‘Assassin’s Creed’ (2016) – Making The Wrong Kind Of Killing

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Let’s be real: movies based on video games suck. A common explanation for these adaptations’ failure is a lack of similarity or respect to the source material. Assassin’s Creed takes the unorthodox route, and shows exactly how a movie chained to its video game predecessor would really fare.

Based on Ubisoft’s video game series of the same name, Assassin’s Creed follows death row inmate Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) when Abstergo Industries forces him to face his past. Now strapped to the Animus machine, Callum relives his ancestor’s life, (the assassin Aguilar) to find the key to free will itself – the Apple Of Eden. As Callum gets closer to the Apple, so do the rivaling forces of the Assassins and Templars, and he must decide which side of the eternal war he belongs to.

Having never played the Assassin’s Creed video games, I watched this movie with few expectations. But since I do enjoy playing video games and watching movies, Assassin’s Creed surprised me by doing what these entertainment mediums are not supposed to be: bore the fuck out of me.

Assassins On A Loop

On paper, Assassin’s Creed had everything going for it: A multi-million Dollar budget, an all-star cast, and Ubisoft’s involvement. But staying true to the subgenre of films based on video games, Assassin’s Creed squanders what it had and screwed it all up.

Despite having a strong cast, Assassin’s Creed wastes talented names such as Marion Cottiliard  (as Sofia) and Jeremy Irons (as Rikki) on a weak script that has more mysterious exposition than human dialogue. It seemed as if the actors didn’t know what to do with their brain-dead roles, so they just floated through their scenes in the hopes of earning that paycheck. Granted, Assassin’s Creed has to maintain a sense of intrigue, but it came to a point when 30 minutes of dialogue has passed but nothing still makes sense. Characters repeat vague threats and ramble about motivations as if to intimidate, but only confuse the hell out of Cal and the viewers, by extension.

In fact, the writing is so repetitive that the movie begins thrice, introducing Michael Fassbender’s character three different times in the opening minutes. Being the great actor he is, Fassbender gives it his all, but even his acting caliber couldn’t salvage a script that didn’t know what it wants to do with Callum. To say that the ex-con’s transformation from mindless pawn to captain of his fate is jarring would be too nice, since the change in mindset happens abruptly after Rikki gives him a stern scolding.

If Assassin’s Creed were to be judged on looks alone, it would win awards if even just for its costumed actors who look like they came right out of the game and history itself. But the issues with Assassin’s Creed go deeper than actors who didn’t know what to do, but with a movie that just didn’t know what the fuck it wanted to be.

Putting The Ass In “Assassin”

Assassin’s Creed deserves praise for looking great. The Assassin’s Creed games love period settings, and the movie does this aspect justice. The Spanish Inquisition is brought to life in its fanatical beauty, complete with dusty landscapes and the ashes of burning heretics.

At least that’s the case, when the movie actually showed the fucking time period.

Assassin’s Creed takes assassinations for granted and instead, favors focusing on redtape. Majority of Assassin’s Creed takes place in Abstergo Industries, where exposition takes center stage. This may have been necessary to build the setting, but when a movie was advertised to be action-oriented actually has more lectures than killing, it’s obvious that someone’s priorities got lost in the shuffle. Even worse, what little assassinating occurs is bland at best. The parkour is impressive, but the actual killings are as hard-hitting as a slap to the wrist.

This creates an identity crisis, since Assassin’s Creed couldn’t choose between being a grounded Science-Fiction movie, or a fictional period piece. Individually, both stories work. One features a different and appropriately modern take on time travel, while the other offers a more kinetic and mystical interpretation of history. Combining the two, on the other hand, muddles the story’s priorities and results in clashing, polarizing tones.

Worst of all, Assassin’s Creed meanders and stalls for time, resulting in too much padding and a whole lot of boredom. There may be many dialogue-driven scenes, but nothing really important or compelling is said by any of the cardboard cutouts walking around in hoodies. Plot points and personal motivations that were said earlier are repeated as if to drive in something important, when it’s really the movie’s way of slapping audiences silly to keep them awake for the ongoing drag that is the hunt for the Apple of Eden.

A Leap Into Mediocrity

With how low the bar is set, movies based on games can only go up. Assassin’s Creed was an ambitious gamble, and should be commended for giving its all and exerting the effort to give fans the movie that they deserve. Assassin’s Creed delivers by looking like the big-scale historical fiction, Science-Fiction espionage epic its games offer fans. But as a movie, Assassin’s Creed trips more than it kills.

Buried under flat acting, poor writing, some shoddy visual effects like smoke that obscured everything, fucking horrid pacing, and an overall forgettable experience is a creative idea that was muddled by too many flaws that dulled what should have been an excitingly murderous trip through time. Assassin’s Creed centers on a fight for human life itself, but the movie has no life of its own to speak of.

Assassin’s Creed may be a lifeless bore, but it’s comparatively better than most of its contemporaries. But given how majority of video game-based movies are either laughable messes or outright cinematic clusterfucks, that’s not saying much. Gamers and movie buffs alike deserve an adaptation that does justice to a popular game, and Assassin’s Creed may have accidentally assassinated any hope for this niche subgenre.


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‘La La Land’ (2016) Review – No Road But The Jazz Way

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It’s been a while since moviegoers saw a purely original, full-fledged musical hit the big screen, and last year’s critical darling La La Land set out to fill in the void.

La La Land follows the interconnecting lives of the aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) and the determined jazz musician Seb (Ryan Gosling) in their hard search for fame and fortune in the place where dreams come true: Hollywood. Though they have differing hopes and dreams, Mia and Seb cross paths and their lives are changed forever.

La La Land scored high critical acclaim from pretty much anyone who paid for the price of admission. Being the pretentious motherfucker that I am often accused of being, it goes without saying that I didn’t like it as much as everyone else, but that doesn’t make La La Land a terrible movie by my standards.  

Dance-Off From The Past

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La La Land was billed as a throwback to the musicals from the ’50s, and this claim was mostly true. In a time when blockbusters are dominated by orgies of computerized special effects, it was both surprising and refreshing to see well choreographed dance numbers done to the tune of uplifting original songs get the praise it deserves. A musical’s visuals may not be as demanding as a superhero movie’s, but it still requires an equal amount of energy and dedication to get them right – all of which La La Land executes perfectly.

Yet as catchy as the songs may be, La La Land’s efforts would’ve meant fuckall if not for its main characters. Credit should be given to both Stone and Gosling for delivering fine performances with what they were given, as they were able to elevate what could have been run-on-the-mill flat characters right out of any generic romance story into grounded, relatable people who you want to find their happy endings.

For movie buffs (aka nitpicky fucksticks with no lives such as myself), La La Land serves as a nostalgic treat that hearkens back to the naive days when movies didn’t acknowledge that people of color actually existed. La La Land is destined to become one of the most memorable modern musicals made, thanks to its heartfelt tributes to a bygone kind of cinema, but not much else.

Jazz Is Love, Jazz Is Life

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La La Land has a bad tendency to lecture its viewers about the importance of art and music instead of getting on with the story. In doing so, the musical aspect (i.e. the most important part) suffers because it’s forced to take the backseat in favor of lessons about how fucking sweet jazz music is. This describes the entire middle act of La La Land, since the musical literally grinds to a halt after the energetic opening act just so that the director can use mouthpieces and strawmen to debate about the importance of traditional, old-school jazz music in today’s modern time period.

Spoiler: Jazz always wins.

It could be argued that the second act of La La Land was meant to deconstruct the whimsical and idealistic nature of old-school musicals, and while this argument does hold water, it doesn’t excuse the movie’s decision to stop being creative and consistent, just to point out the obvious in a monotone voice. The bittersweet and realistic aspects of the Mia’s and Seb’s relationship could’ve been executed in their own musical numbers, but La La Land prefers to just narrate things as is while jazz music plays in the background. The leads do deliver the required emotional weight, but La La Land is the rare musical that would’ve benefited from more singing instead of otherwise.

Thankfully, La La Land gets its musical groove back just in time for one of the best musical finales ever filmed. But given how much of a blast the few musical numbers are, it’s a shame that La La Land prioritized the director’s masturbation to all things jazz over the fucking selling-point of a musical. Audiences know that director Damien Chazelle loves jazz because he never stops talking about the fucking thing.

When compared to the director’s previous musical effort (Whiplash), La La Land comes out as condescending since it spells out its messages of artistic integrity to audiences instead of letting the musical segments speak for themselves. Whiplash worked to near-perfection because of its subtle character study, not through a loud show of musical force – lessons that must have flew over La La Land’s head. Ironically for a musical and a musically inclined director, La La Land suffers from a lack of immersive musical numbers due to an abundance of  monologues.

Sing That Joyful Song

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La La Land hits all of the right notes when it comes to giving audiences what they paid for. It has memorable songs, a likable main cast and the filmmakers’ obvious passion for the project at hand. What it lacks, though, is both staying power and a sense of self-awareness, since La La Land is just a really well-made musical that breaks no new ground for the genre. Due in part to the trying and disheartening events of 2016, La La Land may have gotten a critical pass thanks to its bittersweet yet optimistic interpretation of the hardships of life.

Which is not a bad thing at all.

Without getting too fucking political because Lord knows I already went there, the next few years will be difficult for a lot of people, and movie magic can do its part in reminding people of why hope should not be lost. Yes, I am speaking from my personal experience of living in a glorified fascist-wannabe toilet of a country, so grant me this one fucking unfunny soapbox moment.

It’s far from perfect and somewhat overrated, but La La Land is a musical worth watching and it’s also a good reminder of the pursuit of genuine happiness. And most importantly, La La Land reminds viewers of people’s level best and why common human decency should be an everyday occurrence, not a rarity.


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Die Beautiful (2016) Review: Stereotypes With Depth

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The 2016 Metro Manila Film Fest (MMFF) is by far, the country’s most defiant form of cinematic counterculture seen in a while. Die Beautiful continues this trend, if not embodying it in its two hour long span.

Die Beautiful chronicles the life and struggles of Trisha Echevarria (Paolo Ballesteros): an aspiring beauty queen with the weight of the world on her shoulders. The movie shows Trisha go from her childhood to an untimely death, as those important to her recall the best of times they had with her during her wake.

The Filipino indie movie scene is primarily known for generally making only two kinds of films: Poverty exploitation cinema and Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender-Queer (LGBTQ) exploitation. Die Beautiful technically falls in the latter category, but it’s miles beyond its fucking pretentious ilk.

Beauty’s Pain

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While other lesser movies resign themselves and bend over for stereotypes because it was mandated by the film’s financiers and/or egoistic and aging “stars,” Die Beautiful relishes in Filipino LGBTQ cliches if only to fuck with them when no one’s looking.

The movie’s gay characters do everything demanded by the mainstream media (ex. say sassy quotes, engage in cat-fights, be a straight man’s mistress, talk with an exaggerated flamboyant accent, etc.), but these are done in a realistic light. These scenes occur in Die Beautiful not to pander to some lowbrow fuckhead, but to show how they would actually play out in real life – i.e. with certain consequences. The lack of whimsical background music or canned laughter meant to set the mood helps drive the realism home, making Die Beautiful’s brand of humor distinctly deadpan yet genuine.

Die Beautiful also has a good grasp of character development, where it uses a non-linear approach to show the life of Trisha and company. Though it may be a bit confusing at first, Die Beautiful’s non-traditional storytelling eventually grows on viewers and earns their trust, making the characters more than just annoying cliches with legs.

The worst thing about Die Beautiful from a technical standpoint is that the movie would not fucking end. By the time the third act rolled in, Die Beautiful dragged and repeated itself too often. As satisfying as the conclusion was, it would have benefited Die Beautiful (and the audience) if the unnecessary scenes such as cameos and certain flashback scenes were cut or, at the least, shortened.

Too Many Beauty Queens
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On the surface, Die Beautiful is just a more serious version of the stereotypical (and fucking noisy) Filipino Parlor Gay movie. Watching it reveals an unexpected layer of depth that discusses themes of sexual identity, existential matters such as death and one’s postmortem legacy. I am not kidding when I say that a movie where half of the scenes are beauty pageants sprinkled with occasional dick jokes is deeper than an indie movie where characters sulk about life while staring at a sunset for half a fucking hour.

By retelling familiar tropes and cliches associated to Filipino homosexual characters in a more realistic fashion, Die Beautiful makes its seemingly highbrow themes easily accessible. The way the script is written also helps, since characters don’t just stand on soapboxes, point fingers at those who think homosexuality is an affront to nature (Spoiler: IT’S NOT) and basically become sentient editorial cartoons with their heads rammed up their asses. Die Beautiful instead lets the cast’s actions speak for themselves, and it shows the joys and pains someone has to go through when they’re seen as a walking stereotype.

But Die Beautiful bit more than it could chew. Many interesting slices of Trisha’s colorful life are introduced throughout the film, but few are properly developed and concluded. Examples of these many underdeveloped events include: Trisha’s violently homophobic father, her disagreements with her own adopted daughter, and Trisha’s troubled love-life.

Dramatic occurrences, arcs and realizations about life’s limited chances for redemption are only brought up when Die Beautiful thinks it’s time for the audiences to cry like little bitches, instead of allowing these story yarns to fully develop and earn the desired emotional reactions. The end result is a rather crowded narrative that wants to say a lot but has little time to do so, losing many interesting individual points in the shuffle.

Beyond Beauty Pageants

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Die Beautiful originates from a country where stereotypes define the LGBTQ community. Contrary to what some may claim, the Philippines is a country where homosexuality is merely tolerated so long as the funny-looking gays stick to entertaining the masses and stop asking for pesky human rights. After years of seeing this bullshit courtesy of the brain-dead mainstream media and backwards religious doctrines, it’s about time someone called out the stupidity of generalizing an entire group of people for the sake of ratings and ego. Die Beautiful takes up the task of showing the human side of an aged stereotype, and it did its job well even if tripped a bit on its way to the finish line.

I’m a straight guy who may know gay people, but I know fuck-all about experiencing the struggles being gay in the hypocrital shithole we live in. It’s one thing to hear their stories, but it’s another to actually live them. The visual storytelling of Die Beautiful is a good way to get front seat access to the daily trials of gay Filipinos, and for that, Die Beautiful serves as a good eye-opener for those (like myself) who will never know the first-hand experience. While Die Beautiful does paint LGBTQ people in a victimized manner similar to any indie LGBTQ themed movie, it’s still better than most of its pretentious counterparts.

Die Beautiful may be overlong and unfocused, but it still fucks with expectations and standards. Given how entrenched some of the social bullshit Die Beautiful tackles is, seeing a mainstream movie demolish established mindsets while retaining a well-told story that never shoves its head up its asshole was an unexpected and satisfying surprise.

This is the kind of film-making we need, not more paid vacations and cinematic circle-jerking.

Recommended Viewing: Ang Pagdadalaga Ni Maximo Oliveros (2005), also known as The Blossoming Of Maximo Oliveros. 


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Seklusyon (2016) Review: Religiously Demonic Dark Horse

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Translation: “Seklusyon” means “Seclusion” in English

I’m going to get straight to the point: Most Filipino horror movies are shit. The genre has been in such a bad shape that it was up to a guy known for directing crime-thrillers to save the day, and for the most part, he pulled it off.

Set some time after World War 2, Seklusyon sees four young, aspiring priests in the midst of their silent retreat. As the retreat drags on, a mysterious supernatural presence makes the retreat house’s trapped occupants face their inner demons and confront a more sinister force. Coinciding with this is a lone priest’s investigations regarding a girl who claims to be a prophet of the Lord.

Given Seklusyon’s premise, one might expect another generic story where the immature forces of Heaven and Hell duke it out by fucking with random peoples’ lives instead of actually going at it. But since this movie is no pandering piece of shit, there’s a lot more going on in Seklusyon than what meets the eye.

Sacrilege Done Right

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Seklusyon doesn’t fit in with local horror movies. By that, I mean it’s actually good and disturbing as fuck – not another cliche-ridden clusterfuck.

A major problem with many local horror movies is that they are inherently NOT Filipino movies. This is because movies like the later Shake, Rattle And Roll entries lazily rip-off foreign horror movies, thus creating a pathetic, poorly translated and low-budgeted copy of the latest American horror trend.

Seklusyon on the other hand, is both well-made and insightful in the darkest ways possible. The movie shines an unforgiving light on the nation’s traditional Christian values and shows how questionable things like blind faith really are. From religious statues that cry tears of blood to morally shady priests, Seklusyon is a cinematic mockery of everything that defines Filipino Christianity.

It is through an ominous atmosphere, a masterful use of tension that adds dramatic weight to the blasphemous imagery, and a warped visual familiarity, that Seklusyon derives its disturbing motif from its native land. This makes Seklusyon’s frights all the more real and relatable for someone too familiar with the story’s setting. For lack of better words and as fucking corny as it may sound, Seklusyon is a true Filipino horror movie in every sense of the word.

A Lack Of Faithful Focus

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While Seklusyon excels in meeting its genre’s expectations, it falls short in story because it prioritized the artsy metaphors over the characters. Though the cast of Seklusyon deserve credit for being smarter than the average sentient slab of meat (i.e. The Victim) in any sub-standard horror movie, they still lack humanity. The characters of Seklusyon don’t have much to them outside of a backstory that can be summarized in a single sentence, and most of them exist to be spiritual cannon fodder.

Seklusyon also has a bad habit of skipping to the next set of nightmarish symbolism before delving more into any given character’s development, denying audiences of the chance to be truly invested in the plight of those onscreen. At most, the characterizations in Seklusyon are serviceable at best, so don’t bother trying to remember some hapless fucker’s name.

It doesn’t help when Seklusyon basically has two plots happening at the same time. On one end, the devout Miguel (Ronnie Alonte) tries to keep his faith and sanity intact as the seclusion goes from bad to demonic in the span of a single scene. Meanwhile, Father Ricardo (Neil Ryan Sese) investigates the circumstances surrounding the supposedly holy child Anghela (Rhed Bustamante) and the ramifications her miracles may imply.

Though both narrative arcs are worth following, it would have benefited Seklusyon if it focused on just one story line. By cutting scenes between Miguel and Fr. Ricardo, the tense atmosphere of Seklusyon tends to break when it awkwardly transitions from an exercise in isolation to the equivalent of a holy investigative documentary. Both of these narrative styles could have made a good horror movie, but simply combining the best of both worlds only resulted in needles clutter for Seklusyon. This was most evident when both arcs finally converged, only for one to be abruptly ended before rushing into the climactic, unsubtle tirade against the nationally dominant mindset.

Still, it’s a testament to Eric Matti’s talents as a director when he delivers the best Filipino horror movie seen in decades despite some minor bumps on the creepy road to a painful salvation.

The Monster Called Society

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As a dude who loves the ever-loving shit out of horror movies and film in general, I nearly gave up on Filipino cinema after learning how to dread the annual combination of shitty horror and the old MMFF’s slew of bullshit. Thankfully, movies like Heneral Luna (2015) and Seklusyon restored my faith in the local industry, and they’re a good reminder of the power of film in the local sense of things.

I live in a country where half the populace would literally vote a statue of Jesus Christ for president if the opportunity presented itself, making Seklusyon a much needed bitch slap to the face for those who blindly worship whichever charismatic motherfucker gets up on their gold-plated pedestal of false hopes. Seklusyon may be one-sided in its anger against the hypocritical powers that be, but it’s an unapologetic reminder of the dangerous faults of Filipino idolatry – religious and otherwise. Seklusyon shows that it’s not demons or supernatural entities that people should fear, but rather, the undeniable influence and reach of fanaticism.

This film represents more than the fact that Filipino filmmakers can actually make good films when given the chance: It also serves as a dark reflection of Filipino culture, with the nation’s well-known and infamous drug-like dependency on Christianity only serving as a highly critical starting point.

Seklusyon may not be perfection incarnate, but it’s the closest thing to it. That, and Seklusyon is a collection of everything that makes horror movies great: a compelling story, unsettling imagery, an unrelenting setting, bleak social subtexts, and a shit-ton of dead babies.


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Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank 2: #ForeverIsNotEnough (2016) Review – A Satirical Deja Vu

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Translation: “Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank” means “The Woman In The Septic Tank” in English.

One of the biggest criticisms of the movie industry is its constant need to make a sequel for EVERYTHING. Ironically, a movie that’s hellbent on giving the middle finger to this addiction to sequels is in itself, a needless sequel.

Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank 2: #ForeverIsNotEnough is the sequel to Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank (2011). Now a critically acclaimed director, Rainier (Kean Ciprano) and his trusted line producer Jocelyn (Cai Cortez) try to convince the popular actress Eugene Domingo (as herself) to star in their upcoming film, The Itinerary.  A satirical, ideological battle between artistic filmmaking and filmmaking for the masses then ensues.

Given how the mainstream Filipino scene is responsible for churning out 10 god-awful Enteng Kabisote movies, it is more than deserving of a satirical anal rampage than indie cinema. #ForeverIsNotEnough is thankfully, that much needed and timely “Fuck You” despite some major mishaps.

Return Of The Satire: The Comback

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#ForeverIsNotEnough follows the original movie’s humor and doesn’t let up for a single second. As its characters bitch about how to make the “perfect” movie for Filipino audiences, #ForeverIsNotEnough shows just how mentally handicapped the established filmmaking formula is through means of well-written dialogue delivered by effective comedians.

Every time Rainier expresses his artistic, cinematic vision, Eugene Domingo (playing an exaggerated version of herself) fucks it all up by shoehorning the same cliches and stereotypes that have plagued local Filipino movies for too long. And she does this in the name of “The Little Guy” (i.e. The Masses), in an all too familiar pandering and condescending tone.

From parlor gay best friends to contrived happy endings to sexy love interests played by questionably young stars, every known trope responsible for killing the last shreds of dignity in Filipino films is mercilessly skewered to emphasize how fucking stupid something like a forced theme song is.

#ForeverIsNotEnough also hits both sides, shaming the indie side of the debate once again for being the pretentious counterpart of the brain-dead mainstream movies. When it comes to the satire, #ForeverIsNotEnough pulls no punches in an all-out offensive aimed at filmmakers who are too caught up in the beautiful smell of their own shit-stained rectums.

The Pains Of Sequels

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If the previous description sounds familiar, that’s because #ForeverIsNotEnough is a glorified rehash of the original movie. The sequel follows the exact same flow of events in the first Septic Tank, beginning with a road trip to meet Eugene Domingo right down to an ending that glorifies sewage waste.

As funny as the comedic exchanges were, they were merely recycled from the first movie. The characters make their cases for and against mainstream cinema in the same way they did in Septic Tank when they were attacking and/or defending independent films. The rehash is best seen when Eugene Domingo launched into a spiel of overacting by showing off her so-called “Three Levels Of Heartbreak:”  a nearly word-for-word repeat of her “Three Levels Of Drama” from the first installment.

But #ForeverIsNotEnough’s most blatant showcase of repetition is the entire movie itself. The first Septic Tank was basically an existential road-trip that ended with shattered dreams when the main cast discovered how shallow and vapid the supposedly artistic Eugene Domingo really was. It was a funny climax that perfectly summed up the movie’s satire – which is why the sequel stretched this 20 minute finale into a fucking two hour film. In doing so, the jokes repeated themselves, the sketches dragged on too long, and the sequel chose to play it safe by treading familiar ground instead of doing anything else.

The only new addition #ForeverIsNotENough brings is a debate between Rainier and Eugene, when their polarizing thoughts on what Filipino moviegoers deserve finally comes to a head. This short but thought-provoking climax was both self-deprecating yet somehow, lacking self-awareness. Given the movie’s overall slapstick tone, it was jarring to see the characters suddenly take their plight so seriously before getting back to the mandatory sexual innuendos and shit jokes. Where the first movie was a satire with dashes of slapstick, the sequel is a marathon of sex jokes with a single moment of clarity near the end.

Back To The Shitter

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While not bad from a technical standpoint, the new installment of Septic Tank feels more like a rerun than a brand new story that follows familiar characters. One may cite the movie’s parody of franchise sequels as a defense, but if a repeat of the first movie’s best moments is all audiences wanted, then all they have to do is buy the fucking DVD of it.

Despite the credible points that #ForeverIsNotEnough makes, it falls for the same traps that define shitty Filipino filmmaking. Granted, it’s leagues beyond Vic Sotto’s overpriced masturbation tools like Enteng Kabisote 10 And The Abangers (2016), but it’s disappointing to see a satire make the same mistakes its primary target commits. It’s one thing to point out something wrong, but it’s another to imitate it in such a straight-faced manner.

But even with all of these mistakes, it’s a testament to the talents of the filmmakers and cast when they still managed to deliver an entertaining movie with a relevant message. Not once did the movie feel lazy or forced, and it was a goddamned blast to laugh with. If #ForeverIsNotEnough was a stand-alone comedy movie, it would have rocked the Filipino movie scene. But as a follow-up to the original Septic Tank, it only serves as a pale reminder of what made the first movie so great and begs the question of a sequel’s necessity because it’s just more of the same.

Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank worked wonders because it was lightning caught in a bottle. Meanwhile, its sequel failed to recognize the one-off accomplishments of its predecessor and tried to revive the glory days instead of attempting to surpass them – even if it had the chance and capability to do so. In an ironic twist of fate, Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank 2: #ForeverIsNotEnough became a slave to the very formula it loathes.


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Saving Sally (2016) Review: Living In A Hipster’s Paradise

saving-sally-1After fuck knows how long, the once horrid Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) decided to grow up and stop force-feeding mental diarrhea to audiences. One of its most visually appealing movies was Saving Sally – a cross between live-action filmmaking and 2D animation.

Saving Sally follows the lives of the socially-awkward geek Marty (Enzo Marcos) and the free-spirited, gung-ho Sally (Rhian Ramos) as they grow up and experience the challenges of life and love. After Marty realizes his true romantic feelings for his best friend, he embarks on a personal crusade to save Sally from the troubles of her personal life.

Let’s be real: Saving Sally’s story is far from ground-breaking: It’s another tale of romance starring teenagers. But in the hands of Saving Sally’s crew and filmmakers, what would have been an otherwise forgettable plot is turned into something interesting, to say the least.

Familiar, Yet Unique

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Through Saving Sally’s creative visuals, viewers get to see things through Marty’s artistic eyes that he uses to make sense of a turbulent adolescence and confusing emotions. This goes as far as depicting questionable people as monsters, and seeing romantic rivals as literal dickheads. Just because Saving Sally is an independent production doesn’t mean it’s above a fucking dick joke, and the world is a better place for it.

Like the best of its chosen genre, Saving Sally does a good job of being relatable. Saving Sally knows its target audience, and it doesn’t shy away from catering to their likes and concerns. From  pop culture references to depictions of a student’s everyday worries (Examples include: college, campus crushes, curfews, etc.), Saving Sally isn’t ashamed of speaking for a generation of Millennials.

It’s also easy to see why Saving Sally won’t be everyone’s thing. The movie’s sense of humor WILL fly over some viewers’ heads, making it sound like a self-congratulatory circle jerk for those who understand obscure ‘80s references. But if I were to rag Saving Sally’s hipster sensibilities any further, I might as well shove my combat boots and outdated military cap up my fucking asshole under charges of hypocrisy.

A Questionable Kind Of Love

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Saving Sally is technically an experimental film, and this venture into new waters affected certain parts of its story. In the movie’s enthusiasm to show off its spiffy art, certain scenes and sequences dragged on for too long. Some plot threads, like a glimpse into the mind of Marty’s romantic rival, become unnecessary because they’re unceremoniously dropped after they’ve served their most basic purposes.

But no other part suffers most from this combination of technical issues and a dash of self-indulgence as the final act did, where formerly fleshed-out narratives and character development give way to conveniently contrived resolutions. Despite having the chance to end on a rightfully earned bittersweet note, Saving Sally goes out of its way to enforce saccharine happy endings for the lead characters in overlong epilogue scenes. It’s as if Saving Sally had around five different endings to choose from, but threw them all in a fucking blender instead of committing to one.

Thanks to its nostalgic charm and the aforementioned unique visual style, it’s easy to overlook the fact that Saving Sally has more in common with a lowbrow harem anime with blank slates for protagonists than it does with truly innovative romantic movies like 500 Days Of Summer (2009) or Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004).

The thing about Marty as a character is that he’s an empty vessel for audiences to exercise their identity theft skills on by escaping into a power fantasy that glorify their own socially awkward behavior and quirky interests. In one telling scene, Marty is shown to have a wall filled with scratchy portraits of Sally drawn on crumpled papers. While any sane person would see this as a red flag for a stalker in the making, Saving Sally depicts it as charming. I do not make the comparison to a stalker in jest, because this is something Marty actually fucking does at one point in the movie. Questionable writing and double standards like these affect the movie’s already one-sided characterizations, since anyone who’s not on Marty’s side is depicted as an asshole with a side of shithead on top.

A Hipster Out Of Time 

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Saving Sally chills in a dream world where love operates in the same way hentai-themed visual novels do: Love is just a prize, not a mutual commitment. Here, a girl’s rejections make her a bitch who doesn’t know shit, and throwing yourself into the fires of hell for a supposed goddess will guarantee you the girl of your dreams. Call me a cynical killjoy on a soapbox, but 1) I learned about this shit the hard way and 2) I’m trying to be a fucking professional movie critic, so go figure, motherfucker.

The end credits of Saving Sally proudly proclaims that it took more than a decade to create, and this is true. First of all, the whole movie looks like it was really made with the blood, sweat and tears of countless passionate, talented artists. But Saving Sally also feels like a remnant of the times when self-righteous white knights were the standard for men, when the FriendZone was considered to be a fate worse than death, and when an immortal pedophile vampire was a heartthrob.

Saving Sally may be problematic, but it’s still a fuckton better than most mainstream Filipino movies. It should be watched, but as an artifact of a time long gone and not a generational landmark. In a time when Filipino movies are either formulaic commercialized bullshit or pretentious arthouse crap, something as somewhat immature, yet as honest and sincere as Saving Sally is more than worth the price of admission.

To put it all in context, watching Saving Sally is just like finding your favorite but expired brand of candy in the deepest ends of your fridge. It looks and tastes great right before you realize that something’s fucked up when it begins to settle down in your stomach.


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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) Review – A Good Turn For The Dark

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Hollywood’s convenient answer to the criticism behind the endless number of sequels is giving a big-named franchise a spin-0ff. While it’s still connected to an established name, the spin-off is technically not a sequel, giving the smart-ass fuckers who call a movie’s shots a legitimate excuse to churn out as many new installments as possible.

The first Star Wars Anthology film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is set between the events of Star Wars: Episode III – The Revenge Of The Sith (2005) and the original Star Wars (1977) aka Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. When they learn of the Empire’s super-weapon known as the Death Star, the already desperate Rebel Alliance hatches a plan to steal the weapon’s plans to hopefully find its weakness and protect the galaxy from the feared planet-killer.

It may be easy to dismiss Rogue One as another piece of shit cash-in, but that would be ignoring one of the only good things to come out of the clusterfuck that was 2016. When the only good thing to come out of this shitty fucking year is a Disney movie, you know the future is fucked six ways to Sunday.

The Dark Side Is Fine

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Ignoring the series’ cultural impact for a second, the Star Wars movies at their core are a space-bound soap opera (hence the moniker Space Opera). Despite taking place in a vast galaxy that’s set against the backdrop of a galactic civil war, Star Wars’ main conflicts were an overblown family squabble and fucking love triangles.

Rogue One, on the other hand, has more in common with a War Movie than an episode from some weekly space opera. This was accomplished by focusing on the unsung heroes of a sprawling conflict instead of the larger-than-life and big picture kinds of soldiers, such as the Jedi, the Sith Lords and the Ewoks. In doing so, the stakes feel more real and dire, unlike seeing some fuckstick use gravity-defying gymnastics to evade blaster fire.

What makes Rogue One a lot better is that it’s the bastard child of the Star Wars franchise, and it revels in this label. Due to this narrative freedom, Rogue One can address some of the franchise’s most gaping plot holes, connecting the scattered Star Wars canon, while telling an entirely new story all at the same time. Though obligatory references to both Star Wars trilogies (and surprisingly, the animated Star Wars Rebels) are present, they thankfully don’t drown out Rogue One’s grim vision of the ground war.

Then again, Rogue One is still a war movie produced by Disney: the same guys responsible for turning the first major superhero shared universe into a fucking super-powered soap opera filled with self-congratulatory quips and one-liners.

Disney Goes To War

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While Rogue One was fun to watch, it was barely surprising. Anyone who’s seen enough war movies or has a good knowledge of the genre’s tropes will know how certain narrative events flow and how each character arc endsThis galactic cliche storm could be blamed on the war genre’s nature and trappings, but Rogue One didn’t try to change the formula.

Rogue One also takes a while to get to the interesting parts. Introductions are a must in every action movie, but Rogue One meanders when it comes to establishing the characters and their motives. Instead of getting straight to the point, Rogue One’s opening acts faff about by prioritizing witty banter and excessive exposition.For some reason (most probably to do with the reshoots), the first two-thirds of Rogue One are a rocky mess of cuts to various locations without any cohesion to them. If not for the third act, Rogue One could’ve been easily mistaken for a fucking Star Wars galactic tour guide.

Characterization suffers heavily, as well. Though everyone is unique and visually memorable, it’s hard to give a shit about them, especially when all it takes is a single word or quirk to define them. Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is the worst offender, who while not played by a bad actress, is bland as fuck and recites nothing but trailer dialogue laced with Saturday Morning Cartoon lessons on HOPE. Also, characters who are said to be badass or shady are only described as such instead of letting them prove themselves to the audience. A notable example is Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), who is an “extremist” but his actions paint him as a paranoid motherfucker with a bad hairdo. He is also a waste of an incredible actor.

This logic of “Tell, don’t show” also applies to one of the most interesting aspects of Rogue One: the morality of the rebellion. Rogue One skipped the chance to double down on how dirty the Resistance could get when it came to fighting the Empire. This wasn’t the main focus of the movie, but Rogue One wasted its chance to bring its war story to the logical extreme. By war movie standards, Rogue One played it too safe.

Prequels Done Right

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I’m averse to prequels because they answer questions I never really asked before. Half the time, prequels feel as forced as dragging the singular The Hobbit novel into three fucking movies. Rogue One on the other hand, not only proved to be the exception to the rule but it defied expectations by giving respectful insight to a part of the Star Wars story that close to no one gives a fuck about unless they’re playing a round of Star Wars Battlefront. That, and Rogue One seamlessly fits into the Star Wars universe through an ending that only true Star Wars fans will appreciate and love.

There’s little else to say about Rogue One because even if it does suffer from some annoying cliches that have become associated with Disney’s new brand of film-making, it still stands as the best Star Wars prequel made. You know a Star Wars prequel movie is doing something right when it can do what the entire fucking sappy prequel trilogy did in the span of only two hours.

Unlike the decent but glorified rehash that is Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), Rogue One is a good stand-alone Star Wars movie, not two hours of fan-service/wank that just so happened to have a story. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the best modern Star Wars entry not by default (ala The Revenge Of The Sith), but because it dared to something different – a gamble that mostly paid off.

Do yourself a favor and see the war in Star Wars.


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Enteng Kabisote 10 And The Abangers (2016) Review: A Masterpiece Of Shit

enteng-1Given how I hail from a country that glorifies shit and stupidity in all forms, it was inevitable that I’d end up seeing Enteng Kabisote due to how ubiquitous it is. That, and I was goaded to watch it by a bunch of soulless motherfuckers who wanted to read about my suffering (you fuckers know who you are).

Enteng Kabisote 10 And The Abangers is the tenth entry in the long running Enteng Kabisote franchise that first began life in 2004. This time around, Enteng Kabisote (Vic Sotto) helps a wayward group of refugee magical parlor gays fight the evil Doctor Kwak Kwak (Epi Quizon) to save both the real world and the magical realm. Along the way, he must also resolve his family issues and teach life lessons.

I watched Enteng Kabisote 10 with an open mind, despite my low expectations, the fact that I never watched a previous Enteng Kabisote, and the negative reputation associated with the franchise. Long story short, it’s an atrocious piece of shit. Read on for the lengthened short story.

Shit Out Of Time

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The sad thing about Enteng Kabisote 10 is that someone forgot to remind the movie that the year it was released in is 2016 – not 2004. Among the outdated jokes that define Enteng Kabisote 10 are: Predictable puns, whimsical sexual harassment, too many fucking loudmouthed parlor gays, and mangling any word from the English language by saying it in the worst accents possible – all staples of my country’s fucking horrid mainstream movie scene. If you’ve seen one shitty Filipino comedy movie, you’ve seen them all.

Maybe if I were the mentally handicapped man-child this crap was made for, then I would love the shit out of it. But the children who once laughed at Enteng Kabisote have since outgrown this kind of crap, forcing Enteng Kabisote to do the unthinkable: Innovate.

And thus, Enteng Kabisote 10 panders instead of maturing, using outdated memes (i.e. Ang Tatlong Bibe) and nods to fading pop culture trends (i.e. AlDub) for the bulk of its humor. Enteng Kabisote 10 is so out of touch that it rips off Iron Man 3, thinking that the worst Iron Man movie from a few years back is still hip. Maybe ten years from now, Enteng Kabisote 20 will discover something called Captain America: Civil War and rip the shit out of it.

And then halfway through the movie, Enteng Kabisote 10 stops trying, fucks off, and chills in Bohol. Granted, Bohol is a beautiful place anyone should check out before dying, but this is a FANTASY movie – not a fucking two hour tourism ad sponsored by the Department Of Tourism.   

Fear And Denial In Bohol

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Character development and narrative depth are nonexistent, since they’re sacrificed to make way for Bohol ads and Vic Sotto’s ego. Outside of contractual shots of hotels and restaurants Enteng Kabisote 10 demands you should check out in Bohol, Enteng Kabisote 10 dedicates its run time to Vic Sotto’s soapbox speeches where he berates audiences for not heeding his sagely advice. Among his lectures are on the evils of technology, all of which is brought about by the least duck looking evil duck-man imaginable, who wants to take over the world via a nefarious gaming app because he’s ugly.

No, I did not make that shit up. That is the movie’s actual plot.

After wasting more than half of its run time on repetitive jokes and shoehorned lessons about family values, Enteng Kabisote 10 suddenly remembers that it is a FANTASY movie. So it throws in a choppy action packed third act that’s on par with cosplayers go at it in a Youtube video. The thing is, Enteng Kabisote was made with a million Peso budget, not a freelancer’s monthly financial income. You’d think that this large amount of money would inspire some effort in Enteng Kabisote 10, but apparently, paying for a shoot in Bohol was more important than getting a fucking decent writer.

Ironically, one of the lessons Enteng Kabisote 10 shoves down viewers’ throats is one of respecting elders, not because they deserve it but because the idiotic young ones are obliged to do so – even if the family patriarch (i.e. Enteng) is a fucking self-centered wanker. This particular theme is actually fitting for the tenth Enteng Kabisote, because it’s a shitshow that demands to be taken seriously even if it has more stereotypical parlor gays than quality. Sad as it may be, Enteng Kabisote 10 and its stars are in denial of how insignificant they have become – a truth reflected by the movie itself.

Not With A Bang, But A Fart

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Enteng Kabisote 10 is not only the worst kind of bad movie – i.e. the kind that is so bad that it leaves you with nothing – but it is also one of the most cynical and condescending forms of filmmaking I’ve seen. This film was so cocksure about scoring the lucrative holiday release and the usual audience, so the filmmakers didn’t bother putting any kind of effort in their work. Enteng Kabisote 10 viewed its target audience with such low regard that it thought it could get away with flinging its liquid shit at viewers again – just as the franchise and its ilk have done in the past.

The only good thing about Enteng Kabisote 10 is that it perfectly embodies the dying breaths of sub-par Filipino film-making. For as long as I can remember, the local Metro Manila Film Fest (MMFF) was nothing but a parade of brainless bullshit and the epitome of Filipino stupidity prior to the 2016 presidential elections. There were occasional gems, but the MMFF went out of its way to strong-arm substance out of cinemas to make way for even more fucking two hour commercials and parlor gay movies.

This year, things changed for the better, and brainless shit like Enteng Kabisote 10 are the ones out on the curb while those with quality are given their long overdue spotlight. Metaphorically speaking, Enteng Kabisote 10 And The Abangers serves as the long awaited swan song of every constipated shit’s ending: the sweet sound of a toilet’s flush.


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Doctor Strange (2016) Review: Of Magical Formulas And Trippy Drugs

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Another year is ending, and another pair of Marvel movies made their way to cinemas. Doctor Strange is the second Marvel movie released in 2016 and it is the 14th movie to enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It is also the seventh MCU origin story tasked with introducing a relatively unknown character to the general viewing public.By that description alone, experienced viewers will know what to expect from Doctor Strange. 

Based on the mystical comic book character of the same name, Doctor Strange shows how Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) turns from brilliant but arrogant neurosurgeon into the incredibly powerful Sorcerer Supreme after surviving a deadly car accident. Helping Strange achieve self-discovery and enlightenment are his love interest Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), and his mentoring mages the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Master Wong (Benedict Wong). Together, they must stop Kaecilius (Mads Mikklesen) from bringing about the end of the world and all known life.

The advertisements for Doctor Strange invited audiences to “open their minds” but if the movie is anything to go by, Doctor Strange doesn’t really give a fuck about what viewers think or deserve. Doctor Strange is yet another entertaining but missed opportunity for Marvel to rock the metaphorical boat though at this point, what the fuck is to be expected from a company that made a massive profit peddling the same shit for the past part of a decade.

A Familiar Acid Trip

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An old adage once preached about not fixing what’s not broken, and this is something Marvel strictly abides by. The story’s formula may be tiresome, but Doctor Strange is still a good showcase of a generic superhero origin story done right. To date, Doctor Strange is the best Marvel origin story since the original Iron Man (2008), and that’s saying something considering how all of Marvel’s origin stories are pretty much the same fucking thing.

Once again, a cocky prick who is knocked into the shit is forced to rise back up through a training montage and reluctant heroics. Doctor Strange may not change the formula, but it follows the checklist with a level of grace, creativity and style not seen in quite a while. The casting of legit award winning actors elevates Doctor Strange’s characters from stock archetypes (such as a Mentor or Rival) into memorable role-players in Strange’s journey to heroism. Unlike other Marvel movies such as Thor where only one guy (i.e. Loki) gives a shit, Doctor Strange (for the most part) maximizes its star power and gives viewers a group of onscreen mages and mystics worth rooting for.The only exception would be Rachel McAdams, whose incredible talents are wasted when she tries her best to portray Marvel’s usual disposable love interest, just like how Natalie Portman wasted her time in Thor. McAdams is so replaceable that her role could have been played by a fucking fridge, and Strange’s character arc and newfound calling would still remain intact.

Doctor Strange also boasts some of the most inventive visuals seen in a spectacle movie. The visuals in question can only be described as a simpler Inception (2010) with both steroids and every known ’60s era psychedelic drug ever sold replacing the mindfuck of Christopher Nolan’s writing. Dedicated comic book fans have always joked about how Doctor Strange was probably drawn while high as fuck, and the movie does an amazing job of bringing the story’s trippy fucked-up worlds to life. That and Doctor Strange also benefits from a sweet soundtrack and more importantly, not being as offensively generic as either Thor or Ant-Man (2014).

Then again, Doctor Strange IS still a Marvel movie. Leave it to Marvel to squander the chance to make Doctor Strange something truly different and deliver the same old story while tripping fucking balls.

By The Power Of The Status Quo

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Everything that could be expected from a Marvel movie finds its way to Doctor Strange and makes sure the Sorcerer Supreme doesn’t stray too far from the formula popularized by Tony Stark. From poorly timed humor to rushing the final act with an overblown action scene, Doctor Strange religiously follows the Marvel Superhero Formula with nary a thought of sin in mind. There are inspired moments when Doctor Strange tries to do something new like trying to actually give the villain, Kaecilius, a sympathetic motive and backstory – but all of that is thrown aside in favor of turning him into a forgettable bad guy who has cool computerized powers and is dispatched in maybe two seconds.

Doctor Strange adheres to the status quo so much that by the end, it literally gives the titular hero the power to reset the status quo whenever he wants. If you thought Captain America: Civil War lacked stakes and lasting ramifications despite the Avengers’ broken friendships, wait until you see Doctor Strange shrug off the Marvel equivalent of Cthulhu, and save reality itself with the power of Tony Stark Snark and a convenient rewind button.

That’s not to say that Doctor Strange is not worth watching.The amount of generic bullshit stuffed in Doctor Strange is not enough to diminish the fact that it is still an enjoyable stand-alone Marvel movie that doesn’t need the overarching lore of the MCU to make sense. While the narrative is functional and serviceable at best, Doctor Strange is still told with so much bravado and enthusiasm that it deserves to be seen at least once. It’s easy to bitch about how interchangeable Marvel movies are, but give credit where it’s due: Marvel’s worst is an other’s best. As safe as Doctor Strange plays, it’s still a metric fuckton better than the self-indulgent and pretentious bullshit Zack Snyder crapped out earlier this year. If it’s anything, Doctor Strange just proves that Marvel knows how to give its loyal supporters a fun time, and it also shows why the comic brand deserves the respect it commands today.


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The Purge: Election Year (2016) – Trashy Political Cartoon

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All political allegiances and preferences aside, someone’s got to give it to The Purge franchise for being some of the few movies out there that absolutely does not give a fuck. If you watch The Purge movies and somehow miss what political realities they hate and support, you either need to binge watch some local news or get the fuck out from under your homely rock.

Set two years after the events of The Purge: Anarchy (2014), The Purge: Election Year (2016) sees the return of Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) who now works as the security head of Sen. Charlene Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell), an aspiring presidential candidate whose entire electoral platform is built on abolishing the annual Purge. Threatened, the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) decide to use the 26th Purge night to assassinate the senator before she could ban their murderous holiday, thus kicking a life-or-death chase into action.

Ignoring its low budget and how often it shits out sequels, what defines The Purge movies is their novel premise that focuses on an alternate America that thought legalizing all crime for a 12 hour period while yelling patriotic rabble would be a good way to celebrate everything that makes America great. Coupled with this satirical premise are the heavily advertised social commentaries and disturbing amounts of violence, two things which if balanced would deliver a great Purge movie but something all three movies have managed to fuck up.

 

Joyless Murder Festival

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Election Year does a fine job of building on where Anarchy left off, with the series’ improved world building now in the forefront of the movie. Instead of merely implying certain social issues like what the original did, Election Year shamelessly shows off its commentary on major hot topics like race and the ever widening economic divide between the rich and the poor with all the bravado of a trashy satire from the ’80s, namely stuff like RoboCop (1987). Considering how today’s movies tend to play it safe or masquerade their commentaries by creating disposable villains like using a Pinocchio loving sentient robot as a metaphor for controversial drone policy, seeing something like Election Year blatantly label extreme right wing opinions and excessive nationalism as both murderous and fanatical was not just refreshing but amusing in a cathartic way as well.

That may sound promising but Election Year never does much with its newfound voice, which sucks because it never learned from the one fatal mistake that its predecessors made: it took itself way too seriously.

For a movie whose entire ad campaign rested on gratuitous murder courtesy of those ubiquitous masked fuckers, there was more lecturing than killing in Election Year than expected. Of the Purge movies, Election Year may have the best narrative and commentary but it’s possibly the dullest entry yet if not for the formulaic home-invasion thriller that was the first installment. The Purge movies fit perfectly in the Horror/Thriller genre but they are notorious for lacking anything that would incite fear or thrill from the audience, and Election Year does just that by literally passing by interesting stuff like Murder Tourists or the Purge Mass before focusing on yet another chase, which was already the entire fucking point of Anarchy. While the social commentary is much appreciated, watching characters bitch endlessly about election cycles and their backstories is not exactly what audiences wanted when they saw a dude get his fucking head chopped off by a guillotine in the trailers for a movie whose mascots are masked killers decked in sweet patriotic garb.

 

 

Same Old Holiday

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Despite some nifty additions and an admittedly campy but creative production design that made some scenes stand out, Election Year, for lack of better words, is just another Purge movie. Every obligatory thing you’d expect from the annual Purge is here, like lingering slow motion shots of the deranged masked killers brandishing their chosen weapons to the incredibly hammy dialogue spouted by the every member of the cast to monumental showcases of stupidity. It’s true that each succeeding Purge movie improves on what the last installment did, but each sequel failed to capitalize on the opportunity to redefine the franchise as a whole and elevate its status to something more than a disposable and violent editorial cartoon.

Similarly, The Purge movies are not known for good character writing and once again, Election Year doesn’t bother doing anything to address this issue.The argument can be made that all of the characters heavily adhere to tropes because Election Year is a B-Movie at its core and while that may be sound, the fact remains that Election Year wants to be taken seriously. Thing is, it’s hard to take Election Year as seriously as it wants when the head of the NFFA is the perfect human embodiment of a Lizard Person who hisses every fucking word that comes out of his mouth and hires fucking Neo-Nazis to kill liberals. If Election Year was somewhat self-aware, its outlandish premise would have actually benefited from the hyperbolic satire instead of looking like a violent version of a Saturday morning cartoon where the villain takes the words “War On Poverty” literally by demanding a systematic genocide of hobos.

Election Year may be another example of style overtaking substance but in its defense, Election Year is the most unapologetic Purge movie to date and it’s a fucked up sight to behold. It may be the opposite of self-aware and it may be self indulgent, especially seen in how it depicts conservative politics in broad strokes and yet, there’s a nostalgic B-Movie charm to the entire Purge franchise that hearkens to the days when movies literally did not give a fuck when it came to violence and shock value. Election Year and the Purge movies in general are not for everyone but for those who like their political opinions told with a massive bodycount and a fuckton of carnage, take a cathartic break from the daily news and enjoy gangbangers shooting the fuck out of colorful self-righteous elitists.

 

 

 

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