Rampage: Capital Punishment (2014)

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Directed by: Uwe Boll

There was a certain amount of disbelief when Uwe Boll made a ‘ok-ish’ movie in the shape of ‘Rampage’. Thankfully he is back to form on with its sequel – ‘Rampage: Capital Punishment’, Boll delivers a real turkey stuffed full of OTT violence and overlong ranty political guff.

‘Rampage: Capital Punishment’ cleverly brings us up to speed on what happened to the first film’s antagonist Bill Williamson. Bill went into hiding for a couple of years after his massacre, now he’s back planning another atrocity that will get America’s attention. Boy he sure is angry about the state of his nation.

Uwe Boll has given the film a point of view feel, which comes from the immature mind of the kind puny male who goes on a shooting spree, and then in its aftermath, all the tabloid bin sniffers dig out a tatty manifesto that has been either posted in a blog or uploaded to YouTube, and label this deeply troubled and disenfranchised young man insane in their hallowed pages under the guise of news. In recent times we’ve seen countless school shootings, and at its worst in recent years we’ve had the Boston marathon bombings. After these tragic events occur fingers are pointed towards the media, violent movies, violent video games, lack of parenting, aggressive music, because some angry young man has gone ballistic. Boll taps into the fear, but does so clumsily, not particularly making an original point, yet somehow holding a cracked mirror to popular culture, politics and new media. There’s a plot line involving a news anchor named Chip who has one eye on the changing political landscape and the rise of whistleblowers and hactivists like Julian Assange, but is preoccupied with ratings and boardroom pressure from his Producer (played by Boll); but mostly this film is a mess of empty rhetoric without any incisive original thought.

Is Boll saying that peaceful protest gets you nowhere? Perhaps so, I mean the crisply shot ISIS (IS?) beheading videos and other such viral propaganda released this year have seemingly spoken to thousands of disillusioned young men and women, causing them to trek across the world and partake in war games, it is a call to arms in a way that the short lived OCCUPY movement wasn’t. This revolution, which popular figures like Russell Brand talks about, needs to go viral, but in the mind of Bill Williamson, that revolution needs to begin through violence.

As the audience, are we supposed to agree with the sentiment of Williamson’s views? We certainly can’t condone his murdering ways, but his points are ultimately overshadowed by the violence. He tries to get our attention, but all we see is red.

– RJW

5/10

 

Rampage: Capital Punishment on IMDB

 

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Preview #2: Hate Crime

There’s already been an excellent review of this film on here, but I’d like to offer an alternate take on it. And not be quite as clever or perceptive as he was. But so be it.

I don’t need to recap the plot for you – https://iscfc.net/2012/07/19/preview-hate-crime/ – so this will be a little shorter. First up, the acting was excellent. Whoever found that group of people who were presumably willing to work for no money is a genius, and credit to the cast themselves, who give the film more than it possibly deserved. For example. it appears that this is Debbie Diesel’s first film (playing Lindsay, the daughter of the family), and I predict bigger things for her.

Also, I’m a firm believer in making do with what you have, and not letting a budget of what looks like zero dollars become a hindrance. It’s the people who complain that they couldn’t do something because of cash, or put in half-assed effects, that annoy me. This film plays with what it has, and more power to it.

 
I’ve also got nothing against violent films, and films with a bleak view of society, as this film certainly has. I feel I need to say this to prepare you for what’s coming up. So far, so good. They’ve got a cast which is excellent, they’re playing within their strengths, and I have enjoyed some fairly gruesome films in my time.

 
Okay, so this film is like being punched in the face for 70 minutes by someone who’s clearly having the time of their lives, only to be told at the end by that same person, “hey, violence and hate is bad, okay? You should definitely not do this”. Its gleeful nature at depicting violence is hard to tally with its literal message. Maybe it’s deliberate, and the filmmakers stripped out anything human, anything approaching remorse, to make a point. I’d like to believe this, but I get the feeling it’s probably not.

 

A problem with this film is a problem with all found footage films, everywhere – all films like this rely on some cast member carrying on holding a camera long past the point it makes any sense at all, to often ludicrous extremes. So, that’s not a problem specific to this film, but a problem inbuilt in this genre.

 
For the first portion of this film, I had a nagging doubt- if these obvious murderers are going to murder these people, why are they bothering wearing masks? Almost as soon as this thought passed through my mind, they revealed they were only supposed to be scaring them out of the neighbourhood. This – being proved wrong about a film almost immediately – is known in my house as a “Mark”, or “being Marked” (named after my good self).

 
We at the ISCFC were given early viewing rights to this film, and for that I want to thank all at PsykikJunky Films for taking a chance on the little film review site that could. They’ve asked us not to spoil the film, as well, and it’s been an interesting challenge. But, the ending…I’ll throw out a hypothetical, and see what you think. Imagine if you’re watching “Cloverfield” and, about 20 minutes before the end, the screen fades to black, and text comes up which just tells you how the film ends. Imagine how bummed out you’d be?

Hate Crime on IMDB

Preview: Hate Crime

Directed by: James Cullen Bressack

James Cullen Bressack’s ‘Hate Crime’ is a bludgeoning assault to the senses. It is an uncomfortable viewing experience, and harks back to some of the darker moments of cinema history found in films such as Michael Winner’s ‘Death Wish’ and Wes Craven’s ‘Last House on the Left’.

The horror takes place within a normal American family home. A birthday party is interrupted by a gang of nameless masked thugs. The family suddenly face evil in its human form. Bressack, it appears has focussed on realism, the kind of horrific stories that are becoming a regular occurrence on news bulletins. The film is unsettling, and contains several scenes which are bound to cause a stir, and dare I even say when the film shows at various Film Festivals it may even lead to walkouts.

The clever use of the Family’s handheld camera to document the intrusion creates a disturbing intimacy, which places the viewer in the middle of the violence. The acting is very naturalistic; it appears that Bressack told his cast to run with it, to veer from the script. This sometimes leads to some unintentionally dark comic moments from Jody Barton, Tim Moran and Ian Roberts who play the masked men.

True violence isn’t set-up, it happens spontaneously and chaotically. The masked intruders are savage animals that are driven by their own perversions and base instincts. I felt unsettled by some of the film’s content, but it did get me thinking. It wasn’t shock for shocks sake, there seemed to be a point. In many ways I’ve felt similarly about several films from the ‘New French Extremity’ movement. Where boundaries are pushed, and as a viewer I’ve often wondered why I’m watching this, and what it says about me as a person, about how I respond when confronted by human suffering.

I wonder if Bressack is interested in the idea of ‘body horror’, as the family are branded, burnt, and bloodied. In more uncivilized times, death was in our households, it was on our doorsteps. Families were ravaged by wars, and some suffered from hideous diseases. A walk into town saw public executions. The insane asylums were glorified tourist attractions. The weak were punished. There was a distinct lack of love, care or empathy. What I’m trying to say is that horror was an everyday occurrence, people were exposed to it. Today, the evil is still out there, flick on the news channels, read the newspapers, only we are sheltered from it, safe in our own homes. This is where Bressack has been quite clever by disturbing the carefully constructed peace.

Cinema will always hold a mirror up to society. Yes, this is a clichéd idea, but Bressack’s transgressive direction makes a social comment in the bluntest manner possible. Harsher critics might view the film as torture porn. Yet, pornography is something that is actively sought out. This isn’t a film you would want to see, it is a film that you will encounter reluctantly, and likely it will leave an impression.

– RJW

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