Monday, October 25, 2010

Review: D-Tox (2002)

Director: Jim Gillespie
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Charles S. Dutton, Polly Walker, Kris Kristofferson

When I say Sylvester Stallone, what do you think of? A horrible slasher-thriller that rips off every other slasher and every other thriller ever made, is run through an unbearable miasma of white snow and dark shadows so that you can't see anything that's going on and has no trace of anything resembling good filmmaking? Oh, you...don't think of that? That's because nobody knows about this movie, called D-Tox, and rightfully so. This movie is so bad that Universal Pictures doesn't even want to admit that they distributed it. It's so horrible that it actually has a reputation for being unwatchable among film critics. How bad can a Stallone-ified slasher movie get? I bet you're just on the edge of your seat for that one!

Our movie begins with a rambling onslaught of deep-throated narration that is so pretentious that even the SAW team didn’t want it. It’s also done in the most garbled, slurred voice ever used for one of these serial killer manifestos – I think some speech classes are in order, guys. Make sure you can enunciate your words before you go all philosophical and try to justify your killings. I think Jigsaw is rolling in his grave right now.

I want to play a game...a game far away from anything to do with this movie...

Then we switch to Sylvester Stallone buying a wedding ring for his wife before going out and drinking with a bunch of angry, drunk cops who are trying to catch that guy from the opening sequence after he killed one of their own – or something like that. It’s all pretty well, but why the hell does he come back inside his house with a little wind up cymbal monkey? Is it supposed to…represent the deep emotions running through Stallone as he wrestles with his own grief as well as the proposition of marrying his wife? Either way, they’re happy here, which most likely means they won’t be soon enough.

After that we see one of the cops from before stumbling around in his dark house when he hears a knock at the door. He calls out to his friend Jimmy and sarcastically asks if he is going to tuck him in – and then is promptly greeted by a power-drill through the eyehole of the door. If only they just wouldn’t look through the damn thing then I guess he wouldn’t be able to kill them as easily – but this guy does and is promptly shot by the murderer, because I guess knives and chainsaws are out of fashion – even though he uses a knife later on, making this whole thing kind of silly. Oh, and his tag line is “ICU” cut across their faces in blood, with their eyes gouged out. Yeah, with their eyes gouged out, like they just saw an advanced screening of the movie they had made. And really, “I see you”? Could you possibly pick a more generic serial killer tagline? Scooby Doo villains have had better.

And wouldn’t you know it? Stallone’s wife is killed in the very next scene; they really aren’t wasting any time here. Apparently the killer is doing this because Stallone led the case against him years ago when he was trying to kill prostitutes. “Oh no, he tried to stop me from doing a crime? HOW HEINOUS!” Seriously; they obviously didn’t catch this guy, so what the hell? If Stallone stopped him then why don’t they know more about him? Shouldn’t they have some clues as to who he is if he’s already committed some terrible crimes in the past? Why did he wait until now to attack Stallone’s wife? ANWERS, MOVIE. I DEMAND THEM!

So after a series of Se7en rip-offs the movie decides that it’s bored with this time period and switches to three months later, where the big black Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince knockoff who is apparently the FBI captain comes in and finds Stallone sitting alone at a bar, looking miserable. He tells him about a detox center run by cops for cops, and Stallone doesn’t really want to do it. He hands Stallone a gun and tells him to blow his own head off. Stallone doesn’t do that, and he just gets up and leaves. Uncle Phil stands there shouting at him but does not try to follow him or do anything else really – real true friend there, huh? Stallone goes home and drinks in the rain and then slits his wrists, because even though a gun won’t do it for him, I guess slitting his wrists is just fine.

We cut to another time later where it’s unclear what happened after the whole wrist-cutting scenario, with Stallone just driving in the car with Uncle Phil to the detox center. Did we miss a scene or something? I thought he didn’t want to go to this place. What changed? Anyway, it looks like a giant metal porto-potty stuck halfway in the ground. Just look:


So we go through a sequence of scenes with the patients at the detox center – which is more like a fortress as it is completely isolated from society in a snowy wasteland – talking with Kris Kristofferson and “battling their demons” – which is stupid, as they aren’t really doing much but arguing and wallowing in misery. Real top notch detoxification program you got there, doc!

Stallone makes friends with this woman who for some reason is sympathetic more with him than with the other patients…but then to be fair, maybe it’s because he is the only guy in this damn place who isn’t neurotic, doesn’t have a stick up his ass and isn’t older than dust. One of the other guys somehow finds a needle and kills himself with a drug overdose. I guess the security system just really sucks, doesn’t it? How about some…I don’t know, cameras or something to monitor these things? Seriously, what kind of morons would just leave lethal drugs lying around for a bunch of junkies and addicts who are obviously depressed to get at any time?

Then we see more of Kristofferson’s brilliant ideas of healing as one of the guys picks on this old man cop for letting his partner die on the field, making him cry. The first guy then starts saying that this is an example of why the program won’t work, because the guys are too damaged.

…seriously? Seriously?! That’s ridiculous! You can’t just bully the victim of a horrible tragedy right after he was admitted to a place to get better and then say the program won’t work when he gets broken up about it! That’s why he was admitted in the first place! What are you, retarded? This is like saying, “hey, I think we should just kill mental patients instead of trying to treat them. Clearly they’re already too far gone and any amount of treatment will never change who they are inside. So c’mon! Throw ‘em in the burner!”

Ugh. And then the douchebag continues acting like an ass even when this other guy gets sick and starts having convulsions. He even makes fun of Stallone for his wife dying. Who is this guy? Where did they find him, the asshole farm of America? He’s completely one dimensional; it’s like watching a cartoon character. Doesn’t he have any humanity or remorse at all? Why the hell is he even in here? He doesn’t seem to have any problems beyond just being a crazy fuck!

“HAHA, your wife got butchered by a psychotic killer who you still haven’t apprehended yet! You’re so stupid!” Man, this movie makes about as much sense as a feminist at a strip club.

So the next twenty minutes or so mostly consists of a very half-baked, uninspired murder mystery as we try to figure out who’s killing all of these people and making it look like a suicide. Kris Kristofferson even gets the ax in classic slasher style from this dude in a parka with his face covered…it’s revealed that apparently one of the orderlies at this giant metal dildo in the ground was actually a veteran who killed his squad leader on a mission, or something like that. Why did they hire him? This is so stupid that even the characters can’t believe it as they rightfully express their astonishment! But it’s never really brought up again, making this entire scene completely useless.

Then the movie turns into a bloody white Christmas as we see our indistinguishable personalities run around in the snow and get hacked up by the killer, who is apparently incredibly lucky to have the most convenient snowstorm in the world to attack these guys in. Somehow, in the flurry of cold snow and wind, he actually gets one of the guys hanging from something. Yeah, apparently he took the time to do an incredibly elaborate ritualistic kill in the middle of a FUCKING SNOWSTORM. Never mind that he just kills some of the other guys with a knife to the throat or something, because that’s not inconsistent. OK, writers. I know it’s hard to use your basic brain functions to come up with a plot thread that is at least a teeny bit realistic, but you’re going to have to try. You’re going to have to try for the sake of all of us.

"I" think that's incredibly retarded...

Oh, wait, what’s that? We find out a few scenes later that he also wrote “ICU” underneath that guy’s eyelids? Yes, folks, this movie has now turned into a retarded ‘ghosts of the past come back to haunt you in the most incredibly implausible ways’ slasher made popular by…oh, God, you’re not serious. No wonder! This movie was made by director Jim Gillespie, who also made I Know What You Did Last Summer. Now it all makes sense! Of course this movie is a retarded brain mash of epic proportions. Of course it has no bearings or groundings in reality or any kind of good taste. Now I get it!

Oh, right. I’m still doing the review. They find out it’s this British guy who did it all the whole time, do not marvel at his incredible lack of a life as he wasted this much time on an elaborate plan to mock this one specific FBI agent, and then it just sort of ends in a crappy dissolving montage. Phew.

I think drinking a lot would be a viable solution to forgetting D-Tox. I wouldn't begrudge you for taking that route if you've seen this one. I mean, this makes I Know What You Did Last Summer look like a masterpiece! There’s just nothing about this tripe that is in any way compelling. I was hoping this would be kind of funny or campy or something – it’s a slasher movie with Sylvester Stallone for Pete’s sake! – but it’s not even that. The plot is stupid beyond belief, the characters are so transparent they might as well just be like the little stick figures you see on public restrooms with name plates slapped on them, and it’s just DULL. Everything about it just sucks. So fuck you Jim Gillespie! I think I’m going to go call the Expendables to dispose of this toxic cinematic waste…