Sunday, August 25, 2013

"Freddy vs. Jason" (2003) d/ Ronny Yu

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Ironically, our final Friday the 13th review (until the day they decide to haphazardly throw another sequel/prequel/remake together, of course) also marks the first time we're covering Freddy Krueger here. If it's up to me, this will be the only time. Oh yeah, I'm fully aware just how many of you were weaned on and subsequently scared half to death by the corny one-liners and ugly sweater-fedora combo since Wes Craven's first successful series poo-step in 1984, it's just that I never was, thankfully. Even as a teenager watching the original, I felt insulted that they'd waste such an impressive m.o. on such an embarrassingly impotent-looking bad guy, horror's equivalent of Doctor Detroit (1984).
With the phoned in ending of Jason Goes to Hell:The Final Friday still cemented to the bottom of my breadbasket like a pound of grilled venison, I purposely avoided seeing this one on principle until finally, I snagged the dvd off of an A-Town Wal Mart shelf while rubbing elbows with the two a.m. shower cap and bedroom slippers crowd, it having finally been reduced in price to something that I no longer considered rape, and also constituting "something new"(post 70's), which my then concubine-of-the-moment constantly complained that I never indulged in, caustic little ball-breaker that she no doubt, was. What followed, was a decorous, campy effort from director Ronny Yu ( The Bride With White Hair, Bride of Chucky) that reminded me of an updated version of the old Universal monster battle flicks at times.
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One, two...look at the bobblers on you.
Having been rendered powerless when the townspeople of Springwood forgot his horrible crimes over time, Freddy Krueger (Englund) enlists the homicidal services of  prolific Crystal Lake slasher Jason Voorhees (Ken Kirzinger) to jog the town's collective memory, by posing as his mother and sending the silent giant off to punish the bad children of Elm Street, like Lori (Monica Keena) and her friends, who are having a sleepover. One of the boys gets butchered, leading the authorites to start throwing around the ol' capital F, capital K name again, which leads the kids to suddenly start having nightmares about Krueger again, but he finds himself too weak to actually snuff anyone in their dreams at this point. Jason, on the other hand, is more than willing to pick up Freddy's slack, murdering kids and parents alike, even hack-slashing his way through a cornfield rave while set ablaze, once again picking up Krueger's spare by stealing his intended victim. Lori and a handful of her friends escape in her ex-boyfriend's van, after he and his friend escape from a mental hospital where they've been kept, to warn her about the evil janitor's return.

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When they say you ought not tear the law label off of the bottom of the mattress, they ain't whistlin' Dixie.
Freddy does in Mark(Brendan Fletcher) with his signature glove o' finger-knives as Will (Jason Ritter) and Lori watch helplessly, sending them rushing back to the psych ward for the Hypnocil script that kept them from dreaming while asleep. At the hospital, Freddy assumes the form of a hookah-smoking caterpillar and dives down Lori's stoner buddy's yap, possessing him to flush all the pills down the sink drain. Voorhees makes the scene, electrocuting a cop, before splitting the stoner down the middle as he pumps two syringes of the drug into the hulking killer, sending him into a prolonged catnap as the remaining kids rush him home to Crystal Lake for his final face-off with Freddy, who's already discovered Jason's fear of drowning (?) in the killer's subconscious, and is using it to great advantage against him, poking his finger-knives into Voorhees' hydrocephalic head, being an obnoxious dick, and whatnot. With Jason drowning in his sleep, Lori volunteers to enter the dream battle-scape herself to even the odds, and manages to pull both baddies into reality, where Freddy reveals that it wasn't the girl's father who killed her mother all those years was him all along! Cue: the epic final reel serial-killer-fu-on-wire fight to the finish you paid to see, and throw in your obligatory shabby disembodied Freddy-head wink at the camera, and that just about wraps it up...

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Krueger-pillar, cater-killer, either or. Just pass that hookah.
Yu not only succeeds at making a relatively entertaining Friday the 13th/Nightmare on Elm Street mash up here, he uses just the right amount of Freddy to not piss me off and lose me before the end credits, which might be a trailer's worth for me? I dunno, but for some reason, I didn't mind the cheesy wisecracking and mugging for the camera the way I would normally have done. Definitely worth a look for the completist and the curious, but it probably won't end up among your all-time favorites. Not quite enjoyable enough to pass out Jason Lives (1986) or The Final Chapter (1984), but more than enough boobs, blood, and brawl to top garbage like Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) or Jason Goes to Hell (1993).Two wops.

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"You couldn't find this machete?!!? It was buried in your lung the whole time, you boob!"
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