Thanks to a lab-created virus that has been spread via 5g towers by the American government in a bid to control the people with chips created by Bill Gates–or so my Facebook feed tells me– I’ve found myself working minimal hours in 2020. This gave me plenty of time to catch up on all the movies I’ve missed in recent years. Here were the worst of them.
The Old Guard (2020, Netflix, Charlize Theron).
So there are some ancient immortal people, and mostly they work as military contractors. None of them possess too interesting of hobbies or skills. Charlize Theron is the leader of this group, and she mostly speaks in hammy one-liners. Her secret skill, painstakingly developed over thousands of years, is eating baklava and being able to guess its city of origin.
There are some gritty, violent fight scenes sprinkled throughout, and for most of them there is light, upbeat pop music played over them. It’s the type of music you’d hear in a Disney channel TV show, and it left me in complete confusion. Is it a joke, or did the person responsible for the score do this as a final ‘F-you’ to their employer before quitting?
That’s about it, honestly. About a third of the way through The Old Guard, the movie begins to set itself up for some sequels, but it never bothers to ask the audience if that’s something they really want, and it never gives them anything for their already-invested time. This movie feels like a pilot for a tv show, and is a lazy B movie in every sense + an underwhelming Theron.
Six Underground (2019, Netflix, Ryan Reynolds)
Here, finally, we have definite proof of something I’d guessed at from time to time over the years: that Michael Bay is absolutely, 100% a psychopath.
I walked away from the movie (well… the couch) completely disturbed by the experience, but unable to fully voice what exactly it was that got to me. I think it’s a combination of unsavory humor, nauseating cuts, endless visceral violence (most of which involves innocent civilians- the body count must have been in the hundreds, but none of the good guys seemed to mind) and frantic, coked-out plot-line. Take everything you dislike about Michael Bay and turn it up to 11. There are flashbacks and flash-forwards. Text and numbers jump off the screen. It’s like Smoking Aces on acid. Everyone yells, the intensity is always at 100, and because of that nothing ever lands and there is never a payoff. But I should note there is a pretty cool 5-minute scene toward the end with magnets, so it has that going for it, I guess. Eventually the movie resolves itself, but I don’t recall how. All of it is technically a movie, in a Tommy Wiseau way.
But definitely do yourself a favor and watch the insane (and not in a good way) 20 minute opening scene.
5 Bloods (2020, Netflix)
Sensing a trend here? A downfall of Netflix throwing money at any and all projects is that in doing so they allow producers free reign. For some, like Michael Bay and Spike Lee, that’s something that should never, ever be given. Similar to mushrooms, small, heavily micromanaged doses of these director’s style are best, if at all.
5 Bloods feels like a rushed effort to capitalize on the Black Lives Matter movement. Despite its focus on race relations in a changing world, however, it also somehow manages to be pretty backwoods in its portrayal of every other race. Any actor that isn’t black plays an overboard caricature of themselves (Vietnamese people in particular don’t seem happy about it), and then there are the stationary powerpoint visuals every 15 minutes or so –yes, seriously. Clearly, no expert was consulted in the making of any part of Spike Lee’s 5 Bloods. Battle scenes are B-movie bad, dialogue is wooden, editing is the worst I can remember in a movie, set pieces are unrealistic, and the music was jarring.
This is a movie about some Vietnam war veterans who return to Vietnam to find gold. There are some sub-plots, and none of them make sense. There are some interactions with Vietnamese who have been negatively effected by the war, and these feel unrealistic.
I wanted to like this movie but simply couldn’t.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
This was not good in any way. To be fair, an adaption of this was going to be really difficult. I don’t have much more to say about it, other than you should definitely read the book if you haven’t yet.
If you’ve watched Netflix’s superb ‘Last Dance’ you’re likely familiar with the downfall of the world champion Chicago Bulls. Michael Jordan refused to play another season without his head coach, the brilliant Phil Jackson. So management blew the team up and moved on without him. As a result, for the last 24 years the Bulls have remained largely irrelevant.
Following 2008’s delightful Hellboy II: The Golden Armies, numerous sequels were promised and then dropped.
Finally, in 2016 the project was green-lit. However, the franchise’s writer/director Guillermo del Toro was not asked to return in writer-director role, and thus Ron Perlman refused to return to the franchise. Much like the Bulls, the result was steaming garbage. I made it an hour before turning it off. Granted, I doubt I’m the intended audience for such a flick. But that being said, I’m not even sure 13-year-old me would have sat through this– and that version of me was firmly of the opinion that Underworld and the aforementioned Smoking Aces were peak cinema.