So last night I was out drinking beers with a friend of mine and we decided to see a 10:30 showing of Saw II. We head to the theater (I picked up water, kit kat, and twizz along the way) only to find out that Saw II was like way sold out. (Probably a blessing. I thought the original Saw sucked.) So we were stuck staring at second choices that were so super unappealing we almost turned around and went home. Here's what we were looking at:

Doom: Opened weeks ago. Should have opened 5 years ago.

The Gospel: Never heard of it. Not interested.

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang: Terrible title. Offensively dopey. Was anybody on the planet psyched when it opened?

Legend of Zorro: I'd rather hang around in the lobby for two hours and pump quarters into the grabber hand machine thing.

Stay: Does anyone take the air out of a movie better than Ewan MacGregor? At this point, I think nay.

Wallace and Grommit: Too late. It's already scheduled for video. Can't see it now.

The Weather Man: If the whole movie was just Nick Cage getting hit with milkshakes and stuff the whole time- it would be better. I'm sure of it.

So we decided on Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. Maybe because we knew the least about it and it seemed like something that wasn't ultra-awful. But on the walk toward the Kiss Kiss theater we heard some locking and loading coming out of Doom. It had just started. Kiss Kiss wasn't starting for like 10 minutes. We decided to pop in and kill some time and smell what The Rock was cooking. We sat down and were immediately sucked right into this movie. The Rock was gonna take us for a ride and we happily ditched Bang Bang in a snap. The possibility of seeing Valerie Kilmer act like a jerk for two hours was happily blown away before this movie even fired a shot.

And for a half-hour solid I was kind of caught off guard by how much I was actually liking this movie. The music cranked. The guns were big. Some hot chick scientist strutted around with her headlights on the whole time. The plot barely anywhere and I didn't miss it. It was like, 'Something genetically weird happened on some planet and umm... shoot the things.' That was enough for me! Bring it on! Plus there was definitely a tingle of nostalgia for my old Doom days (even though I was more heavily into Duke Nukem and Quake to be honest) and when a character named Dr. Carmack was brought in I felt some tingling pride of historical geekly glee.

Anyway, at one angle this movie is terrible. It's uberstupid. Another videogame flick that missed a good opportunity to translate but rise above. And the last twenty minutes or so belong in the garbage. (Couldn't someone over there realize that the first person shooter POV was old after a couple minutes?) But for 5/8ths of this movie I was into it. Things jumped out and I got jolted. A few scenes singed images directly onto my brain. The effects were acceptably exciting. Some action scenes did make the mistake of getting untrackable with the fast editing chops and darkness- but whatever. I like looking at The Rock. His head is so weird looking and he doesn't do a bad job. He's a real deal freakman. I like smelling what he cooks.

The last third of the movie is torturous though. There was an audible snap that ripped me out of any level of enjoyment and it got tiring and awful. The stupid cloak covered everything. But it wasn't enough to wash away the fun factor that this movie delivered on an off for solid 45 minutes. It took me right out of my head and put me into the stupid zone of sitting mindlessly killing time killing monsters. Heads exploding and people getting blown apart all around. Growls and yelling. Fun and dumb. What's not to like?

Three Good Things About this Movie

- The action music actually brought the movie up a full level.
- The side characters held their own and the dabbling to shape their personalities was just enough.
- It had a few good shock seconds and quickie deaths.

Three Bad Things About this Movie

- The goodness of it made me well aware of the missed opportunity of making something legitimately good.
- When the plot meandered in it to make an appearance it was sort of unwelcome.
- It could have been more violent.

All in all I think this movie got sort of a bad rap. Reading the reviews when I got home dismissed it as a stupid pointless movie for videogame dopes with burnedout brains who like thinking about nothing but seeing big guns shoot and monsters howl as their chests explode.  A movie that doesn't apologize for sinking all the way down into the muck of dumbness-- and once it gets there it shoves mud into the back of its underwear as a joke. All in favor once in a while say aye....

Aye! (or is it just 'I'... I dunno.)