Thursday, September 9, 2010

'80s Trash: Cardiac Arrest

I rent a lot of movies based solely on the cover art and the marketing.  That's definitely the case today.  The more I think about, the more I question the logic of that decision-making process.  This is a film whose DVD art shows a doctor holding a human heart towards the viewer.  Great!  Too bad nothing like that ever happens in the movie in the slightest.  This is actually a VHS transfer of a TV print of the film.  How do I know?  Well, for starters, the quality is bad at times or interlaced at its worst.  Secondly, this print censors out the word 'shit' and 'god damn.'  I've seen movies where plot points revolve someone raping someone, only to find out that they have AIDS and now he does too.  Hell, you can rent Caligula practically-uncut on DVD right now or watch Cannibal Holocaust with all of the death, rape and animal murder intact.  Oh yeah, the DVD also doesn't have Menus.  Yeah, it's one of those discs.  The film tells the tale of a serial killer taking human hearts from his victims.  The narrative is split between the cops investigating the crime, a couple seeking a transplant and whatever else they feel like focusing.  If you like no murder and forced comedy in your story of murder, this is your film.  Get out your curare dart for my review of...
The film begins with someone watching the news coverage of the third 'Open Heart Murder' investigation.  A disturbed cop says 'no comment' as the titles roll.  Up in a hotel room, a pair of cops check out the barely-bloody body.  I've seen more blood in children's cartoons than at this murder scene where a person's heart was cut out of their chest!  Anyways, the cop from earlier is our hero and, naturally, he sneaks into his own crime scene in a bit of non-suspenseful suspense.  We learn that he's a 'quirky' cop, which means forced laughter and amusement for all!  Seriously, he's not bad, but he's clearly in the wrong movie.  He's partnered with a nerdier version of Dirty Harry's partner from The Dead Pool.  For those of you who actually saw that film, enjoy a good laugh.  The police begin to look into an old lady who lives nearby, setting up some suspense that the movie is sure to kill.  Sure enough, the suspense over who is in the closet turns out to be nothing.  It all leads up to them finding a luggage and, during a montage, we learn who is the owner of it.  The police surround the police and it all turns out for naught.  You see, the guy was just having an affair, ended up in the room with the dead body and fled.  *Sigh.*
After that embarrassment, we're left with following the lead detective.  He goes on a trip to the museum to follow up on a cult lead, only to realize how dumb that is.  Next, he takes the dart from an exhibit to see if the poison is still potent.  Hello, Checkov's Gun!  He starts hanging around a hospital, listening in a conversation that in no way relates to him.  Afterwards, he asks one of the men about the conversation he just overheard.  Do you get that these facts are important, audience?  Do you?  Do you?!?!  Anyhow, I should mention the B-Plot involving a young woman seeking a heart transplant.  She's told that the process of getting a donor could take weeks, a feat not helped by the rash of heart thefts.  Actually, how does that really affect it all that much?  Only three killings- and thus, three hearts- have occurred in San Francisco, a city with a very large population.  How much impact do three of these murders really have?  The pair get a mysterious phone call explaining that the spiel they got about donor matching was all a lie and there's really just a list.  Yeah, they're actually both true.  Why would they go with this plot point?  Did they not have Organ Transplant Lists in 1980?  The couple aren't sure whether to pay for the organ, while our hero continues to...well, do stuff.
The biggest problem in the film is this: comedy.  Yes, they inject comedy in this tale of murder and organ theft.  I know that I said that before, but it bears repeating!  We get to see our hero get his car towed, only to learn that it's by his girlfriend because he missed their date.  He uses this as an excuse to get the police department to fix his car, setting up a plot point that serves, well, no point.  We get a hospital break-in which leads to nothing (except a dead guard) and a bit where a junkie gets interrogated for stealing a script from a trashcan.  We learn that the 'red herring' guy is actually an undercover cop, a thread that makes no sense and has no place here- hurray!  Eventually, we learn the truth: a pair of ambulance drivers kill people, sell the organs for transplant and switch the body with another one.  The latter part just serves to get them found out- dumb asses!  I don't get the point of all this subterfuge when you're known as serial killers that steal hearts.  After the movie says that it will be hard to catch them, they're instantly being chased by the cops.  Did you skip a scene?  The guy who puts up a fight is the assistant, who's played by Fred Ward in a nothing role.  It makes me yearn for Naked Gun 33 and 1/3.  The cop loses his gun, but still has the curare dart and stabs Ward.  Hurray- it's The End.
This movie is...bizarre and terrible.  What was the point here and how did they get 6,000 miles off-course?  Why make a film about something like murders that involve the theft of human organs and then make it a sometimes-comedy?  Furthermore, I can excuse you not showing the murders, but why set the story after nearly all of them have already occurred?  You could have shown the first movie with a P.O.V. shot or something!  Hell, shows like Murder, She Wrote could do that.  No, you have to be so lame and have your only on-screen death amount to nothing.  Did they just take a Ruggero Deodato script and hire John Landis' mentally-handicapped brother to direct it?  This whole thing feels like stupid, made-for-TV movie that was disguised as a real one.  Oh right, I already reviewed one of those this week!  Unless you're a sucker for movies like this (how many are there?), you can just skip this one.  It's another example of early '80s cinema letting me down.  This could have been, at least, competent, but it's just bad.  Seriously, what the hell?!?
Up next, a Japanese weirdo comes to the site.  It involves rapists, an elevator and a baby cart full of groceries.  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. Comedy and organ theft have always gone hand in hand, just like cheese and donuts!