Wednesday, May 25, 2016

House of the Dead

Back again my loyal the by, I thank you for that. This time around I want to do another video game adaptation to film. Yes I know that most of these are quite painful to sit through. When we have had such examples as Super Mario Brothers, Double Dragon and Van Dumb's Street Fighter, it is understandable that this subgenre of film can be considered a turd in a punch bowl at a prestigious party. That being said, Paul W.S. Anderson's Mortal Combat, Jan de Bont's Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Corey Yuen's DOA: Dead or Alive and even Michael J. Bassett's Silent Hill: Revelation are all extremely close to the original source material. With some of these games there was not a lot of character and story development and the story that was there may have been too far fetched for causal gamers to appreciate. With that in mind, I wish to discuss the diaper stain that is Uwe Boll's work. This is House of the Dead.

Icky, there's dust and bodies.  So not cool.

As a first person shooter game from the original arcade created by Sega, the story of two agents of AMS and all boss creatures are named after the Major Arcana of tarot cards created by the mad scientist Dr. Curien dabbling in biotech, the occult and even alchemy. Nifty and easy enough to follow, right? Whelp, screw all that mildly clever story telling. Instead let's have the patented Uwe Boll main character narrative over several chunks of the movie or I have been calling it "The Expositioner". No need for complicated story arc, character building or even agents of AMS or even Dr. Curien. Huh? Then you ask, "Well Jake, if this has no direct connection to the original source material, what is left?" Well let me enlighten you all. Boobs and zombies.

Yup, scantily clad jiggly girls and zombies that I suppose are close to Curien's creatures but no doctor on the scene. This is all supposed to be a rave on a remote island near Seattle. So no agents Thomas Rogan or G. Nope instead a gaggle of twenty somethings drinking, screwing and dancing the night away. 5 twenty somethings need to get to the island ASAP before all the booze and loose people are napping. They approach Clint Howard making yet another regular link-up with Boll via character actor alongside Jurgen Prochnow of Da Boot, Judge Dredd, The Replacement Killers and NCIS: Los Angeles as Captain Kirk. Yup Uwe Boll must be a huge Shatner fan. With an offer of a thousand clams, Kirk takes them to La isla de los muertos ( Island of the Dead, Gringos!) for the “Rave of the Century” but apparently no one does their homework like: mapping the area, safely having the dock set aside for incoming boats or here's something nutty, knowing the name of the island you are raving at.


Our quintet of cannon fodder makes their way on the island to see the place is thrashed and no one appears to be around when a film freak and few of his red shirts tell them about the roving zombies shucking and devouring party goers like so many oysters on the half shell. Kirk's ship is under attack by the zombies and he is smoking a cigar to techno music for some reason...kinda pictured something of classical or opera like The Flying Dutchman as he one hands them with a 44. Desert Eagle. He makes his way back to the island with enough firepower to occupy France for the next two weeks. Will our collective heads of knuckle make it out? If they survive, will they skip raves again?

Aside from the creatures i.e. Zombies, there is nothing that resembles House of the Dead at all. Boll just made "Rave On the Island of the Dead", pocketed money on the back end and moved on to his next bastardization of a video game adaptation. The practical effects are on the cheap as you see plenty of rubber masks on the zombie extras, this damn 360 pan is done far too many times and they splice scenes from the arcade game as if that is to remind you that there is a link from the game to the film. The actors' performance feels stilted as if they are reading from cue cards and didn't have a script to consult so everything uttered sounds off and unnatural.  The lack of a stabilizer in the camera gives the patented shaky cam view that Boll thinks is awesome...for making viewers to puke from jarring zooms and pans.

Oh FYI, Takashi Oda the creator of The House of the Dead never bothered to give this acronym an actual title. They're just an international organization. Picture INTERPOL with X-Files.

Those guys kicked me out of the cemetery...sniffle.