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Breaking Dawn: So That Happened

As a man who has been familiar with the plot points of Twilight’s overall story arc but not the particulars thereof, I will say this: I was not prepared. Not for any of it.

And so it begins.

Or should I say ends.

All right, so there’s these three idiots:

  • Bella the girl, who’s in love with Edward
  • Edward the vampire, who’s in love with Bella
  • Jacob the werewolf, who’s in love with Bella and whose facial expression changes not a micrometer throughout the entire movie

Bella’s gentlemen callers Jacob and Edward. Buy the shoes here!

Bella and Edward are finally getting married at the ripe old age of 18 and, what, 110 or something? How old is Edward? How come nobody in his family points out how creepy it is to be a century-plus-old being that wants to get it on with an 18-yr-old?

Actually, there are a lot of questions.

  • Does everyone in town know Ed and his family are vampires? If not, how come the wedding is both outdoors and during the day, when the sunlight might hit the Cullen family and make them do that sparkly thing I’ve heard so much about? (btw, at no point in this movie does any vampire sparkle, which now that I think about it means I got robbed, son) Did they have a good cover story ready?
  • Speaking of cover stories, how did they account for the fact that everybody on the groom’s side has eyes that are a totally fucked-up color that no natural human has ever sported in the history of our species?

From now on I’m just going to summarize plot points in the shortest possible sentences and save the rest of the room for all the questions I have. Because there are a lot. And I wrote them down, although because it was dark and I was drunk, some of them aren’t as legible as I’d like them to be.

Ed and Bella get married and have their honeymoon on a private island somewhere.

  • So the vampires are just filthy rich then? We’re just supposed to accept that they have tons of money and fabulous houses because they’re old? They must have an amazing investment portfolio somewhere.

A traditional American teen wedding.

Ed and Bella finally fuck, but just once, because Ed’s got vampire strength and he bruises Bella up a little, and upon seeing the horror he’s inflicted upon her, he makes a mopey emo vow to himself not to touch her despite the fact that she clearly wants him to.

This is problematic for several reasons.

  • First of all, I should note that Robert Pattinson does not seem to be cut out for this swoony teen melodramatic heartthrob role. They made the dude funny-looking. The planes of his face are like the back of a shovel, and the brooding vampire look this material has saddled him with gives him a dead-eyed lizard aspect that made me laugh every time he showed up onscreen for at least the first ten minutes. So there’s that.
  • You are now about to witness the strength of nerd knowledge: Larry Niven’s groundbreaking scientific work “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex” analyzes the sheer physical challenges presented in the undertaking of sexual relations between a baseline human and a superpowered being. It’s problematic, to say the least. Ed’s got vampire strength, which was demonstrated to us by the movie showing him breaking off part of the bedframe with his bare hands in the throes of passion. This is all just to say that the bruises he put on Bella were not commensurate with his strength. Quite frankly, I’ve known actual real women who’ve demanded worse treatment. Bella got off light, vampire bro, don’t beat yourself up so bad.
  • Furthermore, the movie takes great pains to subsequently show us that she still wants it. She wants it bad. Lamb suggested post facto that perhaps this might have been Ed’s biggest problem. “Maybe he just didn’t like that it was consensual.” Does the rest of the franchise imply that vampires are rapists? This thing is just bursting with feminist delight. And the party’s just getting started! (I don’t want to touch Bella’s strong desire for physically punishing vampire sex and its potential for issues around submission and whatnot, because this is Tumblr and I am reviewing a Twilight movie)

Eventually he gets over it and they fuck some more, and then Bella gets pregnant.

And this is where shit goes the fuck off the rails.

The baby’s at least half vampire, right? So it’s super strong and apparently grows really fast? It breaks her ribs. Its demands on her internal systems are such that it’s starving her from the inside out. This is actually pretty horrific to watch — I think that’s where they spent all their CGI money, honestly, because the werewolves are kind of bullshit — and here’s the thing: she really wants to keep it.

Which nobody else in the movie seems to understand. And I’m right there with ‘em. Why? Why do this? Ed doesn’t want her to. Neither does Jacob. But instead of listening to either of the two most important dudes in her life — dudes after whom she wants to name this turbo tapeworm chestburster of a baby if it’s a boy — she decides she really wants to keep it, even if it means she dies in the process. I still do not understand this, and neither does any other character.

For some reason, this makes the werewolves who are hanging out in the woods outside the Cullens’ amazing modernist woodland mansion really angry, and they surround the place — only Jacob and two hangers-on are there to kind of keep the peace. The werewolf peace.

I was under the impression that werewolves were not actually all that scary to vampires. They really shouldn’t be, given the speed and strength I saw the vampires exhibit. But all of a sudden the vampires are worried. They don’t want to leave the house to feed, even.

  • Why so worried? Can they not take a werewolf on? They’ve got all this money — why did the Cullens never invest in some shotguns? In case of werewolves? Given that they’re enemies and all? No?

So Bella gets exponentially worse by the day until the vampires figure out the fetus inside her wants blood. Which they put in a styrofoam takeout cup with a lid and a straw for her. There’s already an IV in her, btw, but I guess the filmmakers just wanted that visual. Lo and behold, it makes her feel better, but then she drinks all the spare blood they have, which uh, oops?

Two vampires leave the house to go get some more and there’s an unexciting chase scene. The werewolves really don’t seem all that badass. They’re just oversized wolves. A vampire should be able to take on an oversized wolf, and they do.

Then it’s time for the baby to come out. It kicks so hard it breaks her back. That’s the opener. Then it becomes apparent that they can’t cut it out with conventional tools, and so a thing happens that I had been waiting with gleeful morbid curiosity to witness for a while. Are you ready for this? Here it is:

Ed gets the brainwave to literally bite her uterus open with his vampire teeth to get the baby out. Which he does.

This is a thing that happens in a story loved with a fiery intense passion by millions of teenage girls.

It’s not shown, but it still manages to be surprisingly gross. I remember there being some guts shown, but I might still have been under the influence of the gin. Regardless: it is starkly, shockingly unromantic. It is the opposite of romantic.

Especially because Bella dies half a second later.

At which point Ed gets another brainwave: he goes and gets a syringe full of something he calls his “venom” and pumps her heart full of it.

  • I guess in the Twilight universe, vampires inject people with “venom” in order to turn them? Does this mean they have venom glands? Are their fangs injectile?
  • Why didn’t Ed just bite her and inject her with his venom? Didn’t he have any in his … venom sacs? I guess I’m just assuming vampires are like rattlesnakes at this point.

The injection doesn’t appear to work, although we’re shown the inside of her body, where it apparently is working, and pretty quickly, too. Silvery liquid shit is flowing all over the place and transforming the crap out of stuff. It should be pointed out that this scene takes place at night.

The werewolves outside the house get the news that Bella’s dead, and they start freaking out and fighting the vampires. Okay.

Meanwhile, inside, Jacob falls in love with a baby.

Let me back up for a second. Apparently, werewolves in this particular fictional universe do a thing called “imprinting” where if they see the love of their life, they just know it from the first glance, and then they’re with that person forever. Forever. It’s a sacred werewolf thing.

Jacob does that with the baby. He sees the baby, and suddenly we’re treated to a weird voiceover montage thing where in his mind’s eye, he sees what the baby’s going to be like when she’s, you know, legal, and that’s supposed to make it okay. Except it’s not. It’s still creepy, because the future baby still looks about 16 and statutory. It’s hilarious. This is easily the funniest part of the movie.

Artistic interpretation of Jacob and the baby he’s straight up gonna bone.

The baby, btw, is named after Ed and Bella’s moms (I think) in a fucked-up concatenation that drew laughs from not only the three of us in the theatre: Renesmee.

So Jacob’s imprinted on the baby, and he goes outside and lets everybody know, and they stop fighting. Apparently anybody on whom a werewolf imprints can’t be harmed. Werewolf honor, y’all. Respec.

Suddenly it’s morning, and the whole house is bummed out about Bella being dead. Presumably hours have passed. How the fuck long does it take to turn a human into a vampire? Those internal shots led me to believe seconds. Minutes at best. Which makes the next part even more ridiculous: suddenly her bones knit, her body fills back out again, color swooshes back into her hair, and her skin acquires both health and makeup, in the span of time it took you to read this sentence. Then her eyes open, and DUN DUN DUN: they’re a ludicrous red.

  • How did vampires go undetected amongst civilians before the invention of contact lenses, which I’m assuming the Cullens must have been using to pass amongst the humans of this town?
  • Except not, because we see their freaky vampire eyes in the wedding scene? Did they choose this town based on the stolidly uninquisitive nature of its populace? That must be it.

That to me would seem to have been the end of it, but about midway through the credits, we’re shown a scene where these three vampires who apparently spend all their time lounging around in an ancient cathedral basement on uncomfortable-looking thrones are informed about the whole baby thing, whereupon they make vaguely threatening pronouncements.

  • These thrones do not look like anything I’d want to sit on for an hour, much less all damn day. Night? There’s no TV, not even a laptop in the room. What the fuck do they do when their messengers aren’t bringing them misspelled news updates?
  • PS: these servants are apparently food-grade humans? How’d that girl get tricked into that shitty-ass job?

It’s time for the legendary TASTE rating system to make itself known!

T - Tomfoolery: This movie was pretty hilarious to two separate crowds for two separate reasons. Actual Twilight fans were heard laughing at Twilight injokes that happened mostly during the wedding. That’s fine. Then there were people like us, who laughed whenever Ed was onscreen for the first part, and then at things like the “Renesmee” reveal and Jacob falling in love with the baby. It wasn’t just us! There were others. The birth scene and the baby imprinting scene alone make this a 7, even if it was utterly unintentional.

A - Action: The werewolves do not look good in this movie when there’s fighting. They’re weightless and unconvincing, and I think the exact same .wav was used every time a werewolf took a step in the forest. Vampires with that kind of strength and speed should make for more exciting action, but alas. Alas! 1.

S - Story: Utterly ridiculous. Why would Bella even want to go through all that bullshit with the baby when Ed could’ve turned her into a vampire before getting her pregnant? She didn’t want to, but it’s not explained at all. Her motivations throughout the movie are questionable at best. 3.

T - Titillation: I must have a thing for brunettes, because Bella was lookin’ good for the first 10 minutes of the movie, or however long it took for her to get knocked up. But I admit to being distracted by the presence of Anna Kendrick in the wedding scene, last seen as Stacey Pilgrim in the Scott Pilgrim movie. After Bella gets pregnant, there’s nobody interesting to look at except the vampire girl with the pixie haircut, who has about 40 seconds of screen time, total. And Bella quickly gets extremely grim-looking. Nobody else in the movie is worth mentioning from a physical attractiveness standpoint, which is extra disappointing considering how *~{{sExXxY}}~* our culture has been making vampires for the last decade or so. 3.

E - Everything Else: This thing is utterly ridiculous. It’s worth noting that the musical cues were inappropriate at best, hilarious at worst. I can’t believe there’s a whole ‘nother movie’s worth of story after this. I’m going to need to be even drunker, I think. 2.

- Sung

Filed under movies team babylove edward sullen

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Colombiana: The Female of the Species

Before we kick this thing off, I need to address three things. One, this is the first Tumblr entry I’ve ever knocked out, so if you could be so kind as to grant me a pass on any oddities or failings, it’d be appreciated. If not, …well, fuck you then.

Two, this post is over a week late. It feels not unlike writing something for school to compose this, and, you know, that blows. “Like doing work for school? Yeah, procrastinate the hell out of that fucker.”

Next time I shall make sure to do the write-up closer to the blush of the viewing (and while still under the sweet influence of latent inebriation).

Three, on the first entry we were called out failing to be drunk to the minimum degree worthy of the [cocktail] Movie standard. Let’s be clear here: we got as drunk as we possibly could in the time available to us - ordering two drinks each on every re-up - so go blow it out your ass. I *was* drunk, I can assure you. If Lamb seemed to remember too much of the film, chalk it up to his preternatural alcohol tolerance.

Anyway, to satisfy the whining of these naysayers, we got even more drunk this time. So much so, I actually had to leave during the movie to take a piss.

Artist's Recreation

Artist’s Recreation

I never leave during a movie (and take some pride in this fact), so I will not have our dedication questioned in this instance.

Anyway, Lamb was still in corporate housing living in not-San Francisco, so I picked him up and we hit Raucous Downtown San Mateo (™) once again (probably for the final time) for drinks and filmwatching.

The conversation was somewhat far ranging, but the highlight was definitely the detour into race, racism and race relations. You know, that topic that can only really be deeply dug into by two middle-class white guys.

…hmmm, hey Lamb, you think we should go see THE HELP? I think we would have Very Important Insights to make on it.

So, with that all said, about that movie we saw…

Who's that girl? Not Colombiana.

Who’s that girl? Not Colombiana.

Before I get into the plot, there are three (it’s all threes in this entry) things you need to know:

  1. Her name isn’t Colombiana. Her name is Cataleya. She’s from Colombia and the first fifteen minutes of the movie take place there. Apparently that was reason enough to name the movie COLOMBIANA.
  2. This is another one of the ‘let’s make action movies to make a lot of money’ products of producer Luc Besson, a la TAKEN and FROM PARIS WITH LOVE. Whatever one may think of COLOMBIANA, it is certainly not either of those films.
  3. The director’s name is Olivier Megaton. Lemme repeat that: Olivier MEGATON. The hilarity of that name is only modestly reduced by the inconvenient fact that he had to change his name to that.

Young Cataleya

The movie opens up in Colombia in the recent past, with an overhead sequence reminiscent of the favela shot in HULK 2.0. Of course, favelas are a Brazilian word and this Colombia, so these are the I-don’t-know-the-term Colombian version.

Brazilian favela, not Colombian

Brazil, not Colombia, but let’s not quibble.

I only mention this because I remembered it cuz it reminded me of THE INCREDIBLE HULK. In fact, this whole opening fifteen minutes just kept reminding me other Brazilian movies (eg CITY OF GOD). Anyway, whatever.

So the movie opens and we’re given the premise in fairly short order: Cataleya’s dad is a lieutenant for a big bad Colombian drug kingpin. The Kingpin decides he needs to knock off Cataleya’s dad, but her dad’s sussed this out, so it’s a race to clear out before the Kingpin’s goons get to them.

They fail to flee in time and Mommy and Pappy Cataleya get offed (not in an alley, without a pearl necklace and not exactly in front of her eyes). Before going out in a blaze of gunfire though, Dad gives her a chip with Very Important Information and a set of two-step instructions of what to do if she just so happens to find herself alone.

Anyway, the goons kill her parents and she flees …revealing herself to not just be a little girl who’ll become badass in her revenge quest, but ALREADY badass!

Not Colombiana

Young Cataleya Not Cataleya, but the confusion is understandable.

Seriously, she’s climbing down buildings and spider-manning shit like a pro already.  She leads her pursuers through a fairly rote sequence of food cart! and crowd acrobatics.

Also not Cataleya

Young Cataleya Not Cataleya, but the confusion is again understandable.

Anyway, she - of course - gets away, showing up at the US Embassy. A quick business card flash and some vomiting later, she leverages that chip (containing dirt on the Kingpin) into a flight and new life in the US, courtesy of the CIA.

Young Cataleya!

This time for sure: Young Cataleya! (soon to be Rue in THE HUNGER GAMES)

Once in the US, Cataleya ditches her CIA handler and hops a bus to Chicago to find her uncle and grandmother.

Shots Fired!

Young Cataleya is determined to become a killer and get revenge, and makes this career choice clear to her uncle repeatedly. He tries to talk her out of it, going so far as to shoot up a car in broad daylight in front of a school when she balks at getting an education (there was some kind of logical reasoning for his doing this, I think, but it escaped me at the time cuz I had to pee real bad).

Pee

I had to pee at this point, so I don’t know why her uncle didn’t get arrested for shooting up that car. I guess his argument was persuasive and she went to school, yeah? I mean the dude shot up a car, I wouldn’t argue with that.

Grown Up; Jail Job

Ok, I come back from the bathroom and apparently I missed the growing up/training montage or whatever, because now she’s all grown up and is Zoë (yeah, I’m umlauting her name motherfucker) Saldana. She’s in a jail cell playing drunk, when she starts stripping…

Stripping

Interest growing…

…to be revealed as her actually turning her outfit into a sneaky-sneak catsuit. She gets all ninja and starts running through the jail’s vents to hunt down some dude the Feds had brought in for overnight storage.

...and not so interested.

…interest waning.

So she super-ninjas the dude and escapes. The Feds are flummoxed as it turns out she left her calling card - a lipstick drawing of her namesake orchid on the victim - and this is just the latest in a string of a dozen+ assassinations by this mystery killer. Head Fed needs to capture this assassin dude, NOW!

Ok, by this point the plot was clearly starting to signal how it was going to play out, so I’ll highlight the shit that a) amused me and b) I remember through the alcohol haze.

Chekhov’s Pavlov’s Dogs

So we meet a couple of big dogs that Cataleya’s trained to feast on raw meat. But only, right, on her command.

DOGS ON THE MANTELPIECE!

Love Inter-ZZzzzzzzzzz

Michael Vartan from ALIAS plays her artist boytoy - some guy she drops in to bone now and again, but to whom she tells nothing about herself. Apparently he has a problem with this arrangement because he wants ‘more.’

Before you scoff, remember he is a fictional character.

She's so dreamy.

Michael Vartan ruminates over being so narrowly typecast as the moony-eyed milksop love interest of female action characters.

Boytoy clearly doesn’t understand the rules of plot, so he does something one shouldn’t do with respect to a hyper-private mystery person who refuses to discuss a single thing about themself: he sneak snaps a picture of her.

Through a stupid chain of events, the pic gets online and the Feds are able to use Computer Magic! to match it to their suspect assassin.

Smooth move, dipshit.

Meanwhile…

It turns out the CIA is harboring the Kingpin and protecting him and blah and blah. They turn him and his goons on to the fact that some assassin is knocking off his people. Kingpin and goons figure out via the calling card that it’s the little girl grown up, and begin their own efforts to draw her out, yadda yadda. GOD THIS MOVIE IS GOING TO GO EXACTLY BY THE NUMBERS ISN’T IT?

Cheesecake, Saldana, Me and the Black Women Thing

Head Fed tracks Cataleya to her lofty lair, but not before we get some shots of Saldana stripping, bathing and walking around in a tight shirt with the AC going.

NipTip

They were playing peek-a-boo in the movie, take my word for it.

Ok, the enlightened part of my brain says I should skip this section, but the film is definitely trying to trade on Saldana’s sex appeal and body, so I think that makes it fair game. Even if I might be a little retrograde in what I’m going to say.

  • For those to whom such things matter, there is no nudity. This is a PG-13 movie. (more on this below)
  • The film, though, tries to wring all it can out of that PG-13, so there’s a good amount of teasing cheesecake.
  • Most people who know me to any degree know that I have a certain… appreciation for black women. Given that one might expect that I’m gaga for Saldana…
  • …but I’m not. She’s incredibly fit (and the movie shows that off), but she’s just ridiculously skinny in a way that I don’t find attractive. The more they showed of her, the less appealing it was. Yes, I know I should turn in my hetero man card or whatever, but… just, no.
  • I’m incredibly inconsistent on this because I find Thandie Newton really hot.
  • Yes, I know Saldana is Puerto Rican. I don’t really want to debate that.

Webcams: everywhere and Meanwhile… Part Deux

So thanks to the Ill-Advised Photo and Magic Computers, Headfed tracks our heroine down to her lair. Cue: halfway decent action sequence! The only thing to say about this is that there’s a great bit where she breaks into a neighbor’s apartment, one in which she’d planted a quick-escape package of weaponry and ready-to-go C-4. “Boom!,” as the kids say, “goes the dynamite.”

On the lam, she heads to casa de uncle, only to find that the Kingpin’s efforts have [kinda] paid off: his men have located and eliminated her remaining family.

Bummer.

With no options left, and her revenge-o-meter now cranked to 11, she tracks Headfed back to his home and we get the best laugh in the movie for Lamb and myself. Coming home to find Cataleya waiting for him, Headfed tries to hold her off with a declaration that his house is wired with, “Webcams everywhere!”

Webcams!

Careful - these are everywhere.

Oh noes! Hehehehe

Being a super-ninja, she, of course, has already found and disabled them all. A quick threat to his family later, we find ourselves in the office of the smarmy CIA liaison - the one who’s been protecting Kingpin all the while.

Headfed pleads with the CIA dude to give up the location of the Kingpin for the sake of his family (a sentiment I echoed just so we could get to the end), which he scoffs at until Cataleya drops some Jason Bourne cross-skyscraper sniper action on the CIA dude.

It might’ve been entertaining if it wasn’t more or less plot advancement by the numbers.

La Finalé

Ok, at last we can finally get to the big confrontation. Cataleya shows up and starts taking out all of the Kingpin’s security. She’s here! No over there! No under the floor! BANG! BUDDA-BUDDA-BUDDA!

They even give us the cathartic hand-to-hand kill of the actual trigger man who killed her parents. Small room fisticuffs of the Bourne-y variety*.

*Seriously, those movies have completely re-written modern action films, haven’t they?

With all his henchmen dead, the Kingpin is the lone man left standing. Being the kind of personal-threat coward that these kind of movies like to demand of their villains, he naturally tries to leg it. Fleeing to the garage, he grabs a van to skedaddle in…

Chekhov’s Pavlov’s Dogs, ARF!

…only to find waiting in the back of the van, Cataleya’s two trained dogs, who promptly rip the Kingpin to pieces on her command.

Quite a plan there, killing off all of his guards, but leaving him alive to pick the one vehicle she’d stashed the dogs in.

I guess we must all bow before the requirements of Chekhov.

DOGS OFF THE MANTELPIECE.

Denouement, Banner Exit

Vengeance having been wrought, Cataleya gets a last phone call in to Boytoy, where much is said without being said. Or something. Now completely alone in the world, her life’s work done and still being pursued by the authorities, she does the classic Lonely Hero exit off to parts (and sequels) yet unknown.


TASTE!

T - Tomfoolery: The only laffs we had were the unintentional ones (“Webcams!”). The film actually made me long for the ‘wit’ of FROM PARIS WITH LOVE. 1

A - Action: There were some entertaining sequences. Nothing inventive or clever, mind. Saldana did a good job, but I did find her hand-to-hand work slightly less than convincing. They cut this for a PG-13 rating, and it shows a little bit in the action. 7

S - Story: It’s a fairly predictable script, what can I tell you? It’s not bad, but there isn’t all that much to recommend it either. 5

T - Titillation: Ok, Lamb and I are going to have to talk about this criterion. Does it mean ‘Titillation’ in the dictionary sense, or are we using it to stand for general sexy sexy content? Cuz if it’s the former, then yeah they make a game effort to titillate. But if we’re judging sexual content here, then it’s at best only so-so (remember, PG-13). (classic meaning) 6/(new hotness meaning) 4

E - Everything Else: I did like how the film was shot. It wasn’t anything overly flashy or ‘look at me!’ but it was well done. And despite the pressing needs of my bladder, her uncle shooting up that car in public was a great ‘WTF?’ moment. Oh, and WEBCAMS! But aside from that? Uh… 5

-Cornett

Filed under Colombiana Movies Besson MEGATON! Zoë Saldana

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Conan the Barbarian: This Is Hardcore

Hello and welcome to the debut edition of Mojito Movies, the San Francisco-based organization dedicated to the inebriated viewing of middling to horrible movies.  While other (re: lesser) blogs may have come first, our late-breaking arrival marks us as the soused movie-going blog for your generation, complete with backward-turned ball caps and the ability to explode walls of styrofoam bricks with a single guitar solo.  Besides, it’s not like those other two sites ever post anything, so what else are you going to read?

I’m new to San Francisco.  So new, in fact, that I’m not actually living in the city proper, but in company housing in the tiny town of Millbrae, which is nestled between SF proper and the equally tiny town of Burlingame where my job is.  It’s textbook suburban, reminding me a lot of the cities in Alabama where I grew up, only with a hotel every hundred feet instead of a church.  Just one of the many side effects of bordering the San Francisco Bay rather than the Tennessee River, I guess.

Our Barbarian pre-gaming took us to San Mateo, or more accurately, an odd little bubble of shops, eateries, bars and parking garages that as far as I’m concerned is all there is to the place.  Cornett was good enough to come pick me up from my hotel, as my non-driver status is pretty much the only souvenir I brought with me from NYC.  After some fantastic Indian food at a place I can’t remember the name of, we went to a nearby bar for the booze required to watch mostly naked people slaughter each other.  The bar was… okay, with a staff that was perfectly nice (when they could be bothered to be behind the bar) and very understanding of our ordering drinks two at a time.  Cornett and I have know each other for ages online, but this was our first time meeting in person, so I’d like to take this opportunity to thank him for being a fun and smart drinking companion and not turning me in to a skin-suit.  Of course, since you’re just reading this rather than being there in person, you’re just going to have to assume that it’s really me (Lamb) writing this, aren’t you?

After several drinks, we stumbled to the thankfully nearby theater to watch Conan.  Or as it’s known in Russia, KOHAH BAPBAP 3D.

In Soviet Russiah, Kohah Bapbap YOU.

In Soviet Russia, Kohah Bapbap YOU.

I hate to blow your minds like this, but it turns out the 3D in KOHAH BAPBAP is totally unnecessary.  It’s the same post-processing crap as 99% of all other 3D movies lately, only this time it appears to have been done by the AV Club of the local shortbus school.  There’s several times where it looks outright horrible, and the few times you knew it was coming before you even walked in the theater - a severed head there, a wench’s boob there - were not even remotely worth it.  If you can see it in the usual ol’ two dimensions, DO SO.

So if the 3D is crappy, then what exactly does the move have going for it?  Well:

  1. It’s narrated by Morgan Freeman
  2. Within minutes of the movie starting the screen is filled by a GIANT 3D fetus
  3. It earns its R rating at every possible opportunity - the closest to a review I read before watching was that the movie is 112 minutes long, and features 113 deaths.  That’s 1.009 deaths a minute, folks.
  4. IT’S NARRATED BY MORGAN GODDAMN FREEMAN

I seriously wonder if Morgan Freeman knows he was involved.  Like, maybe he talks in his sleep and somebody recorded the results.  To back me up on this, Freeman only talks us through the first bit of the movie, but that’s more than enough to make the nearly two hours of dude slaughter that follows feel like deleted scenes from Shawshank Redemption.

I must admit I didn’t think much of Conan the first time I saw him - looked like a stiff breeze would knock him over.  That was my first impression of the Cimmerian.

It also stars Jason Momoa, him what played Kahl Drogo on Game of Thrones.  I’m sure there are die-hards out there appalled by anyone other than Arnie playing the part, but Momoa does a fantastic job with the bit and is far more menacing than this guy:

So, where were we?  Oh right:  giant 3D fetus.

KOHAH BAPBAP was born on the battlefield, literally - in between Morgan Freeman’s narration, we’re thrown in to a tumultuous battle where Conan’s super pregnant mom is mortally wounded.  In her last moments, she demands that her husband, Ron Perlman, CUT THE BABY OUT OF HER so that she can see her son before she dies.  This sets the tone for everything involving the Cimmerian hordes - their every working moment is utterly BRUTAL.  Seriously, these people can’t get out of bed without killing something and setting it on fire.  It also establishes that the women of Hyboria - pretty sure I had that He-Man playset, by the way - are every bit as hardcore as the men.  Just to keep things balanced, the men in turn show just as much skin.

We jump forward a bit to find teen Conan proving himself the best pubescent man-killer in the village, but not better than Ron Perlman, who repeatedly kicks his ass via training montage.  At one point they’re fighting on a frozen lake, and Perlman the Barbarian stabs the ice and flips the bit of it Conan is standing on, sending him plunging in to the icy water below.  Cornett immediately dubbed this “Chekov’s ice trick”, which is pretty dead on.  Look, if you’re on the prowl for multi-layered plots with intricate, mind-blowing twists, you need to keep on looking.  KOHAH BAPBAP is many things - bloody, violent, and surprisingly true to the character of the books and comics - but above all, it is as predictable as the sun rising in the East or Republican politicians having a garage full of rentboys.

The tranquil, blood-splattered world of Conan’s childhood is shattered when Evil Guys ride in to town seeking the final bit of an evil mask that looks like a hentai cosplayer’s dream come true.  The leader of the Evil Guys is a dude named ZYM, who along with his spooky boots goth girl daughter is looking to rule the land with arcane powers and resurrect his dead witch wife.  They kill Ron Perlman in front of lil’ Conan in an insanely awesome way, only to then announce that having the mask is only part of their plan - they now need someone they refer to as the Pure Blood!  Will this “Pure Blood” be an adorable labrador, or a potential interest for our hero?  Place your bets now, readers!

Draw me like your French girls, Conan.

We jump to the future where Conan has grown in to Kahl Drogo and is straight jacking dudes with his friend, who I keep comparing to Bunk from The Wire.  The character is basically the same - they get drunk together, chase girls together, and he’s the only one to visit Conan when he gets busted down to Harbor Patrol.  

Look at you, givin’ a fuck when it ain’t your turn to give a fuck.

The only reference to Conan’s slave years (as seen in the original movie and other stuff) is that he totally hates slavers, going out of his way to brutally murder them and bang their former lady slaves.  Everything’s coming up Conan in the slaver killing business, when suddenly he gets the chance to murderize one of the people responsible for killing his dad.  While other men would just kill the guy, Conan goes out of his way to get arrested, get sent to jail, kill a bunch of guards, and then sets it up so the other prisoners gut the fat, noseless jerk he was after in the first place.  This is something else the movie gets right, that Conan is not only a blood-crazed murder machine carved from a nightmarish wall of muscle, but he’s also clever and cruel.  He’s Cimmerian Batman, basically.

Evil Guy and now full-grown daughter played by Rose McGowan (who looks like a Newcomer from Alien Nation that dated a LARPer in college) attack a village in search of the Pure Blood, who just happens to live there.  While the assorted monks bravely try to gum up the soldiers weapons with their bodies, Pure Blood girl (played by Rachel Nichols) gets away in a cart pursued by one of the main Evil Guys.  Conan rides them down and kills them in a variety of interesting ways, leaving only one of the main Evil Guys alive to be killed in hilarious fashion later.

Dear LJ: Dad only bought me enough finger dongles for one hand. FML.

Conan gets his first shot at killing the guy that killed his dad, and goes about it in a surprisingly Captain Sensible manner - he arms the lady monk he’s using as bait, and even rigs some barrels of oil to explode if need be.  Bad Guy and Rose McGowan show up, and Conan and lady monk fight some special effects before Conan gets his ass kicked and they have to retreat off a cliff to Bunk the Barbarian’s pirate ship.  Things go better for everybody when the ship is attacked and Conan and Rachel Nichols kill dudes in increasingly brutal ways.  This is known in the Conan-verse as “foreplay”.

Rachel Nichols: not just the founder of Fun Hat Club, but a member.

Conan goes off to kill the bad guy Stephen Lang, but not before Bunk, who was told to get her somewhere safe, tells monk lady to go hit that.  Which she does!  There’s some shadowy nudity in THREE DIMENSIONS, including what are supposed to be Rachel Nichols’ breasts but Cornett feels sure belong to a body double.  There’s a lot of Kahl Drogo’s ass, which appears to be composed of two toasters, because KOHAH BAPBAP 3D is an equal opportunity jam, you dig?

Monk lady gets captured on the way back to the boat, because it’s the part of the movie where that’s supposed to happen.  Conan enlists the help of a thief king he saved earlier to break in to the final boss’ lair, where he fights a big tentacled thing and kills some other guys, but not the one he was supposed to.  Oh no, that fight is reserved for the actual end level, KOHAH BAPBAP’s World 8-4, which is inside a ridiculous skull cave.  Because fuck you, that’s why.

Like this, but up a mountain and, like, 86% more bad ass.

ZYM does the evil ceremony he needs monk lady for, which involves feeding a mask her blood to make it alive and then putting it on his face.  This is supposed to make him a god, but all it really does is cover up his receding hairline with a thrift store version of Starro the Conqueror.  He and Conan fight for a while in different parts of the cave thing they’re in, and then monk lady and Jadzia Dax witchy Rose McGowan fight, because they are the girls and that’s how that works.  McGowan dies violently, and then there’s a whole bit where ZYM remembers he’s wearing a world-ending artifact of ultimate evil and tries to summon his daughter’s spirit (or wife’s, or whatever) to possess monk lady, but Conan pulls the bridge version of Chekov’s Ice Trick on him before it sticks.  So, less of an evil god made flesh and more of just a dude with two swords, I guess.  Then everybody goes home, including a bit where he drops off Rachel Nichols at her village, where we last saw everybody getting killed.  Because when you try to tie Conan the goddamn Barbarian down, you get a quickie in a cave and then taken back to the smoking remains of the only home you’ve ever known  Serves you right, wench.

Just remember the happy times, like when he killed a dozen dudes in front of you and tied you to a rock because you talked too much.

Forget the SCALE and CLASS systems of our Margarita and Martini brethren, and open your heart to the TASTE Table!

T - Tomfoolery:  The only bits we laughed at were when something so crazy happened there was no other option, and that’s how it should be.  Thank god they played this as straight as possible rather than having Conan quip his way across Hyboria. 1.

A - Action:  The action was by and large as awesome and graphic as it needed to be, though it definitely went downhill a little after about the halfway point.  For whatever reason Conan was less and less of a barbarian the further he got from the village he grew up on, to the point that end of the movie wasn’t nearly as exciting as the rest. 8.

S - Story:  Totally by the numbers plot-wise, and the Big Bad was really more of a Sizable Inconvenience, but they totally got the character of Conan.  Not that “large man who brutalizes people he doesn’t like” is a hard target to hit, mind. 5.

T - Titillation: KOHAH BAPBAP 3D really has something for everyone in the flesh department, though I think we all could have done with a bit more of Rachel Nichols showing a bit more of Rachel Nichols.  Or at least what there was in better lighting. 7.

E - Everything Else:  What else is there?  I could have done with another hour or so of Conan’s childhood growing up in a metal album cover.  Also the world is very visually interesting, with nothing looking like Vancouver or a soundstage.  Even though it was probably all Vancouver or a soundstage. 6.

- Lamb

Filed under Conan Movies KOHAH BAPBAP 3D