About a decade ago, I worked in the marketing department of the local AFB. The local Blockbuster would send us their VHS stool to give away--mostly clipped promos (i.e., the Blair Witch Project with the ending removed), straight-to-video dreck, crummy foreign films, and soft-core pornography. Y2K: Year 2 Kill came across my desk in late 1999, and my boss tasked me with watching it; she wanted to play it as a lark at the base's millennium bash.
Imagine, if you will, a young director who wanted to be the next Tarantino. Said director decides to make a very Tarantinoesque thriller a la Reservoir Dogs, but lacking any of the mise-en-scene or scripting panache that makes his muse's works so compelling. Indeed, his work is unspeakably dreadful; so dreadful that it is in danger of disappearing into bargain bins around the country altogether. How does said director distinguish his film from other pseudo-Tarantino films that infected the video stores of the late 90s? The answer is clear. He must tie it in with the then-flourishing Y2k scare.
The problem is that the Y2k material is welded onto the film with a complete lack of finesse and artistry. Much is made of the food shortages caused by the Y2k disaster, but one gunfight takes place among the well-stocked shelves of a supermarket. The Y2k references peak in the first half-hour, then are never mentioned again. That is not the main problem with the film, however.
No, apart from the gimmick of Y2k, the film itself is horrible; perhaps the worst I've ever seen--and I'm a dedicated MST3k fan. The plot is nonsensical. It tried to capture some of Tarantino's knack for nonlinearity, but it ultimately collapsed into incoherence. The cast was atrocious; the acting was uniformly poor, but the leads were particularly ugly and uninspired. It may poor taste to focus on the looks of the cast, but I feel it is warranted in this case. Take the female lead, for instance: I wasn't expecting a Perfect Ten pinup, but she was so homely she made Chloe Sevigny look like Grace Kelly. Perhaps the worst part was the editing; running little over ninety minutes, it felt like three hours.
I returned this to my boss with a recommendation to burn the tape; I never saw it again. In the end, I was the only one in Wichita to see this movie; indeed, I may have been the only person in this time zone to see it. I do not feel like a member of a select elite who have partook in a unique experience; that is definitely not the impression Y2K: Year to Kill imparted on me. Instead, being among the few to have watched Y2K: Year to Kill makes me feel like I've survived a rare disease, like Donohue syndrome or malignant hyperthermia.
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