Friday, January 6, 2012

my thoughts on.... 'Hostel: part III'

As I sit here watching 'Hostel: part II' and writing this review, I'm reminded what it is about the 'Hostel' films that I enjoyed. However, that same feeling isn't felt in the 3rd installment of this unexpected franchise. Like the 'Saw' films, this concept never struck me as something that would go on and on. 'Saw' seems to have found a solid formula that blends the traps, with the character of Jigsaw and a rather obvious soap opera storyline. The 'Hostel' films just haven't found that groove. The 2nd film was still written and directed by Eli Roth, the man behind the 1st film. Because of that, it still felt the same and had a good storyline. This new chapter was directed by Scott Spiegel, the producer from the first two. I have to give him credit for taking the reins and feeling confident in his skills, but it just never seems to come together. The storyline is okay, the actors involved are pretty good and it looks okay on paper. Sadly, the writer, Michael D. Weiss just doesn't quite get the big picture of it all. He has a resume that reads like a bad day of watching the SyFy channel and that doesn't seem to matter to the people who paid to make this direct to DVD title. What he did, was to take out the "scary" part of the storyline. What makes 'Hostel' 1 and 2 frightening, isn't the torture and killing of random strangers, it's the fact that it takes place in remote and unfamiliar places. Anyone who travels can tell you that it can be rather scary when you're in a place you don't recognize and have no control over what's going on. Throw in the "evil hunting club" that seems to have its eyes everywhere and you've got something to work with. Michael D. Weiss put the story in a very familiar place, Las Vegas. He made the Elite Hunting Club, a very open organization who bet on the kills. It wasn't about an audience for the members paying to kill people. It was about the thrill of doing whatever you want to whoever you want and not worrying about getting caught. You could live out any single fantasy you've ever had. If you had money, you could be a murderer.... if even for one day. The original films also focused on the survival of the characters and their will to live. It also gave us a glimpse at what someone is capable of when they're pushed to their breaking point. It was about redemption. This all seemed to be missing in 'Hostel: part III'. And the ending? Well, let's just say it was cliche, unreal and downright stupid. It really ruined any other parts of the movie that might have kept me interested. Let's stop here and get to the plot.

This is taken from "While attending a bachelor party in Las Vegas, four friends are enticed by two sexy escorts to join them at a private party way off the Strip. Once there, they are horrified to find themselves the subjects of a perverse game of torture, where members of the Elite Hunting Club are hosting the most sadistic show in town." This isn't 100% accurate. Only ONE of the guys is taken by the EHC from the bachelor party. The rest of the guys spend the next half of the movie looking for him and in the process, getting captured and killed by the EHC. There is a slight twist at the ending and, of course, Mr. Weiss felt it necessary to try and shove some redemption in for good measure. Again, this storyline had potential and might of worked if it took place somewhere in the Ukraine or in a tiny part of Japan or something, but Las Vegas? That's one of the last places to be subtle. It's like he thought that the "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" motto could carry the whole movie. He also thought that the one line quoted from the movie, "The house always wins." was clever. It wasn't.

I feel bad whenever I have to write a negative review. I especially feel bad when it's a movie that's part of a series I really enjoy and find myself defending regularly. I just can't defend this one, sorry. I wish the cast could have done more with what they had. I mean, they did their best I suppose. You have Kip Purdue, who recently did a great job in the movie 'The Wizard of Gore'. You also have, John Hensley, who was great in the short-lived TV series 'Witchblade'. When you add the interesting Thomas Kretschmann into the mix, you have a formula for something good.... but again, this didn't help 'Hostel: part III'. It was like everyone was sleepwalking for a paycheck. It's like this whole movie was thought up in a boardroom with 'Awesome-O' in the big chair pitching ideas every 5 minutes. This movie doesn't ring of something that was created out of love for the franchise, it stinks of money and boredom. I really wish, deep down, that either this movie would never have been made or that Eli Roth would have felt enough desire to come back one more time. Perhaps, he'll make a return for part IV? In the meantime, I guess I'll just have to live with 2 out of 3.

Before I finish up this review and give you my final thoughts, there is one more thing I wanted to touch on: the kills. In this chapter, the killers are almost 'cartoon-ish'. Take the "crossbow" killer. The character is listed on IMDB as the 'Japanese Cyber Punk Girl' and that is a VERY accurate description. If this was a post-apocalyptic action movie, she would have been perfect casting. However, this was a modern day cautionary tale.... she was grossly out of place. Her tactics were lame, her look was ridiculous and I couldn't wait for it to end. It was painful. There also is a scene involving a girl dressed like a cheerleader and some giant hissing cockroaches. It was the dumbest thing I've seen in years. It pretty much killed what Eli Roth created. It had horrible CGI and just felt like something created on MS Paint for a class project. Not too mention the 'climactic final battle' scene. I nearly threw up when it started. It was all I could do to not shut it off and watch 'The Wild Wild West' with Will Smith. That would have been far less painful. I stuck it out though and let me say, it wasn't worth it. The only other thing I have to say is that none of the original charcters were back. Not the front desk guy at the hostel or the 'bubblegum kids' or even any of the more minor characters. Basically, you take the "hostel" out of 'Hostel' and you make your audience hostile. (See what I did there? Far more cleven than this piece of crap.) My ultimate advice, stay away from this one. I give it 2 out of 5 stars. I wanted to do more, but I just can't find the heart to give it anything higher. Eli, you were smart to stay away from this one. At least I can still respect you in the morning.

Instead of watching this, watch the original films: 'Hostel' and 'Hostel: part II' and maybe even Eli's first outing, 'Cabin Fever' (Which had an equally awful follow up, NOT directed by Eli Roth. However, Ti West, who did direct it.... has skills. Watch 'The House of the Devil' and you'll see that he's not unskilled.)

1 comment:

  1. Wow thanks,I wanted to see this but I think I'm gonna pass