Thursday, April 18, 2013

Review: All Superheroes Must Die (2011)

Reviewed by Disgruntled Monkey

Director: Jason Trost
Starring: Jason Trost, Lucas Till and James Remar
Writer: Jason Trost

A villain captures four super heroes that have bested him in the past. Putting them in a town full of innocent civilians, it’s up to the heroes to play the villains’ dastardly game to not only save the innocents but to save themselves. Doesn’t this sound like a really cool movie? I loved this idea and was chomping at the bit to watch it. I wasn’t the only one either, as this movie (previously known as VS) was marketed to high hell in the nerd circles. Was it worth all the hype? Short answer, no.

Long answer:

The movie opens up with our four titular heroes - Charge, Cutthroat, Shadow and The Wall - waking up with all their powers gone. This is honestly strike one for me. The film was marketed as superheroes contending in a deadly game and right off the bat our protagonists are reduced to nothing more than mere mortals. It would have been tolerable if they had still used some intelligence, however all but one (Cutthroat) seemed to have no clue what to do now their powers were gone. I wished for death to claim the heroes quickly and I’m sure this is not what Jason Trost wanted.

The script in this movie is a complete and utter mess. If I had the time I would go through the millions of questions I have, I don’t, so I’ll boil everything down to the fact that numerous things contradict each other. Character motivations clash with flashbacks, villainous plans don’t make sense when you take a moment to think about it and dramatic sections supposed to carry weight are completely destroyed by flashback footage further on. The central idea is a good one, but it’s never ever capitalised on.

Another problem story wise is that it tries hard to make us care about these heroes, yet it hardly gives us anything to go on. There are flashbacks, yes, but these often confuse and contradict rather than illuminate. Due to all this, All Superheroes Must Die feels like a book that we’ve managed to skip over the first twenty or so chapters of.

Our heroes gather! *cue dramatic music*
The acting is pretty much terrible across the board, with either characters showing no emotion what so ever, or falling to the always reliable art of yelling loudly to emphasise high emotion. The gem in all this mess is James Remar as the villain Rickshaw. He’s having a ball and hamming it up to massive levels and there are moments in his eyes that show true insanity. This more than anything else helps him become one of the most believable characters in this. I’ll also say Jason Trost as Charge is decent as well, however being the writer and director he gives himself the most interesting character development and obviously being a character he has created, he knows the characters true emotions.

Directorially the movie is solid but nothing special. The set pieces are simplistic enough and try to make use of the limited budget. There is a nice dark tone to the movie but sometimes it’s undone by some cheap looking decisions. In particular one of the fights between hero and henchman takes place on a caged trampoline. I couldn’t help but laugh.

This movie has an epic concept but just can’t deliver. Its’ script is a mess and seeing as the foundation isn’t solid, nothing else holds up. James Remar is great but he can’t save this movie either. As is, All Superheroes Must Die becomes a lesson in not believing all the hype.

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