Fragmented Films Sept 2012

Mickey Rourke’s face is a freakshow. It’s like his plastic surgeon has stapled dried pigskin to his skull then wacked it into place with a saucepan before setting it alight. What we’re left with is the melted wreck. In a case of life imitating art in 1989 he made Johnny Handsome, in which he played a hideously deformed gangster, though to be fair he looks much scarier now au natural, than he did back then in full movie makeup. His mangled distended face has him destined to play Wrestler type roles for the remainder of his career, a broken weathered man trying to find some kind of salvation from the mess he’s made of his life…and face.

Yet Hollywood keeps giving to Mickey. Whilst roles like Angel Heart and Rumble Fish demonstrated a remarkable talent in the 80’s, a combination of returning to the boxing ring and stupid self indulgent film decisions left him in b-grade hell by the 90’s.  It was only the likes of Robert Rodriguez who picked him up for a couple of films most notably Sin City that returned him to the big leagues in the noughties appearing in Iron Man II and The Expendables. But make no mistake, a man riddled with as much ego as Rourke is destined to fuck it all up again.

“I never go to parties or premieres, but if I do it’s usually on a Harley Davidson, ” he offered to Playboy magazine in 1987, demonstrating both a narcissistic lack of insight and a desperate desire to rebel in a totally conformist way.

It’s strange to think that his second decline might begin in a film where he gets to dry hump an ‘it girl’ like Megan Fox and he shares the screen with Bill Murray, Kelly Lynch and Rhys Ifans. You can see why Passion Play (Eagle) appealed to Rourke; it’s so self consciously dripping with clichéd cool. Rourke plays a broken down jazz trumpeter now reduced to playing strip clubs and mixing it with local hoods. A surreal journey to the desert finds him in a spooky old style carnival sideshow and in particular, exactly where you’d expect to find Rourke, the freakshow. It’s here he finds Fox, a beautiful woman with the wings of an angel, and well you know the rest.  The ingredients are here to create something quite special, some kind of gritty existential noir take on Wings of Desire, yet screenwriter turned director Mitch Glazer (Scrooged) squanders his opportunity and instead delivers a plodding third rate thriller.

CGI gets a bad wrap, but its unconvincing imagery is the best thing about 2-Headed Shark Attack (Peacock). What could be better than a rampaging two-headed shark chomping through annoying American co-eds? “That’s twice the amount of teeth,” announces one of the brighter bikini clad soon to be victims. With Hulk Hogan’s niece who looks like a broken down porn star, Carmen Electra who acts with her breasts and the z grade brother of a barely famous actor, the plot has the credibility (and intelligence) of an episode of Jersey Shore, single mindedly designed to turn these stupid teens into sashimi. Gold.

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