Candyman (2021)

Candyman (2021)

The cover to the Australian Bluray release of Candyman

Film: For me, Candyman was the last of the really amazing horror franchises. Based on a Clive ‘Hellraiser’ Barker story ‘The Forbidden’ and directed by Paperhouse’s Bernard Rose, it starred Tony Todd from Tom Savini’s Night of the Living Dead remake as a supernatural slasher, akin to the likes of Freddy Krueger, but with his revenge coming from a tragic backstory of victimisation and prejudice rather than one of a paedophilic lust that resulted in his doom.

If there was anyone to take the franchise and relaunch it, it would certainly be Jordan Peele. Peele co-produced and co-wrote this film with Wil Rosenfeld and director Nina DeCosta, who direction here impressed me so much that I have become an immediate fan!

Candyman tells of up and coming artist Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) who has seemingly been struggling to find his artistic ‘voice’, and that seems to be holding back his success. Luckily, he is supported by his partner, Brianna (Teyonah Parris), who is employed by a local art gallery.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Anthony McCoy

In the quest to find his voice, Anthony visits Cabrini-Green, a part of Chicago that was once a housing project that became an area which was riddled with crime and became neglected by the government, and meets William Burke (Colman Domingo) who introduces him to the horrific story of the Candyman, a man who in Cabrini-Green in the 70s was accusing of disfiguring a young white girl by putting a razor blade in candy that he regularly offered the local children, and was beaten to death by the local police.

Legend has it that if you say ‘Candyman’ in a mirror 5 times, he will appear and murder you, and this appeals to Anthony, jumping onto the myth and creating art based around it. The problem is, sometimes when you open a door to a legend, it refuses to allow the door to be closed, and Anthony, both mentally and physically, starts to devolve as he discovers that maybe the legend of the Candyman is much MUCH more than it seems…

I have to say I went into this with low expectations. Not because of anything to do with the filmmakers, quite the contrary, I loved Peele’s Get Out!, Us, and Twilight Zone series, so his involvement was probably the thing that really made me pursue it. Instead it was that I have an irrational aversion to production companies digging up old franchises to revitalise them. Get Out! and Us are perfect examples of this: why the hell would I want to watch a continuation of a series that died over 20 years ago when there is modern, relevant horror like these titles being made.

Seriously, don’t say his name in the mirror five times!

Perhaps money talks, but judging from the extras, there certainly is a fondness in the black

community for the Candyman, so maybe now is the perfect time to bring back such a character!

DeCosta’s direction was the first thing that stood out for me. Her use of reflection in this as a tool to tell the story is amazing. So many scenes are shot looking at the reverse of the image that it creates an even more dream-like state. I was reminded of Ron Howard’s EdTV where almost every shot begins looking at a TV screen in a way to describe that what you see on TV may not be real. There’s also this fantastic replication of the opening top down view of the first Candyman movie, but, taking the ‘reflection’ idea, it’s shot from below look up. This could also be a look at the people who were trapped in Calibri-Green and other projects like it, and their desire to escape.

The cast are also on point and completely believable. Abdul-Mateen II’s artist is not one we would normally see in a film. Artists are usually seen as struggling financially, but here we see one who is having trouble expressing himself. Parris is a wonderful support to this character, being the driving force behind Anthony, and as someone who has a successful partner who drives me on with my various endeavours, I think I believe in this character more than most! Domingo is also a fascinating character with his sage-like information feed to Anthony, but it never quite feels right, and that pays off in the end.

Flashbacks in this film are also done with an idea that was welcome, and in a film about an artist, both Anthony and the original Candyman, perfectly suitable. Manual Cinema, a shadow puppeteering company, do all the flashbacks in this fashion, and the stories have this beautiful abstraction to them that’s welcome.

The soundtrack by Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe suits the film as well, as it’s combination of soundscapes and voices put the viewer on edge constantly. I like these less traditional scores by untraditional performers and this one nails it.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this film and it’s a welcome throwback to the original, and doesn’t ignore the original story, (one section even reveals a photo of Virginia Madsen in it). DaCosta has truly made a film that is proper horror; I’m not sure if I want to see another film in this series, but i think this addition to the legend in the current political climate was timely.

Score: *****

The menu screen the the Bluray of Candyman

Extras: A nice bunch of extras on this disc:

An Alternate Ending that I thought could have almost been a post credit sequence that was interesting and possibly a shame it wasn’t included as that.

There’s 3 deleted/ extended scenes that I’m actually disappointed weren’t included. One is an extended take on the art critics commentary on how it’s artists that cause the gentrification of poor neighbourhoods, next is the suicide of Brianna’s father and finally one where we see a bit more of just how awful the high school mean girls are. I’m not one to normally care deleted scenes but I liked these and realistically they were no more than a minute or two in total.

Say My Name talks about the legend of Candyman, and discusses briefly the violence committed on the minority communities in America. It may only go for 6 minutes or so, but the emotion and content of Tony Todd’s final words makes you stop and think.

Body Horror looks at the devolution of Anthony’s body after the bee-sting he receives at Cabrini Green whilst investigating the Candyman. It’s pretty gross. DaCosta mentions that she was influenced by David Cronenberg and it’s apparent.

The Filmmakers Eye: Nia DaCosta looks at DaCosta’s take on the Candyman legend, and how important it was to have a different cultural take on the legend.

Painting Chaos looks at the work on the film of Hamza Walker, an art consultant, who created basically an art show for Anthony’s work to be displayed amongst. To give it legitimacy, they borrowed work from black Chicago artists so that the art shows weren’t just a bunch of stuff on canvas bashed together by an art department, but instead really represented the local art community. They also look at the artists who did the work for the character of Anthony, Cameron Spratley and Sherwin Ovid, two completely different types of artists but both whose work really adds depth to the character.

The Art of Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe looks at the score and soundscapes made for the film, and the take that Lowe has of Philip Glass’ original score.

Terror in the Shadows looks at the stunning beautiful shadow marionettes used in the film created by Manual Cinema.

Candyman: The Impact of Black Horror is an interesting discussion hosted by Colman Domingo with experts on horror and real-life trauma and mental health and the reverence of the character both to the black and horror communities.

Score: ****

WISIA: Seeing as how I enjoyed DaCosta’s work so much I can definitely see me watching this again.

An example of DaCosta’s use of reflection

Whiteout (2009)

Whiteout (2009)

The cover of the UK release of Whiteout

Film: One of the big problems with comic to film projects is compression.

If one is making a film of say, Spiderman, a cinematic script writer needs to look at 50 odd years of history and compress that into 2 odd hours of movie. Some writers attempt this by directly adapting a story, others just try to get a ‘feel’ for the character and others try for an amalgam of tales. Some would say that this is why many comic to film movies didn’t work, and why the modern comic movie DOES work as it simply gets its inspiration from the original work.

Ideally what one would do is to get a story that is a one off, like a novel! Whiteout is a comic written by Greg Rucka, who has written for DC’s Wonder Woman and Action Comics, and illustrated by Steve Leiber, who has illustrated Detective Comics and Conan and is published by independent publisher Oni Press.  Whiteout was popular upon its release in 1999 and to date has produced a sequel, Whiteout: Melt which earned an Eisner Award in 2000 for Best Limited Series. A third series Whiteout: Thaw, renamed Whiteout: Night, is yet to be published.

The film adaptation of Whiteout was directed by Dominic Sena who also directed the Nic Cage vehicle Gone in 60 Seconds and the Travolta/ Jackman thief gumbo Swordfish.

Kate Beckinsale as Stetson

Whiteout starts in 1957, with a Russian transport plane crashlanding into the snow after a gunfight between the co-pilot and a security team who are responsible for guarding ‘something’ results in the pilot getting his brains blown out.

Flash forward to now, and we are introduced to US Federal Marshall Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale) who, after a disastrous experience with a traitorous partner, has worked in a research station in remote Antarctica for 2 years. The station is in a part of Antarctica that becomes so cold in the winter that planes aren’t allowed in or out for three months, and so the majority of the workers leave for that period. Stetko has decided to leave her position as ‘town sheriff’ permanently, and make preparations to leave for the last time. Unfortunately, her last days are marred by what appears to be a body seen by a pilot in a fairly remote part of the area which she has to investigate.

She grabs the Station’s doctor ‘Doc’ (Tom Skerrit) and they, along with a pilot Delfy (Columbus Short) fly out to the remote area where the body was seen, and what they find is not an accident victim, but the corpse of one who has been… murdered.

The body mysteriously abandoned in the snow.

So the story begins, and we have Stetko having to solve a murder in only a few days, and when it becomes compounded with the mystery involving the aforementioned crashed plane, and a case of gangrene to contend with, she has her work cut out for her.

The film on the surface appears to be quality, but somewhere along the line, just doesn’t click. There is nothing wrong with the acting, the story is a fine murder mystery, the direction is good, but for some reason it just doesn’t all gel.  I think it might be just that it has all been seen before, and the film doesn’t really offer anything new to the table. Essentially we have a Wild West sheriff attempting to solve a Holmsian mystery on the set of John Carpenter’s The Thing. I suspect this problem with it stems from the producers being dazzled by the visuals of the comic, but didn’t really see that it was a fairly average mystery story, and when those clever drawn visuals are removed, the story can’t quite hold its own.

Think of it this way; would the film Sin City have been so clever if they had made a straight up colour film adaptation, or would it have been a collection of fairly generic noir (without the noir) stories. I love that film, but am well aware that a good percentage of my affection for it comes from the visuals.

It has all the elements of a great thriller, with a pretty good cast to boot, but somehow, tragically, falls flat.

Score: ***

The Whiteout Bluray menu screen

Extras: After the disc starting with trailers for The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, The Hurt Locker, The Keeper, and a Snickers advert starring Mr. T (remember them? ‘GET SOME NUTS!’) there’s a couple of decent extras on this disc:

Whiteout: The Coldest Thriller Ever is a traditional ‘making of’ documentary. It shows behind the scenes footage and has interviews with various cast and crew. Work-a-day DVD and BD extra stuff.

Whiteout: From Page To Film is a look at this process of writing and drawing the comic, and how it was adapted to the screen. There are some good insights into how an adaptation can work, or not work.

Deleted Scenes: At about 4 minutes you can see that these deleted scenes don’t really show too much extra, though they one shows both an appearance by writer Greg Rucka, and a look at just how mundane Carrie’s regular policing of the station are.

Score: ***

WISIA: Watch it once and give it away.

This film was reviewed with the UK Bluray release.

The killer kills again!

Black Widow (2021)

Black Widow (2021)

The cover to the Australian 4K steelbook

Film: I’ve always been a fan of low powered/ intellectual heroes. Even though I do dig Superman, and Shazam, I do really love the heroes that spend their time saving the day with nothing more that training and skill. It’s why I love characters likes James Bond, Jack Reacher, Alex Cross and I guess I’ve always loved the idea of an ordinary person making a difference, and maybe wishing that perhaps one day I could make a difference to someone’s life in such a heroic way.

To that end I’ve always loved Daredevil, who had a MCU based Netflix series a few years ago, and even though he does have powers with his sonar ‘sight’, a lot of his character comes from his intellect and his agility. It was in Daredevil comics that I first discovered, and fell in love with the character of Black Widow: a strong, non-powered hero who risks everything for her definition of good.

I was extraordinarily happy when Black Widow turned up in the MCU in Iron Man 2, and was even more happy when it was revealed that she was played by Scarlet Johansson, who I loved in things like Ghost World and 8 Legged Freaks.

This movie is the reward that Scarlet Johansson deserved, as her character wasn’t just a hero, but a moral backbone and solid support to the rest of the Avengers, and her appearance in the brilliant spy-thriller Captain America: Winter Soldier turned her into more than that. This film was written by screenwriter Eric Pearson (Godzilla vs Kong and Thor Ragnarok) from a story by Jac Schaeffer (Wandavision) and Ned Benson (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby) and was directed by Lore’s Cate Shortland.

Natasha (Scarlet Johansson) is on the run after the events of Civil War

Black Widow starts in the mid 90s, with us being introduced to a young Natasha Romanov (Ever Anderson), who lives in Ohio with her ’sister’, Yelena (Violet McGraw) and ‘parents’, Alexei (David Harbour) and Melina (Rachael Weisz) who we discover very quickly aren’t a family but instead are Russian sleeper agents. They are discovered and have to quickly escape, and we see that perhaps Alexei is more than he seems, and the family return to their Russian handlers, and are separated.

Flash forward to not-quite-modern day Natasha (Johansson), who is on the run from the American government after the events in the dreaded Captain America sequel Civil War (seriously, that was a Captain America film? Shouldn’t it have been an Avengers movie, or just called Marvel Civil War?) who after receiving some mail from her safe house in Budapest, is attacked by a masked villain who seems to know the Avengers every move, including everything from her own repertoire.

It’s not Natasha that our nemesis is after though, but instead a parcel that is amongst the Budapest mail, that would appear to contain a chemical antidote to a particular form of mind control, and was sent to her by Yelena (Florence Pugh).

Natasha returns to Budapest to find Yelena but very quickly they are attacked by a gang of well-trained women who will seemingly stop and nothing to obtain/ kill them, under the leadership of the aforementioned villain known as the Taskmaster.

This leads the to discover that the training ground that perverts young women, including the both of them, into operatives known as ‘Widows’, the Red Room, is still in operation and so they decide to tear it down once and for all, but they need the help of Alexei and Melina, who may have information to help them find the boss of the Red Room, Dreykov (Ray Winston).

The villainous Taskmaster!

I actually feel sorry for Johansson with the release of this film. Ready to come out just as the global pandemic hit, it was delayed and delayed and then unfortunately dumped onto Disney+, not giving it the opportunity to be the success it perhaps should have been, and garnering a female hero in the Marvel universe the superstardom she may deserve. (yes, I’m aware that Captain Marvel exists but let’s face it, it was shoehorned in so the Avengers actually stood a chance against Thanos).

Johansson continues to play Black Widow as a full-tilt action hero, but with heart and soul. She’s easily the most rounded of all the characters in the Marvel movies and that’s a tribute to her acting ability. She’s probably one of the best cast in the Marvel films.

The addition of Pugh, Weisz and Harbour is refreshing too. These are three actors who have been chosen due to their abilities to act rather than fulfilling a body ideal! He’ll, Harbour even promotes his so-called Dad-bod and can still be a superhero. The best thing about it is that they have been built around Johansson’s character and really feel like a real family, and not a reel family.

There is one problem with this film and that’s cinematic history. Sure, as a Marvel machine movie under the control of The Mouse ™ it was going to have lots of people see it, especially seeing as how the Marvel movies now have a requirement to see everything other wise you’ll miss out on key points to enjoy the total soap opera of it all, but the basic plot line of a Russian school training women to be secret agents has been seen in film before. Before you Marvel Zombies jump on me and say she was around before the other things, yes, I know that (I am a comics fan of 45 years standing), but MCU exclusive fans may not know that and if they don’t know the history they will just see this as a copy of Salt or Red Sparrow, which is a shame.

Thankfully the script is still full of mystery, action and heart, tells a great story about how strong family bonds can be, and that ‘family’ can mean more than who a person can be related to by blood, but can have a greater meaning of support, trust and experience. Shortland’s direction really showcases all this brilliantly, and it’s juxtaposition of some of the very male-gaze shots of the female cast, particularly some Texas Chainsaw Massacre-esque low angled butt shots, make for an unusual visual gumbo that works perfectly.

There are finer details of the film though which are are great addition to Black Widow’s legend. Where she got her training, what her and Hawkeye were doing in Budapest, the so-called ‘red in her ledger’ are all touched upon but not so heavily that this film requires too much knowledge of other Marvel films to make sense. Like the Antman film it does sit outside as an action film by itself.

That’s not to say there isn’t some references back to the comics either; Alexei refers to another character as ‘Big Bear’ and his alter-ego, The Red Guardian, had a teammate in a Russian version of the Avengers in the comics who was a ‘big bear’ named Ursa Major.

It’s a great action film, and Harbour plays a great comedy part to the seriousness of the entire situation. It’s not as bombastic as other Marvel films but it has more heart than most of them and the redemption of Black Widow’s past is a solid addition to her legend, and makes her sacrifice in Endgame a worthwhile one.

Score: ****

The menu screen to the 4K release

Extras: As usual, we have a bunch of extras on this disc, but they are all too short. Considering that Widow is FINALLY getting her due after a career supporting the other Marvel heroes, it’s a shame there was a ‘comic to film’ history of the comic character done for the disc. That seems to be something lacking from a lot of the Marvel disc releases as they distance themselves more and more from the source material.

Sisters Gonna Work It Out looks at the chemistry between Johansson and Pugh, and the way the characters worked together on screen.

Go Big If You’re Going Home looks at the story and the locations and set design of the film. It’s a bit of a confused hodge-podge that wants to tell a lot but doesn’t have the time to tell any of it appropriately.

Gag Reel. The Marvel Gag reels stopped being funny at about Ant-Man. They don’t need to be on here anymore as they look more like deliberately acted gags.

Deleted Scenes: there are 9 deleted scenes, some of which have some beautiful cinematography and it’s a shame to see it wasted, but as usual, the film doesn’t suffer with their absence.

Score: **1/2

WISIA: It’s a Marvel movie, I rewatch Marvel movies, even when they are as bad as Thor Ragnarok, so yeah, it’ll get rewatched.

Yelena (Florence Pugh) gets his with some red gas!

This review was done with the Australian 4K release, with the extras reviewed off the accompanying Bluray.

Hatchet for the Honeymoon (1970)

Hatchet for the Honeymoon (1970)

The slipcase to the Cinema Cult release of Hatchet for the Honeymoon

Film: I have a feeling that I don’t always give enough tribute to the ‘cult’ and horror’ part of my websites tagline, but sometimes it’s hard seeing as how superhero movies come under ‘sci-fi’ or ‘action’ (technically) and as a tiny website drowning in a sea of other bigger, and probably better websites, sometimes having ‘Batman’ or ‘Iron Man’ rather than ‘Dario Argento’ or ‘Mario Bava’ in your tags give you a higher SEO. That may sound a little rude, but even though I do enjoy writing movies, seeing that people are reading them is nice too!

Not today though, my horror loving friends! Today I’m overcoming my need for mainstream validation and it’s all about the aforementioned Mario Bava; easily one of the most important filmmakers of the twentieth century! Bava comes from a family of film experts, his father being Eugenio Bava, a cinematographer from the early days of cinema, and even though Mario trained as a painter, he eventually followed his father’s footsteps but his artistic flair is apparent in almost every film he made.

Stephen Forsyth as the tortured psychopath John Harrington

Seriously, I’m not going to bang on about Bava and his amazing films, but I will say if you DON’T know who he is, fix that immediately by watching things like Black Sabbath, Black Sunday, Blood and Black Lace and one of the best comic-based movies ever made, Danger: Diabolik!

Unfortunately, and at a risk of burying the lead, which is another way of saying ‘SPOILER ALERT’, this film isn’t in that category of ‘Bava’s you must see’.

Hatchet for the Honeymoon tells of John Harrington (Stephen Forsyth), a handsome man who suffers from an intense childhood trauma that he simply can’t remember, but he has discovered that every time he kills a bride, he gets closer to unveiling that which his mind has hidden.

Unfortunately, our dear killer has access to lots of beautiful young women, as he has inherited his mother’s bridal fashion house, which is predominantly kept afloat by the money from his wife, Mildred (Laura Betti), whom he wishes to divorce, but she flatly refuses, instead torturing him with her presence.

Dagmar Lassander as Harrington’s wife, Helen.

She tells him that she is going away for a week, but this is simply a ruse by her to catch him in an infidelity but he is so frustrated by her presence that he kills her and buries her in the garden. Everyone else maintains that they continue to see her about the grounds, which seems to lead John deeper into his madness, and an attempt at yet another murder…

It’s a weird bird, this film. Posing as a giallo but it’s fails to do so as it completely ignores the idea that we, the viewer, are to ‘help’ with the investigation, and we are only to ever see the murders from the killers point of view. Also, the inclusion of the subplot about the wife, which is totally unnecessary as it overcomplicates proceedings and makes the film’s flow choke on several occasions. This film would have been far better with just the idea of the woman-hating murderer having access to so many young women, which is a far scarier idea.

It is, however, beautifully shot and is worth looking at for Bava’s skill behind the camera, but as I stated earlier, there are better films of his to see that.

Score: **1/2

The menu screen for Hatchet for the Honeymoon

Extras: Unfortunately there is just trailers for other films that were released under the ‘Cinema Cult’ label, like the trailer for this film, Masters of the Universe, Dr. Phibes Rises Again, The Abominable Dr. Phibes, Electra Glide in Blue, Vanishing Point and Killer Klowns from Outer Space. It’s doesn’t seem like much, and it’s literally just adverts for other products under this label, but I must admit I took a great deal of joy in watching these trailers!

Score: ***

WISIA: No. it’s not REALLY worth the first watch as there are better choices. Want to watch a giallo? Watch Bay of Blood or Tenebrae or Deep Red. Want to watch a film about a madman who kills women? Well, Psycho or Deranged or either versions of Maniac are far better choices.

This film was reviewed with the Australian Cinema Cult edition Bluray.

Stare into the eyes of one of the victims.

Free Guy (2021)

Free Guy (2021)

The Australian 4K release of Free Guy

Film: Ryan Reynolds is just a loveable hunk, right?

Whether or not he’s a good actor or not doesn’t matter, because basically he has mostly just played that loveable goofball, who has the heart of a hero. Whether it’s the guy from Deadpool, or the guy from Green Lantern, or the guy from Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Shop, or in this film where he plays Guy, Reynolds has made a profession of being the world’s big brother, funny uncle and cool cousin all at once.

Now imagine if you could take Reynolds and stick him in a video game that is a mixture of Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto and The Sims, and mix it with movies like The Truman Show and Ready Player One, but make it palatable for anyone (mainly due to Reynolds charm, but also due to co-stars Taika Waititi’s comedy stylings, Jody Comer’s heroic violence, and maybe just a touch of teen heart-throb Joe Keery’s disarming inherent magnetism), and Free Guy is exactly what you’ve got.

Free Guy tells of Guy (Reynolds), a middle aged bank teller living in Free City, who longs to feel love. He’s generally happy with his life, tolerating the constant violence from the ‘sunglasses people’, who are ‘heroes’ who’s work he admires, even when they are robbing his bank or murdering his friends.

Guy (Ryan Reynolds) and his bestie Buddy (Lil Rel Howery)

The beautiful thing about Free City is no matter what happens, everyone comes back… because Guy is an NPC in a video game, and in video games, everyone gets a respawn, even the ‘sunglasses people’, who in reality, are players in our world.

The problem is, Guy doesn’t know he’s a video game character, and one day he sees the girl of his dreams, but molotovgirl (Comer) isn’t a computer game character, she’s one of us, but not just one of us, she’s a game programmer named Millie, who along with her programming partner, Keys (Keery) have had the code for a game they produced stolen by evil game designer Antwon (Waititi).

Millie has been regularly raiding the game to try and find evidence of this, but doing it solo. Guy manages to get his hands on a pair of sunglasses and finds that they reveal all the ‘gamification’ of the city, like power ups and missions, and very quickly he starts to level up to try and impress molotovgirl.

At first, Guy becomes an internet sensation with his heroic actions, but very soon Antwon decides it time to shut him down, because the ‘player’ shouldn’t be more important than the game, and with a sequel to his game on the rise, maybe it’s time to shut the old one down anyway…

It’s a massively fun movie, with both big laughs and a fair bit of warmth to it as well. It’s sardonic sideways look at the video game industry is a little scathing too, especially that of Antwon, who is clearly riffing on the douchebaggy Twitch streamer-types who seem to have the most popularity.

Having said that, the idea of a games developer being able to find their code by playing a game seems to be something that’s not real (I’m no games programmer so I can’t be sure) so there is a sense of disbelief required to enjoy this film.

The cast are perfect in their roles and play off each other wonderfully. There’s some surprises in here too, with several actual streamers turning up, like Pokimane and DanTDM, amongst others, and there is one special Marvel cameo towards the end that initially stuck out the the proverbial for me, but I grew to love.

The effects in this movie are excellent too. Free City feels like an established game with a huge population, with some people being really good at it, and the occasional filthy casual (which is essentially me online) just sucking. The effects of the world when one is wearing the glasses is probably over gamified, but it clearly is holding your hand so you can tell the difference between the NPCs and the players impression of the world. At times it feels like it might be a scathing look at the online committee of

All in all, Free Guy definitely deserves a watch if you like video games and want a laugh, or if you love the Reynolds or Waititi doing their things.

Score: ****1/2

The menu screen to the Australian 4K release

Extras: There aren’t any extras on the 4K disc, but thankfully the regular Bluray is included so the extras off that are present!

Deleted/ Extended Scenes as usual, the film doesn’t suffer for these scenes not being in the film, but I did like seeing director Levy as ‘Hot Nuts’ in a scene where his character is randomly killed by a player.

Gag Reel – somewhere along the lines, gag reels either got less funny or I lost part of ,y sense of humour, either way, there’s a couple of bits that will raise a smile, but no big guffaws, I’m afraid.

Dude vs Guy looks behind the scenes at the effects and choreography of the fantastic final battle between our hero, Guy versing the arch-nemesis that he didn’t even know he had, Dude, a muscular, half-programmed video game character who looks like the sexy, body-builder version of himself. Fascinating.

Creating Molotov Girl looks at the performance and creation of the two characters Jodie Comer creates, Molotov Girl in the game, and Millie, the real world character. Not just Comer’s performance, actually, but also character and costume and how they all create the persona in a film. There might be a little bit of a look at the psyche of gamers and how they become the perfect version of themselves, or a completely different version of themselves in video games.

It’s Taika’s World looks at the creation of Taika Waititi’s character, game designer, and evil villain, Antwan. For me this was the most fun I’ve ever had watching him act, as his performance of that douchebaggy successful nerd type is absolutely hilarious, and seeing where it came from here is amazing.

Welcome to Free City is an overview of what the film is about, the themes and the general production. It’s a typical hype thing but still quite engaging.

There’s also three trailers.

Score: *****

WISIA: This film has become one of my favourite, as a sci-fi, a comedy and as a video game inspired film, but I’m not sure how rewatchable it may be. I’ve watched it twice and feel like I don’t need to do it again. Time will tell, I guess.

The world of Free City through the lens of the players sunglasses.

This review was performed with the Australian 4K release of the film.

Batman: The Long Halloween Part 1 (2021)

The cover to the Australian Bluray release of Batman: the Long Halloween Part 1

Film: Sometimes the best Batman stories are the ones that have a limited lifespan. Year one, The Dark Knight Returns and their ilk all stand up and really put Batman on the map, both as a flawed hero and an obsessed human being who’s obsession makes him more a bad guy than a good guy.

Myself and a few friends used to host a podcast called the Nerds of Oz where we predominantly talked about comic movies, but also other nerdy stuff, and one of the members of the podcast crew, Shane, says that this graphic novel/ limited comic series was one that made him really sit up and pay attention to just what Batman can be, and it turned him into an obsessive collector who just two days prior to me watching this Bluray, bought every single Batman ‘66 action figure, vehicle and play set from McFarlane toys.

Batman was a serious part of my upbringing as well. I still have memories, and photos, of me going to school EVERY DAY when I was in kindergarten, dressed in a Batman Halloween costume, and could only be addressed as ‘Batman’ whilst wearing it. When you consider that my stori in relation to Shane’s is 40 years prior, you can tell that Batman consistently been THE superhero that fans want to see on screen, whether it be due to the very fact he is someone who just stood up and said ‘Enough’ in regards to injustice, or whether you’re a furrie who likes to hang out in black leather on rooftops, getting your kicks from beating people up.

The Bat-man himself!

Anyway, this film, Batman: The Long Halloween Part One, is a part of the amazing DC animated features that have been coming out for well over ten years, and personally I think in most occasions have been more entertaining than the Marvel or DC live action movies because they lean much more heavily into the ‘real’ world of the comics, rather than thirty Hollywood writers adapting stories to what they feel the ‘general’ public could digest easily… you know, with that typical lack of respect some production companies have for the cinema going audience.

Dumb it down to make it more palatable to the masses… I’m looking at you, Thor: Ragnarok.

Ok, so I’ll tuck my soapbox aside and look at this film.

Halloween night in Gotham City always brings out the crazies… actually, every night in Gotham brings out the crazies, but Halloween seems to see the population rise.

Batman (Jensen Ackles), Captain Jim Gordon (Billy Burke) and DA Harvey Dent (Josh Duhamel) have come together to investigate the murder of the nephew of gangster Carmine ‘The Roman’ Falcone (Titus Welliver), who was about to roll over on the crime family in court.

Problem is though, it’s just the beginning of a series of murders that take place on holidays, and after being hospitalised by the Falcone gang, it might appear that Dent himself is the prime suspect and may be leading a double life… and if you know who Dent becomes, double is exactly the name of his kind of trouble.

Gordon and Batman go to the Calendar Man (David Dastmalchian) in Arkham Asylum, who offers them some cryptic information, but quickly they discover the Joker (Troy Baker) has escaped, and the last thing this investigation needs is a wild card in the deck…

Calendar Man explains the situation.

The first thing I’ll have to say that I really liked about this feature was the new take on the animation style. I got a real ‘Archer’ feel from it, with nice hard black outlines that don’t deter from the realism that it’s going for. There’s a real smoothness to the animation too that makes it almost feel more like live-action, which really gave the story a lot of gravity.

The design of the whole production is really amazing, borrowing styles from Batman the Animated Series, Anton Furst’ s designs from Tim Burton’s Batman and David Mazzucchelli’s art from Batman Year One. It’s weird that they decided to ignore Tim Sale’s style from the comics, but at least that gets seen in the opening credits.

The story is fantastic (so far); it’s a classic gangster/ crime drama, but with Batman villains thrown in for good measure, just to remind you that it takes place in the DC universe. The inclusion of a a-grade villain like Calendar Man is simply exquisite, especially to transform him into an almost Hannibal Lector advisor in the crimes.

I can’t comment on whether or not there was much difference between this and the source material, but I do know that I thoroughly enjoyed the story… let’s hope Part 2 doesn’t screw it up.

Score: ****

The menu screen to the Australian Bluray release

Extras:

DC Showcase: The Losers is one of the short animated features that they slip on as extras onto these discs, and I love them because, as the title suggests, they ‘showcase’ characters who may not be popular enough to get a full feature. This is not the Losers seen in the 2010 movie of the same name (starring Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Idris Elba) but instead based on the original comics created by Robert Kanigher, which told of Navajo pilot Johnny Cloud and his platoon and their adventures in World War 2. This tale sees them trapped on an island with dinosaurs and a traitor… a lot of fun, and some nice visual tributes to Jack Kirby’s artwork here and there.

A Sneak Peak at the Next DC Animated Movie, Batman: The Long Halloween Part 2 looks at the second part of the story, available on a future release.

There is also previews of other Animated films, such as Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 and Batman: Gotham by Gaslight. Also from the DC Vault, we have two episodes of Batman the Animated Series; ‘Christmas with the Joker’ and ‘It’s Never Too Late’. I find these extras occasionally irrelevant as most people collecting these discs would be collecting all of DC’s animated product, so ‘previewing; something that came out three years ago seems superfluous, and most of us would already have the episodes on season collections of the series’s. I do appreciate that they try to make the episodes relevant to the story, and I do find myself revisiting them, so I shouldn’t be too harsh.

Score: ***1/2

WISIA: I’ll have to watch it again when I watch part 2! Seriously thoigh, it’s a good, engaging mystery where Batman is actually being a detective instead of most modern-day iterations where he’s just a thug-like vigilante. I look forward to watching it again!

The whole thing starts with a murder…

This review was done with the Australian Bluray release of the film.

Willy’s Wonderland (2021)

Willy’s Wonderland (2021)

The cover to the Australian release Bluray of Willy’s Wonderland

Film: Nicolas Cage has had an interesting career… highs like Con Air and Face/Off, and lows like the Wicker Man remake, and then there is the absolute batcrap crazy stuff that he has been putting his name to since about 2018. It seems that the man has become the meme, and do I have a problem with that?

HELL no! If there is one thing that upgraded-hair Nic Cage can do, and do like NO ONE else can, it’s batcrap crazy, and in a fantastic move, filmmakers have decided that employing Cage the Meme is a far better idea, and the films being released with him in it have just been nothing short of odder than the loose sock box and a thrift store.

Willy and the Janitor face off… pun intended.

Willy’s Wonderland is the product of the mind of screenplay writer G. O. Parsons and director Kevin Lewis and boy-oh-boy, if all you want in 90 minutes of Cage not speaking and beating 5 different colours of oil out of some Five Nights at Freddy’s styled robots, you’re in for a treat.

If you are looking for a sensible and intelligent script with the absolute pinnacle of acting and special effects so real you can’t tell them apart from reality, you may not enjoy this… actually, why are you reading this at all?!?

Nic Cage played a character only known as ‘The Janitor’, a silent loner with an addiction to soft drinks, who’s pretty damned cool car is crippled when he comes across some police road spikes. The local mechanic/ tow truck driver, Jed (Chris Warner) only takes cash and his in-house ATM is down, so what will our hero do?

Luckily for him, owner of local burger joint Willy’s Wonderland, Tex Macadoo (Ric Reitz), has a proposition: clean up the restaurant overnight, and he’ll cover the costs of the repairs of his vehicle.

Our hero reluctantly agrees, and discovers two things about the restaurant. The first is that it’s condition is best described as ‘absolutely disgusting) and second, IT’S FILLED WITH ANIMATRONIC ROBOTS MADE FOR CHILDREN’S PARTIES BUT NOW JUST PROGRAMMED TO KILL, KILL, KILL!!!

The Janitor’s night of cleaning quickly becomes a night of violent survival, and the potential for carnage escalates when you include a bunch of local kids, headed up by Liv (Emily Tosta), who are trying to burn the place down, and the local constabulary, Sheriff Lund (Beth Grant), who seems to have secrets and motivations, involving a cult of serial killers, that are revealed as our story unfolds…

My first thoughts on this film was ‘oh crikey, what a rip off’ when you consider it’s similarity to Scott Cawthorn’s 2014 video game Five Night at Freddy’s, which tells a less violent version of the same story, and even 2019’s The Banana Splits movie, which tells a comparable tale, but with a much-loved kids TV show at its core. Realistically, it could have also been described as a homage to John Swartzwelder’s 1994 episode of The Simpsons, in which the robot entertainment of Itchy and Scratchyland goes haywire and start attacking the staff and visitors to the park, which in itself was a homage to many sources, including Jurassic Park and The Terminator. What we can definitely say though is all of these things owe their existence to Westworld.

That thought, long though it may seem, stopped pretty quickly once this film REALLY kicked off. We’ve ALL seen performances by Nic Cage where we have thought ‘now that’s something unusual’ but this performance hit the highest mark on the Owen Wilson WOW-ometer. His character has some form of mental diversity which keeps him relatively silent, set to a timer and probably more mechanical than the robots from the restaurant, which is possibly the point.

Weirdly, the accompanying cast are great support to our silent, but violent hero. Beth Grant, a character actor of the highest order whose IMDb reads like a list of every TV series of the past 20 years, but is probably best known as the dreadful Kitty Farmer from Donnie Darko gets a much deserved lead in this movie. Emily Tosta as Liv is probably a standout as well, as she shows probably far more intensity than the film deserves, and is easily the least caricature-like, unlike her friend group who just tick off the generic horror film checklist. I must admit to liking the character played by Caylee Cowan, truly a traditional horror bimbo of the highest order but I’ve followed the actor on Instagram for a while so it was nice to finally see her in a role, a small as it was.

Caylee Cowan goes full-horror bimbo in this flick.

Speaking of generic, it may have been on purpose and a parody of a lot of the Chuck-E-Cheese wannabe places in the US, but whilst the characters stood out from each other, but didn’t really have any sort of their own definition, and so were a little forgettable. I can honestly only name three of them right now after finishing the movie just a few hours ago.

Weirdly, this silent hero vs robot cartoon characters actually works. I can honestly say that when the movie finished, I immediately wanted to see what The Janitor’s next adventure would be, and I’m totally on board for a sequel.

Score: ****

The menu screen to the Australian Bluray release

Extras: Only trailers for Willy’s Wonderland, Bill and Ted Face the Music, Parasite, Guns Akimbo, and Upgrade.

Score: *

WISIA: I think it might wear thin quite quickly, but right now I want to watch it again.

This film was reviewed using the Australian release Bluray.

The weird Tinkerbell-styled character

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011)

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011)

The cover to the Australian Bluray release

Film: Marvel comics of the 70s were some of the best comics ever made, and I really dig everything they did at that time. Actually, Marvel were heavily influenced by cinema at this time as they had their horror characters, their blaxploitation characters (like Power Man and Black Goliath), chop socky guys (like Shang Chi and Iron Fist) and their supernatural line, which included Satana, Man Thing and this guy, Ghost Rider.

OK, so I am the guy who liked the first Ghost Rider film: I need to point that out straight away. I am aware that that may have some of you not read my reviews at all anymore, but for any of its faults: it had the fucking GHOST RIDER in it… oh, and Eva Mendes in some outfits that were so tight you can almost count the hairs on her… well, they were pretty tight.

This new production, under the Marvel Knights line (a lower budget, more violent, less mainstream part of Marvel films) was directed by the team of Brian Taylor and Mark Neveldine, who brought us the Crank films and Gamer and written by Scott M. Gimple (episodes of The Walking Dead), Seth Hoffman (episodes of House and Prison Break) and David S. Goyer (Dark City and the Blade films… amongst others).

Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze

This reboot of the Ghost Rider tale sees Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage), the alter ego of the demon motorcyclist Ghost Rider approached by Moreau (Idris Elba), who is working for a religious order to stop the devil in his human guise Roarke (Ciaran Hinds) from kidnapping a boy, Danny (Fergus Riordan) from his mother Nadya (Violante Placido) for his own hidden reasons. Of course, Roarke has a mercenary working for him named Ray Carrigan (Johnny Whitworth) whose efforts to get the boy are assisted by a gift, a dark, evil gift…

… and then throw in Highlander Christopher Lambert as a tattooed religious fanatic and you have an absolute blast!!!

This film had a lot lower budget than the previous outing, but it is such a different film, with such a different vibe that a larger budget possibly would have been detrimental to the dirty look it achieved. The look of the main character, Ghost Rider, and his motorcycle, are so much fierier than in the first film. The skull is charred and the fire belches a thick polluting smoke that is echoed in the emissions from the motorcycle as well. His leathers aren’t smooth like in the first film, they bubble and pop, giving the fire real weight and you can almost feel the heat from it.

The Ghost Rider on his flaming hellcycle!

Most of the performances in the film are good, except, I hate to say it, for Cage’s. He is supposed to be a man haunted by a demon within, but sometimes it leans into vaudevillian which doesn’t really suit parts of the film.

The story is a little generic, and plot points will jump out at seasoned film goers well before they happen. That is not to say there aren’t some interesting moments (keep your eye out for a tribute to Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, a joke about Twinkies’ use by dates and the Ghost Rider ‘hellifying’ a gigantic piece of digging equipment) but the direction is the hero here. Taylor and Neveldine deliver their hectic style seen in the Crank films, which suits the character perfectly and is a blast to watch.

Missed opportunity for comic geekdom department: there is a son of Satan in this and they didn’t call him Damien Hellstrom? Marvel fans will know what I mean!!

A pretty good film that is slightly better than the first film due to the manic direction and maniac performances. It knows its limitations, attempts to exceed them and does so well. Comic fans should dig it.

Score: ***1/2

The menu screen of the Australian Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Bluray

Extras: Straight up I want to say one thing that pissed me off about this release. Columbia, in their wisdom, has decided to release two different Bluray releases of this film: one has the 3D and 2D versions on two discs, and the other version has the 2D version, a DVD and a digital copy… so why not a combo of all?!? I like my digital copies of films, and whilst I don’t have a 3D TV, I like to get the 3D versions in case I get one in the future, so what do I buy here? What will end up happening are probably both, or I’ll download a digital copy from iTunes. Either way: Columbia are bastards.

Due to this, I was unable to watch the Riding Into Another Dimension 3D Featurette as it was on the 3D disc and unwatchable on my equipment… sorry!

The Path to Vengeance is a great 6 part documentary looking at the trials that Neveldine and Taylor and their cast and crew had to getting this made. It’s an interesting look at filmmaking in Eastern Europe and the director’s take the whole thing with a great sense of humour.

The Deleted Scenes are cool: essentially unnecessary but interesting if only for the semi-finished CGI featured in them.

Director’s Expanded Video Commentary is the best director’s commentary ever. It features Taylor and Neveldine standing in front of the film and commenting, stopping the film for ‘making of footage’ and picture in picture stuff with alternate shots and making of bits. It’s a really interesting and innovative commentary that has a wry sense of humour as well. It does; however, double up on some of the info given in the The Path to Vengeance doco.

Score: ****

WISIA: Probably just after watching the first one, so yeah, I’d watch it again.

Johnny Whitworth as Blackout

This review was done with the initial Australian Bluray release

Ghost Rider (2007)

Ghost Rider (2007)

The cover to the Australian release of Ghost Rider

Film: I am a massive fan of the ‘comic-movie’. Having read comics for over the past 40 odd years, I’m interested in any comic to film adaptation, be it a lowbrow comedy like High School Confidential, or a super budgeted blockbuster-y extravaganza like the Juggernauts that are the Marvel and DC products that we see today. I am always interested to see filmmakers takes on characters from my favourite literary art-form. Sometimes they can be super-duper adaptations, like Sin City, or Captain America Winter Soldier…and sometimes they can be Judge Dredd (the Stallone one, not the Urban one): either way, I am always keen to see where the producer’s will take a popular (or in some cases unpopular) license.

One thing I never understand though is unnecessary changes. Do some of these filmmakers feel a need to personalise a character for the sake of the audience, or is it for more egotistical reasons that makes them want to feel the character is their own? Ghost Rider is another example of unnecessary changes, but lucky for me most of it worked.

Ghost Rider tells the tale of Johnny Blaze (Matt Long) who, as a youngster, sold his soul to the Devil (Peter Fonda) in exchange for the life his father, a cycle stunt rider who has been diagnosed with lung cancer and is dying. The Devil, of course, cures him, but allows him to die in a motorcycle accident, which causes Johnny to become hellbent on self destruction, including throwing away a relationship with the lovely Roxy (Raquel Alessi).

Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze

Flash forward to now, and Johnny (now played by Nicolas Cage) is still trying to destroy himself, until he meets up with Roxy (now played by Eva Mendes) again. He tries to re-ignite their love, but is unaware that the Devil’s son Blackheart (Wes Bentley) is challenging his father’s rule, and that the Devil will soon call upon Johnny to fulfill his contract with him, by becoming his demonic hitman on Earth, which will no doubt play havoc with any potential of a personal life. After a chance meeting with the Caretaker (Sam Elliott), who seems to know more about his curse than he is letting on, Johnny learns how to use the powers of… THE GHOST RIDER!!

My biggest problem with this film was some of the characterizations. Nic Cage as Johnny Blaze was great… never before have I seen an actor play a two dimensional character so well, and his emotions swung from moody to brooding to angst-ridden with ease. Eva Mendes was wonderful as a cleavage that could speak. Seriously, I don’t think I heard a single world that came out of her mouth, as her role is a purely visual one!! Wes Bentley as Blackheart… well let’s just say that one of comic artist John Romita Jr’s most wonderful visual images was adapted into a skinny emo boy, and didn’t necessarily feel as oppressive and evil as he was in the comics.

Eva Mendez as Roxanne

Now though, we get to the performance cream, Peter Fonda as the Devil was inspired, and his longing looks at the motorbike were a grand harking back to his Easy Rider days. I suspect though, that his portrayal of Satan may be quite easy for him, and I suspect he may have been playing himself, as is Sam Elliott’s take on the gravelly, tobacco-chewin’ Caretaker.

As far as the film itself is concerned, it is a great time, if you don’t take it too seriously. Many movies rely on more than the stars abilities and this is one of them. The special effects are nothing short of brilliant! Anyone who goes to a film that features a burning demon riding a hog, who fights with a semi-sentient chain and doesn’t have a good time…well, perhaps you should be reading the reviews at Disney’s website. This review, as the title says, is for the extended version of the film, and to be quite honest, I couldn’t tell what scenes were extra ones! I saw this film at the cinemas, and the extras scenes don’t change the film, like say the extended cut of the Daredevil film, but just add to the scenes already there, like the extended cut of the Fantastic Four film.

There’s probably only one real unforgivable sin committed by this film, and that is that it’s Rebel Wilson’s first appearance in a movie. Truly scary.

While the performances may have been lacking somewhat, every time that flaming skeleton riding a Harley with burning tires comes onto the screen, you tend to forgive and forget.

Score: ***

The menu screen to Ghost Rider

Extras: After the fantastic extras on the DVD 2-disc set, these are somewhat disappointing.

There are 2 commentaries, both of which are interesting looks at the making of and ideas behind this film. The first is performed by director Mark Steven Johnson, and visual effects supervisor Kevin Mack, and the second is by producer Gary Foster. Also on this first disc are trailers for Spider-Man 3 and Stomp the Yard.

The next features on the disc are a series of Makings of. The first is titled Spirit of Vengeance, which deals with mainly the nuts and bolts of the making of this film, and showcases some of the locations in Melbourne Victoria, where the majority of this film was made. The second is titled Spirit of Adventure, which showcases the stunts of the film, and the last is titled Spirit of Execution, which is all about the post production of the film. All in all these come together to make a complete making of production, and feature interviews with Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Sam Elliot, and many more, and are a complete look at the stuff needed to make a movie.

There’s also trailers for Spiderman 3 and Surf’s Up…. Yeah, this Bluray is THAT old!

Tragically, on the Bluray they have dumped the amazing 4 part doco about the comic book version of the character. A bad choice, in my opinion, as it was a thorough look at the character. Actually, these comic to movie docos seem to now be frequently absent from Bluray releases which is a damned shame.

Score: ***

WISIA: It has this weird irresistible charm that doesn’t require the knowledge of 30 different Marvel films to follow what’s going on. I’ll watch it again when I wanna watch Marvel but without the weight.

A victim of Wes Bentley’s Blackheart

Kill Chain (2019)

Kill Chain (2019)

The cover to the Australian release of Kill Chain on Bluray

Film: There is a quite hilarious website called phrasegenerator.com, and I just love it. Basically, it randomly generates various things like political rhetoric (it generated: I want an America where greedy doctors and filthy hobos can’t sabotage our iPhone apps.), sports quotes (Talk about Ronovich – all speed no agility and 5 foot 6 – he’s gotta fork to the quarterback sneak and work the rushing opportunity.), academic quotes (The hypocrisy of codependency is really quite dogmatic in its agnosticism) and my favourite, action movie titles (here’s a few: Soldier of Trouble, Extreme Extremism, Instant Punishment).

Why point out this website? Well it seems to me that modern direct-to-video (DVD, Bluray, whatever) simply MUST use this website to come up with titles for their new releases. It’s close to the end of 2021, and Bruce Willis’ latest release is called ‘Out of Death’, Karen Gillian’s (from Doctor Who and the Marvel movies) in ‘Gunpowder Milkshake’ and speak-of-the-devil Nicolas Cage newbie is titled ‘Prisoners of the Ghostland’. Surely… SURELY, these titles weren’t to be taken seriously. The only title of anything I remember being as silly is the zombie-hating cheerleader video game Lollypop Chainsaw, and that being a title from Super and Slither’s James Gunn, you just know it must be very tongue in cheek.

Arâna (Nicolas Cage) welcomes some uninvited guests to his hotel

Why does this preamble exist? That would be because I have just gotten my hands on the film ‘Kill Chain’, a film that essentially takes its title from a military manoeuvre, but is probably BETTER known as the video game trope of getting bonuses for kill bad guys without getting killed.

Still, though, it sounds like a randomly generated title.

Above that, It does have a some pedigree. It’s written as directed by Ken Sanzel, who has written or directed or produced lots of action movies and TV including episodes of Numb3rs, and 1998’s The Replacement Killers. Is it a fine pedigree? Let’s find out!

Kill Chain tells of Arãna (Cage), an ex-hitman/ mercenary who has been ‘left’ a hotel called Hotel Del Franco in Colombia by someone who he refers to as ‘his only friend’. One night, he is visited by a pair of mercenaries who are there to ‘finalise his account’, but they don’t realise what they have walked into is a black hole of violence and surprises, and a night that has been a long one for Arâna, and his patience has worn very thin.

Renata (Annabelle Acosta) gets a little bloody

This is a bizarre thing, this film. It’s slow and deliberate, with smacks of violence that pop up here and there that in a post-John Wick world are possibly a little cumbersome and not choreographed as one would like but occasionally are quietly brutal. The tension does build nicely at times but doesn’t always pay off.

The bizarre thing is… I like it. The odd walk around to get to the point, the fact that most of the characters have no names, the origami-styled folding story… it’s all somehow good. It has an extremely small cast, and has such a small amount of locations, it could have been a stage play!

I have to say how much I liked the soundtrack, composed by Mario Grigorov. Sometimes it’s a pumping modern-day interpretation of a John Carpenter synthwave soundtrack, and at others, a flowing end-credits giallo track from the 70s. I loved every second of it.

Score: ***1/2

The menu screen to the Australian Bluray release of Kill Chain

Extras: Sorry, but it looks like even the extras have been executed!

Score: 0

WISIA: I’ll definitely watch it again as it has a weird DTV, low-budget appeal to it. It’s cumbersome, but strangely engaging.

Enrico Colantoni has regrets about being a hit man.