It’s amazing how a man like Rob Zombie who fancies himself a hardcore horror fan has done little to evolve since his first film “House of 1,000 Corpses.” Every film he’s made since that initial movie has repeated the same beats over and over, just re-arranged in various ways to look new and original. He fills the screen with genre veterans again. He inexplicably sets his movie in a mid-seventies gritty trailer park landscape. The opening of his film is directed by a goofy music video, padding the run time, and he even includes something of a montage with our characters, set to classic rock music as we saw in the finale of “The Devil’s Rejects.” Worst of all, he writes some of the clunkiest dialogue I’ve ever heard, and he is still dead set on placing wife Sheri Moon Zombie front and center.
One of the biggest mistakes that “300: Rise of an Empire” makes is that it insists on imitating Zack Snyder’s style of filmmaking. Whether if by choice or by the order of the studios, director Naom Murro spends more time in the movie trying to copy Zack Snyder’s excessive slow motion and blurry flourishes, rather than actually trying to help this sequel stand out from its predecessor. Murro is so focused on convincing audiences that it’s legitimate extension of the original film, that he can never solve the movie’s biggest problem: The fact that it’s so utterly mind numbingly dull. The movie spends a lot of time in the first twenty minutes reminding us of the first film that it can never really build momentum for its own narrative.
I thought it was my computer and I tried to replay “3 Steps 2 Abducting” twice and it was still occurring. Right around the climax, the movie just stops playing and nothing is resolved, nothing develops and we’re left with a feeling of abrupt closure that just doesn’t answer any questions. “3 Steps 2 Abducting” definitely has the right idea, it just doesn’t know what it wants to be.
You take two of the greatest actors of modern American cinema, grab a slew of all-star performers all providing excellent performances, match it with the stylish and epic direction of James Mangold, and you have yourself “3:10 to Yuma” a remake of the great western film that’s a contender for one of my favorites of 2007, and damn near superior to its predecessor. Mangold’s film packs an abundance of quality and power with it and that’s due to the fantastic writing by the adapting screenwriters, who takes the simplistic yet original story and turns it something much more unique. It’s the story of a man trying to reclaim his dignity, a story about a man who is very well the devil reincarnated learning about respect, and the story of a young boy discovering that everything he thought he once knew now suddenly was all just a fraud. “3:10 to Yuma” brought with it the stylish marketing and appeal to the modern audiences, but don’t sell it short.