Friday, July 16, 2010

Moon Over Miami: The Occultist

Today's Film is The Occultist and it is a learning experience.  Lesson #1 in The Guide of How To Piss Off a Viewer: promise what you have no intent to deliver on.  While I can't necessarily decide who to blame here, the description on Netflix is woefully-inaccurate in regards to the actual film's content.  Did Netflix write this up themselves, realizing that they would have no way to sell this stinker or did they just use what was given?  I don't know, but it doesn't help matters.  I will say this: the poster is pretty much a blatant lie too and I know that Full Moon made that shit!  The film claims to be about a city whose leaders are targeted by naked voodoo-practicing witches, so, to protect themselves, they hire a cyborg bodyguard.  You think that I would be complaining if any of that were true?!?  Seriously though, this is probably the most dull film you could have ever made with this premise- bar none!  Everything about it is dry and uneventful, from the acting to the production values and especially the effects.  In order to compensate, they throw in a few really weird moments that come out of nowhere and never get addressed.  Yes, they made a boring movie and threw in a few 'Big-Lipped Alligator Moments' to distract you from that fact.  Even by Full Moon standards, this is bad.  To get the full-story, you'll have to read on.  Get out your best Hawaiian shirts for my review of...
The film begins with about three minutes of people dancing around and pretending to practice voodoo in a factory.  The 'naked witches' aspect comes in when one of them has PG-13 sex with a guy for no reason.  Thanks- that was necessary.  In some awkward editing, a trio of 'blue-bloods' 'watch' the proceedings, despite appearing to be on the opposite side of the bay from them!  A woman talks to a man she calls The Mayor about the problem with the voodoo worshipers, but he just kills her.  After they off a sacrifice- in this case, a white preppy, guy- the scene ends abruptly.  After the opening credits, we meet our hero- a scrawny guy who apparently runs a security company.  He has a Patrick MacNee wannabe for a mentor and doesn't exactly come off as a professional.  I guess this is meant to be funny, but I'm not really laughing.  What is with Full Moon and failure at comedy anyhow?  In a fairly-unrelated scene, we see a tough-looking guy in a tracksuit fend off a man attempting to attack a woman in a park.  Thanks- that added nothing too.  As it turns out, this guy is the real hero of the picture, but he won't really matter for another twenty minutes or so.  In order to turn his newly-inherited company around and put them in 'the red,' the man takes a job in the island with the voodoo problem.  This should be interesting...but it won't be.
In order to fulfill the mission, our hero must recruit the guy from the earlier scene.  He's an enigmatic gun-for-hire known as 'The Gunman,' which is odd when you can clearly see that he carries no guns with him.  Don't worry, it will make a little sense later.  The guy hangs around a biker bar in an Hawaiian shirt, which is totally inconspicuous.  A random action scene occurs in an alleyway before a woman puts a weird device on another woman's back, which causes her to explode.  See what I meant earlier about the sudden, weird bits?  This apparently convinces him to work with our hero, leading the security at a banquet held by the Mayor and his family.  We are treated to some awkward comedy bits from the secretary character- how utterly pointless.  After some more banter and back-and-forth between the leaders and our heroes, some action finally occurs.  When The Gunman returns from ignoring the security detail, a group of terrorists appear at the top of the floor and start firing.  Good job on the security, by the way- the Mayor is dead now.  We get a red herring in the form of the daughter's supposed-resistance movement, but it could not be more obvious if they wrote 'we are a distraction' on their foreheads!  Things get more tense, however, when we learn that the Mayor's wife used to do voodoo.  She did it so well though!
After over forty minutes of nothing but banal occurrences taking place, this movie is picking up...slightly.  We learn why The Gunman got his name- he can shoot bullets from his hand.  Yes, he does make the 'gun' shape with it when he fires.  In a dramatic twist, we learn that the General was evil all along and that the Mayor was not really dead.  This, however, proves to be pointless as the General just kills him in the next scene.  Sigh.  Spot the fun continuity jump when the wife goes from having frizzy to wet hair in one camera cut- brilliant.  The Gunman proves to have more than just the ability to make finger bangs, however, as all of his appendages prove to be fully-armed.  Yes, even his dick.  The scene where they have it occur is completely-ridiculous, utterly-random and is not ever addressed again.  You can't just skip past that kind of thing, guys!  We've got about 30 more plot twists to go though, including the lead voodoo priestess being the wife's mother and also being evil.  It was all a convoluted scheme involving the Mayor, the 'blue-blood' guys and the voodoo gang- although both of latter betray the former.  We get a final showdown between the General and The Gunman, which attempts to redeem this whole affair by having him shoot the bad guy up through some stairs- from the taint up through the skull!  It's too little, too late, however, as the film fizzles to a clumsy climax.
How can a movie that sounds this awesomely-bad be just...well, bad?!?  The premise sounds hilarious on paper, but falls immensely flat on its face.  The only thing flatter than this movie is Kiera Knightley!  Let's breakdown just how much of the plot comes true.  Are there naked voodoo-practicing witches?  No, yes and no.  One of them is put in silhouette- as I mentioned- but there's nothing salacious here.  Mind you, nudity is not always a cure for a shitty movie- often it can be the cause- but an attempt at anything here would have been appreciated!  Do they hire a cyborg to protect them?  Well, kind of.  The fact that he can fire bullets out of his dick certainly makes him a cyborg of some kind.  The problem is that we never see any actual proof of his transformation.  Would it have been too much to show him get wounded and have sparks come out?  Hell, the cliche of having him show back-first to the camera as he puts his shirt on would have been something.  As it is, it's a case of 'just trust us- you're not missing anything interesting.'  You know what I'm missing?  Quality of writing, good production values, good acting, good action, interesting characters and a plot synopsis that is not a giant lie.  Seriously, you can't just have two silly scenes occur in a dull movie and have me go 'My God, I was wrong the whole time!!!'  You've failed again, Full Moon.  I hope your film about puppets battling Naziis will be better.
Up next, Blockbuster Trash brings you another direct-to-video sequel.  This one is a 'sequel' to a Kevin Bacon film that actually rips off The Dead Zone and The Sixth Sense.  Stay tuned...

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