Review Date: May 09, 2005
Director: Renny Harlin
Writer: Wayne Kramer, Kevin Brodbin
Producers: Cary Brokaw, Akiva Goldsman, Robert Newmyer
Christian Slater as J.D.
LL Cool J as Gabe
Jonny Lee Miller as Lucas
First of all, allow me to clear up two misconceptions about this film, one of which spawned from the studio’s decision to move its release date from 2003 to 2004 and now 2005 (usually a sure sign of a shit flick) and the other centering around its sell as a “thriller”. First of all, this is one of the only films in my own recollection that I can remember being pushed forward so much that actually didn’t suck once released. Secondly, this film can definitely be “sold” as a thriller, but if you ask me, it’s more of a straightforward “horror movie”, right down to its boo scares, its many fun kills, its dumbass character moves and its gore quotient. That’s right, if you’re looking for a quick, entertaining, brainless good time at theater (think DEEP BLUE SEA but without the sharks, the sea or the Punisher), buy yourself a big bag o’ popped corn, roll your arm around the chick next to you (and hope she doesn’t mind) and get ready to wince at every other cool-ass murder in this movie, each of which impressed me as the good-time movie asshole that I am. Sure, nobody’s going to win Oscars with their roles here, Renny Harlin doesn’t exactly shoot with subtlety in mind and LL Cool J’s shirt comes off faster than Britney Spears’ tops at photo spreads, but that’s what this movie is about: it’s fast, it’s playing for fun and it’s 100 minutes of effortless good times, complete with Christian Slater continuing his impressions of a young Jack Nicholson, a Latin chick looking like Sandra Bullock, Johnny Lee Miller doing his best to disguise his British accent with a bad Southern accent and plenty of throwaway side-kicks all ready to be killed via arrows, liquid nitrogen, neck chops, acid and lots of other creative slashes.
By the way, did you know that the Ladies Love Cool James? Don’t ask…I’m drunk. And if all that wasn’t enough, we also get Val Kilmer and his big head joining the pre-party festivities, just long enough for us to consider him a suspect (and to cash that paycheck), as much as everyone else in the gang. And even though the film’s final revelation is your typical “villain(s) giving a long-ass speech about where their nuttiness comes from”, I was guessing who the killer(s) might be the whole way through and that in itself, is good enough to recommend this film for a good time. Granted, once everything is revealed and you look back in order to put the pieces together, not a lot of it makes sense, but here’s a secret that helped me get over that little ditty: DON’T LOOK BACK! That’s right, enjoy the film for what it is, which is a dark, blazin’, thrilling, stylish kill-ride that doesn’t mind winking at a few other films, as well as dropping a few memorable scenes of its own into the “bunch of folks stuck in one place with a killer out to get them all” sub-genre, including a very cool underwater showdown, a damn cool toe-to-toe featuring Cool James’ tanktop kicking ass, as well as clean shot of Slater’s ass in a shower. That’s right, you won’t be able to get a good night’s sleep for weeks after that one! Brrrrrr… Basically, if you enjoyed films like DEEP BLUE SEA, FINAL DESTINATION and appreciate a well-paced whodunit (that is, until you find out who did actually “dunit” and don’t buy it!!), this flick is sure to provide you with all that bubbly entertainment and a bag o’ fun.