Zeegrade Reviews

Zeegrade Reviews
Movies for scumbags.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Spoiler (1998)

"Spoiler was a great script, and as an actor I don’t want to play the same kickboxing cop kind of roles all the time —" Gary Daniels

     Therein lies the problem, Mr. Daniels.  Admittedly, I've only watched one of his films — the 1995 HBO abortion of anime cult-classic Fist of the North Star that reimagined ultimate badass Kenshiro as a mulleted white guy who is assisted by a former MTV VJ.  All snark aside, he seems like a very capable martial artists and he's had a pretty decent career plying those skills in multiple movies.  That's his strength and he should headline as the handsome hero who solves his problems courtesy of the business end of his foot.  Casting him as anything else is a disservice to both Daniels and the audience.  Spoiler — a derivative, Down syndrome version of Demolition Man — proves my point implicitly.
     We're dropped into the movie, completely devoid of context or plot, as we're introduced to Roger Mason (Daniels) fleeing for his life inside the graffiti-swathed interior of a subway system sometime in the (ahem)... future.  Turns out someone identified him as a "spoiler" — the ambiguous term used for escaped convicts — because he was sitting on his ass at some makeshift gambling table instead of making his way to freedom.  Two things: First, why are they called spoilers?  There is nothing in any of that word's connotations that would convey an escapee than the very fucking word — escapee!  Second, Roger is portrayed throughout the movie as a fugitive savant that gains pseudo-celebrity status save the fact that once he liberates himself he immediately gets caught for doing the dumbest shit!  Right away, Roger loses his pursuer (Bryan Genesse of Cyborg Cop III) even going so far as dodging a speeding train, only to get caught when he returns to kick his ass.  During his capture he pleads that all he wanted to do was see his daughter, Jillian, again.  Instead, he's sentenced to 26 years in "chemo-ligation" (cryogenic freezing) and put on ice.  So, the penalty for criminals in the future is to be granted prolonged youth as you're also able to basically sleep throughout the entirety of your prison sentence.  How is exactly is that punishment?  Roger is awoken from his sentence and, since it's the future, everybody is now an obnoxious cocksucker, nobody more so than the attendant (Arye Gross, House II: The Second Story) that informs him that his parents are dead, his ex-wife is sick and his daughter is now 36:

"This is from her postpartum depression period."

Now, if that photo doesn't motivate you to get home to your daughter then nothing will.  Roger is put in front of an examining board featuring Meg Foster (They Live, Masters of the Universe) in a brief cameo.  Instead of pleading his case, Roger harasses them for a smoke (tobacco is banned in the future!) and informs them of his sewing hobby.  Not once does he plead for his release.  After the hearing he's... returned to jail?  What the fuck did I miss?  Didn't he just "serve" 26 years?  Regardless of the fluctuating prison sentences, Mason sits in his cell and sews away while his sycophant inmates congratulate him on his return.
     It takes him one dream about his daughter to motivate Mason to once again escape.  His brilliant plan this time consists of him sewing a patch on his arm and impersonating a fire marshal:

 "Yeah, badges are kinda overrated anyway."

How exactly he acquired said magical patch is never determined.  I guess we should assume he knitted it himself.  Lucky for Mason the guard is a total fucking moron and allows the unescorted convict to leave without any problems.  Roger rides a train (nothing better has been invented yet?) along with a bunch of extras that don't understand what acting casually means.  A radio broadcasts (No internet?) that the "infamous Roger Mason" has escaped and that the city has been cordoned off.  His newfound freedom must have weighed heavily on his conscious because instead of rushing to find his daughter — supposedly, his ultimate goal — he inexplicably decides to attend a confessional:

"There's no forgiveness for a fucking imbecile like you."

This scene is pointless beyond the facts that Daniels is poor at providing levity and this movie's idea of comedy makes me pine for Who's Your Caddy?.  Mason mugs the priest and steals his robe only to be caught immediately by the nun standing just outside the church.  Echoing the pattern of assholery, the nun snickers heartlessly at Mason's recapture.  
     Mason is once again at the center of a hearing only this time the judge, sporting a British wig and robe, is the sole arbiter of his case.  Roger reveals that his original sentence was for only one year for which he's served thirty.  Whose fault is that, dumbass?  Wait, why the fuck couldn't you just serve your short term and be done with it in the first place?  Did he originally escape because he couldn't handle one measly year in the pokey?  How fucking stupid of a premise is this?  His request for a reexamination is denied and he is immediately sentenced back into the cryo prison right after he takes a shit.  Not kidding.  Mason is escorted to the toilet by a pudgy, good-old-boy that would be dispatched with ease simply with one decent punch to his sizable belly.  The guard interrogates Mason while he does his business and when there is no reply he takes a swipe at the squatting convict only to realize it's a hologram.  Thankfully, Mason was able to conceal this tiny gizmo that screams high technology:

Where the fuck did he hide THAT!

Seriously, the goddamn thing looks like it weighs twenty pounds!  Where did he get this?  Was it a backlog gift in his Christmas stocking?  For fuck's sake, just give him a cannon and have him blast through a wall if you're not going to even show how he acquired this contraband to begin with.  Mason escapes — not before he steals the judge's robes and wig — and rendezvous at a massage parlor with a midget (Tony Cox in an uncredited and badly dubbed role, Ghoulies IV, Bad Santa) whom can get him a fake passport.  Unfortunately, the baddest bounty hunter of all time arrives before Roger can complete his plan:

This guy?  THIS FUCKING GUY?!?!

I'm sure you recognize Willard Pugh, the failed Detroit mayor of the Robocop series.  Anyway, he proceeds to kick Mason's ass up, down and sideways.  Roger only escapes after smashing a glass beaker across his face followed by a wooden stool to the back.  He limps to the alley only to be apprehended by the police.  
     Mason is revived by the same obnoxious attendant — albeit older now but still a cocksucker — after an indeterminate amount of time and is informed that his wife died twenty years prior and that his daughter is now 72-years old.  She still takes photos that radiate personality.  He refuses his adrenaline shot and limps back to the mess hall where the inmates cheer him on as he tries to eat:

 "I can't eat with this hideous mutant over my shoulder."

By the way, the bald guy pictured above is an inmate named Lory who was serving time along with Mason before he was caught by the Mayor of Detroit.  He's either immortal or a spoiler like Mason.  What gives?  Either way, Mason has grown tired of their admiration and tells everyone to fuck off which is exactly what you should do after forty minutes invested into this nonsense.  
     So, here we are, back where we started.  This time will be different, I swear!  Mason is approached by Clemets whose drug lord boss is willing to pay for the successful escape of his nephew, Renny (Nicholas Sadler, Scent of a Woman) to the tune of $20,000.  Roger agrees and leads Clemets, Renny, Bookman, who supplied the schematics and the immortal Lory.  They meet behind a cooler that has a weak spot in the rear wall that they plan to bust through, however, before that, they have to evade capture.  While hiding in the cooler a flatulent Renny almost gives their position away:

Spoiler: Sci-Fi for intellectuals

Renny's stomach eases and the guards continue their sweep for the escaped cons.  Roger freezes the wall and with the aid of a sledgehammer (Is any tool off limits to these prisoners?) Lory smashes their way through.  The group stops at a fork and begin to feel that the escape was a success.  Bookman even blows on his harmonica in celebration!  Thanks for keeping this low-key, asshole!  Roger is the only one who thinks this was too easy.  After a disagreement, Lory and Clemets decide to split up.  They are immediately shot dead upon emerging on the outside.  Roger, Renny and Bookman come to a hallway that has a security feature called "Deep Shadow" that is an atmospheric barrier that freezes anything liquid in seconds upon contact.  Their only hope is to run through it for about 40 feet while keeping their eyes shut and not breathing.  Roger goes first:

"It's like Chicago in the Spring!"

With visions of his daughter (pre-shitty photo days) cheering him on, an icy Roger reaches the end.  Next up is Bookman who definitely has all the enthusiasm and none of the ability of his predecessor.  He runs into a wall, gets spun around, freezes and shatters into a million pieces.  Renny wants no part of it but quickly changes his mind when he hears the guards approaching.  The pair loose the "bulls" as they're called and arrive at a warehouse where Renny's Uncle Hutchy is waiting for them.  The whole escape was a setup that was never supposed to succeed, much to the surprise of Hutchy.  He puts a bullet through Renny's head then suddenly becomes a man of honor when Roger yells "we had a deal" to him.  The brand new bff gives him a card that operates a ship that can take Mason to his daughter.  
     Mason is seated inside the ship whom he instructs to take him to Seattle.  It does:

I'm genuinely surprised.

Well, at least something in this movie looks futuristic!  While Roger naps the ship runs out of fuel.  Mason crash lands and is found by a sheriff's deputy who arrests him on the spot.  Enough of this retarded Groundhog's Day bullshit!  While waiting to be identified, Roger meets in a holding room next to his, China "The Vagina":

More like China "I'm nowhere near THAT drunk"

Roger breaks a hole in the wall causing the deputy to enter his cell to inspect the damage.  Roger disarms the dope and flees the jail.  While riding the train, Mason meets a little girl whom he befriends to avoid suspicion from security.  I guess photos of the "infamous" Roger Mason aren't passed around.  He spends the night at the home of the girl whose father (Alex Hyde-White, Reed Richards of Roger Corman's Fantastic Four) becomes suspicious when Mason asks some odd questions.  Suspicion becomes full-fledged unquestionable proof when Roger overreacts during a story about an innocent "friend" that went to prison.  This guy is a fucking moron.  The following morning the police arrive, lead by Captain (Jeffrey Combs, Re-Animator, From Beyond) who plays his small part with unremitting bombast.  He's thoroughly gratified by Mason's beating:

 "I can't believe they pay me for this shit!"

Mason is brought to a hospital under strict orders.  As soon as Captain leaves, Roger subdues the doctor and... yes, escapes.  While fleeing through the halls of the hospital Roger freezes in shock as he sees a little girl that resembles his daughter exactly.  He follows her to a hospital room and calls out her name where he meets the father of the little girl who tells him that the child is not Jillian because he is Jillian's son.  Roger realizes who the sick woman in the hospital bed is:

"I just "spoiled" my Depends."

Reminiscent of a scene done so much better in Interstellar, Roger finally is reunited with his daughter only to spend the final moments of her life bullshitting her as to what awaits her as she drifts off from this mortal coil.  How do I invest any emotion in this scene when the "hero" has fucked up every chance he had to be a part of her life.  Who escapes jail on a one year sentence anyway?  Fuck him and fuck this movie.  Oh yeah, Mason is gunned down as he jogs briskly towards infinity following the ghost of Jillian.  At least I think so, because this is how the movie pauses at the end:

"I got shot in the ass!"

     Spoiler is ninety minutes of secondhand, tedious, tripe set on replay.  Ironically, after watching this I too feel like I've emerged from a 30-year slumber.  Unlike Roger Mason, I won't be seeking my daughter as I still owe her at least fifteen years of child support payments.  

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