Zeegrade Reviews

Zeegrade Reviews
Movies for scumbags.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Double Down (2005)

     Neil Breen, a Las Vegas architect and real estate agent, is a very unique man.  He was born without the ability of introspection, a trait only found in politicians.  You see, somewhere along the road when he was peddling two bedroom ranches in the suburbs for half a million dollars he realized that this was not his true calling in life and that, in fact, he is a messianic auteur that had an important message for the sake of humanity that could only be translated through insanely disjointed films that no one will see.  Oh, by the way: you're welcome.
     There's nothing wrong with having higher aspirations and pursuing them.  However, at some point most adults realize that talent, acumen and plain ol' goddamn reality become quite the effective barrier from continuing to indulge in these fantasies and that's exactly what they are for the most part ... fantasies.  If given the choice, don't you think everyone would choose to be a well paid athlete, musician or actor?  How about a successful inventor or wealthy CEO?  Of course they would!  The truth is, you are not entitled to be, say, a professional baseball player just because you played little league.  Sad as it may be, some people were born to clean toilets, serve burgers and beg for money while blogging about bad films.  Speaking of myself, I readily admit that I have no more talent to direct films than Breen does and that I, perhaps, would produce something worse.  That's because my expectations meet with my reality and it's this very scenario that Neil ignores entirely.  The hyper inflated ego and narcissism displayed by this man has totally blinded him to the level of other-worldly horseshit his movies are.  Neil, without a doubt, is a true believer in The Church of Breen.
     Trying to relate into words what exactly transpired in Double Down reminds me of the movie Skullduggery that I reviewed years ago on my old website.  Though it might seem like I am leaving out information pertinent to the description of the scene, I'm nonetheless describing it exactly as it is unfolding.  Most of this film is simply a juxtapositioning of scenes, completely bereft of continuity and clarity.  Let's begin, shall we?
     Double Down opens with sweeping shots of the Vegas desert accompanied by an uninspired score which is played ad nauseam along with generic credits that inform you uncouth dogs that the star/director/writer/producer/dog walker/union rep/balloon animal maker/God Emperor of Dune/part-time accountant is the aforementioned Neil Breen.  Breen's movies are self-financed and filmed on the cheap (his latest effort had an Indiegogo Page) and it shows, however, I will say that at the very least it seems he bought a decent camera.  We catch our first glimpse of Super Agent Aaron Brand in his natural habitat:

Where is he?  He must be a MASTER OF CAMOUFLAGE!

Aaron gives us his resume.  Are you ready for this?
  • First in his college class in computer science.  
  • Became fighter pilot in the "military" (Air Force?) and won many (emphasis his) medals for distinguished service.
As he skulks around the desert rocks trying to avoid Deathclaws he then claims to live between "this world and the other."  No Neil, I'd venture to say reality moved out years ago leaving fantasy behind with no job, nothing to eat and a stack of unpaid bills.  Speaking of paying the bills, Aaron is now a secret covert agent who works as a mercenary for any country that wants to control another.  You catch all that?   If you're a secret covert agent how exactly does a country track you down to contract you as a mercenary?  And why would they?  Calling yourself a "covert agent" implies that you are actively serving United States intelligence in some capacity.  What if as a mercenary you are given a task that would run counter to U.S. intelligence?  Would you still do it?  You see Neil, you can be one or the other but not both.  If you think I'm being petty, well, stayed tuned.  
     Still playing Cloak & Dagger with himself in the Vegas wasteland, Aaron informs us that he met the love of his life at the age of seven and was engaged to be married to her.  Breen's obsession with fated lovers that shared a childhood together is a recurring theme in his films.  I think it's fucking creepy as hell.  More resume padding:
  • Joined secret strategic support branch (Is there a non-secret branch?) of the Defense Intelligence Agency to fight terrorism around the world.  
  • Became best agent they ever had!  
  • Developed a "way" to control any computer or satellite the government had.  
That last little nugget was so unfathomable that the United States government assassinated ... his fiancee?  Wait, why?  Did you brag about this shit with her?  Did you threaten to leave, and if so why didn't they kill you?  Secondly, if you're this newfangled super agent, how in fuck's name did you not foil this?  Best agent my ass, slick.  This broke his heart (Awww) and caused him to become a mercenary.  So you're an EX-covert agent then?  His mercenary resume is even more impressive:
  • Controls access to the National Geo-Spacial Intelligence Agency:
Yep, controls the whole fucking thing.

What the fuck is this guy, Cobra Commander?  You mean nobody else has access to this giant honkin' satellite in space?  Why again did they kill his fiancee and not him?  The resume continues:
  • Controls access to "anything and everything".  
So, if I asked you for access to Kate Upton's vagina you could make that happen with a few strokes of the keyboard?  Are you a fucking genie now too?  By the way, Super Agent is so superior to everyone that his state-of-the art laptops look like they weigh about fifty pounds.  Perhaps it's just extra weight training for when the Saiyans arrive on Earth.  Anyway, this is all possible from his self-described "brilliant" setup:

Homeless man or super agent?  You decide!

Your laptop looks like it's a small breeze away from tumbling down the rocks into oblivion.  Then again, I'm not the greatest agent the D.I.A. ever committed future spousal homicide against so, what do I know?  Aaron refers to his deceased girlfriend and himself always wanting to have children before that was taken away from him.  You can still have them Aaron, just not with her.  RESUME UPDATE:
  • Works as freelance agent now for many (emphasis his) countries making millions of dollars on various covert assignments.  
  • Gives money away to various children support charities all over the world such as orphanages, hospitals and schools and supporting evacuees from national disasters around the globe "like hurricanes, like Katrina".  Thanks for clearing that up.  
Ya see, he's a mercenary with heart!  He also can cut through all the red tape and get the funds directly to the people that need it unlike some dishonest governments.  I'm lookin' at you Obama!  Recently, Aaron received orders from "another country" to shut down the Las Vegas strip for two months.  Excuse me Mr. Humanitarian Mercenary but wouldn't that hurt a lot of the very same innocent people that you purport to help?  How do you think orphanages, hospitals and schools would hold up during a terrorist attack from another nation lasting two months?  Do you ever proofread your scripts, Neil?  What, more resume?  Okay, whatever:
  • Received bio electro medical implants to assist him in carrying out his "attacks".  Sounds pretty compassionate to me!  Do you shoot welfare checks from your eyes as well?  
It starts to get really murky now.
  • Murders white collar criminals who have "escaped the legal system".  Is this nationally or do you try to keep it within the Las Vegas metropolitan area you fucking psychopath?  
If that isn't disturbing enough he adds that they "get what they rightfully deserve" and that the "fields" (desert?) are full of their bodies:

Jury trials are for faggots.

Contradicting all his braggadocio, Aaron then declares that he is a simple man who just wanted to raise a family and share his knowledge of shock and terror with the non-super agent portion of society.  Don't believe him?  Well, who else would live out of their car wearing only sleeveless shirts and subsisting solely on cans of tuna?  You know, besides recently divorced men?  Super Aaron almost drives off the road and into a rock as a piece of tuna falls into his lap along with roughly a pound of the stuff dispersed all over his crotch.  You could seriously feed ten cats with the amount of tuna Agent Ninja Dragon failed to place in his pie hole.  More resume?  Are you fucking kiddin' me?  
  • He can tap into any government secret system with his computer, cell phone or satellites!  Ya know why?  Because he invented half of the "secret systems" sukka!  Who can stop this hacker god?  Assemble the girlfriend assassination team, ASAP!  
Even though Aaron was given this "great power" (humility, mother fucker — look it up) he's tormented by loneliness after his girlfriend's death.  Why don't you hack into eHarmony and look for a single woman in her fifties that isn't really into looks and likes men that have delusions of grandeur.  In hindsight, that's actually about 75% of the male population in Las Vegas anyway so, forget I mentioned that.  All the essentials that Aaron needs are supplied out of his car:
  1. Satellite dishes (Probably for Playboy After Dark)
  2. Five laptops — each weighing a metric ton
  3. Six cellphones
  4. and lastly .... BIOTERROR!
Nope, not kidding on that last one.  Get ready to be taken down fast and hard bitch:

"I just blew up the moon!"

Generic footage that is extremely dated of some yahoos working for NASA is spliced in while our genius assassin works out of the back of a truck like a Mexican selling oranges just off the highway.  This is another staple of Breen's films.  The generic footage that is, not the whole oranges thing.  Governments HATE Aaron and they wouldn't dare try to assassinate him because he's planted biological bombs (biological weapons?) in seven major cities that our humanitarian advocate readily admits would kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people while simultaneously crippling their economies.  This is supposed to be the hero we're pulling for Neil?  It's pretty clear the world would be a calmer place without Aaron Brand's scorched earth disposition.  These bombs will detonate if Aaron doesn't input a code every three days.  He was also kind enough to secretly (of course!) alert all major news agency of his plan for mass murder, actually, saving his own ass, I mean, blurring the lines as to who the real terrorist threat is.  He's an inventor too!
  • Created an invisible shield device using satellite lasers that cloak objects in a small area.  This shield also causes INSTANT DEATH to any sorry bastard that gets too close to it:
 Inadvertently read Neil's script.

Oh, you have 217 followers on Twitter?  THAT AIN'T SHIT, SON!
  • Has direct contact with world leaders.  
Russian Security Secretary: "President Putin, President Obama wishes to speak to you about our enclaves in Georgia."
Putin: "Fuck that obezyana!  Tell him I'm busy!
(red phone rings on his desk and Putin reluctantly picks it up and places it to his ear
Aaron: "This is God Agent Brand.  Listen up..."
(Putin instantly shits his pants)
The fucking ego on this guy is staggering.  He begins proselytizing about the "senseless" loss of military and civilian life without the slightest hint of irony, all the while bragging that:
  • He can start AND end a war with his "electronic, satellite and computer skillz".  
Let me pause a moment and put this into perspective.  The running time has barely broken the eleven minute mark and Neil continues to indulge in this absurd gloating.  I get it, he's a fucking super spy!  Let's move this obnoxious tripe forward please!  One other thing, Neil narrates the bulk of this film as if he took a handful of Xanax.  Ready?  RESUME SWAGGER CHECK:
  • Aaron "specializes" in bio-terror missions throughout the world and is at the forefront of "new product".  
Ya gotta test sensitive shit like this somewhere, right?  Why not on a small pond just outside Vegas?  Those ignorant refugees will never no what hit 'em!  Yay Super Agent Hitler!  It works successfully as Aaron lords triumphantly over several fish corpses littering the edge of the water.   
     Aaron still hasn't gotten over the death of his fiancee whom he purports to have been in love with since they were both seven.  In a rare moment of  vulnerability, he claims that these memories of his childhood "haunt" him.  Scenes of a young boy and girl are juxtapositioned between the now grown Aaron and whomever the very average looking woman he paid to act as his former flame.  While he revels in the past, a mystery person arrives at his makeshift hobo town.  So much for that invisible force field you invented, huh?  Meanwhile, Aaron is hard at work:


More generic footage of people working on functional computers as Aaron "informs them" that there was an error in the computation.  An error?  You?  Surely, you jest!  That's enough of all that and the fucking guy snooping around his campsite — let's get back to Aaron's dead girlfriend!  There they were, nude in a Vegas pool when he finally popped the question: "Will you sign this nondisclosure statement?"  Just as he was putting the ring fresh from the pawn store on her finger, THEY had one of those shitty, gumball machine quality laser pointers that was running out of battery life targeted on his temple.   DO IT!  Though it sat on Aaron's homely mug for half-an-hour, the shooter decides at the last second to point his mark instead on Aaron's thong-wearing fiancee's back.  I can't describe the raw, powerful emotion of this tragic event that created the dark mercenary unleashed upon the world.  Better to let you view it yourself:

Was the love of your life just murdered before your eyes or did you get stung by a bee?  Just out of curiosity, Neil, could you have found an actress more reluctant to show her bare chest on film?  Clearly, she was embarrassed — so, why have her film the scene topless?  Come to think of it, why the fuck are YOU naked?  I believe I have an inkling why which I will address later.  After literally bathing in her own blood, Aaron decides to float face-down in the pool next to his deceased fiancee.  Any point to that Neil, I mean besides flashing your bare ass to the camera?  No attempt to save her or possibly call 911?  Yep, love of your life.  Moving on ...
     Aaron wakes up periodically on the side of the road next to his car with pleads for help written in blood.  I'm not sure what this is supposed to imply each time he shows this besides the fact that Super Agent Z is an emotionally unstable lunatic with bouts of hallucinations.  Glad the government shot his girlfriend instead!  Time for an update:
  • He's constantly changing his identity.
This arduous task is exhibited to the viewer unceremoniously by Aaron changing the rear license on his car with one of a handful of other Nevada plates.  Ever think of changing out of your stale jeans and cutoff black t-shirt Zartan?  

          Agent 1: "Dammit, I lost Emperor Agent Superstar!"
          Agent 2: "Cross reference the Nevada DMV database!"
          Agent 1:  "Have you gone mad, man?  He can be as many as FIVE SEPARATE VEHICLES!" 

You're makin' it too easy, Neil.  He does indeed change into fitting attire more appropriate of a delusional real estate agent top notch spy and deadpans while driving the strip:
"Las Vegas ... where anything goes.  Enjoy it while you can.  I'm about to end it all."
One last time, Neil.  I'm supposed to empathize somehow with this man?  Aaron meets with a man outside of the Luxor hotel and begins a one-sided conversation.  Another Neil Breen staple — dialogue scenes are shot individually.  For all I know, the guy Aaron met with sprinted down the fucking block while he blankly recites his lines.  Anyway, he tells the dude that he's glad to be working for the "agency" again (Century 21?) but is remiss to meet him in his office because he knows it's bugged as well as the "skeletons that are in there".  Does he work in a Draugr crypt?  Now, it's the man's turn to speak while Aaron drifts off into oblivion.  He tells Aaron that they haven't located "him" yet but they know he's near.  This mystery man is "on the top of their list" and "he" will kill "anyone, anywhere" to advance his terrorist goals.  Uh, I think the guy you're looking for is standing right in front of you.  To stress how important this mission is, he drops this atom bomb:

Jeezus, did this guy just arrive off a fucking bus?  "Excuse me sir, my name is Neil.  Can you act a scene out with me real quick?"  Agent Holier-Than-Thou takes this time to speechify to anyone in particular the merits of chemical-biological warfare over more mainstream methods of terrorism.  There is nothing covert about this bloviating windbag. General Brand pontificates further on modern warfare as if this poor dope is a West Point cadet.  The lesson over, Aaron walks away as his voice over questions the effectiveness of terrorist counterintelligence, leaving the audience clueless as to what exactly his mission is.  Is the agency not aware that Brand is the terrorist?  Perhaps Neil, you should have spent a little more time fleshing out the plot instead of useless exterior shots of Las Vegas and the hybrid blow-up fuck dolls that occupy it.  Just a thought.
      The next morning he wakes from his roadside nap, taps a few keys on a dead laptop, flips open a phone that never rang and receives his gps directions.   Brand has to prepare (emphasis his) for the "attack diversions" which he has begun in the "other cities".  Whose fucking attack are you attempting to thwart?  The only cocksucker that has been planning a biological terrorist outbreak for the last half hour is you!  Holy fuck dude, do you even know where this is going because I certainly don't?  He prowls the desert with both hands around a gun when he spots an old man settled in a rock.  Brand's voice over expresses that the man doesn't look like a terrorist.  So, you are looking for another bio-terrorist then?  I've never been more confused about something so fucking simple to disclose to the audience.  He sneaks up behind him when the old man attempts to leave when he trips over and smashes his head on a rock.  Severely bloodied, Brand climbs down the rock to administer aid.   Somehow "drawn to his spirit" Brand cradles the old man — whose head is now wound free — as holy music swells up to accompany the man's last breath.  Just before he dies, the old man declares that he is "the one" and hands him a piece of what clearly is fool's gold.  Aaron buries him beneath some desert rocks.  America approves:

"A real estate agent put me in his what?  Call my lawyer."

Is this a thing in Vegas?  Do geriatrics wander off into the desert to lounge on rocks like it's one big IKEA store?  Brand claims to be the spirit of the departed geezer and pleads his case to the eagle.  Neil, he's just as baffled as we are.  
     Next morning, same shit: wake up next to car, blood stains, bitch about being alone, pretend to be a competent actor/director/producer...  Brand's sanity unravels further as he calls out aimlessly for someone and has a nice riverside chat with his dead parents.  A traumatized family too scared to have Aaron removed from their dinner table are held captive as Brand reveals how an authentic spy operates.  Where in your training do they instruct you to inform any life form within a mile radius that you're a government spy?  Aaron asks a young girl seated at his table to refill his water glass even though it's about 3/4 full.   While she's gone the uh, father? (a little help here, Neil) tells him that his daughter, Megan has brain cancer.  Way to kill the mood, dad!  With zero humility, Aaron places his left hand on to Megan's head in a Christlike manner while holding the fool's gold in his right.  He runs off into the desert to apprise his deceased fiancee that he believes he cured Megan's cancer.  The fucking balls on this guy!

"...and that's why some adults pay for companionship."

His dead girlfriend tells him to pull the reigns back on that whole "I can heal anyone" jive.  
     Aaron is fast at work mimicking a competent person who knows what the fuck they're doing.  He notifies someone over the phone that the filters are active.  More stock footage gives the appearance that people give a shit.  Somewhere, a transaction takes place as one unidentified individual receives what looks like a kilo of cocaine.  The clumsy shit drops it on the ground releasing some of its powdery content.  As the hand goes to pick it up, suddenly Aaron's voice breaks in like he's doing color commentary at a sporting event and tells the mystery person that airborne anthrax is lethal if inhaled.  Who the fuck would be dumb enough to transport anthrax around like it's a prop from a Cheech & Chong movie?  
     I'm really struggling here.  This fucking mess wanders in more directions than a blind drunk with dementia.  Aaron meets with two men in the parking lot of a strip mall when he directs them to walk further away for fear of surveillance.  Just as they do that the world's most obvious spy (typical woman) places a tracer on Brand's car by slamming her shopping cart into it.  The results are pure brilliance:

Where did it go?  I can barely see it!

Yeah, that's goddamn chewing gum.  Another super spy (women, amiright?) hangs out of the window of her car recording the whole thing with a large camera like she's Stanley Kubrick.  One of the gentlemen seems interested in Aaron's "quest" and wants to know more about this quest and won't stop saying quest until his quest for knowledge is satiated.  Brand brushes this aside and gets to what really matters — his list of otherworldly skills he can offer:
  • Cryptography 
  • Hacking into a banking system
  • Shutting down a power grid in a major city (Sorry, villages and townships)
  • Cutting off the water system for half the country 
  • Hacking the stock market
  • Closing down a bank
  • Fixing an election (Goddamn you Bush!)
This is Brand's version of "network-centric warfare".  Sadly, all that is required of him is an assassination.  How can you waste this man's talent you insolent asshole!  The target, like the plot for this film, is undefined.  Aaron and the gentlemen return to their vehicles when the woman recording the meeting is shot in the temple.  Nobody notices even though she was shot only a few feet away.  Brand pulls into an empty lot and removes the gum tracking device from his bumper.  
     For the sake of my sanity, I'm going to give you the cliff notes version of this fucking travesty.
  • The "greatest agent ever" kidnaps the wrong couple whom he was supposed to kill.  When he finds his actual target at the lake they both chose instead to commit suicide because "they knew what was coming".  Seriously, Neil?  
  • He releases the anthrax:
  •  Hires special agent hooker (who demands his massive cock afterwards) for a whopping $100 to distract a man with the most fake goatee in the universe so he can tranquilize him.  Agent Floozy is shot in the head as thanks.
"So, this guy is like ... Just keep it on and get in the car!"
  • Arranges a buy with anthrax dealers so he can give the appearance that he's on their side.  His contacts are killed while the agents get to be the hero.  Our friend from earlier has the lowdown on Super God Power Being Excalibur:
  •  The double life he's leading has mentally drained him.  His dead fiancee's reply:
"I need ... to believe ... something ... extraordinary ... is possible."
     Aaron is finally ready to carry out his attack on Vegas as well as several other cities.  Suddenly, he's out in the desert having a bloody shootout with absolutely no one.  You didn't misread that.  There isn't a single person onscreen except for some rifles positioned on rock and here comes Yosemite Sam with his cartoonish gunfire sound effect, blasting away at imaginary foes.  After emerging victorious from his single-man battle, he dons this patriotic ensemble:

 "Just pin that medal on my 80's Gap jacket, General."

Do I even have to mention that he's been awarded every medal?  He lists them in case you were wondering.  What about the Presidential Narcissism Award for most padded resume?  
  • He can create an EMP that can...  Fuck it.  I'm done.
After at bunch of unnecessary bullshit that is heaped on to this pile of hot garbage he decides to stop his own attack.  I cannot properly describe what transpires so here is the scene in its entirety:

If you, the reader, have never watched a single second of this movie except for the clip above you have exactly the same amount of clarity as to what the hell is going on as I do.  Those guys shooting at each other?  No fucking clue!  The procedures used to actually stop the attack?  I didn't see any, did you?  All it took was a phone call and some old fuckers telling the wind to go to Code Orange?  Fuck you Breen you fucking lazy hack!  Even Tommy Wiseau is aware that The Room is a piece of shit but it's a piece of shit that has made him semi-famous.  You fling your crap at the wall, call it art and have the gall to get on your high horse when anyone disparages it!  You are the most talentless, narcissistic, jeremiad in film history!  You make Ed Wood look like Christopher Nolan.  I can give a camera to the fucking bums on Lower Wacker and they could come up with something more coherent than this psuedo-metaphysical one-man-circlejerk!  Do the world a favor and take whatever money you put aside fleecing the imbeciles that reside in the Vegas housing market and go and see a psychologist.  Tell them that you are a homely man with too much money and you use it to edit patchwork clips together to make desperate woman pretend to find you attractive.  Oh, I see someone has touched on that subject here!  Judging by the other abominations you've captured on film, I Am Here...Now and Fateful Findings it's clear that these are merely vehicles for you to showcase your massive ego and lack of understanding of even the basics of film making.  For the sake of us both, please return to your day job. 








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