Turistas: Unrated (DVD)
Directed by John Stockwell
Distributed by Fox Home Entertainment
Let me start off this review by stating that the title of this film is not, Turistas Go Home. It's simply Turistas. "Go home" is just the film's tag line. I mention this because I have heard many fans refer to this film as Turistas Go Home. Hell, I've even seen it labeled that up on movie theatre marquees. And what is a turista anyway? Is it what they call a tourist in Brazil? Maybe it's a tasty corn based snack put out by Frito-Lay! I couldn't find them on sale at my local 7-11 so I am guessing that a turista is indeed another word for tourist. Either way, no matter what you think it is, or how you say the title, this movie is still a truly unimpressive offering -- rated or unrated. But we'll get to that in a moment. First, the plot.
Ah, Brazil! Home of sunshine, clear water, and great asses. It's no wonder why people from all over the world flock to your sandy beaches. The trouble is that they don't always come back. Turistas introduces us to a band of tourists with two things in common: Their tour bus crashed and they want to party. Party is exactly what they do. A little too hard in fact. Our hung-over heroes awaken to find themselves robbed and worse for wear. With no clue what to do or where to go, they are befriended by a local who ends up leading them right into the waiting claws of an evil doctor who has a penchant for capturing tourists and using their organs as spare parts to give to the local hospitals. Can our group escape intact? There's your setup, and honestly it's a good one. So what went wrong?
Just about everything beyond the story idea. Our main characters, with the exception of maybe two or three of them, end up being some of the most annoying folks on the planet. The evil doctor turns out to be your run-of-the-mill Simon Bar Sinister type villain complete with ludicrous explanation-for-his-wrong-doings speech, and director Stockwell seems more content to show us as much of Brazil as possible instead of doling out any real action or suspense. I could go on and on about what's wrong with this movie, but for more why not check out our Turistas episode of Dinner for Fiends? You'll get an earful!
And what of this word Unrated? Are there any extra goodies that could possibly make this experience at least somewhat worthwhile? Um, no. What we get are a few longer looks at the film's gore. Mind you, these shots are longer, but they're still pretty damned quick. Maybe I'm just bloodhungry, but even in an unedited form Turistas is way light on the old red stuff. Phooey, I say!
On the supplemental side of things we get two featurettes, one detailing the film's special effects and the other about filming the underwater scenes. Both run around ten minutes and don't really explore much that you couldn't have already guessed by watching the film. In addition to that there are a few deleted scenes that would only have served to make the film (ugh) longer and a somewhat lively commentary with director Stockwell and producer Kent Kubena. Not a bad haul, but all the features in the world couldn't save this sinking ship.
For all its beautiful shots and dark storyline, Turistas is a very vanilla experience. It's just kind of there. While not terrible, it's definitely one of the most disappointing movies of 2006. Should you see it in video stores, do yourself a favor and listen to the tag line ... Go home. Without it.
Commentary by director John Stockwell and producer Kent Kubena
The Bloody Truth: The Special Effects of Turistas featurette
Out of Breath: Underwater Production featurette
2 out of 5
3 out of 5
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