Let's get this out of the way first thing: Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan is a bad movie. Badly acted, badly directed, bad CGI effects (but, of course, you knew that as soon as you saw this listed on the SyFy Channel). And yet, it's entertaining in ways that its creators probably never intended. A group of teenage hoodlum wannabes are punished for their crimes...by being sent to camp. Their punishment comes in the form of drill-sergeant survivalist cop who clearly should not allowed within 100 feet of minors and a psychiatrist who wants them to get in touch with their feelings. For a teenager, I can't imagine which of them would be worse company for a weekend. As befits a horror movie that needs a body count, you will hate nearly all of these people and want them to die within 15 minutes. Don't worry, you'll get your wish. Pretty soon, the campers are getting pruned by a 15-foot-tall freak who appears to be developmentally disabled, until you realize that, somehow, he was smart enough to make or buy an double-headed ax with a 10-foot handle (C'mon, those things can't be easy to come by!) that's just big enough for a guy his size to use without looking like he's playing with a toy. He's given a back story familiar to anyone who's a fan of "maniac-in-the-back-woods" horror films. The movie plays out exactly as you expect it to. It "stars" (and I'm using the word in its loosest possible interpretation) Dan Haggerty and Joe Estevez. It's a hallmark of how low this movie sinks that its best-known performers are a TV actor whose last significant role was in 1978 and Martin Sheen's cheaper, less talented brother. Haggerty's role is little more than a cameo (and the scariest thing about this movie is, that apart from his hair and magnificently-sculpted beard going from blond to gray, he doesn't appear to have aged a day in the last 40 years). And Estevez spends the entire movie acting as if Gary Busey and Nicholas Cage are inside him, battling for possession of his immortal soul. There's nothing even remotely original about this movie: from turning a folkloric character into a generic psycho killer to the contrived excuses for why nobody's cell phone and car seem to work when they really need them, to the cookie-cutter characters whose odds of survival are inversely proportional to how annoying they are. Even Estevez's third-act freak-out seems oddly derivative. But if you approach this movie with appropriately low expectations, the cheese factor is good for a few laughs.
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