Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Covenant

A Damsel In Distress?

Call In The Frat Boys!

Don't think too much when watching this movie. That's my advice, but it worked as an excellent therapy right after surviving the horrendous local film Return to Pontianak. The Covenant is guilty pleasure, of watching something full of effects, zero storyline to think about, great looking cast and the usual fast cars and quick action.

Alpha males will have another reason to rejoice, given the leading characters come from the so-called elite of the community, nicknamed "The Sons of Ipswich" for their founding fathers' efforts in building the town they live in. All of them are your usual good looking hunky frat boys, with fast cars, and cute chicks in tow. However, our gang of four harbour a deep secret, that each of them have supernatural powers that they can use for whatever they want, and how they want. The only catch is that with each use of their powers, they will physically age. So, do you wanna trade good looks, for absolute power?

But of course, the Book of Damnation (gee) instills certain rules, and introduces the audience to hokey witchcraft and imagined mysticism. Naturally no one's interested in that stuff, except to watch with glee how our frat boys will (ab)use their powers. It's addictive, you know, having such abilities, and given the mysticism added in, it's no longer the drugs, nor the sex, nor the rock and roll that get these boys going, but the addiction of being omni-potent in place of power, wealth and fame. The leader of the pack, as per all juvenile stories, is the most powerful of the lot, and preaches time and time again on the virtues of restraint. Until one day the team faces an unexplainable disturbance in The Force (oops, wrong movie, but you get the drift), and have to discover just exactly what the disturbance is.

No honours will go towards acting abilities, and I feel those in the audience with strong sense of feminism will go up in arms about how the lead female character is portrayed. You know, the one who will go weak in the knees for the hottest looking guy and literally and blatantly flings herself at him. The guys too fare no better, always trying to ooze machismo and drip testosterone at every opportunity, and enjoy replicating Underworld-styled leaping off rooftops.

For a movie like this, there are no efforts spared in jazzing up the special effects. While on the whole it's all good, there are portions of it which made scenes look like extended screen versions of the video game Street Fighter, and taking a leaf too from Asia's StormRiders (Feng Yun) in creating battle scenes. You know it's time for formula, when fights are choreographed according to an alternative rock soundtrack. While the action is good, the pacing of the movie could be improved loads. It couldn't decide whether it wanted to be mysterious, horrific, reliant on action or wanting to take its romantic bits seriously. It seemed that director Renny Harlin had a lot of ideas for the feel of the movie, but couldn't decide which to put focus on, and in the end, threw everything into the pot for a mix.

It's like an all boys "The Craft", also set in school, except that their powers are inherited, and the story examines what's it like to use power with a price. If you need something to immerse yourself to forget about a hard day's work, then The Covenant probably is your choice. Oh, and this is one movie in which the trailer tells the whole damn story.

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