Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Monster Brawl

Monster Brawl (2011)

Wow, I haven't done a movie review in quite some time. And it's not for any lack of seeing movies, either. I just happen to write for a living so sometimes I'm just drained. But, regardless, I definitely got the urge once again after seeing this little gem of a flick, so, let's take a look!

The premise is deceptively simple: somewhere in a cemetery in 'Central Michigan' called The Necropolis, a horror/wrestling fanatic, Jake Blackburn, has gathered some if history's greatest 'Monster' icons in a wicked death match. Right of the bat this just screams 'lower-than-standard-by-a-damn-sight-budget' and that's perfectly okay by me. So, separated into two distinct creature sub-genres we have the Undead and the classic Monsters featuring eight of the most well known characters from horror: Frankenstein, Werewolf, Cyclops, Zombie Man, Swamp Gut (basically an homage to all things Swamp Monster), Witch Bitch, Lady Vampire, and Mummy. Each is represented with a nice back story, given a specific weight class, and posed next to a card that showcases their individual abilities. Seriously, if you love (or ever loved) wrestling and video games, there is so much of those two here that it's breathtaking.

The match layout is pretty simple where the lighter 'middleweights' take on each other from within their specific categories, and then the heavyweights go at it. Oddly, what bugged me the most is that the two winners from the middleweights never faced off, it just went right to the heavies and then to the end. Why that particular loose plot point stuck in my craw I don't know, especially considering all of the other little nitpicks I could have chosen. Oh well, it was still pretty epic.

So, from the onset, it's Cyclops versus Witch Bitch, then Mummy versus Lady Vampire, then in the heavyweight bouts it's Werewolf versus Swamp Gut, then Frankenstein versus Zombie Man, which leads to the finale of Werewolf versus Frankenstein. And the matches are all very well performed looking not at all unlike actual wrestling... even a bit better, in my opinion. They all do basic moves with some bulldogs and frog splashes thrown in. All in all, pretty exciting and just plain cool witnessing classic monsters tussle.

For comic relief, and acting as announcers, they have Dave Foley (Kids in the Hall) as Buzz Chambers, and Art Hindle (various horror flicks)  as Sasquatch Sid Tucker. Oh, but that's not all. They even managed to gather two actual wrestling icons, as well. Jimmy 'The Mouth of the South' Hart plays himself as sort of a ring-side commentator, and Kevin Nash portrays a military colonel who 'manages' Zombie Man. And finally, in the terms of veteran actors -even in this case of being heard and not seen- is Lance Henricksen who acts as both narrator and voice over for the matches peppering each with some not-so-subtle Mortal Kombat type calls.

So, was it any good? You're likely asking yourself. Well, let's just say it was 'good' on a scale of 1 to 10 where somewhere between 6 and 7 falls 'good'. The acting was surprisingly solid, and the make-up and gore effects were very effective and well done, but there was just no real plot to speak of. Now, typically, that would drown a genre-specific movie like this, but the really nice back stories of each creature was a major saving grace and, of course, the actual wrestling was pretty spot-on. Fortunately, it never takes itself too seriously and it does plod on a a good clip with never too long of a slow point. All in all, it's a movie you might want to have a few friends over and toss back a few beers to really enjoy.

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