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4 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
A complete waste in every sense of the word, 2 March 2004

This is perhaps the worst movie ever made. It is absolutely indefensible. The positive comments here must have been posted by the producers and their friends. The idea of comparing it to "The Player" (as one reviewer did) is close to lunacy. The Player was a great film. It is a masterpiece compared to this movie. Come to think of it, "Scooby-Doo" would be a considered a masterwork in some parallel universe where the only other movie ever released was "Mad Dog Time."

This movie was made to feed the ego of its producers (who also appear in this disgraceful mess.) I will do them a huge favor and not name names (though you likely know who they are at this point.) How they managed to sell this to all of the fine actors in the cast is beyond me. I am sure that for Burt Reynolds, this is preferable to the dinner-theater circuit and obviously Billy Idol hasn't had a career in decades, but how do you explain the presence of Jeff Goldblum, Gabriel Byrne, Diane Lane, et al? I am guessing blackmail of some sort. Maybe the producers had compromising photos. Maybe they were forced to take part at gunpoint. I really don't know, but the end result is a serious black mark on everyone's record.

The "film" (I call it that begrudgingly) is a parody of the old Rat Pack movies. Granted it is hard to parody things that weren't serious to begin with, but the producers get zero points for trying.

The script tries very hard to be witty and fails miserably at every turn. Running "gags" include the hilarious fact that three of the characters names rhyme (that one is beaten to death, despite the fact that it was clearly stillborn), vapid musings about the meaning of life (and death of course) and the side-splitting fact that one of the characters may or may not have angina (which, it is cleverly pointed out, rhymes with vagina.) They threw in some people shooting each other as filler for a script that is lacking every essential element needed for a competent film. And someone commented that this is good family entertainment? In what universe? Perhaps they meant in the universe that this film is set in (a gimmick that has a tacked-on feel, like it was added at the last moment to explain why these characters all act like aliens from another planet.) The Rat Pack in space? Was that the pitch for this monstrosity?

Even fans of gangster movies will hate this. Do yourself a huge favor and avoid it at all costs. Oh by the way, they sneakily changed the title of this bomb to "Trigger Happy." I have to give it to them that this is a far more appropriate and clever title, but just imagine the outrage of some poor viewer who has already suffered through "Mad Dog Time" (on cable ten times a day) and rented this "new" title by mistake! The tragic error would be oh-so-painfully apparent as soon as the initial voice-over kicked in. In the beginning there was a bad opening and it was bad. Really bad. And God (or Vic depending on what universe you are in) knows it is all goes steeply downhill from there. Hit rewind, go back to the video store and demand a refund!

Note to the executives who green-lighted this "film." Go home, pack your bags and leave Hollywood. Please!

Snatch (2000)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Watchable, but muddy and a bit annoying, 2 March 2004

An over-written and preposterous script is somewhat saved by some good performances (particularly Brad Pitt as the gypsy boxer) and the occasional funny line (unfortunately there are far more lead balloons than knee-slappers.)

Zany madcap British comedy paired with grim and gratuitous violence makes for a pretty muddy mixture and the gimmicky editing becomes annoying after about five minutes. That said, the movie is somewhat enjoyable at times and the unexpected (for me at least) twist at the end somewhat satisfying.

I think it would have been a better movie if they cut every scene involving the diamond and focused entirely on the boxing storyline. Despite the attempts to join the two plots through common characters, they come off as two different movies competing for the viewers' interest (with the boxing scam easily beating out the silly diamond hijinks.)

The tone is self-congratulatory and you get a sense that the principals involved truly believe they are making a film of landmark importance. Call me crazy, but A British imitation of "Pulp Fiction" seems a pretty small blip on the radar screen of cinematic history. Pardon me mates, but I think you better find another savior for your film industry. I mean, the follow-up to this was the universally reviled "Swept Away." Granted it is virtually impossible to make a good movie with Madonna in it, but from what I have heard, "Swept Away" makes "Shanghai Surprise" look like high art.

Boring and incomprehensible, 2 March 2004

Viewers and critics alike lauded the original as a visionary masterwork, the first piece of an omenous and prophetic cinematic puzzle that once assembled completely would shake our traditional faiths and values to the core. It was like a new religion for some of its more zealous fanatics. We were all so stupid for using computers. We better listen to these guys or we're surely doomed! Never mind that these new "messiahs" were a couple of comic book writers.

After this interminable mess (and the final insult that followed six months later), I imagine most of those people are back in their traditional houses of worship on Sunday.

What? You mean it was all a bunch of Hollywood hype? A ripoff? The comic guys just wanted to make a bunch of money? I can't believe it!

Free your mind indeed.

12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Not as bad as you might imagine, 2 March 2004

If you are a fan of B-grade monster movies, this one is absolutely watchable, especially Heidi Lenhart. I may not know art, but I know what I like!

The plot is stupid, the acting terrible. Continuity and production values are non-existent. The budget appears to have been the change from inside the producers' car-seats. In short, it is everything you would expect from a straight-to-video creature feature. The film succeeds on its own terms.

Some reviewers complain about the obviously ersatz crocodile, but I enjoyed this low-budget quickie more than "The Matrix Reloaded" and "Scooby-Doo" combined (two recent CGI-laden Hollywood debacles.)

You can catch this on late-night cable as "Crocodile 2: Death Roll."

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A complete crock, 1 March 2004

This is a truly awful movie. I remember renting it in the late eighties as I was a fan of low-budget horror movies at the time. What amazes me is that some people actually expected this to be high art, due to Wes Craven's "pedigree." Wes Craven is a hack and will always be a hack. I liked the first "Elm Street" and "Scream" installments, but everything else he has ever made is Z-grade crap. He has always been panned by critics and it is very rare that his movies make any money at all (Scream trilogy is the exception.) Some of his worst movies, including the first "Hills" installment and the infamous "Last House on the Left", are absolutely appalling. Think "Friday the 13th" without the comedy. Craven is just another 70's exploitation-meister who became a cottage industry due to longevity and name recognition, despite any semblance of artistic integrity (see also John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper.)

Enough about the creator and his "legacy." As for the movie itself, it stands out as one of the most boring and pointless horror movies ever made (quite a distinction!) An obvious attempt to cash in on the mild controversy that surrounded his earlier works, it is agonizing to sit through. Neither scary nor funny (except for the stupid dog's flashback), it is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. Viewers should be outraged by the time the unthinkably preposterous ending rolls around.

Scooby-Doo (2002)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A slow-motion train wreck, 1 March 2004

I must admit I am strangely drawn to really bad movies. Watching them is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. With this one I have hit the mother load! This is certainly among the most botched releases in Hollywood history. The level of incompetence is staggering. Somehow this mess it is still watchable, if only to grimace at the colossal waste of time and money. The fact that it earned money and spawned a sequel speaks of the monumental gullibility of the movie-viewing public and the sheer idiocy of Hollywood executives. Note to the producers: you cannot fool most people more than once with the same gag. Your sequel will undoubtedly lose all the money you made on this dog (no pun intended.)

So there is really no reason to write an actual review as this not an actual movie, but I will give it go anyway.

First of all, I hated Scoob as a kid. It was absolutely the most mind-numbing thing on TV (and that is really saying something!) I didn't like The Brady Bunch either (another staple of the after-school TV diet designed to turn kids into mindless zombies, not unlike the kids in this movie), but I absolutely loved the movie (and the sequel!) This movie follows the identical formula: transplant the dated characters and plot lines into the present, add some tasteless sight gags and of course a few nods to the original that wink at viewers, while skewering the source material. The last ingredient only works if the audience truly dislikes the original, which is why most true fans see this movie as spitting on the icon. So if you hadn't read the opening paragraph, you might wager that I liked this movie. Well, read on.

Starting with the plot. What plot? I thought the original series was thin on story, but this movie takes it to another level. The less said about it the better. I don't know what the screenwriter got for this, but (quoting another Hanna-Barbera creation) he should have got life!

As for acting, the portrayal of Shaggy is spot on! The rest of the performances aren't worth discussion, except for that of Rowan Atkinson (of Black Adder and Mr. Bean fame.) This guy is inherently hilarious, so he must have been directed to turn in the most leaden performance he could muster (that or he was sleep-walking.)

Speaking of direction, what direction? The same goes for editing. The whole experience is disjointed and seems slapped together at the last minute. The entire budget must have gone for CGI effects and set pieces. They aren't particularly well done, but they stick out due to the overall cheapness of the rest of the production. Sock puppets in lieu of CGI monsters seem more appropriate here.

Casting? Oh brother. Other than Shaggy (who as noted above is absolutely perfect), the casting is an unmitigated failure. Of particular note, Linda Cardellini is far too adorable to be the dowdy and mannish Velma. At one point in the movie, the Fred character (trying to comfort an insecure Velma) confides that he likes "dorky girls" like her too. Give me a break! In what sort of bizzaro world would this gorgeous babe feel awkward?

The modern character updates are mindless filler and the fart jokes and other departures from good taste fall completely flat. Not to mention that the pot reference early in the film is clearly inappropriate for the target audience (and don't tell me that kids didn't get that joke!)

Even the publicists' work reeks of incompetence. Who decided to use the utterly unfunny airplane scene as the teaser clip on talk shows? When I saw that clip (knowing it represented what the producers considered a production highlight), I knew a disaster of biblical proportions was on its way (dogs and cats flying together!)

As for good points, the opening ten minutes were great! Some funny inside jokes, a few twists on the familiar frictions between the all-too-familiar characters had me laughing. I think it is the precipitous drop-off in quality thereafter that makes this film so disappointing. The set pieces are largely a waste, but there is one scene where the gang freezes like mannequins in a museum display that is slightly amusing (mainly because this is more in line with the familiar motivations of these characters.) The voice (and speech impediment) of the title character is perfect, though it would have been more expedient to just recycle the old "Rut roh" and "Rorry" sound bites from the original. The mutt doesn't really say much else. On that note, I don't remember ever hearing the original Scooby bark, yet this incarnation woofs up a storm in the scene on the airplane. Boy it is really hard to complete a paragraph about this movie without at least one negative comment.

Only fans of really bad movies should bother to see this debacle. Everyone else should find something better to do with eighty-three precious minutes. Life is way to short and besides, the only way to send a message to Hollywood about garbage like this is to stay away! Don't rent it, don't buy it and for the love of God, don't attend the sequel (as previously stated logic dictates, those who are not completely brain-dead will indeed stay away from the next episode in droves) as every ticket sold is a vote for yet another pointless production. This summer movie season vote NO on Scooby!

Hulk (2003)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Too ambitious for its own good, 1 March 2004

Great special effects, spectacular action scenes and innovative editing are bogged down in a swamp of over-written character study and operatic angst. Schizophrenic is probably the best word to describe this movie (as well as the central character.)

The movie captures the look, but not the feel of the old comic books. Hulk was always a sad and tragic character, but the comic books were action first and psycho-drama second. This movie turns that formula upside-down and this is why it upset so many summer action fans, as well as the legions of comic book fans who flocked to its opening weekend (the film did a quick nose-dive at the box office once the word got out that this was not the next Spider-man.)

SIDE NOTE: Outraged fans should prepare to be upset further as a sequel is already in the works. These days Hollywood seems to make a sequel to even the most moderate hits (see also "Jeepers Creepers", "Dumb and Dumber", "Dr. Doolittle", etc.), despite the public outcry and predictable crash-and-burn results of such endeavors. What's next? Wild, Wild West 2? Blair Witch 3? If they announce either of these, I will personally be rooting for Mother Nature and the San Andreas fault to make good on their decades-old threat to dump Hollywood into the sea (perhaps a new and more creative species of movie executives will emerge on the new coastline.)