FREDDY VS. JASON
Review by Michael Jacobson
Robert Englund, Ken Kirzinger, Monica Keena, Kelly Rowland, Jason Ritter,
Christopher George Marquette, Lochlyn Monro
Director: Ronny Yu
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1, Pan & Scan 1.33:1
Studio: New Line Cinema
Features: See Review
Length: 98 Minutes
Release Date: January 13, 2004
kids need some assistance?”
THE F—K DO YOU THINK?!?”
***1/2 (on the cult and cheese scales)
upon a time in the 80s a new horror film icon was born.
Evil, relentless, and unstoppable, he stalked teens with a vicious reign
of terror in sequel after sequel, until finally, as with many franchises, he
buckled under the weight of his own fame, evolving from a scare giant into just
another self-parody as the films got less and less interesting.
I talking about Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street?
Or Jason Voorhies from Friday the 13th?
Take your pick. Both
were unique and imaginative serial killers that kept the red flowing on the
screen and the green flowing at the box office for better than a decade.
Both helped to revitalize horror in the 80s, but as time passed, both
became examples of why horror goes back to being dormant from time to time.
Their fans loved them, but there comes a time in every teen killer’s
career where he just has to accept that his magic had dried up and that his movies had gotten very, very bad. The
only thing left for the pair to do was maybe duke it out with one another.
a film that fans have been clamoring for over the past couple of decades.
Like the other great clashes of silver screen icons King Kong vs.
Godzilla, Alien vs. Predator…heck, even Kramer vs. Kramer…it
seemed like a title fight for the ages. Some
nightmares gleefully come true, though, and at long last, Freddy vs. Jason became
that was really needed to make it a reality was two things:
one, the participation of Robert Englund as Freddy; no one had ever
played the role but him, and frankly, no one could.
And two, a story…even a bare bones one…to bring these two colossal
killers face to face.
the years that have passed since Freddy’s last appearance on the screen,
something terrible happened to him: he
became forgotten. The master of
dreams got his power from kids’ fears, but now that no one speaks his name, he
has lost that power. In order to
get back into the business, he has to remind the kids of Elm Street that Freddy
is still alive and deadly as ever.
plan? Go to Jason Voorhies (Kirzinger),
the legendary goalie wannabe from Crystal Lake, and bring him to Elm Street.
As Jason begins his latest killing spree, the gruesomeness of his mayhem
gets the town to begin whispering Krueger’s name again…just what Freddy
needs to come back!
power begins to grow, and soon the Elm Street kids are having bad dreams again.
But Freddy also has a problem: Jason.
The hockey mask wearing villain won’t go away; meaning that not only
are the Elm Street kids in danger whether awake or asleep, but that Freddy’s
sleeping prey keeps getting snatched away from him in their waking state by
town ain’t big enough for two immortal teen predators, so that leaves only one
option: Monster’s Brawl.
Freddy and Jason are going to have a showdown to the finish. For
the kids trapped between them, their only hope is that their epic battle won’t
leave a survivor!
may have to turn in my movie critic’s card over this film, but I can’t help
it…I loved it. I loved it from
beginning to end. I’ve rarely had
such a good time at the movies, where I loudly shrieked, laughed, and applauded
constantly. Being a long time
horror fan, I realize that this picture is no Exorcist or Rosemary’s
Baby, but who cares? It was
everything I wanted and THEN some from the long awaited clash of the terror
Yu, who made The Bride With White Hair movies in Hong Kong as well as one
of the “Chucky” sequels (Freddy vs. Jason vs. Chucky, anyone?)
delivered a non-stop, unapologetic over the top festival of action, gore, and
cheese. The blood flows in gallons,
but you may be laughing and cheering too hard to feel the sting.
Yu takes his characters and story and builds them, builds them, and
builds them toward an electrifying finale where one amazing bit is constantly
topped by the next. This picture
runs more on adrenaline than brainpower, but that’s how it should be.
in most of these pictures, the kids (read: victims) aren’t all that
interesting. They get to run
around, scream, die in increasingly graphic scenes, and spout off cheesy
dialogue. That being said, Monica
Keena gets my vote for loveliest damsel in distress in recent memory (narrowly
edging out Jessica Biel in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre).
But they all do pretty good for what their role is worth, which is
largely trying to pit Freddy and Jason one another by either getting Jason into
Freddy’s realm or Freddy into Jason’s.
main attraction are the super-villains, of course, and as mentioned, without
Robert Englund, there would be no movie in my book. He brings the quipping, dastardly charming Freddy to
inimitable life on the screen, and come to think of it, the strong silent type
Jason makes for a perfect companion: one
is always blabbering, the other says nothing.
Ken Kirzinger is the latest to go through the revolving door of actors
playing Jason; but he brings a great height advantage to the part, as well as
his experience as a top stuntman. When
these guys go at it, anything goes.
watch this movie over and over, any time of day or night.
Sorry if that makes me a less than stellar critic, but hey, it may be
high time to remove some of the pomposity from the art of film criticism anyway.
Besides, wouldn’t my appreciation for a film like Freddy vs. Jason make
me a more fun guy to sit next to in a theatre than Roger Ebert?
that you say? I forgot to tell you
who wins in the movie? Well, if you
think I’m going to divulge that, you MUST be dreaming. ;-)
TRIVIA: Ken Kirzinger also appeared
in the film Jason Takes Manhattan. But
not in the title role…he had a small part as a cook while also serving as the
film’s stunt coordinator!
every special edition moniker guarantees quality, but New Line’s Platinum
Series is about as sure a bet as they come.
This is one knockout anamorphic transfer, with plenty of action, lots of
color, extreme lighting schemes and more. Images
always look sharp, clean and cool, whether they’re in full sunlight or
darkness. Nothing seems
compromised, and detail level is remarkable in shot after shot.
Highest marks. (A pan & scan version is also included, but skip it.)
Dolby Digital EX track is incredible, with wide open stages both front and back.
Sound is crucial in horror, and here, not a tic is wasted.
The action keeps all channels going strong, while the .1 channel adds
resonance to Freddy’s voice and gives some of the music extra kick.
Dialogue is clean and clear, and the dynamic range is room-shakingly
strong. This is a total digital
Series = incredible features; that’s DVD 101.
This two disc set is loaded, starting with a terrific commentary track on
Disc One featuring director Ronny Yu and stars Robert Englund and Ken Kirzinger.
How fun is it to listen to a pair of legendary screen demons watching
their latest opus with you? There
is also a “jump to a death” menu option, for those of you who just can’t
wait to get it going!
Two contains a total of 18 deleted or alternate scenes, including an alternate
opening and ending, plus five production featurettes showing how the idea came
into fruition, plus ones on the writing, the art direction, the stunts and
make-up. There is an original
trailer and several TV spots, an amusing “press conference” hailing the
match-up as though it were a prize fight, a music video, a two part Fangoria magazine
article, and some DVD ROM extras.