Thursday, 5 February 2015



I'm not a fan of Uwe Boll. Certainly his films are a long way from being classics, but I suspect he's got his reputation as the Worst Director Ever more from disappointed videogame fans than from disappointed movie fans. House Of The Dead isn't terrible: it's a functional, unremarkable and anonymous teen/zombie horror movie with lots of gore and stupidity, and it isn't any good, but it's scarcely the worst film ever made. He's a better filmmaker than, say, Al Adamson, and he manages to secure surprisingly big names for his nonsense - Burt Reynolds, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Christian Slater and Ben Kingsley have all taken the money at some point. Some actors come back for more than one, and Michael Pare is as much a fixture as Charles Hawtrey was in the Carry Ons.

But even by Uwe Boll's slipshod standards, Code Black: President Down is a disaster. It's dull, cheap, uninteresting, badly put together and lifeless; it looks like it belongs on Channel 5 late on a Tuesday night after the proper film has finished. A squad of assassins plan to shoot the President (they've even cast an Obama lookalike for the role) using a long-range sniper rifle from a family home overlooking the small town the Prez is due to briefly visit: the only hope for the family taken hostage in the house is town deputy sheriff and belligerent alcoholic Ray Liotta, carrying a Dark Secret from his military service....

Though it's not billed as such, this is apparently a remake of Suddenly, a Frank Sinatra movie from the 1950s on which the copyright has presumably lapsed because it's widely available on the free streaming sites. What's surprising is how thoroughly all the opportunities for excitement have been completely ignored. This surely isn't a difficult story to tell well or at least efficiently: any first-timer straight out of a Media Studies course should have been able to make something of it, but not Boll. Code Black isn't the worst thing you've ever seen, but it probably is the most staggeringly mediocre.


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