Over 700 years into the future, corporations have taken over the world. The two largest fight it out, their warfare threatening humanity. The battle awakens a long dormant machine, and hundreds of bloodthirsty mutants with claws for hands are unleashed onto the battleground, carving up the soldiers like nobodyís business. This new threat quite clearly needs a different kind of response. It is left to a priest to assemble some kind of team to save what is left of the world from the mutants.
Simon Hunterís Mutant Chronicles is a strange one. Right away, its role-playing and video game roots are confirmed. Action sequences and explosions mid-flight appear almost exactly as they would in a game. Flashy, cartoonish. To an extent this is enthralling and takes you away for a moment, but then you come back to reality and think hey, I thought I was watching a movie! Film has a flimsy feel, almost rushed, which is strange as lead Thomas Jane (Deep Blue Sea, The Mist) usually takes on accomplished projects. A kid at heart himself Ė he has his own comic book Ė it baffles me that Jane would turn down a Punisher sequel, after such an impressive start, and do something like this instead.
The supporting players unfortunately cannot save this mess either. Devon Aoki (Sin City, 2 Fast 2 Furious) gets to kick only the teensiest bit of ass. Itís a shame as the girl has some serious moves, but as usual her acting is not up to scratch. A highlight is the gloriously bizarre cameo from John Malkovich, relishing his lines on what looks like a dayís work as a defeated dying despot. Itís all too brief though. Ron Perlman (Hellboy) appears as the Irish priest on a mission to fulfil a prophesy that will save mankind. His early monastery-type scenes really start to grate, believe me. There is only so much Enigma-style music and hooded figures with candles that I can stand. Come on guys, itís not Name of the Rose!
Some of the fight scenes do redeem somewhat, with great use of the first-person perspective, but, as with Doomís shooter sequence, one or two elements that remind you of a video game cannot save what is essentially a crap movie. That said, Tom Jane does have a lot of fun in the role of the cigarette-smoking, scenery-chewing, grizzled sergeant who leads the team. There is plenty of gore, but I couldnít help but get the feeling that I was seeing the same shots of men with claws speared through their heads again and again.
So another strikeout for the video game movie genre. It seems those involved should have known better. Watch out Uwe Boll and Paul WS Anderson! Simon Hunter also knows how to turn video games into bad movies.