(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)
(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)
SW SCORE: 5
0.5 out of 5 🐙
A writer I respect said hating a movie is fine. But if you’re going to hate, at least supply some details. OK. Here goes.
I really loved the first few seasons of Sons of Anarchy (SOA), where Kim Coates was a regular. But I will argue that the last two seasons of SOA are among the worst I have ever seen in television. In particular, the final season was an exercise in base amorality that was completely atonal from the first few seasons of the show and succeeded in destroying any esteem for the main character one used to have. Maybe it was because the beginning was so good for that series that the dismal quality of the end stood out that much more. I thought the actors, particularly the regulars, would never be part of any creative effort that terrible again in their careers.
I was wrong.
Officer Downe is a deceased cop that has been reanimated and gained the power of being unable to die. Every time he dies, he gets resurrected. He is a relentless force against criminal evil. Am I the only one who feels like that borrows way too much from Robocop? Dead cop who is reanimated to become a relentless force against crime?
His boss, Chief Berringer (Luna Lauren Velez), despises Officer Downe because of all the acclaim and esteem he gets. Interestingly, Velez played another weird jerk cop chief in Dexter, the Showtime original series. Maybe that’s her wheelhouse. I didn’t care for her acting then, and I don’t think she was much better here. Her delivery is wooden and when she does emote, it’s way over the top. Compared to Velez and Coates, who hardly perform well, the rest of the cast look like amateurs. I haven’t seen this much bad acting from a cast since…I can’t remember when.
I wish I could say the acting is the only flaw. How does this film disappoint? let me count the ways.
The movie is full of nudity and sex that has absolutely no sensuality or emotional value. It is raw and ugly and grotesque. The CGI effects, which cannot be fumbled in this era, decidedly are. They reek of cheapness and poor execution. The internal logic is nuts: even if he can reanimate, why wouldn’t he wear body armor? If his goal is to fight as much crime as possible, wouldn’t dying fewer times be helpful? And beyond that, he doesn’t even make the slightest effort to dodge any bullet or weapon. There are inexplicable details thrown in just to give the movie edge but don’t jibe with the rest of the movie at all: nuns selling weapons. After not doing so for most of the movie, they suddenly decide to break the 4th wall in yet another example of maddening inconsistency. They decide to make the stylistic choice to make the Asian martial arts master speak with a stereotypical dubbed voice in the style of old kung fu movies. How was blatant racist stereotypes the best choice? Speaking of bad voice work, Glenn Howerton, who should have more money than God after being a regular on ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,’ television’s longest running sitcom, gives us the most inexplicably terrible foreign accent I’ve ever heard. Finally, one of the major battles features one of the oldest tropes: 20 bad guys surround the hero and decide to attack him one by one. Why? They are already bad guys. It’s not like they are going for honor and nobility.
When I see a comic book adaptation like this, I’m actually more determined to read the source comic book because I can’t imagine the original creators had this in mind. But then I saw the screenplay was written by one of the original comic book creators. Let’s just say my determination waned.
(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.
(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)
(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so
(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)