Ahhh, George Romero. Truly one of the greats in modern horror cinema and one of the most influential american genre directors in the past thirty odd years. The man who shook horror cinema by the scruff of its neck with 'Night of the Living Dead' and then took it a giant step forward again with its sequel 'Dawn', whilst along the way continually producing pure american genre cinema in a style which could only be called his own.
For some time, genre fans have been licking their lips in anticipation of a new Romero project, and with his latest offering 'Bruiser' they shouldn't be disapointed.
'Bruiser' follows a young publishing executive Henry Creedlow who suffers from that common anxiety of being a nobody. Just a guy who goes about his everyday life, his daily routine of work and play but this poor beggar is surrounded by a circle of so-called friends that are true weasels using and abusing him without a care. Early on in the film Henry starts to get restless of his existence, daydreaming of fighting back (often in a highly amusing graphic manner) and one day when he awakes to find his face has been literally wiped blank (making him a true nobody) he seizes the moment and goes for the revenge he's been dreaming of.
'Bruiser' really is a return to form for Romero and a highly satisfying viewing experience. The film starts off with that great Romero suburban feel that he does so well (see 'Martin' and 'Jack's Wife') and builds on this to a point when he transforms the film into a strange hybrid of 'Phantom of the Opera' and Sam Raimi's 'Dark Man'. Yes, the film shows many inspired moments but it is all delivered in Romero's inimitable style. Again Romero delivers one of those films that can be both read as a straight forward slice of entertainment, whilst many buffs can also read into it a deeper element of the human psyche (which I'll not go into here and leave for the more expansive 'thinking' reviewer out there!?)
Where many horror fans may feel disapointed is the fact that 'Bruiser' isn't a gore fest zombie flick, but surely the guy can develop other forms of genre cinema and do it well. The film has a very modern horror feel without having to rely on an abundance of gore effects and CGI that so many movies seem to rely on.
Jason Flemyng in the lead role steals the show and shines in a great performance showing that he really can deliver more than 'Lock Stock' could ever show of his talents. But it is Romero's movie at the end of the day and though it won't be recognised as a horror classic it should be enjoyed as the entertaining piece of genre cinema that it is.
Sad old punks like myself will grin with joy at the appearance of the 'Misfits' in the latter stages of the film performing a few tracks (oh and what a pleasant bonus this was for this old codger!) whilst Romero regular Donald Rubenstein provides an excellent atmospheric soundtrack for the bulk of the film (and very nice it is too!)
The disc itself from 'A Video' is one of the most vacant available (much akin to early UK discs) with absolutely no extras at all contained within - no trailer, no bios, no nothing. That said though, the anarmorphic print on show is splendid - lovely sharp picture quality backed up with a nice clear surround audio track to enhance your viewing pleasure.
So, maybe this release is strictly for the hard core Romero fan base (like myself) as no doubt am all singing, all dancing special edition will appear at a later date. Cool film though!
Special thanks to Chainsaw Video for supplying this review disc.
|Directed by George A Romero|
|Released by A Video Home Entertainment|
|Rated 16 - Region 2 PAL|
|Running Time : approx 101 mins|
|Ratio : 16:9 Anarmorphic|
|Audio : Dolby Surround|
|Subtitles : Optional Dutch|