February 21st, 2012

THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2 (FULL SEQUENCE) (2011) NO STARS

The original Human Centipede was kinda like this generation’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre as it’s nowhere near as disgusting as it’s reputed to be. It’s also technically better made than many give it credit for as the film features some truly harrowing sequences. If you put off seeing Human Centipede 1 for fear it was some sort of torture porn geek show; you were really missing out. Part 2 on the other hand is the same exact pointless gross out freak parade you’d imagine the original to be.

Martin (Laurence R. Harvey) is this fat parking garage attendant who becomes obsessed with watching The Human Centipede at work. Before long, he’s shanghaiing helpless victims (including the star of the first film, Ashlynn Yennie, playing herself) and escorting them to an abandoned warehouse where he strips them down, binds them, and recreates the experiment from the first film. (Except this time he’s got twelve people instead of three.) Since he isn’t a doctor like the nut in the first movie, his tools are crude and his methods are even cruder. For example, he doesn’t surgically connect his victims’ mouths to their anuses. He uses a staple gun and duct tape. When some of the members of the centipede escape, Martin’s plans start literally coming apart at the seams.

Human Centipede Numero Uno was a deftly crafted and dare I say, suspenseful horror movie. This one has no such luxuries. There is no style or skill at work here; just a bunch of gross out gratuitousness for the sake of gross out gratuitousness.

It would be one thing if the film was made on the cheap by an entirely different crew that were just in it to make a buck with a lame cash-in sequel. However, HC 2 was written and directed by the same guy who did the original, Tom Six. Six must’ve made the conscious decision to look at everything he did right with the first film… and then do the exact opposite here. Instead of lush color photography and elegantly framed compositions, we get grubby black and white footage that almost anyone could’ve shot. Instead of a carefully measured pace, this film lumbers along clumsily. And instead of restraint and classiness; Six gives us tastelessness and vulgar overkill.

I was almost tempted to give the film ½ * just because it DOES deliver on the gore. We get sandpaper masturbation, crowbar bashing, teeth being hammered out, knee slashing, ass hacking, barb wire rape, and lots of disgusting poopiness once the centipede members become unstitched from their involuntary surgical rim job. BUUUUUUUUTTTTT (and no, I’m not trying to make a pun here), the ending is so infuriating that I find it hard to give this movie the faintest bit of praise.

About that ending. In the end (Spoiler… fuck it… this is just a Warning in general… to stay away from this movie) after Martin has committed all this disgustingness, we learn it was… all a daydream! Really? The movie puts us through the ringer and then it doesn’t even have balls to at least make all the nauseating depravity real? After all that, it can’t even be bothered to hold itself accountable. It’s like it’s trying to let itself off the hook by claiming every disgusting thing we just saw for the last 89 minutes is just be some made up bullshit in some dude’s mind.

Pardon the pun, but what a line of shit.

TIME OF THE APES (1987) ** ½

Two whiny kids and a decent looking babe are hanging out in a cryogenic lab when all of a sudden; the place is rocked by an earthquake. They take shelter in a “Cold Sleep” machine where there quickly go into a deep freeze. A thousand years later (give or take) the trio wake up in a future ran by apes. They join up with another human named Godo and together they try to return to their own time.

Time of the Apes is a lame low budget Japanese knock-off of The Planet of the Apes. If I were comparing it to that series, I’d have to say that it’s just as bad as the worst movie in the franchise, Battle for the Planet of the Apes. But because Time of the Apes features really crummy ape make-up (the apes’ mouths hardly move when they talk) and some truly atrocious dubbing (the humans’ mouths hardly move when they talk), it makes it a lot more entertaining than that film.

If this movie starts getting low on sense near the end, it’s probably because someone (in this case Sandy Frank) took several episodes of a Japanese TV series and edited them together to make a patched-up feature for an unsuspecting American audience. And it’s kind of a shame too because for the most part, Time of the Apes isn’t THAT bad for about an hour or so. But by the time a flying saucer shows up to provide the flick with some poorly contrived deus ex machina, everything pretty much goes out the window. That’s alright though because there are still plenty of unintentional laughs throughout (one of the bad apes is named “Gay-Bar”) to keep you amused.

ONE MAN ARMY (1994) **

I’ve seen Jerry Trimble in a couple of movies here and there, but One Man Army represents the first starring vehicle for Jerry that I’ve seen. Even though I didn’t have high expectations for it, I’ll gladly give anything directed by Cirio H. (Silk) Santiago more than a fair chance. The opening credit sequence lets you know what you’re up against. As soon as you see the credit: Special Participation: “Yup” as Hank, you kinda know you’re in for it.

Trimble stars as a Volkswagen Bug driving karate teacher who returns to his hometown for his grandfather’s funeral. With the help of a sexy journalist (Melissa Moore from Samurai Cop), he does some digging and learns the town is being ran by a corrupt sheriff who has ties to the Mob. Jerry eventually decides to run for sheriff and he wins. But his efforts to clean up the town are thwarted by his crooked deputy who is still in cahoots with the former sheriff.

One Man Army is a standard issue Walking Tall retread spiced up with some not-bad kickboxing. We get an underground kickboxing tournament in the local saloon, a scene where Trimble beats up a bunch of security guards, and an OK pool hall fight. All of these fight scenes occur at a steady clip, yet none of them are particularly kick ass or anything.

Overall, One Man Army is a straightforward and short (it’s only 78 minutes) Roger Corman produced action flick, yet it isn’t nearly as nutty as the best Santiago stuff can be. The only unintentional laughs come from the 90’s mullets and fashions (you’ve got to love the pastel windbreakers). Easily the best thing about the movie as far as I was concerned was Melissa Moore. She has three major topless scenes (a shower scene, a long slow motion sex scene, and a swimming scene) and all of them are pretty good.

I was sitting on the fence for most of the movie. I was torn between giving it ** ½ and **. The thing that ultimately brought the movie down a notch for me was Trimble’s sidekick dog. Wait until you get a load of this mutt’s Lassie hijinks. It’s like something out of a Disney Channel movie. There’s this one scene where the dog pulls him out of a burning building that made me say, “Are you fucking kidding me?” out loud. However, if you have the capability to stomach these Rin Tin Tin types of shenanigans, you may enjoy it.