Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Addicted to Lee. And Drugs and Porn.

Crimson Rivers 2: Angels of the Apocalypse
2004, France
Olivier Dahan
DVD

This movie is the embodiment of deja-vu. Not only have I seen it before, I’ve probably written this review before. The film follows a familiar path as surely as this article will. Since it’s French and isn’t made by someone desperately harkening back to New Wave glories by randomly inserting hand-held shots of bus passengers or editing the film backwards, you can expect anachronistic kung-fu, digital photography, and a pace better suited for cardiac arrest than a film. And since this is a 16mm Shrine review, you can expect three paragraphs separated by Google Image Search photographs, a minimum of three derogatory references to Zionism, and a hidden link to scatological pornography, plus the article will no doubt end in a completely different place than it began. If these filmmakers aren’t expected to deviate from some blueprint drawn up by a halfwit screenwriter with a Syd Field handbook and video library of Rambo films on VHS, then I don’t see why I should bother altering my formula one bit. In an uncertain world full of terrorist threats, disease epidemics, and the far-reaching tentacles of the European Jewry, the very least the French and I can offer to our respective adoring audiences is stability and predictability.

AKA "How To Write A Shitty Movie In Two Amphetamine Fueled Days."

Crimson Rivers 2 represents France’s attempt to create a non-taxi related franchise to export to the international market. Since, as evidenced by the bankable success of films like Godzilla in foreign territories, the international market is full of idiots, the French have attempted to tap into this stupidity with the same time-honored traditions pioneered by American direct-to-video artists, namely including all sorts of pseudo-religious mysticism, hand-to-hand combat at mathematically determined intervals, and at least one tough-talking female cop/theology student. Crimson Rivers 2 features Jean Reno reprising his role from the first film, as a no-nonsense cop who investigates strange crimes and occult murders now that The X-Files has gone into syndication. In the first film, his partner was Vincent Cassel, a fine actor who unfortunately specifies in his contract that he must perform at least one mildly homosexual display of Savate in every film he participates in, regardless of how ridiculously out of place it may seem. Thankfully, Cassel declined to appear in the sequel, allowing for a much more sprightly pace that doesn’t have to take the occasional pit stop while some foppish Gaul does a spin kick during a cane fight. Reno, teamed up with a new partner, investigates a series of occult murders that point towards a strange religious cult, known as “Christians”. These Christians believe that 2 000 years ago, a Jewish woman cheated on her husband with an invisible ghost and gave birth to a sandaled beatnik who made a bunch of boozy speeches about love and fish, then was executed, but still returns to life every year to bring presents to non-Jewish children while dressed as a candy cane. They also believe that at some indeterminate time in the future, probably during a year that ends in two zeros, a group of fat children with dove wings will end the world in a holocaust of fire and brimstone named after an X-Men villain. And the particular sect in this film is convinced that this apocalypse is nigh, and are seeking to usher it in through elaborate set-pieces and grating sound design.



An angel of the Apocalypse, in action figure form.

The film is weak, to be sure. There's kung-fu monks in it for Christ's sake, and it's certainly not worth watching, unless, like me, you’re addicted to Christopher Lee. Like most addictions, it’s based in some psychological failing rather than a specific quality of the substance/stately British actor in question. And, it’s incredibly damaging, both physically and mentally. While my liver remains hale and my hands relatively free of caked semen from crack-money hand-jobs performed in a bad part of town, being addicted to Christopher Lee has taken me to places I’m not proud to have visited. In the early days, everything was all fun and games, like your first glimpse of your father’s Playboy magazines. I’d invite a few friends over, we’d wait for my parents to leave the house, then we’d all gather in front of the television and pop in a Hammer horror film from the early sixties and revel in the Technicolor blood and bawdy Victorian ribaldry. Then, as time progressed, my quest to see all forty-three thousand of Christopher Lee’s films gradually drove all my friends away, as I stole pocket change for video rental cash and hocked my girlfriend’s scanner so I could see Sleepy Hollow in theatres. I slogged through Tales of the Mummy and The Last Unicorn, alone and miserable, my skin turning jaundiced and my mind softening to the point where I started to confuse my own tasteless jokes with far-right ideology, once actually watching an entire episode of Seinfeld while yelling “Rahowa” after every line of dialogue. Finally, I was all alone, on my couch, a tattered copy of The Return of Captain Invincible lying on the floor next to a case of milk bottles filled with my own urine, the door barred and the windows boarded up, about to watch Crimson Rivers 2 just for one brief glimpse of Lee’s skeletal face, skin drawn tight over an immense skull dotted with liver spots and patrician haughtiness. And I was not to be disappointed. Lee is in the film briefly, but memorably, as a German count determined to use the Apocalypse to usher in an Aryan world, apparently as damaged from performing in his films as I was by watching them. But still, I remained unsatisfied. My addiction was driving me to madness; my father’s Playboys had become endless internet loops of a nude woman defecating into a naked baby’s mouth, and it was time to get help. And so, I leave you for the moment, hoping to cure my addiction with time, God’s love, and a few Peter Cushing videos.

4 Comments:

Blogger Ash Karreau said...

What the fuck? Did I post on American Thanksgiving or something? Where the hell is everybody? Guess I've finally lost my touch.

7:30 PM  
Blogger gretchkal said...

ok, ash, i'm worried about you ... do you watch anything other than bad french movies or horror flicks? seems like that's all you're talking about lately. maybe the fact that the french suck ass has scared away the comments.

9:15 PM  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

I also watch pornography. A great deal of pornography.

12:16 AM  
Blogger Sam Kahn said...

Sorry for neglecting to comment.

1:04 AM  

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