half-hide Cordell’s face, it’s mostly visible on several occasions, making the big reveal when it comes a little anti-climactic. But anyway.

 

The stunts, thanks to Spiro Razatos (who’d go on to do the stunts for “The Expendables”, the last three “Fast and Furious” and the two “Captain America” movies) are superb, and are peppered liberally throughout the movie. The two new stars – Robert Davi as Detective Sean McKinney and Claudia Christian as police psychologist Susan Riley – are put through the ringer, most memorably as Christian is handcuffed to the wheel of a car (from the outside) then the car is pushed down a hill. But there’s tons of great action, to go along with Cordell’s slaughtering.

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There is a plot, in case you were wondering. Leo Rossi is Turkell, a deranged fella who sees it as his job to clean up the filth from the streets – he’s killed a number of strippers before he and Cordell cross paths. The two of them form a friendship, of sorts, and even though Cordell utters one word (his name) they’re able to communicate. Anyway, Rossi is eventually caught, which gives them an idea – take a guy who’s about to be committed to Sing Sing prison, pretend to be his guards to gain access, then slaughter their way through the prison to bust out everyone on Death Row and form an army of psychopaths. Oh, and while he’s there Cordell can get revenge on the people who “killed” him when he was an inmate there too, which is a nice bonus.

 

McKinney and Riley, while initially sceptical, meet Cordell themselves and head up the search for him, going over the head of the Commissioner to the press (again). I like their little team – not a hint of romance, but a believable friendship. Also, I reckon Robert Davi and Claudia Christian must have quite enjoyed the chance to star in a movie, and they’re both excellent. They give fairly straight police-thriller performances, even though they’re in a slasher movie, and I like it. Oh, and popping up in an entirely wordless cameo is Danny Trejo as “Prisoner”. That guy got around.

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But all this plot and investigation is really just a framework on which to hang some brilliant set-pieces. Seeing Cordell shoot his way through a police station (never mind how a grey-skinned zombie monster got in there in the first place) is super-exciting, and the final set piece in Sing Sing is brilliantly done as well. Although…the way they finish off the Maniac Cop, by clearing his name of the stuff which landed him in prison in the first place and giving him an official police burial, making sure the corrupt cops admit to their crimes too, is a fascinating way of doing things.

 

It’s a huge improvement over part 1, a tense, tight, gore packed, stunt packed, little gem of a movie. I’m moderately afraid part 3 will be a flop, but after two such strong entries, this series is already strongly in the “win” column for me.

 

Rating: thumbs up

Stress Position

STRESS POSITION: HOW BAD COULD IT BE?

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“FASCINATING AND THRILLING… A NEARLY FLAWLESS DEBUT FEATURE” – Film Bizarro

“A DEEPLY DISTURBING FILM THAT SEEMS ALL TOO REAL…. TRULY PSYCHOLOGICALLY TERRIFYING” – Toronto Film Scene

“TWISTS AND TURNS THAT SURPRISE AND HORRIFY” – Examiner.com, Lindsay Waite

BrinkVision is set to release the award winning, critically acclaimed, psychological experiment thriller comedy Stress Position on VOD and limited edition DVD on August 26th. Stress Position is a genre-bending film about two close friends who make a bet to see which of them can withstand a week of psychological torture at the hands of the other. Director A.J. Bond and longtime collaborator and friend, David Amito designed personalized torture regimes aimed at breaking each other’s will, but without causing any severe physical pain. Set entirely in and around an avant garde torture chamber custom built in an isolated warehouse, the film captures the surprising trajectory of the experiment from both sides of the cell as the two friends play both victim and oppressor, not to mention actor and director.

A Documentary? An Experiment? Torture Porn? What the F#*k is Stress Position?

Synopsis:

Inspired by a flippant remark about the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, filmmaker A.J. Bond made a bet with his close friend, actor David Amito, to see which of them could withstand a week of psychological torture at the hands of the other. What begins as a bizarre and darkly humorous experiment gradually spirals out of control, testing the limits of their friendship.

Trailer:

YOU CAN BUY STRESS POSITION BY CLICKING ON THIS LINK

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Killer Image (1992)

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Directed by: David Winning

The lead up to Christmas contains many dead hours. I’ve caught up with a few friends, got drunk, but mostly I’ve been trying to relax after completing my first semester as a Post-grad student. Ordinarily I’d do my Christmas shopping, however since I’m an organized guy, my shopping was done swiftly, which gave me plenty of feet up time. I like nothing better than to watch films to occupy my idle days, but for once I found myself at a loose end; there was nothing new to view. Given that I needed something to watch I ventured into Poundland (disclaimer – unlike John Terry this was not to pick up wrapping paper) and managed to get a copy of this little Canadian gem starring Michael Ironside.

I was struck by the front cover, a blonde femme fatale crudely photo-shopped, or depending on how you look at it, draped over a camera. In the lens is Ironside himself, wearing black leather gloves, a pistol clasped in his right hand. On the back cover was this tagline:
A wealthy Senator
His psychotic brother
And a photographer who saw too much…

Ironside, who looks a little like Jack Nicholson, only without the charisma and sex drive, plays Luther, a psycotic balding hitman who sports a greasy ponytail. Luther is seen by a photographer disposing of a body near a dam. The photographer snaps away. Luther doesn’t take kindly to that, he spots the photographer hiding in the bushes and fires some shots. Luther then catches up to the photographer and finishes him off.

We find out that the murdered photographer has a brother, who also is a photographer. His name is Max. Max is a little bit more of a free spirit, and his way of dealing with grief is to spend a little time camping in the wilderness. When Max returns to, what is either an especially untidy bachelor pad or his dead Brother’s flat that’s recently been broken into, he gets given an assignment to take PR shots for a local Senator (M. Emmet Walsh), a job his late Brother was doing. Luther breaks into the pad, but thankfully for Max his elderly neigbour barges in saying that her dog has a blocked colon and needs to be urgently taken to the vets. Luther is looking for a roll of film which Max’s brother snapped that shows him disposing the body.

The rest of the movie is a story of evasion, as Max constantly dodges Luther. Sometimes this borders on looking like a live action version of a Warner Bros cartoon with Ironside as an Elmer Fudd figure constantly getting outsmarted by Bugs, for example Luther sleeps with a prostitute, then sends her over with a spiked bottle of tequila to Max’s pad. The prostitute comes on to Max and begins to pleasure him, until he passes out. When Max wakes up his hands are superglued to a leather belt, the belt is wrapped around the prostitute’s neck. Max frees himself from the belt, losing the skin from his palms, but somehow can’t shake the dead prostitute. As a few scenes later he finds himself caught on a rollercoaster with her when trying to retrieve an incriminating polaroid. Max humiliatingly has to carry her body into the back of Luther’s car. The trio drive along a motorway until they stop at a Police checkpoint. Luther tells the officer the prostitute in the back is “dead drunk”; Max takes the opportunity to exit the vehicle saying that he’s had a few beers and needs the loo. He then skips away as Luther can’t shoot him in front of a traffic cop.

I liked ‘Killer Image’, in the same way that I’ve liked early nineties action thrillers like ‘Street Crimes’ and ‘Red Surf’. It’s a fun romp, which provides scenes that are ripe for parody and I hope in the age of Hollywood remakes, perhaps, just perhaps someone will consider, like they’ve recently done with ‘Road House’, repackaging ‘Killer Image’ for a new generation of cinema goers. Although I very much doubt that will happen, one can only dream. In fact I’m going to make it my Christmas wish this year.

– RJW
6/10

Killer Image on IMDB

Killshot (2009)

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Directed by John Madden (no, not that one)

When browsing through the fiction section of the Oxfam book store down Bedford Street I came across Elmore Leonard’s ‘Killshot’. I was on a real pulp kick and since I’d devoured several simple sentences whilst reading through tired eyes in the last few months it meant that the book was a must purchase. Leonard has had several of his books adapted into movies, such as ‘Rum Punch’ (which became Tarantino’s best film ‘Jackie Brown’), ‘Get Shorty’ and ‘Out of Sight’, so when almost serendipitously I was on the hunt for bargain DVD’s in Poundland a week or so later and happened to stumble upon ‘Killshot’, again I quickly parted with my cash.

‘Killshot’ is mostly centred on a Mafia hitman named Blackbird (Mickey Rourke) who angers the mob after bumping off a witness. Prior to the job he was reluctant to kill again after accidentally shooting his brother when he got in the way of a bullet destined for a Nurse. Blackbird retires to the wilderness, trying to reconnect with his Native American roots. He ends up meeting a wiry dumb petty crook called Richie Nix (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in a dive bar, and when Nix has the gall to try and rob him, he develops a protective bond over the younger Nix, seeing him as a little brother figure. The unlikely duo botch an attempt to extort an Estate Agency and end up getting humiliated and chased away by an estranged couple – Wayne and Carmen Colson. They then go after the couple hoping to exact bloody revenge.

In a different director’s hands this could’ve been a smarter, hipper film, but John Madden has gone all serious on us. Everything is blue-collar and bland. Around the midway point, when the Colson’s are put in a Witness Protection programme the film completely flags. Nix goes from a lovable rogue, to an ADD suffering goon and Rourke seems bored with it all, he loses his ice cold chill and becomes pacified.

Diane Lane and Thomas Jane play the Colson’s, a vanilla couple going through marriage difficulties, but jeez, where is the anger, the tension, why don’t these two hate each other? It is revealed that Carmen couldn’t have children and suggested that Wayne is getting too old for heavy manual labour, but these don’t seem to be the reasons why they are separating. The domestic subplot is weak, and the couple are hard to care about. We aren’t really fussed if they get back together and we don’t really care if Blackbird fills them full of lead.

This film was being developed back in 1997 by Miramax, evidently the Weinsteins saw something in Leonard’s original work, but it didn’t go into development until 2005 when Madden came aboard, shooting Hossein Amini’s script. Surprisingly ‘Killshot’ never made it to the cinema, despite the bankable names involved.

‘Killshot’ lacks vibrancy and edge; this got me wondering if maybe the source material isn’t all that great. I shall no doubt read the book with low expectations, but being familiar with previous Elmore Leonard adaptations I expected something hipper, chock full of complex twists and double crosses.

– RJW
5/10

Killshot on IMDB
Buy Killshot [DVD]
Read Killshot by Elmore Leonard

Phone Booth (2002)

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Directed by: Joel Schumacher

“Ain’t live a bitch (bitch) a fucked up bitch (bitch)
A fucked up sore with a fucked up stitch
A fucked up head is a fucked up shame
Swingin’ on my nuts is a fucked up game
Jealousy fillin’ up a fucked up mind
It’s real fucked up like a fucked up crime
If I say fuck, 2 more times
That’s 46 fucks in this fucked up rhyme”

– ‘Hot Dog’ Limp Bizkit

There is a lot of profanity in ‘Phone Booth’; the f-bomb is dropped with alarming regularity, in fact it is uttered one hundred and forty three times. . This recalls the early noughties American cultural influence of Generation X which was emphatically soundtracked by Nu Metal – a genre of music that was aggressive, ignorant and the first cultural expression of modern supressed masculinity. The worry was that ‘Phone Booth’ would be a dumb thriller; thankfully it proves to be anything but.

Colin Farrell’s character Stu Sheppard is Generation X’er. We see him walking along the street brashly with his lackey, fielding calls, making deals, he’s a hotshot publicist who fancies himself to be ‘the shit’. Stu is currently having an affair with Pam (Katie Holmes) and calls her from a phone box in a rough part of New York. Whilst on the phone to Pam a pizza delivery guy tries to deliver him a delicious pizza, after telling the man to Foxtrot Oscar and ending the call to Pam, the phone rings. Stu picks up the receiver and finds himself in the sights of a sniper.

The Sniper selects his targets and punishes them for their wrongful deeds. In Stu’s case he has been cheating on his wife Kelly (Radha Mitchell). Stu is instructed to confess to Kelly that he has been cheating, and admit to Pam that he is in fact married. Set in real time, the tension dramatically escalates when a pimp attempts to remove Stu from the phone box (I’m sorry but I’m not writing phone booth aside from referring to the film’s title) and he is picked off by The Sniper. This causes the fuzz to turn up in great numbers, cordoning off the whole street.

Going back to the start, the film’s opening sequence is hilariously dated; it is remarkable to think how much mobile phone technology has developed over the last decade, and this development has almost caused phone boxes to become extinct. Any film that involves mobile technology must instantly be seen as a historical comment on the dark ages. ‘Cellular’, the 2004 ode to the inadequacy of mobile phone batteries has equally not aged very well.

The film showcases the acting talent of Colin Farrell, who can be relied upon to pull off the good looking redeemable arsehole role, as he has done to aplomb in ‘In Bruges’ and ‘Crazy Heart’. Given that his nemesis remains faceless in the movie until the very end, he is able to hold the film together by convincing playing a man marked for death and arguably worse than that – public humiliation.

‘Phone Booth’ is tightly directed by Joel Schumacher, who is able to make a movie that is boldly Hitchcockian. New York is zoomed in on, and made claustrophobic, and we feel right with Stu in the confined space of the phone box, agonizing as The Sniper’s trigger finger gets itchier.

– RJW
7/10

Phone Booth on IMDB
Buy Phone Booth [2003] [DVD]

The Purge (2013)

As the end credits of “The Purge” washed over me, I wracked my brain. I wanted to kill…the person who’d recommended this film to me, but I couldn’t remember who it was. Whoever you are, you’ve had a lucky escape.

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I suppose I ought to review it. It’s 2022, and “the New Founding Fathers” of America have decided that one night a year when all crime is legal would be a good thing, where people can “purge” the sins from themselves. Quite cleverly, they don’t mention what political background these new rulers come from, to allow us to project our prejudices on the other side (although it seems likely they’re some libertarian, Ayn Rand spouting bunch).

This seems to have had remarkably few other effects, psychologically speaking, on the people we see, including security salesman Ethan Hawke and his wife Lena Headey. They lock down for the night, but their daughter’s boyfriend and a homeless black man on the run from a mob cause all sorts of shenanigans for our brave family. A bunch of rich college students were chasing that homeless man and want him back, in order to kill him good and proper; and the boyfriend wants a man-to-man chat with the Dad.

A world where all crime is legal for one night a year is an interesting idea for a film, but it’s dealt with in the least interesting way possible. An upper-middle-class family and a home invasion-style film is just a bit on the dull side for your average movie-goer. Maybe focus on the homeless guy? The film makes hints towards being socially conscious, but it’s not really developed. Perhaps, have a group of people stranded on the wrong side of town (literally), trying to get back through the utterly lawless streets?

I think my main problem with it, though, is how little thought has gone into creating this world. I’m not the smartest guy, but a hundred problems with this world popped into my head as I was watching it, such as the lack of  psychological problems from killing someone. The reason we don’t murder people from dawn to dusk is not because of the laws against it, but because, by and large, we don’t want to. Committing serious violent crimes against someone can mess you up, but the indication from this film is that blowing off steam works a treat. It doesn’t (so says my degree in Criminal Justice), because when you start thinking of violence as a solution to your problems on one day, you’re going to think it’s a solution on every other day – take our villains, for instance. There is absolutely no chance in hell they’re not committing crimes the other 364 days a year (the film tells us crime rates are at an all-time low).

As my lovely wife and I were on our way home from the cinema, there were lots of little things that bubbled into our heads. Fire, for example. If there’s no fire service for the 12 hours of the Purge, then I’m thinking one or two pyromaniacs could go hog wild in that time. Cities would burn to the ground. Religious fundamentalists might decide to sabotage the water supply to a place like Las Vegas to get rid of the scum there, and cause billions of dollars worth of damage. Women who went into labour at the beginning of the Purge might suffer severe problems. Is there insurance in this world? Also, if you were rich enough to live in a gated community like our heroes, why wouldn’t you just go on holiday for the time of the Purge? Go to Canada! I would think that professional criminals would just loot the hell out of everything they could find and export it or sell it the next day, which would absolutely destroy the economy. Bank managers would just rob the heck out of their own banks. And so on, and so forth.

And so on. I suppose we talked about this film a lot more than we talked about many other films we’ve seen recently, so there’s that, but it just seemed poorly thought out and made characters act in odd ways to drive the plot along. This includes running off in their house – it’s obviously a pretty big place, but it’s super-difficult to figure out where anyone is (more a fault of the director’s, I suppose). It also had a lot of that thing where one of our heroes is about to get shot or bludgeoned to death, until a shot comes from someone who wasn’t in the scene and was off screen at the last second, killing the baddie. This is becoming a ludicrously overused trope. And more jump scares than you can shake a stick at.

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I hinted at it before, but there’s an interesting film to be made from this idea. The way people change when a fundamentalist government takes over and ramps up the propaganda to 11, for example. But, this film absolutely was not it.

The Purge on IMDB
Buy The Purge [DVD] [2013]