Monday, March 21, 2016

The Tribe Has Spoken

As we've long established, I'm an easy mark for a certain type of horror movie. Put keywords like "tropical island" or "tough chicks" or "Vinnie Jones" or "90 minutes on Neftlix Instant" in your description and you pretty much have an automatic review.
Quick Plot: Aforementioned tough chick Billie (Killer Mermaid's Natalie Burn) AWAKENs on a beautiful aforementioned tropical island being patrolled by Perfect Record Movie Enhancer* (and aforementioned) Vinnie Jones and his band of enforcers. Billie teams up with a ragtag assortment of strangers who like her, AWAKENed on this paradise with no idea how or why.

Leading the survivors is Robert Davi, creeping out the survivors is Edward Furlong, and gathering them all in secret is Jason (not Jeremy, as if that matters) London. 

Why go through the trouble of kidnapping random adults, dropping them on a small island surrounded by sharks and Vinnie Jones, and watching them from a mansion?  Well, get ready:

Remember that movie where Spartacus 1.0's wife was kidnapped and forced into a female fighting ring to determine if her baby would be adopted by a wealthy couple? Didn't that seem a little, you know, COMPLICATED? Well my dear friends, Awaken might just beat it. 

Why, you wonder, is J. London dropping hostages on an island, watching them through surveillance video, and occasionally sending a rather large team of mercenaries in to extract one? The answer is as simple as Turistas: organ theft!
To be clear, I am a huge supporter of organ donation to the point that I genuinely believe it should be illegal NOT to give your working parts to someone in need when you're done with them. But that has nothing to do with the issue in Awaken.

See, it's one thing to kidnap wandering strangers who won't be missed and harvest their parts. It's another to set up an elaborate tropical resort just so your victims are forced to take in the fresh air and eat island produce. If you're going to kidnap perfectly healthy people to save the life of Darryl Hannah's dying daughter, can't you just chain them up in a sun room and substitute coconuts for bread and water?

My point being, Awaken is pretty ridiculous movie. There are too many characters, too many mysteries, too many henchmen, (if such a thing exists) and way too little Vinnie Jones. Actual plot and sense aside, Awaken is also the kind of action/genre flick that emphasizes female strength, puts out some decent action scenes, and, well, is set on a really pretty locale. It's not a great film by anyone's definition of cinema, but it's entertaining and pretty to look at. These are not bad things.

High Points
With plenty of hand-to-hand combat, the action sequences are actually quite strong. It's genuinely enjoyable to watch Natalie Burn kick some ass

Low Points
It's just not exactly pleasing to watch anybody talk to each other in the awkward style of Awaken

Lessons Learned
Edward Furlong is really good at naked cuddling

Never have your bloodwork tested when south of Mexico

If you can't carry your own body weight, you can't do advanced technique

Look, Awaken isn't exactly a "good" movie, but it's filmed on a beautiful tropical island, it stars (mostly) beautiful people, and it features a whole lot of decent fight scenes. If you're looking for something breezy to help you kill 90 minutes, you could certainly do infinitely worse. 

*Can we all agree that if there's one actor in this world who deserves better work, it's Vinnie Jones? The man is the cinematic equivalent of peanut butter. You can add him to ANYTHING and said thing will vastly improve by at least 33%. 

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