SPOILER ALERT !!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Our boy Vern is at it again, this time with Renny Harlin’s cheesefest, THE COVENANT! This is gonna be fun!!!
Okay, I know you boys already ran a negative review of Renny Harlin’s THE COVENANT earlier today, so me writing the second review of a movie like this is as pointless as, you know, writing the first one. But since I actually sat through the thing I feel I have earned the right to say my piece. Besides, it’s not about the movie. It’s about the journey.
Obviously I can’t agree with the earlier reviewer Gandhiboy about Harlin’s DIE HARD 2 being “as good as the original,” but it is a damn good sequel to a perfect movie that you would think nobody could make a decent sequel to. I believe that the pressure of that feat damaged Renny’s mind forever, turning him into the other Renny Harlin who we love today for different reasons. After DEEP BLUE SEA and to a lesser extent MINDHUNTERS I expect some good old fashioned retarded nonsense from the crazy old Finn. He makes dumb movies smarter than most people. I don’t know how much of it is on accident or how much is on purpose but I think some of you would agree with me that DEEP BLUE SEA is a work of equal parts genius and idiocy. Most of you probaly didn’t see MINDHUNTERS so let me just inform you that there is a scene where Christian Slater knocks over a trail of dominos and it sets off a fancy Rube Goldberg device that freezes his leg with liquid nitrogen, then his leg breaks off and he falls over and shatters. What I’m saying is my man Renny makes crazy, stupid movies like nobody else so when he makes a movie about rich private school witches with the the mystical powers to control cars, I’m there.
Many movies these days are about True Evil, but this one, according to the poster, is about Untold Power. We learn from some text at the beginning that while we always thought the Salem Witch Trials were just superstitious zealots oppressing women, they were actually on the right track because there were five families of super hero witches possessing Untold Power. Four of these families now have young, hunky, muscular sons of varying hair lengths and sub-Anakin acting skills who hang out together at a rich boy private college in a spooky, foggy, spider-and-rat-infested town in Massachusetts. Everybody calls them “the sons of Ipswich” (you’d think they’d call them “Reid, Tyler, the guy who looks like Josh Hartnett, and the other dude”) and nobody knows they have super powers, although they make almost no effort to hide it.
The plot involves there being two new kids at school, one a hot blonde girl who becomes the love interest/collateral, and the other one a dude who turns out to be from another witch family who wants to get righteous witch revenge on the main dude because of some sort of witch political shit I probaly shouldn’t bring up so it doesn’t turn into some big argument in the talkbacks. Last thing we need is another hotheaded Caleb’s ancestors vs. Chase’s ancestors debate.
Then at the end they shoot blobby balls of magic at each other for what seems like 20 minutes and then the bad guy disappears and that resolves everything, I guess. It will blow your mind.
While I agree with Gandhiboy that this does not have the usual Renny Harlin madness, I did get quite a few laughs out of it. So I think some of you will enjoy it on DVD or cable. The most notable feature is the horrible dialogue, made funnier by the complete blandness and poor acting skills of the leads. I wish I had been able to write down some of the lines. I remember a guy saying, deadpan, “His friend puked at an opportune time.” Also I got a laugh out of, “Someone is using power – and I mean BIG TIME. And I’m gonna find out who it is.” As Gandhiboy says the movie is dead serious, but that makes it alot funnier than if it was trying to be clever.
Somehow I missed the “we-otch” line, which sounds like a keeper. There was one big exposition scene I missed because a dude in the theater flipped out and started yelling about how Bush couldn’t kill his son. I think it was just a general symptom of our country’s turmoil though and not a William Castle type gimmick. I didn’t feel like I missed much because they spent ALOT of time in this movie explaining shit. The characters casually reveal information about the history of their colony or that witch powers appear at the unlucky age of 13 or they drop corny words like “The Ascension” or “The Book of Damnation.” Or they make up new rules out of the blue like you can give your Untold Power to somebody else. The main guy starts talking about how he saw “a darkling” and somebody in the theater asked “What’s a darkling?” Man, don’t ask me. Ask Renny Harlin.
And it’s kind of like MINDHUNTERS, where they tell us all about how the heroes are FBI profilers, but don’t show them profiling. In this one they have scene after scene explaining how using your Untold Power is addictive and you have to be sparing with it because it slowly damages your body and ages you. But then that never happens to any of the characters.
But don’t worry, they use their Untold Power alot. You’ll get to see lots of half-assed CGI wiggly beams that shoot out of their hands after their eyes turn black and glow for a second. When they make their vehicle fly one guy yells “Harry Potter can kiss my ass!” I would’ve preferred “Fuck a broom!” but maybe PG-13 means they gotta use ass instead of fuck.
There’s actuall alot of car related magic. If you saw the trailer you saw the most ridiculous, Rennytastic moment, when the main guy crashes his car into a semi and it explodes into Matrixy debris, but then he magically causes all the parts to re-form safely. Also, a guy fixes a car engine by looking at it, to impress a girl. And in the opening they are getting chased by the cops and drive their SUV off a cliff, then, while the cops look over the edge in horror, the SUV drops safely from the sky behind them. I really wasn’t sure what to make of this, is it supposed to mean they flew all the way around the world Christopher Columbus style? I’m not sure. One thing I do know, they oughta put a fuckin guard rail on that cliff.
I think Renny’s been watching some Larry Clark movies. When the girls are in the dorm talking about town history (as young girls sometimes do) they’re always in their underwear. At one point the boys use Untold Power to flip a girl’s skirt up, and she’s not wearing panties. When the dudes talk to each other on the phone, they’re always shirtless and sweaty in bed, showing off their chiseled abs and pecs. They’re also on the swim team together, so you see them in speedos and then naked in the locker room. I’m surprised they didn’t work a thing into the plot where they have to take their shirts off to use their magic.
But come to think of it it’s very un-Larry-Clark-like and unHollywood in its chasteness. I don’t think any of these characters are sexually active. The leads become more comfortable with kissing each other throughout the course of the movie, I guess that’s unusual, give them points for that.
But just so you know they mean business, every once in a while some rockin guitars come on. CHUNKCHUNK CHUNKCHUNK. So you know that the swim meet that’s going on is very edgy when that happens. When they have their Untold Power duel at the end the actors seem to be under the impression that they look cool when they do all that magic posing. No doubt they are being egged on by the guitars.
Anyway, it’s a stupid movie, nobody’s gonna seriously like it, but it might be good for a few laughs if you’re into that sort of crap. I think I know what it is that keeps it from being a classic, hilarious Renny Harlin masterpiece and makes it get boring after a while: no LL Cool J. See, what alot of people don’t realize is that LL Cool J is hard as hell. He will battle anybody and he doesn’t care who you tell. You can tell Renny Harlin, you can tell Samuel L. Jackson, Thomas Jane, Val Kilmer, anybody. LL doesn’t care at all. He could’ve at least been in there as a professor, or a swim coach. But preferably he should’ve been the lead witch. It would’ve seemed weird to have all these white meatheads hanging out with LL, but since when does Renny Harlin want to avoid being weird? He had that underwater shootout in MINDHUNTERS, and the dead Val Kilmer being used as a marionette. I mean come on. Let’s add LL into this one before it comes out on DVD.
I remember I read a while ago that Renny’s next movie was gonna be about werewolves on the moon. That one doesn’t seem to be listed on the IMDB anymore, and that’s a god damn shame. Get LL on a space station, set some werewolves loose, and you’ll know what to do, Renny. I want to see the Untold Power of DEEP BLUE SEA again. I believe in you, Renny.
Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/24421
View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback
Sept. 8, 2006, 3:23 a.m. CST
Sept. 8, 2006, 3:33 a.m. CST
either 5th or third… I’m confused.
also, saw snakes on a plane again tonight. that shit doesn’t get old. when I’m drinking.
Sept. 8, 2006, 3:46 a.m. CST
The guy yelling about Bush killing his son…
by Ronald Raygun
…it wasn’t Joel Seigel, was it?
Sept. 8, 2006, 3:55 a.m. CST
by The Guy Who Nods
You didn’t make me wanna see The Covenant, but I’ll be damned if the first thing I do when I get off work today isn’t go and rent Mindhunters. Christian Slater shatters, Val Kilmer corpse puppet AND an underwater shootout?!!
Sept. 8, 2006, 4:34 a.m. CST
Isn’t this just a remake of THE CRAFT?
by Negative Man
But with a bunch of metroed out pretty boys? It looks like ultimately powerful crap. I guess Renny needed beer money.
Sept. 8, 2006, 5:10 a.m. CST
Fuck a broom.
That’s a cool name for a band!
Sept. 8, 2006, 5:14 a.m. CST
Great review, Vern!
The man knows how to pick a few golden nuggets from a trashy film. Vern, that is, not Harlin! This sounds better than Cuthroat Island!
Sept. 8, 2006, 5:28 a.m. CST
Sept. 8, 2006, 5:37 a.m. CST
I hope Harlin offers Vern out now.
by Lost Prophet
or this TB won’t be anywhere near as much fun as the infamous Juggfuckling CHAOS one.
Sept. 8, 2006, 5:56 a.m. CST
guy yelling in theatre.
by mr. brownstone
Maybe he saw in the movie a metaphor of how Bush via his Skulls connections acheived “untold power” and as a result that guys son is now risking life and limb in Iraq. that man yelling in the theatre will become the next Cindy Sheehan… only cooler because he had a vision during a Renny Harlin movie. Another classic Vern!
Sept. 8, 2006, 5:57 a.m. CST
I like Deep Blue Sea
by Lost Prophet
The whole film is worth the experience for the sequence where Samuel L Jackson gets chomped by a shark half way through his big Morale Boosting speech. I nearly cried with laughter
Sept. 8, 2006, 6:19 a.m. CST
It’s crap. Pretty crap, but crap nontheless.
And I’ll still rent it. After reading the other review re: A&F model type actors, small speedos and a gratouitous locker room scene, I was pretty much sold.
Sept. 8, 2006, 6:24 a.m. CST
I’d rather watch that CGI movie with the talking bat
…and baseball. Actually I’d rather rape myself with Verne Troyer head first than even THINK about either one.
Sept. 8, 2006, 7:22 a.m. CST
“they oughta put a fuckin guard rail on that cliff.”
goddamned classic. that and “fuck a broom.” i almost fell out of my chair.
Sept. 8, 2006, 7:33 a.m. CST
I want to see this pile of shit just from reading Vern’s review. Perhaps we just don’t “get” Renny Harlin. Perhaps we’re supposed to go into his movies thinking “this is going to be a hilarious pile of crap”. Who knows? “What’s a darkling?” HA!
Sept. 8, 2006, 7:54 a.m. CST
“The sons of Ipswich”???!!!
That will get laughed off the screen in Britain. Ipswich is the county town of Suffolk, and is not one of the most exciting places to be. It’s rather less interesting than Norwich.
Sept. 8, 2006, 7:54 a.m. CST
Deepest! Bluest! My hat is like a shark fin!
by Lance Rock
Yeah, Deep Blue Sea rules on all kinds of levels
Sept. 8, 2006, 8:05 a.m. CST
More excellent work by Vern…
by TV CASUALTY
… who is rapidly becoming the only reviewer I consistenly read here. As for Deep Blue Sea – I’m embarassed to admit how many times I’ve seen it. I mean… it’s HORRIBLE. Despite having the greatest shark-related-death-during-a-uplifting-speech-by-sam-jackson scene of all time. But otherwise, it’s just shit. And yet… I own the fucker. Sometimes I hate myself.
Sept. 8, 2006, 8:27 a.m. CST
no one can credibly say that Deep Blue Sea is good.
by Lost Prophet
As it’s terrible on so many levels. But how can you not love a film that has a guy who is a professional “Shark Wrangler” in it. My personal guilty favourite is Flash Gordon. Just watching that cast murder some of the worst dialogue ever filmed makes me howl with laughter. I own it too. I also hate myself. “Flash, I love you, but we only have fourteen hours to save the Earth!”- classic
Sept. 8, 2006, 9:04 a.m. CST
“sub-Anakin acting skills”
Good stuff Vern, I’m off to work on my chisled abs now…
Sept. 8, 2006, 9:19 a.m. CST
that was hands down the most humorous writing i have seen on this site in months. almost makes me want to see this, but only with friends who will “enjoy” it as much as you did. im also all about the moon werwolves! great writing.
Sept. 8, 2006, 9:27 a.m. CST
I love DEEP BLUE SEA.
It practically owns my guilty pleasure department. The CGI sharks are fun as hell. They look lame, but they’re fun. Oh and sexy doctor getting naked to elctrocute the shark? GOLD I TELLS YA.
Sept. 8, 2006, 9:29 a.m. CST
“We-otch” is going to be the new catchphrase
Just you wait. You’re going to start seeing it on girls’ t-shirts all over the place.
Sept. 8, 2006, 9:39 a.m. CST
I JUST picked up Bewitched, the T.V. series on DVD and I haven’t even gotten to the second Darren yet!! Damn you Hollywood!!
Sept. 8, 2006, 9:45 a.m. CST
Wee-otches on a Plane
enough is enough! i’ve HAD IT with these muthafukkin WEE-OTCHES on the muthafukkin PLANE!
Sept. 8, 2006, 9:46 a.m. CST
(In Big Movie Announcer Voice)
If You See Only One Movie This Month About 4 Male Witches From The Ipswich Lineage While Battling A 5Th Male Witch Who Doesn’t Like The Other 4 Male Witches…Then See…..The Covenant. DO NOT DEBATE ME ON THIS!!!
Sept. 8, 2006, 9:47 a.m. CST
Wait, Christian Slater shatters?
Or just his leg? If you think this review is funny(and it is), check out Vern’s CHAOS review. There is no equal.
Sept. 8, 2006, 10:16 a.m. CST
Hey Lorenzo, what sets off the metal detectors first…
by Osmosis Jones
…the lead in your ass or the shit in your brains? Fat fuck…
Sept. 8, 2006, 10:36 a.m. CST
Love Interest/Collateral Great description.
Sept. 8, 2006, 10:37 a.m. CST
hilarious! watch out for those witch wars…
don’t want to get involved in those witch politics. They might throw glowy balls at you while striking poses. Craft this ain’t.
Sept. 8, 2006, 10:58 a.m. CST
I’ve been out of town-
Can someone explain all the Juggfuckling references?
Sept. 8, 2006, 11:10 a.m. CST
the juggfuckling reference
by Lost Prophet
comes from the greatest TB of all time: VERN VS THE CHAOS DVD. Go and read it it- pure genius
Sept. 8, 2006, 11:16 a.m. CST
Hard As Hell
This has got to be the first review I’ve ever read with “Rock The Bells” references in it! Friggin classic! LMAO!!!
Sept. 8, 2006, 11:18 a.m. CST
*Do Not Debate Me On This*
Sept. 8, 2006, 11:47 a.m. CST
Actually, a better scene in “Mindhunters”…
is near the end of the film, when two characters actually have a gunfight underwater! And swim to escape the bullets. It actually isn’t a bad b movie to watch on a boring day.
Sept. 8, 2006, 12:25 p.m. CST
“No doubt they are being egged on by the guitars”
funny review, man. kudos.
Sept. 8, 2006, 12:43 p.m. CST
That scene with Christian Slater in Mindhunter
is damn funny. My friends and I had a brief “what the heck just happened” moment followed by gut busting laughter.
Sept. 8, 2006, 12:50 p.m. CST
This movie would be great if…
by The Dum Guy
If it was a minute long commercial for Ford cars during Halloween, on the Bravo network. Just think of when that car hits the truck, it would visualize how fast Ford can fix your car if things go wrong, then again it could work for Allstate too.
Sept. 8, 2006, 1:01 p.m. CST
Renny Harlin Still Gets To Make Movies…
… i’ll be damned.
Sept. 8, 2006, 1:04 p.m. CST
Why Renny is Renny
by Arche Logos
About 8 years ago I was at the Gold’s in Venice and there was this FUGLY assed guy in spandex, tank top and long greasy blonde hair working out with Geena Davis. The guy was Renny and he didn’t have a fucking clue. Evidently still doesn’t.
Sept. 8, 2006, 1:20 p.m. CST
It would have been difficult to tell…
by Arche Logos
but Renny was so fat. Much fatter than Craig.
Sept. 8, 2006, 1:23 p.m. CST
mindhunters’s best line…
“…I guess bulletts were HIS weakness” Or something alike.Worth the ticket.
Sept. 8, 2006, 1:35 p.m. CST
I guaranfuckingtee this isn’t as painful as…
by Alonzo Mosely
The Brotherhood 2 : Young Warlocks… Which is pseudo soft gayporn posing as a horror movie. ALthough they cut all the horror to make room for all the underage boys in tight white underwear… Were where you to save me from that Vern?
Sept. 8, 2006, 1:35 p.m. CST
Mindhunters (aka “Yes, I’m brainless!”)
by Ninja Nerd
I saw this turkey on Starz HD a while back. It’s a really bad remake of a zillion remakes of an Agatha Christie novel. “Ten Little Indians”, “And Then There Were None”, etc. Everyone who dies is basically too stupid to live, much less be an FBI agent. Heck, I wanted a refund and I was watching it on cable! “Covenant” can only be more of the same drivel from a very derivative film maker.
Sept. 8, 2006, 1:42 p.m. CST
Mindhunters is definitely worth a viewing
I mean come on, you even get the guy from Hackers as a lead and a TWIST.
Sept. 8, 2006, 1:58 p.m. CST
liked it the first time, when it was called
The Craft, Lost Boys, Harry Potter, and Underworld
Sept. 8, 2006, 1:58 p.m. CST
MINDHUNTERS was fun….
by El Scorcho
in that sort of let-an-ugly-chick-jerk-you-off kind of way. Feels good, but not really something you want to remember. Definitely worth watching once, though.
Sept. 8, 2006, 2:19 p.m. CST
On the moon?
by Arche Logos
Would the theme song be “Warewolves of Imbrium”?
Sept. 8, 2006, 2:41 p.m. CST
covenent sucks balls
we all know this. I watched Deep Blue Sea when it came out, and I liked it. But when some dicksmack I went to school with said something like “Deep Blue Sea is better than Jaws”, I immediately vowed never to watch that piece of shit again. Sam Jackson doesn’t necessarily make every movie gold. By far, Renny Harlin’s best movie is The Long Kiss Goodnight, simply for Shane Black’s excellent writing. It had a unique story and an interesting style. Not a supurb movie, but pretty damn good. But fuck all the rest of his movies. Especially this fucktarded shit.
Sept. 8, 2006, 2:42 p.m. CST
Werewolves on a Space Station — IN 3D!!!!
This movie sounds like crap on a cracker, but if that werewolves-in-space flick is really a possibility, then they’d be fools not to make it in 3D. Talk about an instant classic. Throw in Casper Van Diem, LL Cool J, Katie Holmes and William Shatner, and it’s a guaranteed instant classic. RUN WITH IT, RENNY — RUN LIKE THE WIND!!!
Sept. 8, 2006, 2:51 p.m. CST
by The Dum Guy
If werewolves are on the moon, then wouldn’t it always be a full moon for them?
Sept. 8, 2006, 4:18 p.m. CST
vern is a good citizen
“One thing I do know, they oughta put a fuckin guard rail on that cliff.”
I’m pleased that Vern not only has our backs cinematically, but also in terms of general public safety (even when it involves insipid characters in a renny harlin film). When the doorway to true evil opens, I’m sure he’ll be the first to offer tips for survival.
Sept. 8, 2006, 4:32 p.m. CST
Sounds like “Zapped!”
Now THAT was Untold Power.
Sept. 8, 2006, 4:44 p.m. CST
CLIFFHANGER = Harlin’s best movie
Sept. 8, 2006, 7:35 p.m. CST
Damn Banned, you beat me to it.
by half vader
I think even the poster had Willie Aimes or Scott Baio flipping up a girl’s skirt with untold power.
Sept. 8, 2006, 9:52 p.m. CST
how about ‘zapped again’?
don’t get me started. you know, i’ve had a shit day…but reading vern’s review makes it all float away. so goddamned funny. now, does anybody else find it curious, the preponderance of ‘swim team’ drama in teen movies? like a swim meet is some kind of rad action-powered event? 17 years on swim team myself and i was bored the whole goddamned time.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.