Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Friday the 13th - Jason Takes Manhattan

What a mess, this town's in tatters
I've been shattered
My brain's been battered
Splattered all over...Manhattan

 - Rolling Stones

Well, I can start off by stating that this was a good concept at least, however ill-conceived and poorly executed it was, it was a good concept. However, the movie is so botched up there's no way it could work. Heck, the Muppets Take Manhattan was more terrifying than this. Needless to say, I'm not a fan of this one and I don't think many people are.

The movie starts with two "teens" sexing it up on a boat. But oops, a lose electrical wire or something falls into the water and hits their magic boat anchor of revitalization. Needless to say, this somehow brings Jason back to life and he's quick to slaughter them both. But at least the kids conveniently left a hockey mask for Jason to put on, which was quite nice of them I think. Then we meet our "real" victims. We have the pretty, boring, bland Rennie who despite her fear of water is taking a cruise to New York with Sean, her equally bland and boring boyfriend and her dog for some strange reason. Also aboard the ship we have a bunch of stereotypes...er...classmates, her somewhat despicable uncle, and of course, Jason who is apparently bored with Camp Blood and is now ready to terrorize uncharted territory.

The title is brilliant. The idea of Jason hitting the Big Apple is a good one. So where did it all go wrong?

Well, first of all this movie really should have been titled "Jason Takes a Leisurely Cruise" as the majority of the movie takes place on the ship. We don't even get to New York until the third act of the movie and by then most of the cast is dead.  But even without the New York backdrop, the movie just bombs on every level imaginable. Rennie our Final Girl is without a doubt, one of the most BORING girls in F13 history. Whether she's watching someone be brutally murdered, getting rushed at by toxic waste, suffering a near-rape by heroin addicts or seeing visions of Jason as a little boy, her expression never changes. How to describe it? Swallow five Valium, wash them down with a whiskey chaser, then look in the mirror and try to make a frowny face. Yeah, that's what it looks like.

Oh, and about those visions. On the ship, Rennie starts having wide-awake dreams of a kid drowning, or swimming I guess, since the kid doesn't look to be in any sort of distress. The problem is, those images are completely useless. There's something about Rennie's wicked uncle nearly drowning her while teaching her to swim and Jason as a boy attacking her but what does it all mean? The answer is absolutely nothing. But what's really perplexing is how the kid in the visions appears to be constantly changing. He looks like a normal kid at first, then a couple of times the right side of his face is screwed up and one time he actually looks like a different kid actor altogether. Did the filmmakers not see the first movie? This one doesn't even resemble a mongoloid. He's just some kid.

And what about adult Jason? Well to be honest, Kane tries, but even all of his head-cocking, chest-heaving bad-assery doesn't help. With the cheap plastic mask and lame special effects, this Jason actually appears quite tame compared to the Jason of old. Nothing really looks real so the deaths are of no import. And when we finally see Jason with his mask off at the very end, well, let's just say you could buy a cheap Halloween mask and come up with a scarier looking creature.

Some of the scenes in New York (when they get to New York) are a lot of fun. In one scene Rennie and Sean run into a diner screaming "There's a maniac trying to kill us!" "Welcome to New York," a bored waitress replies. And Jason in Times Square is something to behold, especially when he shows a few punks whose boss by removing his mask and showing them his face. It's one of the funniest moments in the F13 series and is a sad reminder of how well this movie could have worked if they had only tried.

So...the majority of the movie takes place on the ship. The kids are boring as all hell. The special effects are terrible and the action is non-existent. Now, from what I understand they had to cut down on the amount of New York in the movie. The original script actually had most of the action taking place in the big city but the movie was rewritten after they realized they just didn't have the budget. To a good writer this would have been no problem. Just knock off some of the landmarks, dress up Canada (where the majority of this was obviously filmed) with a few dingy streets and bingo bango - Manhattan. But I guess that would have been what a good writer should have done.  F13 Part 8 sadly didn't seem to have that. Sigh. Oh, what could have been.

NOTE:  Oh yeah, you know that opening song, The Darkest Side of the Night made it on to my iPod. I couldn't help it, it was just so 80's cheesy awesome. Yeah, I downloaded it. And I'm not ashamed....much.

Favorite Moments (may contain spoilers):
  • Rocker J.J. and her death by axe guitar. Rock and Roll!
  • Tough guy Julius taking on Jason in a boxing match and Jason's stoic reaction.
  • Jason's first glimpse of Times Square. Brilliant.
  • Jason removing his mask to show those street kids exactly what they were dealing with. Feeling lucky punks?
Fun Facts Kids!
  • Lar Park Lincoln (Tina from Part 7) was asked back but negotiations broke down when she wanted more money.
  • Only one week was spent filming the scenes in New York.
  • The cook that Jason throws into the mirror in the diner scene is Ken Kirzinger, who eventually played Jason in "Freddy Vs Jason." 
  • In one scene Kane Hodder was told he had to kick a dog. He refused saying "Jason wouldn't do that."
  • This one didn't do so well at the box office and was the final nail in the coffin (so to speak) for Paramount who quickly sold the original franchise to New Line.

Agree? Disagree? Or just have a random string of curse words you'd like to share? Comment!

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