Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Welcome to the Jungle (2013)

Well here it is, the long awaited comedy starring both JCVD and his son Kris Van Varenberg, can you feel it? The plot is all about a group of office workers who are taken on a weekend island survival course to boost their leadership and teamwork skills, a wilderness seminar. The group are lead by a tough military expert in the form of...you guessed it JCVD. Low and behold things go tits up and the group must fend for themselves for real.

I kinda got an 'Office Space' vibe from this film within the first 20 minutes or so (that vibe quickly died though), the group of characters that we see are a typical bunch of desk jockeys, suits and the obligatory one or two hot females. Unfortunately we only get to know a few of these characters throughout the film, most are just background fodder and some just pop up outta nowhere as far as I could see. Not good considering its all about a group of people trapped on an island, you'd think we would have to know them all so we could get behind the story, problem is there are too many really, around 20.

Straight away the film has gaping plot holes, where exactly in the US do these people live and work? They hop on this cargo plane and take what seems like a half hour flight and like magic they arrive on some uninhabited tropical island! Then for some unknown reason the pilot dies? yet this never really causes any concern for anyone accept for the fact they appear to be trapped on the island. On and this island also has wild tigers on it? well one, maybe that was for the comedy element but sheesh come on!

Most of the film is a Lord of the Flies style romp as half the group go crazy on the hallucinogenic drugs that the slimy backstabbing office team leader spikes the coffee with. He then proclaims himself God of the island, the alpha male of his alpha male tribe, and basically eats drinks sleeps and has orgies all night whilst keeping his tribe in order with an iron fist...of comedy...of sorts. The other few office workers led by the weak skinny office nerd, try to find a way off the island and are basically the boyscouts of the story.

You can imagine the kind of humorous dialog your gonna find here, lots of primitive sexist, alpha male orgy based quips. Most tiny giggles come from the drugged up tribe but don't get your hopes up for all out hilarity.

The entire cast are complete unknowns to me which isn't a bad thing but none of them are particularly interesting to watch, and none of them are exactly funny either. The only guy that has any sort of decent amusing dialog is the baddie leader Rob Huebel, but its sparse. JCVD only proves he is no good in a comedy (plus he's hardly in it), you could say he's mocking himself but really its just poor humour. His son's only stand out moment is getting a boner watching the two male leaders fight half naked.

The film is odd really, its advertised as a comedy, not a dark comedy even, just a comedy, and its not really funny. It has its few moments that make you smile but then it swings wildly into a semi serious state that is just dark, kinda confusing. Admittedly the films plot didn't pan out as I expected it too, I kinda thought it would go a certain way with a twist but no! they actually stick to their guns with the original stupid plot route. That's the films only positive note really, you're not entirely sure which route the plot will go and you're never entirely sure if JCVD's character is actually playing it for real. It could all go only two ways, the whole setup is real, or the whole setup is fake, so small kudos there I guess.

Other than that the whole film is a bit of a miss frankly, nothing much happens, its not a good comedy and its not even visually enticing I'm afraid. I think the fact that half the group are drugged up all the time takes away the comedy aspect because they are all acting zombified. It turns the film into a slightly more sinister game rather than a dumb cheeky witty comedy which is what they were aiming for.