Saturday, January 22, 2011

Netflix-a-thon (#22) BOMBSHELL (1996)

It's important to distinguish which Bombshell this is - it's in no relation to the Jean Harlow vehicle from the 1930's, but rather a very cheap quickie for video from the mid 90's staring the kid who played Elliot in E.T. and with other forgettable performances, some by people we may have seen before like Frank Wahley (the "What" guy from Pulp Fiction and Brion James who also appeared as a nefarious-looking guy in the sci-fi classic Blade Runner), and some not so much (any of the female actresses with hair ranging from Beverly Hills 90210 to Ramona Flowers flavored).  It's got a stupid-as-bricks plot that only gets stupider by the execution.  One should know what they're getting into from the start by a) the picture given on the little icon-image for the movie, a picture of Henry Thomas in green lighting, b) the description giving it as a "Brightly colored sci-fi future", and c) it involves a guy who gets his kidney removed and replaced with a bomb.

Woops, did I say 'bomb', I meant acid, or something like some weird chromosome or neurons or I don't know what.  Sadly the Netflix description actually spoils the   This is because the director, Paul Wynne, who actually, I shit you not, has this as "a Paul Wynne Mix" instead of "film", doesn't really care too much about the mechanics of the plot.  He's more interested in making shit look "cool" or hip.  Certainly the movie is caught in kind of a mid-90's timewarp as Henry Thomas has hair out of Seattle Grunge and as do the women I mentioned before, attractive (Madchen Amick and Pamela Gidley), and with the look of the film being all about "colors".  This is indeed just one big Starbust pack of a movie, with bright yellows and greens, the latter which makes things look like there was no one looking after the green-screen on set, also purples, blues, reds, so on.  There's even a scene where a kidnapper-ransom person has all of these vials of things that could be chemicals, but who cares, it looks so shiny and colorful.

The producer after trying to approach Wynne about changes to his "Mix"
If Wynne was looking to make a commercial for Crayola, mission accomplished.  But as far as storytelling goes, its kind of a big mess, as there is some intrigue at first with neurons and sub-atomic particles and gene-stuff that is way over my head even with badly worded exposition, and characters so thin you can bend them over with the wind.  And what does Wynne do to compensate?  By having lots and lots of CRAAAZY shots.  You know the kind, a would-be Terry Gilliam doing lots of dutch angles, usually moving from left to right to straight in dolly shots, and lots of warped angles with fish-eye lenses and close-ups.  In a weird way it might be cruel to say the director isn't creative, as he is.  He just doesn't do anything with any of his possible skills for any good for the story.

It's an overdose of style, and it doesn't help a script that is just... silly deep down, involving a case of a MacGuffin inside of the lead character- and the character not doing the logical thing like, say, going to the hospital or the cops.  Sure, one might argue that he can't do that as the ransom-kidnapper guy in the mask and would-be Jigsaw voice is no good at what he's trying to do as he ends up sounding awkward and unsure of what he's doing when things don't quite go his way.  It almost comes close to being respectable again by having such a bumbling villain.  And then one has to try and put some logic into the movie, and it falls apart all over again.  And some of it is just WTF laden, like a mention at the end of "Coming up next: Shredder".  Huh?  From the Ninja Turtles?  Since when did he get his own daytime talk show?

This was Elliot from ET.  This is Elliot from E.T. on drugs.  Any questions?
There's an overlong car chase without many other cars or pedestrians, a car crash flashback done with stock footage (!) and acting that is either stiff and uninspired or just trying to be over-the-top (the villain, who when revealed is just so obvious as to inspire so much laughter).  It's just a really bad ticking-time-clock scenario with a lead from Thomas showcasing why he never made it: not that he isn't talented, but that he didn't pick his roles as wisely as others in his young age range.  Thankfully it's such bumbleheaded work as a movie mix that it gives a lot to chew on for bad movie lovers looking for a laugh.  And in case you were wondering, there isn't a blonde to be seen in the whole work.

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