Title: Death Machine
Director: Stephen Norrington
Tagline: It feeds on your fear
Description: Chaank Armaments is experimenting with the ultimate fighting machine which is part human – part machine. So far, the Hardman project has been unreliable and has killed a number of innocent people. The genius behind this project is Jack who lives in a world of models, toys and magazines. When he is fired by Cale for killing a few corporate officers, he unleashes the ultimate killing machine called the ‘Warbeast’ against Cale and those who would help her.
Note: Recently, Dove (of the Nostalgic Bookshelf recapping empire) asked me to watch one of her favorite “bad” movies, Necromentia, and comment on her recap of it, with the offer of doing the same for me. We just about had my pick nailed down, when I actually watched Necromentia, and decided that everything I had previously considered was much too tame and mainstream. I can’t top Necromentia‘s sheer WTF-ness, but you know what I can do? I can give you a bizarre over-the-top rip off of every late 80s/early 90s action/horror/sci-fi movie ever made, starring Brad Dourif at his most scenery-chewing, with a script that was apparently written by someone who has never spoken to another human being in their life. Yes, that is what I can do. (When I told Dove about this movie, she told me I “had her at Brad Dourif.” Now that she’s actually watched it, I hope we’re still friends.)
[Dove: I watched this movie when Raven (my husband) was out. When he came back, he asked how I liked the movie. My response was, “It was exactly what I deserved after Necromentia.” (Yes, JC and I are still friends.)]
Full disclosure: I love me some Brad Dourif. This is one of those movies that I’m pretty sure only hardcore Dourif fans and people who watch every sci-fi/horror/action movie that comes out have seen. I know Dourif is the entire reason I watched it years and years ago, and I really didn’t like it all that much the first time around. Shocked? Then I gave it another shot and really liked it on every subsequent viewing. (I also hated Fargo on first viewing. My first impressions are very subject to change.) Oh sure, it’s pretty terrible, but there’s something mesmerizing about it. It might be the obvious lack of fucks the filmmakers had to give. The character names alone – nearly everyone is named after a famous director. It’s gleefully egregious. Or, to use one of Dove’s terms, it’s eye-poking. But gleefully so. No fucks to give. I have no defense for this movie; I love its stupid dumb ass. The best description I can give is that it’s like if William Gibson (the cyberpunk author, not the playwright) wrote Die Hard, then Robocop hate-fucked it while Universal Soldier jerked off in the corner.
There are I think four different versions with four different running times. I believe the one I’m recapping is the 111 minute long director’s cut. As far as I can tell, the only difference between this one and the one I rented the fuck out of in the late 90s/early 2000s is one extra backstory scene and a few references to that backstory. It’s not actually important to the story, but I’m glad it’s there because it is so over-the-top ridiculous that I’d be sad if I didn’t get to mock it.
[Dove: I tried to watch the 111 minute version, but I started to go into the future, because the constantly-moving background was giving me a real headache. I watched the 122 minute version. Though by the time I swapped over, I had missed those minutes. They happen all before the first 19 minutes of the copy JC watched. I have not yet gone back to watch them.][JC: As far as I can tell, no official 122 minute version exists, so I’m curious what was going on in that version.]
We open in the super futuristic world of 2003. I’m not sure the movie will ever tell you it’s 2003, but this is what IMDb tells me, so this is what we’re going with. 2003. So future, much wow. We see a pile of cars on fire in front of a building, surrounded by police. Inside the building, a group of SWAT-team types (whose armor has the initials A.R.P. on it, which I can’t help but read as AARP, the American Association of Retired Persons, and suddenly I’m imagining senior citizens fighting killer robots and this turns into a completely different movie) approach a super-soldier type man punching holes in the wall of a destroyed bathroom while a woman cowers and screams in the corner beside a urinal. I have many questions about this, not least of which is why this uber-strong cyborg man is only able to punch a few millimeters into a regular-ass wall. The lead A.R.P. dude takes off his helmet and starts expounding on how this wall-punching marvel is like the best of the best, and it only just occurred to me that he may be being sarcastic. He says the cyborg man will glitch and overload, and sure enough he does, squeaking “help meeeeee” like a man who’s definitely seen the Vincent Price version of The Fly, before stiffening up and dropping to the floor. [Dove: And these few moments set the tone. I was astounded that JC had found a movie as good-bad-wtf as Necromentia. You guys really need to watch this movie.]
Not to bury the lede, the lead A.R.P. dude is named John Carpenter. Just throwing that out there before we get too far into this. Stephen Norrington was clearly desperate to
kiss ass pay homage to directors he may or may not have worked with previously.
We get credits (top billing goes to Brad Dourif and Ely Pouget, our female lead), then news coverage that flashes between Urinal Lady talking about her ordeal with the “man-machine” and an anchorwoman telling us that Chaank Armaments company is evil, their CEO mysteriously died, and there are humanist protests going on outside headquarters even as she speaks.
Hey, speaking of those protests, our heroine, Hayden Cale, is currently trying to push her way through a crowd of protesters who are yelling that she’s a baby-killer and Chaank kills children. Then someone punches her, and somehow she decides to stop and try to plead her case to these people. Um. Is this not what press releases are for? Anyway, she gives a statement claiming that full disclosure will be made to the public and all their questions will be answered. I have a question: Why are the protesters making a huge deal about child deaths, then it’s never mentioned again? Did one of the glitchy cyber men gently caress a preschooler’s face with his fist, like he did to the bathroom wall? [Dove: Also, she sold that punch, then seconds later, she’s fine. I was confused about how hard she was punched. Maybe she’s just a badass.]
Cut to what I’m pretty sure is the boardroom of evil assholes from Highlander 2 (sadly without a hint of John C. McGinley or Michael Ironside), and Evil Turtleneck Asshole yelling about finding the leak and plugging him. This character’s name is Scott Ridley. Get it? Get it?! This is a motherfucking HOMage, y’all. Then Cale speaks up that she’s the leak, because she clearly hasn’t been in charge long enough to sell her soul yet. The highlight of this scene might be Cale telling Ridley that she’s been hired to clean under their carpets and she “sucks like an Electrolux.” I’m not sure which I find more offensive – the fact that they thought this was something a woman who wants to be taken seriously in a male-dominated business would actually say to a room full of men, or the fact that they apparently thought “Electrolux” was the brand of vacuum everyone would immediately think of in the future. Not Hoover? Not, uh . . . *runs into the other room to see what brand my vacuum is* . . . well, fuck me, my vacuum is a Hoover. How about that. Electrolux my ass. [Dove: I really couldn’t work out if Cale was suicidal – this was clearly a meeting of evil people who would happily off her; or if she was sooo badass that she could own a room. Then that comment happened, and I realised she just has no clue she’s working for the Bad Guys Inc.]
Ridley tells Cale that she’s the Chief Executive and she’d better start acting like it, so she insists that they clue the media in on their projects to cut down on rumors. Then Carpenter starts going on about how the Hardman project doesn’t work anyway; direct cerebral download generates collateral errors, which he’s explained to Dante, but “you know how excitable he gets,” and he’s recommending shutting the program down. The HARD MAN project. Just wanted to point out that is the name of a project. Just in case I glossed over it before. Hard. Man.
This whole time Ridley is trying to shut Carpenter up, because God forbid the new Chief Executive actually knows what’s going on in the company she’s supposed to be running. Cale wigs out, asking if the demonstrators out there actually have a point, which, uh . . . duh? Are you actually unaware that your company is the bad guy? She demands that all suspect projects be shut down and the details submitted to her, then demands that Jack Dante (who I thought was named after, you know, Dante of the Divine Comedy fame, but nope. He’s actually named after another director, Joe Dante. Motherfucking homage.) be fired because he’s the head of all these hinky projects; orders supplies illegally; and never submits reports. I think we know which of these is the worst sin in a corporation’s eyes. [Dove: But does he steal pens and manilla envelopes?] [JC: . . . now for some reason I’m picturing a version of Office Space with Jack Dante in it. Don’t take his stapler.]
Everyone leaves the meeting room after Cale says she votes they kick Dante out (do we need a vote? didn’t she already just say she wants him fired?) except Ridley and a junior executive. Ridley says Cale is one of them now (one of us! one of us!) and we see a flashing blue light under the skin of her wrist. Some sort of corporate tracking device, no doubt. The junior exec asks Cale if it still itches, and holy shit! This is Rachel Weisz in her very first movie role! An auspicious beginning for sure. This may be the only time two women in the movie interact with each other, but sadly it does not pass the Bechdel test. For one thing, Rachel doesn’t have a name in the movie; for another, she immediately tells Cale to watch her step around Dante. Like an idiot, Cale asks if she’s threatening her, when it was clearly a warning that the dude is a dangerous creep. Rachel tells Cale to check the file of Nicholson (if he’s named after Jack Nicholson, I’m going to start throwing things. Motherfucking homage.), the dead guy that Cale is replacing. But I’m sure there’s nothing strange there, right?
We get the briefest of glances of Jack Dante (our boy Brad Dourif) as he watches Cale perfectly framed and zoomed-in on a security cam. He has a bank of TVs, and along with creeping on the new boss lady, he’s also apparently watching cartoons and porn. I wonder when he’ll meld those two interests and discover anime porn. (Side note: I recently listened to an (old) interview with Dourif where he revealed that he quite enjoys anime. Then I watched this and my imagination went to a very scary place.)
Back with Cale in her office, reading Nicholson’s file. For some reason she has to print it out instead of just reading it on the computer screen. I feel very cheated that there wasn’t a dot matrix printer involved. [Dove: That’ll be because all computers in this movie actually make the noise of a dot matrix printer. Not when printing. Just all the time.] But I guess if she were just reading it off a screen, she couldn’t write “SHARK?” across it like she does here. Cale’s assistant pops up on her vidscreen (2003! The motherfuckin’ future!) to tell her that Jack Dante has agreed to see her now. Cale is insulted at the power move, but still stubs out her cigarette and hauls ass out of her office to meet him on his turf. Yeah! That’ll show him!
Dante’s turf turns out to be past a room full of industrial welding (???) and blue filters, behind a door that’s graffitied with the words “keep out” and “Dante.” The camera zooms in on his name while the music swells like this is a dramatic reveal or something. No idea what that’s all about. Also, just throwing this out there – does Dante live here? Because it kinda seems like he never leaves. I’m pretty sure he lives here, which is weird, to say the least.
She wanders into his lair, taking in the decor: various action figures, badly-drawn naked ladies, and a lacy red bra that I’m about 99% sure he stole from someone. We can hear laughter in the background, and I’m not sure if it’s Dante, the TV, or the action figures. It’s not the Chucky laugh, so I’m lost here.
Cale finds a box labeled “enhanced effect explosives,” so you know we’re gonna be blowing some shit up later. Also, are these some of the illegally requisitioned supplies we were referencing earlier?
Ah, apparently the laughter wasn’t Dante, because he now appears in the doorway, asking Cale what she’s doing there and telling her this is his room. She, oddly, tells him to keep it clean then! Uh, what? Are you suddenly his mom or something? Why is this line here? (I suspect it’s here for the weird Oedipal shit that comes later on, but still. What the fuck.) So, here’s Brad Dourif, looking like one of the West Memphis Three. Long black wig, shredded up jeans, long black leather duster. I am both scarred for life, and disturbingly turned on. Don’t judge me too harshly. In my head canon, Dante is far less rapey and creepy. [Dove: You’re not alone. My idiotic inner 14 year old jumped up and started screaming, “I love him! I can fix him! We’ll be so happy together!” and only got worse as the movie progressed.] [JC: My idiotic inner 14 year old has always been less “I can fix him” and more “fuck it, let’s just be evil together.” Fortunately IRL I lean more toward chaotic good.]
Cale tells Dante that when she calls a meeting with him, she expects him to come to her office. Did you tell him that when you called the meeting? Because I don’t think you told him that when you called the meeting. Anyway, he asks who she is, then calls her the boss lady when she tells him. Then he asks “don’t I know you?” while pointing a finger at her, and oh my god, he’s got those little silver claw things on his fingers. Remember those? Jesus.
He turns on the cartoon TV, and tells Cale she needs to swipe Ridley’s access card at the same time as hers when she asks to see what’s inside Vault 10, because it’s a dual access vault. She asks how he does it then, and he says he’s smart. She asks him to show her, and I can’t help but think most of us women know better than to ask a man to show us how smart he thinks he is. Anyway, Dante starts rattling off a bunch of account numbers and shit that turn out to be her access codes, bank accounts and balances, and her address. He claims he could get her door code if he wanted to, because he’s a hacker, guys! He hacks! Because that’s what people do in sci-fi/action/horror movies, right?
She tells him to stay out of her files, and storms out. Because that’s how you react to a subordinate threatening you with hacking, isn’t it?
Oh, strap in, guys. Now it’s time to meet our . . . I keep wanting to call them eco-terrorists, but that’s not right at all. At any rate, they’re part of the humanist movement opposed to Chaank Armaments. These guys are what The X-Files’ Lone Gunmen would have been if they sucked. Oh, and one of their names is Sam Raimi, and the other two are Weyland and Yutani, named after the company from the Alien series. We’re twelve minutes into the movie; how many motherfucking homages have we had so far? I’d also like to point out that Yutani is a very white dude. Who has a red stripe painted across his eye and is appropriating Japanese culture like he thinks he’s in a cyberpunk movie or something.
They smoke some very odd joints (I swear to god one of them is a corndog) [Dove: I was oddly impressed by the multi-pronged joint.] while planning their Chaank break-in and hostage-taking of Ridley and Cale. They want to get into the super secret vaults and expose the company for the monster it is. Or something. I’m too distracted by the joints that look like sex toys to pay much attention to their plans. Also, not admitting to anything, but I doubt joints designed like that would stay lit.
Cut to Cale chasing Ridley down the hall, trying to convince him to give her his access card so she can . . . read Dante’s files? Fire him? It’s sort of unclear at this point. Anyway, Ridley is an asshole about it, then switches to scared, telling Cale that Nicholson did what she’s doing and she read his autopsy report. So, we live in a future where autopsy reports are released to your employer as a matter of course? Okay. Anyway, Cale is confused and says it was a shark attack. Ah, context for the “SHARK?” note she made! Ridley scoffs because Nicholson died in the Chaank building – chewed up and covered in synthetic lubricants. Kinky. So, not a shark attack, then? And all Dante said about it was that he was building the “meanest motherfucking frontline morale destroyer ever.” I would love it if it were revealed to be sharks with frickin laserbeams attached to their heads.
Ridley just wants to keep Dante busy so he doesn’t kill them all, despite the fact that he’s designing things that will kill them all, then scoffs when Cale says she thought this was a responsible corporation, saying “Christ, hardly.” I’m with Ridley here. Cale actually thinks she’s working for the good guys, and it’s mindblowing. [Dove: At this point, I wondered why nobody had brought forth even token evidence that the corporation wasn’t completely evil. “Oh, yes, we do eat babies for breakfast, but we’re doing wonderful things for the lactose intolerant…” that sort of thing, you know. And then I remembered this sketch:
Somehow during this confrontation, Cale lifted Ridley’s access card, so score one for casual pickpocketing. We get an establishing shot of the Chaank Armaments building, which looks like Die Hard‘s Nakatomi Plaza seen through the weird coloring of Highlander 2, and then we go inside where “2003’s” version of Alexa is telling Cale Dante’s life story. Orphaned shortly after he was born; raised in institutions; killed another kid when he was seven (using . . . something he built. For the first time I’m actually using earbuds to listen to this, and even so, the computer voice is really difficult to make out clearly); taken in by the Chaank corporation by executive order (!); acquitted (?!) of sexual assault, homicide, and weapons offenses; psych eval bears out that he’s a prime example of “acute violent psychosis” with technical virtuosity. Recommendation? Immediate promotion.
Still think your company is one of the good guys, Cale?
Cale tries to access Dante’s project files, but they’re password protected. Dante pops up from behind the table like a homicidal Jack(Dante)-in-the-box and suggests the password “hardcore,” then types it in himself. Do all hackers who hack type in passwords using the two-finger hunt and peck method? Because Jack does! Anyway, “hardcore” is not the correct password. What a joker. [Dove: Is here a good place to mention that their computers require you typing in commands on a DOS screen to achieve anything. Forget CTRL P, you need to type “Print File: Jack Dante” or whatever. 2003 technology! Also, while we’re on the subject of typing: Cale frequently “touch types” and hits the letter K. I have never once seen her type a command with the letter K in it. Faked touch typing is one of my bugbears.]
Cale tells Dante she wants him out; he protests that he likes it there because there’s so much stuff. Except no one talks to him, he’s smarter than everyone, and no one comes near him – except for Cale. Slow your roll, bro. This is literally the second time she’s spoken to you, and you’re the one initiating this go-round. Also, you know, these haven’t exactly been social calls. For some reason, Cale sneakily shoves what looks like an 8-track cartridge in a recorder and remote controls the security cam to record Dante, and this shot of Brad Dourif is when I realized that this character was a forerunner to his portrayal of Grima Wormtongue. Peter Jackson probably saw this and went, YUP GIVE ME HIM.
Dante tells Cale that with weapons like his and authorization like hers, they could do some serious damage. The sociopathic idiot part of my brain would be a little tempted, honestly. Sometimes I just wanna watch the world burn, you know? Cale tells him it sounds like a wet dream to her, which we’re supposed to take sarcastically, but it’s not delivered that way at all. As much of an over-the-top cartoon character as he is here, Dourif’s is the only performance that I believe.
Dante says he has something to show her (kinky), then starts pulling things out of his duster – starting with a rubber chicken, progressing to a handgun, finally ending up at a porno mag which he produces with a flourish and a “Ta-da!” He says he knew he’d seen her before, then plays keep away with the magazine while she explains that she was just a kid. Hopefully not literally. Also, don’t be ashamed, Cale. Posing nude isn’t something to be ashamed of; society only makes us feel that way because of the patriarchy. The fuckin’ patriarchy, man.
Then Dante calls her a “hot jelly baby” (what even the fuck [Dove: It’s the long pause between each word that really sells the weird here.]) and Cale pulls his own gun on him and tells him to get out. Cue maybe the second-cringiest scene in the movie (if you had asked me last week, I would have said this is the most cringiest scene, but now that honor goes to the scene that was deleted in the version I was familiar with before this), where Dante goes down on his knees in front of Cale, grabs the barrel of the gun and points it at his own forehead, talking all the while about how weird he likes it and how much it turns him on. Kids, don’t try this at home.
Cale cocks the hammer, leading to Dante backing off and saying, “Right. Time of the month” and telling her that “all that stuff” is a total mystery to him. Clearly whatever state-run institutions he went to didn’t have comprehensive sex ed. Then he puts his arms out and makes airplane noises as he runs to the doorway. I wish I were making that up. We’re nineteen minutes into the movie; have I lost you yet, Dove? [Dove: Not lost, but momentarily misplaced. This is where I swapped over to a much less shaky copy.]
Cale drives off and our not-eco-terrorists drive a semi-truck up to the building. Weyland (the one who
looks like actually was the terrorist with small feet in Die Hard) swipes a card to be let through the gate, and then we find out he’s a former employee and the building is still adamant that he works there. But . . . what if that hadn’t worked? Has there been a test run? Also, now there’s evidence that you’ve been here. I guess we don’t care about that. *shrug*
Raimi tells us it’s “recap time” because he doesn’t respect our sovereign recapping territory here, Dove. This is just an excuse to tell the audience their plans for getting into the building and fucking shit up. Which really doesn’t need explained to us, does it? We’re going to see it, aren’t we? Damn, movie. The highlights are that they want to get into a super secure containment vault, maybe to expose funky projects, but also because there’s money there. Because of course there is. Die Hard hasn’t humped this script quite hard enough yet. [Dove: I was very taken by the fact he had a wireframe render of the building that went along with his explanation. It can take me hours to render a single frame of 3D art (admittedly, with a lot more going on than black and white lines) in 2019 on a computer that laughs scornfully at all the other computers in the house, so I felt he went above and beyond with his presentation. A+] [JC: And suddenly I realize what the movie’s budget went to.]
Back to Ridley, talking to Carpenter over vidscreen about getting rid of Cale. Apparently waiting for her dismissal isn’t good enough; Ridley wants to know if Carpenter can arrange a car accident or something. He’s scared of her pissing Dante off, and to a lesser degree, finding out about them brain-wiping war vets for their nefarious HARD MAN project. Hard. Man. Sorry, I’m probably going to keep doing this. (Also, I’m aware that “hard man” has a less erection-related meaning in places like the UK, but I’m American and just picturing dudes with hard-ons running into battle.) [Dove: We evolved. If you want to refer to a HARD MAN now, he’s a double-‘ard bastard. Never pronounce the H.] [JC: I’m not sure if that makes it better or worse.]
Anyway, Carpenter tells Ridley not to do anything, and he’s coming right down there. Why is Ridley still at the Chaank building? We’ve watched the sun go down with excruciating slowness; does Ridley live here, too?
Ridley smokes and stares out the window for a moment, until Dante walks in to have a word. He spouts off a bunch of stuff about entropy and order into chaos, because Jack is a manchild who just wants to watch the world burn. Then he shows Ridley the deadman’s switch he has to control the “thing.” He lets go of the switch and suddenly we’re treated to an FPS videogame-style HUD as . . . something . . . powers up. We’re going hard with the videogame imagery – there’s a high score counter in the upper corner of the HUD. [Dove: I’ll admit, this is where you could have lost me. But then I remembered the sing-a-long scene I made you watch.]
Dante’s all chill waiting in the meeting room while Ridley freaks out about . . . well, nothing so far, from his perspective. Why is he so scared of Dante? It seems to me they’d be a great team, fucking shit up together. Eh, whatever. Ridley asks what happens now and Dante tells him that hopefully he’ll die. I guess the whole “deadman’s switch controlling the thing” wasn’t enough to clue Ridley in, because he’s shocked by this. DED from stupid?
Dante explains himself to Ridley (while talking like Sylvester the cat – kinda lisping, sending spit everywhere. Sexy.) – Ridley was planning to kill Dante’s “sweetie,” Cale, and he gave her his access card. Ridley says she stole it, and suddenly Jack is super reasonable, saying he’s sorry; he hadn’t thought of that. Then he starts beating the shit out of Ridley for calling his “girlfriend” a thief. Jack’s emotional development stalled in kindergarten, didn’t it? Talk to a girl twice and she’s your girlfriend, huh? (I once dated a guy who changed his Facebook relationship status to “in a relationship” immediately after I’d given him my number, before we’d even gone on our first date. Needless to say, it didn’t last long. At least he wasn’t building death machines in a shady corporation’s basement, though.)
Dante apologizes again and offers a hand to Ridley, which then pops off because it’s a rubber hand. Because Jack is a fucking Looney Tunes cartoon character. Then the death machine (technically called the “Warbeast,” but death machine is more fun I think) comes busting through the wall like the fucking Kool-Aid man while Dante elucidates about order into chaos and Ridley runs away down the hall with the death machine chasing. Or . . . not. We don’t actually see much of the death machine. I suspect there were budget restraints. (The budget was apparently 6.5 million, and I have no idea where any of it went. You could tell me this movie cost the same as my allowance in third grade and I would believe you.) [Dove: Occasionally we see its feet. And I found myself wondering, “Are you teeny-tiny little feet? Are you a miniature?” I don’t know why, but for some reason, I really wanted to know.]
The death machine alternates between using hallways and busting straight through walls (someone has clearly watched me play video games – fuck going around the mountain when I can go straight over it!) [Dove: Same. “I can’t be bothered to open that door. I’ll use my rocket launcher instead.”] and finally corners Ridley in an office. There are metal gnashing “teeth” and claws, then papers flying everywhere and Chopin’s Death March sounding like it’s being played on a child’s xylophone or something. Is that music coming from the death machine itself? The death machine POV screen flashes “GAME OVER,” and we focus on a poster on the floor advertising Chaank – Hard Tech for a Hard World. Everybody’s so HARD, oh my.
Cut to Cale at home in bed, having a nightmare about . . . a metal hole with red gooey, stringy stuff in it? [Dove: She’s also got a pillow between her legs. Since the first shot was her in bed moaning, I didn’t initially get nightmare. The red gooey, stringy stuff soon cleared it up.] A teddy bear falls down the hole, and this is intercut with scenes of the protesters outside the Chaank building yelling about child death. She wakes up, grabs a teddy bear, then receives a call from Carpenter telling her there’s a situation and she needs to get down to Chaank immediately. Which situation are we talking about? The one where you need to kill her; the one about Ridley being dead; or the one about the not-eco-terrorists infiltrating the building?
Ah. It’s the one about Ridley being dead. Cale arrives at the building while the not-eco-terrorists watch on the security cams and they realize Ridley never left the building, so they’re changing their plans since the two people they need to get into the vault are here now. Or something; it doesn’t really matter. Carpenter shows Cale the destruction the death machine left behind, and she tells him to “hire the cleaners.” Like it’s perfectly normal for there to be busted up walls and claw marks everywhere. Sarcasm isn’t really working for anyone in this movie, I tell you what.
Cale finally stops joking around about Carpenter playing with his Hard Man when he finally fucking shows her Ridley’s body and tells her that something came out of Vault 10 and did that to him. She demands his access card and storms off to a computer to let it know Ridley’s dead. This apparently makes her Ms. Number One In Charge, even though I thought being the CEO already meant she was in charge. Maybe I don’t understand the hierarchy of businessy stuffs. Anyway, she swipes both her and Carpenter’s cards through the computer and gives it the command to seal Vault 10 as Dante creeps into the room and asks what she’s doing. She plays it off as “doing budget reports” while he invades her personal space, fortunately at an angle that prevents him from seeing the screen.
Dante asks if she heard what happened to Ridley – Jack showed him “his thing” and it killed him. It . . . it’s hard to make jokes when the movie is basically doing it for you. Dove? Anything? [Dove: Nope. This movie is doing the work for us.]
Cale says she’s impressed, because I think we’ve all been in a situation where it was easier to stroke a man’s ego than risk him turning violent, then Dante tells her that now she can “up” him and they can be the Demolition Duo forever. Yeah. Greaaaaaaaat. Cale says she’ll get right on that, then proceeds to terminate Dante’s access and fire him instead. When he realizes what she’s done, he flips his shit (and a few tables), then pulls a gun on her. [Dove: I was impressed by how she reacted to him. It always bugs me in movies where people have so much pride they can’t put their self-preservation ahead of the desire to tell someone to fuck off. I was cheering her on for playing it friendly so she could get things done.] [JC: Good point. Too many characters in movies like this are too quick to jump to “fuck off,” when they could just play along and achieve their goal much quicker/easier. And THEN tell someone to fuck off.]
Before this can progress any further, it’s the not-eco-terrorists to the rescue! They pop into the room with their own, larger, guns drawn, and demand that Jack drop it. Somewhere along the way, they captured Carpenter as well. Raimi calls Carpenter “Ho Ho” because he’s somewhat fat and has a beard, and it was a real missed opportunity here – Weyland should have been the one to call him Ho Ho, seeing as how he was the terrorist in Die Hard who was killed and had “Now I have a machine gun, ho-ho-ho” written across his shirt. Fail, movie.
Yutani starts patting Dante down, pulling a comical number of weapons out of his coat – guns, knives, throwing stars, I think I saw nunchucks?, and finally the rubber chicken. It’s like a scene out of the Naked Gun movies. I think this movie wants to be a comedy, except nobody knows how to be funny.
Raimi tells Carpenter and Cale to give him their cards and write down their de-lock sequences, which Carpenter is only too happy to do. Cale draws a smiley face instead, and Weyland is all “told you so” to Yutani because earlier they had bet that at least one of them wouldn’t give up their codes so easily. Jesus Christ, this movie is lifting entire scenes from Die Hard, isn’t it?
Raimi determines they’ll have to use the “cutter” to get into the vault, then asks Cale if she ever saw that movie, Scarface. I have not, so I’m not sure how that’s relevant. Is it because they all have very big guns with them, aka “say hello to my little friend”? If so, I think they’re working a little too hard to try to get to that joke. [Dove: Oh, I took it at literal face value (Have you seen Scarface? Because I’m going to put a scar on your face). And sighed deeply.] [JC: Ah. So this line basically fails however it was meant.]
Dante butts in to tell them he knows a better way for them to get into the vault, and they should trust him because “this bitch” just fired him. No gold watch. You poor, poor thing. He leads Raimi and Weyland down toward the vaults, claiming it’ll be easier to cut through a standard vault than the security vaults surrounding the containment vault. I’m sure this all makes sense somehow, but after hearing the word “vault” this many times, all I wanna do is go play some Borderlands.
Oh, of course Jack is leading them to Vault 10. Gotta show more dudes his thing. (Side note: the way Dante says the word “dude” in this movie has traumatized me. I’d be happy to never hear Brad Dourif say “dude” again.)
They start cutting into the vault, and upstairs (?), Yutani, Carpenter, and Cale can see on this screen that the vault has been cut into. Cale tells Yutani that there’s a death machine (roll credits!) in that vault, and his friends are setting it loose. Carpenter looks like he’s pissing his pants, and Yutani breaks his stoic stance to point his gun at Cale. (Earlier I said he has a stripe painted over one eye. That’s not quite right. It’s a circle with three stripes coming out of it, like some sort of “rising sun” symbolism.)
Back at the vault, Dante ditches and runs off while Raimi and Weyland pry open the cut door of the vault. But then somehow Dante is inside when they walk into the vault. The geography of this building is not clear. Anyhow, Dante pops up wearing glasses with googly-eyes on springs. Raimi says “Christ” and Jack replies, “Almost, but not quite.” Seriously, does every fucking movie have an exchange like this? Did Hellraiser start this, or can we blame something earlier than that? [Dove: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)? Tina says, “Oh, God.” Freddy replies, “This is god.” And then self-harms.]
Dante has his deadman’s switch back, and when Weyland asks why he’s wearing those glasses, he announces it’s because this is a surprise party! SURPRISE! And I’ll be damned if there aren’t actually balloons in here. Did Dante hit up a Party City in a deleted scene from the 131 minute long Japanese version? So, Jack hits a button hanging down from the ceiling, and this is an epileptic’s nightmare – all flashing strobe lights. Because the death machine is a drama queen and needs a proper intro. Even though we’ve seen it before.
Dante releases the deadman’s switch, the death machine attacks, something explodes, Raimi is thrown clear but Weyland . . . not so much. I guess he’s dead, but Raimi doesn’t go check, even though it looks like the fire died almost as quickly as it started. He vows “redemption” though. Sure. Yay, brotherhood!
Raimi goes back to the others, and he and Yutani yell over each other until Dante interrupts them on a vidscreen, calling them “Dudes and dudette.” No, really, I will pay actual money to never hear Dourif say any form of “dude” ever again. Especially “dudette.” *shudders*
Anyway, Dante points out that they have a “psycho death bot” on their trail as he releases the deadman’s button again and we get intercut scenes of the death machine warming up to go killkillkill. But good news! He’ll call it off if Cale reinstates him, forgets everything that happened here tonight, and agrees to “interface” with him on a regular basis. Like I said earlier, the version of this character that lives in my imagination is a hell of a lot less rapey. Also, we get it, Dante relates more to machines than humans, geez. “Interface.” Fucking hell.
Of course no one’s going for it, Cale comes up with an oh-so-witty retort, Jack asks her if that’s how she reacted when David divorced her (we’ll find out more on that later), then Carpenter asks what is this, the Oprah Winfrey show? Dante is offended, because he’s talking quality here, guys! He’s talking Geraldo, dammit! If we weren’t sure yet whether we could trust Dante, this clinches it – never trust a man who thinks Geraldo is higher quality than Oprah. Hell, even my spellcheck recognizes Oprah over Geraldo! [Dove: My brain went to Jeremy Kyle. I had forgotten Oprah was even a thing.] [JC: I had to look up who Jeremy Kyle was. Oprah, on the other hand, is practically worshiped in America, so this was a solid reference in 1994 and 2003.]
Dante wants to know how Cale felt when her family disowned her in print, and wants to know what she did that was so bad as to make them do that. I guess her file is extremely selective when it comes to exposition.
Raimi and Yutani are in “every man for himself” mode, and toss a freaking-out Carpenter a pocket knife so he can cut his hands free, telling him he can tag along but they’re not going to look out for him. They then proceed to move through the building making roughly as much noise as a marching band despite everyone yelling at Carpenter to be quiet. Cale tells them that a fire alarm would close blast doors throughout the building, making problems for the death machine. And them, but oh well. Cale asks if anyone has a match, and apparently no one has any means for making fire on them currently, despite us seeing all these characters smoking like fucking chimneys throughout the movie so far. [Dove: Be fair. He didn’t ask if anyone had a lighter. Or a Zippo. A singular match is a very specific request. (But yeah, my thought was: wasn’t Cale just smoking when Dante walked in on her working?)] But don’t worry; Yutani has a thermic detonator! That sounds like a good idea, right? . . . right . . . ?
They hardwire the explosive to the detonator (Raimi at one point asks Cale who she thinks she is, Stallone? . . . get fucked, movie), then Raimi reveals that they had explosives so that they could blow up everything in the containment vault, including the money. (Die Hard With a Vengeance has a similar subplot with gold; this movie was released before that one. I’m still going to say this movie lifted that subplot, because I’m an asshole.) Raimi claims they’re the good guys, part of the Humanist Alliance, then shows Cale that their guns are only armed with blanks. Welp, that’s going to be a huge help against the psycho death bot; thanks, guys. Carpenter calls them the Three Stooges “minus one,” because the writing in this movie is top notch and totally how people speak. Then Raimi blows shit up. Gee, I hope the death machine is several blast doors away and not like right outside or anything. I mean, they don’t know! And the death machine seems capable of moving fast when the script calls for it. [Dove: Wasn’t silence also part of their escape plan? An explosion is not quiet.]
Our intrepid group of heroes run into an elevator, which isn’t working because the explosion knocked it out. Or, you know, because the same fire alert that closed the blast doors and activated the fire suppression system locked the elevators down? I mean, you’re not supposed to take the elevator during a fire, right?
Frustrated by an elevator that won’t close and the Three Stooges minus one, Carpenter pulls a gun on everyone. I guess he picked up one of the three dozen guns emptied out of Jack’s duster? Raimi yells at Yutani for leaving the gun lying around, because you just knew that “Ho Ho was going to turn out to be the fat, sweaty, desperate psycho!” First of all, rude. Second of all, duh. Third of all, Raimi would be excellent at CinemaSins.
Carpenter super villain monologues about how they’re going down the service elevator and when going down a deep, dark hole, a smart boy always pushes a couple canaries down in front of him. He must be fun in bed.
We see them turn one way down a hallway, we stare at an empty hallway for a moment, then they come back the other way. Carpenter led them the wrong way at first! Ah-hahahaha! This movie wants to be slapstick now, guys, except the tone is anything but madcap romp.
In the elevator, Carpenter tells Cale he hopes this won’t affect their professional relationship (while looking at her boobs), she punches him in the face, then the elevator gets stuck on Floor 42. Hey, it’s the answer to life, the universe, and everything!
Well, it kind of is. The death machine claws its way through the bottom of the elevator. Fighting ensues. Yutani catches a claw in the thigh, and idiot Carpenter shoots at the robot but gets hit in the shoulder by the ricochet. Genius. Our heroes fight the machine off and it ends up only killing Carpenter. Score! Our heroes manage to get the elevator moving upward, sending Carpenter and the death machine falling 45 stories down the elevator shaft. Somehow the death machine will survive this fall. I have given up on logic and am just along for the ride at this point, dudes and dudette. [Dove: It looked to me like the death machine seemed to have a claw right through Yutani’s thigh. But it’s ok. He walks it off.] [JC: Much like head injuries in Point Horror.]
They spill out of the elevator before it, too, crashes to the bottom, we find out they have no more things to make things go ‘splodey, then Yutani gives himself an atomic front wedgie to rip and yank his boxer shorts out of his pants to use as a bandage for his leg. For real though, was this a comedy but nobody told the actors that? The tone is just so odd in places. Am I supposed to laugh at them, or with them?
They come across a restricted access door; Cale’s access card won’t let them in, but Carpenter’s does. Even though he’s supposed to be below her in the chain of command. As Raimi says here, so much for job description. Inside, they find some sort of medical unit with cryo chambers, and we find out they’ve been running Robocop/Universal Soldier-type experiments with listed MIA injured war vets. Despite not knowing about any of this previously, Cale is able to describe it phenomenally well. Maybe she remembers the super soldier storyline from the X-Files. Or Buffy. Or the Six Million Dollar Man. Or . . .
They watch a video of a test subject. Carpenter is on film explaining something about cerebral download, while we watch a test subject behind him screaming on a table. Dante is also on camera, saying he thinks he knows what went wrong, then demanding the camera be shut off. Hey, I think I know what went wrong, too – y’all’ve been watching too many bad 1980s/1990s sci-fi movies! [Dove: My thought was, how does he know what went wrong? The guy literally just woke up screaming. How can he figure it out from just that? There are so many different ways their evil tech could go wrong, but Dante’s going to fix it from just that? Which is probably not the reaction the movie was hoping for from their audience.] [JC: Dove. He’s a genius. Who hacks. Of course he knows what went wrong just from hearing some screaming.]
Cale says she didn’t know about any of this and if she had she would have shut it down. Um, sorry, but weren’t you just brought in today to replace the dead guy? Under what authority would/could you have shut it down and when? She tells Raimi to go ahead and call 911, she’s on his side and she’ll tell the news channels and everyone what kind of shit’s been going on here! [Dove: Again: what good work did the company do? Everything seems to be sinister as fuck.]
Unfortunately, when Raimi calls a cop on the vidscreen, he takes him about as seriously as the dispatcher in Die Hard takes Bruce Willis, telling Raimi to say hi to Elvis for him while he’s trapped on the 65th floor by the homicidal maniac monster. He might as well have said this line is for emergencies only. No fuckin’ shit, lady; does it sound like I’m ordering a pizza?!
One of the vidscreens/CCTVs/whatever the fuck comes on, showing Dante playing with his action figures for the camera. Sadly (thankfully?), this is not a euphemism. Yutani asks the others how Dante knows where they are, Cale says he doesn’t, and Dante counters by telling them he knows they’re in the covert lab. Additionally, turning him off won’t turn you off – no, won’t turn him off, no –
They turn the vidscreen off. And we’re told that it’s Cale’s lifesign tracking implant thingie that’s letting Dante know their location, rather than the roughly eight million security cameras he has access to throughout the building, and fuck you for thinking otherwise.
Yutani offers Cale a knife in a ridiculous over-the-top presentation that I’m sure is supposed to be some honorable “Japanese” way, and she proceeds to cut the implant out of her wrist and stomp on it in extremely old-looking soft-soled sneakers. I’m betting you couldn’t stomp on an ant in these shoes. They manage to find something other than someone’s underwear to bandage this wound. [Dove: I was impressed she remained in sweat pants and a vest throughout. I was convinced that her clothes would get ripped, and she’d be in hotpants and a barely-there bra-ish top by the end.] [JC: At first I was like “Vest? Dafuq?” and then my brain translated from Brit to American. And yes, yay for the movie allowing her to look like she just got out of bed when she did indeed just get out of bed, and allowing her to keep her clothes on while in peril.]
Dante pops up on the screen again, gives them a password that lets them see stuff about the death machine flashing all over one screen, demands to see Cale alone, tells them that the Warbeast (death machine) has enhanced pheromone tracking – it smells fear, guys! – sends them a fax ( . . . what . . . ), then laughs wildly and sarcastically when Raimi tells him to go fax himself. To be fair, my reaction to that witty, witty quip was pretty much the same. Only with more eye-rolling and fart noises.
Cale decides to “suit up” in order to fight the death machine with no fear, and I don’t think the suit she’s talking about has been addressed at all so far. Anyway, she’s talking about putting on the super soldier suit and wiping her mind to install the totally not Universal Soldier software in her head. Except they decide instead to soldier up Raimi. Cool, whatever. On the one hand, why can’t the woman be a super soldier? On the other, she’s the main character and she’s boring enough without taking away her personality for the third act of the movie.
They save Raimi’s brain to disk, and Google leads me to believe this would take a disk with 2.5 petabytes of storage. So . . . yeah. Cale implants the commands “seek and destroy Warbeast” and “defend us” in the program they’ll be downloading in his brain, then Yutani tells Raimi that “the arrogant dragon will learn to repent.” Cool, cool. Then Raimi does a terrible Arnold voice and tells them “I’ll be back.” I . . . I think my eyes are stuck at the back of my head from rolling them so hard. Help?
Cale hits the button, Raimi super soldiers it up, and I guess we’re supposed to forget that every previous test of this HARD MAN program has ended with wall-punching and urinal-cowering. Desperate times and all that.
Raimi, who previously had a personality, now has none and simply screams commands and a play-by-play of his actions in a soldier voice. Because the director saw soldiers act like this in a movie once. He clears an area, but then we see death machine HUD creeping up behind Soldier Raimi, so I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that any program that doesn’t tell you to look behind you has even more glitches than we’ve been led to believe. [Dove: Also, the suit is amazing. It’s like ice hockey pads, but puffier. Raimi marches and they try to make it look heavy and impactful, but he’s a step away from the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.]
Yutani and Cale start stockpiling large guns (I’m not sure what guns these are since the ones they brought in with them weren’t loaded) in order to fight, but then Dante shows up and shoots Yutani. Because his guns are definitely loaded.
Next thing we know, Dante is shoving Cale into his “room” (does he live here? I don’t know! Do you know? Does the director know? Does Brad Dourif know?!) and talking about “parallel processing; two units interfacing simultaneously, with a high degree of compatibility.” That’s totally how I’m going to propose sexytimes to Boyfriend tonight. I’m sure it’ll really get his motor running. [Dove: I literally just tried this out on Raven. His response was: “I have no interest in that statement.”] [JC: It’s our own faults for choosing partners who relate to humans in a normal way.]
Dante asks Cale how she felt when she killed “it,” and then asks how she feels about household appliances when she says she never killed anything in her life. This is a scene that must have been added in for this director’s cut, as I had no memory of it and couldn’t figure out where it was going. Strap in, because it gets wild and cringey.
Amid telling Cale that she needs him (and needs to “interface” with him), Dante reveals that he finally got into her super secret personal (not personnel) files and read all about her, which brings us back to her sink disposal unit. And it brings us back to images from Cale’s earlier nightmare. Oh, goody.
So, as we find out through incredibly overwrought dialogue, Cale left her baby daughter in the sink for a bath, but don’t worry – the baby didn’t drown. Nope, she somehow managed to reach the switch for the garbage disposal, turn it on, and get her arm chewed off in the disposal. Presumably she bled to death. Now all that dream imagery and child killer subtext really pays off, huh? Look, while this is a horrible story (and I’m not mocking baby death, I promise), the delivery is so beyond belief that it’s pretty much the funniest thing in the whole movie. I’m probably not meant to be laughing right now, am I? I’m trying to keep it together, but not even Dourif can make me take this shit seriously. [Dove: Oh! So that’s what happened. I got baby. I got sink. I missed the rest. Oh. That scene makes more sense now. In my defence, there was a lot of crying and wailing, and Dante’s subject changes didn’t really help either.] [JC: From what I could make out, she was annoyed at the baby’s crying, ignored it, realized the disposal was on, yanked the baby (Amy, according to Dante) out while her arm stayed behind getting bits chewed and flung all over the place by the disposal, couldn’t hang onto her because of how slippery all the blood made her, then maybe something about the husband? Anyway, this is the context for the divorce and the family disowning her, I suppose.]
Cue more talk from Dante about binary systems and motherboards, and then in the number one top cringiest bit in here, he tells her he’ll be her baby, and starts kissing her. This is the point where I suddenly hope Dove watched the regular version of this movie that doesn’t have this scene in it just so I can maybe face her again sometime in the future. [Dove: No such luck. If you ever feel bad about it, just remember I made you watch the Mr Skinny sing-a-long.] [JC: . . . that’s fair.]
Cale pulls herself together and starts trying to fight Dante off (I almost typed “fight Jack off,” then thought better of it), and boy, there is no acquitting him of sexual assault this time around. If he was weird and creepy before, he’s full on violent (attempted) rapist now. This shit is not fun to watch and goes on way too long. But Cale manages to prevail, kicks him in the balls, slashes him with his own knife, then stabs the knife through his hand, pinning him to the table, and takes off with the Enhanced Effect Explosives we saw earlier. Chekhov’s explosives!
Apparently Yutani isn’t dead after all, because he’s popped up to “save” Cale. She says she doesn’t need his saving, she just needs his help and they need to blow it all up. Behind them, while they have this fucking conversation, Dante is pulling his hand free. Rather than pull the knife out of the table, he yanks his hand down the knife, effectively splitting his hand in two. Fucking hell. [Dove: Child’s Play 2 called, it wants its squick back. Although now I’m imagining his flappy hand and humming Crab People from South Park.] [JC: It’s been years since I’ve heard that, and for some reason it started playing in my head to the tune of Queen’s “Bicycle Race.”]
Cale and Yutani are going to blow everything up from core containment (. . . I have no idea what any of these places in this goddamn building are) but they need to find and reload Raimi because he’s the one with Carpenter’s code, which they need to get into core containment. Sure. I have no fucks left to give; I am just along for the ride. And the sweet, sweet recapping karma.
They make their way . . . somewhere, with the death machine in hot pursuit. Raimi to the rescue, with literal arm cannons. This super soldier suit is dope, y’all. (Much like the lines in this movie, you get to guess how sarcastically that line was intended.)
Soldier Raimi tries to leave Yutani behind, calling him “defunct.” Pretty sure that’s not in the Bro Code, dudes. Then he starts glitching and twitching on the floor, but then jumps back up like nothing just happened and barks at them to follow him and “don’t argue.” Oh. ‘Kay. I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about.
Raimi leads them through the building toward this hydraulic hoist thing that runs outside the building, since there are blast doors inside impeding their journey to core containment. Whatever that is. Is it a warp core? Is it a nuclear core? What exactly is going on in this building, besides the obvious?
They have to repair some shit before they can open a service hatch, and when they finish, the death machine comes busting through the hatch. Yup, that makes sense. Fuck you for arguing.
Yutani looks at Cale and states, “Shouryuken” before they open fire with their comically large assault weapons, because Yutani is clearly a Street Fighter fan. Me too, buddy. Me, too. Hadouken!
Raimi slows the death machine down by . . . punching it . . . while Cale and Yutani get to the
chopper hoist. This thing fell down an elevator shaft from the 45th floor [Dove: And then an elevator, also falling from the 45th floor, landed on it] and got two ludicrously huge assault rifle magazines emptied into it, but punching it is what slows it down. Shouryuken! Hadouken!
After knocking the machine back, Raimi starts glitching again, and now when we get Warbeast POV, we see fear pheromone signature coming from Raimi, too. Interesting.
Yutani turns around and goes ham on the death machine with another comically huge gun that came from somewhere, I guess, while Cale tries to drag Raimi through the hatch. When Yutani runs out of ammo, he turns around and promptly knocks himself out on a bulkhead. The death machine gets him. I think. We get weird POV shots and Cale crying and hauling ass outta there, so I assume. Anyway, RIP, buddy. The arrogant dragon will learn to suck its own dick or whatever.
Cale and Raimi make it to the hoist, shoot at the death machine, and go into some sort of free fall on the hoist, necessitating pulling the emergency brake almost the second they get in. I have no concept of how anything in this movie is supposed to work. They finally come to a stop, with Raimi glitching like a motherfucker, and Cale slams his personality disk into a slot on his helmet. Oh. That’s convenient. Human again, Raimi rips off his helmet and speaks on behalf of the audience by demanding to know what the fuck is going on.
They have Carpenter’s card and de-lock sequence, and they decide to finish this together. But wait a minute, remember the cop from earlier? The one who wanted Raimi to say hi to Elvis for him? Yeah, he decided to show up and get everything just exactly wrong. He demands that they drop their weapons, then shoots Cale in the leg after being told they’re the ones that called him. Don’t worry though, the death machine drops from the sky and crushes him. The cop’s last words? “Holy doughnuts!”
That is the level of wit we’re dealing with here, folks.
Cale and Raimi make it back inside the building, throw an explosive at the death machine, and keep going. They make it to the core, swipe their cards at the same time, then wait approximately five hours for the door to open. They get inside with the death machine clanking and chomping after them, throw another explosive at it, then are confronted with yet another door that needs a dual swipe. The explosion does more damage to them than to the death machine, which is apparently completely indestructible. I mean, it did jump off a roof from 70 stories up and land on a cop. If that didn’t do it in, nothing will.
Cale makes it into the next room (vault? core containment? I can’t even tell) with the death machine following, and someone really wanted to imitate the famous still of Ripley backed against the wall and turning her face away from the xenomorph. STOP TRYING SO HARD!
The machine does not attack, because oh! Jack’s back, with his finger on the deadman’s switch again. I’d say nice to see you, but you’re a rapist, so . . . nah. He’s pissed because Cale didn’t just run away, and when she says it’s because “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” he tells her that’s a stupid reason and she’s making him kill her for a stupid reason. God forbid a rapey manchild take responsibility for his own actions, amirite?
Cue this spiel from Dante about how he thought they could have a nice time together, and do nice things for each other and take care of each other. Dude. You tried to rape her. I think this plays better with that scene removed, but with it in? Get the fuck out.
Jack complains that his hand hurts, and Cale hugs and comforts him (telling him he can interface with the motherboard – I’m just imagining the look of confused horror Boyfriend would give me if I told him that during sexytimes), then ducks out of the way so that Raimi, who’s come up behind her, can punch Dante literally across the room. He also lets go of the deadman’s switch and Cale grabs it.
Poor, poor Dante is ever so confused about why they’re fighting him. Cale tells him she’s leaving him, then tosses him the remaining explosives, which are all set to Mode 2: Do Not Jostle. Pretty sure they should have blown up when she threw them, then? Then she locks him in the core containment with his death machine and the explosives while he tries to tell her she’s going to regret this and he’s dangerous and all kinds of other now-empty threats. Through death machine HUD POV, we see Dante all lit up in fear pheromones. He begs her not to leave him in there, cries that he doesn’t like the dark, and if the attempted rape scene hadn’t been in this version, I’d probably feel a little sorry for him. Then Cale releases the deadman’s button as the door finishes closing. She says it’s “for the children,” but I still don’t know what fucking children we’re talking about. Well, besides Baby Amy, who died in a garbage disposal and has zero to do with Chaank Armaments.
Close up on the core containment door, and . . . roll credits.
Since we don’t see Dante die or an explosion, I bet they would have tried for a sequel if this had done well. I . . . probably would have watched a sequel if Dourif had returned for it. I do not have good taste in movies, guys.
This movie has a 5.7 out of 10 on IMDb, and objectively that’s too high. There are a lot of reviewers over there trying to defend it as a satire, or an homage to action movies, and saying that all the humor was intentional and well done, and if you don’t like this movie it’s because you just DoN’t UnDeRsTaNd ThE hUmOr. Those people are assholes. This is a shit movie with awkward humor that doesn’t work as intended; everything that was funny was unintentionally so. The tone is all over the place, the writing is awful, the performances are bizarre and cringey. And I love it. Even while I’m rolling my eyes and facepalming, I love it. Dourif’s performance is the saving grace for me, because while it is also bizarre and cringey, somehow it’s believable. Over-the-top and weird is in his wheelhouse. Or maybe I just like trash, I dunno, I can’t even tell anymore.
How many apologies do I owe for inflicting this movie upon you, Dove?
[Dove: To expand on what I said at the beginning of the recap, my full answer to Raven about this movie was: It was funny, and weird, and rubbish, and I couldn’t follow some bits of it. It was exactly what I deserved after Necromentia. But I really liked it. I’m not sure how often I’ll rewatch it, but I will watch it again. That was a bizarre movie. Dourif is awesome. JC and I initially bonded over our love of the Child’s Play movies and Dourif in particular. I think I missed a lot of things in this, such as what happened to Cale’s kid – but other things I didn’t miss, they were just barely mentioned, like what happened to all the children/babies that caused the protest in the opening scene. There’s a version of it on YouTube that’s 2:39 long, so maybe the answers are in there. I’m just not sure I can take on over 2.5 hours of this any time soon. This was a fun way to spend a couple of hours. We should do this again… (don’t worry, everything should be significantly less weird than the two movies we’ve done already).]
[JC: I believe our initial bonding was over imagining how Rob Zombie pitched Halloween to the studio execs, which led to talk about how Dourif is the best thing in those movies, and it just went from there. (Every so often I revisit that Twitter thread and laugh myself silly.) Also, no need to bother with the 2.5+ hour long version of this on YouTube; it’s just the 1:51 director’s cut, then they start replaying the movie again from about 10 minutes in. I suspect to throw off any copyright issues, but who knows with YouTube. And yes, we should definitely keep doing this. I have at least two other movies that spring immediately to mind now that we’ve covered the weirdest of the weird.]