PLOT: New York photographer Leon (Bradley Cooper) wants to capture the grit of the city for an upcoming exhibition of his photographs. One night, he ends up rescuing a model from a group of gang-bangers. When she winds up a missing persons case, Leon begins to suspect that she's been murdered by a mysterious character he caught in one of his photographs. The man in question turns out to be the mute Mahogany (Vinnie Jones), who by day works in a meat processing plant, and by night rides the subway carving up victims. Leon becomes obsessed with stopping Mahogany- but alas, he's up against more than just a killer...
REVIEW: While I don't usually go for super-gory horror films, I really enjoyed MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN. Based on Clive Barker's famous short story, the film is a really dark and disturbing tale- stylishly directed by Japanese director Ryuhei Kitamura. While I haven't seen most of his earlier films like VERSUS & AZUMI- I was lucky enough to catch a crazy screening at the 2005 Fantasia of his film GODZILLA: FINAL WAR. I thought that film was a blast and a half, and I'm happy to see that for his first American film, Kitamura seems to have been more or less given a free hand. The film positively oozes style, particularly in the final bad ass showdown between Leon & Mahogany.
Besides the direction, and the cool premise- there's a lot of other reasons MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN works so well. Particularly worth mentioning are the two lead performances from Cooper & Jones. Bradley Cooper's been around for years- and usually plays "the other guy" in romantic comedies like THE WEDDING CRASHERS & FAILURE TO LAUNCH. He does a good job in his first lead role, and I could definitely seem him being a decent action star somewhere down the line.
Vinnie Jones is, of course, bad ass as always. While he doesn't do much talking in the film, Jones manages to convey a lot in this purely physical performance. After watching this film, if I ever find myself alone on a subway (or metro's as they're called in Montreal) with someone looking like Vinnie Jones- I'll definitely be getting out at the next stop.
I also liked the supporting cast a lot- particularly Roger Bart as the hero's doomed buddy. Bart's one of those guys who always delivers, no matter how small the role. The super-sexy Leslie Bibb is on hand as the girlfriend, and while she was a tad annoying at times- I can't really fault her performance as the role was probably written that way. Brooke Shields also has a few scenes as a bitch art gallery owner- and I must say, Shields plays a great bitch (which shouldn't surprise any NIP/TUCK fans like myself).
Supposedly- MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN is getting a limited release on Aug.1st, before being dumped to DVD in the fall. I really have no idea why this film is getting the shaft- as it's way better than a lot of the horror flicks that get a wide release and usually rake in the dough. The studio should have more faith in this film. Once it hits DVD- if you want a good scare you should check it out.