Saturday, March 27, 2010

Blockbuster Trash: End Game (2010)

A title says a lot about a movie.  For example, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension tells me that I'm getting a weird-ass movie.  Likewise, Blood Sucking Freaks tells me that I'm getting a very bad date movie (well, unless it's with a Suicide Girl).  That brings me to today's film: End Game.  What does that title tell you?  It tells me that I'm getting something very generic.  Case in point: when I saw this on the shelf in a video store, it was next to a second film called Endgame.  Two films are in New Releases with the same title- bad sign.  This film is the acting debut of pro-wrestler-turned-walking-thumb Kurt Angle.  He left the WWE for a lighter schedule, tougher competition and chances like this.  In hindsight, you were a dumb schmuck, Kurt.  This is...
The film begins with Kurt Angle in a seedy hotel room with a prostitute.  Way to shed the image quickly, Kurt!  He actually talks dirty with her (ew!) and has sex with her after he handcuffs her.  Incidentally, this film never shows anything, despite it casting a reality star as a stripper.  I'm just telling you that now, folks.  Anyhow, he kills her and we segue to the police investigating the crime.  Since this is very low-budget, the police consist of one uniformed officers and two detectives (one of whom is our hero).  They talk about how they don't know anything about the crime (he left no evidence in her, apparently), but they do know that she has a sister.  Said sister (Survivor's Jenna Morasca) is being interviewed by a fat-looking detective that is definitely not Kurt Angle's character in disguise.  You know how I know?  Because he has his hat down!  He hits on her and then leaves, which is just before the police show up.  She tells them about the mysterious man and they immediately assume that it was the killer.  Good disguise, Kurt!
The film from this point on meanders a bit with our heroes, villains and ancillary characters just doing stuff.  Kurt goes in disguise to the sister's funeral, but nearly gets nabbed by the lead detective within about a minute.  You're about as much of a master of disguise as Dana Carvey was!  Since his wig and glasses did not work, our villain decides to do a bunch of crap without a disguise on.  We see him in his daily life as Brad Mayfield where he goes home with an office worker (leaving an obvious trail to himself) and kills her the next day.  Of course, this is after they have sex (off-screen) and he does a little monologue in front of some stage lighting.  He pretends to be some other guy while dressed as...himself *sigh* and meets up with the stripper sister.  Things go well and she fails to notice that he uses the same, odd pick-up line here that he did before.  What's the point of repeated dialogue like that if only I get it?  I'm not in the movie!  Around this time, we get a bunch of drama with the lead detective, including some marital strife and an off-screen affair with the stripper.  Wait, we haven't had the killer taunt the detective yet?  Ah, there we go.
Despite everything that's happened recently (including a sub-plot that I'm glossing over), our heroine falls for the bald, serial-killer who owns- you guessed it- a houseboat.  Things go well until she finds pictures he took of the victims and goes to flee.  Unfortunately, Kurt is there to pimp slap her while wearing a t-shirt for a TNA PPV that he was on.  Fourth Wall anyone?!?  In addition, we get a scene where a SWAT Team busts into Mayfield's house- since he was the one last scene with a missing person.  He eludes capture by punching out one armed SWAT guy with a single hit.  Before the finale, we get a long and pointless sub-plot involving the detective learning about Mayfield's past.  Thanks, filler!  Our killer makes his big move against the detective by...dressing up as a clown, punching out his wife and kidnapping his 'special needs' child.  The man finds out what happens and tracks down Mayfield's boat.  We get a silly day-for-night transition with him before he gets to the boat.  He unties the stripper, but gets held-up by Mayfield.  In our anti-climax, however, the stripper just shoots Mayfield once.  Just to add some silliness, the cop decides to retire and hands the houseboat over to her.  Um, she doesn't own that!
Yeah, this movie is pretty bad.  It looks and feels very low-budget and doesn't really offer all that much bang for your buck.  In a lot of ways, it's an updated version of Don't Answer the Phone, in that it follows the killer as he commits his crimes and you know the whole time.  Of course, that movie's not all that good, so you could have aimed higher, guys.  As far as the acting goes, Jenna gets one or two good scenes of emoting, but they come off as 'soap opera' more than 'good acting.'  The cop is pretty listless and offers about as much to the role as Asia Argento did in The Stendhaal Syndrome.  Angle, to his credit, is pretty good.  Mind you, I mean that he plays an intense killer with a sadistic streak well.  In fairness, anyone who knows anything about Angle knows that he is pretty damn intense in real life.  This is the man who complained about being pulled from a televised match because he had tore his groin muscle the day before!  One fun and awkward note for you: Jenna was working for TNA too, but got fired/left before this film came out.  Do yourself a favor and stick to real crime dramas.  This is only worth it for Angle and that's not enough.
Up next, I begin my four-part look at the Wishmaster series.  First up, the original film that stars nearly every horror heavy minor roles.  Stay tuned...

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