“We are not infected”
Yet again I have to start a review with an apology for not posting lately. My internet provider is totally fucking useless, despite paying for 20mb I get less than dial-up with no idea when it will be resolved. This review will take four times as long as it should but I need to put some new content here. So todays review is a French zombie movie called Mutants.
Mutants tells the story of Sonia & Marco, who as the movie starts are fleeing in an ambulance (Sonia is a doctor) a virus which has turned the vast majority of the population into flesh hungry zombies. They are accompanied by a young policewoman, while attempting to fuel to ambulance the group are attacked resulting in the death of the policewoman & Marco being bitten & infected. The couple seek refuge in what looks like an abandoned hospital. Sonia (who is pregnant) tends her husbands wounds & tries to call for help using a radio in the hospital. Marco starts to deteriorate, as the days go by his condition worsens. Sonia is aware of what her husband is becoming & just how dangerous he will become but cannot bring herself to kill the man she loves. Just as the virus completely takes Marco a group of survivors arrive at the hospital with their own agenda.
This film reminded me of how I felt watching 28 Days Later. The opening half hour was gripping & promised so much, then the movie nose-dived, just like 28 Days Later into a nonsensical mess. This movie could have been so good. The premise was original, at least in the way it tackled the zombie apocalypse. It took the whole end of days theme & brought it down to its basic humanity, could you kill the one you truly love? Helene de Fougerolles does her best with what the script gives her as Sonia. She really captures a woman torn between love & logic in her performance & is one of the movies only highpoints. Francis Renaud as Marco also tries hard to give some emotional gravitas to the proceedings but is severely hampered by the limp script & overplayed drama. The rest of the cast are fodder & one-dimensional. The effects are mostly CGI & just about passable, sadly the same cannot be said for the make up effects on the infected. They are ridiculously over made up & look about as scary as a tortoise in a wetsuit. The action scenes are filmed in the fashionable shakycam/fast cutting style which does the movie no favours what so ever. The movie does have a couple of things in its favour (apart from de Fourgerolles performance) The cinematography & scenery are stunning & compliment each other. The film & the hospital itself are set in the snow-covered French countryside, giving the movie a stark & isolated feel. The hospital itself has stark flourescent lighting & white walls giving the scenes a cold, harsh ambience. If only this film could have remained true to its opening third, if it could we would have a zombie classic to rival Romero, Fulci & all. As it is Mutants stands as a huge disaster. Shame.
I really wanted to like this film, but it’s just awful. If you’re looking for a good modern European zombie movie, check out [REC] If you want to see a good French zombie movie check out La Horde. If you want to see a truly disappointing zombie movie, then Mutants is your film, just don’t say I didn’t warn you!
“It’s about time, be prepared”
After a partially enforced absence due to internet provider issues it’s back to reviews & Hong Kong for a rape/revenge classic. Her Vengeance is a Cat III movie from director Ngai Kai Lam, the man responsible for the incredibly bloody & downright insane Riki Oh, The Story Of Ricky. Her Vengeance is ostensibly a remake of Kiss Of Death (a lesser known Cat III) An uncompromising movie, extremely graphic & nihilistic, this movie isn’t an enjoyable ride.
The plot revolves around Kit-Ying (Pauline Wong) who at the beginning of the movie works at a nightclub, one night she gets into an altercation with five thuggish patrons, who we have already seen violently rob an armoured cash truck. The thugs leave & later Kit-Ying goes home. Once on the deserted nighttime streets Kit-Ying realises the gang have followed her & after a brief struggle they drag her to a cemetery where she is brutally gang raped. Kit-Ying goes home to the house she shares with her blind sister, who after finding out what happened suggests Kit-Ying goes to see her uncle Hsiung to gain revenge. Kit-Ying goes to the doctor because she is experiencing severe pain. He calmly informs her she has contracted AIDS from the rape & will die. Kit-Ying travels to the city to her uncle’s nightclub. Hsiung (played by the late, great Lam Ching Ying) is wheelchair bound but more than adept in martial arts as a couple of drunken, troublemaking customers soon find out. He allows Kit-Ying to stay & gives her a job but refuses to help with the vengeance, stating that no good can come of it. But events start to spiral ending with Kit-Ying & Hsiung planning a showdown with the thugs.
Her Vengeance is another great Cat III movie, not quite up to the standards of The Untold Story, Red To Kill or The Ebola Syndrome but well worth watching. Pauline Wong gives a decent performance as Kit-Ying, the only downside is, we (the audience) only really get to see her after the assault as a cold vengeance driven woman. There is no real glimpse of the woman before, who she was. This is only a minor quibble but in my opinion slightly detracts from the movie as a whole. Lam Ching Ying as Hsiung the wheelchair bound uncle completely steals the film. There is a training montage on the rooftop which provides the movies only glint of humour. A skilled martial artist Lam is superb & elevates every scene he is in. Sadly the actors playing the gang don’t exactly cover themselves with glory. Wether by script or plain bad acting they just appear as grinning, leering idiots. One of the movies highpoints is the cinematography, which reminded me of Red To Kill. The assault in the graveyard is filmed beautifully, everything has a nighttime blue tinge & heightens the brutal shocking act. The rape itself was for the time graphic & explicit but could be considered mild today in the light of Irreversible & Baise Moi. fortunately the scene isn’t filmed to excite, a problem that I find with a lot of Cat III films. Sadly the film also shows its age with its treatment of AIDS, the movie almost stands as a reminder to just how ignorant people were when the disease first came to prominence. In this respect Kiss Of Death handled that scene much better by using a fictional STD instead. The films climatic showdown is an insane sequence full of violence, booby traps & wonderful fight choreography. There are two versions of his movie, a Cat II version with most of the rape & revenge cut out & padded with dialogue & the Cat III version. The version I saw was the Cat III version but the print looked as if it had been restored from the Cat II version. There was a noticeable drop in image quality during the violent scenes. Much like the restored Witchfinder General.
In closing Her Vengeance is easily worth a look. Don’t expect to come out of the movie feeling good. It is just about as grim a movie as you can get. As I stated earlier there are better films in The Cat III genre but this film can still proudly stand as one of the better examples of the genre.