Yeah--just ran through several titles that I missed in theatres. The two that DID play theatres barely deserved it, but the one that went straight-to-video WOULD have been okay for me on the big screen!
HOLLOW MAN II actually turned out all right. The effects are as fine as ever, Christian Slater makes for a good invisible villain (also loved what HAD to be an in-joke as a street pest harangues passersby shouting "Bacon is murder! Bacon is murder!")--and against all odds, we have a decent SCRIPT. The first one LOOKED wonderful, but confused Jack Griffin with an indestructible Jason. There's still a bit of that problem here, of course, but we get a much more interesting backstory regarding not only the government experiments (trying to create invisible supersoldiers, natch), but what became of the various test subjects, and what the creator of the "stabilizer" agent has to do to regain control. I wouldn't have complained if I had paid to see this in the theatre.
Now, as for the ones I missed on the big screen? And no, I still have no plans to rent UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION...
A recent episode of THE SOPRANOS was highlighted by a plot in which Christopher attempts to railroad Ben Kingsley to star in his prospective epic CLEAVER (about an undead mobster--otherwise, it's a SAW cash-in). And Kingsley (playing himself) suggests that, as always, it's "script-dependent." Ultimately, he doesn't do it, to the chagrin of the mob producers, who wind up mugging Lauren Bacall for her goodie basket...
...but what a missed opportunity! Honestly, I don't know when this episode was filmed (let alone written), but the perfect comeback was not to be heard. And that would have been? "Oh, come on, Ben! You did BLOODRAYNE, didn't you???!!!"
He says he did it because he had never played a vampire before and wanted to. And that is apparently excuse enough to appear in a Uwe Boll film? Personally, I think he would have done much better with Christopher Moltisanti!
Script-dependent? Well, maybe. Boll didn't write this one. And maybe (JUST maybe) a decent director could have done something with the same script and the same cast--all of whom have acquitted themselves admirably in unrelated productions. But as usual, we're in "what the hell was he THINKING land" here. Now, Kingsley himself (aside from the humiliation of just BEING there) doesn't come off horribly, nor would I say that Kristanna Loken was miscast in the title role. But Michael Madsen just looks like he's playing dress-up, and as for Michelle Rodriguez? This medieval would-be-epic is just about the least appropriate place for her usual "bad-ass chica" character to turn up, and Boll does her no favors (surprise surprise) by his apparent refusal to offer actual direction to ANYBODY. Oh, there's gore galore (especially as I rented the unrated version), but it's just another tedious, stupid mess (though he's never going to top the sheer idiocy of HOUSE OF THE DEAD). So--do we still get to see DUNGEON SIEGE?
Kingsley is blessed with a genuine role and some tasty dialogue (not to mention a ridiculous rug) in A SOUND OF THUNDER, and the Ray Bradbury source story remains irresistible. Nothing wrong whatsoever about the dinosaur safari premise, or the time-ripple consequences of tampering with the past, or the reimaginings of evolution (quite liked the dinosaur-baboon hybrids). This one would have been terrific under the restraints of the 1950s. Unfortunately, nowadays, you can't expect to sell this story to an audience unless you have absolutely state-of-the-art effects, and the sheer, phony cartoonishness of both the city of the future AND the creatures just knocks you out of the story, time and time again. I'm sure the "troubled production" stories could fill a book, but for all the effort, they still just couldn't get it to work.
But I still liked THE RELIC.
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