Thursday, January 21, 2016

Movie Review #366: "Moonwalkers" (2016)

Ticket Price: $9.75
Director: Antoine Bardou-Jacquet
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hours, 47 minutes
Image Source
In 1969, a special forces officer named Kidman (Ron Perlman), who is suffering from PTSD, is sent to England by the CIA to contact film director Stanley Kubrick and convince him to shoot a fake moon landing as a plan B just in case the Apollo 11 mission fails. When he is conned by a struggling music manager named Johnny (Rupert Grint) and his actor friend Leon (Robert Sheehan), Kidman must now find a way to pull off the biggest hoax in history without the help of the famed director before he fails his mission and must face the consequences. 

We love us some Ron Perlman.

"Moonwalkers" is a film loosely inspired by the popular conspiracy theory of how Stanley Kubrick faked the Apollo 11 moon landing. We personally don't put much (legitimate) stock in this theory, but it sure makes for a fun subject matter. Not for everyone, apparently.
This is a theory that will get you punched in the face by astronaut Buzz Aldrin. 

"Moonwalkers" manages to use said conspiracy theory without being totally disrespectful to those involved. Of course, being about Apollo 11, the film takes place in 1969, primarily in England. The opening sequence lets you know you are in for quite farcical, over-the-top experience. The opening credits run over an animated sequence that looks like "Fritz the Cat" meets the "Yellow Submarine" in a pure 60's acid trip and we absolutely loved it! Ron Perlman plays a special forces agent suffering from PTSD. The bad guy/hard ass role is sort of a typecast for Perlman, but he plays it so freaking well, we don't mind it a damn bit. Perlman offers up a commanding performance, as he always does. Unlike his Harry Potter counterparts Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, Rupert Grint doesn't get quite as many opportunities as they do. Here, Grint plays a shady but likable music manager named Johnny, who is a little bit of a loser and doesn't have a perfect, glamorous life like he thought he would as a band manager. Grint offers up a solid performance in his own right as he cons Kidman, convincing him that his perpetually stoned actor roommate named Leon, played by Robert Sheehan, is the great Stanley Kubrick. When Kidman discovers he has been conned, Johnny is faced with a choice: pull off the movie with Leon, or be killed.

This is a quirky, offbeat dark comedy, the kind of indie movie we love. It has a surprising amount of graphic violence, violence on a Tarantino type level. Some examples of this include heads exploding in gunfights, blood and brains being showered everywhere, bodies standing headless for several seconds, etc. Much of the humor in "Moonwalkers" is handled through bizarre imagery that is often so off-the-wall random, you can't help but giggle at least a little. There is also an overall satirical nature to the whole situation and the fact that the aforementioned violence is so excessive, it makes it all the more darkly humorous. Being in the 60's, there is a ton of drug use, which allows for some creative visuals during one character's unintentional acid trip. There is a steady stream of constant nudity throughout the entire second act of the film, mainly to put some of the more straight-laced characters in uncomfortable, awkward situations for mostly comedic purposes. Going into "Moonwalkers," we knew almost nothing about it other than who starred in it, but we left the theater having had a good, fun time with its cheeky humor, its penchant for blood, and of course, Ron Perlman!

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 36%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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