ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Faust (2000)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Brian Yuzna

Starring:
Mark Frost/John
Isabel Brooks/Jade
Jeffrey Combs/Dan
Andrew Divo/M
PLOT-CRUNCH
John (Frost) sells his soul to one of Satan’s advocates (Divoff) in the name of revenge. He’s eventually sent to hell but escapes and returns to earth as an un-dead, red rubber suit-wearing, ass-kicking avenger. Will he find redemption, get the girl and save the world?
THE LOWDOWN
This movie’s got its trashy elements covered, there's no doubt about that. Now I haven’t read the comic book on which this flick is based, or seen the various interpretations on the classic tale, but I doubt that it’s ever been delivered in such a campy, action filled way.

This movie mixes in elements that will feel familiar to all hardcore comic book/ horror fans. The titular character wears a rubber red “Batman”-like suit, sports “Wolverine” rip-off claws and owns a “Spawn”-like cape. The flick also has the requisite charismatic, evil villain that goes by the name of M (played by a superb Andrew Divoff). You can’t have a better villain than this man. On the horror front, the movie tosses in a little bit of “Hellraiser” (the whole pleasure/pain thang) and a dash of "Wishmaster" (yes, Divoff puts evil spells on people here too). Dare I say that we also get a sprinkle of “Mortal Kombat” (lots of kicking and slashing) too? Well, I just did.

This flick is a roller coaster ride of thrills, spills and nipples!!! I haven’t seen this much carnage since the "hey- days" of horror when latex wuz kool and blood was flowing like urine at a rave. The film’s most extreme effect piece (the inflatable broad) will have your jaw dropping to the floor. This baby doesn’t hold back one bit!

One crucial thing is lost amidst all the campiness though: the serious possibilities. Isn’t Faust also supposed to be a heart-wrenching tale of loss, vengeance and redemption? It's obvious here that Yuzna is going for that too but he unfortunately fails on that front. How can I take Frost (Faust) seriously when he’s wearing a silly red rubber suit and has a tendency to ham it up in his emotional scenes? How can I feel tension during the cap-off when the end creature looks like a reject villain from “The Power Rangers”? How can I feel anything for anyone when all of the secondary actors act in cartoonish ways (that police commissioner really got to me, I’M GONNA STICK THAT CIGAR UP YOUR…) therefore hurting the whole of the film? I couldn’t.

My other complaint would have to be the way Jeffrey Combs’ character is handled in the film. The movie plays him out as a sympathetic lead (that’s rare) at first but then slaps him in the back seat. His character also has a change of heart that didn’t ring true to me at all! It almost felt like his character pulled a fast one simply because they couldn’t have Combs for the full shoot or something. Combs is shamefully misused here.

Basically, the intentional and unintentional camp vibe drowned every possibility for me to take the deeper aspects of this film seriously. I just didn’t really care for the main characters (I was laughing at them) except for the villain (this is Divoff’s show) who’s just a riot to watch. On the upside, the flick's got plenty of crazy gore (and I mean crazy), naked chicks, slick atmosphere and a top form Divoff can go down well on any day. Now sign this contract.
GORE
This is the flick’s main dish cooked up by effect nut “Screaming Mad George”. We get beheadings, heart munching, eye gouging and bloody stabbings. And for dessert we get a girl’s tits and ass inflating to the point of disgust and a vagina that gets way too wet (I’m not kidding). One thing though: what was up with Lucifer looking like a “Mattel” figurine? That’s the only effect that blew in the film.
ACTING
Mark Frost (John) comes through when he plays it down but his excessive moments are a bit too much. It hurts the movie because he’s the main character and his over-the-top display on the emotional front made me not take him that seriously. He also has a British accent that pops in and out from time to time. He’s very uneven. Isabel Brooks (Jade) looks like an "all growns up" version of Claire Danes and has a very sexy presence. She rings true and that British accent turned me on. Jeffrey Combs (Dan) plays the straight man for once and I bought it. Too bad the film hardly uses him. Andrew Divoff (M) gives the most captivating turn of the movie. He knows a thing or two about charm and evil (see Wishmaster) and I loved every second he was on the screen. Great work young man, loved the bleached hair too! Monica Van Canpen’s (Claire) constant moaning tested my nerves, fortunately she quit that shite once her character took more room in the flick. After the moan fest, she handled herself pretty well…nice cans too…
T & A
If you’re in the mood for a side order of tits with your gore than this movie is the horror junk-house you should check out. It’s a tit-fest! Monica Van Canpen thank you and call me…
DIRECTING
Yuzna on speed. The camera is all over the place, the style is filled with energy, the shot compositions are way gnarly and the quick cuts are razor sharp. The flick has great atmosphere and Yuzna delivers the eye candy. NOTE: I don’t know what the film was shot on but it sure looked like obvious digital. It took me a while to get used to its feel.
SOUNDTRACK
Some hard-hitting grunge shite, some slick techno and a moody score (I dug the humming-like song).
BOTTOM LINE
When I realized that the movie wasn’t going to suck me in with its overplayed, laughable drama, I just kicked back and enjoyed the atmosphere, the gore, the melons, the action and the dead-on Divoff. I recommend that you do the same. One thing's fer sure: this flick is wet, wet, wet! Lap it up, baby! Did the ratings board see this flick?!? Let's keep it hush, hush…
BULL'S EYE
The film was shot in Spain/Barcelona.
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5:37PM on 05/26/2009

About that music...

Nice work Arrow, but I don't think Machine Head, Soulfly, or Fear Factory should be described at grunge.
Nice work Arrow, but I don't think Machine Head, Soulfly, or Fear Factory should be described at grunge.
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