REVIEW: War Wolves
War Wolves. Get it? War Wolves? Cuz. Cuz, see their soldiers... in a war, and they come home as something approximating werewolves... War Wolves!
Man you people are thick.
I have something I need to confess. I like the SciFi -um- SyFy channel. At least a couple days out of the week anyway, when they're not showing idiots running around condemned prisons in night vision and jizzing themselves because one of their flashlights flickered. "Oh shit! Did you just see that?! Tell me we're getting this!" No I'm talking about that time of the week when I could be out having a life but instead I find myself feasting on such fine cinematic fare as Wyvern, Megashark vs. Giant Octopus, or the incomparable Dracula 3000 starring Coolio. (as an aside if this site expanded it's all time worst list to ten - or for that matter six - Dracula 3000 is a solid contender.)
With precious little exception, the "films" offered to us by the SyFy channel could suck a planet out of orbit. They're that bad. And any Bad Movie fly buzzing around the tube on a given weekend would be a fool not to hone in on their foul stench. I like to think that if Ed Wood were alive today he'd be president of the network or at least in charge of programming. Maybe "Dr. Ackula" would've actually seen the light of day. But hey we got War Wolves. The thing about War Wolves is that it actually has some decently constructed, reasonably well-acted scenes and it makes some fairly interesting, quirky choices. But just about the time you're starting to think the movie's not that bad you get hit with a flaming turd right in the eye.
Things get rolling with the bible verse that admonishes us to "walk in the light lest darkness come upon you." This is followed by a brief sequence in which a seemingly ordinary soldier pens a letter of some sort before calmy unholstering his pistol and splattering his brains on the wall. Pause for a second. This scene is actually well-paced, well-composed and the special effect work is practical and pretty believable. Right now if you'd stumbled upon the movie by accident you might think you were in for a decent flick. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on whether or not you're a member of the brotherhood here) there's about an hour and a half of movie left. Cue the shitty, generic Incubus rip-off music - as if the genuine Incubus wasn't bad enough - for the next scene which introduces us to the major players and soon to be war wolves as they clumsily attempt to act like they're playing football in the desert. Here we meet our hero Jake Gabriel and his sexy love interest Erika Moore along with their brothers and sisters in arms. Soon it's off to battle and we find the group in the midst of an ambush in some shithole Middle Eastern village. Everything goes slow-mo and we're presumably expected to be terrified as crazed villagers attack the soldiers and snatch them from the streets, dragging them into their lil mud-brick house things. Jake and the wounder Erika are holed up in one such dump and one of those rascally natives comes snarling into the doorway on all fours as Ave Maria plays over the action. Cut to Jake back home in the good ole' USA holding down a shit-job in a small town grocery store drinking lots of vodka and eating lots of steak tartar and having a genuinely tough go at readjusting to civilian life. And there's the lycanthropy.
Jake goes to AA meetings in an effort to find some sort of solace and to help him cope with the urge to kill the living shit out of everything he sees. (Do you really need to be a werewolf for that?) Unlike Jake the majority of his friends including his old girlfriend Erika have come to terms with their new nature and are tracking him down for the purposes of having him join or lead the pack. Apparently the womenfolk aren't satisfied with the Manny Pacquiao look-alike who's in charge at the moment.
Enter John Saxon of Enter the Dragon and Nightmare on Elm Street fame. Saxon plays Tony Ford, an old general who is aware of the war wolve phenomenon and with the help of his grizzled old war buddie Frank attempts to track them down in LA. They manage to apprehend Jake who's been summoned there as well by one of the survivors he's remained in contact with. Said contact is subsequently killed in a less than spectacular firefight with the Manny Pacquiao guy. From here everybody travels to Seattle or wherever the hell Jake had been holed up for some reason I forgot. (I'll be damned if i'm gonna watch this movie again to find out.) But whatever it is, it will be here in the peaceful Pacific Northwest were the final showdown will occur as Jake faces off against the buxome she-wolf threesome and that little latin guy who is presumably Jakes only rival for leadership of "the pack" as it were. The showdown is anything but memorable and as they approach the climax of their transformation into total beasts the combatants end up with silly black shaggy dog noses and that whole generic Underworldesque makeup that causes them to resemble what Klingons would look like if they mated with Mumm-Ra from Thundercats. It's fairly ridiculous.
Still the movie has moments that would approach a level of quality that is, with the possible exception of Splinter (which I maintain is the finest thing the network has ever produced) wholly unheard of on SyFy. Were it not for the ham-handedness of the production or the stilted performances we get from most of the actors the thing might just work on a moderate level. The acting of the chicks is particularly noteworthy in it's crappiness. The three female warwolves (uuugggghhh that title again) all look and act like the kind of women that have given the idea of a career in the adult film industry more than just a passing consideration. As a matter of fact I recently learned that Natasha Alam, who plays Jake's love interest, is a former Playboy model. Note to self...
Despite this fact there are no tits in the movie, not even the DVD version, which i downl-i mean purchased. And this transgression will not be forgiven by the giver of the Hamlin.
War Wolves shamelessly attempts to use the curse of the werewolf as a metaphor for what a lot of service men and women undergo when they come back from war. It might work if it weren't so obvious or if the film makers made the decision to go for an all out political satire or a horror comedy in the vein of Evil Dead. Unfortunately they decided to split the difference and we're left with the skid-marks of this stinky miscarriage that's not good enough to be held in any kind of critical esteem and not bad enough to be revered in the halls of the Bad Movie Knights. Not even a cameo from Martin "Sweep the leg" Kove can save War Wolves from Bad Movie mediocrity.
Everything you ever loved will be sodomized by Michael Bay,