Thursday, March 18, 2010

Review: Race to Witch Mountain (2009)

Director: Andy Fickman
Starring: The Rock, Carla Gugino, AnnaSophia Robb, Alexander Ludwig

Have you ever wanted a movie with compelling themes, wonderful acting and characters with depth to them? Have you ever wanted a movie in which extraterrestrial space themes are explored and given new insight into? Maybe just a movie where the humor is at least competent? Well, if you answered yes...the exit door is to your right.

Race to Witch Mountain stars the Rock as a taxi driver being hounded by the mafia, two blonde kids as space aliens with no personalities and Carla Gugino as an alien nut trying to be 'serious' about her craft in a convention of sci fi nerds who would rather talk about crop circles. Because that right there is just a formula for success! The movie starts off with the Rock driving his taxi, probably cursing himself for ever taking that Tooth Fairy role and having to drive taxis to get money when no studio will hire him anymore. Witness the awe-inspiring strangeness of the two Stormtroopers from Star Wars that get in the taxi...okay, what? I mean WHAT THE FUCK?! In the first two minutes of the movie you give me this? What kind of a hellish ride are we in for?

It turns out that they're just people in costumes, imagine that, there for a sci fi convention for all the other nerds in Las Vegas. Yes, this is about what passes for comedy in this film. Along with bumbling FBI agents and annoying geeks who flirt with apparently any women that come up to talk to them. Heinous.

Carla Gugino gets in the car after the stormtroopers are kicked out, and then the real movie begins. Basically the story is that this flying saucer has crashed out at Witch Mountain, and the FBI gets a hold of it - but wait! Where are the inhabitants? Apparently they get into the Rock's taxi while he's kung-fu fighting and playing Dukes of Hazzard with the mafia, and they tell him to drive them to this old house where they can find something or other to help them out - I don't know, my mind is too busy being blitzkrieged by the colorful action scenes. There's this Predator ripoff bounty hunter guy out to get them. Their back story is basically that they have to come to Earth to get air for their poisoned atmosphere, or something. Oh, and the two kids have special powers - mind reading for the girl and...well, this weird thing where he can solidify or liquidify his molecules, or something. I have to admit that second power is pretty cool, and lends to probably my favorite scene, when the kid lets the mafia truck crash into him and it just kind of explodes while he's still standing there, unharmed. But the characters still aren't that interesting, and the backstory is just skimmed over in a few seconds.

And how about the Rock in general? His acting is as cardboard as it gets, and so is his character. Ooh, he's playing the 'nice, good looking, muscular guy with a shady past that has a lame sense of humor and makes dumbass jokes when he does something that might otherwise be cool'? Count me in! Although maybe I shouldn't make fun of him. After all, any guy that can defeat a whole lab of FBI people trained for hectic situations with just one other person in probably not anyone I want to fuck with.

Yup, there's your movie. Shiny, lightning-speed action scenes, a taxi driver being chased by the mafia and, oh yeah, probably the least impressive movie space ship I've ever seen out of something that actually had a budget. It looks like a flaming bagel, or maybe a Beyblade. This movie is stupid. There's no real substance to it, the plot is phoned in and the characters aren't that interesting. But in all reality, I guess it could have been worse. This is a pretty harmless movie for all its stupidity, and sometimes it's kind of funny, even if it's just in spite of itself. Compared to some of the other shit I've reviewed...I'll take this any day.