Sunday, November 23, 2008

Video Game Movie Review: Postal

Anyone who said that this movie was funny is either a liar or someone who saw a different film and got confused. This film is extremely far from funny. In fact, it can barely be considered a film. Uwe Boll has mistaken offensive content for humor, so tried to pile as much offensive content into this motion picture as possible.

I'm not one who get offended easily. In fact, many may say I have a sick sense of humor. However, despite this, Postal was utterly unenjoyable and completely terrible. Although it's supposed to have a somewhat coherent story, it actually feels more like a sketch comedy show. There are many random scenes that would ordinarily hit the cutting room floor due to their peripheral involvement to the actual story, but they are supposed to be funny, so they remain in this horrid mess. For example, the beginning is the completely random (but oft hated) scene where the pilots on the ill fated flight that crashed in the world trade center are arguing about how many virgins they will receive in heaven in reward for their unspeakably evil act.

If you expect me to be outraged by that, I'm not. Maybe I'm callous or perhaps it stems from me being fortunate enough not to know anyone hurt in the attack. I think humor is an appropriate coping mechanism for people to deal with the terrible atrocities that happen our world. Obviously, you don't want to crack jokes too soon out of respect for the grieving, but I'm of the opinion that it's been long enough that it's acceptable fodder for comedic material. However, I didn't find this the least bit funny. It was just people arguing about the numerical value of virgins that they'd receive for like 10 minutes. Perhaps it could have made a good 30 second joke for a stand up comedian, but in Postal, it was long, drawn out and just plain boring.

Long, drawn out and just plain boring could be used to describe the rest of the film. Unfortunately, that was one of the better written jokes in the movie. The rest could barely be considered jokes. Most of the film was just the tasteless things that Postal is known for. One of the funniest things in the film (but still wasn't funny) was one of those aforementioned random sketch things where the Postal Dude goes into a job interview, and they are cruel to him. Unfortunately, that joke was done and much much better by Monty Python many years before. Otherwise, it's mostly tasteless supposedly shocking stuff that is supposed to be amusing.

In another one of the more bearable scenes, Uwe Boll shows up wearing lederhosen and talking about how he finances his movies with Nazi gold when Vince Desi, CEO of Running With Scissors (the company that makes the Postal Games), reveals that he was in the Krotchy (a popular phallic toy used as a plot device in the movie) suit and tackles Uwe screaming about how he was ruining the Postal movie. Perhaps Vince didn't realize how terrible the movie was going to end up, so that ended up being more humorous than perhaps intended.

I felt particularly bad for Dave Foley because he was in this film. He's a funny guy, but he couldn't do anything with the terrible material he was working with. Zach Ward was actually the star, but his career has been going downhill since A Christmas Story, so it's not shocking he ended up in this stinker. Plus, Zach Ward was in Bloodrayne 2, so he knew what he was getting himself into.

One would think given how unintentionally funny Uwe's previous movies were, he could make something even funnier if he tried, but he failed miserably. It was a somber, mirthless evening when my friends and I watched this film. I guess that goes to show that other genres can become comedies when they are done poorly, but a bad comedy is just terrible. Having seen all of Uwe's video game adaptations to date (and Seed as well), this is by far the worst.

Production Values: 5.0 – It seems like money was actually spent on this film. It was wasted, but it didn't look like it was done with no money.

Story: 9.5 – There is very little of a consistent story. Perhaps that's because Uwe can't craft one since this is the first of his video game movies he's written himself. He also wrote Seed, as I described in my previous post was terrible but not nearly as bad.

Action: 7.0 – There’s some gunfights, but since you hate every character with the fury of a thousand suns, it's difficult to enjoy it.

Faithfulness to the video game source: 4.0 – I think this was somewhat accurate to the brand of "humor" that the Postal games have. They never struck me as particularly funny. Two turds have been awarded for the stupid, random sketches that had nothing to do with the plot. The other two are because it didn't have Gary Coleman in it, who is featured prominently in the Postal games. They had Vern Troyer, but I'm sick of him.

Laughs: 10.0 – (Less turds means funnier) I don't think I cracked a smile during the film nor did my friends watching it with me.

Total Turds: 9.5 – Uwe's worst, which makes it the worst video game adaptation movie ever. Nothing else seems to be in the same league as this. Hell, Super Mario Bros. looks like Oscar material compared to this pile of excrement. The only reason I didn't give this 10 turds is because I want to reserve that number should Uwe make a worse film.

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Non-Video Game Movie Review: Uwe Boll's Seed

I promised to review Uwe Boll's non-video game offerings, and here is my first! Eventually, I'll get around to reviewing his earlier offerings, but here are my thoughts on his most recent non-video game offering.

Seed was such a waste of time that I’m not sure I want to waste your time reading about how terrible it was. So, if you aren’t dying of boredom, know that it was terrible and you should avoid it at all costs. If you have absolutely nothing better to do (and might I suggest randomly following a bunch of links on Wikipedia? It’s a great way to kill time. If you are having trouble, I’ll start you out. Here’s a link about the Platypus. It’s a fascinating animal. Click the link! You won’t be disappointed. Platypii aren’t for you? Well, are you familiar with the Sonic Hedgehog protein? No? Well follow this link.)

Geez. You really are determined to find out more about Seed. Well, Seed was written, directed and produced by Uwe Boll. Although my standards were low, I was really amazed at how crappy this film was. I’ve seen probably hundreds of slasher films, and this is one of the worst. (However, it is better than The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, which is probably the worst film I’ve ever seen. That at least is somewhat humorous.) The film is about a serial killer named Sam Seed, who is ridiculously good at not getting caught since he was able to kill over 666 victims. According to wikipedia's link on serial killers, the most proven victims is 218, so 666 seems really far fetched. There are some killers with a possible victim count of around 600, but they all lived a long time ago before we made advances in criminal investigations.

Unlike many of his films, it actually is somewhat coherent. It’s confused, muddled and downright bad, but there is a narrative arc. As well, it seems like he was making an attempt to raise a moral dilemma, but the execution was so poor that it’s hard to draw any sort of meaning from this crapfest. Basically the story follows a police officer who captures Seed, and then is faced with a “terrible choice” of whether to follow the rules or bend them to make sure Seed gets what he deserves. Apparently the prison's electric chair is faulty, and when they try to execute Seed, it doesn't kill him. Wherever they live has a crazy law that if you survive three electrocution attempts, you are allowed to go free. So the police officer is faced with the intense moral dilemma of burying him alive or risking a third attempt on the chair after the first two. Unfortunately, this premise is terribly flawed. They already told everyone he was dead after the second attempt, so they are already breaking the rules by lying. One would think that initial choice would have liberated them to kill him as they saw fit, but for some dumb reason they feel bound that they have to either declare him dead, or give him round 3 with the chair. They could have injected him with poison, strangled him, shot him, smothered him, or any other method to extinguish the small flame of human life remaining in his battered body. The cop made the choice to bury him alive, and of course Seed escapes and starts to kill everyone and tries to get revenge on the cop.

Now, although that sounds extraordinarily generic and rather stupid, Boll tries really hard to make this film “art”. There are dream sequences and flashbacks, all poorly executed, so they confuse rather than enlighten. As well, it seems that he was trying copy Lars von Trier's unique style of camera work. Unfortunately, he doesn't have the talent or vision to pull it out. Instead, it feels like the cameraman is zooming in and out like he has a nervous twitch had their finger on the zoom buttons on a home camcorder. In fact, maybe the entire film was filmed on camcorders because the camera movement was rough and distracting. Maybe Uwe didn’t want to pay for a steadicam and someone who can operate one?

The editing was terrible. I don’t really envy the editor because if it were me, I would have cut it down to probably 15 minutes maximum. Every scene is drawn out and boring. While this can sometimes be effective in horror like Takashi Miike’s fantastic Audition, it was painful here. Miike deliberately made the movie slow in order to build up to the ending. Boll doesn’t have enough mastery of the art form to do anything like that. Shots are always awkwardly long or short. Normally editing doesn't stand out because when done right, it's not intrusive. As well, I was under the impression that it's not too difficult to do average editing, but it was exceptionally poor. Perhaps again this was Uwe's attempt to do something artsy, but it failed due to lack of talent.

Surprisingly, the end isn’t your typical Hollywood ending, but it is stupid and poorly written similar to the rest of the film. The amazing part is I actually do have something nice to say. Child actress, Jodelle Ferland, was quite good. She was the little girl in Silent Hill, Tideland, and unfortunately Bloodrayne 2: Deliverance. It’s sad she really didn’t get a chance to shine because her scenes were all bogged down with sloppy editing, directing and writing.

I've wasted enough words on this terrible film. So, lemme skip right to the ratings.

Production Values: 7.0 – The film reeks of low budget. The poor camera work might have been attributed to not being able to afford a steadicam or a steadicam operator. The gratuitous gore was pretty poorly done.

Story: 6.5 – Far from good, but a bit better than your typical Uwe fare.

Action: 8.5 – There was little. Uwe seemed to be going for a dramatic thriller, but he failed miserably.

Laughs: 9.0 – There was nothing particularly funny about it. The only way I was able to laugh was when I was thinking about how misguided Uwe was when trying to create this film.

Total Turds: 7.0 – As I started off this article, Seed is a huge waste of time. I figured it might be a mistake to watch it, but I figured I'd take one for the team. Avoid this one unless someone has a gun to your head.

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