B-Movie Triple Feature (or, I Can't Believe I Watched This Crap)

i-am-omega.jpgRemember when BadAzz MoFo used to reviews movies, instead of just having some schmuck ramble on about his personal life? It wasn’t that long ago, but prattling on about working at the post office seems to have dominated much of the conversation as of late; so I decided it was time for a little dose of old fashioned film criticism. Originally, I was just going to write about one movie, but I’m one of those guys who walks into a video store and is easily distracted by the boxes that inevitably promise more than they deliver. So, while I only planned on renting and reviewing one movie, I somehow managed to walk out of the store with three—which was at least two too many.

The plan from the beginning was to rent I Am Omega. If this title sounds familiar, it is because it is a total rip-off of The Omega Man, starring Charlton Heston, and the upcoming I Am Legend, starring Will Smith, both of which are based on Richard Matherson’s novella, I Am Legend. I Am Omega is one of those ultra low budget, direct to video knock-offs brought to you by The Asylum, the same company that brought us such classics as Snakes on a TrainKing of Kong Island, and Transmorphers. Like many of you smarter people, I often see films like this littering the shelves at my local video store, and avoid them like plague-infested piles of feces. But in the case of I Am Omega, I really wanted to see the film. In part because I Am Legend is one of my favorite books of all time, and also because the film stars Mark Dacascos. I really liked Dacascos in Brotherhood of the Wolf, the underrated Drive, and even Crying Freeman, and I figured at the very least the film would be watchable because he was in it.

The first thing you should know about I Am Omega is that like most of the films released by the same company, the box makes it look far better than it really is. The box features hundreds of mutated zombie-like creatures, whereas the film has about twenty, and I suspect at least seven of them are played by the same person disguised in variations of the piss-poor prosthetic make-up effects. It is these ridiculously fake-looking creatures that hound our hero, Renchard (Dacascos)—whose name sounds like “Richard” throughout the film—after the world has been infected by some plague. Popping pills and losing his grip on sanity, Renchard has come up with a plan to destroy Los Angeles, where a massive hive of mutants now dwell. But when he encounters other survivors, his plan gets messed up. Of course, Renchard’s plans suffer most from the poorly developed script, which in one of the film’s finer moments has him battling zombies with nunchukas.

I Am Omega has some interesting moments, but it suffers from pathetic make-up effects, a poorly written script, and a budget so low it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that catering served the cast and crew sand. The film attempts to explore the effects of loneliness and isolation on Renchard, and at times it almost works, but the direction is so anemic, and the script so bad, it leaves Dacascos fending for himself against not only the mutant zombies, but a film production mired by an overwhelming deficit of talent.

deadclowns.jpgAs bad as I Am Omega may be, it pales in comparison of Dead Clowns. I know what you’re thinking—“Why the fuck would you rent a movie called Dead Clowns, and how could you be stupid enough to think it would be anything but crap?”

In my defense, I never expected Dead Clowns to be good, I just never expected it to be this terrible. Seriously, this is a total and complete piece of shit, devoid of anything redeeming or remotely entertaining. If you were to trim out all the good parts of Dead Clowns, and edit those together into an abbreviated version, you would be left with nothing. Not a fucking thing. That’s because there is nothing—as in “no” and “thing”—good about this vomitous mass of excrement.

No exaggeration, it takes literally 22 minutes for something to happen in this tale of a Florida town beset upon by zombie clowns. Did I just say “zombie clowns”? Yes, I did!!! And now you understand how I was tricked into renting this garbage—zombie clowns!!! Anyway, these zombie clowns were the victims of a terrible train accident 50 years earlier, in which they all drowned when their car derailed into the water. The bodies of the clowns were never recovered, and now they want revenge. And for the next 90 minutes you get to yawn your way through a film that is terribly written, terribly directed, and terribly acted, with special effects even crappier than I Am Omega. In fact, the only thing special about Dead Clowns is how truly bad it is. This is one of those rare films without a single shred of quality. What’s worse is that the film is not even so bad it is good. It is simply so bad it is anal-assaultingly bad.

deadheist.jpgFinally, we have Dead Heist (it was sitting right next to Dead Clowns, and just called out to me), easily the best of the trio. This is one of those “urban” horror films that prominently features rappers-turned-actors on the box, when in reality Bonecrusher has a small cameo, E-40 only has three or four brief scenes, leaving only Big Daddy Kane in a pivotal supporting role. Shamelessly ripping off From Dusk Till Dawn and Assault on Precinct 13, with a dash of Blade, Dead Heist is not a film that should be considered “good” within any of the traditional contexts of that description, but it does manage to miraculously be so bad it is good (or at least entertaining in a no-expectation-having sort of way).

A gang of inept thugs venture to a small town to rob a bank in what should be a no-brainer of a heist. The problem is that the operation is financed by kingpin Hustle (E-4o), who insists that his main man Jackson (D.J. Naylor) lead the operation. This doesn’t sit well with Ski (Brandon Hardin), the “mastermind” of the caper, who resents Jackson bossing him around on behalf of Hustle. To prove he’s even more stupid than he appears, Ski decides to deviate from the plan, leading to a colossal clusterfuck at the bank. But just as Dead Heist seems to be going in the direction of Dog Day Afternoon, the vampires show up. That’s right; I did just say “the vampires show up.” And hunting the bloodsuckers is Big Daddy Kane, looking like he wandered on to the set from a SNL spoof of Wesley Snipes’ Blade films. From there things get even more ridiculous as Big Daddy Blade, Jackson, a female cop and the bank robbers battle the swarming horde of bloodsuckers that are part of a government experiment gone wrong. Stop laughing.

There are moments when Dead Heist is laughably bad, but it moves at a quick pace and it has a weird charm that is difficult to pinpoint. Take for example Big Daddy Kane’s performance as the vampire hunter. I’m not sure if Kane is a terrible actor, or some brilliant thespian deeply immersed in the study of Stanislovsky. His performance is so unlike anything I’ve ever seen another actor do, I can’t define it. The same is true for everything else about the movie. Maybe it’s the fact that it never comes across like it thinks it is better than it is. Some times you watch low-rent schlock like this, and it come across like it was made by people who actually think they were doing something of merit. Dead Clowns is a perfect example of that. Anyone involved in that film that thought they were making something remotely close to good was sadly delusional. That shit doesn’t even deserve to be seen. Dead Heist, by comparison, has no pretensions that it is anything other than what it sets out to be—a silly B-movie.

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