Hailing to the king is hard on the knees - My Name is Bruce (2007)
Bruce Campbell was, for a long time, an icon of mine growing up. I was absolutely obsessed with Sam Raimi's Evil Dead films for awhile. There was a point where i would watch every one in order over and over for weeks. I would fall asleep to the films and resume them from where i had fallen asleep in the morning with a bowl of cheerios... apple cinnamon.
Once when i was a wee lad i was spending a summer weekend at my Godmothers. She's a bit of a horror buff and weekends spent with her and my Godbrother, Eleu, always meant i would encounter a new film or a new album or book that would give me the willies. On this particular visit i got brave and asked if i could watch Evil Dead. I was taken aback with the cover portraying a woman trying to escape a grave while some faceless zombie hand was pulling her towards the earth.
Not that i was a sick kid or anything, in fact i get scared quite easily. It just looked really cool and the name, i mean come on, The Evil Dead? That name was just staring at me as kid and how fucking cool does that sound? As a child it sounds like the most terrifying idea you've ever heard. The dead... yet they're EVIL! WHHHHAAAT! too scary.
Anyways, my Godmum told me i was too young for Evil Dead one or two but that i could watch Bruce Campbell Vs The Army of Darkness.
I was confused... who the hell was Bruce Campbell?
As an actor why was his name in the title of the film?
And if he got his own movie fighting an entire army, of darkness no less, then how come i've never heard of him before?
That weekend i'd like to think i became a man. Lying under the covers just me and my Godbrother while Bruce Campbell captivated our young hearts. After that i was completely crazy about the man (Bruce that is.. not my Godbro).
I waited with bated breath upon reading that Bruce's latest project would be a meta/horror/comedy wherein a small American town being terrorized by demons seeks out the actor Bruce Campbell believing that he could save the town due to his run ins with demons in his past films.
What i got was My Name is Bruce a comedy directed by Bruce almighty himself! The plot was pretty much what i read it would be. Here a small town is being terrorized by an ancient Chinese demon, they in turn decide to call upon the washed up Bruce Campbell for their salvation.
What started as a really smart idea for a comedy horror turned out to be, to the dismay of me and the young buck inside me, a very mediocre unfunny film border lining on unwatchable.
Now, to some people this won't seem so bad. Looking over the net it seems many people really get a kick out of this flick and i'm sure there's much to get at a screening of this in some dank rep cinema with like minded horror buffs however; in the comfort of my room (which i have lovingly labeled The Pegasus) the film plays to a much weaker effect. The gore is good but there's not enough of it or at least not enough imagination put into it. You can't just get away with only decapitations for 90 minutes.
The comedy also really misses its mark. What i envisioned was a much more subtle take on the horror film hero, which since the early 90's horror films have lacked, and what it took to be a lovable jerk who could take on any deadite. Instead Bruce turns up the jack ass factor and never actually becomes the heroes he has portrayed on film. And if Bruce playing Bruce never lives up to Bruce from Evil Dead than really what is the point?
There isn't any point.. that's the whole point of My Name is Bruce.
The films' harmartia can be traced back to one weak link who, funny enough, is Bruce Campbell. Even though the film itself was written by someone else (a head BSG writter no less, what happened?) Campbell took the directors chair. This was a big mistake, the film pokes fun at Bruce while he lets himself play the clown. It's as if he wants people to know that he's just putting it on. "This isn't really me, it's just a big laugh!" One also gets the impression that everyone on screen is just having too much of a good time. Campbell lets his actors get away with barely existing most likely due to the hope that it would feel more authentic to the whole "B" movie facade. All the players look like they're enjoying themselves but they forgot to include us, the viewers, so we're completely left out of the fun. The whole ordeal is just too exaggerated to swallow, which is too bad because it's a missed opportunity.
Unlike the fantastic JCVD where the themes of celebrity and the consequences thereof are explored while still remaining incredibly engaging and entertaining, MNIB barely explores the themes of comedy. And this is just another example of what people are missing when they can't be bothered by films with subtitles. This is the American version of JCVD and it's a completely lifeless hallow experience. Watch JCVD instead, also watch Rec instead of Quarantine, and Let The Right One In instead of Twilight.
My Name is Bruce is a slow, horrendously written, badly acted, forced attempt to appease the Bruce Campbell cult. It's failures are supposed to be the films success (constant decapitations, bad acting) but they play out as genuine misses instead.
Groovy? Far from it.
-Dropkick aka "The Beast from the East"