Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
Director: Ronny Yu
The kids of Elm street donâ€™t dream anymore and that keeps the Big K (Englund) out of the slashing game. He needs them to be afraid, to dream and to remember him to get back in there. So he comes up with the idea of manipulating Hockey Puss (Kirzinger), sending him to Elm street as a sturdy wake-up call. All is fine and dandy until Jason starts getting greedy on Freddyâ€™s teen playground. Finger-knives king puts his glove down and attempts to reclaim his turf. LET THE BATTLE BEGIN!
"Time to put this bad dog to sleep!" â€” Freddy Krueger
Well, here it is little piggies, the film thatâ€™s been in the making for over ten years is now finally making its way to the big screen. Was it worth the NEVER ENDING wait and all the awful unused screenplay drafts that we had to read till now? Well, for this fanboy the answer is...OH YEAH! HELL YEAH! and FUCK YEAH!
I strongly feel that hardcore fans of both respective series will get more of a well put SLASH out of this movie than the random, uninitiated viewers. Purposely or not, this flick was made for the fans with key elements/plot conventions lifted off both franchises and slapped in the horror soup...and in heavy doses at that! For anybody who knows his Friday/Nightmare movies, a lot of stuff will feel heart warningly familiar. Who didnâ€™t go nuts when the little girls did the â€śOne, two, Freddyâ€™s coming for youâ€ť thang? Who didnâ€™t snap their neighborâ€™s neck in joy when the â€śCamp Crystal Lakeâ€ť sign appeared for the first time? I know I sure did! Who will get a kick out of seeing Jason walking down Elm Street and vice versa? I PERSONALLY TOTALLY LOST IT! What will the average viewer get out of all this? Not much, Iâ€™m sure.
This zany trip came across like fan-pleasing rollercoaster ride. It moved at a lightning pace, slapped all kinds of crazy action and wild scenarios my way, â€śboo scaredâ€ť my ass left and right while giving me EXACTLY what I crave from both series. Freddy had his precious moments with an awesome re-interpretation of his back-story (I loved that he was going to kill a little girl), stellar dream sequences that never went too over the top (a la Part 6 Freddyâ€™s Dead) and a charming overuse of the word â€śBitchâ€ť Nobody says â€śBitchâ€ť like Uncle Freddy! Music to my ears! As for Jason , he had his day too! He had awesome flashbacks to his youth (loved the pillowcase nod) and fervently put the main tool (his machete) to use like he never did before! The man was on an ambitious slaughter spree with the cornfield rave scene being one of the highlights (although I did feel like they cut it too short). Basically we get what we wanted: a heavy cup of Elm Street and a handful of Friday the 13th rolled up in one fruit-roll of horror fun. Imagine how youâ€™d feel if youâ€™d bang Betty and Veronica from the Archie comics at the same time? Well, thatâ€™s how I felt while watching this film. Freakin' content!
As for the boys themselves, well, they were back in town and in top form! Freddy (Englund) displayed just the right mix of scary and funny. He treaded that line firmly through the whole movie. Although I did laugh at some of his antics and one-liners, the mean and perverted dirty old man side of Freddy always shined through. Thank you! As for Jason (Kirzinger), well, being the Kane Hodder fan that I am (read my convo with the man here), I had to purposely remind myself to keep an open mind and leave the â€śNew Line dissing Hodder thangâ€ť out of the theatre. Yes, I liked Kenâ€™s show as Jason. He actually felt a lot like Michael Myers to me in his slow, economic and still mannerisms. Although I adored Kenâ€™s â€śsurpriseâ€ť swiftness when it came to killing, I preferred Kane Hodderâ€™s more "raging bull" rendition of Jason more and felt like he wouldâ€™ve worked here as well. What can I say, the heaving chest thing is the shite! Oh and â€ťexpressive eyesâ€ť MY ASS!!
Both of the killersâ€™ looks also did it for me in a big way. Make-up wise, Freddy had the right blend of Part 1 and Part 3 while sporting some really freaky teeth. Brrrrrr! As for Jason, he looked a bit more backwoods than he did in the last couple of entries and it worked! On the visual effects front, I was a happy camper. Although at times a bit too CGI, the visual shenanigans still came through in the creativity and off-the-wall department. And then there was...THE fight. Without giving anything away, I will say this: the WWF-HORROR Rumble went ALL OUT with the last 25 minutes or so of the film being an outrageous, no-holds barred and relentlessly violent bout between the two Titans of Horror. I was basically jumping in my seat like a grasshopper on steroids. Shite, I think witnessing this fight to end all fights was the highlight of my summer, beating out those Vegas hookers by a landslide. Who wins the match, you may ask? I wonâ€™t tellâ€¦
On the downside, although I dug the premise and the plot, it all went by too fast for me to be truly affected. But I guess thatâ€™s the price you pay for a speedy pace. The â€śblahâ€ť characterizations and bad acting also didnâ€™t help in making me care about the situation at hand. Kelly Rowland actually pulled a â€śBusta Rhymesâ€ť (from "Halloween 8") on Freddy here! But fear not, she's "rewarded" adequately (HeHeHe). I also want to point this out: I donâ€™t know if this was done in a â€śwink-winkâ€ť way or not, but I hated how our teen heroes figured out what was going on so easily. Were they reading the film's synopsis out loud or something? Lastly, I had one fanboy gripe: the whole â€śJason is afraid of waterâ€ť thing. Any fan of the Friday series knows that in the past entries, Jason was the first dude in the lake the second a naked, dumbass babe plunged in there for a midnight swim. Jason isnâ€™t afraid of water.
Overall, "Freddy Vs Jason" was quite the crowd-pleaser and definitely lived up to its hype for me, while not disrespecting usâ€¦the TRUE fans. You can bet your â€śHypnocilâ€ť that Iâ€™ll see this one again! WELCOME TO PRIME TIME, BEEYATCHES!
Thereâ€™s lots of red slush in this cup...YIPPEE! Iâ€™m talking all kinds of impalings, a body bent backwards, a snapped 180-degree head, a multitude of machete slicing and dicing, a cut off torso, cut off arm, more stabbings, beheadings, more impalingsâ€¦you get my drift? Itâ€™s a blood fest!
Robert Englund (Freddy) was in tip-top shape as our favorite crispy critter. Although he cracked jokes, Freddyâ€™s mean streak and evil soul was always felt. Ken Kirzinger (Jason) was tall, imposing and got the job done. Monica Keena (Lori) was akin to a Brittany Murphy knockoff, but with bigger breasts and less acting skills. She plays a virgin in the filmâ€¦YEAH, RIGHT! And I can pull pink elephants out of my ass!!! Jason Ritter (Will) was on and off. Lochlyn Munro (Deputy Stubbs) is a fine actor and deserved better than this â€śblahâ€ť written part. He did what he could. Kelly Rowland (Kia) actually came out of this looking okay and didnâ€™t say â€śya'llâ€ť too many times. I still wonder what the reasoning behind her casting was though. I mean, is her name really that marketable? Not to me. Katharine Isabelle (Gibb) cashes in a check. Kyle Labine (Freeburg) had me on the floor as the â€śJason Mewes lightâ€ť dude. Gotta love stoners!
T & A
Now this is how it should be (take notes Salva, youâ€™ll be quizzed on this later). We get a glorious nude gal, ample tits in tow early on and we get Katharine Isabelleâ€™s body double showing it all off in a shower scene. NICE!! The ladies get a dudeâ€™s butt and another dude shirtless.
Ronny Yu does everything he can to ensure that weâ€™re taken for a pleasurable ride. The pace is swift, the angles stylish, the filters (loved the red and blue) well used and the slow motion ample. Kinetic Bon-Bon! He worked for Chucky, worked for Freddy AND Jasonâ€¦hhhmmmmâ€¦maybe he should tackle Halloween 9 next!
Graeme Revell delivered an adequate score, but it was really the classic â€śKi Ki Ki Ha Ha Haâ€ť and â€śNightmare themeâ€ť that had me grinning. They shouldâ€™ve used both ditties more! We also get some "whatever" rock tunes.
New Line Cinema - Release Date: January 13th, 2004
IMAGE: We get a stellar 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen image. We can also view the film in full screen.
SOUND: We get an impeccable English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and a English Dolby 2.0 Surround Sound option. English and Spanish subtitles are available for the English and Spanish deaf people that use them.
DISC 1: (The first disc sports the feature film and a couple of EXTRAS including...)
Feature Length Commentary: Director Ronny Yu and actors Robert Englund and Ken Kirzinger come in to partake in this feature length commentary. Yu and Englund are particularly very animated giving us loads of insight about the many facets of making the film. From the experiences on location, to commenting on the actors in the film, to the hardships of some of the scenes to Freddy's "raison d'etre", this commentary made for a groovy listen and should please the fans. Why was Kirzinger so quiet though? I wanted more from the guy that bumped Hodder off. Oh well...
Jump to a Death: This nifty feature will appeal to the impatient gore-hound who wants to see plasma flow like freakin' right now! Yup, with this option we can jump to any death in the film and witness it "pronto" in all of its gory glory.
DISC 2: (When I slapped the second disc into my player, I quickly realized that this was where the party was at, in terms of EXTRAS. Let the fun begin!)
Deleted/Alternate Scenes: Here we're treated to 19 deleted scenes with optional commentary by director Ronny Yu and executive producer Douglas Curtis. To be honest, nothing really stood out here apart form the "alternate opening" which heavily nodded the Friday the 13th series and the "original ending" which although pretty tacky, was kind of fun to watch from a fan point of view ("Nightmare on Elm Street: Part 2" came to mind, for some reason). The commentary basically explained why the scenes were cut out (usually because of test screening feedback or pacing reasons). This was a decent feature. I expected more slick deleted scenes than the ones offered, but it still quenched my thirst.
Production Featurettes: These 5 featurettes acted as a video diary of the "Making" of the film. We have Ronny Yu, Robert Englund, Ken Kirzinger and various producers and crew members coming in to talk shop. Interviews, on-set footage (love those) and actual takes being shot were also abound here. I found this behind-the-look at "Freddy vs Jason" mucho engaging, especially from an aspiring filmmaker point of view. The features went a little something like this:
Genesis: Development Hell (10 minutes): The lengthy struggle the film went through to finally come to life is dissected here.
On Location- Springwood Revisited (14 minutes): This featurette takes us on set to witness Yu performing his magic.
Art Direction- Jason's Decorating Tips (11 minutes): The look of the dream world vs the look of the reality world. What they went for.
Stunts- When Push Comes to Shove (21 minutes): We get an in-depth look at the stunts in the film and how they were accomplished.
Make-Up - Effects- Freddy's Beauty Secrets (6 minutes): The Freddy makeup process gets the royal treatment in this feature.
Visual Effects Featurettes (25 minutes): Here we get 12 Visual Effects Featurettes that we can either watch individually or all at once. This feature had visual effects supervisors Ariel Velasco Shaw and Kevin Elam come in to talk about the many visual effects found in the film from the CGI shots, the green screen effects, to the blood and guts. Although I enjoyed this feature and appreciated its weighty insight into the world of special effects, it did feel a tad too long. I said a tad, so don't go call your lawyers just yet.
We also get a Galleries section where a slew of Storyboards and Production stills are at hand for our viewing pleasure and a 2-part transcript of the badass Fangoria Article: Freddy & Jason go to development hell which chronicled the film's long and arduous trek to the screen.
PUBLICITY AND PROMOTIONAL
Pre-Fight Press Conference (4 minutes): This feature covers the cute promo event that took place in Vegas where Jason (Ken) and Freddy (Bobby) came up on stage in front of a crowd to go through a mock pre-fight boxing press conference. Robert Englund really ran with it, having an obvious hoot with it all. A silly-willie yet very entertaining watch.
My Summer Vacation- My Visit to Camp Hack 'n Slash (4 minutes): This feature chronicled the time that some fans spent at a Camp that was put together to push the film. So we see fans drink beer, draw pictures of Fred and Jase, play sports, participate in eating contests and do arts and crafts (mmm...ok). If it wouldn't be for the wet T-Shirt contest and the screening of the film, I would've said this weekend looked pretty lame-ass to me, but then again, I wasn't there so what the fuck do I know. An interesting feature in a "Animal Discovery Channel" type of way.
We also get the Original Theatrical Trailer, various TV spots (8 of them), a Music Video for the song "How Can I Live?" by Ill Nino (good tune), DVD ROM/Online Features and Trailers for "The Butterfly Effect" (the flick looks freaking good!), the TCM remake, Jason Goes To Hell and Freddy's Dead.
Minor peeves aside, this was an overall very satisfying 2-disc set. Being that I loved the film to fanboy death, I got a lot out of it. The EXTRAS were substantial and insightful while the audio/video were top notch. What else could you want? "Freddy vs Jason" fans should murder their loved ones to acquire this baby! Yeah, you heard me. MURDER I SAY! MURDER!!!!!!!!!!!
When I was a kid, I went to see "Friday the 13th: Part 6" and "Nightmare on Elm Street 4" on the big screen. I remember how excited and giggly I felt sitting there, watching those films. "Freddy Vs Jason" brought back the nostalgia and that fuzzy feeling in the pit of my stomach. It wonâ€™t win awards in the Best Acting and Screenplay departments, but I could easily let that go. Letâ€™s face it, what I cared about was seeing my two favorite baddies do some mucho damage amidst a trippy, exciting, trashy and gory flick and thatâ€™s exactly what I got! "Freddy Vs Jason" owned!
Brad Renfro was initially cast as Will, but bailed out (or was kicked off the set-- the man loves his booze).
Canadian stuntman Ken Kirzinger played a New York cook in "Friday the 13th: Part 8- Jason Takes Manhattan" and donned the hockey mask there too in doubling for Kane a few times.
This film was shot in Vancouver BC for a budget of 25 Million clams.
Was I the only one bummed that we didnâ€™t get any cameos? Appearances by either John Saxon or Thom Matthews wouldâ€™ve made my day.
Read my FRIDAY THE 13TH reviews here: Friday the 13th, Friday the 13: Part 2, Friday the 13: Part 3, Friday the 13: Part 4, Friday the 13: Part 5, Friday the 13: Part 6, Friday the 13: Part 7, Friday the 13: Part 8, Jason Goes to Hell, Jason X.
Read my NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET reviews here: Nightmare on Elm Street, A, Nightmare on Elm Street 2, Nightmare on Elm Street 3, Nightmare on Elm Street 4, Nightmare on Elm Street 5, Nightmare on Elm Street 6, Nightmare on Elm Street 7.