It’s been more than a few years now since one of the worst disasters this country has ever faced threatened to unravel the very fabric of our society. We were brought to our knees in its wake, begging for mercy as total oblivion loomed before us. All that was good and holy was torn asunder, and though we are constantly reassured now that those dark days are behind us, we cannot help but live in fear. Deep down, we know that there’s nothing left to believe in. Nothing will ever be the same, and our thoughts are still occasionally interrupted by the memories of the innocence that it took from us.
That’s right, folks. It’s been almost a decade since House of the Dead was released.
I guess there was also some stuff in the news a few years ago about disastrous Wall Street corruption. That was so bad that America actually elected a (half) black man as President. Seriously! We elected a black guy. Then we re-elected him! He still hasn’t done anything about Wall Street, though. He’s too busy playing basketball or whatever. It’s almost enough to make you want to do something about it, but… hey, “Cops” is on!
Obama hasn’t done anything about Uwe Boll, either. Now, let me first say that I am something of a fan of Uwe. I honestly feel that his best film, Postal, is a legitimately good film. Beyond that, he is the man who managed to obtain Ray Liotta’s most ridiculous performance since Revolver, as well as Michael Madsen’s hilariously drunken turn in Bloodrayne. My love for his movies may be mostly sarcastic, but really, that’s the only kind of love I’m capable of expressing as a neurotic, maladjusted case of arrested development. Anyway, though he never reaches the operatic heights of some of Asylum’s output, or of Sci-Fi Channel Original Movies, he’s still living the dream. He’s got a PhD and he’s making movies. Why are we supposed to hate this man, again?
I’m not just saying this because I’m afraid Uwe is going to challenge me to a boxing match. It would be ridiculous for him to threaten to beat up the #1 fan of Postal in this country anyway, even if I am the #1 fan simply by default. No, Uwe is apparently one of the few guys willing to make shitty movies about controversial topics and then tell everyone to go fuck themselves on the commentary track. As a fellow troll, I find it difficult to chastise him too harshly. He may not be the director America deserves, but he’s the director we need right now.
But yeah, at this point, it’s obvious that Uwe, like Wall Street, is not going to be stopped. The Nazis apparently stole enough gold to finance a lifetime’s worth of Uwe Boll classics. We’re in for another decade of sequels to Bloodrayne, In the Name of the King, and whatever else. We’re also in for another decade of “serious” Uwe Boll films, like this one. Yes, Assault on Wall Street is the result of Dr. Boll cutting the bullshit and focusing all of his energies on making a good movie. The finished product is… actually somewhat decent, at least for a DTV picture. What the fuck, Uwe?
Don’t get me wrong. Assault on Wall Street still has many Uwe Boll touches, like a hilariously out-of-place wrist-slitting scene, “deep” discussion of the history of the American financial sector, and a ridiculous script. Everything is so hamfisted and obvious that the movie approaches lesser Oliver Stone territory. Still, Uwe’s come a long way from splicing video game footage into his films, and he turns in a movie that actually attempts to say something about our world. It’s the thinking man’s The Boondock Saints and the retarded man’s Killing Them Softly.
Our main character is “Jim Baxford”. He works extra hours as an armored car driver to support his wife, who has been unable to work due to cancer. Their insurance company states that they have reached their “coverage cap”, and that the hormone treatments needed to keep her cancer in remission are not going to be covered. Meanwhile, financial malfeasance causes Jim’s life savings to evaporate as the investment bank (or whatever) drops its small investors to save itself.
The fraud somehow affects Jim through means unexplained, and he receives a letter saying that he owes $60,000 to somebody for some reason. Why? Well, Dr. Boll has a PhD, so let’s just assume that he’s a genius and we’re idiots. Then the two of them lose their house due to their adjustable rate mortgage doubling their payments. Then Jim loses his job because his financial problems cause a conflict with his job as an armored car driver. It’s like Uwe just thought up everything bad that could possibly happen and threw it into the script. And why not? If it’s not worth presenting in the most tacky and embarrassing fashion possible, it’s not worth putting in your movie.
So, in summary, in the first hour of this film Jim loses everything and vows revenge. The last half hour has Jim in 80’s Action mode, as he rents a motel room, practices shooting various firearms, and pledges to take the financial wizards to the (blood) bank. Yes, the tonal shift is a bit jarring and ridiculous, but this is an Uwe Boll picture. Who else but Uwe would make a film like this? I’m sure there are some, but none would be as on-the-nose and retarded about it.
I realize that some people reading this may be somewhat confused. Am I really giving an Uwe Boll movie a decent review? Well, it’s not a great film, and I’m not sure that it’s a good film, either. But it isn’t completely terrible, and that is mostly due to the performances. Dominic Purcell and Erin Karpluk deliver performances that belong in a better movie. They’re not amazing, but they would be at home in an Oscar bait drama about the effects of the financial crisis on the average American family. In the hands of a better director, the whole “shoot the bankers” angle could have been excised, the script could have been less retarded, and their performances could have been given center stage. Instead, we have Uwe Boll doing what he does best: embarrassing himself and everyone around him. But at least he had the foresight to cast Eric Roberts as a sketchy lawyer. It just wouldn’t be an Uwe Boll film without at least one hilarious performance. I can’t even describe this, so you’ll just have to look at the following screenshot:
There’s also the always reliable Keith David in a bit part. He’s one of the greatest character actors of all time, so it’s always nice to see him getting a paycheck. Finally, we get to see what Edward Furlong’s up to these days. The answer is: being the only actor in an Uwe Boll movie that doesn’t appear to be slumming. He’s not quite the size of Orson Welles, but he’s getting there.
But no one cares about any of this. The question you are all asking is: Just how shitty and retarded is the finale?
Well, our fearless protagonist gets in a few warmup rounds before the big show. The first kill is accidental: the assistant DA runs away from Jim’s unsolicited request for help and is killed by a passing car when shitty editing warps him from the sidewalk to the middle of the street. The spree escalates from there, first with Jim gunning down a guy walking to his car in a parking garage, and then with a guy being shot with a sniper rifle as he sips wine with his wife. The media dubs these events the “Wall Street Killings”, and Jim draws a red “X” over the victim’s faces in his motel room. Yeah, I got it, Uwe. Let’s move on, now.
Anyway, we get to the finale. Jim calls his broker and tells him to meet somewhere. Meanwhile, he stands in an abandoned parking garage or something with a sniper rifle. He shoots his broker in the head, and then turns his sights on all the white collar professionals gawking at the windows. Round after round is fired at nameless, faceless white button-down shirts. For some reason, none of these guys who all went to Ivy League schools can figure out to stay away from the windows; some of them even walk up to the windows after their colleagues have been gunned down in adjacent ones! We are truly in Uwe’s world, now.
You know, I was browsing some of the other reviews of this film and I noticed people complaining about how these men probably had wives and children that were going to be devastated by their deaths. The reviews claimed that this scene (and the entire finale) was in extremely poor taste. What I want to know is: what about the mistresses? What about the cocaine dealers and high-class escorts? Why doesn’t anyone think of them? Do they not represent America’s entrepreneurial spirit in its purest form?
Whatever, nobody cares. All of that was just the opening act, though. Jim torches his rifle and walks down to the crowd. Entering the building of the investment firm that stole his life savings, he puts on a white mask that looks like an unfinished Guy Fawkes mask. Did you run out of money, Uwe? What the fuck is that? I can’t even deal with this shit! Also, Uwe includes a joke with goofy elevator muzak as our protagonist rides up to the offices. It brings back memories of watching “An Evening at the Improv”, “Caroline’s Comedy Hour”, and “Standup Spotlight” as a kid. Leave it to Dr. Boll to include such timely, cutting-edge humor.
Up in the offices, Jim lets one guy go free because the guy has a wife who is expecting a child. Everyone else gets gunned down in a hail of bullets augmented by two grenade explosions in quick succession. For the crescendo, Jim confronts the CEO and initiates a discussion on the history of American finance. The dialogue reads like a monologue from the author split between two characters in true “Plato with Down’s Syndrome” fashion. How does this man have a doctorate, again? You know, earlier this week I substituted for a “study skills” class for a group of junior high kids and discussed their half-finished creative writing assignments. None of them had committed this type of bullshit. Uwe, you’ve been outsmarted by 13 year olds. Jesus Christ.
Anyway, Jim somehow tricks the CEO into picking up an unloaded gun just as the SWAT team busts through the door. The CEO is gunned down and Jim is led to safety, as he is apparently assumed to be a victim of the attack. He slips away when his two cop friends from earlier spot him and silently escort him to the edge of the crime scene. On the voiceover, he tells the audience that he is now a soldier of the people. DA DA DUM, cut to credits.
You know, as hilarious as all of that was, it still pales in comparison to some of the bits from Inside Job. I finally watched that documentary about six months ago and it has some great moments. My favorite was the interview with Glenn Hubbard, the Dean of Columbia’s Business School and an adviser to George W. Bush’s administration. When the interviewer brought up some of the apparent conflicts of interest from his “resume”, Hubbard curtly corrected him that such a document is referred to as a “CV” in academia. It was such a pompous, douchebag move that I couldn’t help but laugh at it. I mean, look at this guy:
Anyway, the best part was shortly after that, when Hubbard realized that the interview wasn’t a puff piece. He told the interviewer that he had a few minutes left and stated with all the tough guy attitude he could muster: “Give it your best shot.” Now, look at that guy again. I know it’s a screenshot from an unrelated movie, but who cares? The sight of that guy trying to be tough was both funnier and more insightful than anything Uwe Boll was able to come up with.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that you should just watch Inside Job instead of this. Maybe you can follow it up with They Live for your Keith David fix. Assault on Wall Street is many things, but an insightful look at the American financial system is not one of them. In spite of this, it is definitely Uwe through and through. The world is a better place with his idiotic, fumbling attempts at relevance forever immortalized on digital video.
So when’s Bloodrayne 4 coming out? I’m pumped for that shit.