Peter Hentges (jbru) wrote,
Peter Hentges

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Movie musing

So I watched a movie last night (that is, Sunday morning) that I started out hating and ended up liking quite a bit: Deep Red.

It started with a Star Wars-esque space battle scene. A red ship (obviously "our heros" from the title) was being chased and shot at by a big, dark ship. The red ship got hit, split in two and half descended to Earth. Now, it was some pretty tacky FX and, come on, just happened to get hit right where it would split into two functional ships?

We follow the ship down through Earth's atmosphere, switching to its point of view right about when it would be tricky to do the FX and keep swooping down and around, and through some sky scrapers and I'm starting to think "oh, come on, crash already" when we cut to a group of children in a park. One of them starts crying and her parents rush to her side. Her had is hurt, bleeding. We see a small red sliver descend into her palm, cut to opening credits.

At this point I'm going, "Whaaa?"

The next scene opens in a Marlowe-esque PI office, complete with voice-over. This particular voice over is the voices in the PI's head telling him that something isn't his fault and then his monologue about how he's supposed to find a client's husband and help him kill a man. The PI takes a gun out of his desk and we cut to him getting out of a car in a seedy part of town, passing bums on the street and entering a hotel.

He enters a room and finds the woman's husband. They have a bizarre conversation that shows us that the husband knows a lot more about what's going on than the PI. About the point we've reached full confusion, milkmen break into the room and the action portion of our program begins. Yes, milkmen. Super-human, gun-impervious milkmen. Apparently, however, they are susceptible to fire as the husband is using what appears to be a home-made flame-thrower on them. (They use good tactics too. Once the flamer is shot at the two milkmen, they split up to flank the husband, one of them quickly disposing of the PI in a super-human punch. Only one of the milkmen dies, therefore and the husband is captured.)

The movie continues on, revealing bits and pieces of the story. John De Lancie plays the villain, which was fun. It reminded me of good noir pasted on to a skiffy plot. When it was over, I could tell that some studio exec had said "Hey, where did these things come from?" and that the opening sequence had been shot to explain that. I think that it worked better without it, however, and that there's probably some footage that would have provided a different explanation. Worth a view, if you should happen to catch a re-run on cable or see it in a video store.

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