Taking classic monsters from horror movies of the past and pitting them against each other is not really a new idea, but the way in which they set things up in Monster Brawl is different enough. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, the Cinemapocalypse is once again upon us.
Monster Brawl, as I said, is not so much a reinvention of the Monsters Vs Monsters genre, but rather a new way of handling the subject. All the monsters that you are probably very familiar with, in one way or another, play a part in Monster Brawl. The movie is not with out its issues, but somehow manages to be subtle. Considering the subject matter and how it transpires, this is a feat in and of itself.
Human beings have grown bored with the usual combative sports and have demanded something… more. A lone promoter has taken it upon himself to gather the world’s most notorious monsters and bring them into one ring, to see who truly is the king of the monsters.
In the first ever Monster Brawl there are two conferences, Creatures and Undead. The Creatures consist of Heavy-Weights Wolfman and Swamp Gut. Also the Middle-Weights Cyclops and (sigh) Witch Bitch. In the Undead conference you have Heavy-Weights Frankenstein, and Zombie Man. The Middle-Weights are Mummy, and Lady Vampire. Between the two conferences the winners of their respective Heavy-Weight conference go on to fight each other for the ultimate winner.
The above paragraph really describes the movie in its entirety, or at least the plot. What you really need to know about it is that Monster Brawl isn’t that bad of a movie, relatively speaking. I know, I was surprised too. A movie that basically mashes together the UFC, WWE, and a dash of Mortal Kombat is almost expected to be completely over the top, in your face kind of “drama”. However, all of this is thrown together in a way that is much less ham-fisted than I first expected. It’s this bit of subtlety that really made me enjoy this movie… to a point.
The best parts of Monster Brawl are the bits that it really shouldn’t take seriously, but instead it takes itself so serious that it’s almost uncanny. Each monster is introduced with a strange but well done intro of how they became involved in the Monster Brawl. For instance: Wolfman is on a revenge mission for his family. Frankenstein is out to clear his family name. Witch Bitch is out for sheer vengeance. After their intro, they cut a promo just before the match, exactly like old WWF wrestlers used to. It’s brilliantly done, and matches the tone of the movie perfectly. By far the absolute best part of the movie is Lance Hendrickson narrating the intros, as well as giving the final outcome of the matches, a la Shao Kahn. It totally made me want him to do this for every fighting game from here on out.
Monster Brawl is, much like the “sports” it cribs its style from, pure dumb fun. Seeing a GIANT man as Frankenstein (which in the movie they even remark “he’s actually Frankenstein’s monster”) beat the shit out of Wolfman is kinda fun. I would say it is the best monster fighting movie I have ever seen, but that really isn’t saying much. The addition of Kevin Nash (aka “Big Sexy”) and Jimmy “Mouth of the South” Hart, while funny and oddly apropo, turns out to be a bit of a let down. This was sadly my biggest gripe with the movie. Jimmy simply announces the winners, via his signature megaphone, and stands around with some sexy women. Nash is a former wrestler, and while I never expected him to do much actual wrestling, they lead up to him doing just that, and the movie just ends. I don’t know if they are attempting to set up a sequel, but it’s still not a good way to end a movie. Though the post credits scene of Jimmy being bitten by a zombie made up for it… a bit.
The narration by Lance Hendrickson manages to hold the movie together enough. Though, that may be just enough for me. The subtlety of the music and the tone (oddly enough) probably is the best part of Monster Brawl. I expected to completely hate this movie and trash it from start to finish, but didn’t. Other than the completely random time line, the bits of cheese, and the absurdity of EVERYTHING found inside, it might be a movie worth seeing. Maybe.