APRIL 18, 2008
Dear Len Wiseman,
I like you. I really do. You seem like a chill dude, and you stole Kate Beckinsale from that Lucian dude from the first movie (and then on top of that, didn't resurrect him for this one). That’s fucking awesome. Also, you use practical effects as much as possible, another thing I truly admire And while my anger with Live Free or Die Hard is legendary (to... me), none of my problems concerned your direction. But after watching Underworld and Underworld: Evolution, I have a simple suggestion to make: STOP FUCKING WRITING YOUR MOVIES.
You see sir, one of the few movies I ever gave up watching was the original Underworld. I put it in, and after like 40 minutes I was just like “I have better things to do.” I forget what I did instead, though. A few days later I “watched” the rest, merely putting it on while I read a Fango or something. It was certainly a visually interesting movie, but the plot was just incomprehensible and the werewolves and vampires just kept fucking shooting each other instead of using their goddamn fangs and claws. So needless to say, watching the sequel was not high on my list of priorities; even with this whole Horror Movie A Day thing, the only reason I decided to rent it was because I wanted to use my Blu-Ray player, and U:R was the only horror movie on Blu Ray (at Blockbuster) that qualified.
And to give you credit, you cut back on the gunplay. The first sequence is grand, as werewolves tear dudes up, vampires bite, etc. Of course, it’s set in like 1208 or something, so the automatic weapons had no choice but to sit the scene out, but it's still appreciated. And even in the modern day stuff, it seems there is much more monster action than “guys who happen to be monsters shooting each other in the dark” action. However, the story continues to be needlessly convoluted. At some points I felt I needed to diagram the relationships between all of the characters in order to keep them straight. This is essentially a monster movie, can’t things be a bit simplified? The whole concept is kind of stupid to begin with, so I can’t help but keep my brain mostly turned off. In short, I don’t want to think really hard about why exactly a giant bat guy is tearing off some other dude’s head in a “monastery-slash-opium den”.
And what is with your obsession with hockey puck shaped objects? The keys, the bombs, the family heirloom things... they all look the same. Try a triangle, or maybe a hexagon.
Also, and again, this isn’t really your fault, but when the MPAA rating description comes up before a Kate Beckinsale movie begins, and promises nudity... let’s just say you’re just setting the viewers of your movie up for massive disappointment. Because, as you know, the nudity stems from a scene with some Romanian no-name heroin chick while Kate has a PG-13 love scene with that Felicity dude. That's just cold-hearted, man.
Speaking of that scene, how do you film something like that?
Enclosed in this letter is a picture that includes the colors red, yellow, and orange. I have labeled each one so you know which one is which. If you’re feeling adventurous, try to use one or maybe even all of these colors in your next film and see what happens. If it doesn’t work, you can always reshoot the scene in your trademark blue, dark blue, black, and dark black.
I did not listen to your commentary track as of yet – it’s tough to get me to watch a commentary on Blu Ray, because I usually do commentaries at work. When I’m at home, there are so many other things begging for my attention (other movies, games, my wife who hates your wife) that it’s asking a lot for me to sit there and listen to a guy talk about a movie I didn’t really like all that much to begin with (though I did like it more than the original – it seemed better paced and the action was improved, plus, again: less guns). I did, however, watch the hour and 15 min of making of stuff, and see that quite a lot of work went into the film. Still, it tickled me to note that the documentary was broken up into 6 different areas of production, and not a single one concerned the story/writing. Also that you are half-lit in all of your shots - did you have a black eye or something?
Like I said, visually I think you’re great. If Live Free... wasn’t a completely misguided sequel to my favorite action franchise, and just a Bruce Willis action movie, I’d be singing your praises to high heaven. But you’re not a writer. Hopefully your next film will match your skills as a director with a well written script, and you can eventually put these baffling movies behind you.
And if not, well, you can always bang your wife, and I can’t, so you still win anyway.
What say you?