Monster Brawl (2011)

(On Cable TV, December 2013) This “film” isn’t any good, but at least it gets points for monster-movie homage, unorthodox narrative structure and cost-effectiveness.  A low-low budget Canadian production, Monster Brawl is less a movie than an attempt to put horror monsters into a 90-minutes wrestling brawl special: Eight monsters battle it out until only one is left, and everything else is context… which is to say filler.  Much of the filmmaker’s cleverness is spent stretching their reported 200,000$ budget to accommodate eight distinctive monsters and moody brawling pit.  (The graphic design work of the film is pretty good, though, as so is Lance Henriksen’s God-voiced video-game narration.)  Color commentators, either taken from the wrestling world or clearly inspired by WWE specials, add very little to the proceedings: While it’s fun to see Dave Foley in just about anything, he doesn’t get much to do but simulate inebriation and spout sports-commentator clichés.  The problem with Monster Brawl is that the fights are dull and everything surrounding them is even duller: The fleeting attempts at a narrative framework are undermined by a conclusion that cuts away without resolving anything or providing satisfactory closure.  The acting isn’t particularly good, although the make-up makes up for it somewhat.  With a decent budget and more imaginative writers, this could have been quite a bit better.  But failing that, and given the above, it goes without saying that if you’re not a fan of wrestling and/or monster-movies, then there’s little of interest in Monster Brawl.  Trust me; I’m one of you and I just checked on your behalf. 

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