Sunday, September 15, 2013
RAGIN’ CAJUN REDNECK GATORS
Ragin’ Cajun Redneck Gators  is as wonderfully weird as any
creature feature on that glorious network. It’s got moonshiners,
feuding families, a Romeo and Juliet romance, mutant alligators and,
so help me Godzilla, were-gators.
Fresh from key roles in Ghost Shark  and Leprechaun's Revenge
, Thomas Francis Murphy is the moonshine-making patriarch of
one of the families. He’s been adding a chemical to his shine to
speed up the manufacturing process, but the result is really lousy
tasting moonshine. So his sons dump these failed experiments into
the swamp and the result of that is giant mutant alligators capable of
shooting spikes from their tales. Like most of these Syfy movies,
the monsters make the scene early in the movie.
Jordan Hinson, who played Zoe Carter in Eureka, has returned to her
hometown for a family celebration, her family being the other half
of the feuding families part of the plot. She’s become a vegan and
goes to school in the big city. She doesn’t want any part of the
family gator-hunting business, but she’s still the apple of father
Ritchie Montgomery’s eye.
Hinson is in love with the eldest son of the moonshiner. Her beau
loves the swamp. She wants to leave it behind forever.
The gator effects aren’t original - we’ve seen them in many other
Syfy movies - but they do the job. I thought the close-up scenes
of the gators, which may have been models in some cases, were well
done. Though the Cajun caricatures are a little hard to take, the
movie has plenty of gator-eating-man and man-eating-gator action.
Alas, there’s the catch.
If you eat meat from a moonshine-mutated gator, you transform into
a mutant gator. Before long, Hinson’s the only member of her large
family who is still human. Also worth noting, if you get bitten by
a mutant gator or a were-gator and survive, you also change into
a mutant gator.
There are some nice touches in the movie. Murphy doesn’t shy from
taking responsibility for the horror he has created and does what
he can to make it right. Hinson must reluctantly join the battle
against her gator-ized kin. And the final scene of the movie is,
well, crazy wonderful in its own way.
You know the deal with the Syfy movies. They aren’t great movies.
But if you watch them in the right frame of mind, they can be great
fun. Ragin’ Cajun Redneck Gators is great fun and that’s all I ask
from any movie.
The action heroes of cinema past have become the much older action
heroes of cinema present. While I admire how amazingly bad-ass
these actors still look given their ages, I wish there were some newer
action heroes to pick up the slack.
A few months back, I reviewed The Last Stand  starring Arnold
Schwarzenegger. He played an action-weary retired federal agent,
now working as the sheriff of a peaceful town that, unfortunately,
stands between the leader of a drug cartel and freedom. The film
was an entertaining way to spend a couple hours. I decided I like
old Arnold more than I ever liked young Arnold.
I would almost say that same about old Bruce Willis if he was more
selective in his choice of movies. A Good Day to Die Hard ,
the latest in the John McClane series, was not a good way to spend
a couple hours.
McClane is in Russia, trying to do something to help his estranged
son who is on trial for murder. He doesn’t know his son is a CIA
agent whose mission is to spring a political prisoner and get him
to the United States. Nothing is what it seems, well, except that
I could tell nothing was what it seemed early in the film. After
that, the only suspense was when the “surprises” would be revealed
to the clueless McClanes.
The movie has the usual shoot-em-ups and blow-em-ups one has come
to expect from the series. Willis is his usual charming self, but
he works too hard to achieve that. No one else in the main cast is
at all likeable or, for that matter, interesting. The helicopter
hijinks at the end of the movie were sort of fun, but they were too
little too late.
Maybe RED 2 will be better.
Sylvester Stallone rocked the aging action hero better in Bullet to
the Head . Based on a French graphic novel that I’d like to
read someday, the film stars Stallone as a hitman in uncomfortable
alliance with a Washington D.C. detective. Each man has seen their
partner murdered and both want to bring down the arrogant developer
whose agents are responsible for these deaths.
Bullet to the Head is dark stuff with the occasional bit of action
movie comedy. Stallone’s morality seems limited to fatherly love
for his daughter and loyalty to his partner. Sung Kang’s detective
is high-minded, but quickly bends his standards when he realizes
police corruption is part of the badness being perpetrated by the
developer...and when he becomes fond of Syl’s daughter.
The movie has its moments, but suffers from the usual cliches that
come when the main protagonist isn’t a good guy but the film still
wants audiences to root for him. The climatic mano-a-mano battle
between Stallone and the developer’s psychopathic killer served to
do little beyond wrapping up the movie.
Bullet to the Head is better than A Good Day to Die Hard, but not
really worth watching. I’d give it a pass.
One more quick review. Sexy Evil Genius  is dark comedy and
great fun. The movie stars familiar beloved actors Katee Sackhoff,
Michelle Trachtenberg and Seth Green. Sackhoff is the title star.
She plays the quite possibly insane Nikki Franklyn. Trachtenberg
and Green are ex-lovers of Nikki's who she's summoned to a Los
Angeles bar. Also in attendance: another former lover and the wealthy
but sleazy lawyer handling Nikki’s case. She is recently released
from a mental institution after she was convicted of murdering yet
another ex-boyfriend. Nikki and the lawyer are engaged to be wed.
This barroom gathering is one of Nikki’s scary strange schemes and
none of her guests is sure where it’s going. As the plot unfolds,
writer Scott Lew and director Shawn Piller sustain the suspense in
a quiet, underplayed manner. Indeed, the conversations around the
barroom table are more riveting than the flashbacks or the flurry
of action and explanation at the movie’s end.
Sexy Evil Genius has great writing, terrific acting and an wholly
satisfying ending. I recommend it.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more movie madness.
© 2013 Tony Isabella