June 8, 2012

Filthy Review - Monster Brawl


By Chris MacGibbon

I want to start this off by saying - I'm not a huge wrestling fan, when I was a youngster I entertained the idea for a few months but the writing got sloppy, heroes turned to villains then back to heroes again, someone got "fired" once a week, it lost its charm quick for me. However, my brothers and their friends are known to be wrestling fans, and on the occasional Monday night or Sunday night pay-per-view; I've caught a match here and there, while I still don't particularly care for it - it does manage to be entertaining despite the flaws.

So when I heard the concept of someone basically taking the concept of wrestling and throwing some of the genre's biggest monsters into the mix - I was intrigued.

The idea of taking our genre's most beloved monsters and pitting them against each other in a fight to the death is something I think every horror fan at one point dreamed off as a youth. I mean how many of us didn't play with our action figures pitting good ol' Frankenstein against the wolf man or the mummy? How about Count Dracula? Or the creature? Tell me I'm not alone here!

At any rate - I can say that even though the concept was intriguing, I wasn't expecting a great, story driven film from this; what I did expect was pure entertainment from beginning to end. Maybe a lull here and there but plenty of trash talking, violent and gory moves, a few audience member decapitations, you know the usual wrestling shtick with a dash of horror thrown in. What I didn't expect was to reach for the remote and hitting the fast forward button multiple times...through a film that barely scraps eighty minutes.

I mean to me it's hard to screw something like this up, you take monsters, make them fight, it's a wild and crazy concept that should be a balls to the wall, mindless, entertaining gore fest! So where exactly did this go wrong? Well...let's break it down.

First and foremost, there is a LOT of dialogue in this film, and when I say I lot I do mean - A LOT! The fights are roughly 2-3 minutes apiece, minus the main event that maybe extends to about 10 minutes or so - with a mild interruption and a few zombies thrown in - so they're not even really the focal point of the film. Yes, it's true - a film about monsters fighting to the death is less about the monsters fighting to the death, and more about providing back stories for each one tagged along side a flat, lifeless commentary made by what seems like two very bored actors. I mean did we need back stories for these characters? Like any self respecting genre fan wouldn't know where they came from or to be honest, even care? Even the casual movie-goer would be privy to the roots of most of these characters or whom they were inspired by so it's a pointless endeavor in that respect.

Thus brings the film to its second big problem, the fights, they are not only short but bland. I mean seeing Frankenstein face off with a flesh eating zombie should not only be exciting, but it also should be gory and somewhat comical.

Which leads me to the final nail in the coffin - the flick is entirely played straight. I mean, even the writers over at WWE know to throw humor in the mix, thrown in with peril and the occasional trash talking; of which there's none of that here. Everything here is just so bland and flat it feels more like an extended commercial for what the film promises. Dangling the entertainment in front of your face, but never really catching your interest.

This unfortunately can't even fall into the "so bad it's good" category because it takes itself way too seriously. You can tell the filmmakers were playing this 100% straight instead of amping up the comedy or planting their tongues firmly on their cheeks like they really should have. Nope folks this is just a flat out boring, bad flick.

I can't stress this enough; this was an extremely entertaining concept, the idea itself is wild and crazy but unfortunately the film doesn't manage to provide anything like that. It's played too straight when they should have gone for laughs, the fights are short lived and boring to boot, and the "living" cast members sound more dead than the undead ones do! Unfortunately MONSTER BRAWL isn't the knock out it could have been and minus some decent make up effects - there's nothing here to recommend.

Sorry folks, maybe one day The Asylum will come to the rescue and make a grand scale version of this film and it will be far more entertaining with less talking and more bashing. I can't believe I just set out a plea for The Asylum to remake this film...you know that's gotta speak volumes right!? 

Monster Brawl is released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 12th by Image Entertainment.

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