Little Box of Horrors: The Guardians
It’s the Holiday season, so we’re going to choose from three Xmas movies… HOLD THE F*CKING PHONE! The Guardians is out?!? Ok, we’re just going to watch that instead. Suck it, Christmas.
Normally, I wander far and wide to find my prey. Not this time. When I saw The Guardians was out on the RedBox app I tracked it down like a heat seeking missile. The only RedBox that had it near me was the Hannaford in South Portland, so South Portland it was.
I also normally pick from three movies, savoring the stench of three thematically linked stinkers. Once again, I’m breaking that tradition. Any other movie wouldn’t even survive the weigh-in with this behemoth. I mean check this shit out:
Shameless Avengers rip off? Check. Trying way too hard CGI? You betcha. Dubbing that doesn’t even bother to sync up with the “actors” lips? I think I just filled the cup.
This movie could be it. The payoff a year and a half in the making. The movie so bad that it’s good. Let’s get cracking!
The Guardians (2017)
During the Cold War, the USSR decided to get a leg up on the USA by letting two brilliant scientists run shadowy operations. One focused on genetics to create super-soldiers. The other focused on AI. When the AI project stalled, disgraced Professor Kuratov did the only sensible thing: he stole his rival’s genetic research, created super soldiers, locked himself up in his lab, and then blew it up.
Flash forward to today, and all of Kuratov’s super-soldiers are in the wind. While they all got unique powers from the experiment, they shared one trait: an inability to age. When Kuratov resurfaces as a genetically enhanced bio/techno monstrosity, The Guardians project is reopened. It’s mission: to reunite Russia’s greatest soldiers, thwart Kuratov, and save the world.
He’s Only Got One Look!
This movie is empty bravado made flesh. Every single line is uttered like it’s the catchphrase of the coolest person in the world. All the personal drama is so over the top that even the Bravo network would politely ask The Guardians to tone it down. Literally everyone mugs for the camera. Even the peons fetching coffee for the military attache take a second to make sure that they qualify for an IMDb entry.
This movie is trying so hard to be tough as nails and cold as ice. It reminded me of Blade. But the first Blade worked (and only the first one; trust me) because Wesley Snipes was the only person taking that shit seriously. Everyone else was in on the joke.
Not so with The Guardians. Everyone is drinking the Russian Kool-aid here. If anyone in this film, from the writers to the director to the actors, had any self-awareness this movie might have felt like an homage to pulp comic books. I can’t give this movie that benefit of the doubt.
Not only is the dialogue overwrought, it’s downright dumb. Which fits, as just about everything in this movie is dumb. If I end up needing to see an optometrist due to eye-roll induced sight loss, I’m suing The Guardians. Here’s a few examples.
The recruiting segment of this movie is without a doubt modeled after the first X-men movie, but the dialogue combines with peacocking to form a parody that only a Wayans brother could love. Each character is approached by our Military Rep (who is trying to cosplay as Brigitte Neilson cosplaying as Sonya Blade) individually, presumably to show us how their “cool” powers work. Each character is stand-offish and too cool for military school. Until Ms. Neilson-Blade asks them to join. At which point each character, to a man, jumps at the offer faster than a dog being offered a ride in a windowless jeep filled with bones.
In another scene, we learn that Arseniy is afraid to turn into his berserker bear form because changing back is harder each time. Not only is this a brazen theft of the Hulk’s character arc, but as soon as this “oh, he’s handsome, tough, AND sensitive” conversation concludes we see him take his bear form a bunch of times for no good reason.
The Guardians does this kind of shit all movie long: it tries to act cool and tough, just to turn the movie on a dime as soon as the plot needs it.
The Boss Baby
Noone else exemplifies the brainless amalgamation of “everything badass from any superhero movie ever made” more than Kuratov, our antagonist. He’s every villain they could think of smooshed into one ugly as sin package. He’s an evil genius like Lex Luthor. Who stole his rival’s creations like Dr. Wily from Mega Man. He’s a hulking freak like The Abomination, who likes to break backs like Bane from The Dark Knight Rises. His power-set is what would happen if Magneto and Dr. Doom had a super butt baby.
I’m assuming he was created by the friend you had in first grade who always had to play the solo baddy against your super-team of toy good guys. He’s obviously out-manned, so to make him relevant his power-set just keeps increasing with no rhyme or reason. “We finally have you cornered Kuratov!” You proudly exclaim. “Nuh-uh” your friend interjects, “…because Kuratov can fly! And shoot lasers out of his nipples, and he has a light-up tummy like a glow-worm… because!”.
Having a bad guy that looks like roided up Sloth from The Goonies with a ridiculous ability-tree stole the tension from this movie as effectively as Russian hackers stole our last election. I just couldn’t be bothered to care. In fact, during the final battle, I fell asleep. It was supposed to be the big climax; when I finally came to the DVD start menu was blaring horrible pop music at me. 10/10, would sleep again.
The League of Un-Extraordinary Gentlemen
The Guardians is bad; it is also boring. The action isn’t awful, but everything leading up to it and following after is garbage, so it doesn’t excite. The last time crappy writing and shittier acting killed a CGI wank fest for me like this, I was walking out of Transformers 2. That this movie immediately brought Transformers and Blade to my mind is pretty damning.
I wanted to like this movie going in; that I hated it was surprising. Not only was The Guardians not bad-good, it put me to sleep, something even Zoombies couldn’t do. I was really hoping this film would do the trick, instead the trick was on me. Save yourself the same heartbreak.