I am watching a movie I got off Netflix called Equilibrium, starring Christian Bale.
Oh my, it's bad.
I should have known, it was written by the same person as The Recruit, which is -- by far -- the most predictable spy movie of all time. And Ultraviolet, a movie that looked so bad from the trailer I actually wanted my money back after seeing the trailer itself.
It's the future and to get rid of war, they got rid of all art and keep everyone drugged. Christian Bale plays Keanu Reeves, a cop who stops taking his drugs and sees the light. Except unlike The Matrix, he has super powers before he sees the light. The opening scene is a nearly literal clone of a scene from The Matrix.
The flags the government flies look almost exactly like Nazi flags. They have little kids, no more than 10 or 11 years old, in black uniforms pointing out citizens to arrest. There's a Apple-1984-like speech over the loudspeaker. Take all the roll-your-eyes junk from V For Vendetta (which I liked quite a bit, despite its lame symbology) and multiply it several times.
Bale shoots his partner in the head, through a banned book the guy's reading (a Yeats collection). Oooo. Then he loses his drug dose one morning, and that day goes to arrest a woman who is off her drugs, and gasp, he sees himself in her, and prevents her from being killed. He stops taking his drugs. He is later coming to terms with his feelings, and puts Beethoven's Ninth on a record player, and he drops a snow globe to the floor -- in slow motion, of course -- just as the first movement reaches its initial crescendo. He then drops to a chair and weeps.
The police are killing dogs -- pets are bad, I guess -- and a puppy almost escapes and licks Bale's nose, and Bale saves the puppy from being killed. There is, also of course, the new partner to replace the one Bale killed, who is skeptical of Bale. Hmmmm, he saved a puppy
The movie progresses precisely as you think it would, from beginning to end, except for the introduction of this nonsensical martial art called "gun kata" or something, which consists almost entirely of standing in one place and shooting in different directions.
Calling this movie ham-handed only barely begins to describe how bad it is. (Speaking of ham-handed, the whole Battlestar Galactica-as-allegory-for-Iraq was entirely awful too, irrespective of your view on the war; come on, suicide bombers blowing up other humans volunteering to be part of a police force? Spare me!)
And don't even try to explain to me how these people on the drug supposedly have no feelings and emotions, yet all of them have very identifiable feelings and emotions, such as when Bale's partner arrests him for having feelings, and then himself gives an impassioned speech about how bad feelings are for society. Huh?
This movie is stick-in-the-eye bad.
Speaking of stories of totalitarian governments, anyone ever seen James Clavell's "The Children's Story"? It was on TV when I was a kid. I saw it once, and still remember some of it to this day. I found a copy on MilkAndCookies.com. It looks like a copy of an old VHS tape, and it's Real format. So it's pretty crummy, but worth a look anyway.
Oh, I also saw another terrible movie this week, The Butterfly Effect 2. Straight to DVD. They pretty much violated all the rules for the first movie, which turned it from a merely bad movie into a terrible movie. No blackouts, nosebleeds without new memories, and, ultimately, the dude killed himself even though there is no indication he needs to, or that it would do any good for him to do so (oops: spoiler alert!). A total waste.