Directed by Karyn Kusama ("Girlfight").
Written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi. Based on
characters created by Peter Chung.
Starring Charlize Theron, Marton Csokas, Jonny Lee Miller and
Release Year: 2005
Review Date: 12/5/05
Even when I saw the first trailer for the
new sci-fi action film "Aeon Flux", I knew there was a 100% chance
that this would not be as good, as cool, or as action-packed as the
MTV short films that aired a while back. But, I had to see it,
because Hard Vice beckoned, and whenever she beckons I like to
answer the call.
The sport of watching too many movies--and,
if any crew is as good as Rob "Jellybean" Grant, Chuck "Chuck"
Longer and myself at watching too many flicks, I don't know of
it--is a great one, so I knew that the pieces were in place to enjoy
watching a film that could be bad because I had the right people
cracking jokes nearby just when our selection went down the shitter.
We added a rookie to the team, Rob's work buddy Heather, and the
four of us feasted mightily during the fly-by-night thriller.
In a future 400 years from now where 99% of
the world's population has been killed off by an industrial disease,
the remaining population lives in the lovely city of Bregna, a town
of five million that has its good and evil powers struggling to
keep/take control of the city. The good, a resistance team led
by a strange Oracle-like presence called the Handler (Frances
McDormand), makes guerilla hits all over the city in an attempt to
take down the city's current leader, Trevor Goodchild (Marton Csokas,
the bad guy from "xXx").
The number one agent of the resistance, Aeon Flux (Charlize Theron),
is sent in to infiltrate the base of the government in an attempt to
take out Goodchild; things go wrong, which gives us the rest of our
To be sure, the four of us are agreed: this
movie is not good. As much as I want to say that it is awful,
"Aeon Flux" does have a couple of cool moments, mostly due to
violence or bad deaths. For a PG-13 film, this one is fairly
violent. Also, I think the soundtrack isn't too bad; generic,
but it keeps things moving briskly whenever Aeon is getting shot at.
Otherwise, this is dogshit...but, the great
thing about the combination of bad movies and this team of
professionals is that even during the rough times, there is PLENTY
to laugh at. Sometimes, Longer is in rare form (hence, its
rarity) and luckily this past Sunday was one of those days. He
was dropping dimes all over the table, making fun of silly costumes
(none worse than the getup that thespian Pete Postlethwaite has to
wear as The Keeper, a 400-year-old man living in a fucking blimp),
bad lines, horrible child acting, and predictable innocent death
sequences. I was calling out good guy deaths myself, but not
with the same je ne sais pas that Longer was.
"Aeon Flux" suffers for horrible direction
throughout; actors play out scenes that should mean something (Flux
gets shot, we get a reaction shot of her blank stare; characters
losing loved ones naturally do the Scream-to-the-Sky) as if they
were acting out scenes from a playbook. Dialogue rhythms feel
incorrect; illogical-even-for-fantasy action sequences often feature
Aeon getting the chance to take out multiple baddies in a row
without them ever throwing a punch or taking a shot at her. In
the penultimate sequence of the film, Aeon takes time out to gun
down about a hundred bad guys from a strategically awful position
and I don't think a single bad guy got off a shot, despite the fact
that they had an elevated position and, well...THERE WERE A FUCKING
HUNDRED OF THEM!!! Now, granted, she did have sniper cover
from about a hundred yards up, which made it even funnier when the
bad guys were picking the sniper cover off (with machine guns, no
less) from their position below the snipers. But
still...logically, even for a fantasy film, some of these scenes
Oscar nominee Sophie Okonedo, so brilliant
in "Hotel Rwanda",
plays a four-handed resistance member (trust me, it's worse when you
see this character for yourself) that is almost completely wasted in
this film. You've got former Oscar winner McDormand (for her
work in "Fargo" many moons ago), you've got former Oscar nominee
Postlethwaite (for "In the Name of the Father")...all are wasted in
this movie. It's strange to have four Oscar-nominated
performers in your film (Theron just won a couple years ago for
"Monster") and have
the acting be so poor, but again, you look at the direction here and
it is shoddy work.
"Aeon Flux" is bad, make no mistake, but
it's funny bad, and shamefully, it is worth watching if you like bad
flicks. The movie is so ridiculous that you WILL laugh
throughout, and it's only 90 minutes long, so the agony is not
prolonged. And, it even looks like we won't get a sequel.
You can't beat that!!
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard