At the end of the Ice Age, The Machine came from outer space with the purpose to change men into mutants. However, a hero defeated the device and a great seal was laid over The Machine. In 2707, the depleted world is ruled by four Corporations: Mishima, Bauhaus, Capitol and Imperial that are in a constant state of war. During a battle between Capitol and Bauhaus, the great seal is broken and The Machine works again transforming soldiers and civilians into hordes of mutants. A small part of the population escapes to Mars, leaving millions of people behind. The man of faith and leader of an ancient brotherhood, Brother Samuel, is a believer in God and the Chronicles, a bible about the mutants from ancient times. With the city besieged by the mutants, he visits the Corporations' leader Constantine, asking for an aircraft and twenty men for a suicide mission to destroy The Machine, planting a bomb and a detonator following the knowledge of the Chronicles. He recruits the tough Major '... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Better than IMDb rating and expectations imply: the rare "B-movie" gem
Sometimes, seemingly simple movies, panned by most of the critics, just grab me. This was one of them. It takes place in the future, but I was gripped from the get-go with World War II trench-like warfare going on at the start. It feels very much like a good war movie at this point with a compassionate officer going up against some kind of Nazis, but things are not really that especially with the steampunk machines and unconventional firearms. It goes even crazier when some long-dormant evil is awakened. After that strong opening, we delve summarily into that society and some kind of prophecy that involves a desperate quest to save the world by a small group of heroes. It sounds pretty cliché, right, but weirdly it works here and the characters are compelling despite not being characterized much. It's the type of suicide mission story where the "heroes" get killed of one by one, and not always in the most heroic manner. However, you kinda grow attached to the multi-ethnic group, want to learn more about them (some intriguing snippets but not much) and their sometimes noble self-sacrificial acts make them likable. I truly enjoyed the heroism on display, but can't say I was particularly emotionally moved by any of the deaths. I also liked very much how the plot sometimes played with our expectations (witness the mother and child trying to evacuate) despite some logical flaws that bugged me a little.
The mutants in question are not super-heroes (like X-Men) or standard "zombies", and the title is misleading because it's not really "their" chronicles. Thee mutants are antagonists and besides attacking and being killed, they don't do much. The movie is apparently low-budget (at 25 millions, I'd say medium-budget) but it really doesn't show. You have stunning special effects, decors and vehicles that don't really look computer-generated (and sometimes actually weren't). It's not to say everything is realistic, it's a bit stylized and otherwordly like 300 for example. There were some really spectacular scenes and vistas. The action scenes were exciting and overall I thought the directing was very good. The movie was paced well, and I was never bored. One thing I didn't really care much for was the religious claptrap, but I've seen worse.
Please note however that I didn't watch the shorter (by around 10 minutes) director's cut that cuts some of the religious stuff but also a few nice character moments. I did check the differences and suggest watching the theatrical non director's cut version if you can. Before I forget, you do have some bad-ass heroes kicking major butt in satisfying ways (less and less guns and more sword fighting as it goes), and some enjoyable b-movie one-liners by Thomas Jane's character. So it's certainly not the type of movie you haven't seen before, but it's masterfully executed, beautiful in a post-apocalyptic way, but most of all it feels right. A rental is definitely recommended and myself, I'm even thinking of buying it.
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Very good).
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