Thursday, March 26, 2020

Double Review: “The Hunt” / “Bloodshot” (2020)

Trust me — these two movies are so bad, you’d PREFER catching the coronavirus at your local cineplex than actually having to watch them


By: Jimbo X

A lot of people have been asking me when I was gonna’ write something about the coronavirus, but to be honest with you, fam, I don’t really feel like it. That’s primarily because at my real life job I have to write about the fucking outbreak 10-12 hours a day six days a week, and the last thing I want to do when I get home is reflect on fuckin’ COVID-19 even more. Alas, just for the sake of historical posterity, I suppose I should pen at least one mini-essay on the pandemic, so here goes.

First off, this part right now with all of the old fuckers dying and the bars being shut down is the easy part. Where the REAL pain is going to come in is a couple of months down the road, when the feds give us the all-clear and the financial reality of all this stuff truly sinks in. At the absolute best, it looks like we’re on the verge of a Great Recession redux, and if the dookie really hits the fan, we’re talking an economic apocalypse in which one-third — perhaps even more — of the country is unemployed. In a scenario like that, there’s really only two options for the federal government to pursue: either opt for a virtually suicidal massive welfare state with trillions (yes, with a “tri”) being shat down the pipes to keep people from rioting and looting and setting shit on fire, or try to let things carry on like normal, which inevitably will end with massive riots coast-to-coast and probably the declaration of a full-on martial law Chinese-Democracy lite-dictatorship to reel in all of the unrest. Needless to say, either way, the American people are fucked and there’s nothing we can do about it that won’t eventually end up with a tank blowing up our houses; but then again, if the national communal response to the coronavirus is any indication, it kinda’ seems like the great majority wanted such to happen in the first place.

It absolutely astounded me how quickly people (yes, even those so-called “conservatives” types) threw their hands in the air and literally screamed to the government “please, take away all my rights and do whatever it takes to keep me safe from this spooky molecular boogeyman.” Simply the notion that a buncha’ octagenarians with shitty immune systems would fall prey to a new strain of the common cold is, apparently, enough to convince them that the powers-that-are on the federal, state and local levels ought to have Hitlerian authority to close businesses, keep people out of houses of worship and metaphorically butt-fuck every last one of the five guaranteed freedoms outlined in the First Amendment. For just the illusion of personal security, these assholes are LITERALLY waiving every civil liberty afforded under the United States Constitution and granting the government the ability to intentionally crash the economy with no survivors and saddle an entire generation with trillions in insurmountable debt, in the process guaranteeing that the country will devolve into a second-world kleptocracy by the midpoint of the century. And for what greater social good? The ability to ensure a buncha’ entitled, Social-Security-sucking and Medicaid-milking boomers wind up dying at 85 instead of 84 — surely, a cause noble enough to necessitate the demise of the greatest, wealthiest and freest empire in human history, ain’t it?

Yeah, yeah, I know what some of you jerks are gonna’ say. “Golly, Mr. Mean Old Jimbo Person, would you say the same thing if your mom was immunocompromised?” Well, for starters, both of my biological parents are dead and have been dead for a long time, so no dice, homey. The last I check, I think I still have one grandmother alive, but like fuck I’d consider her decrepit ass worthy of destroying an entire country’s economy and, in the process, financially dooming myself and my hypothetical children to a lifetime of state-induced penurity, if not flatout servitude, in the name of vauge “social interests” — none of which, obviously, would benefit me in any capacity.

No, I do not think the deaths of 2 million American citizens is worth ruining the lives of another 200 million, and anybody who argues to the contrary is just askin’ for it. Yes, of COURSE you want to lock everything down and close restaurants and tell people they can’t enjoy their Constitutional right to peaceably assemble and arrest people simply for invoking their inexorable obligation to petition the government for grievances, because it’s not affecting you firsthand. Yet I can assure you that just as soon as the consequences of their pro-social distancing and #StayAtHome jihadism make themselves present — seven or eight months down the road, when their employer lays them off, the bank forecloses on their house and their medical provider drops their health care coverage — they’ll be singing a different tune and begging, crying and wailing for hand-outs. Eh, should of thought of that before you decided allowing two-pack-a-day-for-55-years Geraldine Gertrude Hackenschmidt to absorb $5 million in publicly subsidized entitlement programs to keep her from confronting a natural death six months earlier was more important than your own god-given right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, huh?

I’m flexible on most issues, but when it comes to CORONAVIRUS-MANIA 2020, I ain’t budging. I don’t give a fuck how many people get killed by the disease, that sum is nowhere near enough to justify eviscerating the Constitution and robbing hundreds of millions of peple their right to reside in a true democratic capitalist state instead of a Diet-Autocratic Socialist Negative Utopia. In fact, I’d rather watch everybody I’ve ever loved die a horrible, painful, agonizing death for all eternity than knowing my actions turned the freest empire in history into a debt-crippled authoritarian shit-scape. Liberty is more important than life itself, and to patch up the woefully misinterpreted witticisms of Benny Franklin, those who would sacrifice the former for the latter deserve neither one, Holmes.

What do you mean Middle America doesn't want to pay $20 a ticket to watch a movie made by people who literally want them to die horrific deaths for political reasons?

Speaking of things nobody deserves, our first flick in this week’s double feature review is The Hunt, the infamous shelved flick from 2019 that proves once and for all that the plug on the Hollywood-Industrial wehrmacht shoulda’ been yanked out of the socket years ago. Ultimately, The Hunt is yet another humorless, mouth-foamingly incensed tirade against Middle America, roughly 89 minutes of unabashed hatred of the political other gussied up as satire, despite the fact nothing in the film can be construed as comedic or insightful

Well, if you were wondering who soon the movie escalates into full-blown political propaganda territory, the official time is 40 seconds, as we're treated to a group text of individuals (one of whom is a Silicon Valley billionaire of some sort) talking about "the rat fucker in chief" and how much they want to shoot "deplorables" dead for DARING to have political ideologies different than their own. Then this one guy who describes himself as a doctor stabs a fat guy with a beard who probably voted for Trump in the jugular on a plane, but he no sells it only to have some random broad who obviously voted for Hillary stab him in the eye with a high heel. Oh, and he's still not entirely dead yet, because these people WANT him to suffer because he's, and I quote, "A fucking redneck." 

Then Emma Roberts wakes up bound and gagged in a field out in the middle of nowhere. Then she stumbles upon a buncha' guys in flannel and baseball hats who try to pry open these big wooden boxes with crowbars. Hey, what do you know, they're filled with live pigs ... dressed like Girl Scouts? Uh, and also weapons, like samurai swords and Uzis. So yeah, this is basically Battle Royale,  if it was directed by Bill Maher. That ... isn't a compliment. 

Then Emma gets her head blown off and this one guy running around shooting off two AK-47s at once gets gunned down by snipers and this one frumpy brunette chick gets impaled in a spike pit, then another dude steps on a land mine and gets exploded real good. Then another old white guy gets bow-and-arrowed to death, but that's not good enough, so then he has to get blown up by several grenades for added dramatic effect. Eventually, Ike Barinholtz (yeah, the guy from Mad TV) makes it to a country store where they sell Pabst Blue Ribbon and pickled pig’s feet and he finds out he's in Arkansas and that upsets him more than people trying to bazooka him to death. Then he starts talking about "Manorgate" and the cops don't believe him when he calls them. Then this one character breaks the fourth wall and starts lecturing the audience about how there's no need for the Second Amendment anymore, and then this one uggo redheaded chick eats a poison doughnut and the convenience store owners gas Ike so he falls unconscious again. Then the store owners, who are in cahoots with the "ManorGate” hunters,  have an argument on whether or not the term "African-American" is prejudicial, then they bicker about the amount of sugar in orange cola, because, apparently, that's what old liberals do, I guess?

Then Betty Gilpin's OLLLLLLLD-looking, over-Botoxed ass shows up, and she uses kung-fu on the cashier-actors and kills them both with a shotgun, because apparently she's one of those empowered women who INTRINSICALLY knows combat skills by osmosis or some shit. Which, naturally, is our cue for a DRONE to show up, because we desperately, direly need to be reminded that this is happening in the year 2020. Then she meets up with this one old, fat, bald guy with a shotgun and he starts rambling about a bunch of "globalist cucks" in the "deep state" abducting Trump supporters and shooting them for sport. Then they stow away on a train, and there's a buncha' Hispanics already in there and the one bald guy says they're a buncha' crisis actors and he threatens to blow one of their dicks off then the train stops and a whole buncha' military guys stop the train and make everybody get off, but the troops don't speak English even though one of the Hispanic guys does. Oh, I get it, the fat bald guy is supposed to be Alex Jones or something. Har-har. Then the Jones doppleganger shoves a live grenade down the crisis actor's pants and makes him explode, then that one blonde chick is sent to a refugee camp in Croatia where this one guy interviewing her keeps eating pickled eggs, then she steals a car and runs over a fat guy's head then there's this one really long scene where she talks about being abducted but it's so fucking boring I tuned out about halfway through it. But, uh, it had something to do with jack rabbits, I think.

Then we cut to the psychotic Democrats hunkering down in a fort talking about Twitter and AIDS and Brazil and Tears of the Sun and a whole buncha' other things that have NO bearing whatsoever on the plot. Then the blonde chick slits a couple of throats and pops a couple of caps in some motherfuckers and she has a karate fight with a guy who outweighs her by at least 80 pounds and she wins anyway because these screenwriters think that ACTUALLY happens in real life. Then this one female hunter begs for mercy because she believes in Jesus and the blonde chick, obviously, shoots her in the head instantly. Then she shoots this one guy who's supposed to be a Trump supporter or something because he's a turncoat, she thinks. And that's our cue for yet ANOTHER long, meandering soliloquy from our leading lady. And this time, I didn't even bother trying to pay attention, so like fuck I know what she spent the last five minutes droning on and on about.

Then there's a flashback sequence where Hillary Swank gets chewed out by her boss for talking shit about Trump on Twitter and she berates his supporters as "academically-disadvantaged" rednecks and homophobes, and apparently, her shit-canning inspired her to start killing Republicans for real. Also, hot shit on a paper plate, does Hillary Swank look ROUGH these days. Then there's ANOTHER flashback explaining how the military has capped the number of Republicans they can kill at 12, and then they debate whether or not wearing a kimono constitutes "appropriation" some more.

Then the blonde chick enters Swank's inner sanctum, where she's ... slicing tomatoes? Oh, and delivering really stilted exposition, because these people have NO goddamn clue how a plot is supposed to work. Then Swank berates Gilpin's character for being the daughter of a Mississippi meth dealer who got shot by the police, because for people who worship Marx, they CLEARLY have no understanding of what institutional classism is. Oh, and she also berates her for using all caps and using the wrong form of "their" in social media. The only thing is, apparently Swank abducted the WRONG person, and none of that shit ever happened to Gilpin's character, and that's our cue for the grand finale kitchen-fu death match set to Beethoven, complete with what may very well be the first instance of an Alexa device being used as an offensive weapon in film history. Well, anyway, this goofy, poorly-choreographed comedy fight goes on for about 10 minutes, and goddamn, there's ANOTHER five-minute-long soliloquy AFTER he fight is over, because apparently, these assholes didn't think they got ALL of their political talking points in yet. Then Gilpin steals all of Swank's clothes, hijacks her personal plane and ... end credits. Aye, what a way to waste an hour and a half of one's life, right?

Alright, let’s hit the highlights, and I assure you, I’m using such a term very loosely. We’ve got 16 dead bodies. No breasts. Multiple sliced jugulars. Multiple exploding heads. One exploding crisis actor. Eyeballs roll. Intestines roll. Kung fu. Archery fu. High heel fu. Landmine fu. Doughnut fu. Cuisinart fu. And the thing more or less responsible for this movie existing in the first place — some downright off-the-charts Democratic voter butt-hurt fu, the likes of which we may never see again in our lifetimes.

Starring Betty Gilpin as Crystal Creasey, the shameless Mary Sue from Mississippi who was called up for the death games due to a Facebook error; Ethan Suplee as Gary, the Alex Jones stand-in the filmmakers believe needs to die because he’s suspicious of Democrats’ motives; Hilary Swank as Athena Stone, the mastermind behind the killing spree who wants revenge for people spreading rumors about her on Twitter; and Emma Roberts as “Yoga Pants,” a character who LITERALLY has two minutes of screen time before her head is blown off. 

Written by Nice Cuse and HBO-Watchmen soy-dispenser Damon Lindelof — who thought lines like “What is this Avatar shit?” and “He’s a monster, honey, he probably used the N-word” were laugh riots —and directed by Craig Zobel, who heard his actors say such lame lines as “I’m sorry, I gendered it,” and kept it in the movie anyway.

Being totally sincere, I can’t RECALL the last time I saw a big-budget, big-name, big-studio-produced Hollywood movie that was this bad. Less a movie than it is a bewildering, apoplectic rant interspersed with exploding blood bags, The Hunt is a film that simply fails on every conceivable level, with a script that has no greater intent or aspiration than relishing in the fuming resentment of half the American electorate. Even as brazen propaganda it can’t cut the mustard, unintentionally forwarding the notion that their own tribal in-group is every bit as sadistic, unthinking and inept as the figures of scorn mapped out in the picture as half-hearted analogues for the likes of Gavin McInness and Lauren Southern. With a $14 million budget, I’m happy to say this colossal chud of a movie has yet to recoup even half its budget in today’s coronavirus-cornered market — which, really, might be the most poetic thing about the film’s circumstances altogether.

The absolute best I can afford this laborious dud is a puny, paltry and pitiful HALF A STAR OUT OF FOUR rating. If we see anything shoot down the tubes this year that’s even HALF as bad as The Hunt, holy hell, we are in for one painful season at the cineplexes, folks.

See, it's totally different from Iron Man, 'cause, like, the armor is technically inside him and shit.

Now, by no means is Bloodshot a good movie — indeed, it’s actually pretty goddamn horrible, objectively — but compared to The Hunt, it’s like getting a reach around from D.W. Griffith himself. As the name implies, this is Hollywood’s shameless and ill-advised attempt to forge a Valiant Cinematic Universe, because if Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman can’t carry such a far-reaching, multi-billion dollar multimedia Marshall Plan, why not put the same burden on pop cultural non-factors like X-O Manowar and Solar, Man of the Atom?

So the flick starts with Vin Diesel shooting a whole bunch of Arabs in some unspecified Middle Eastern war, then he returns home and drives around the mountainside with his gal pal for a while and visits all of these foreign villages and they bump uglies and then these Mediterranean-looking goons break into his villa and drug him, and you just know the bad guys are REAL evil in this one 'cause they all wear socks AND sandals and like to dance to The Talking Heads in meat lockers. Then the evil Arab fella kills Vin's girlfriend, then he apparently shoots Vin in the fucking face, too. So, uh, that means it's the end of the movie already, right?

Eh, no such luck. You see, even though Vin just ate a couple of bullets, apparently there's this top-secret research facility somewhere that decided to RoboCop his ass back to life — although, from my perspective, Vin looks a little TOO feckless to be a guy who just, you know, got shot in the fuckin' face at point blank range. Then this one DOD scientist shows Vin a whole bunch of robots that make exoskeletons and shit and he finds out he has nanobots all up inside his body, so everytime he gets stabbed, shot or exploded, they automatically repair his organ damage and flesh wounds. As it turns out, the entire facility is swarming with War on Terror vets that had their arms and eyeballs and lungs blown off by the Moslems, but now they've all been modified with technological upgrades, including this one chick who breathes through an artificial throat hole that makes her, basically, immune to all inhalants. So I guess you could say this thing is one part X-Men, one part The Six Million Dollar Man and one part a movie that you really, really don't give a shit about.

So Vin decides to test out his powers by punching a hole through a punching bag, then he decides to take out his frustrations on a support pillar. Yeah, fuck you, support pillar, always supporting shit. Then he watches this one bitch who doesn't need to breathe air swim around for a bit, then he starts having flashbacks to that time he got killed, so he steals a pick-up truck and makes a break for it while the DOD researcher guy keeps yelling at him through some sort of internal bluetooth device to bring his ass back. Of course, he dont listen, so the military has to send 345 tanks after him, which surely, nobody will notice cruising down the highway at 98 miles per hour.

Naturally, all of this  leads to a high-speed chase where a whole bunch of military vehicles get wrecked in a tunnel, which, even more naturally, I suppose, is followed up with a poorly-lit shootout sequence. The best part is when Vin fucking shotgun dropkicks this dude through a van, which, if I am not mistaken, represents the first time in film history that a character has ever been killed onscreen by a Kazuchika Okada 'rasslin manuever. Then there's this one part where Vin gets shot in the face again, only this time the nanobots repair him like the T-1000 in Terminator 2, only the computer effects look WAY less believable, despite it being almost 30 years later.

Then they wheel Vin's half-obliterated body back to the DOD lab and give him a stern talking to about not following directions and grenading people on public roadways, then there is WAY too much plot getting in the way of the story and the long and short of it is the military people think Vin — possibly, maybe — might have some kind of evil nanotechnology demon inside him or some shit and then, because this movie totally doesn't want to be repetitive, Vin steals ANOTHER truck and makes a run for it again.

So Vin decides to raid the compound of the guy who initially killed him and a whole bunch of his goons get kung-fued to death while the DOD suits watch a live feed on taxpayer-subsidized plasma-screens. Then this one black guy with an English accent tries to tie Vin Diesel up to some kind of torture device, only for Diesel to use his nanotechnology powers to shock the shit out of him. Of course, this being the year 2020, instead of killing him right then and there, Vin and the black dude decide to become friends and eat noodles instead. Then Vin steals ANOTHER car and puts in the GPS coordinates for his old gal pal, and that's when the military says "OK, fuck it, we've got to reel in this asshole now." So Vin goes to England and finds his old bitch, and well, she ain't all that dead no more. Even worse, apparently she's not only moved on, she's even gotten knocked up by some other fella. Yep, just like a woman — you really expect one of those skanks to wait more than five weeks without getting dick from somebody else? Making matters worse, THAT'S when the military shows up and tries to put Vin's order-disobeying-ass down for the count, which ultimately results in a motorcycle chase with a whole buncha' fuckin' drones chasing after him. Yeah, that is quickly becoming a FAR too recurring motif in movies these days, in my humblest o' opinions.

Then the one chick that doesn't need to breathe KOs the black dude with a drugged cigarette, then she beats like five goons to death with a truncheon stick. Then Vin yells at the guy who turned him into a nanobot cyborg, but apparently, it was all a VR simulation of some kind? Man, like I even fucking care at this point.

Of course, this leads to our grand finale, in which Vin has to work his way up a tower fighting each of the other super-augmented soldiers one-by-one. Then this one guy on an elevator all of a sudden sprouts fuckin' Doctor Octopus arms and there's this big CGI karate battle with glass breaking everywhere and this one fella with super vision plummeting 400 feet to his death. Then Vin confronts the military guy who made him and blows up the both of them with some sort of futuristic hand grenade. Of course, since Vin is made out of magic technology, he simply reassembles himself and then he and the black guy banter some more, then he puts some moves on the bitch that doesn't need air anymore and they stare off into the sunset holding hands and yep, that's the movie.

We’ve got 40 dead bodies. No breasts. One dead punching bag. One death by plummeting. One motor vehicle chase with head-on collision. Multiple shootouts. Gratuitous weight-lifting. Nanotechnology fu. Drone fu. Grenade fu. And the thing more or less responsible for this movie existing in the first place — some of the most pronounced stillborn cinematic universe fu since the last fuckin’ Justice League movie.

Starring Vin Diesel as Ray Garrison cum Bloodshot, the nanobot-powered killing machine who says “I will find you and I will kill you” in the least motivated tone in cinema history; Eiza Gonzalez as Katie, the sexpot with robot lungs that knocks out random black dudes with poisoned cigarette smoke; Guy Pearce as Dr. Emil Hating, the very, VERY poor man’s Bob Morton; and Tony Kebbell as Martin Axe, the psycho killer who LITERALLY has “Psycho Killer” play when he enters a room, because subtlety as a collective notion was raped and murdered a long time ago.

Written by the tandem of Jeff Wadlow and Eric Heisserer — who dreamed up such linguistic jewels as “such a relentless dick” and “you used open-source software in my half-a-billion-dollar prototype?” — and directed by David S.F. Wilson, a first time director who probably won’t get a chance to direct another multi-million picture ever again.

Yeah, something tells me this vaunted Valiant Cinematic Universe thing just ain’t happening. Try as they may, Bloodshot hardly comes off as anything other than a very, very weak Iron Man imitation, and this has to be the least amount of a shit I’ve ever seen Vin Diesel give in any performance, and remember, this nigga’ was in not one, but TWO Xander Cage movies. I didn’t think it was possible, but this movie turned out to be an even WORSE reboot of Robocop than the ACTUAL Robocop reboot from a few years’ back — all I can say is sweet Jesus on a graham cracker, I can only imagine how bad the Chinese would fuck up Judge Dredd, pending they somehowe stumbled upon the movie rights.

Being as generous as I can be, I reckon Bloodshot is worthy of a very, VERY disappointing ONE A HALF STARS OUT OF FOUR rating. Tis a pity this one bombed so hard at the box office — now, we’ll probably never get that $50 million live-action adaptation of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter vs. Magnus, Robot Fighter that I’ve dreamed of since I was in the third grade.

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