Kelly Hu

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989, Rob Hedden)

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan has a number of significant problems. Director Hedden can’t direct actors or compose a shot well, the actors aren’t any good (even experienced character actor like Peter Mark Richman can’t seem to figure out what Hedden wants him to do), Bryan England’s photography is lousy, Fred Mollin’s music is lousy, the whole thing looks cheap, but none of those problems are what drain any interest from the film.

It’s Hedden’s inability to decide what he wants the movie to do. He doesn’t go for gore, he doesn’t go for scares. Okay, sure, Hedden couldn’t deliver scares, but he could have at least tried. For a while, he compensates for the lack of gore (and scares) by subjecting characters to absurdly long fearful suffering sequences. Poorly acted, but the actors deserved better. They’re already giving lame performances; being further embarrassed just because Hedden can’t figure out what to do is too much.

Lead Jensen Daggett is bad. She has a huge story arc–complete with flashback–to explain her importance to the movie (and the franchise). Hedden has no sense of scale, not when he’s directing scenes onboard the cruise ship (sorry, the commercial freighter converted into an Elks Lodge-inspired luxury ship), not when he’s trying for big moments in the screenplay. He’s bad at the whole filmmaking thing.

The film’s real long at 100 minutes; it gets intensely boring around the thirty minute mark. The rest is just excruciating.

Bad stuff.



Directed by Rob Hedden; screenplay by Hedden, based on characters created by Victor Miller; director of photography, Bryan England; edited by Steve Mirkovich and Ted Pryor; music by Fred Mollin; production designer, David Fischer; produced by Randy Cheveldave; released by Paramount Pictures.

Starring Jensen Daggett (Rennie Wickham), Scott Reeves (Sean Robertson), Barbara Bingham (Colleen Van Deusen), Peter Mark Richman (Charles McCulloch), Martin Cummins (Wayne Webber), Gordon Currie (Miles Wolfe), Vincent Craig Dupree (Julius Gaw), Kelly Hu (Eva Watanabe), Saffron Henderson (J.J. Jarrett), Sharlene Martin (Tamara Mason) and Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhees).

Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010, Brandon Vietti)

Apparently, given the chance, comic book writers write screenplays just like comic books. Sitting through Under the Red Hood is not an unpleasant experience–Bruce Greenwood, voice alone, is the best Batman since Michael Keaton, animated or actual–but it’s got an atrocious plot structure.

First, the movie would be unintelligible for anyone who didn’t read Batman comics. Screenwriter Judd Winick (who also wrote some of the comics this movie’s based on) has an endless amount of costumed characters show up. It’s firmly set in the comic book world, which makes it fail as a filmic narrative.

Fail might be a little harsh. Red Hood doesn’t succeed, but it isn’t Winick’s fault. Besides Greenwood, most of the voice acting is terrible. Jensen Ackles, voicing a grownup, evil Robin, finally answers the question about Batman and Robin’s sexual relationship–I’m pretty sure Cyrano never sounded as amorous as Ackles does when talking to Greenwood’s Batman. I wonder if they recorded together.

Even worse is John Di Maggio’s Joker. The character’s written as a lunatic, but Di Maggio plays a vicious thug instead, presumably a Dark Knight influence.

Speaking of influences, there’s a nice little homage to the Adam West show and lots of the production design owes to the Tim Burton films. It’s a very good looking animated movie when the poorly illustrated characters aren’t running around.

If it had just been a bit better plotted, it would have been much better. Still, might be worth a viewing for Greenwood’s performance.



Directed by Brandon Vietti; screenplay by Judd Winick, based on comic books by Jim Starlin, Jim Aparo, Winick and Doug Mahnke and on characters created by Bob Kane; edited by Margaret Hou; music by Christopher Drake; produced by Bruce W. Timm and Bobbie Page; released by Warner Premiere.

Starring Bruce Greenwood (Batman), Jensen Ackles (Red Hood), John Di Maggio (The Joker), Neil Patrick Harris (Nightwing), Jason Isaacs (Ra’s al Ghul), Wade Williams (Black Mask), Gary Cole (Commissioner Gordon), Kelly Hu (Ms. Li), Vincent Martella (Robin) and Jim Piddock (Alfred Pennyworth).

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