|Death Traps: The Movie.|
Rating: 3 out of 5 Superheroes Surviving a Game of Death
Plot Synopsis: A villain somehow captures a bunch of hero’s and says to them “Let’s play a game.” Forcing them into series of challenges under threat of killing a whole town.
-Just a couple minutes in a it looks real great for its $20,000 budget.
-A real nice open, hero wakes up beaten with some kind of hole in his wrist, he walks down an abandoned street and sees two other costumes dead with the same wrist wound. Then we get the open title. After that it goes into almost a Saw like intro with a different hero. I’m in. They show that something is up with the wrist, I’m curious about that. They show hero’s waking up in traps, I’m interested. I want to know what’s going on.
-James fucking Remar. I always enjoy seeing James Remar, no matter what you give him he puts in a solid performance.
-I really like the “superhero meets Saw meets Manhunt” concept.
-The first two villains are a tall lanky guy in a Tarzan wrestling onesie and a guy in an Uncle Sam costume wielding a flamethrower. Under normal circumstances I would hate this but for some reason this works for me here.
-The movie gets pretty intense at some points. The “Bonus Round” scene in particular.
-The costumes are well done considering the budget. They look nice and the way they are fashionably tattered.
-Charge gets hit with a full bottle of Jack and the bottle doesn't break. Nice.
-“I’m sorry I was being a dick…AND STABBED YOU IN THE FUCKING HEART!”
-There’s a halfway decent twist about midway through.
-The entire (small) cast puts in a good performance.
-The villain’s names, the guy in the old Tarzan/strongman onesie is named “Sledge Saw” he wields neither sledge nor saw. Pyromaniac Uncle Sam is named Manpower. You really couldn’t come up with better names than that? Or better costumes? At least give the strong man the Uncle Sam costume and name him Uncle Slam and the pyromaniac the Tarzan costume and call him Flame Mane. Bam, done.
-Tarzan guy fights on a fucking trampoline. I could understand this if they want to use the trampoline as a makeshift crash pad and do badass moves on them then I would understand but that doesn't really happen either.
-I don’t know if I can knock this movie for its budget. There isn’t really a whole lot you can do about it, you definitely could have made something better with a bit more money but it really does the best it can with what it has.
-The names in general are pretty bad, Cutthroat, Charge, The Wall and Shadow. They don’t really make sense in the context of the character or their powers (although they don’t demonstrate their powers during the movie). Also James Remar’s name is Rickshaw. What? Just call him Remar or… Reamer…
-“All his broadcasts are clear and sharp, like they were done in post-production.”
-The flashbacks aren’t doing much for me. The incredibly small plot point about their powers (how they got them) is touched on by the characters in the regular plot. The flashbacks are sort of random and they don’t tell me anything I couldn’t pick up in the context of the plot without them. But the one thing that I wanted to hear exposition about, who James Remar is, what he did and how he figured out to negate heroes powers isn't addressed at all.
-Pacing drags in points but I don’t know what I would cut, except maybe the flashbacks because all the
points it drags are all the points where there’s major plot exposition.
-The slight budget shows through occasionally mostly when James Remar shows up on the television. The TV effect looks a little cheap.
-The explosions are a little underwhelming.
Final Thoughts: All the “invisibles” are in place here. As I’ve mentioned before there are things, when done right, are invisible. The camera work is good, the acting is good. It really is just a cast of 5 people so a terrible performance would really stick out but everyone puts on a good show. The plot is great, I loved the plot idea but I wish it had more money behind it because then you could have really had something special. That said they really do the best they can with what they have as it looks professionally shot, the costuming is good, the locations are nice and interesting, if it weren’t for the special effects it would be hard to tell this apart from a small budget Hollywood film (a small budget Hollywood action film being $20 million according to Wikipedia). Which, by the way, holy shit! They consider $20 million to be low budget? That’s insane. If this movie had $20 million pretty much any gripe I had would have been alleviated.
Anyway, the movie has a lot of good points going for it but I still found myself getting restless at points. It was just missing that “thing” that makes me go from “Hey, this is pretty good.” to “This is awesome, this is going to change things.” The initial premise got me hooked with promises of what was to come and the set pieces were decent enough but it just wasn’t enough to grab me by the throat. I think that’s where the greater budget would have helped. If you made the rounds more Saw like in their death trappiness and amped the fight scenes up a notch it would have had more of that attention holding element. I would recommend this film however just because of its unique premise and to support legitimate talent like those involved in this film.