All Superheroes Must Die (2013) Review
Jason Trost as Charge / John
Lucas Till as Cutthroat / Ben
Sophie Merkley as Shadow / Jill
Lee Valmassy as The Wall / Charlie
James Remar as Rickshaw
All Superheroes Must Die is one of the funniest genre pieces to hit the market in years. The problem is it isn’t supposed to be. This one is so bad it surpasses “so bad, it’s good” and heads right into “dreadful” territory. Redeeming qualities are few and far between and the flaws, both technical and logical are glaring, to be kind. The one thing the picture manages however, is to be memorable, sadly, for all the wrong reasons.
This one feels like a rush-job gone as wrong as possible, no two ways about it.
The idea behind All Superheroes Must Die is fairly interesting: a group of former friends, now estranged from one another and (seemingly) jaded, superheroes, wake to find that they’ve been drugged and kidnapped. Their powers have been rendered useless due to the effects of the drug, and their captor has put them in a position which will force them to the edge of their physical abilities. Like these superheroes, the town’s innocent have been kidnapped, but they’ve been bound and rigged with explosives. These four former pals are forced into two groups, and sent out into the dark abandoned streets to locate certain challenges, or puzzles. If they can reach the obstacle, and solve the riddle within five minutes, they’ll save the lives (if only it were that simple) of those bound and gagged, awaiting a quick but jarring death. As the games begin pressures mount and threaten to tear these four even further apart than they already were.
Think The Avengers, starring in Saw.
However, Charge is no Captain America, Shadow is no Black Widow and The Wall is no Iron Man. Interestingly enough, Cutthroat could probably be an awesome young Batman if you dyed his hair. He’s brooding enough. The truth behind these characters is this: they’re all rather laughable. Cutthroat has got what looks like a slab of tarpaulin tied around his neck to form the worst “cape” you’ll ever see, The Wall looks profoundly hokey, and the natural perma-grin on actor Lee Valmassy’s face doesn’t help the cause, at all. Despite these outlandish appearances, the most noteworthy player in this pack however, is Charge, who after throwing on a backpack, looks spot on like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. No joke, the dude looks like a Ninja Turtle. It’s all hilarious in a painfully sad way.
The thing about All Superheroes is, it feels rushed, from the jump. It’s as if Jason Trost, who writes, directs and fronts the picture, grabbed a seat, jotted down a draft of a film, and said “I’m ready to go”, about four drafts before such was the actual case. The shakeups in logical thought are staggering. We’re talking about mistakes that a child wouldn’t make, let alone a full grown man or woman who have opted to pursue vigilante justice. Need an example? How about this for one: The Wall and Shadow are just informed they’ve got five minutes to trek around town, find their first challenge and have at it. What’s the first thing they do? Casually stop on a corner to ponder the whole ordeal. That’s not something a rational human being does. A rational human being is solving that riddle while in motion; these guys are on foot for heaven’s sake. Need another example (there are countless to be dished out)? How about this: superhero gets stabbed, viciously in the torso, you know, where all those vital organs are, what’s his partner say to him in an attempt to sooth him as life slowly fades away? How about, “hey, how ya doin?”? His guts are ripped to shreds, he’s bleeding out and he knows it, how do you think he’s doing?! These misfires are detectable from beginning to end, and they pop up far too frequently to ever even contemplate taking this one seriously.
I believe there is a quality story buried in this movie, but it’s buried really deep.
Had the challenges and traps at least been impressive, the film might have a single leg to stand on, but even the destruction in this movie is pitiful. A fuse burning, it can’t be put out… oh my lord! Really? How about these devastating explosive devices affixed to the victims? They’re only devastating because they don’t appear to be remotely near fatal. These are the kind of explosive mishaps that lead to embarrassing facial scarring, not a casket. I mean that, the “big bang” consists of a loud pop and a lot of dirt flying about… It’s all just so embarrassing that as a viewer you start to feel a bit bad for Trost, because it’s highly, highly unlikely he sat back, watched the film for the first time and thought anything other than damn, why didn’t I fix that?
While we're asking questions, I propose one myself: If Rickshaw intends on killing all of the bound victims anyway, whether his riddles be solved or not, why are these jokers even playing his game? Eh, better to just move on, that's a completely different distraction that'll have me ranting for an additional three paragraphs, and this film doesn't really merit that kind of time.
Had Jason Trost leaned on an intentionally comedic angle, this flick could have been thrice the piece it is now. The fact that he maintains a dark mood, and omits purposeful laughs works against the production, violently. The bleak vibe of the film is completely counter-productive, and generates a full blown disconnect with the viewer. The fact that there’s zero real synergy within the group, and not a likeable character to be found between the four focal superheroes, all but ensures the earth be chucked on the wood of this film’s casket. Forget about the nails, they were hammered in rather early… like… the moment we meet the ensemble, and see that damn Ninja Turtle.
A quick note before departure: James Remar was awesome! What he was doing in this film isn’t quite understandable (we all need to pay the bills right). That said, the quality of his performance was as out of place as every other element of the flick, so I guess in a way it all works out… kind of.
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