Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Monster Brawl (2011)

I've mentioned this before, but I'm something of a wrestling fan. Sure, it might run into moments that I hate (as a recent Smackdown spoiler suggests), but I still watch it regardless of what happens. It's clear that writer/director Jesse T. Cook is a fan as well (what with the appearances of current and former wrestling personalities and references to things like Japanese Death Matches), but with "Monster Brawl", he takes a one note premise that could have been fun and does nothing to make it work.

The plot couldn't be more simple-Buzz Chambers (Dave Foley) and Sasquatch Sid Tucker (Art Hindle) are two announcers who are pleased to give you Monster Brawl, in which eight monsters (Zombie Boy, Cyclops, The Mummy, Werewolf, Swamp Gut, Witch Bitch, Lady Vampire and Frankenstein) are all going to compete in one-on-one wrestling matches, with the voice of God (Lance Henriksen) serving as a narrator/ringside announcer. Oh, and the graveyard is cursed.

As I said, pretty basic stuff. On the plus side, most of the performances are alright. Foley and Hindle seem to be having a lot of fun as the announcers, while Kevin Nash does a fine job as Zombie Boy's manager. The only performance that doesn't ring true comes is from Henriksen, who sounds bored most of the time. It's hard to blame him though, as this is a movie with a fun premise that doesn't know what to do with it. Sure, there's a few chuckles to be had, but most of the jokes fall flat on their face, especially around the final act. Speaking of which, the third act just drags on and on, not showing any sign of letting up, but never managing to do anything that's fun.

Which leads me to my biggest complaint: the "matches" themselves are boring. Sure, it must be hard to wrestle with all that make-up or in a rubber suit, but there's little here that actually resembles a wrestling match. The fact that the film seems to be as influenced by old fighting games like "Killer Instinct" and "Mortal Kombat" as it is by wrestling hurts it too. Each match ends the same-you gotta kill your opponent in some gruesome fashion. By the third or fourth maiming that occurs however, it just gets repetitive. Apart from title belts, nothing feels like it's at stake here, making it all feel more like a pointless exercise than it does a wrestling and horror geeks dream come true.

As a whole, even the most hardcore mark (look it up) will probably find themselves bored by "Monster Brawl." It's a premise that doesn't do anything with the joke at hand, and feels more like a boring fantasy from a fan boy than it does a movie you'd actually want to sit through.

Rating: 3/10

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