Weeklies

Movie: "Mutant Chronicles"
Year: 2008
Rated: R
Genre: Science Fiction / Fantasy
Directed by: Simon Hunter
Writing credits: Philip Eisner, Stuart Hazeldine

Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Posted: 5/26/2009

Plot: Just after the Ice Age, a mysterious device known as "The Machine" is sent to earth to turn the human population into mutants. A hero arose and led the humans to victory over the Machine, sealing it away deep underground. Centuries later, the world is controlled by a handful of megacorporations. During a war between two of them, the seal is broken, and the Machine once again begins turning humans into mutants. The mutant army threatens to cover the globe, but the Mutant Chronicles, a book written by the men who first defeated the Machine, tells of a way to stop it once and for all...

Review: I had first heard of the Mutant Chronicles franchise when they produced a video game wherein you dismembered zombies and mutants alike with high-powered weapons. It was an entertaining universe, to be sure, but I can honestly say I never wanted there to be a movie based on it. I mean, how are you going to explain an army of mutants wielding unheard of technology and magic, facing off against a number of megacorporations in the distant future, in around two hours?

Mutant Chronicles the film attempts to sidestep this issue with a couple big changes. The first is that the mutants, instead of coming from a portal on the newly-discovered tenth planet in our galaxy, come from “the Machine”, a massive device that was sent to earth by evil aliens just after the ice age. The other big change is that in the far off year of 2707, the world has decided to go steampunk rather than regular sci fi.

This is evident right off the bat as Capitol, the American/European megacorporation, and Bauhaus, the for-all-intents-and-purposes German megacorporation, are engaged in WWI-era trench warfare in Poland. Unfortunately, a stray artillery shell shatters the centuries-old seal that was preventing the Machine from starting back up and flooding the world with killer mutants. In the past, an order of knights was able to repel the mutant hordes and seal the Machine away. Unfortunately, the megacorporations only have firearms, explosives, spaceships, and thousands of trained soldiers at their disposal.

There’s only one way to stop the mutants, and it’s all in the titular book. Ancient brotherhood monk Samuel (Ron Perlman) must gather together a small group of soldiers to sneak into the Machine and use a mysterious device taken from the Machine by the knights who sealed it. The group embarks on their quest before anyone can ask why said knights didn’t just do this in the first place.

Up until this point, the movie was mostly just a dull sequence of CGI’ed mutant-on-human violence, but the movie begins a sharp downward slide the moment the assembled soldiers leave the ancient monastery aboard a coal-powered spaceship. One by one, the soldiers are picked off in ways that won’t surprise you at all (guy killed before the action whose death inspires everyone else, guy killed by a reanimated comrade, etc). Okay, that’s not entirely true: some will surprise you by doing stupid things just before dying.

At this point, you’re no doubt starting to pick up on one of the biggest problems in the film, namely that no part of it makes any sense. The movie insists that you not dwell for even a moment on any of the information you are given. The story itself is the biggest example, but in virtually every scene, you are presented with characters doing something that results in you thinking to yourself, “why the hell did he/she do that?” In one case, a soldier is injured when their escape pod crashes and can’t continue on. He decides that, in lieu of a single bullet to the head, he would like to take his own life with a grenade. Thank goodness Tom Jane is there to accommodate him.

Jane plays Major Mitch Hunter, the man who is undoubtedly the hero of the film because throughout the film, he is presented with hokey set pieces wherein he shows that he can stray from the mission to be heroic and still have time to stop those pesky mutants.

Despite his playing a bland, unremarkable guy, I have to hand it to Tom Jane for providing perhaps the funniest scene in the entire film: At one point, Mitch saves a wounded comrade from the mutants. Unfortunately, his friend’s wounds are mortal. The music slowly builds as the dying man starts to reminisce about the good times he and Mitch have had: “You remember that...” and Mitch blows his head off. In mid sentence. I laughed when it happened, but I’m guessing that’s not the reaction the director was looking for.

This film bears the name “Mutant Chronicles”, but it could just as easily been called "Dirty Dozen vs. The Mutants". The ties to the actual franchise are superficial at best, and without them, it’s just another Sci Fi Channel movie with a handful of celebrities slumming their way through a bad script set against some bad greenscreen work. I can’t recommend this film to anyone, least of all fans of the Mutant Chronicles franchise.

Overall rating: Whole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Funky Dynamite
May 26th, 2009, 04:59 PM
I challenge you to watch this clip and not laugh:

Clobbersaurus
May 26th, 2009, 05:07 PM
Damn! I lost. That was funny
SKATASTIC
May 26th, 2009, 09:57 PM
Damn. They should have just made a movie version of Doom Troopers.
Riot Control
May 27th, 2009, 12:34 AM
Awesome blow of brains!!!
Member
May 27th, 2009, 06:23 AM
Despite the review and despite the obvious hokey factor of the movie, I still want to see it for two reasons: Ron Perlman and nostalgia. Not for a video game but for a miniatures game. Wayback in my college days, in the 90's, I remember playing a Warhammer-esque spin-off game called, yup, Mutant Chronicles. What reminded me of it was Bauhaus. Your character was from one of the Houses (or corporations) and as such got a particular trait. You'd have a mission you needed to run through and accomplish all the while avoiding mutants, traps, and occasionally the other players. Not so big on the survival horror that this seems to lend itself too, but I'll give it a shot from the Red Box for a buck.
Ba dum dum dum dum
May 27th, 2009, 11:46 AM
When do you think someone steps back, looks at something, and says it's crap? The moment I saw the trailer for this I knew it was going to be at best campy, and it sounds like it wasn't able to fully hit the camp factor I might have been hoping for.

As a side note, I am sick and tired of people sealing away ancient evils. Especially when they know how to destroy them. These ancient warriors were all a bunch of jackasses.

Also, modern technology needs to step it up. How come ancient tech is always so much better at destroying these evils than modern ones? And for that matter, if the anicent civilizations had these great evil destroying weapons how come they're the ones who were wiped out?

And why is it that a group of five misfits is always more effective than an army?

Dangit these storytelling cliche's are hurting my brain.
Member
May 27th, 2009, 02:38 PM
Fuck it, I dug it, and dug it hard.
Funky Dynamite
May 27th, 2009, 04:39 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Copper View Post
Despite the review and despite the obvious hokey factor of the movie, I still want to see it for two reasons: Ron Perlman and nostalgia. Not for a video game but for a miniatures game. Wayback in my college days, in the 90's, I remember playing a Warhammer-esque spin-off game called, yup, Mutant Chronicles. What reminded me of it was Bauhaus. Your character was from one of the Houses (or corporations) and as such got a particular trait. You'd have a mission you needed to run through and accomplish all the while avoiding mutants, traps, and occasionally the other players. Not so big on the survival horror that this seems to lend itself too, but I'll give it a shot from the Red Box for a buck.
I understand what you mean, but I'm afraid you'll still be disappointed. The movie was shot on a slim budget, and because of the new setting, none of the familiar characters from the source material look anything like they normally would, nor are there any of the cool weapons and such. Worse yet, there's only one kind of mutant: a zombie-looking guy with a big tusk where his right arm should be, and some big stitches going up his face. Also, the actual corporations are only mentioned in passing.

But I suppose a buck is about what it's worth to see what I'm talking about firsthand.
Sex Panther
May 27th, 2009, 08:24 PM
Pfft, what. I laughed.
pickled
May 27th, 2009, 09:34 PM
That scene made me smile.
Member
May 28th, 2009, 06:11 AM
Quote:
As a side note, I am sick and tired of people sealing away ancient evils. Especially when they know how to destroy them. These ancient warriors were all a bunch of jackasses.

Also, modern technology needs to step it up. How come ancient tech is always so much better at destroying these evils than modern ones? And for that matter, if the anicent civilizations had these great evil destroying weapons how come they're the ones who were wiped out?

And why is it that a group of five misfits is always more effective than an army?
Alcibiades, I direct your attention to the "Grand List of Console RPG Cliches." (Full version found here.
Particularly, #62 - Thousand Year Rule
The Ancient Evil returns to savage the land every thousand years on the dot, and the last time it showed up was just about 999.9875 years ago. Despite their best efforts, heroes of the past were never able to do more than seal the Evil away again for the future to deal with (which brings up the question of just how exactly does this "sealing away" work anyway, but never mind.) The good news is that this time, the Evil will get destroyed permanently. The bad news is that you're the one who's going to have to do it.

and #155 - Evil May Live Forever, But It Doesn't Age Well
Even though it took the greatest armies in the world and all of the world's greatest magicians to seal away an ancient evil in an apocalyptic war, once said ancient evil breaks free three fairly inexperienced warriors can destroy it.

And Dr. Boogie - That being the case, maybe I'll just check out the novelization instead *laughs* Of course, that clocks in at $7.99, so...*makes scales motion with hands*
Forum Virgin
May 29th, 2009, 06:45 AM
Damn it. I was hoping for this one to be good, what with all the time I spent playing the RPG. Changing EVERYTHING except the name seems to be taking the "interpretation" thing a bit too far... Oh well, Chronicles never had anything on the original Mutant games, but it was still good fun. Damn it.
Former Virgin
May 29th, 2009, 10:08 PM
Yep, it made me giggle.
Member
May 31st, 2009, 08:47 PM
waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiitt one second

DOOM TROOPERS from SNES?? This?
drifting in the void
Jun 9th, 2009, 04:10 AM
I had to watch that boring abomination of a movie twice already...and it was even worse the second time since I already knew what kind of lame...stuff is gonna happen. And there is an unusual ammount of death by energydrink-bottle-shaped-grenade in there.

The funny thing is, I know the Tabletop Mutant Chronicles-Game and it still took me quite some time to even realise that the movie was supposed to have something to do with that...Bah.
Funky Dynamite
Jun 9th, 2009, 06:19 AM
Well why the hell did you watch it a second time? I'm here in this thread trying to stop people from seeing it once.