Lockjaw: Rise of the Kulev Serpent (2008)
Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring DMX, Wes Brown, Lauren Fain, Louis Herthum, Victoria Vodar, David Pullman
Directed by Amir Valina
Lockjaw: Rise of the Kulev Serpent opens with a young Southern boy named Alan sneaking out of his house to ask his best friend from next door, Becky, if she wants to go with him exploring a nearby sugar cane field. By exploring he apparently meant breaking into the house of a poor black man and his son and stealing a box containing a dangerous voodoo object called the Kulev stick. Alan will draw a picture of a serpent eating his abusive dad using the Kulev stick as a pencil. Guess what happens to dad a few minutes later?
Jump forward to present day where Alan and Becky are now happily married. At least they were until the faithful day a group of young idiots on their way to a house next to a sugar cane field where they plan to party for a few days (and spend loads of time wandering about the sugar cane field) come zooming down the road and turn Becky into roadkill.
So dumb are these young people that they clearly rundown this adult woman in broad daylight yet are unaware that they've killed a human being. Instead they just laugh about how they think they just clipped some dumb animal that stepped out into the road. Yeah, the kind of dumb animal that stands upright and wears clothes and a ball cap. This is a degree of stupidity that's hard to fathom even in a film like this.
An angry, despondent Alan breaks out the old Kulev stick and... Pumpkinhead anyone?
Lockjaw: Rise of the Kulev Serpent is pathetically derivative of Pumpkinhead except there's no sense of foreboding mood or atmosphere, the young victims are even more annoying caricatures, the man seeking vengeance is far less sympathetic, the lame monster gets little screen time, does little even when it is on screen, and is just an obvious CGI giant snake with a gator-like head, and eventually DMX shows up with a rocket launcher in a desperate attempt to maintain his street cred.
Oh, DMX. Many thought DMX was going to shoot to superstardom after his command performance in Steven Seagal's epic Exit Wounds playing a guy who looked and sounded just like DMX but was not. But ever since Never Die Alone died alone at the box office DMX's attempt to be the greatest actor/rapper crossover since Master P has been nothing but a string of DTV junk he's filmed in between getting arrested.
Here DMX appears in little more than an extended cameo as the grown son of the old man young Alan stole the Kulev stick from. That means it's his job to explain what the ramifications of using the Kulev stick is to the surviving characters two-thirds of the way in. I write what I'm about to write fully aware that there's a good chance DMX may read it and come to my house to bust a cap in my ass. DMX is either one of the worst actors of our time or he's just a terrible actor who couldn't wait to collect his paycheck and get the hell out of there so he gave an even worse performance than usual. The man delivers his dialogue with tons of hesitation like someone who had barely bothered to memorize what few lines he had. To give a performance that stands out as bad as this in a lousy movie loaded with no shortage of weak acting you either have to be truly terrible at your job or just not give a rat's ass.
Not giving a rat's ass is pretty much how I felt about this movie. This is the kind of low budget monster movie I'm just sick of, the kind that never seems at all interested in doing anything more than going through the motions in as disinterested a manner as possible. It all builds to one of the most unceremonious monster deaths in recent memory. Now that I think about it, pretty much all of the film’s pay-offs failed to pay-off in a satisfying manner.
I've always said a monster movie hinges on the quality of its monster and despite the film's title, Lockjaw never rises.
1 out of 5