A Day Of Violence, 91 Minutes Of Bollocks

A Day Of Violence, the 2010 effort from UK director Darren Ward, is a stale Brit gangster flick filled with stereotypical Brit gangsters played by actors that seemingly were cast out of a community theatre version of a Guy Ritchie film.

“Oi! you cunts, let’s make a fucking movie and shout a lot!”

Sorry, had to get that out of my system. The film opens with our lead Mitchell (Nick Rendell) having awful ugly sex with his lady friend to a guitar based score that’s straight out of a skinamax flick. The man looks like a (slightly) less retarded version of George ‘The Animal’ Steele and this scene is painful to watch. After this we fast forward two years to Mitchell, dead and naked in a body bag in the morgue. Fans of naked, portly British men rejoice! There is a holding shot of the body, testicles laid out in the cool morgue breeze for what seems like an eternity. This is where Mitchell’s narration takes us back to the day that led him to be in such a state, and where we meet Hopper. Hopper (Giovanni Lombardo Radice, who you will recognize from a lot of eighties Italian films like The Church, City of the Living Dead, etc. Clearly he needed the paycheck…) is a low rent drug dealer who owes money to Mitchell’s boss. When Mitchell goes to collect from Hopper, we find him relaxing in his shit hole apartment smoking a bong. This, by the way, is the most unrealistic portrayal of bong smoking I’ve ever seen. He doesn’t even pretend to make it look like he’s inhaling, but I digress… This is where the highlight of the film happens, and the absolute abuse of bad Brit gangster dialogue really amps up. The highlight of the film takes place when…. I’M ABOUT TO START SPOILING THIS SHIT RIGHT HERE…. Mitchell slits Hopper’s throat after stealing a bean bag full of money. Much more money, I might add, then he came to collect.

‘It’s in the bean bag… The FUCKING BEAN BAG!!!” Classically awful…

The throat slitting effect is well done, but unfortunately takes place within the first ten or eleven minutes of the film, so there’s not a whole lot to look forward to from this point. So, Mitchell has a bean bag filled with money, tells his boss to fuck off, and goes to work with his old pal Smitty for crime boss Boswell. Boswell is played by Victor D. Thorn, whose IMDB page reads this little bit o’ trivia: “Whilst serving in the Parachute Regiment (British) in the early seventies he was involved in a parachuting accident with a colleague which meant both of them coming down on one parachute. Fortunately both walked away uninjured.” So since he survived we get to suffer through the most irritating portrayal of a British crime boss EVER. Lucky us. Boswell is every bit the example of awful characters puked up into a screenplay and shit out onto screen. He does the whole “Oi! I’m British so have to shout EVERY FUCKING LINE OF DIALOGUE’ thing and you just hate him from the moment he steps on-screen.

So Mitchell is brought on to work for Boswell, but unbeknownst to him at the time he’s actually replacing his boy Smitty who has been skimming money from Boswell. Boswell sicks his thugs on him and we’re treated to Smitty being hung upside down, beaten and ultimately having his penis cut off. (I told you I was gonna spoil this shit…) The cock cutting effect is decent (that sounds awful) and I’m sure if you’re a guy you’ll wince for a brief second but the best part of the whole scenario is when they throw Smitty’s bloody, cockless self into the back of a truck and one of the thugs picks up his severed penis and tosses it in with him. “Don’t forget his cock!”… wow…

So this is where we find out that the money Hopper had hidden in the bean bag belonged to Boswell (shocking, I know) and who is sent to retrieve it? Mitchell of course. You know where this goes, so I’ll spare you the details. Mitchell is found out to have taken the money by way of a ridiculous action taken by Hopper before he is killed (cell phone camera… really…) and the hunt is now on. Now we already know that Mitchell is eventually killed, seeing as how they showed him in all his pasty naked glory in the morgue  at the start of the film. What happens on the way to that point is just stale, poorly acted and directed, beat to death (no pun intended) nonsense. There is a shoot out in a bar towards the end of the film that is laugh out loud funny, but it’s too little too late. There’s no saving the film at that point. We’ve seen it before, done better, and it’s just not enough to warrant sitting through.

I give A Day Of Violence 1 out of 5 Screaming Jamies for the throat slitting and not much else.

Raining Bullets – The Raid: Redemption

I’m not sure what all I can say about The Raid: Redemption that hasn’t already been said over the past week since it’s release on disc. But the three words that repeatedly came out of my mouth while watching The Raid were holy fucking shit! With his third film, director Gareth Evans has built a monument to action insanity as tall and dangerous as the building it is set in. The film opens with Rama (Iko Uwais) saying his morning prayers and heading straight into a workout that would send me straight back to bed for a nap. This is our first glimpse of the style of  hand to hand combat we’re in store for, as he lays a beating on a heavy bag, alternating fists and elbows with rapid fire speed. He quickly says goodbye to his pregnant wife and has an even quicker exchange with his father, only saying “I’ll bring him back”.

The next scene finds Rama and nineteen other  heavily armed cops in riot gear in the back of a truck on the way to raid the hideout of the biggest drug lord in the city, Tama (Ray Sahetapy). The building is a thirty floor complex that house not only Tama and his drug lab, but a large selection of the city’s criminal element. All safe from the law as, until now, the building was a no go zone. The squad breaks into the building within the first ten minutes of the film and from there on in all hell breaks loose. Our introduction to Tama and his main henchmen, Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian) and Andi (Doni Alamsyah), is indicative of the absolute brutality to come. Five men are bound, gagged and lined up on their knees. Tama begins to shoot each one point-blank in the back of the head. When he runs out of bullets he rests the gun on the final man’s shoulder, gets a hammer from a desk drawer and slams it into the man’s skull. From this point forward the violence escalates to horror film levels.

The residents take to the halls like an angry pack of wolves to protect the building from the police threat, armed with knives, machetes, a fuck ton of guns and more fists, feet and elbows then you can count. It is full on chaos that rarely slows down for things like character development, dialogue or plot. Those things would only  get in the way of the driving force behind The Raid, which is pure tension that leads to a sheer barrage of ass kicking. At one point Rama is assaulted in the hallway by a seemingly endless amount of thugs. For every one he disposes of two more are right there to take his place. It’s an amazing display of both cinematic brutality and actor Iko Uwais’ incredible martial arts skills.  He is truly amazing and his skills are equaled only by  Tama’s head thug, Mad Dog. The fight scenes between the two are some of the most brutal and incredible fight scenes put to film. They fill the screen using every bit of space in a ultraviolent dance of sorts. It needs to be seen to be truly appreciated.

There hasn’t been an action film like this in years, if ever. It rivals anything out of Hong Kong and definitely beats bloody all of the eighties action  dinosaurs trying to revitalize their dead careers. This is the real deal. I honestly can not recommend this film more.

The Raid scores a perfect 5/5 Screaming Jamies

Aside

Zombie A-Hole is the sophomore effort from writer/director Dustin Mills. You might know Dustin from his 2009 debut The Puppet Monster Massacre. Despite it’s (rather ridiculous) title, Zombie A-Hole isn’t a zombie film in the way most people think of zombie films. There’s no Romero style walking dead here. What we do have is a demonically possessed “zombie” who hunts and kills identical twin girls and a revenge seeking cowboy type who’s hellbent on stopping him.

After the murder of one sister and the disfigurement of another, Frank Fulci (played by first timer Josh Eal) sets out to exact revenge on the titular zombie a-hole who is to blame. His quest takes him across two states, led by some sort of demon hunting tool in the form of a foot tall corpse in a box (think zombie monkey), and aided by a  hitchhiker who, as it turns out, has a connection to our demon zombie. The film is a mash-up of influences, from the Evil Dead inspired demonic zombie to the body count and boobs quotient that is more aligned with the slasher flicks of the eighties. There’s even a nod (blatant ripoff, but completely forgivable) to revenge classic Thriller: A Cruel Picture. To top it off our demon zombie is clad in a 1920s gangster style pinstriped suit. Not sure exactly why, but i can roll with it.Seeing as how he is killing off sets of twins there’s an extra high body count, and while some of the kills are somewhat lackluster, there are a couple that are downright great.

While Zombie A-Hole is a boobs and blood filled good time it is certainly not without fault. There’s an ill-advised animated flashback scene that can be done without, and at almost two hours, the film could use some editing. Mills hasn’t figured out yet that 98% of directors should not edit their own films. More often than not a director, especially a young director, will keep scenes in or let them drag on unnecessarily. Mills should have ditched the animated sequence and the boring rock soundtrack and used whatever he spent on those to have someone edit the film. There is also the effects which vary in quality from practical throat slittings that work just fine to various CG effects that, for the most part are pretty bad. There’s actually one scene that would have been a succesful jump scare if it wasn’t immediately followed by a CG effect that killed it.

All of this aside, Zombie A-Hole is one of the better low-budget indie flicks I’ve seen in quite a while. Yes, it’s hokey in parts but that is part of the film’s charm. Mills definitely shows talent as both a writer and director and I’d like to see what he could do with a little help from an editor.

Zombie A-Hole scores 2 out of 5 Screaming Jamies

 

Zombie A-Hole: Blood! Boobs! Budgetary Restraints!