2010 Running time: 96 Certificate: 18 Rating: 3

Synopsis

Slither writer-director James Gunn's superhero spoof stars Rainn Wilson as a burger-flipper who reinvents himself as low-rent crimefighter The Crimson Bolt when his wife (Liv Tyler) is tempted to stray by Kevin Bacon's sleazy drug dealer. Hooking up with comic store clerk Ellen Page as his overkeen sidekick "Boltie", they plan to clean the streets of scum... and win back the Bolt's missus. This low-budget, high-body count gore-o-thon is distinguished by an A-list cast and some zingy one-liners.

Director

  • James Gunn

Cast

  • Rainn Wilson

  • Ellen Page

  • Liv Tyler

  • Kevin Bacon

  • Nathan Fillion

Review

After recent showings from Kick-Ass's Big Daddy and Woody Harrelson's Defendor in the pantheon of superhero spoofs, the stage is set for the superpower-less Crimson Bolt.

Fuelled by rage after his comely wife (Tyler) is seduced by a dope kingpin (Bacon) and inspired by a bizarre visitation from God (voiced by Rob Zombie), The Crimson Bolt (Wilson) pledges "to tell crime to shut up."

Zeroing in on swaggering drug pushers and seedy kiddy-fiddlers, his weapon of choice is a tyre wrench, his mode of escape is a beaten-up saloon, and his sidekick is "Boltie" (Page), an over-enthusiastic comic book shopgirl.

When the usual street vermin - simply whacked over the head with an automotive tool - don't prove satisfactory enough, Bolt and Boltie turn their attention to queue-jumpers and "somone who scraped Boltie's mom's car with a key."

With the violence spiralling out of control, the dynamic duo arms themselves with lethal weaponry and plot their boldest act yet - rescuing the Bolt's drug-stupefied wife (Tyler) from the clutches of her heroin peddling BF.

James Gunn - who wrote the Dawn of the Dead remake and directed squelchfest Slither - is on familiar, blood-soaked ground with this lo-fi parody of the superhero genre.

However, despite a top-grade cast and some superior playing (Kevin brings home the bacon on the sleaze-o-meter), there are simply not enough decent gags to prevent longeurs settling in.

Page proves game in a wince-inducingly awkward sex scene but Wilson's disengagement often seems motivated by genuine lack of interest more than smouldering impotence.

A pat ending seals a movie that never really gets the nuts and (crimson) bolts right.

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