Death Squad aka 2047: Sights of Death – What a Mess

Poster for Death Squad
Death Squad, aka 2047 Sights of Death, is a 2014 Italian film starring Danny Glover, Stephen Baldwin, Rutger Hauer, Darryl Hannah and Michael Madsen. Directed by Alessandro Capone (Hidden Love, Primetime Murder) IMDb classifies the film as action, science fiction and a thriller all mixed into one. In reality the movie is none of these genres. Death Squad is an unmitigated disaster from frame one; as Danny Glover’s character Sponge says at the end of the film, “What a mess.”

The plot may have to do with saving the world, although it is not clear just what the overall mission of Ryan Willburn (Baldwin) actually is. He is either supposed to collect a transmitter or information and the transmitter or possibly something else entirely. He crash lands in a contaminated area where he needs an anti radiation serum dose on a regular basis or he will hallucinate and die.

Once he crashes Willburn discovers a pile of bodies and a local alien girl. We know she is alien because she cannot talk, although she can write in English, and she has been painted purple…or burgundy. She also has two black dots on her forehead and chin. Tuag, played by newcomer Neva Leone, helps Ryan on his mission, whatever it is.

The villains of the piece are apparently supposed to be Rutger Hauer’s Colonel Asimov, his aide Major Anderson (Hannah) and Lobo (Madsen). With no real clear objective, it seems that they are just meant to threaten and then kill Willburn.

Editing of the film appears to have been done while under the influence of hallucinogens and the script apparently had no dialogue included as it seems that all the performers were making it up as they went along. Hauer’s lines definitely feel made up on the spot. For all intents and purposes Death Squad seems to be the first film shot with no real script or lines or direction.

Granted the movie has been given a science fiction setting, telling the audience that it is in 2047 and that world order has fallen apart and so on sorts this out. Danny Glover’s character sits scribbling in a notebook when he is not cursing and looking for data on antiquated computer monitors or talking to Willburn. At one point in the film he is writing down that “Charles Manson was right” and that viagra “was right.” Like everything else in the movie, Glover’s character is in a muddle.

The film’s action roams all over the place and has no coherency or direction. Each of the actors feel like they are in their own film. Of course Madsen plays the same face-pulling cigarette-smoking psycho version of his Kill Bill character, regardless of the role he is cast in. The actor seems to be performing in his own special movie regardless of what the script asks for.

Hannah, and Baldwin, both seem to be desperately trying to play their roles straight but with no support from anyone else in the cast. Unfortunately for Baldwin, it is hard to play it serious when having black shoe polish smeared on one’s face. Luckily for him it does magically disappear a short time later. Odd moments like this abound in Death Squad and they do not result in laughter just confusion.

In a nutshell, this film plods nonsensically along for 89 minutes with no resolution, no real story and obviously no real script. Somewhat amazingly, 2047: Sights of Death, or Death Squad, was released in Italian cinemas. For the rest of the world, the film is on Netflix and should be avoided at all costs. There is not one redeeming factor in this feature and one can only surmise that all the name actors in the film owed someone a huge favor.

0 out of 5 stars for being confusing, horrible and a waste of time.

Quentin Tarantino: How to Tell Your Script Has Been Leaked Guide

Quentin Tarantino: How to Tell Your Script Has Been Leaked Guide

While Quentin Tarantino is writing his book version of The Hateful Eight he should think about penning a guide on how to tell your script has been leaked. It would also be a good idea, either in the footnotes, prologue or author’s note to list things not to do with your fledgling script.

 

Quentin Tarantino: What is Really Eating Him?

Quentin Tarantino: What is Really Eating Him?

Quentin Tarantino is throwing a huge fit, someone has leaked his script all over Hollywood and he is now not going to make the movie, but, what is really eating him up? Is Tarantino really that upset that a first draft script was leaked? Could the real problem be one of trust? Is it something else entirely?

 

Hell Ride (2008): Biker Film Homage

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Written and directed by Larry Bishop (son of Joey) Hell Ride is an apparent homage to the Roger Corman Biker films of the 60’s and 70’s. The “original” biker films were cheap, loud and full of bad acting and great moments. *who can forget a mortally wounded Bruce Dern in The Wild Angels asking as he dies, “Does anybody have a straight cigarette?”*

Unfortunately Bishop’s homage, while it looks good, does not contain any “great” moments like the old 70’s films. You can call Roger Corman many things, but corny wouldn’t be one of them.

Hell Ride has a good cast:

Larry Bishop
Michael Madsen
Vinnie Jones
David Carradine
Dennis HopperEric Balfour

The film looks like a part of the “Grindhouse” flicks that Tarantino and Rodriguez put out in 2007 and appropriately enough the idea came about when Bishop was working with Tarantino on Kill Bill 2. While the idea might have been a brilliant one, the actual execution left a lot to be desired.

I’ll start by saying what I think was wrong with the film. Firstly, all the leads seemed to be doing their best Clint Eastwood impression. It was all clenched teeth and guttural whispering of lines; even the females. Everyone, that is, except Michael Madsen who played his character like…well, Michael Madsen. If ever there was an actor who could be considered a “one-trick-pony” it is Madsen. Don’t get me wrong, I like Michael, but there is a reason why he doesn’t work that much. There are only so many films that need a Michael Madsen character.

The bikes all looked great, except for the chopper that Madsen rode, it looked like it belonged to another biker and he’d borrowed it. It just did not fit.

Madsen riding his big brothers bike.
Madsen riding his big brothers bike.

The other “problem with the film was the dialogue. It tried too hard to be “cute” and amusing. The blame for that lies squarely on the shoulders of Larry Bishop. It’s obvious that his father (who was known as a “comedians comedian”) was a comedy writer and comic. Where these type of lines, “It’s a business. Speaking of business. How’s business” (Spoken between David Carradine and Bishop) reeked of last generation “smart ass” humour that did not fit in the realm of the biker world.

The locations were fine and in keeping with the Southern California setting that the original biker films favoured. But that was about the only thing the film had going for it.

Eric Balfour as Comanche/Bix/Sonny/Son was pretty much wasted in his part. I’ve already groused about Madsen, so we won’t mention him. David Carradine was seen too little. Vinnie Jones was miscast and seen too much. Dennis Hopper was, as usual, great; Hopper cut his teeth on the Biker Genre a’ la Easy Rider. Larry Bishop? Well, suffice to say, if he hadn’t written the damn thing and gotten Quentin to produce it and had Bruce Willis drop out as the lead, he wouldn’t have had to “star” in the film at all.

And that would have been a good thing.

Speaking of good thing (s): the score was boss. It fit the mood and the feeling of the old biker films, but, a good score does not a good movie make.

The final verdict? Crass, crude, creative-not, cinematic chaos. Poorly acted, poorly edited, and poorly received (by me). If you want to re-live the madness that was 60’s and 70’s biker films, watch the real deal, check out the originals and don’t waste your time on this one.

2 out of 5 stars and that’s only because of Hopper and Carradine’s presence.

The original, watch this instead of a crappy homage film. Just sayin'.
The original, watch this instead of a crappy homage film. Just sayin’.