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Sixteen Tongues (1999)

 -  Horror | Sci-Fi  -  2005 (USA)
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Ratings: 3.5/10 from 151 users  
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The lives of an assasin and her hacker girlfriend are shattered when they cross paths with a rogue cop holed up inside an S/M hotel.



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Title: Sixteen Tongues (1999)

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Cast overview:
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Ginny Chin-Chin
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The lives of an assasin and her hacker girlfriend are shattered when they cross paths with a rogue cop holed up inside an S/M hotel.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Born To Kill, Hope To Die! See more »


Horror | Sci-Fi


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

2005 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


I See The Dark
Written and Sung by Alice Liu
Music Performed by Missing Chunk
1996, 1998 © Alice Liu - Registered BMI
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User Reviews

Bold underground film
6 November 2006 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Sometime in the future two people are hiding in an S&M motel: Adrian Torque (Crawford James) should now be dead. He is a renegade cop whose skin was reconstructed out of the sixteen tongues of fellow officers who died next to him in a terrible explosion. He is not a Frankenstein only on the outside, but he is also slowly driven mad by a never-ending stream of tastes. Adrian is not your average cop. The opening scene shows him interrogating a prisoner, then he forces him to perform graphic fellatio on him before blasting his brains against the wall.

Ginny Chin-Chin (Jane Chase) is a female assassin who has a clitoris implanted on her eyebrows; every blink triggers her incontrollable impulses. She stays in a room with her hacker girlfriend (Alice Liu). Their lives are about to collide with Adrian Torque.

Unfortunately Sixteen Tongues falters on the technical side. This movie would have benefited enormously from a more elaborate (not expensive) "mise en scene," simply because of its claustrophobic nature and stylized ideas. After all, this is a film set in the future. I'm not saying that it needed a bigger budget. Sometimes stunning cinematography can disguise a low budget. After an impressive opening credit sequence the visuals lose strength. The lighting is poor, or let's better say non-inexistent, for a big part of the film. The lampshades in the rooms are just not enough to keep the image clear of video noise. Maybe it is the ultimate realistic lighting, but it just doesn't looks good. However, the flickering blue light from the TV in Adrian's room is adequate and atmospheric.

The camera-work is uneven. Sometimes it is imprecise in its framing and sloppy in its movements. I like darkness and/or hand-held shots, but only when it is purposefully intended for a specific reason, with some kind of stylization behind it, to achieve a determinate goal.

The sound mix needs some equalization; mostly the voice-overs are sometimes hard to hear. But the music is pretty effective, adding greatly to the dark cyber-punk atmosphere. The opening and end credits tracks are both pretty good.

The actors all look like they are supposed to. Adrian is tall, tough looking. Virginia is cold and sensual at the same time. Although there are some weak moments, the acting is passable for the most part.

On the other hand, the sets evoke the seedy atmosphere of the location very effectively. The hallways are filled with porn photos. There is some of A Clockwork Orange's resonance in an ice machine shaped as two buttocks, the ice spurting from between them into the glass, and a doll with her legs spread over Adrian's TV. The S&M costumes, special effects, make up, gunshots are pretty well done for microcinema standards. The intricate animated sequences depicting web surfing deserves special mention. The live action scenes should have had this level of elaboration.

The pacing of the film suffers from some well-written, but sometimes extended voice overs. They serve the purpose of providing the background stories for the characters as well as some interesting concepts, but less is more. I would have rather have the film find a low budget, yet effective way of "showing me" rather than "telling me" some of its ideas.

But at the end, the power of this film lies in its ideas, original plot, and characters. If you are able to put the technical flaws aside, it succeeds tremendously in creating a uniquely grotesque world invaded by porn and genetically-altered people. In this world you have to swipe your credit card to be able to shut off the never-ending porn ads on your TV, or to use tap water or to take a shower.

There is a tasty amorality permeating all of the characters. If you think the protagonists are deviant, wait till you meet some of the guests from this motel. Despite what I said about the visuals, there are many memorable images. One comes to mind now: A penis ejaculating blood on a female chest. It left me wondering how life outside the motel in that world would be like.

One feels the script was written without any kind of self-censorship. Scooter McCrae doesn't seem very concerned about being assimilated by Hollywood, as it should be. In that sense, Sixteen Tongues takes full advantage of being a microcinema movie. It is not afraid to shock or disturb you with it's graphic sexuality, violence, and bold ideas.

7 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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