May 21, 2008

DVD Review: Botched

As I watched the movie, I kept trying to place who Stephen Dorff reminded me of. After about a half hour of pondering, it came to me, he reminded me of Kiefer Sutherland. It is a relationship similar to Christian Slater and his Jack Nicholson phase (is that still going on? Haven't seen him in awhile). It is almost eerie how much Dorff resembles Sutherland. Anyway, the movie is called Botched and it is nothing like what I was expecting. Of course, I did not read much about it prior to watching the film, and that was probably for the best. Entering with such a low knowledge level, I was completely unprepared for what was going to happen over the course of the next ninety-minutes. Botched is a zany, bloody, weird, head-scratching affair that will either entertain you to no end or have you reaching for the stop button faster than you can blink an eye.

As the film opens, Ritchie (Dorff), a professional thief, is in the midst of committing a diamond heist. After acquiring the loot, Ritchie and his partners make their escape. Of course, with a title like Botched, you have to assume that something is going to go wrong. Something does go wrong and Ritchie is forced to go back to his boss, Mr. Groznyi (Sean Pertwee), and apologize. Considering all of the diamonds lost, Groznyi is quite upset, however he is willing to give Ritchie a second chance. He sends our hero to his homeland, Russia, to retrieve an ancient cross from the penthouse of a highly secured building. So, off he goes to prove himself worthy of continued employment.

Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Everything continues to go smoothly as Ritchie and a pair of Russian brothers go about the stealing of the cross. Just like before, things head south. One of the Russians pulls a bonehead move and the three wind up taking refuge on the thirteenth floor of the high rise with a group of hostages. Not long after they hole up, the story takes another turn, especially when it appears that more than the police are waiting for them outside.

Still sounds pretty straightforward, doesn't it? Just know this fact, the above happens in the first twenty-three minutes. With more than an hour left Botched does a complete 180-degree turn and becomes something completely different and infinitely more entertaining. It moves away from the Ocean's 11 or The Usual Suspects school of film and into the Shawn of the Dead and Severance school.

It turns out, the thirteenth floor is inhabited by the descendants of Ivan the Terrible, something tipped off by the name of Ritchie's employer. And they have a terrible bloodlust, leading to numerous chasings, killings, and plenty of blood. Soon, the hostages become allies in this fight to survive.

I hesitate to call Botched a good movie, but it certainly is fun! There is a good dose of blood, some oddball comedy, genuine thrills, and an atmosphere of comedic dread. You will surely be left wondering just what it was that you saw once the credits roll. It is truly bizarre, and has nothing to say about society. Sometimes it is fun to watch a movie that does not have any lofty goals aside from delivering entertainment to the filmmakers chosen audience.

This is the directorial debut of Kit Ryan, and he does a fine job of making the barren floor seem alive with secrets around every corner. He injects the film with a visual flair that does the job without being overly flashy, nor being too generic. Derek Boyle, Eamon Friel, and Raymond Friel wrote the screenplay. It is not terribly deep and has its share of bad lines, but it is a fun work that translated well to the screen.

Audio/Video. The low-budget fill has a fine transfer. The image is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The colors have a drained/washed out look that serves the comedic horror nature of the film well. There are no digital issues that I noticed. The audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 and sounds fine; everything is clearly represented, from the dialogue to the music. Nothing to complain about.

Extras. Nothing. No trailer, no commentary, no featurettes, nothing. I would have enjoyed a commentary track or a making of featurette. It is rare to find a disk released by someone like Warner Brothers with nothing else on it. Fortunately, the film is worth it.

Bottomline. Are you looking for a weird movie to scratch that itch you've had for something different? This will feed the need. It has been awhile since I have seen a film that was this weird and actually work. This will not disappoint you, should you dare give it a go.



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