"This is not a test"
Directed by Mimi Leder
Starring George Clooney and Nicole Kidman
BMM Keywords: So bad it hurts, Dull, Unpleasant patriotism.
When a Russian general steals ten nuclear warheads, a US nuclear smuggling adviser (Kidman) and an Army Intelligence officer (Clooney) must retrieve them, running roughshod over the silly old Russians in order to do so. Then they must track down the Serbian diplomat who plans to blow up the UN building during a peace summit as a warning against international interference in the former Yugoslavia.
The Peacemaker is actually a rather unpleasant film, in
part because it offers crassly simplistic answers to difficult questions. The
fact that Clooney's gun-ho antics not only override Kidman's caution but also
almost invariably prove to be the right thing to do is symptomatic of the basic
problem, which is that the film is glossing over the very complex and scary
issue of stolen nuclear weapons. The important issue raised by the terrorist's
motive - he blames the enforced creation of Yugoslavia post-WWII for the current
troubles, and not without cause - are breezed over by the fact that he ends up a
mad-eyed whack-job trying to nuke Manhattan. The fact that Clooney is willing to
order a sniper to shoot through a five-year-old to stop him is not dwelt upon.
Only once is there any implication that this problem goes beyond running around and hitting people, when Clooney's jovial Russian contact is shot, but after a few minutes confusion - in his line, such things would not normally be done - Clooney is up for invading Russia. Moreover, no-one seems to bat an eyelid at the detonation and irradiation of a large part of the Ukraine; the threat of fallout is mentioned, but not even a 'poor sods' is uttered in memory of the locals.
Were this a James Bond film this all might be acceptable, but it isn't. The film aspires to a more serious level, and by so doing exacerbates its own offences. The cack-handed romantic sub-plot - which boils down to nothing more than the fact that Clooney and Kidman are both attractive - likewise serves only to trivialise the proceedings.
It's also not a good sign that I can't remember the name of a single character in this film. The contact might have been Vasiliy or Vladimir or Viktor and I think the General was Alexander something.
Well, this is the real problem. Extensive thought the film's flaws are, they aren't really that bad by the standards of the Bad Movie Mecca. However, this film has fewer redeeming features than almost any other movie ever to gain a theatrical release. The best that can be said about it is that it is professionally made, but nothing about it shines. Not a goddamn thing.
The Peacemaker is a tedious and petty little film, in which the might of America abuses the sovereignty and dignity of all and sundry to save the world for democracy. It's really, really no damn good.
See above re. nothing shines.
Production values - Solid, professional work, but nothing ground-breaking or spectacular, even when the Ukraine is getting nuked. 3
Dialogue and performances - Dull dialogue and phoned-in performances down the line. No one seems very interested in what they're doing here and I just can't blame them. 13
Plot and execution - Trite, lazy, ham-fisted and uninvolving. There's a desperate man carrying a nuke around New York in a backpack, and I can't seem to care. 15
Randomness - More-or-less under control, save for the extreme swiftness with which the leads criss-cross the world and change their clothes. That and the utter lack of consequences for their blatant disregard of other peoples' sovereignty. 8
Waste of potential - A stolen-nuke action thriller should really be more action-packed - one raid, one car chase, one fight and one foot chase is pretty lame - and more thrilling than this offering. Moreover, the utter lack of good points in this film means that I just have to give it maximum points here. 20
Directed by Michael Pressman
Starring Paige Turco and David Warner
"Cowabunga; it's the new Turtle movie"
BMM Keywords: So bad it hurts, Turtle Rap.
Following their victory over Shredder the Turtles are 'resting' in April O'Neill's (Turco) apartment (she seems to have bought pants since the last time at least). Then Shredder and the Foot Clan return, stealing the last sample of the ooze that created the Turtles and using it to make two monstrous - if endearingly dim - minions. With the aid of the scientist who accidentally created the ooze (Warner), the Turtles demutate the minions, battling them through a club to a Vanilla Ice soundtrack (Go Ninja, Go Ninja, Go!) then tackle a giant, mutated Shredder in the sewers to some kind of conclusion.
Well, for starters, having left it a week before writing
the review, I can't actually remember very much of the film at all; it were that
I do recall that the acting was flat, the fight scenes greatly hampered by the Turtle costumes (imagine the Tellytubbies trying to do kung fu) and the plot pretty much non-existent. Then there's the gratuitous cute, scrappy kid, the terrible Turtle dialogue and the Ninja Turtle Rap. Sheagh!
David Warner provides his usual performance as serious person in a silly film with some dignity, and the film has a tiny spark of zany energy, although the Turtlosity was wearing out by this point. The sets - especially the abandoned subway lair - are pretty keen.
Bad, no; just not very good.
Shredder preparing to subdue his new minions encourages them to attack him. The giant wolf and snapping turtle run forward, throw their arms around him and cry: "Mama!"
Production values: Some of the sets are actually really nice and although they hamper the ninjitsu, the turtle suits look okay. However, the snapping turtle and wolf monsters are crappy. 11
Dialogue and performances: Really no-one but David Warner was walking away form this with any dignity. 16
Plot and execution: I have big monsters. Go big monsters; chase the Turtles. Quickly Turtles; fight the big monsters. Ladies and gentlemen; the plot. 17
Randomness: Vanilla Ice. Other than that it all makes sense given that we have four big terrapins as the central characters. 7
Waste of Potential: Considering the mine had already been tapped more than dry by the first film, this one didn't do too badly. 6
"One fights for justice. The other for power. Only one can survive."
Directed by Bradford May
Starring Jeff Fahey and Arnold Voosloo
BMM Keywords: So bad it hurts, Scene chewing.
Faceless vigilante Darkman - aka Dr Peyton Westlake (Voosloo)
- crosses paths with ruthless mobster, Peter Rooker. In revenge, Rooker's henchling-cum-mistress,
Dr Bridget Thorne tricks Darkman so she can implant him with a pain inducing device, in
order to study him and find out why his tactile insensitivity gives him
There are some fights and stuff, culminating with a warehouse battle to save Rooker's wife - whom Westlake has fallen in love with - and daughter. Then Westlake sacrifices his chance to look properly normal by using his only sample of perfected synthetic skin to repair the kid's face, which was burned by natural gas in the fight. Bless.
Die, Darkman, Die is a ham-fisted follow-up to a
ham-fisted follow-up to a Sam Raimi film that wasn't exactly subtle to begin
with. Voosloo chews on the scenery like he's trying to stop his incisors growing
down to pierce his own chest, and sad to say he's the actor in the bunch. The
plot also lacks tension and is overly sentimental.
Once again, I'm having real trouble remembering the character names in this one.
The basic premise of Darkman remains good: A scientist hideously disfigured and isolated from the world uses a talent for mimicry and masks of synthetic skin to fight crime, aided by the psychotic strength granted him by the severing of his central nervous system.
In parts painfully bad, mostly during the surprise birthday party scene, where Darkman - disguised as the villain - confuses Rooker's party guests by acting like a decent human being. Bless.
Darkman's beat-up old maintenance train that he uses to zip around the subway.
Production values: Not so good. Some decent makeup on scarred Darkman, but mostly he's just wearing a scarf. The rest is all bullet sparks and some cut-rate wire-work. 9
Dialogue and performances: Oh my lord. Voosloo lays out each and every line as though it were a Shakespearean soliloquy, including lines like 'My name is Dr Peyton Westlake' and 'Hello'. Fahey just snarls like a rabid dog and the rest of the cast are utterly forgettable. 19
Plot and execution: Rattles on well enough, but without much energy and an excess of mawkish sentimentality that slows the film right down in the touchy-feely scenes. 14
Randomness: Solid. Nothing ridiculously out there once the premise is established, aside from the heavily acidic natural gas of course. 4
Waste of potential: As with the Turtles, Darkman could - and did - make a better film than this. Even for number three though, this was not a great success. 10