Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Review: Lightspeed (2006)

Director: Don E. FauntLeRoy
Starring: Jason Connery, Nicole Eggert

"Don't you know speed kills?"

Stan Lee was responsible for many great comic book characters, like Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Hulk, Daredevil, The X Men, Dr. Strange and many more. You’d be hard pressed to find a guy more influential and revered than him in the comic industry. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t created his share of unbearable crap, too. And if you thought Spider-Man 3 was the worst thing he had ever put his name on…well, just wait until you get a load of Lightspeed. This putrid, half-cocked attempt at a superhero movie somehow manages to use all the regular clichés of these movies and yet never creates anything worth viewing.

Yup. Yup, you have to be pre-etty bad to do that. And in case you were curious about this pile of cracked up pig vomit, well we're going to review it today. Brace yourselves. It's going to get pretty damn stupid, I'll warn you right now.

The movie starts off with perhaps the most boring shoot-out and secret-agency espionage ever as we see people we don’t know wearing all black so we can’t see what they look like running around a bland looking office building and trying to kill one another. What are they trying to do? I don’t know. Maybe they were trying to stop the production of this movie…but it doesn’t work, since the green lizard-man hybrid gets away in the end.

"This is what happens when you don't eat your vegetables."

Yes, a green lizard-man; it looks like something Reptile from Mortal Kombat would vomit up if he ate the Lizard from Spider Man and also drank a gallon of Drano. Apparently his name is Python, and yes, he's going to get a lot of screen time in this movie, so prepare your Jaegermeister. It's going to be a long hour and a half.

After a very poorly done CGI explosion, we cut to 4 years earlier, which honestly begs the question of why you couldn’t just show this part first, seeing as it is, you know, the BACKSTORY. But maybe it’s actually important; maybe what they’ll show us here will totally justify the lame first part...but I doubt it. We get a scientist that is talking to his assistant about a research project he’s been doing that can heal dead human tissue by fusing it with snake skin, or something like that. To test it, even though he’s never done any tests before, he decides to burn his own arm over an open fire.

…doesn’t that seem a little STUPID to you? Why would you test it out on yourself before at least seeing if the snakes work? What if they didn’t work? You’d feel pretty dumb then, wouldn’t you?

Okay, to be fair, his sister is in the hospital with a horrible burned body due to an accident, and that’s why he’s doing all this. But she dies like right after his stem cell lab gets shut down anyway. He breaks into his lab, and…somehow starts a fire from nothing at all...and then presses a button that was conveniently right there to get a skin-cell transplant from one of his snakes, turning him into the un-threatening monstrosity he is in the present day. Don’t you wish you had a button that did that? I know I do. Boy, I tell you; I'd use that damn button every day if I did!

Then we go back to the present time, where we get an incredibly jumbled sequence of shots of the rescue squad taking the one surviving cop from the explosion to a hospital. His legs and pelvis have been completely crushed, they are told. The doctor tells the secret agent commander guy and…random blonde woman agent…that he can do an experimental procedure to get the injured agent, whose name is Daniel, to walk again. And with only so much as one line of dialogue explaining what that procedure is, the chief says ‘do it.’ Boy, the people in this movie are really reckless about experimental science, aren’t they? You’d think they’d have…questions, or something, but I guess those are just for morons.

So after Python comes back and slaughters everyone in the hospital except for Daniel, kidnapping the witness who could have helped identify him, nobody ever mentions it again, and the secret agents and hospital orderlies who died are apparently completely forgotten about. Instead we get a training montage as Daniel tries to learn how to use his legs again! Yeah…that’s not cool at all. By the amazing power of his indestructibly elastic clothes, the amazing Daniel spontaneously learns to run at high speeds just like the Flash, except unlike the Flash, he just really sucks. The only explanation really given boils down to ‘radiation.’ That’s it. Just ‘radiation’…because of course, it does whatever the writers want it to do. In a good movie, this might matter less if we could get into the story, and if it was clever enough. But Lightspeed is the kind of movie that makes me wish I was watching a horse’s rectum instead, so you can imagine how well that holds up.

Oh, and did I mention he just walks into a sports equipment store and buys his whole costume right there in the open? I just…I can’t…okay, just look at the picture and tell me if you think this costume justifies the stupidity of just buying it in a hockey apparel store:

Seriously, look at him; he looks like a drunk reject from the Justice League. Outcast because he couldn't put down the bottle long enough.

So he thwarts a robbery at a convenience store, probably only due to the fact that nobody can stare at that costume for more than two seconds without laughing. One of the guys even gets on the roof…how, I don’t know; but he does. And when confronted by, uh, “Lightspeed,” I guess, he backs up and falls off the roof of his own accord. Clumsiest robber ever? I think he’s definitely a candidate.

A reporter takes some pictures of him, probably to sell them on eBay, and then we see that Daniel’s girlfriend can’t find a connection between the reptile dude and the scientist who blew up in the lab four years ago. Because I guess she needs it spelled out for her in bold letters. Also, note that nobody seems to care that a man who should have been limping around, moving a step or two every five minutes on his crutches, is now walking like a normal guy with no trace of any injury at all. Huh. I guess I shouldn’t have doubted the scientific miracles in this movie after all. Silly me.

The reptile guy kills a bunch more secret agents and invades a scientist building where he finds a machine that can generate coldness, which has been getting a lot of fanfare lately among the scientific community. He says in the hokiest voice, “Did you know that this was one of my original creations before the burn experiment? Before I was reborn…before I was born.” That last part is actually hissed like he thinks it sounds scary. Well, I hate to be the buzzkill here, but it’s not. It’s not scary at all. Not even a third grader could find this even one bit intimidating. And to think Stan Lee actually produced this…dreadful. Maybe this movie's director caught him doing something embarrassing and blackmailed him into it. That's the only excuse.

Before I go on, what the hell is the logic in having all the agents run around in broad daylight in those black ninja outfits? They’ve been doing this all movie long and I am just about fed up with how dumb it looks. Look at these idiots running around on the grass like they’re actually camouflaging themselves; it’s just silly. Why the black masks and full-body suits? It doesn’t look like every bit of it is armored; they’re just wearing ski masks over their heads. Uh, that really only works at night, you blithering idiots, not in broad sunny daylight. Ghost Squad? Is that what these guys are calling themselves? Because I’ve never seen such…visible, easy to see ghosts.

"These black clothes will definitely help us blend in and do our covert secret work, and nobody will EVER notice us out here in the parking lot!"

After trading some hammy dialogue with Mr. Scaly-Skin here, Lightspeed saves his girlfriend from being crushed by a falling object and then decides to take off his mask and drink his medicine right in front of everyone, revealing his secret identity, as nobody else has to take that kind of special medicine to make sure they don’t screw up their body from the ‘radiation.’ Smart move there, guy; couldn’t you have just gone out of sight before you did that? But nobody ever thinks to mention this again, even though they see Daniel in the next scene. What a load. These 'secret agents' are about as perceptive as…as blind people, for Pete’s sake! The guy who got exposed to radiation in an accident and recently underwent surgery mysteriously disappears every time that Lightspeed character shows up. Pay attention! No, you know what? Blind people are MORE perceptive than these yahoos any day. Secret agents my ass; these morons couldn’t find out who took the cookies out of the jar before dinner.

So the agents are interrogating the guy who they caught from Python’s team, and Python actually kills him from his own hideout by…typing his name in on the computer and pressing a button. Okay. That’s a really lazy and convenient way to write out a character. We see him next killing off the senator who shut down his stem cell research operation from four years ago, and why didn’t he do this four years ago or something? I don’t know, I don’t really care. Let’s just move on.

A guy is tortured and gives up the location of the safehouse where Daniel and his girlfriend are staying. Python goes and kidnaps his wife and…forces her to sit down and play the piano. That’s oddly un-threatening. Then we see Lightspeed show up and demonstrate his amazing acrobat skills – yes, he can do back flips and jump over people’s heads now – and he confronts Python with an amazing display of horrible and unconvincing acting, before Python knocks him down and kidnaps his girlfriend-thing again. Why can’t Lightspeed stop them even though he’s clearly still conscious and able to fight? Because we need to pad out this movie longer! Oh, please, somebody help me.

So we get a generic supervillain plot about defusing bombs around the city, which works because Lightspeed is fast enough to do it. Python beats up the girlfriend a little, kills his assistant when he tries to talk some sense into him, and then goes on this huge, whiny rant, shouting over and over about how he didn’t do anything wrong and that they took everything away from him. Sheesh, dude, get a blog; it'll help you vent. And this is the point where his voice completely crosses the line into something that honestly I don’t think anyone could take seriously; he sounds so goofy. “Don’t you know speed kills?” is one of his lines, I am dead serious. Although I guess I should applaud them for saving that joke until now…

So it’s revealed that the secret agent leader guy was the real traitor the whole time, which doesn’t make any sense, but the movie is almost over anyway. He gets shot and killed in like an instant, and by Python no less, making the whole thing entirely pointless. Then Python gets shoved out of a two-story window on fire, Lightspeed and his girlfriend are reunited, and the movie ends. FINALLY, it ends.

Man, this is rancid. If you think you’ve seen a bad superhero flick, just watch this one and you’ll be begging for Spider-Man 3 and The Spirit. The acting is totally cardboard, the direction looks like it was made as a home movie, the plot is hacked up crap that a fifth grader could do better than, and there are so many plot holes you might as well call it Swiss cheese and just be done with it. How could anyone green light this? How could someone honestly look at this and say, “Yes. This lives up to the rest of the things Stan Lee has endorsed. Let’s put it out for the world to enjoy”? I don’t know, but I never want to see this again, and neither should you. Just run away…at the speed of light, even.

Or just don’t rent it. Either one works.