JULY 14, 2010
Remember when Vinnie Jones was going to be the next big action star? Poor sod. Nowadays you’re more likely to see him in stuff like Legend Of The Bog (aka Assault Of Darkness, for some reason), which gives him top billing even though he only appears once before the 30 minute mark and exits the film with 15 to go (Titanic co-star Jason Barry is the real lead). The DVD cover even gives him a nice machine gun that he never once has in the film. He still pops up in the occasional theatrical release (Year One, nice fucking pick there, buddy), but most of his films are limited or DTV, which is a shame, because I think he’s got more charisma than some of his apparently just plain luckier peers.
This one’s an odd one. On one hand, it’s slow and lacking suspense of any sort. On the other, it’s got a (slight) dryly humorous tone, a couple of surprising kills, and an occasionally sympathetic killer, who gives a kid a clown nose and apparently tries to communicate with the hero before Jones shoots him in the head (which angers him greatly). The guy looks like he stepped out of a Tor Johnson biopic, and the movie’s slow pace means that he doesn’t get to do a hell of a lot (at least one of the five deaths is caused by the character’s own stupidity, the brute wasn’t even around), so at least they gave him this little bonus character trait.
And as I said, it’s got some dry humor. Most of the protagonists seem to despise the people they are with, so there’s a lot of back and forths and under the breath muttering. Even Vinnie gets in a good subtle laugh, coming home and seeing six strangers in his home and not really thinking much of it. Apparently his is the only structure around, so this sort of thing happens a lot. And the resident bitch of the group, who isn’t from the area, admonishes an Irish person by saying “You needed us to invent the potato!”, which is just a funny thing to hear. "PO-TA-TOES!" (boil em, mash em, stick em in a stew).
There’s also a nasty/funny bit where he comes across two dogs. Now, we’ve all seen enough horror movies to know that when a killer comes across a dog, he will almost always kill it, or at least kick it. Christ, Michael Myers has killed at least 4 in his day. But there’s an (at first) odd moment where the camera pans down to show the killer’s legs. Or, more specifically, his bare feet. One jump cut later, he’s putting on a nice new pair of homemade fur slippers. Now, I usually hate any sort of dog-killing in a movie, but when they actually give it a point (and pull off a decent sight gag to boot), I am far more forgiving.
I can’t quite forgive the movie’s nearly unending boringness though. It’s like an hour into the movie before anyone of note dies, and even then it doesn’t quite kick it into high gear. I also invoke the Freddy vs Jason rule that states that no film should ever again involve a plan combining fire and water to allow our protagonists to get the upper hand on the villain. I mean, I wasn’t expecting much from the film, but I figure with Vinnie Jones AND a hulking swamp monster, it should at least be fun. Instead, there’s a subplot about how everyone has accidentally killed someone in the past and covered it up, and so instead of present day action, we get lengthy flashbacks explaining their tragedy. Props to not having them be the SAME tragedy, and that it was fate or something pulling them back together, but at the same time it makes each subsequent flashback less and less interesting, which is a big problem when you consider that the one they save for the end (our heroine’s) is supposed to be weighty. As soon as she says “I was sent to live with my uncle” you can pretty much guess what the rest of her admittedly non-accidental killing story is about, but it takes another 5 minutes for her to “explain”, at a point in the movie where we should be seeing the bad guy chasing these folks around and smashing things.
They also fail to give him much of a fight with Jones, which to me is the only reason to hire a guy like him in the first place. Granted he’s not the actual hero, but that’s actually even MORE of a reason to give him a big fight with the guy. It’s like “OK, Vinnie, the drunken Irish dude from Titanic is going to be the hero of the movie, but you get to have this kickass, epic, drag knuckle beat down fight scene with Bog-man.” Nope. What a ripoff.
As these things go, I’ve seen a lot worse, and there are even a couple of good ideas in the mix to lift it slightly above average. But it’s mostly a bore; best suited for background viewing. Need to set up a new cell phone? Match a full load of freshly laundered socks? Or perhaps your walls are thin and you want some noise to dull the sound of intercourse with your spouse from neighbors (or intercourse with neighbors from your spouse)? If so, Legend of the Bog is one of the finest options available to you!
What say you?