Judge David Johnson knew a guy named the Trackman in college. He was a man who ran track.
The moral of the story: stay away from Russian sewers.
From the Ghost House Underground brand, a cat and mouse game with a pick-axe wielding, eyeball plucking madman causing beaucoup trouble from the bank robbers amidst raw sewage and mildew.
Facts of the Case
Following a bank robbery, the perpetrators and their hostages take to the underground. The robbers are hoping to escape and the hostages are praying that they'll make it through the ordeal alive. None of them will get their wish, when a maniac with a pick-axe and a flamethrower systematically stalks and murders them one by one. Worse, once he has them incapacitated, it's out with the eye pliers.
As the game plan dictates, the survivors are whittled down to two, forcing a fiery stand-off between them and Trackman.
An uneven effort, Trackman takes a decent setting (the sinister, yet oddly well-lit Russian sewer system) and tosses in some human cannon fodder and a hulking, nigh-invincible killer to kill them. Derivative? You bet—of any indestructible slasher movie you've ever seen—but it's well-executed, the killer's pretty cool, the gore effects are nice and disgusting, and the finale is badass; basically, if you're not bored by the oh-so familiar play-by-play there's something of worth here for horror fans.
The characters are slightly more animated than the usual one-dimensional meatbags that typically serve only to be targets for whatever sharp implement is utilized by the respective psychopath. The bank robbers are gruff dudes, and not your usual screaming weenies; they go out with a fight—but they do go out. A couple of women accompany the doomed party and they're strong, especially when they get a submachine gun in their hands. Did I, then, feel even a molecule of a pang of emotions when each character received his or her comeuppance? Um, no.
The killer—decent, though totally missing any kind of discernible personality. He's a tank, slow-moving and massive, though strangely stealthy enough to totally evade detection and sneak up silently behind hardened criminals and smiting them with a gigantic pick-axe. Anonymous and unstoppable.
The gore: a mixed bag. The most graphic is definitely the multiple eye-plucking scenes, which, to this sensitive-to-optical-woudning-on-screen reviewer, is fairly revolting. That scoop just digs in, grabs hold of the eyeball, rips it out, nerves and everything. The other kills are less, ahem, in-your-face, and too hyper-edited. A spurt of blood and a scream is about what I was able to make out most of the time.
Now, without the final 15 minutes or so, Trackman would be forgettable and mediocre and not worthy of a recommendation. But these Russian guys pour it on for the big finale and really blow out their budget. Flames, gunfire, a frenetic chase through the sewers, the final showdown with the villain—entertaining eye candy all. Trackman sticks the landing and barely becomes a worthwhile slasher to scope out.
The no-frills DVD disappoints though: a solid if not mind-blowing 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, two 5.1 surround tracks (English and Russian) and no extras.
Not bad, thanks to a gusto ending. The DVD fails to impress.
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