Friday, May 19, 2017

Mutant Chronicles (2008)

Directed by: Simon Hunter
Run Time: 111 minutes

Here is a quick background dump on Mutant Chronicles. The Mutant Chronicles is a table top role playing game set in the sort of far future. Governments have been replaced with four multinational mega corporations that strip mined the Earth of anything and anyone of value. As soon as the Earth was made a polluted husk the corporations took off for the inside of Mercury, terraformed Venus and Mars, and the astroid belt outside of Mars. Things for the corporations were going great until the tenth planet was found. Or home to horrible things and the death of every computer in existence.  Which leads to humanity fighting it's self and horde of demonic mutant things for survival.

The movie opens with a world history lesson about how in the distant past a meteorite crashed on Earth and released a hoard of undead mutant things. A group of knights drove the undead mutant things back to the creator they crawled out of, sealed it, an the promptly forgot about the whole incident. Centuries pass, nations give way to corporations, and four mega corporations struggle for control of Earth. Capitol corporation controls North and South America, Bauhaus controls Europe and half of Russia, Imperial controls the UK, Australia and most of Africa, and Mishima that controls Asia and the rest of Russia.

These corporate nations fight each other for everything from resources to which version of football is best. One such fight is taking place right near the creator where humanity sealed a bunch of murderous mutants. The Capitol army had built a defensive trench against the Bauhaus army and are waiting to see who points out the flaws of trench warfare first. This is where we meet Major 'Mitch' Hunter (Thomas Jane), a career solider who sees his job as chance to "fuck things up". He will be the character that the movie uses as it's point of view for the most part.

After a brief tour of how much life in the trenches sucks the Bauhaus army arrives to prove that life can always get worse. During the fighting, an artillery round opens the tomb holding the undead mutant things. Who in turn destroy the two fighting armies and end the corporation's war against each other. The movie then cuts to the other side of the world were the a religious order is listening to radio traffic and learns that the undead mutants are back. Because nothing says guardians of humanity like remote mountain monastery and a ham radio setup. This also the home of Brother Samuel (Ron Pearlman), the keeper of the scrapbook about undead mutants.

With the undead mutants free to kill all of humanity again, it's up to Brother Samuel to recruit eight other people to wield the only weapon that hurt the mutants. Swords. Because swords are the only weapon that can inflict enough damage to kill undead mutants. So Brother Samuel pays a visit to the Capitol CEO (John Malkovich) in the hopes of finding eight suckers are willing to undertake a suicide mission. The CEO produces some get off of Earth tickets as a way to entice some volunteers to help Brother Samuel's quest.

Leaving the CEO to be killed by the undead mutants, Brother Samuel manages to recruit Major Hunter and seven other soldiers who have not been developed as characters for the suicide quest. Together this group of soldiers slog their way through the third act and towards a hidden entrance into the undead mutant factory.

Now this might be surprising but this movie is weird and is not sure who it's audience is. To a general movie going audience the movie does a poor job providing bridging material to help the audience suspend their disbelief. Like explaining the World War One look of the film, reasons to like cardboard character cutouts, or how the world got so screwed up between the dark ages to the twenty fifth century. Fans of Mutant Chronicles and War Zone (the miniatures game based on the Mutant Chronicles game) are equally left in the dark by this film. It ignores the fantastic elements of the source material due to budget and takes artistic license as a reason to tell a well worn war story. The end result is a odd film, set in strange place, and telling a familiar story with weird props. If it's a solid rental/streaming movie if you want something strange.

MVP: Seeing John Malkoich preform his cameo while acting like he is coming off a week long Valium bender.

Make or Break: A lot of the run time I found myself yelling at the TV, "Hi, could you talk to the audience instead of being grim and dark while staring your own navel!"

Score: 4.9 out of 10

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