Friday, December 5, 2014

Rampage: Capital Punishment

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! The real punishment was watching this movie.

Rampage:  Capital Punishment – 2 out of 5

Uwe Boll is not a director that people think of when you bring up good movies.  Nope, instead you think of him as the guy who intentionally makes shitty video game adaptations in order to make use of loopholes in the laws regarding filmmaking overseas.  However, in 2009 he wrote and directed a film that was actually amazing.  Rampage was a terrifying tale of a boy in a dead-end life that snapped and went on a killing spree, taking the lives of a lot of innocent people.  The movie stood up fine on its own and was an uncomfortable tale of someone who had their mind snap and no longer cared about the lives of other people.  It was violent, well acted, terrifically edited and filmed, and had a story that was disgusting but interesting to watch unfold.  Five years later, Boll has return to the life of the killer and decided to open up another chapter.

Awww...the sweet look of a crazed killer.

The antagonist from the first film, Bill Williamson (Brendan Fletcher), is alive and hiding, biding his time to once again show up and express his world-changing plan.  When he isn’t just sitting in an alley shooting people who had the unfortunate timing of walking by, he’s busy getting his manifesto ready and preparing to attack a television station.  When the time is right, Williamson takes the station by force, taking numerous people hostage and forcing the popular news anchor Chip Parker (Lochlyn Munro) to air a DVD where Williamson lays out his violent plans to overthrow the government, kill the rich, and spread anarchy and death.  However, law enforcement outside are ready to come in and make Williamson pay for his crimes…but he’s got some explosive plans for them as well.

His plans involve bombs...if I didn't make that obvious enough.

Much of the spirit of the first film is here.  Boll does some great work behind the camera by using a lot of handheld work complete with a non-stationary position and a lot of zoom-ins and focusing in and out.  Like the first film, this help force the viewer into the action and feel the terror of a man without a firm grip on reality and little regard for human life.  Additionally, Fletcher is once again terrifying as Williamson and Munro is very good in his role.  Acting, editing, and camera work isn’t the flaws this film had that kept it from being as impacting as the first film.  The problem with this film is the story likes to test the resolve of the viewer and sees how far their patience will go.

Not as good of an anchor as Ron Burgundy.

The character of Williamson likes to hear the sound of his voice in this one and most of the movie is him preaching like a crazy gun-loving Republican on Facebook that calls for violent action because America elected a black man, thinks carrying automatic weapons in a family restaurant is somehow normal, and thinks the way to resolve all conflict in this country is through the pulling of a trigger.  Granted, Williamson isn't actually one of those nutbag Facebook Conservatives but his message isn't any better than theirs and far too much of the movie is Williamson going on long diatribes about how the country needs to be fix and about all the problems the U.S. has and the only way to fix it is kill as many people as possible with little insight over whether their lives have any more worth than his own.  Little debate can be found that this isn’t Uwe Boll’s feelings since he, in all his modesty, cast himself as Chip’s producer (a big mistake because the one thing he does worse than making video game adaptations is acting) and, at one point, actually says, “He’s right, you know,” while Fletcher’s video diary of his plan is playing.

Uwe Boll's biggest mistake was being Uwe Boll.

"Help, my kidney spontaneously exploded!"
The first film never outright said Williamson was a good guy and it really felt like he was a shitty person who was pushed to the edge and snapped in the worse way possible.  This time, Boll tries to make Fletcher seem like he is some sort of Anarchist Messiah who has a message that needs to be listened to and it makes the film feel bias.  There was none of this tiresome and long talk coming from Fletcher in the first film and that was something that made the film unsettling.  He was just a guy who had enough and wanted people to pay for his imagined slights. 

A shot from Williamson's video message...
And the next shot he's wearing different clothes in this thing.  How can I trust his
plan of total death and destruction when he can't even master continuity?

This time, Boll painfully attempts to paint him as some sort of anti-hero but loses sight of giving him an alternative viewpoint to battle against and is, often, coming off looking like an unlikable hypocrite who, at one point, argues in favor of gun control but then states people need to get guns to kill the rich.  Boll’s message he is trying to convey through Williamson is muddled, messy, and not well thought out.  It’s comes off like pseudo-intellectual crap rather than a real message about the state the world is in.

And this shot was all that was needed for gun nuts to declare this the greatest
film ever made.

I'm not even going to caption this, just look at that face.
I get that Williamson's message is the whole point of the story but the tiresome and endless repeating of that message is what makes the film exhausting. Williamson’s non-stop monologues about the horrors of the government and how the likes of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden were heroes who were attacked by “The Man” ends up feeling preachy rather than intriguing and takes away from any griping tension that the first film mastered so well.  Williamson just comes off looking like something Uwe Boll jerked off onto the script and then further jerked off in celebration and in the spirit of narcissism because he thought he made something insightful and brilliant.  In reality, the character just comes off as someone who won’t shut up and thinks he’s smarter than you.  While this could have worked to make Williamson a further villain than what he was in the first film, Boll showcases him as a revolutionary that, somehow, you are suppose to like.  The near lack of dialogue and self-congratulating speeches that Williamson never had in the first film and the focus almost entirely on horrifying mass-shootings ended up making Williamson something to fear and that sent chills down your spine.  It made him a force to be reckoned with but, this time, with his never ending speeches that are interrupted only when he wants to murder someone for lives he completely imagines they live and that pisses him off, he comes off looking moronic and is completely annoying.  It made the film far more grating and far less gritty.

"What are your demands, Williamson?  Wut?  Is my refrigerator running?
I dunno, I'll have to check."

And Williamson is giving a little girl a gun and telling her
to shoot her parents.  I sure hope anyone who actually
finds themselves agreeing with this character
automatically finds themselves on a watch list.
I’m not going to say I was hopeful for Rampage:  Capital Punishment because I’m not na├»ve enough to think that lightning was going to strike twice for Uwe Boll—after all, have you seen what this guy considers to be comedy?  He is not even human enough to understand humor, how could he possible get it right with two films?  Overall, this Rampage sequel was unnecessary because it takes a great, unsettling film and character and makes them tedious, pretentious, and annoying.  In the end, it just came off looking like an adaptation of someone’s long and winding Facebook status about how the world isn’t what it use to be (or ever actually was).  And I’m not even going to get into the reality that Boll missed a prime opportunity to have a pun subtitle or the fact that Boll honestly thought he made a twist ending that was smart but was actually predictable and completely needless.

A real twist would have been that Williamson was actually a bunch of squirrels
underneath that armor.

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