The Year in Bad Movies: 2012

As per a request, I have here this convenient list of bad movies I had seen over the year 2012 and what I have to say about them in brief. The movies’ titles are all linked to their original reviews on this site.

2012 Releases:

Safe House
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Denzel Washington

I went out to see this movie with friends. All we were looking for was a mindless actioner with Denzel Washington. With that in mind, Safe House delivered in full. However, it was still not at all what I would define to be a good action movie with its disorienting action editing and a script that wasted Denzel Washington’s talent, namely by putting him in a backseat to Ryan Reynolds. It didn’t help the movie was so predictable that you can even call out when and where the next explosion was going to occur. As I said in my review of the movie, if you really want to see a spy thriller of a similar flavor, you are better off renting and rewatching The Bourne Identity (2002). Of course, you can also see the newer and absolutely amazing Skyfall instead as well.

Finders Keepers
Director: Matt Mangigian
Starring: Matt Hubsher, Kara Zhang

Interesting fact: I thought the Beatles poster in the background was more interesting than what Hubsher was saying or doing.

Interesting fact: I thought the Beatles poster in the background was more interesting than what Hubsher was saying or doing.

I honestly had no idea that a movie only 6 minutes long could be this boring. This short film from the Philadelphia indie film scene followed a guy who found a magic lighter that also doubled as a teleportation device. Director Mangigian filmed some pretty scenes, but the movie was plagued by technical problems with the sound and a story that did not at all inspire me to care what ultimately happened. You would be thinking when a movie deals with the moral implications of having something that is supposed to be very powerful, like this magic lighter, the main character would at least be faced with some sort of an ethical dilemma. Well, the hardest task Rob (Hubsher) seemed to be faced with was asking Shelley (Zhang) out to dinner.

Movies on DVD:

Saw: The Final Chapter (2010)
Director: Kevin Greutert
Starring: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor

saw_wifeThe Saw series represented to me nothing but a cold, calculated decision by Hollywood producers to greenlight movies on the basis of knowing a lot of people will come out to see it, and nothing else. The first movie was a psychological thriller, but every one after that was basically an excuse to let violence junkies get their fill of people getting mutilated by Jigsaw’s traps. In many of the movies, the traps were un-escapable, or some extreme form of self-mutilation was required to get out of those traps. The sequels often were written so as to tie up a plot hole in the previous movie, only to create new ones in the process. In Saw VII, you get the added bonus of bad actors like Costas Mandylor reading phenomenally lame scripts.

Twilight (2008)
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart

twilight_2008_pattinsonI have to take my hat off to Kristen Stewart. She maintained exactly one facial expression (that of somewhat quiet discontent) for the duration of the entire movie. Also, it takes some guts to be as unashamed of suspiciously two-dimensional looking CG trees for “forests” in a very clumsily edited mess of the camera jumping around as Catherine Hardwicke. Finally, I take my hat off to Robert Pattinson, in his CG makeup, for being able to maintain a straight face while reading lines most actors would flat out damn as unsayable. Add the fact that the message of the movie (and the novel on which the movie was based) was the importance of having a hot boyfriend, and you will know what the movie’s target audience was. That was to say not-so-intelligent tweens of 2008 and middle-aged women.

Classic B-movies

Deadly Prey (1987)
Director: David Prior
Starring: Ted Prior, Cameron Mitchell

Sense. This screencap makes none.

Sense. This screencap makes none.

Deadly Prey was yet another attempt to adapt the classic short story “The Most Dangerous Game” while adding a dash of Rambo. A PMC trains its troops by abducting random people and chasing them down. They make a mistake by abducting Mike Danton (Ted Prior), a former special forces soldier. One by one, Danton kills each and every member of the PMC. Highlights include Prior running around for the majority of the movie naked save for a pair of ultra-short shorts. Most of the cast (including Mystery Science Theater 3000 favorite Space Mutiny veteran Cameron Mitchell) was forced to recite dialogue that I suspect was written by someone whose primary language was not English. The movie’s end scene which involves a machete overpowering a pistol makes this movie worth it though.

The Room (2003)
Director: Tommy Wiseau
Starring: Tommy Wiseau, Juliette Danielle, Greg Sestero

tommy_wiseau_the_room_laughingThe Room is often identified as the single worst movie ever made. It was supposed to be a story about a banker and his philandering future wife, and how it affected everyone around them. From the story’s plot points to the infamous football-in-tuxedo scene to the movie’s very existence, nothing makes any sense. I still support my own theory where this movie was made as an attempt for Tommy Wiseau to launder $6 million (yes, that’s how much it cost to make) that he had gotten through less-than-legal means. I refuse to believe a movie like this could have been made by accident.

American Commando: Angel’s Blood Mission (1987)
Director: Phillip Ko
Starring: Mark Watson, Mike Abbott, Juliet Chan

I don't normally post promotional art, but I think this was just about the most misleading VHS boxart in history.

I don’t normally post promotional art, but I think this was just about the most misleading VHS boxart in history.

As I have said in my post on Hong Kong martial arts movies, a staple of the Hong Kong film industry was to take an existing movie, edit it to tell a slightly different narrative, and then release it as a brand new movie. This was one was a reworking of I Want to Be a Good Person, an unreleased Taiwanese gangster film, with Caucasian actors like Mark Watson and Mike Abbott sort of fitted in clumsily. The movie was mostly I Want to Be a Good Person where we see Charlie playing Helen (Chan) and Peter off against each other while every 20 minutes or so, we see John Foley (Watson) getting into a fight with and killing one of Barton’s (Abbott) goons. There was no logical progression from scene-to-scene, so naturally I gave up trying to follow any sort of plot. Oh, and I didn’t detect any reference to an angel, an angel’s blood mission, or an American commando for that matter in the entire movie.

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