Thumped’s Random Dvd trip: Wherein Hector Grey enters the Xtravision across the road and grabs the first couple of things that appear in the shelf. This week: The Last Seven & Suckerpunch.

Thumped’s Random Dvd trip: Wherein Hector Grey enters the Xtravision across the road and grabs the first couple of things that appear in the shelf.

This week London empties itself out in fear of being associated in any way with The Last Seven and Zack Snyder has had way too many sweets as he vomits up the multi-coloured fantasy fest that is Sucker Punch.

The Last Seven promised me a couple of things: that it was some kind of post apocalypse movie, which it isn’t, and Danny Dyer, who it transpires is merely a bit part player. Come on man, you don’t waste and asset like Dyer. And in this movie, that’s not even ironic. It’s terrifyingly true.

A man wakes up, face down, on a wet London street, all alone. All. Alone. We follow him around the grey, empty streets as he tries to find out what’s gone on. It’s all so hauntingly familiar at this stage. But we won’t let that get in the way of our enjoyment of the film. In fact, it’s pretty much the least of our worries in that regard. Our guy is walking the empty, rain slicked streets of the City of London. Clearly it’s easier to film as it’s deserted on weekends anyway. See 28 Weeks Later for further reading. In fact, it seems as if many of the scenes, the overheads, that pickle shaped building that wasn’t there when they made 28 Days Later, but featured prominently in 28 Weeks later, built in a funk of over-adrenalised productivity by the not-quite-zombie denizens of London while coked up on blood lust and the rage to just get things done. I digress: Our dude, William, walking aimlessly, lost, confused, alone, differs in one salient aspect from Cillian Murphy’s damaged wretch in 28 Days, in that after a while he not unreasonably loses his nut over the fact that there’s no one around and fucks up somebody’s car with a bin. That scans that little bit better than wandering into a church because, well, you’re Irish, and that’s where the answers traditionally are, right? But enough of the comparisons, we do Messers Boyle and Fresnidillo a GREAT disservice.

William tramps through a deserted building, taking to the roof to check out the view of the entirely empty city below. But he’s no longer alone. He’s been joined by a couple of clichés. A posh guy, swigging on a crystal decanter of brandy, a fey looking young one, a gruff and potty mouthed soldier with a gun. They are likewise confused, not sure of why they are there, or indeed who they are, although the soldier thinks that logically there was a terrorist scare and the city has been evacuated. We’re privy to flashback, disjointed narratives. Some nails, a hand, a hammer, a gun going off, the aforementioned Dyer, some verbals from the characters. Lots of oblique shit like that. They wander around and happily bump into a few other people. Phew. A city the size of London, with, as the title suggests, only seven people apparently left alive, and they bump into the only other souls out there. Thank god, eh? Among them there is, of course, the guy who spouts biblical rhetoric. Isn’t there always? All along the gang are being followed by a flitting, shapeless, dark character, that fackin khaaant Dyer. There are some attempts at scares, using the eerie emptiness as our atmosphere, but they fail to raise a hair on the neck. Not one hair. It gets daft when the scariness becomes prompted by a strobing, pulsating blue light that’s supposed to be spectral or something but just looks cheap. As the characters begin to disappear, one begins to envy them. The reveal is unrevealing, like waking up from a dream to find yourself in the same bed that you went to sleep in, in fact you weren’t even dreaming, just nocturnally passing wind.

It’s been done before, there’s that prickly sense of embarrassment at watching knowing that nearly every aspect has been, well, lifted. There’s a kernel of a good idea here, one can imagine Hollywood filling the cast with a few Dicaprios, emptying Chicago for a weekend, adding a couple of explosions and turning it into a bit of a money spinner what makes you think. Here, it’s all a bit belaboured. The dialogue is heavy handed and unedited and the actors are either weighed down by it or just not competent enough to make it work. I suspect it’s a bit of both. It’s a kind of community centre acting class on a day out kind of thing, or one of those hammy, not-quite sci fi, really low budget programmes LWT used to fart out back in the seventies. Like Day of the Triffids without the superior acting ability of the Triffids.

The characters themselves seem as clichés; you may think that this is initially a device, that, due to their circumstances and amnesia, they’ve reverted to a kind of type. It may, however, simply be that, like the dialogue, and indeed casting, not a great deal of thought went into their creation. Obviously the creation of this movie took up every single waking minute of someone’s life for a year or two, and, despite appearances, it wasn’t knocked together over a weekend, but unfortunately it’s not worth the effort put in, assuming there was any. The script is just unreal, forced, leaden with cliché, the acting is plywoodian, the direction is non existent. Empty, desolate London looks good. Cold and still and jarring, the many useless, empty ornaments of mankind laid to waste, but we’ve seen that before, and better. The only thing the movie does ok is a total, verbatim, rip off. Ho hum.

We must take a moment to admire the genius that is Danny Dyer. He has an innate ability to choose movies that are so bad that he does not look like the worse thing in them, in fact he often comes across as the chummy lad who’s really doing his best with the fackin drivel what he’s bin forced to say, innit bruv. Here he has his wasted, serious face on, smudged with make-up devised by a sausaged brained 5 year old and applied by a walrus brandishing a paint roller. He still manages to be the best thing in this crock. Enjoyably bad, if bad is something you tend to enjoy. If you enjoy decent cinema, why are you even reading this?

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