Mutant Chronicles (Simon Hunter, 2008)
Based on a Swedish role playing game, Mutant Chronicles feels like an epic tale whittled down to a “made for TV” length, sacrificing story and sense in an attempt to make a rip-roaring action film.
In its ponderous opening, the audience learns a whole lot of crap about how the world works in 2707. Suffice it to say, there’s a machine from outer space which makes men into “mutants” that look and act like zombies with spikes for arms. It’s up to cleric Brother Samuel (Ron Perlman) to put together a rag tag group of culturally diverse fighters to destroy the menace. He manages to gather his forces in a quick voice-over montage. The Dirty Dozen, it’s not. There are fewer folks and, other than Perlman, only two of them stand out.
Looking more like Christopher Lambert than ever, Thomas Jane turns in a passable performance as Mitch Hunter. He’s good with a gun, fair with a sword, and destined to save the world. Chipmunk-cheeked Devon Aoki tries her best as Valerie Duval to bring some backstory and motivation to the narrative. Alas, no matter how hard she tries there’s not much substance to be found in Mutant Chronicles.
Substance is in short supply but digital effects are plentiful. The film bears the over-processed look of films like Ultra Violet and Sin City; films created more in a computer than in nature. This doesn’t necessarily play well with the film’s retro-futuristic themes. Meanwhile, the script feels as if screenwriter Philip Eisner had to roll his twenty-sided die to figure out what would happen from one scene to the next. This flick will do double damage to your brain and may make your intelligence go down quite a few points. Roll again and hope for a better film.