I’ve already admitted to being a 80s and 90s wrestling nerd, I loved the outlandish characters and entertaining stories. I also admitted to being a huge dork when it comes to the classic monsters so when I heard rumblings of a movie from a few years ago that mixed those two elements together I thought, “Sounds pretty groovy, I’m down for it.” Luckily my curiosity was quenched with my subscription to NetFlix and it was showtime….Monster Brawl.
Monster Brawl starts off looking like something just this side of a junior college film project. The shots are a little more revealing than they should be and the close ups are not clean, think SyFy channel movies from 2 years ago or more. The concept is a supernatural wrestling promotion that pits legendary monsters against each other for the bragging rights of heavy weight champion of whatever the fuck they made up. Surprisingly the star power isn’t too shabby with Dave Foley, Art Hindle and Lance Hendrickson (well, in voice only but they must have paid him well for his Mortal Kombat-esque commentary). There’s also a handful of wrestlers in the movie like Kevin Nash, Robert Maillet, Jimmy Hart and Herb Dean (OK, he’s MMA famous but still) but I don’t officially commit to calling them star acting power. According to IMDB the budget was a conservative 200K in Canadian dollars so it looks like they really spent every penny on discount Halloween props and Red Bull energy drinks.
The premise is 8 classic monsters face off in a battle to the death to establish who is the number one biggest badass in the supernatural world. And they do so in a wrestling ring, ala’ WWF style. I’m fond of Asylum Entertainment’s movies (like Sharktopus or Ghost Shark or Sharknado) but this sounds like the crap I would come up with as a little kid playing with my action figures when I decided I was bored using Macho Man to fight Hulk Hogan. The explanation isn’t rushed, it’s partially missing. For lack of better terms, Dave Foley trips through the exposition like a one legged man playing hopscotch in a mine field. I don’t think it was his fault though, he probably couldn’t do much with what script there was if it wasn’t fully ad-lib to begin with.
Each monster gets a rather rushed backstory and the “fights” are really slow moving. This is a premise that would have done better turned into a webisode series. The only redeeming part of any of the fights is Lance Hendrickson’s commentary during the fights as an unseen entity. Think the voice in Mortal Kombat that would laugh or say “superb” or “excellent”. Many of the monsters have special powers they never really explained, they mention the powers just moments before the character uses it. Did you know the Cyclops has an energy beam he shoots from his eye? Well neither did I until seconds before he blew away some hideous hag cleverly named Witch Bitch.
And then there’s the monsters. Cyclops, Frankenstein, Zombie Man, Witch Bitch, Swamp Gut, Werewolf, Lady Vampire and the Mummy. All of those monsters I was moderately OK with until they mentioned Swamp Gut. What’s a Swamp Gut? Well, take the Sasquatch and mix in Creature from the Black Lagoon and Swamp Thing. Then crap it out and look at the abomination that’s been born. Needless to say I think it’s a weak character that could have been easily replaced with another pseudo knock off monster. And I’m not sure who’s costume was worse, Swamp Gut or Cyclops. Both characters you can see parts of the guy in the costume under the bad special effects make-up. Like I said, the movie spent the budget at a Spirit Halloween store on November 1st.
If you have 89 minutes to waste and a few beers to kill, I suggest either watching this movie or maybe doing something to better yourself. Click the link below to see a list of worthwhile movies that also last 89 minutes or less. The top one is Zombieland, which is an enjoyable Halloween-y film if that’s your style.
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