Friday, 5 March 2010

Mutant Chronicles (review)

Mutant Chronicles
Written by: Philip Eisner
Directed by: Simon Hunter

2 / 5

I was hopeful for this movie because of its fine-looking cast and strong premise. However, I'd heard some dodgy reviews so to say I was sceptical is putting it lightly. The opening worried me considerably - a battle scene to grab your attention. But it was in the trenches with WW2-style weapons. I was horribly confused since I'm fairly certain we haven't had trench warfare in years, making it highly unlikely we'd be using such tactics in the 28th century!

Either way, that's a slight that I can ignore. The story, on the other hand, I cannot! It has huge potential; the prologue sets up a vast, interesting world of politics and war. But there's absolutely no need for it. This film could easily be set in the 1940s and probably would be a lot better as a result!

The characters aren't really fleshed out at all and their motives for joining a suicide mission are very thin. Thomas Jane plays our protagonist, but his story arc is completely under-developed, resulting in a leader we couldn't really care less about. It's a shame because Jane displays some fine acting throughout and could have easily given us a lot more powerful, emotional scenes had the script allowed.

The most criminal aspect of this film is definitely the use (or non-use) of Ron Perlman - a highly talented and drastically underrated actor. We've seen him a lot playing badass sub-characters (see Blade 2 or Sons of Anarchy), but here he's given a boring role as a priest. Not to say priests are boring, but this one is! Perlman does his best with his poor character (filled with painful, exposition-filled dialogue) but it's not enough to save the film.

All in all, Mutant Chronicles had vast potential to give us a smart, action-filled sci-fi film with memorable characters and strong sub-plots. But instead, we are thrown a half-cocked movie with dull action pieces, terrible special effects (not that I mind bad FX usually) and no heart. The only reason this receives two stars (as opposed to one) is that it isn't afraid to take a few chances near the end. But unfortunately, it's too little too late!

Worth a look to see how films sometimes fail their premises, but other than that, give it a miss!

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