Monday, October 18, 2010

Series Killers: Friday the 13th- Jason Takes Manhattan

What is there left to prove?  Friday the 13th had seven films by this point, managing to work in one unrelated sequel- Part V.  What did they do with those films?  The first one did the set-up work, while Part II and III made the series work for so many.  They arguably had a good finale to the series with Part IV, ending with Jason dead once and for all.  After that, they pissed off their audience and, to make up for it, brought Jason back for Part VI.  Finally, he did battle with a psychic girl- just go with it, people- in Part VII, setting up this film.  In order to reinvigorate the series, they made a film where Jason wreaks havoc in New York City.  The budget got cut, however, and only the last thirty minutes actually takes place there.  Swing and miss, guys!  I should also mention something that not enough people do- the film's subtitle is a pun based on The Muppets Take Manhattan.  Really?  Really?!?  This movie didn't exactly light up the world with it's smile, so I'm sure that it will be great.  Get out your toxic waste jar for my review of...
The film begins with some brief recapping of the previous event.s  I'm sure a lot of people jump on board a series for eighth film, guys!  The set-up work is done by a teen on a house boat trying to get laid.  As the man drops anchor, however, the object touches a 50,000 volt power line running along the bottom of Crystal Lake, setting up the return of Jason.  Yes, by all means attempt to 'out-silly' the lightning revival from Part VI! He swims up to the boat while the movie gives us a fake-out scare in the form of the guy putting on a Jason mask.  Mind you, he interrupts his own attempt at getting laid to do so.  Jason kills him and takes the mask, proving that this movie is officially jump it's own shark.  You want me to hate you, don't you?!?  In addition to that, they have the girl beg for mercy before dying.  Real classy, guys.  As it turns out, the couple was floating near the boat trip for a class of graduating Seniors.  When they disappear and the boat is clearly floating mere feet away, the group goes anyways.  We are treated to some family drama in the form of a divorced couple.  The father appears to be a low-rent F. Murray Abraham, although I'm too indifferent to actually look up who he is.  Jason climbs on the boat as it pulls away.  Nobody notices the three-hundred pound giant who smells like sea weed, huh?
On the boat, we meet a slew of characters that only exist to die.  Take one guess what happens to them?  They include...
             * Slutty blond girl
             * Rocker girl
             * Nerd who looks like Crispin Glover from Part IV
             * Asian girl (who is actually a young Kelly Hu)
             * Generic jock guy
How do they die, you ask?  The deaths include...
             * Elevated choking (Hu)
             * Death by guitar bludgeoning (Rocker girl)
             * Beaten to death with cooling stones (Jock guy)
             * Decapitation via mirror shard (Slutty blond girl)
             * Electrocution (Nerd)
After all of that, the group manages to get the boat close to Manhattan and ride away in a boat.  Naturally, Jason follows, probably doing so by just slipping through one of the film's plot holes...
Once in the city, our heroes run afoul of some muggers, who decide to kidnap our Final Girl as a 'sex slave.'  Thank you, stereotypes.  Oddly, Jason actually saves her from the men, but only after they inject her with drugs.  Don't worry- it won't have any bearing on the plot.  While our heroes run away, the black guy- who hasn't died yet- challenges Jason to a boxing match, since he is a boxer.  After an extended scene of nothing, Jason punches the man's head off, conveniently sending it into the arms of the film's heroes.  They continue to flee, but Jason continues to follow them.  We get some random gags as well, including Jason looking at a hockey mask on a sign and a bit where he scares off a gang by flashing his unmasked face at them.  Why would he do that?  Why the hell not?!?  He chases our remaining heroes (the Final Girl and her boyfriend) into the sewers where they run into a worker.  Thanks for the jump scare, movie.  In spite of the two being led by a man who works there in a one-way tunnel, Jason appears ahead of them and kills the other person.  Logic- who the hell needs it?!?  The girl manages to throw some acid in Jason's face, causing it to get even uglier.  The pair eventually escape the sewers, thanks to Jason helping the girl one more time.  As the pair escape, I have to wonder how much continuity we will actually see...
This movie sucks, but you already know that.  I mean, this movie has become a punch-line for every cliche that the slasher film has used.  How does Jason always stay ahead of people?  How does a nearly 7 foot tall Kane Hodder sneak around a small boat?  How do people not smell him a mile away, given that his clothes have been soaking in Crystal Lake for at least a year?  So much of this movie is just an excuse to assemble a bunch of random kills.  It may sound like I'm being redundant saying this two film reviews in a row...but it's true.  After seven films, they ran out of good pretenses to string together the story.  Jason goes on the boat, it's there.  As it turns out, he has some sort of weird connection to our film's Final Girl due to her being taught to swim in Crystal Lake.  This does lead to some scenes that are eerily-reminiscent of some J-Horror moments that would come in the ensuing years.  Visions of a dead boy- check.  Jason appearing in a mirror for no reason- check.  Jason appearing through a port hole surrounded by purple smoke- big check! Keep an eye out for Jason tossing a man through a diner window in the Third Act.  That man- stunt-man Ken Kirzinger!  Other than that kind of trivia, the movie is extremely-predictable.  The series got one last 'hurrah' in theaters, but you know how that worked out.  After that, we got a film with Jason in space...with cyborgs.  That's a story for another day though.
Next up, I finally tackle the film sequel whose title is a punch-line in and of itself.  Will it bite hard or give me some awesome Reb Brown action?  Stay tuned...

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