Tuesday, May 3, 2011

REVIEW: Ax 'Em (1992)

Director: Michael Mfume
Starring: Michael Mfume

“You so fine, I could kiss yo daddy’s ass.”
-Rock

So…yeah. Yeah, I can’t even think of a good way to start this one. Ax ‘Em is a B horror movie made sometime in the 90s, but it was distributed finally in 2002. Yeah, it took director, producer, writer and lead actor Michael Mfume (try to pronounce that) about ten years to get this fucking thing out, and really, was it worth it? For all the ridiculous Ebonics in the dialogue, for all the horrible camera work, for all the nonsensical plot holes, for all the blurriness of the screen at all times…was it worth it? Questions we will try to answer by the end of this review. REVIEW START!

Here’s a little tidbit of history for you: When this movie was finally released, Michael Mfume actually said he would sue any Blockbuster that didn’t carry this movie for being racist. That takes BALLS, man. I mean, you’ve got to have an ungodly level of shamelessness to pull a stunt like that. You’re basically forcing people to watch your movie. It wasn’t enough for Mfume to make this hack work of a movie; he had to ENSURE that people would watch it, forcing video stores to carry it or else they would be RACISTS. This is the work of an evil genius, a mastermind who stopped at nothing to have his vision put out to the world! I just want you to keep all of this in mind when we review this movie. OK? Let’s get started.

The first thing you’ll notice is the name of the film, which isn’t so much a title of the film as it is a description handy for many different meanings. Your expectations? AX ‘EM! What do you want to happen to all these characters? AX ‘EM! What should we do with the copies of this movie that still somehow exist? AX ‘EM! What will you want to do to anyone who is subjected to this movie? AX ‘EM and put ‘em out of their misery! What a multi-faceted title. It’s like some kind of all purpose pocket knife.

So first, without any credits, intro or menu or anything else, the movie gives us the following opening screen.


Yeah, all those typos and grammar issues? Doesn’t exactly bode well when your movie can’t even pass first grade spelling! I mean what’s wrong with you? Don’t you know anything at all about spelling?

The movie begins and…okay, who accidentally put in their home videos? I’ve seen better picture quality from ‘80s music videos for Pete’s sake. No, seriously, I thought I had put in the wrong DVD. The first few minutes of this movie is nothing but a bunch of morons standing outside in a place they probably couldn’t actually afford but the officials let them use it out of pity anyway, talking. Just…talking. It isn’t even interesting talking, and you can’t even hear it anyway. They don’t even use a microphone! I’m…I’m seriously at a loss for words there.


So, yeah, this is an all-black cast in a horror movie; one of the few cases where that actually happens. My question is, if the entire cast of a horror movie is black, and the black character always dies first…who dies first in this movie? Questions to ponder.

After that we move to…the credits finally, played over an absurd step dance sequence and you see the name of the film, Ax 'Em, confirming without a doubt that this is the right movie. I mean really? A dance sequence that looks like somebody filmed it with a 10 dollar camcorder from the 80s? THAT'S how you want to start off your incredibly scary horror film? Then we get a weird kind of rally where some douche in a jean-jacket tells Yo Mama jokes over a microphone. My thought on this is that birth control wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Then they all go to some cabin in the woods, I guess, where our 20 or so characters (yeah, good luck figuring out their names) start to act like anuses and basically just fuck around on camera, with nothing of any worth to the story coming out of it. There’s one scene where they get out of the car and one girl keeps talking about how hungry she is. SHUT UP! God, who considers this entertainment? Luckily one of the guys agrees with me as he steals her wig (???) and runs off with it.

Then two dumbasses who are like cheap bargain bin versions of Kenan and Kel start talking on screen as apparently one of them is scared out of his mind. He says something about a really tall man who he saw, presumably trying to advance the plot but miserably failing at it, and they both run off like cartoon characters…and then the screen poorly and sloppily fades into the next one. Yeah, that’s like…third grade editing skills there, movie! Good job. But don’t worry…only EVERY SINGLE FUCKING EDIT IN THE ENTIRE MOVIE is like that. Go go crappy low budget editing! Jump cuts and dissolves aplenty. It’s like a Christmas of bad moviemaking.

So now they’re eating dinner, the picture quality is still fuzzy and unclear, and the microphone is nowhere to be found. Snore. The movie decides to absolve its audio problems by simply replacing the dialogue in the next scene, where one guy is telling a scary story to everyone else (I think), with rap music. Bad rap music. Oh yeah, THAT makes it better. Now I get to watch the shitty video quality AND listen to terrible music behind it. What a lucky guy I am.

So now we get a flashback where the video quality is even worse, almost like that so-called ‘fake’ footage from The Fourth Kind with the terrible grainy black and white screen. It shows us what we already know from that opening abomination of text with the father killing his family and himself, and I have to say this was very educational. I never knew that blood splattered only upwards when you shoot someone while they’re lying down on the bed. And I definitely didn’t know that you could shoot yourself in the head but have the gun sound off only AFTER you’ve taken the gun out of your mouth, but still have your brains splatter all over the back wall perfectly. Physics? That’s for losers.

Then Rock and his girlfriend go out to this brick wall in the middle of the woods and talk. Apparently the chick makes Rock act in ways that he can’t help…well in some circles that’s called demonic possession, but when it makes you say things like “You’re so fine, I could kiss yo daddy’s ass” (this is the real line, I’m dead serious)…I tend to think even the devil’s spawn wouldn’t be so cruel to my ears. Then they start to have sex and Rock looks straight at the camera and half-sings: “Gotta get a piece of the Rock.” Yeah, only if it’s the piece that lets this guy keep on existing. That needs to be taken away pronto.

Then through some more scenes where you can’t hear any dialogue anyway so I’ll skip them, we get a story about two white kids’ (in this movie? WHAT A SHOCK) car breaking down and so they have to go into this…other abandoned house (???)…where the white guy goes in, despite the fact that there are no lights on, and continually asks for a phone even though nobody is there. Yeah, dumbass, keep trying! Maybe someone will answer you the 5000th time you try it! Fuck. So he gets killed. And they forgot to put in any kind of sound effect when the killer hits him, so…not very effective. Then the killer goes and starts massacring everyone else, and I have to say after the last half hour of this torture, I’m on his side.

By the way, remember how the name of the movie is Ax ‘Em? Well, the killer never uses an ax except like once at the very beginning. The rest of the time he uses knives, irons and God knows what else, but there certainly aren’t any axes in there! Oh, and how about how the killer, Harry, was supposedly ‘revenging the deaths of his family’? Kind of tough when they were killed by a guy who killed himself shortly after. I guess just…slaughtering random dumbasses who have every right to be there (seeing as it’s one of the guys’ grandfather’s house) is appropriate enough revenge. Don’t you just love logic? People can twist it up in so many wonderful ways. Or in ways that make me want to STAB OUT MY OWN EYES.

So then some other random idiots are walking in the woods. The girl says that she’s worried about the others, which is a reasonable concern, to which her guy friend says that she’s stupid for thinking about the others when the two of them are already in danger themselves. He says they need to focus on the task at hand, which is why I guess he starts freaking out when they find a car, worshiping it like it’s some kind of oasis in the desert, and wasting time by jumping around like a pussy and whining that he’s going to die. SO GLAD HE’S GOT HIS PRIORITIES STRAIGHT. THIS GUY’S A CUT AND DRY ACTION HERO.

There’s this other scene with the one white girl in the movie wandering around in the woods and randomly tripping and falling several times for no reason. Why? Fuck it, insert your own answer for why. Then inside the house we get another botched up slasher scene that even Lucio Fulci would have thought was badly done gore. But then, comparing this movie to anything Fulci put out is like comparing shit to gold, only much, much worse than that. The killer chases two people around for a while and when one guy escapes up the stairs, the killer just resorts to pulling out a gun and shooting at him a few times. Hah! I like that. He’s just like, ‘Fuck it, I’m too lazy to chase after him. Oh look, a gun!’ That’s more realistic than most serial killer movies get. Too bad this one looks like a cheap version of a 1950s zombie character.

Everybody runs around a lot, screams a lot for no reason, and eventually ends up in the room where only purple and green lighting is shown, where they have the ultimate showdown with this cobble of clumsy special effects, clumsy acting and all around clumsiness that the movie calls a serial killer. They just…shoot at him a few times, and then pull a pitchfork out of somewhere (one of their asses maybe?) and stab him to death. They leave, and, surprise surprise, in the tradition of American Psycho 2 and every other dime-a-dozen Blockbuster horror movie, HE’S NOT DEAD YET. Ooooooh! Scary.

"That's just weak."

OK, you know what? I’m just going to skip that usual part where I marvel over how bad the movie is and list reasons why. Because with this movie, there’s no way to sum it up concisely. I could go on for DAYS with everything wrong with this movie and still not convey exactly how mind-rapingly bad it is. Ax ‘Em is an absolute in filmmaking – the absolute shoddiest, least competent film I’ve ever seen. Just thinking about it makes me laugh, so was it worth it? I’d say yeah. Go in expecting nothing. You’ll be better off for it. Now, as for me, I’m off to take more lessons from Michael Mfume on how to be an evil genius. Good day.

These images aren't mine and are copyrighted of whoever owns them. And if you don't let me use them, I will call you a racist.