Friday, March 16, 2012

Danny Trejo Week: Slayer (2006)

Almost a good movie, Trejo.  This movie comes to us courtesy of Starz, which is why it's streaming on Netflix.  Any chance I get to not waste a rental on crap is good.  To be fair, this movie does have some good moments in it.  If it was in the hands of a better Director and had a Script Doctor or two, it might be real good.  The problem is that it has one man as the Writer, Producer, Director and Editor.  There is a reason why you hire other people to work on your movie, you know.  When you do the actual Direction and Editing, there's no secondary voice to check things that you may have missed or to suggest changes that might be needed.  There are some good 'triple-threat' talents out there, but there are also a lot of Ed Woods too.  The film is a B-Movie extravaganza, featuring regulars like Trejo, Casper Van Dien and people who used be famous like Lynda Carter.  I love you, Lynda, but it's true.  This movie is full of vampires and soldiers, so get used to shooting and retcons about vampire rules.  Do they handle it better than other films?  To find out, read on...
In the 'cold open,' a bunch of soldiers wander around in the Jungle and get attacked by Vampires.  No rhyme or reason to it.
After that, Lynda sends the soldiers back to find her daughter.  Oh and to kill the Vampires that are murdering the locals.  More the first part though.
The Vampires attack in broad daylight and aren't affected by crosses.  The explanation from one Vampire is that mythology was just made up to make people do things like stay home at night.  Fair enough.

However, a Bartender says that they aren't affected by crosses because 'they don't know religion.'  Not so good.  Oh yeah, that's Darth Maul BTW.
The Vampire group's seeming-Leader captures the black best friend and converts him...but only after he does an exposition dump and dies.  That's a well-written character, huh?  'Here's a bunch of information...and, well, it's my time to die.'
The Vampires attack our soldier friends in one of the film's three plots.  Yeah, they can't focus on anything for more than two minutes.  Can you imagine what that's...ooh, a squirrel!!!
...Ahem.  It's Danny Trejo Week, right?  Well, he drives a boat.  He does have a bunch of lines, but then he just disappears at about the one hour mark.  He's not killed- he just stops appearing.  Weird.
With a bunch of super-strong Vampires- including Russian twins of Ray Park- can our rapidly-dwindling number of heroes survive?
I'll up the ante some more.  That guy who was the Warden in Half Past Dead 1 & 2 is their true Leader and the only one who can turn into a mutant.  Can they win?

Of course.  Dumbass.  The End.
Eh, I've seen worse.  Honestly, there are some good points to this movie.  Given the crap that I watch on a daily basis, that's a big deal.  The action is good and there's plenty of it.  They ignore certain Vampire rules, but at least explain them away better than 'that shit only happens in books.'  I'll grant you that.  It does make some rookie mistakes though.  It has characters that give Exposition Dumps and then almost immediately die.  Aside from the formerly-Lead Vampire, there's also that Bartender.  It's kind of like the first half of The Bleeding, in which characters would lead our hero somewhere and then be killed by Vampires.  It's also a bit like the Vidocq movie, where 99% of the characters would die after giving their plot information.  The action, while good, feels like filler at times.  It's just the movie not sure what to let's have people do spin-kicks.  Kudos for getting someone like Ray Park for that, I suppose.  Speaking of Park, what's the point of having him play twins?  Other than a slightly-amusing joke at the End, it mostly serves to have the film do bad Green Screen effects to make them appear together.  You set yourself up for bad effects when you didn't have to?  Golden!  In spite of that negative last note, this is a decent, low-budget action film.  If you've seen a few of those, you'll know just how rare those really are.
Next up, my belated review for St. Patrick's Day.  On the plus side, you'll wake up with a hangover in the morning and ready to read about a sub-par Lance Henriksen movie.  Stay tuned...

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