Flesh Wounds (2011)
Directed by Dan Garcia
Bruno Mattei made a movie back in 1988 called Robowar starring Reb Brown that has never been released in the United States, possibly because the film is such a beat-for-beat, often shot-for-shot rip-off of Predator the producers may have feared a lawsuit similar to the one that Universal used to get the 1982 Italian-produced Jaws clone The Last Shark banned to this day. The alien hunter being replaced by a robotic supersoldier run amok is the only real difference separating Predator from Robowar. The remaining similarities bypass homage and enter the realm of wholesale theft.
Why do I bring this up? Because I swear watching Flesh Wounds I felt like I was watching a duller, even more low-rent remake of Robowar. As with Robowar, the Predator of Flesh Wounds is an out of control cyborg soldier. Like Robowar, Flesh Wounds steals from Predator at nearly every turn: key scenes, dialogue, and the score is about as close a reproduction of the Predator theme as one could compose without getting sued. In both instances, it's as if they copied the pages of the Predator script using Silly Putty and changed the words that got smudged. The biggest difference being that Robowar was at least entertainingly bad whereas Flesh Wounds isn’t even as enjoyable a Predator knock-off as Watchers 3.
As much as it shocks me to write this, Kevin Sorbo is no Reb Brown. As unconvincing a badass action hero as Reb Brown was in his films, his excitable mannerisms and girlie scream attempts at machismo rage made him a hoot to watch. Kevin Sorbo, on the other hand, he seems to have grown increasingly less charismatic since his days as TV's "Hercules" and his laid-back style of acting makes him all wrong for a movie that desperately wants him to be Sorbonegger. The man is fine at playing lighthearted heroic do-gooders, but the aura of an asskicker he does not convey.
Flesh Wounds casts Sorbo as a badass soldier of fortune, a tad world-weary from always getting jerked around by his employers, but still someone you think should be loaded with take-charge, dick-swinging, f-u bravado. Instead, seriously, his character ought to be handing out business cards that read THE MELLOW MERCENARY – FOR ALL YOUR KILLING WITH KINDNESS NEEDS.
I almost want to cut Sorbo some slack seeing the undisciplined riffraff under his command that are supposed to be hardened professional mercenaries. More like members of Dale Gribble's Arlen Gun Club.
Sorbo and his men have been brought in for an off-the-books mission to rescue some missing weapons research scientist believed to have been taken captive by the most inept terrorists I’ve ever seen.
Actual scene: A random terrorist practically tiptoes behind Bokeem Woodbine as he walks along a riverbank with his machine gun. The terrorist, also armed with a machine gun, does not shoot him. Oh, no. That would be the smart thing to do. This terrorist instead opts to get right up on top of Woodbine and unsuccessfully attempts to smash him across the back of his... with the barrel end of his machine gun! Not the butt of the rifle; the tiny barrel of the gun.
Joining the mercs is a surly CIA agent who knows more about what's really going on than she's letting on (Think of her as an amalgamation of the Carl Weathers and the native girl from Predator). It won't take long before they realize something is hunting all of them. You've seen Predator. You know the drill.
Stalking them is a Borg-like cybernetically enhanced soldier armed with a wrist blade and a dinky laser cannon, capable of camouflaging itself as a cheap digital distortion, viewing its targets in a variation of the Predator's infra red vision that even comes complete with - for absolutely no logical reason why other than they felt the need to steal everything Predator-esque regardless of whether or not it makes sense in this context - a sound effect similar to that insect-like clicking noise the Predator makes.
To be different, Predatorus of Borg steals victims' skulls not for trophies - it's on the Kothoga diet.
Take a good look at that cyborg soldier on the DVD artwork. Think it looks cool? Don’t get your hope up because it bears no relation to the one in the movie. Can’t say I fully blame the distributors for being deceptive about the true appearance of the film’s cyborg. This is 2011 and Flesh Wounds' berserk robogrunt costuming and make-up is on par with that seen in any given early Nineties direct-to-video David Bradley flick with the word "cyborg" in the title. See for yourself.
It takes the height of moviemaking cynicism to have your hero utter the line "It's never easy" during the brief scuffle that constitutes a final battle and then proceed to quite easily kill the supposedly unstoppable antagonist that mostly just stands there not fighting back.
If you feel the urge to watch Flesh Wounds I’d suggest you do yourself a favor and go hunt down a bootleg copy of Robowar instead. Or, better yet, just go re-watch Predator.
1 out of 5
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