Lots of changes this year, and changes lately. I used to watch a lot of violent and extremely disturbing horror and crime movies, I used to write a lot of blog posts about movies I saw. I haven’t done either in forever.
For whatever reason, the non-fast (it’s not like I missed anything, watching other kinds of movies instead) on ultraviolence and all the triggerings came to a halt recently when I binge-watched both ABCs of Death and V/H/S movies in a day or so. I don’t think it was Halloweeness rubbing off, I barely pay attention to holiday business, less every year as I get older. But whatever, I keep watching whatever I can find that’s gnarly lately, and feeling about writing up the movies I watch, so…here we go again.
Who knows, maybe I’ll even turn blog comments back on.
So I was not the only person in the world who watched Uwe Boll’s 2009 movie Rampage and went “Holy fuck, did some other guy make this?” As it turned out.
I’m a little clued out these days, about movies and music and etc. Compared to the ubernerd I used to be anyway – getting older, and busier, and etc. And I mostly tuned out about Uwe Boll a while back, after seeing a couple of his Yes, They Are Horrible video game movies and his school shooting movie – meh – and…by the time Postal came out…I got bored with the video game fairly quickly. The trailer for the movie wasn’t any more amusing. I was sort of aware he kept making all these exploitation movies and odd attempts at “real movies,” but…in the same way I was vaguely aware that he got in boxing matches with bloggers. Or whatever.
I can’t remember who told me I had to see Rampage a few years ago, but it must have been somebody I really trusted or I was really bored, because…not even like this was new territory for Boll. He’d already done Postal, after all, and Heart of America, the “serious” school massacre movie mentioned previously.
So I watched Rampage and…holy shit. Did some other Uwe Boll make this movie?
I’m not sure if the Rampage movies are good movies. I’m not even sure what the word means in relation to these movies. They’re of zero appeal to anyone for whom moral goodness is a necessary aesthetic criteria, certainly. Technically, and in terms of acting skills on display and writing and narrative cohesion and…everything traditionally lacking in a Uwe Boll Movie, they deliver in manner that…again, seems like some entirely other man doing the work. But all of this good work is in service of gleefully…not even amoral, antimoral movies about gun massacres.
That’s a hard sell as “good” to Aleister Crowley, even. Maybe Peter Sotos would buy it, but that’s because Sotos would be all into The Pure Power of Doing That Act or whatever and his usual worship of raw brute evil bullshit. Killers are the only truly free souls, blah blah blah.
I hope I’m not making the Rampage movies sound like that. They aren’t. They’d have to believe in anything for that.
Even worshiping serial killers like Sotos does is an ideal.
For the uninitiated: Rampage, the first film, roughly follows the day of an unusually geared-up spree killer as he enacts the single worst such massacre in US history. I say “roughly” not because the movie’s choppy or anything, but because the trailers and some reviews might present the film as nothing but that: a march through that very bloody day. That isn’t the case, the story employs some flashbacks and other time jumps to throw more narrative curves than might be expected, and…turns out to be a decent story, on top of everything else. (Again, this must be the mirror universe Boll with his pointy beard shaved or something…)
This is not the kind of movie that looks away a lot, and a big chunk of the movie is watching that massacre unfold in vivid detail. I’m not trying to talk anybody who can’t sit through something like that into giving this movie a chance. But it’s also a strangely heartfelt movie, and one with an unsual amount of humor in it. And I don’t just mean black humor – there’s some of that, obviously, this is a Uwe Boll movie. But it’s also a weirdly restrained and even – dare I say – quiet Uwe Boll movie.
About a massacre.
This is the Bingo Hall Scene. This is a scene from Rampage anybody could watch, no matter what your tolerance for violence on film. I guess that’s a spoiler: nothing awful happens in this scene. And…that’s the beauty of it, and why people who do see Rampage and find something to admire about it talk about this particular scene so much, I guess.
This is four whole minutes of the movie. That’s a lot of movie.
My first thought, seeing the original Rampage trailer a few years ago, was “Oh, he made a more serious version of Postal?“
And…no. It turns out not. Rampage isn’t anything like this year’s Postal, either, Hatred:
“Many can call us ‘attention whores’ – well, we try to get world’s attention to our product and as you can see – it worked perfectly. But there are some true attention whores out there, who are trying to imply that we are neo-nazis and some other stupid stuff. Do not believe everything you read on the web, especially written by no-name pathetic bloggers or some unhappy guys commenting around the web.”
So a bunch of people are all TAKE MY MONEY because LOL SJWS and PC are shitting their pants, so it must be good, and…a bunch of uber-PC SJWs are shitting their pants and it’s all the circle of life, it’s so beautiful.
Yeah, just like Postal. If you’re somebody with that long a memory, I realize that game happened on million years before Christ. And that Columbine game, back when amoebas from space walked the earth and rode dinosaurs. And etc. (Naturally, everybody shitting themselves is going NOTHING LIKE THIS HAS EVER HAPPENED BEFORE…)
Rampage isn’t that. At all.
Rampage seems to have points to make, political and social points, and Rampage: Capital Punishment goes all out in that regard – kinda the way Battle Royale II did? Via their central character’s endless sermonizing and…in the sequel, the director himself taking a tiny role just so he can go “Dude, that guy’s totally right” about one of the killer’s rants, both movies present a sort of way-beyond-Occupy-and-Anonymous Malthusian reaction to Life Today. Bill Williamson is fed up with the One Percent and the Banksters and global warming and anti-gay oppression and institutionalized racism and Big Oil and Big Internet and Big Media and…big everything. And he isn’t going to take it anymore, being mad as hell and all. For real: he’s not going to take it anymore. And he’d like the rest of us to join him or die.
Bill Williamson isn’t right or left or any place on any political spectrum at all: he’s just perpetually outraged as fuck about everything and he wants like ninety-nine percent of humanity gone, right now, so he can get a moment to breathe and think.
Just like everybody on the Internet, all the time. These days.
Uwe Boll may be genuine in the admiration expressed in both Rampage movies for Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden and etc., especially in the second film. The speeches about The Rich and The Media and The Environment and The People that sound like all of Tumblr and all of Tumblr’s detractors in one big blender, they may be legit, what Uwe Boll feels and believes in his heart. They may not be.
But like it matters.
And I bet Uwe Boll does know that.
Like I said: I don’t know if these movies are good. But I know they’re compelling. They mean something. They matter.
I think. Anyway: they’re the only movies I’ve seen lately that even begin to touch on the dark pit of unreasoning and endless outrage a lot of the Internet lives in these days.
YMMV, and that’s the closest you’ll ever get to a Trigger Warning from me.