Double Down – 0 out of 5
I like to consider myself a connoisseur of bad movies. Thanks to discovering Mystery Science Theater 3000 when it came out (and how awesome is it that it's coming back? Very awesome) and the fact that I was raised to be a movie nut by my father, I’ve developed a taste for schlocky films. B-movie premises, bad acting and piss-poor production became the fine cheeses of the movie world that I would regularly seek out. However, there are a lot of bad movies out there and I am only one man and just can’t see them all. Thankfully, however, I have friends who will tell me when one has slipped past my radar. My buddy Chris over at The Robot’s Pajamas (a website I like to contribute to and you should check out because it’s awesome) told me about a film called Double Down and asked me to review it there (which I did and you can check out here) but this movie was so epically bad that I had to go into more detail here on my site…if only to keep my sanity.
|The battery life on his laptops are fucking fantastic in this film!|
|The possible target of the attack, a stock footage|
shot of Las Vegas.
According to IMDb, Double Down is about a terrorist attack on Las Vegas and a brilliant secret agent (played by the man who made it; Neil Breen) who takes control of the city and the attack as he “fights with his fits of overwhelming depression and obsessions with love and death.” However, if you actually took the time to watch this mess of a film, you’d have no frickin’ clue what the film was actually about because it is just a meandering mess. What I was able to gather, Double Down is about a Richard Gere stunt double that is a spy in his down time and doesn’t quite understand morals and ethics. Sometime after his fiancee is murder while they were skinny dipping in their pool, he decides to work for any and every government willing to pay him the big bucks because he is the greatest hacker/bio-weapons expert/spy/maybe terrorist the world has ever seen. One day, he is asked to shut down Las Vegas for two months by some unknown people for some unknown reasons. In-between his wandering around the desert, eating tuna out of the can, possibly having the ability to cure cancer with some Fool’s Gold, owning an invisibility shield and other mindless ramblings this character named Aaron Brand goes on about, he does some very unclear things to get some sort of attack going and then, with ten minutes left in the film, decides to try and stop it. (Don’t you dare cry about Spoilers because, as I’ll explain, the story will NOT be the reason to watch this film.)
|He has an unfortunate story of a gerbil stunt double.|
Often when I watch movies, I have a notebook nearby to take notes for the blog or other sites I’m writing for. With Double Down, I took four pages of notes and one of the most reoccurring setences I jotted down was “What the hell is going on in this film?” This movie is a horrendous mess but it’s not really surprising when you learn how the film came about. The man who made this film has no history with film making and made a bunch of money in Las Vegas and decided that he would use that money to make a film that would support his ego—in a similar way Tommy Wiseau made The Room or James Nguyen with Birdemic. What follows is a feature that has no sense of plot, story, character, conflict, intrigue or even the basics of lighting, acting, camera work, sound, music and editing. In replace of all that, you have a main character played by the financier and a character treatment that is all about feeding his own ego. I’m not kidding, this movie is basically an hour and a half of his character saying how awesome and talented he is.
|I'm a bit surprised we don't hear about how he's an award winning sleeper in this film.|
Shit, Breen’s even remote understanding or even whether or not he’s actually seen a movie has to be called into question as he clearly misunderstood one of the most basic rules of storytelling and decides that this film is entirely “Tell, Don’t Show.” I’m not kidding when I say the first 20 minutes of the film is all B-roll of Breen in the desert set to narration about how badass his character is and, during this entire time, there isn’t a single hint to what the story is going to be. All you learn is that he is "totes amazeballs" at his job and he is super in love with his dead fiancee. It’s at this 20 minute mark that the story kinda/sort/almost starts but the narration of the film never, ever leaves. Breen won’t show you what is happening but will just explain it to you…and even then, what is happening makes no sense because all the narration wants to talk about is the adoration he feels for his dead lover.
|How to properly stand when you refuse to do a nude scene for your friend's shitty|
|Whoa! This dude is clearly the master of stealth. That|
person will never notice the thick white powder you
put on their arm!
What’s truly ridiculous about this story—and there’s a lot of ridiculous shit going on here (like how Breen clearly thinks he is writing some truly deep musings about a Post-9/11 society)—but it’s truly a spectacle to watch how Breen thinks important details to the main point of conflict (the supposed terrorist attack on Las Vegas) are okay to leave out of the script but it's absolutely vital for the viewer to know that his character of lives off tuna in a can (there’s even a whole scene watching him eat and spilling on himself for some reason). Or there’s the ridiculous part where Aaron Brand rubs a tourist with a biological agent that, as he puts it, kills on contact but, literally a second later, informs us that that man will be dead in about 5 minutes. That’s not quite killing on contact, is it? I thought you were the best spy/agent/terrorist/desert wander in the business?!? In all honesty, this film felt like Breen rented some cameras, filmed a fuck-ton of B-roll out in the desert outside of Vegas, got his hands on a lot (and I mean A LOT) of stock footage and edited that stuff together and then used narration to try and make a story out of it all. That’s the only thing I could come up with because I can’t believe someone edited it together and said, “Yep, that makes sense.”
|The tuna was never mentioned if it was dolphin-free or not. That seems like a big|
detail to gloss over. It was important enough to tell us he eats it...and is probably
the best eater of canned tuna in the world but was it dolphin-safe?
|And here's Breen's money shot. There's no doubt|
in my mind that he thought he just filmed the deepest,
most momentous visual in all of cinema with
Double Down is just a truly horrendous film that is more a monument to one man’s clearly uncontrollable ego than it is even remotely a coherent story. I could write about this one forever because there is so much bad going on here—like how flubbed lines were left in the film or how Breen’s reaction of his fiancee getting assassinated sounds more like a mild orgasm than a sound of pain. Also there's how Brand can apparently hack anything with two satellite dishes, 3 flip phones and a couple of laptops that are clearly never turned on or the whole thing with the Fool’s Gold or just the general bad acting or how there’s no real characters in the film or who the antagonist and protagonists are—but it is in this disastrous mess that makes the film somewhat entertaining to watch. Unlike other Awesomely Bad Movies like The Room, Troll 2 and Birdemic, the fun factor of this film doesn’t come from the bad acting and shitty dialogue (because, sadly, the majority of what’s said is done by Breen and you barely see other characters in the story) but rather just from the nightmare of a slop-pile this film is. Ultimately, however, it makes the feature a double edged sword and it makes this insanely hard to watch. It’s terrible and it’s a great unintentional comedy but, unlike other films that are prime for a night of pizza, booze and riffing the night away with your buddies on the couch, this one is so hard to sit through that maybe it only warrants a one-time viewing…but, at the very least, it is a funny one-time viewing.