has a heart to heart with Jason. Courtesy
of the Frightens
Film Review: Freddy Vs. Jason
won't you die?" Freddy grumbles after playing pinball
with Jason's resilient body, which begs a bigger question:
"Why won't these franchises die?" Freddy and
Jason went the way of the dodo bird in "Freddy's
Dead" (1991) and "Jason Goes to Hell"
(1993), respectively, but the trip to Hell was only
a sabbatical. New Line Cinema plays Lazarus with these
two horror film icons in what turns out to be the best
guilty pleasure this summer, a campy slasher flick infused
with Hong Kong fantasy-action by director Ronny Yu ("The
Bride with White Hair").
enjoys a moment of levity in his boiler room. Courtesy
audiences who haven't met Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees,
the film's opening succinctly recaps each mythology.
Freddy was an Elm Street child molester lynched by the
neighborhood parents and transformed into a demon who
murdered teenagers in their dreams. Jason was a deformed
momma's boy who drowned during summer camp at Crystal
Lake while negligent teenage counselors were sowing
their wild oats. His mother tried her hand at revenge
but lost her head. Understandably, Jason was more than
miffed and spent his immortal afterlife hacking up future
generations of Crystal Lake camp counselors. Freddy's
death toll is 30 and rising. Jason's is a whopping 127.
Place your bets, everyone.
and Kia are about to unwisely investigate a strange
noise. Courtesy of imdb.com
Freddy (Robert Englund) is a forgotten dream, powerless
to terrorize not only because the Elm Street teens have
been popping dream suppressant pills, but also because
they have no knowledge of his infamy. Freddy assumes
the form of Mrs. Voorhees in Jason's dream and instructs
the hockey-masked madman (Ken Kirzinger) to knock off
a few Elm Street kids so that they'll have nightmares
again. Unfortunately for Freddy, Jason doesn't know
moderation at this all-you-can-kill buffet. His unnerving
taciturnity contrasts nicely with Freddy's wisecracking
and Mrs. Yu promote the title bout. Courtesy
the center of all the bloodshed, the busty doe-eyed
beauty Lori (Monica Keena) hangs onto her virginity
to survive. She and her self-absorbed friend Kia (Kelly
Rowland of Destiny's Child) resolve to find Freddy's
weakness and to uncover the mystery behind her mother's
murder. While this plot provides motivation for the
heroine to combat the horrific titans, it pales in comparison
to the inevitable showdown we're all waiting for.
grisly murders leading up to the main event are unimaginative
for the slasher genre with the noted exception of one
backbreaking coup de grâce. During a cornfield
rave party (and you thought your nightlife sucked),
Jason mows down teens as blood sprinklers turn on full
blast. For sure, Ronny Yu was going for more "Itchy
and Scratchy" absurdity than the realistic carnage
of "28 Days Later." Audience members cracked
up at these ultra-violent mishaps along with the overwritten
dialogue that no actor could save from ridicule. One
can only wonder how ghastly the screenplay was without
the rewrite polish by David Goyer ("Blade,"
Vs. Jason" had a $25 million budget and
opened with a great weekend earning of $36
million. Since August 25, it has grossed $62
didn't don his hockey mask until "Friday
the 13 Part 3: 3D." Before that he debuted
in Part 2 with a burlap sack over his head.
Krueger was named after a childhood bully
of "A Nightmare on Elm Street" director
Yu has directed both father and son, John
and Jason Ritter, in "Bride of Chucky"
(1998) and "Freddy Vs. Jason" (2003),
and Jason engage in two martial arts battles staged
by choreographer Chuck Jeffreys ("Spider-Man").
Each fight takes place in Freddy and Jason's respective
dwelling with production designer John Willett staining
the boiler room a rusty red while leaving Crystal Lake
to shiver in wintry blue. The vestige of Ronny Yu's
Hong Kong aesthetic bleeds into the kickboxing scenes
and the blow-for-blow combat, which brings to mind the
bullet-for-bullet face-off between Mark Gor (Chow Yun-Fat)
and a hitman nemesis in John Woo's "A Better Tomorrow
II." And let's not forget the wire stunt wizardry
of Freddy launching himself 20 feet out of Crystal Lake.
Vs. Jason" may not be a horror film, in the sense
that nothing about it horrifies save for the dialogue,
but at least it upholds the promise of a satisfying
brawl. The movie never overextends itself and its rather
contented attitude permits Ronny Yu to impart all the
indelible Asian touches both franchises have never witnessed.
Yu's ability to dazzle audiences with magical realism
devoid of pretension makes him the most important winner
when the credits roll.