Sunday, March 19, 2017

snow joke.

Picked this up for a pound in a charity shop last week (alongside a working Big Trak for £1.75) and thought to myself it's got Laurence Fishburne and the late great Bill Paxton in it, how bad can it be?

The Colony (2013).
Dir:  Jeff Renfroe.
Cast:  Kevin Zegers, Bill Paxton, Charlotte Sullivan, Dru Viergever, Atticus Mitchell, John Trench, Lisa Berry, Julian Richings and Sir Laurence of Fishburne.

"You know you're screwed when even the rabbits won't fuck."

 It's the year 2045 and - thanks to climate change and global warming - the Earth's climate is controlled by giant painted machines haphazardly matted onto CGI-ed cityscapes.

As is the way with such technology one day this fantastic technology breaks down causing it to snow.

A lot.

Humanity, bored with constant snowball fights and building snowmen, retreats underground to live in giant bunkers where life becomes a constant struggle against, lack of food, disease and trying to fight against an ever more clichéd dystopian SF background.

Albeit one that looks like it's been painted by a hook handed child.

"Try shite-in in mah mooth now ya frosty bastard!"

Leading this motley band of survivors are two ex-soldiers, Johnny Briggs (Fishburne) and Perry Mason (Paxton) - former colleges who now clash over the smallest things.

Tho' their arguments probably aren't as bad as the ones that they're having with their agents over why they're appearing in such shite.

The colonies days of cataloging seeds, shooting flu sufferers and trying to make bobble hats look fashionable are rudely interrupted however when the nearby Colony 5 transmits a distress call.

Being a nice caring guy Briggs - along with the handsome hero Sam (Josh Framm from the Air Bud film series himself Zegers) and the marked for death chubster Larry Graydon (My Babysitter's a Vampire star Mitchell) decides to head over to see what's occurring.

Leaving Sam's mop haired girlfriend Kai (Sullivan but not the one from the New Zealand Commonwealth Games Team) in charge whilst they're away the heroic trio head off into the snow.

Or in this case a computer generated approximation of it.

After what seems like a decade of heart-rending background chat and clumsy attempts at character development our merry band arrive at Colony 5 only to find the place deserted and the walls covered in blood and shit.

Which given the Aliens vibe so far isn't that surprising if I'm honest.

Deciding that a grue covered base isn't a sign to just fuck off home they decide to explore further, eventually coming across (you take your pleasure when you can) a locked door from behind which they can faintly hear sobbing and shuffling - noises usually associated with extreme stress or tearful Pot Noodle-based masturbation.

Sam manages to pick the lock (tho' not alas a ring) and find the mad as a bag of spanners Leland Palmer cowering in a corner whilst blabbing about transmissions and terrifying things.

A realistic post apocalyptic background yesterday.

Giving him a hug and a Cuppasoup the rescue party listen as Leland regails them (and us) with his tale of woe.

It appears that the colony received a transmission from a nearby group who'd managed to get the weather machines working causing the snow to thaw, unfortunately in their haste to set up a survival camp they'd forgotten to pack any seeds so are desperate to offer aid and shelter to anyone who has some spare.

Leland excitedly shows them where the signal came from but puts a fairly large damper on the situation by adding that when a Colony 5 expedition attempted to find the source of the transmission they attracted the attentions of a marauding band of crazy cannibals who followed them back and killed everyone.

Deciding that things are maybe a wee bit too scary to stay Briggs, Sam, and Graydon offer to take Leland back with them to Colony 7 but he violently pushes them out of his cupboard and locks himself back in.

As they head toward the exit Graydon notices the smell of freshly cooked bacon in the distance and - being a greedy fuck - runs off to investigate only to find a group of gypsy-types cutting up members of the colony whilst messily feasting on human remains.

Is your hair the only thing you let down at the weekend?

Being a portly fucker Grayden is quickly dispatched leaving Briggs and Sam plenty of time to make it to the exit ladder and out of the colony before destroying the shaft with a handy stick of dynamite they found earlier.


And with that the pair begin the long(ish) walk home unaware that the cannibal clan have survived and are even now tracking their footprints.

Which strangely enough haven't been covered by the constant snowfall.

Weird that.

Briggs realizing that the movie is in dire need of an action sequence save it falling into an unrecoverable coma suggests that they blow up the bridge they're crossing with dynamite (after the pair have crossed it obviously) but due to high winds and a need for tension the dynamite fuse blows out  giving Briggs a chance to run back and relight it - sacrificing himself in the process.

Obviously he was needed back on the Hannibal set the next day.

Cold, grumpy and shocked at the fact that given the choice 'tween Fishburne and Paxton the director appears to have chosen a large piece of (albeit pretty) wood to act as the films emotional centre Sam slowly limps back to Colony 7.

"Laugh now!"

Luckily the film has a fairly short running time so it's not long before Sam has reached his destination stumbling drunkenly into an argument between Kai and Mason.

Mason it seems wants to shoot everyone who has a cold whilst Kai wants to let them wander off into the snow and into the arms of a slow agonizing death due hypothermia because she thinks this is more humane.

Fair enough.

Sam's stumbling puts an end to the chat as Kai runs over to help him giving Mason the opportunity to knock the pair out with his rifle butt and lock them up.

Which is a blessed relief if I'm honest as the coast is now clear for Paxton to do his Hudson shtick as the base is overrun by cannibals.


But alas there's a wee bit more talking to do before this will happen.

As the clock to the films climax counts down and the fearsome flesheaters draw ever closer (probably) will Sam be able to convince Mason to take a chance at finding the sunny settlement over the hill or will Mason poo-poo the idea as even more unbelievable that the base will soon be under attack by savages obsessed with eating him?

Go on.....guess.

Competently made, nicely acted (from Paxton and Fishburne at least) and fairly pretty to look at The Colony is so professionally produced and safe as to make it instantly forgettable.

Devoid of originality, charm or even any notable novelty value it's a movie you've seen a hundred (or maybe a hundred and three) times before tho' usually not played this earnestly.

Scarily it took four writers - including director Jeff Renfroe - to come up with this, riffing everything from The Hills Have Eyes (for the lead cannibals look), The Thing, Alien 3 and even the Doctor Who story Utopia along the way - maybe they each took it in turns to strangle the joy out of everything they paid homage to or maybe it takes a special kind of talent to produce a script so lacking in character?

Saying that tho' some of the shots looked quite pretty and it's pretty obvious that most of the imagination and skill onboard where used for the end credits which are pretty cool.

Just a pity no-one told them that it's the 90 odd minutes that proceed them that are important.

The cinematic equivalent of watching badly xeroxed paint dry whilst drinking warm (but not too warm mind - you might burn your lip) milk.

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