Little Box of Horrors.
Little Box of Horrors: Antboy 3. In a new feature, we try to rent the worst movie we can find at a random Redbox and see how bad things can get.
It’s the holy grail of film critics: the movie that’s so bad it’s good. Not only is it a click-bait slam dunk, it’s like drinking sweet, sweet, wine when one was expecting a mouthful of vinegar. But more often than not, when you seek the oasis you end up with a mouthful of sand. So why wade through all the garbage on your own? Let me be your guide as we search for the elusive white whale… at a RedBox.
The premise is simple: I will go to a random RedBox location and pick out their worst movie (using my keen eye for bullshit). But wait, there’s a twist. At each location, the movie I select must conform to some theme befitting the establishment from whence it came.
Our first Location: the Lewiston Hannaford. Where’s the best values in a supermarket? That’s right, the store brand knock-offs. So our first film will be a shameless cash-in of a blockbuster movie. After careful selection, I was down to 3 contenders.
- The Wedding Ringer: Kevin Hart and Josh Gad star in this crappy homunculus of The Wedding Singer and Wedding Crashers. I’m not even sure Kaley Cuoco’s recently enhanced tatas could make this dreck watchable.
- Meet the Blacks: While the name would suggest a tone-deaf Meet the Fockers knockoff, this is actually a Beverly Hillbillies meets The Purge hybrid (I know, the demand for that must have been overwhelming).
- AntBoy 3: The Final Chapter. Don’t you believe it! They’ve been pumping this crap out once a year since 2014. The first one actually had a higher rating than Batman V Superman on Rotten Tomatoes! While one would expect an AntMan spoof, it actually began as a Sam Raimi SpiderMan send-up aimed at young (and apparently feeble minded) children.
And the Winner is (Spoiler Alert: it isn’t us)….
AntBoy 3! A third rate Kevin Hart buddy romcom would need bazookas and a third act involving Kaijus to get my attention, and the Wayans brothers have crapped on any goodwill I might possibly have for a spoof of any genre. So let’s see if the third outing of this precocious crime-fighter can live up to such great cinematic third acts as Blade Trinity and SpiderMan 3: Sexy Dancing Tobey Maguire.
Antboy 3: The Final Chapter (2016)
Right out of the gate there was an ominous warning coming from this film: it had a laser ring engraved into the disc that made the first 5 minutes unplayable. Either the first five minutes were so amazeballs that people kept watching them over and over, or else someone got a first look at this movie and tried to Falcon Punch the disc out of their player before it bricked their machine. I’ll let you decide which scenario seems more plausible. My Xbox One allowed me to start viewing from the second scene, while my PS4 was having none of it (meaning the Playstation has now officially won this console generation).
No Power, No Responsibility
Antboy is a Dutch franchise directed by Ask Hasselbalch (why he doesn’t just do self help videos and make a fortune is beyond me) that revolves around a young boy named Pelle who is gifted with the power of being able to smell things really well when he is bitten by an ant. Yup. Read that again, I’ll wait. I guess he’s also super strong for a child, which is like being the sexiest eunuch, pretty damn worthless.
As we rejoin our “hero” in Antboy3, Pelle is grappling with hanging up the super suit and going away to boarding school with his lady love (remember, they are like 12, so love just means they look at each other for maybe a millisecond longer than normal before doing normal best friend stuff). This comes as a tremendous blow to his wormy best bud. Not wanting to sound like he’s completely dependent on Antboy, his friend lies and says he just got excepted to a cool boarding school too…Xavier’s Institute for Gifted Youngsters.
This little hint that the writers behind Antboy are comic book nerds and not just cynical money grubbers gave me the hint of a smile. I mean, sure, they probably are still money grubbers, but at least they like the genre they are ripping off. A little later on, a new superkid shows up as a potential rival to bring Antboy out of retirement. Some local kids start theorizing this new mystery man’s origin story by way of using story boards ripped straight off of other Marvel and DC comic hero’s origins. The third kid’s theory that he is actually Etrigan, a B-lister from DC comics, was another great nod to how much the writers liked comics. Unfortunately, the goodwill engendered by these scenes is where my compliments end.
Machtige Morphing Energie Rangers
As you might have guessed, that’s dutch for Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Which this movie steals from stylistically to its detriment. I’m sure some of it is accidental, like the bad dubbing and hammy acting from the evil villain.
One is a product of the country we got this film from (and where it should have stayed), the other is just a kid’s action movie trope that was well in place before those 5 teens with attitude showed up. The movie just can’t shake the familiarity though:
–Personal problems that are actually the moral of the story, but come with a convenient fix? Check.
–Groan inducing jokes from the sidekicks? Yup, that too.
–Obvious adult stuntmen doing almost nothing to hide that they aren’t the principal actors doing the fighting? Uh huh.
So why does it (arguably) work for the MMPR and fall flat on it’s face here? One word: length.
This movie, at an hour and a half, stretches out everything the Rangers get done in 22 minutes. As such the dialogue is long and boring, and the time between the fights feels like a wasteland. And the fights are bog standard and boring. By the time the villainess arrives and backhands a car into a building (and even manages to get a bell rung where no bell tower previously existed) it doesn’t even up your pulse an iota. Not to mention the kids are so god awful at fighting (even after three movies) that any belief in these dolts being super goes right out the window. After the rest of the fight that started with the car throw, I became so certain that these people had no powers that I convinced myself the car had actually flown into the school building on its own volition just to escape being in the same scene as these people.
It even pads the film out by bringing characters from the previous two movies in with no intention at all of doing anything with them. They were probably still under contract, so sure let’s have a useless conversation with one of the superkids from Antboy 2. The villain of the previous movies shows up in a redemption arc that would have been fine had that been the only story going on in this movie. Instead it’s the third pig fighting over a the short attention span nipple.
Smells like PreTeen Spirit
This movie has a wafer thin bit of charm hiding behind a mountain of boredom. Reviews of the first movie claim that it was a decent kiddy version of the first Spiderman. Not so this one. It’s a by the numbers children’s action movie that should have had the sense to just be a 30 minute after school show. Hopefully while they are away at boarding school the kids can take a few acting and martial arts classes. And maybe they could all learn that really liking comic book movies doesn’t mean you are actually any good at making them.
…So dear reader, our first search for the rich stuff turned up a lode of fool’s gold. But fear not, there are many a Redbox in our fair nation, each one possibly hiding the best movie you’ve never seen. Oh, and please don’t rent any of these movies. Leave it to the professionals.