Mutant Chronicles

Mutant Chronicles

*

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

An ancient terror from the forgotten past. A diverse gang of soldiers on a desperate mission. A last ditch effort to save humankind. A film that nothing can save.

The Mutant Chronicles is a mutant film, apparently stitched together from the still-steaming corpses of others. Its monsters are a hybrid of those from Serenity and The Chronicles Of Riddick, but without the charm. Its characters are like a League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen C-list, combining a grim war veteran with a martial arts expert, a fish-tattooed psychopath, a random Germanic aristocrat and a mysterious mute sword-wielding nun. Its performances recall those in Plan 9 From Outer Space, but without the depth.

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I'd introduce you to the plot, but there really isn't one. Some mutants have taken over the Earth. Some soldiers try to stop them. There's some nonsense about a big machine in a hole in the ground which reanimates the corpses of the dead. The bad guys drag everybody they kill back there. How they cross oceans is unspecified. One has to wonder how they find time to do anything else. We do learn where they find the energy - it's in their mitochondria. This and other bits of clueless wannabe science dialogue are thrown in at random by Philip Eisner, the man responsible for Event Horizon, along with other inordinately stupid lines like: "You've seen the worst that men can do to each other, but you haven't seen the worst that they can do." Well, no, actually, and presumably we don't get to, because what we do see them do is familiar from every lame monster movie since the Seventies.

What we do see, we don't get to see very clearly, because some moron decided to shoot this whole thing in blue and orange, like a sub-par Irn-Bru advert. There are flashes of red, clearly trying to be arty, but this is no Sin City. Frequently the grim tone gets so dark that we can't actually see what's going on. Eisner takes advantage of this to bring back characters at random whenever he runs out of ideas.

How this film attracted its stars remains a mystery. Ron Perlman seems stubbornly loyal to the kind of trash he originally made his name in, though to his credit he puts the money to good use supporting worthy independent projects. John Malkovich seems to be doing it for a laugh, studding his lines with random pauses as if reading from flash cards whilst half asleep.

Don't be fooled into thinking The Mutant Chronicles is a science fiction epic or an exciting action movie, no matter what it may claim. If, however, you want to go out with your mates, drink a lot of beer and watch something so awful it'll have you in stitches, this is a gem. There really are very few films made as badly as this, and even fewer that make it to the big screen. Give yourself a treat - you'll regret it in all the right ways.

Reviewed on: 18 Oct 2008
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Mutant Chronicles packshot
A monk brings together a desperate band of soldiers in a last ditch bid to save the Earth from a mutant menace.
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Director: Simon Hunter

Writer: Philip Eisner

Starring: Thomas Jane, Ron Perlman, Devon Aoki, Sean Pertwee, Benno F├╝rmann, John Malkovich, Anna Walton, Tom Wu

Year: 2008

Runtime: 111 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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