Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Take a look at the poster above.

Most likely you know two out of three people on this poster. They’re big(ish), big enough that any smart director with a trash movie on his hands would put the (part time) actors most people know right smack on the front. So it should come as no surprise that all three of those characters on the poster have less than ten minutes of total screen time. The lady in the corner is model/actress Kristanna Loken, she plays the sister of a principal character, and she lasts about five, tops. Another poster for the movie floats around the interwebs, and this one has the only other actor you might know: Vincent Klyn of Point Break fame, or even better Cyborg (starring Jean Claude Van Damme), from which Klyn plays pretty much the same character as in Gangland. In fact, the general plot premise is exactly the same: both occur in a post apocalyptic future, both deal with martial artists fighting their way to save the world, both deal with something called “the plague,” and a “cure for the plague.” Gangland is basically Cyborg without the cyborgs. So here we are: a movie that has spent most of its budget on celebrity faces and a few explosions, directed by a fight choreographer (Art Camacho), and a plot mostly nicked from another movie. Sounds amazing, let’s do this.
  • Stock footage of atomic bomb explosions doing what it does best: expositional montage visual filler. = +2pts 
  • Taking those points right back; the stock shot of an airplane is obviously from the very not future. = -2pts 
  • …Aaand we’re in New York City! Or, West Side Story? #setdesign #obviousstudio. -5pts 
  • Suprisingly, Coolio’s acting is pretty good. =+7pts 
  • Too bad Ice T decides to shoot him almost immediately. = -5pts 
  • …Only to have his own heart of gold moment cut short, thanks to Lucifer. = -5pts 
  • The two guys whose faces appear on the poster die within the first 10 minutes. We’ve never wished for Coolio’s return more. = -25pts 
  • We’re pretty sure that the “cop” who just got kicked in the face was a 14-years old. At least he looks 14. = +7pts 
  • For some reason, the “gang leader,” Lucifer, who whistled in the posse doesn’t lay a hand on anybody in the fight montage. = -5pts 
  • Counting Ice-T and Coolio, the racial quotient of the movie’s cops is a pretty good mix of black/white, while all of the gang members are white (save Lucifer, who is…Hawaiian?).  = +15pts (For not adhering to racial stereotypes.) 
  • Even the newscaster can’t get the plot right. = -6pts 
  • Yes, put more science stuff around, then we’ll know it’s really science. = -2pts 
  • All this talk of dangerous gangs in the streets and the fate of humanity and the “cure” for “the plague” means…FAMILY ROAD TRIP!!! = +3pts 
  • The fate of humanity, the end of times, cities falling into chaos… and the only place not affected is Phoenix, AZ? = -8pts 
  • Dear Mr. Beefcake Scientist, your son just got his throat slit; he’s bleeding to death in your car. You should try showing emotion. = -7pts 
  • When driving through what looks like the set of The Road Warrior try not to be so nonchalant. = -5pts 
  • Actually impressive fight scenes! = +11pts 
  • Dude gets shot and sunglasses fly waaaay off! (like, straight up in the air off.) = +5pts 
  • You think it’s okay to yell “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” when your brother dies? = -5pts (You should know better!) 
  • The newscaster guy, again. Will someone please give him a script? = -5pts 
  • We get that you’re trying to portray these women as battered and desperate, but dressing them in torn clothes that show their very saggy boobs doesn’t reveal how bad of a state they’re in; it just shows the director is a sad, sad man. = -25pts 
  • Jail scene provides cast with chance to show off their acting chops. = +5pts 
  • We wish they’d go back to fighting. = -30pts 
  • “Every day they take two out for execution; me and you are next.” (Never mind that we just got here, or how I know this; we need to advance this plot!) = -15pts 
  • Least convincing stranglehold ever only incapacitates character for half a minute. = -10pts 
  • So here’s something we missed before: If you are watching this on Netflix, a “property of… do not copy” message scrolls across the screen three times. = -15pts (5 for each time) 
  • Lucifer’s red contact lenses. = -1pt 
  • …and his coat he stole from The Crow. = -2pts 
  • Pretty sure the horrid actor of a newscaster just died!= +200pts 
  • Nope… still alive. = -200pts 
  • Raining in one cut and not the other. = -7pts 
  • Someone needs a medical adviser; Ebola is being used wrong (and up until this point hasn’t come up as a term for whatever’s going on) = -3pts 
  • An exchange regarding the poisoned, post-apocalyptic water: “The ducks look fine!” “You’re not a duck.” = -5pts (+10pts for script, -15pts for science) 
  • Man kicked through glass door. = +5pts 
  • “NO, the war has just begun!” Ahh, one liners = +2pts 
  • How did anyone/everyone here learn about the scientist and his secret cure? No wonder the guy got kidnapped. = -5pts 
  • REVEALED: Lucifer’s brother! (that guy who’s been arguing the whole time #nosurprises) = -3pts 
  • Um, you guys probably shouldn’t casually throw around the button for “the bomb,” especially while you’re talking about how dangerous it is. = -10pts 
  • Apparently when Lucifer’s dog barks for his “food,” he means an apple and a few bananas. = -5pts 
  • This is a good time to bring this up. Lucifer’s two servant women are sisters. The scenes they occupy place a lot of emphasis on this, yet the subplot is never explored. = -15pts 
  • The “cure” for the “plague” needs to ferment? = -5pts 
  • LUCIFER’S SECRET WEAPON: a genetically engineered super-fighter? So, Lucifer could make a super DNA-altered fighter man, but not a cure for the plague? = -25pts 
  • That wasn’t a head snap! = -3pts 
  • Casually, EVERYONE is a firearm and hand-to-hand combat expert. = +6pts 
  • E.g., One second the lady protagonist Alexis is slap-fighting her way out of a car, and now she knows karate? = +( or -, really) 4pts 
  • DNA superman growls like a wolf when punched. = +4pts 
  • “I’m just gonna keep the trigger to this superbomb thing in my purse with my other stuff floating around.” = -6pts 
  • Hey the prisoner escaped! Let’s share an evil laugh and chase him instead of alerting our supreme lord Lucifer. = -10pts 
  • “Here, let me throw this bag full of guns on the ground so I can fight with my hands.” = -11pts 
  • We have no idea what happened, but this dude our dear Alexis was fighting magically turned into a lady? = -25pts (For shoehorning a “catfight” onto the movie.) 
  • How many guns can we load into this montage? Oh and there’s only two of us. = -5pts 
  • “Move, you die!” He moves and doesn’t die. = -8pts (for broken promises) 
  • Somehow, sand and pebbles fuck up Mr. Wolfman more than 1000 punches will. = -7pts 
  • Pretty sure half of everyone in this gun battle isn’t aiming. = -5pts 
  • Model miniature set explosion. Now we know where the budget went. = -4pts 
  • The scientist walks halfway through the dark forest before deciding his white coat is too conspicuous and taking it off. = -9pts 
  • Oh, and he can also can fight hand to hand, something he didn’t consider trying this the first time he and his family were being kidnapped? = -10pts 
  • Getting shot in the back of the head, leaving no exit wound in the front, and still having enough time to touch the back of your head, look around, make noises, and then fall. = -15pts 
  • If you’re trying to break into houses in suburbia, don’t be surprised that all the doors are locked, and maybe if you decide to bash your way into one, do it the first time rather than the tenth. = -5pts 
  • Little Brother Lucifer can’t shoot for shit. = -5pts 
  • Trailer explosion! = +25pts 
  • The “cure” is bioluminescent. “Science.” = -10pts 
  • Um, pretty sure Lucifer just vaporized, presumably after being infected by Alexis’s sister’s poisoned blood. But considering this plot device just came up, like, a minute ago, we’re only speculating here. = -15pts 
  • This movie does not need to end with a tender moment. The last thing anyone would feel after all that is “the love.” = -5pts 
  • Apparently all those rocks and pebbles didn’t kill Mr. DNA Superwolf man. SEQUEL??!!??? (never happens) = -50pts for breaking another promise (with a +50 for not putting us through the hell of what a sequel would be).
Total Score: =-322 (plus or minus 4)pts
Available on: Netflix, $2.99 DVD bins the world over

Gangland is a great movie to watch drunk/as a drinking game, and probably only once. The action level is about…we’ll say “Steven Segal” (who would have probably been in this movie had it not wasted its budget). If you’re really into it, director Art Camacho has many more masterpieces with about the same IMDB rating. Maybe this is the horrible movie franchise goldmine we’ve been looking for? Were we looking for that?

Score Technician: Alex Reed Wilson

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