Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Chaos (2005 – not the notoriously awful horror movie but the somewhat less awful cop-action flick)

2005. 106 min. Rated R for violence and language and incredibly bad aim
IMDB says....Two cops, a rookie and a grizzled vet, pursue an accomplished bank robber.

The 73rd Virgin says...This one’s been stinkin’ up the Recycle Bin for a while.

Soon Movies Eat the Soul will have a gala review of the great Elizabeth Gaskell chick-flick, 1999’s “Wives and Daughters”, which features one of the most darling actresses to ever grace celluloid, Justine Waddell. But eyes ever fixed on the completely empty cup, we will begin with a review of Waddell’s sublimely awful 2005 outing, “Chaos”.  I never thought I would say that Wesley Snipes is the best part of any movie, but sure enough, he is.

In an insanely convoluted plot that still manages to be dumb, we begin… with rain…and a chase scene with vehicle pop up and roll overTM. Black dude has blonde girl hostage (daughter of the mayor! I guess the President’s daughter was booked over at Lockout).  As credits roll we get Jason Statham’s voice-over with lines like “I don’t apologize for doing my job”.  Move over Rainer Wolfcastle, Statham’s here as Detective Connors.

Now Snipes and his multi-racial gang of gun-totin’ black clad commandos will roll up in a black SUV and park on what appears from above to be an empty, car-less street - but which is teeming with people at ground level – and enter a bank in broad daylight unchallenged. These are at least pleasantly familiar clichés. Snipes is good in some decent action/shootin’ up the place scenes.

Next, comes the hostage negotiation scenes. Gum will be chewed and snapped; onlookers will stand within a few feet of a full blown gun battle and bank explosion; 80s hair will be worn; people will die. SWAT will jump the gun. Didn’t see that coming.

Next, an unpleasant cliché arises in the form of Statham as a misunderstood suspended cop who seems to have been a part-time detective and part-time high profile hostage negotiator. Whatever. He was suspended because the mayor’s daughter got shot.

The bad guys use feints within feints to escape and the not very interesting investigation begins. Ryan Phillipe is pretty good as a slightly newer cliché – the college educated detective. Of course HIS FATHER was a legendary hero cop, killed in the line of duty, who everyone including Statham respected. I’m stuck on a plane and I could write this shit.

So where is Waddell in all this? She’s detective Teddy Calloway, plaything of both Captain Jenkins (normally watchable Henry Czerny) and Statham. She enters the story in bed, ala Jaqueline Bissett in Bullitt, but she will eventually get out of it and deliver some bland dialogue and the occasional meaningful look. In fact, all the reaction shots are so clumsy and stilted they feel like they were done on different days by Peoria’s Number One Newscam or something.

We will then follow Statham for nearly an hour and a half as he locks his jaw and drifts in and out of his native accent, and seeks out clues about the identity of Snipes. Guess what? They knew each other.

As the plot convolutes even further there is money taken from a police evidence room, crooked cops, a suicide, and Waddell gets one slightly funny line at the end, “Did we all get shot today?” As it happens, yes, all four major police characters get shot, each one of them in the arm or shoulder. At least two of them get to boss the EMT around so that he will presumably stop rendering aid before they lose their manhood. Great googly-moogly this willfully, nay - with gusto - sucks ass.

Here Waddell takes over Sigourney Weaver’s part in Galaxy Quest. “According to our computers….”

But Galaxy Quest was a comedy.

A lotta things blow up. Snipes goes through about a hundred high capacity clips, one bullet at a time – and talks a lot. There is a motorcycle chase, two interrogation scenes, an approximately 19 year-old female coroner who instantly hints at oral sex for Phillipe, a discussion of Chaos Theory, a long expository ending, etc. You’ve seen it all before. At some point it ends.
By the time she was 20, Waddell had starred in three BBC films as Tess of The Durbervilles, Estella in Great Expectations, and the aforementioned Wives and Daughters, which puts her in the same league as Kate Beckinsale. But then she went to Hollywood and was in the very poor Dracula 2000 with Gerard Butler. He wound up a star, and she wound up here. For all I know she’s been off having babies with drummers, but how did it come to this?

Around this time she was also in Thr3e which is a slightly better movie but didn’t serve her well. Neither did the kind of interesting, The Fall, in which she was barely allowed to speak. So what’s left is an all-Russian dialogue horror movie that isn’t available on Netflix or Amazon, and, somewhat hopefully, Killing Bono, which I haven’t seen.

Here she is interviewed at 36 – still smokin’ hot – describing how she learned her all-Russian lines more or less phonetically.


  1. Hahahaha…loved the review. Much better than the movie I'm sure. "Peoria's No. 1 News Crew" Fair warning, I may steal that line.

    1. help yourself. It's just a painful memory for me.