Another week, another installment of VOD Vault – taking a look at some on-demand releases that have hit various VOD platforms recently. It’s been a few months since our last installment, so what say we kick off this reboot of sorts with two movies on the opposite ends of the filmic spectrum: low-budget Western-style crime action/drama The Good, the Bad and the Dead and Rupture, the latest film – a sci-fi thriller – from actress Noomi Rapace (Prometheus, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo).
The Good, The Bad and the Dead
Stars: Johnny Messner, Dolph Lundgren, Michael Pare, Danny Trejo, Vivica Fox, Natassia Malthe | Directed by Timothy Woodward Jr.
Also know as 4Got10, The Good, The Bad and the Dead is the latest film from actor/director/producer Timothy Woodward Jr., lensed as part of his multi-picture deal with Cinedigm. It’s also one of three films Woodward; screenwriter Sean Ryan and actor Johnny Messner, this particular films lead, have collaborated on – another of which, Decommissioned, snuck out onto DVD here in the UK last year as Assassination.
The film tells the story of Brian Barns (Messner), who wakes up in the desert with a head injury, a bullet wound and no recollection of who he go there, or who he is. Surrounded by eight bodies and a van with four million in cash Brian goes on the lamb, pursued by not only notorious drug lord Danny Perez (Trejo) who desperately want his money back and to avenge his sons death, but also DEA Agent Rooker (Lundgren), and the corrupt Sheriff (Pare) who will stop at nothing to get his hand on the new found fortune.
Seemingly shot as a homage not only to the old-school Western, but also the early work of Quentin Tarantino, The Good, the Bad and the Dead is very much style over substance. The script feels incomplete, the ending rushed and there seems to be huge portions of the story missing: Danny Trejo’s character disappears before his part of the plot ends; Lundgren turns up, does some “investigating” then vanishes from the film till the very end. It’s like all these big names were added to the film just for their name recognition [note the sarcasm]. It’s left to Johnny Messner to hold the film together and despite his best efforts (confession: I can watch Messner in pretty much anything) there’s just not enough here for a full feature… Which is why, no doubt, we’re subjected to numerous flashbacks to pad out the runtime!
The Good, the Bad and the Dead is a passable time filler, though if you want to see Messner, Ryan and Woodward Jr.’s best work (in my opinion) check out the aforementioned Assassination.
Stars: Noomi Rapace, Peter Stormare, Kerry Bishé, Michael Chiklis, Lesley Manville, Paul Popowich, Ari Millen | Directed by Steven Shainberg
Since exploding in the mainstream with her stunning performance in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, actress Noomi Rapace has had quite a varied cinematic journey, balancing indie films with big-budget blockbusters like Prometheus. Rupture falls clearly in the former.
The film tells the story of Renee (Rapace), a woman whose life is thrown into chaos when she is randomly abducted, drugged and taken to a secret lab facility where her captors traumatically experiment on her. Subjecting her to various “tests” to find out just what she is truly afraid of Renee’s captors push her limits of fear. All Renee knows is that the experiments are related to whatever “G10 12X” is….
Kidnapped and held hostage within the films opening moments, Rupture spend a LOT of its time in the confined room (pictured above) where Renee is being held and subjected to experiments. The audience is kept in the dark as much as Renee is – which makes for a frustrating time, especially considering the fact that half of the film is sans any real plot! Thankfully those brief early moments that show Renee with her kids do offer us some insight into the character, allowing the audience to empathise with her just enough empathy to hold your attention during the films very slow, very bewildering, first half.
However there is a purpose to everything and there is a HUGE reveal eventually, one that will be familiar to those that have seen the recent superhero film Deadpool… Remember those scenes where they subjected Ryan Reynolds character to all sorts of torture to make his genes mutate? Stretch those out to feature length, add in some bizzare characters and strange, horrific, imagery (those afraid of spiders should NOT watch this film) and voila, you have Rupture.
Well VOD Vault is back… Sadly back with two decidely average films that, in all honestly, are worth a watch – Rupture especially, if only for Noomi Rapace’s peformance – but perhaps not worth your hard earned cash. Wait for them to hit Netflix or Amazon Prime if you want to give them a go.