Saturday, July 23, 2011

bad/awesome flixxx review: Combat Shock (1986)

"It's not your fuckin' sunglasses that got smashed!"- Labo

"I see it all so clearly now."- Frankie

"The war is not over. The battlefield may have changed, but the war is not over."- Frankie

This is a heavy, heavy, heavy fucking flick. It drags on like no other movie. I was waiting for a plane that was about 6 hours late the other day, and this was the movie that I picked to watch. Boy was I suckered. For pretty much the whole thing, I was just begging and waiting for something to happen. Did it? Well, maybe the last 10 minutes of the movie saved it from being a total suck fest, but what a grueling wait for something. I'm pretty sure that was the director's point. This is a bleak movie about a bleak subject. It's so heavy that after being mad about it for the whole time I watched it, I had to reevaluate how I felt about it after it was actually over. A bunch of unknowns in an independent Troma film entitled COMBAT SHOCK!!!

This one starts out with VERY LONG DRAWN OUT SCENES of the protagonist walking through a memory of his time in Vietnam. He is lost and can't remember why or how he became lost. A voiceover explains that he relives this same scene every night of his life. After a serious 10 minutes of walking around the jungle, he is being chased by a young Vietcong group. He questions why one of them, a pretty girl in charge, wants him dead. Stupid question. He reluctantly shoots her in the belly, drops his m-16 and takes off running. Then the group catches him and just beats him up with their guns. Then he wakes up in his very shitty apartment in Staten Island where his wife is yelling at him that they have no food whatsoever and his kid won't stop crying.

The crying is very strange at first and it sounds like its made with a weird fake synthesizer. Immediately you wonder, why didn't they just get a real baby crying sound effect. But then you get a glimpse of the baby. Its a fucking mutant slobbering thing that was supposedly created by his exposure to agent orange. The wife is seen a few times rummaging through an empty cupboard and eating the crumbs of cereal, trying to make some kind of paste for the little monster to eat. She yells at Frankie to get a job and lambastes him saying that all he does is walk the streets. He actually does go to look for a job, and really lives in a despicable neighborhood ridden with crime.

Frankie tries his best, waiting in line at the unemployment office trying desperately to get a job, talking to dudes who really don't give a shit about him or what he's going through. Frankie suffers from hallucinations and flashbacks, but really seems to try to do the right things. He tells his buddy Mike not to rob a chick for dope money. Mike does it anyway, and scores, and then tries to find a rig, but can't and eventually cuts his arm with a piece of wire or a stick or something and just pours the dope on his pus ridden arm. GROSS. He dies. Then the chick he robbed robs him of his gun. The pusher Paco and his thugs beat Frankie up a few times for money he owes them. Then later, Frankie tries to call his dad whom he had a fight with a long time ago. His dad thinks he was killed in Vietnam, and thinks its a joke. When Frankie convinces him, his dad says its no use anyway, he had no bread for him because he is not only dying himself, but he is broke as well. BUMMER.

So Frankie says fuck it, I'm just gonna rob this chick, I'm better off in jail, and he steals her purse. But Paco and his gang beat the shit out of him. Only they lose the gun, but see the bullets... too late. Frankie mows them down. Finally he realizes what happened in Nam before they threw him in the hole. The village killed themselves before the troops got there so they wouldn't be raped and murdered. Frankie decides he'll do that for his family. He goes home, and over a loooooong drawn out scene, shoots his wife in the belly, then 3 more times on the floor. Then he (finally) shoots that crying kid, then holds him close, then puts him in the goddamned OVEN!!!! Then he turns it all the way up. Finally he sits down with some rotten milk, drinks it, and as the cops are beating down his door, he shoots his brains all over the wall. HEAVY! This is a heavy flick. I'd say its hard to watch not because its so heavy, but because its so goddamned slow! WOW. It really drags. The dude isn't believeable as a Nam vet, because he looks too young. That's one real constructive gripe. I'm trying to be cool here with it. Its not the worst movie of all time, but it really drags on and on. Personally I have a hard time relating to it because I would never in a million years join the military. Not unless somehow (hostile) aliens came here to take over. So, yeah. There ya go.

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