Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Forgotten Sequels: Heavy Metal 2000

What's old is new again, eh?  Well, more accurately, what's old is new...ten years ago.  In 1981, a movie got famous for focusing on three things: bullets, bombs and boobs.  Wow, it's the movie that Andy Sideris never made!  Whoever gets that joke...really needs to get out more.  The movie was Heavy Metal, an overrated (sorry, but it is) anthology film that centers around a magical orb.  Aside from featuring John Candy doing 600 voices, the movie got popular with teenagers by letting them see bodies get into pieces and boobs all over the place.  In the year 2000, the people behind the original- including Kevin Eastman, creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles- got together to update the story.  What's changed in ten-odd years?  The movie is no longer an anthology, but, instead is a straight-forward story involving a man possessed by the orb.  Okay, that's a little weird.  They do get some interesting people on board to do voices including Julie Strain, Billy Idol and Michael Ironside.  Okay, that's a little better.  Will this movie be the second coming of BBB or will it remain as obscure?  Get out your FAKK2 (whatever the hell that is) for my review of...

Our story begins with a group of miners on a spaceship digging into some rocks.  Apparently, this is a more low-key form of mining where you get rocks taken to you inside of your ship and work on them there.  One of the miners uncovers the magical orb and gets possessed.  The effect of this possession is that his hair grows out and he seems to turn into Henry Rollins.  He kills his partner with his giant pick and takes over the ship.  How many people are on this ship again?  He takes them out into deep space after blowing up the rest of the rock and causing the credits to appear.  On a nice planet, a brunette is wandering around while another woman is taking a shower.  Yeah, between that and the man getting killed with the drill, the tone of the movie is set.  The woman in the shower is the other woman's sister and a schoolteacher.  Nice of you to give us the porn-style introduction and then make her have that job, movie!  All is nice on Eden (subtle) until our villain and his crew of about three people show up.  We get a lot of CG ships flying around and shooting holes in the citizens of the planet.  They blow up the school building in which our heroine's sister is in...but she survives.  Yeah, more on that later.  A big showdown occurs as our heroine's father in his spaceship, some alien guy.  He dies and our heroine is pissed.

The villains get upset when they don't exactly find what they're looking for.  However, when our porno-school teacher emerges from the rubble, they capture her.  The secondary henchman tries to protect her and gets left behind, but only after the villain shoots 'FAKK2' into the wall.  Anyone care to explain that to me?  Our heroine finally arrives and, naturally, beats up the henchman.  After some bantering and arguing, they fly off after the villain and track him to a big space port.  An excuse to show random, weird aliens and boobs- why not?  After a random aside with a robot sex doll (don't ask), our heroine unloads a ton of bullets into the villain.  Unfortunately for her, he's got an immortality potion.  There's kind of a flaw in having a potion that restores your life if you have to die to use it, right?  Following a big explosion, our villains flee.  Our heroes manage to latch onto their ship before they make a 'jump.'  This drives our villain to send his ships out...which causes them to get pulled into the portal and explode.  This works so well that he does it twice.  Eventually, both ships crash on an abandoned planet.  Don't worry- nobody important dies.  The villain makes his way to a group of lizard-men and promptly challenges them all to a fight.  Yeah, he's a little crazy at this point.

Plot-wise, this movie really picks up by the half-way point- um, yea?  Our heroine- now just FAKK2- meets up with a Yoda-stand in named Thor (Billy Idol) and his rock man friend.  He refuses to let her kill the villain since the 'big picture is more important.'  She still tries, mind you, but they just keep interrupting.  They wander out to the middle of nowhere to find a temple that houses some magical fluid.  Oh, I hope it's Liquid Satan!  Now controlling the Lizard Men, our villain sends his army in Two Towers-style.  The defenders of the fluid (catchy) hold them back for a bit, but start to get overwhelmed.  Even our heroine's seat belt-style outfit fails to turn the tide!  Eventually, they manage to beat down and kill Ironside's madman in gruesome fashion.  This sets up...RANDOM HEEL TURN by Thor, revealing that this was all a plot to get him to the fluid.  Oh yeah, he also turns into a really-obvious CG creation too.  His sudden and unexplained turn fails as the fluid is sent away with the rock guy and he is locked up.  See you in nine years!  The End.

This kind of a hot mess.  The plot is interesting, but really drags for a bit when it can't seem to go anywhere.  It keeps hitting the same notes and plot holes appear frequently.  Why does the villain not recognize our heroine when she tries to seduce him, despite him seeing her shoot him about two days earlier?  Why does this evil force only manifest itself in a weird potion obtained by draining people with some sort of radiation in their blood?  Oh yeah, the random villain reveal at the end is pointless and stupid.  Seriously, you thought that was clever, didn't you?!?  The voice acting and CG effects make this film much better than it has any right to be.  I like the mixing of old and new a point.  The fully-CG space battles clash a bit with the very dated-looking pen and paper art.  You could have animated it in full-CG and made it look hand-drawn, you know.  Look at Viewtiful Joe!  This movie could have been really great, but proves to be fun for a moment...but ultimately forgettable.  Old-school fans will either love or hate the changes.  As for me, I'm not a bigger fan of the series than I was before.  Sorry, I just don't care about it that much.  Still, you could do much worse with direct-to-video animation.

Up next, I take a look at a film so weird that I can barely even describe it.  Angus MacFayden, a sanitarium and Hitler- oh my!  Stay tuned...


  1. I liked the original "Heavy Metal", but I agree it is overrated. The biggest problem for me with it was that there's no consistency of quality between the segments. Of course, that is true of the magazine itself. As for "Heavy Metal 2000", I couldn't get into it. The design and animation wasn't all the interesting, and overall it was just boring. They really should have just used two or three stories from the magazine so nothing would wear out its welcome.

  2. I only wish I would have seen these films when I was a teenager and they would have been serious drooling material. As they stand, Ive just never been impressed. Prefer to rewatch Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. Boobs.