Today's review is brought to you by Judge Paul Pritchard, and the letter G, which stands for Girls, Guns, and G-strings.
You Can't Keep A Bad Girl Down.
There's a distinct whiff of Kill Bill to Alice in Wasteland. An indie production from the superbly monikered Monster Zero Creative, this female fronted tale of revenge shares a number of similarities with Tarantino's classic.
The film tells the story of Alice, a young woman double-crossed by her gang following a bungled heist, which leaves two team members dead and Alice herself in a coma. Waking up in hospital, one year later, Alice sets out to prove that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, by smiting those who wronged her. Standing in her way is super-psycho cop, Jill Robbe, who seems intent on getting the highest body count possible. See? It has Kill Bill written all over it. Thankfully, differences between the two films do become more apparent as Alice progresses, though the specter of Tarantino is never too far away.
Seemingly shot with a budget that wouldn't cover the bill for the buffet at most weddings, directing duo Lasse Jarvi and Peter Schuermann—working from a screenplay by Michele Pacitto—are forced to stretch the resources at their disposal. Combined with a cast of unknowns and first-timers, this lack of money means the film fails to deliver the pizzazz of its bigger brethren. The shortfall in experience from all involved frequently shows, and there is no escaping some woeful acting. The screenplay often feels imitative of better movies, shows little in the way of imagination, and yet is not all bad.
Under the right circumstances, Alice in Wasteland is actually worth a shot. Aimed primarily at a male audience, the film will play best to groups of men consuming a few beers and looking for a little T&A action. It's easy to see how scenes showing clothes irons being used like nunchuks, or gags involving sniper's popping out of garbage cans would play really well to a slightly inebriated group.
Free from the benefits of alcohol, though, it becomes easy to see the faults with Alice in Wasteland, which might kill the film stone dead for most viewers. The obvious enthusiasm and sheer effort put into the film will be lost. They will fail to appreciate the pimp named Ramrod and his hot Swedish assassin; there will be no love for Alice's mom's sleazy boyfriend; and the seedy joy of a (quite literally) killer lesbian love scene will go unappreciated. Are these admittedly few redeeming features enough to save the film? No, unfortunately not, but they do give Alice in Wasteland some value, and make it worth a punt for those whose tastes loiter outside the mainstream.
Just one more thing. Despite a DVD cover that sports more cleavage than a 14-year-olds wildest dreams, Alice in Wasteland is steadfast in its refusal to show any flesh. There are plenty of shots of scantily clad ladies, for sure, but like that respectable girl you hoped to corrupt back in high school, this film refuses to go all the way.
The video presentation edges towards the poor. The image is alive with noise and artifacting, especially in night scenes. Meanwhile, detail levels are disappointing and the image often retains a soft look. The stereo soundtrack is a little better, but still has some flaws. The dialogue isn't always clear, while sound effects, particularly gunfire, come across as a little weak. Extras are surprisingly decent and add to the disc's value. An audio commentary is joined by two shorts—both from the makers of the main feature—and are worth checking out at only a few minutes each.
Though its replay value may be questionable, with nothing new to offer, the
film makes up for some of its shortcomings with its sense of humor. I can't in
good conscience recommend people spend their hard earned money on this disc, but
if there is such a thing as an honorable Guilty verdict, Alice in
Wasteland is worthy of it.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Monster Zero Creative
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