Basic set up is that, long ago, an extraterrestrial machine fell to Earth and turned its victims into inhuman cybernetic soldiers. MUTANT CHRONICLES boasts some impressive special effects that create a reasonably convincing future world. Cinefantastique's Los Angeles Correspondent from 1987 to 1993 and West Coast Editor from 1993 to 1999. Relying on technical ingenuity to compensate for its relatively modest budget and on a few dependable character actors rather than box office stars, MUTANT CHRONICLES aims for the grandeur and spectacle of a major movie while trying to craft an epic story of redemption and sacrifice against bitter odds.
Mankind managed to rally and defeat the menace, but the machine lies buried somewhere in Europe. The initial exposition does not so much set up the story as set up the opening battle, whose plot function is to introduce us to Hunter and to unleash the mutants.
The deliberately drab sepia-toned look is getting to be a bit old (it seems to be what cinematographers do these days because, for commercial reasons, they are not allowed to work in black-and-white), but it suits the story. Pressman used to offer authentically large scale epics like CONAN THE BARBARIAN; as late as the 1990s he was producing interesting films like THE CROW.
Currently the webmaster of Cinefantastique Online, I also run a website called Hollywood Gothique that covers Halloween Horror and Sci-Fi Cinema Events in the Los Angeles area.


In an interesting twist on the usual post-apocalyptic scenario, humanity has regressed not to the sword-and-sandal era but to something resembling the First World War, with the world now divided into four corporations instead of many countries. Unfortuantely, Simon Hunter tries to deliver a SAVING PRIVATE RYAN sequence that stands on its own; instead it just drags on and on while we wait for the inevitable.
The one most ill served is Devon Aoki (Miho in SIN CITY), once again playing a tough warrior chick; lines of dialogue meant to humanize her as something other than a walking stereotype fall flatter than her slain opponents. Unfortunately, the computer-generated imagery falls short when it comes to supplying the gore for the fight scenes: the bright splashes of red look almost literally Photoshopped onto the settings. A battle between two of the corporations explodes the seal covering the machine, unleashing the mutants, who drag their victims underground to turn them into mutants as well. Then when it finally happens, we need a bunch more exposition from Brother Samuel to explain how to put down the newly re-released threat.
On the plus side, John Malkovich shows up for two or three scenes and proves that, even when just collecting a paycheck, a really good actor can bring some life to relatively lifeless material. The film deserves credit for wanting to be something more, but it might have turned out better if it had simply embraced what it is: a B-movie about some army guys fighting some monsters. Cast: Thomas Jane, Ron Perlman, Devon Aoki, Sean Pertwee, Benno Furmann, John Malkovich, Anna Walton, Tom Wu, Steve Toussaint, Luis Echegaray, Pras Michel.


Der Film ist unter Regie von Wayne Kramer sowie mit Paul Walker, Norman Reedus, Elijah Wood, Matt Dillon, Vincent D’Onofrio, Thomas Jane, Lukas Haas, Brendan Fraser und DJ Qualls. The schizoid elements cancel each other out, leaving behind a film that is not exactly bad but doesn’t add up to much of anything.
While most of humanity is abandoning Earth for off-world colonies, Brother Samuel (Perlman), leader of an order that knows the legend of the machine, gets funding from Constantine (Malkovich) to put together a suicide mission to save the world. By the time the mission finally begins, you are likely to feel as if the movie has been going on forever, and then it just keeps going – with several more action scenes that never intensify the action but simply continue at the same level we have been watching all along. He enlists cynical soldier Major Hunter (Thomas Jane), along with several other warriors from different corporations, who join forces to face the menace threatening the all of civilization.



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