The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Flesh Wounds (2011)

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I saw this on Netflix Instant, and with names like Kevin Sorbo and Bokeem Woodbine, I figured it was a sure bet.  I guess it's technically a TV movie, but on imdb I couldn't see on what channel-- or in country for that matter-- it first aired.  Anyway, it looked pretty promising, so I figured why not?  Also, our friend Mitch at The Video Vacuum has hit this one too if you want to give it a look.

Flesh Wounds is a Predator rip-off starring Sorbo as a misogynistic jerk that leads a special forces unit into the jungle on a mission to get some bodies out or something.  They're ordered to take CIA agent Heather Marie Marsden, so Sorbo and his team of misogynists all have their dander up.  Meanwhile, between their cat calling and sexist remarks, they're also taking out some terrorists that supposedly live in the area.  But when things aren't as they seem, people start dying.  What could it be?  And will they all get out alive?

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This movie was horrible.  First off, it had an appalling amount of misogyny.  I mean, it was so bad, the 1950s called as I was watching it and was like "wow, this is ridiculous."  It might not have been so bad if it were just the guys in Sorbo's troop who we all knew were going to be killed off anyway, but when Sorbo, the guy we're supposed to be rooting for, is as bad as any of them, it makes the whole thing difficult.  It wasn't just the classic "women don't belong out here" or "look at that ass", though there was plenty of that; but we had plenty of moments where men, including Sorbo, put their hands on Marsden in a very threatening and bullying kind of way, which was really disturbing.  Beyond that, we had only very superficial action throughout most of the film, which wasn't doing anything for me either.  We have the Predator-like thing strike at the very beginning, and then we don't see him again for a real long time, and in between it's just Sorbo's guys taking out terrorists in very lackluster, nonaction action scenes.  I don't know, a Predator rip-off could've been a lot of fun, and we've seen it be fun before, but this one was sauteed in ignorance and wrong sauce.

Bearing in mind the understanding that action movies tend to be more male-centered, and a lot of the tropes that we take for granted are problematic, for a movie to be so misogynistic that it made me uncomfortable, it's pretty bad.  In my mind it's like, why even have women in your film if your opinion of them is that bad?  In fact, why even bother making this movie?  Just go back to your subreddit on misandry or your trolling Twitter and Tumblr accounts.  Again, I wouldn't have had as much trouble with it had Sorbo's character not been as bad, or if Marsden's was the lead, and the misogyny was just another obstacle she had to overcome; but that's not what this was, this was a pile of ignorant views on women set up as legitimate.  Not a good look.

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I don't know what to say about Sorbo in the lead.  He didn't write the film, but did he at least know his character had these issues?  There's a scene where he grabs Marsden in a very threatening manner that was very disturbing, and while her character handles it well, it didn't make me want to root for him as the hero.  I'd like to think that Sorbo is better than this, that that character didn't represent him, but I wonder what he was thinking while reading the script.  Maybe it didn't seem as bad then, or maybe even in shooting.  Who knows?  He's built up enough good will that I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.  Beyond that, he had some decent moments, like when he was fighting the Predator-like thing at the end; but he also had some funny mailing it in moments, especially one when he's yelling and shooting into the woods.  He was just like "Aaaaaah, you bastard!" in a very measured "I don't care" tone.  Maybe he was supposed to be more like Reb Brown, but didn't have it in him to scream.

As much as the misogyny derailed this, the bad pacing and lackluster action didn't help either.  I mean, one scene taking out the terrorists on the island would've been sufficient.  From there, we need the Predator picking off Sorbo's team, but instead we had more taking out the terrorists.  Where did they all come from?  Were they spawning asexually through sporing?  The fact that we got to the end and almost his entire team was still alive to help him build up the defenses tells you that a lot of time was wasted.  It was also all over the place, like when one of Sorbo's team captures a terrorist and cuts his fingers off to get information out of him.  It was the kind of scene you'd expect from a film like this, if you know what I mean.  Just bad all around.

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Finally, I had a sense that this wasn't so much a Predator rip-off as it was a Robowar rip-off.  Why did Robowar work and this didn't?  I don't know, the whole thing was just more fun.  No misogyny, consistent kills, and Reb Brown killing it with plenty of screaming.  I think a few improvements, beyond getting rid of the misogyny and ramping up the action quotient, would've started with a more fun group of guys in Sorbo's team.  The only distinct personalities were the biggest jerks, which is dumb.  More Predator-like thing kills spread throughout the film would've worked well too.  Also, maybe have some women on Sorbo's team, that way if you need Marsden's character to be like Carl Weathers's, the team's disdain won't be so offensive.

Anyway, this is a total pass, I think one of the worst I've seen in my 6 years and 900-plus films.  If the misogyny doesn't get you, the bad action and bad pacing will.  I guess you can get it on Instant or DVD if you were so inclined.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1461677/

2 comments:

  1. Oh man, when I saw 'Predator ripoff' and that sweet cover I was hoping for a Robowar style film. Shame that's not what you got. Pass.

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