Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Movie Review: The Mutant Chronicles

I'll be the first to admit that I know nothing about the role-playing game upon which this film is based. But if you're a fan of the Mutant Chronicles RPG, let me assure you that based on what I do know, The Mutant Chronicles is only loosely based on its namesake. But it more or less sticks to the man idea, so hopefully you will be satisfied.

As for the movie as a stand alone, here's the basic synopsis. Thousands of years ago, an evil machine fell to earth from space and began turning people into undead "necromutants". A warrior raised an army, subdued the mutants, and sealed the machine underground. Fast foreword to the year 2707, where corporations rule the world instead of governments, waging endless war on each other. During a one such battle they accidentally uncover the machine and it resumes zombie making, forcing humanity to flee the earth. An order of monks, who've guarded against the machine since its burial, have a prophecy that foretells the machine's destruction, and the head monk gathers a small squad of soldiers to go underground and blow it up.

The Pros: This movie looks pretty good especially for an independent film. It's mostly stuff we’ve seen before, but the incorporation of steampunk sci-fi makes it slightly more memorable. The cast is probably the best part of this movie, particularly the two principle actors, Thomas Jane and Ron Pearlman. They may be playing stock characters, but they still give excellent performances. The action was pretty descent, and the combination of gun fighting and sword play was pretty cool to watch.

The Cons: The plot is pretty simplistic and predictable. Most of the time it feels more like a video game than a movie. The basic logic of the world they've set up is also pretty implausible. They've got a future world where everything’s powered by steam, and yet they still have space travel. I'm sorry, but I just don't buy a steam-powered spaceship, and I doubt many people will. The zombie science is kind of ambiguous; apparently swords hurt them but not bullets for no given reason. Also the term "Necromutants" was kinda stupid. Just call 'em what they are: zombies!

The Rest: Just so you know, this film is uber-gory (what else would you expect from a zombie flick?) It's not jut zombie gore, either. A lot of humans get pretty ripped up too. So if you’re easily grossed out, this is not for you.

The End: Overall I did not hate this movie. It wasn't great, but it was good enough to hold my attention to the end. Thomas Jane is one of my favorite actors, and as usual he kept things cool with that tough raspy voice and no nonsense attitude of his. It was also interesting to see Ron Pearlman playing against type as the holy man. Except for the steampunk element, there's no difference between this and every other zombie flick you've ever seen.

Overall, I rate The Mutant Chronicles as a 7 out of 10.

Check out the movie official website here.

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