Assault on Wall Street (2013) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
1Aug/130

Assault on Wall Street (2013)

Remember rememberAndrew INDIFFERENCE BannerI want people to grow as artists.  Every time I see the glimmer of potential in a new director, some interesting use of light from a cinematographer, or great character quirk or twist of the plot from a fledgling screenwriter I hope that they get better.  I, as much as possible, go into movies hoping for a good experience so that I can go home happy.

I'll be honest, I never expected Uwe Boll to grow as a director.  If you're not familiar with his past work then you are in for a surprise treat if you are into earnestly made horrible movies.  He used loopholes in the German tax system (good on him, as far as I'm concerned) to get his start and has become this centuries Ed Wood and Roger Corman crammed all into one.  For years he sought out video game projects, adapting the likes of Bloodrayne, Dungeon Siege, Alone in the Dark, and many more, into nearly incomprehensible films filled with sad-looking actors who had to round out their contracts somehow.

Now he's back with Assault on Wall Street.  It has all the hallmarks of a self-conscious attempt of a director trying to shed past baggage.  It's got a topical subject, serious tone, decent acting, all the ingredients someone who has made terrible B-pictures for years to stand up and shout that they know what they're doing.  But Assault on Wall Street isn't memorable.  It's just another dreary morality tale with an odd vigilante origin bookend.  I always hope that any film will be good, and barring that at least something I can get entertainment from, but this doesn't work either way.

You won't get confused watching the film but you might not be very interested either.

You won't get confused watching the film but you might not be very interested either.

Assault on Wall Street takes its sweet time before getting to the titular firefight.  Jim (Dominic Purcell) has it rough.  He's trying to keep up the medical payments for his wife's unspecified but previously life-threatening ailment while television screens all around him blare out about the United States ongoing economic disaster.  No one will need a road map to the source of Jim's eventual breakdown, because Boll spends the first fifty minutes or so of the film making sure every possible bad thing that could happen to him does.

It almost becomes a bleak joke.  I understand putting characters through a ringer to see what they'll be like on the other side, but with Jim it just seems like Boll turned him into the everyman punching bag for torture's sake.  By the time Jim's wife (Rosie Baxford), is lying around contemplating what to do with this knife on her writs I was less thinking that this was a sad moment and more that Boll was sitting around with a checklist of bad things and making sure all the boxes were filled before starting the climax.  All the while the television keeps blaring on with people asking aloud, "Why don't we just shoot the bankers?"  It's not subtle, but these moments do their functions before finally setting Jim on his final path.

The screenplay is a long list of horrific events to get through and the direction follows suit.  None of Boll's twitch tendencies are present.  There's no random humor, no digitized screens to cut to since this isn't based on a video game, just a pseudo handheld vibe through gray corridors and gloomy skies with the only break in his day being when Jim can sit down with the boys for a cup of coffee and a sandwich.  Heck, for the first time in a Boll film, the drama kind of worked.  It's mostly because the gang is played by actors like Keith David, who is incapable of sounding insincere, but as meandering as the dialogue is it establishes a nice break and warm rapport away from the darkness.

Just a bump on the road for Jim's path to becoming a gun-toting banker-obsessed vigilante.

Just a bump on the road for Jim's path to becoming a gun-toting banker-obsessed vigilante.

All of this is a bit sad, because the way that Assault on Wall Street is put together I would never have expected the film made by someone who has directed for 21 years.  It works in the most rudimentary way possible, but even that is an accomplishment for someone like Boll.  One shot, in particular, of Jim just walking out of a room cuts to random angles for no discernible purpose other than to show that Boll knows how to frame a shot so the character's destination is in view.  Kudos to Boll, I suppose, and the moment did make me smile in the way I'd pat a dog on the head for learning a new trick, but it was back to bobbing viewpoints and sad faces the rest of the time.

What do I want from Boll?  Not this.  I didn't dislike Assault on Wall Street but there's nothing that shows that Boll had a strong desire to make the film.  Previously he's defended his horrible choices with such zeal that it was just as easy to get caught up feeling something about his films, even if its schadenfreude or simple pity.  He's made sex scenes only possible with a three-foot member, zombie raves that serve as a precursor to dubstep, and Osama bin Laden and G.W. Bush happily skipping arm in arm through a field of flowers.

Assault on Wall Street isn't bad, but isn't enough to be memorable.  This is one of those instances where Indifference is worse than Dislike.  Boll's films have still given me fun nights, this just calls for antidepressants.

Assault on Wall Street - TailAssault on Wall Street (2013)
Screenplay written and directed by Uwe Boll.
Starring Dominic Purcell.

Posted by Andrew

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