onsdag 11 januari 2012
My first encounter with this movie was through this trailer which at a first glance (well, the first minute of it at least) looked kind of cheesy, that very particular cheese that so many low budget shot on video gore movies tend to be full of. You know, just a movie without ever reflecting on narrative etc, just pour on the gore. This can be good in itself but very straining on your patience. But then came a couple of really striking scenes and I knew I had to have this. I hopped on the filmmaker’s website and about five minutes after watching the trailer I had ordered it. It arrived yesterday (a bit smashed up due to the fucking post office but working just fine) and I popped it into the dvdplayer to hopefully get an entertaining experience.
And by God it is!
Adam Chaplin might actually be one of the best comicbookmovies I have ever seen. It is not based on a comic but the story, the visuals and most importantly - the violence, are all as if torn straight out an ultraviolent manga like Story of Ricky and Fist of the north star (the latter even appeared on the extras several times as major influence which just confirmed it for me). Adam Chaplin, our ultra-buffed hero (he is so toned and muscular that it almost looks goofy but then again, it is straight out of Fist of the north star) is in love but his girlfriend owes money to the ultra-evil mutant freak Denny and is doused with petrol and set on fire. Adam is consumed by rage and somehow summons a demon who grants him superhuman strength and superior fighting skills, something that will help him track down Denny and his two freak sons and get his revenge. All of this is set in murky hallways and ruined buildings in the fictional country of heaven Valley, a place that looks slightly post-apocalyptic at times but has a lot of normal looking traffic on its roads.
Ok, so the story offers nothing new, we have seen (and read) it many times before. What Adam Chaplin does with it is an entirely different thing. The budget was obviously low but Emanuele De Santi (Writer, director and star) and his team realized that to make this work they had to go all style. Heaven valley and its inhabitants are doused in great looking filters and small but significant visual aids, making the illusion complete and most importantly, making you forget that you really are looking at the same old abandoned buildings that we usually see in this kind of movie. The movie is full of these awesome little quirks that makes me applaud the filmmakers, things that shouldn’t work but does thanks to a bit of ingenuity. My favorite example of this is the demon that follows Adam Chaplin around, a sort of burned puppet that is constantly looking over his shoulder (or actually hiding in it), speaking to him and his victims all throughout his journey. Most of the people are in full makeup looking goofily mutated, another smart choice that at first feels strange but turns out to be very appropriate for the proceedings. The filmmakers have created their own style and look, slightly derivative of the before mentioned Japanese comics and animes, and this puts Adam Chaplin way ahead of similar low budget projects. The camerawork might be a bit claustrophobic at times, a lot of close-ups that can feel unnecessary but the photography is in general excellent. Another strength is the good editing, something other filmmakers should concern themselves with a bit more.
And then we come to the violence. Is this the bloodiest movie ever like the trailer promises? No, not really but there is plenty of it, long bursts of freaky splatter with liters of blood exploding out of torn limbs, impaled bodies and busted heads. All of this is mostly practical, some of it a bit cheesylooking but helped tremendously with a bit of cgi to make it look a bit better and more hard hitting. Gore hounds will be more than satisfied.
I really liked Adam Chaplin, it might look like the average shot on video gorefest on paper but it is really an exercise in what a bit of imagination and ingenuity can do when you go all out in the battle of style versus budget. Much recommended to all fans of gore and independent filmmaking. Buy it on the official website, the dvd has english subtitles. Well worth your money.