DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
.
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main
IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Bruce Campbell
Cast:
Bruce Campbell, Grace Thorsen, Taylor Sharpe, Ted Raimi, Ben L. McCain, Ellen Sandweiss, Timothy Patrick Quill
Writing Credits:
Mark Verheiden

Tagline:
Fearless! Unstoppable! Ready For His Close-Up!

Synopsis:
Something evil is stirring in the small mining town of Gold Lick, and it's not happy. Guan-di, the Chinese protector of the dead with a strange affinity for bean curd, has been awakened by reckless teenagers, and now his bloody crusade to wipe out the town's entire population can only be stopped by one man - Bruce Campbell (the guy who starred in all three Evil Dead movies and Bubba Ho-tep), B-move star and deadbeat ex-husband extraordinaire, who's recruited to be their unwitting savior. Thinking the whole scenario's a publicity prank, Bruce is distracted from his mission by a hot mom and fan boys aplenty - but when our hero has to face off against a dark force more fearsome than a Hollywood agent, the laughs and screams start flying!

Box Office:
Budget
$1.5 million.
Opening Weekend
$16,432 thousand on 1 screen.
Domestic Gross
$173.066 thousand.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.78:1/16X9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Stereo 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 84 min.
Price: $27.98
Release Date: 2/10/09

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director/Actor Bruce Campbell and Producer Mike Richardson
• “Heart of Dorkness – The Making of My Name Is Bruce” Documentary
• “Awkward Moments with ‘Kif’” Featurette
• “Bruce On…” Featurette
• “Beyond Inside the Cave: The Making of Cavealien 2” Featurette
• “’Kif’s’ Korner”
• Galleries
• “The Hard Truth”
• “Love Birds”
• Trailers
• Mini-Comic Book


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Harman/Kardon DPR 2005 7.1 Channel Receiver; Toshiba A-30 HD-DVD/1080p Upconverting DVD Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


My Name Is Bruce (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 10, 2009)

In 2007’s My Name Is Bruce, low-budget action legend Bruce Campbell takes on an unusual role: himself. Sort of. Problems arise in an old mining town called Gold Lick. Back in the 19th century, Chinese laborers got trapped and died in the mines. In the present day, some Goth teens visit the graveyard for some kicks, and nerdy Jeff (Taylor Sharpe) nabs an odd amulet.

Bad move. This releases a vengeful Chinese spirit called Guan-Di, and he ain’t too happy. Guan-Di immediately kills all the teens except Jeff and starts off on a rampage of mayhem.

Who you gonna call? Bruce Campbell, apparently. Jeff’s a major fan of the “B”-actor, and he figures no one knows how to deal with evil spirits as well as Bruce. He kidnaps Campbell and brings him to Gold Lick, where the town embraces their apparent savior.

Initially Campbell resists their request, but he changes his mind because he thinks it’s all a put on staged for his birthday. Campbell also buys into matters because he wants to put the moves on Jeff’s sexy mother Kelly (Grace Thorsen). We follow his antics as he battles the demon and romances Kelly.

Spoofs like Bruce try to have it all. They want to mock their subject matter but still deliver goofy action thrills. That’s definitely the path Bruce takes, as it laughs at cheesy “B” movies but nonetheless attempts to be one.

And it flops on both accounts. As a spoof, it sticks mostly with self-referential material and tries to milk most of its laughs from its mockery of Campbell. On the surface, I feel like I should applaud Campbell’s willingness to make himself look like a grade “A” jerk and has-been.

However, these efforts seem oddly egotistical. Because the story focuses so heavily on Campbell’s image and status, it feels like he made a strange love letter to himself. It seems that he’s gone from being an actor in “B” movies to being in actor who loves to comment on his involvement in “B” movies.

And that gets old. Bruce wants to tell us that Campbell can laugh at himself, but it derives no real humor from these bits. They’re obvious and over the top, so they lack comedic value. If you want to see clever examples of celebrities who allow themselves to become comedy fodder, head to Extras; Ricky Gervais does this stuff with 100 times the wit of Campbell.

It doesn’t help that the action elements prove limp as well. The Guan-Di plot is scattershot at best, as is the film’s pacing. It ignores various aspects of the story for extended periods and fails to combine them in a logical, coherent manner. This means the movie progresses in fits and starts. It doesn’t seem to know where it wants to go and it takes us on a plodding journey.

I suppose those with greater affection for tacky “B” movies might get more pleasure from My Name Is Bruce, and I thought the theme had potential. In reality, however, it becomes a dull, unfunny piece of nothing. It wants to mock cheap “B” movies by being a cheap “B” movie, and that technique flops.

Footnote: stick around through the end credits to see a little extra footage.


The DVD Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B/ Bonus B

My Name Is Bruce appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Much of the transfer satisfied, though some weaknesses appeared.

For the most part, sharpness satisfied. Wide shots tended to be a bit iffy, but the majority of the flick demonstrated nice delineation and clarity. I saw a few examples of jagged edges, but I noticed no shimmering or edge enhancement. Other than some light artifacting in darker shots, the image remained clean and lacked any source defects.

Colors tended to be solid. The movie featured a clear palette that looked lively and full throughout the film. Blacks were deep and dense, but shadows were a weakness. Low-light shots could be awfully dark and vaguely impenetrable at times. The flick looked good enough for a “B-“, but the occasional softness and the thick shadows created concerns.

As for the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of My Name Is Bruce, it also came with pros and cons. While the soundfield proved quite active, that wasn’t always a good thing. The movie boasted effects and music from all around the spectrum, but those elements didn’t always appear especially well-placed. Some parts of the track showed up in accurate spots, but others seemed more vague, like the audio wanted to impress us with quantity over quality. It wasn’t a bad sense of spatial delineation, but it could’ve been more defined.

Quality was positive. Speech seemed a little canned but usually appeared acceptably natural, and the lines were always intelligible. Music was the most impressive aspect of the mix. The score and songs showed nice range and definition. Effects were also pretty solid, as they demonstrated good clarity and impact. The lack of a natural soundfield made this one a “B“, but it did have many strengths.

In terms of extras, we open with an audio commentary from director/actor Bruce Campbell and producer Mike Richardson. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific piece. They chat about cast and performances, references to other Campbell films, sets and shooting in Oregon, budgetary concerns, and a few other subjects.

Campbell has a good reputation as a commentator, and he generally lives up to that here – at least during the movie’s first two-thirds or so. Things peter out a bit during the last act, as the chat becomes less informative.

Still, Campbell and Richardson usually give us a lot of good info, with the actor/director in the lead. Richardson chimes with decent frequency, but he seems too quiet by comparison. I don’t know if Campbell is naturally louder or if the recording levels were unbalanced, but Campbell’s comments were much more prominent, and that made it tougher to hear Richardson at times. In any case, this turns into an engaging and likable chat.

A documentary called Heart of Dorkness: The Making of My Name Is Bruce runs exactly one hour and includes remarks from Campbell, Richardson, writer Mark Verheiden, director of photography Kurt Rauf, special makeup effects artist Melanie Tooker, associate producer Craig “Kif” Sanborn, actor/featurette director Mike Kallio, featurette DP Mark Elliott, mask maker/actor Jamie Peck, Land Mind Productions owner John Foote, special effects coordinator Bill Boggs, and actors Danny Hicks, Tim Quill, Ellen Sandweiss, Ted Raimi, Ben and Butch McCain, Mike Campbell, Colin Campbell, Vincent Angelinni, Grace Thorsen, Taylor Sharpe, Janelle Farber, and Ali Akay. The program looks at the flick’s genesis and development, working in Oregon, cast and crew, and set design and creation. We then follow the production through its shooting schedule.

While “Dorkness” includes some good insights and glimpses of the production, it tries too hard to be clever and nutty. The show comes chock full of silly elements that undermine its effectiveness. There’s still enough interesting material to make it worth a look, but the goofy bits get old quickly.

Next comes a two-minute reel entitled Awkward Moments with “Kif”. It shows us associate producer Sanborn in various little tidbits from the set. Expect more forgettable wackiness in this pointless piece.

We hear more from the actor/director during the four-minute and 11-second Bruce On… featurette. Here we see nuggets in which Campbell rambles about various topics. None of them go anywhere.

During Beyond Inside the Cave: The Making of Cavealien 2, we find a fake featurette about the non-existent movie within Bruce. It runs eight minutes, four seconds and offers more of the painful “comedy” that mars many of the DVD’s extras. It’s a cute concept but a flawed, annoying program in reality.

Another quirky feature arrives via the two-minute and 46-second ”Kif’s” Korner. It shows us the associate producer as he attempts to create fake movie posters for use in the flick and the DVD. This provides a few decent thoughts about this process.

Three Galleries also appear. These look at “Poster Art” (22 frames), “Props Art” (10) and “Photos” (88). The photos aren’t particularly interesting – and in a glitch, they repeat the posters – but the other two domains give us some fun elements.

Two more wacky reels come next. We find The Hard Truth (3:53) and Love Birds (1:09). “Truth” shows us a “revealing behind the scenes” of scandals in Campbell’s life, while “Birds” looks at the gay romance between two movie characters. Neither of them amuse or entertain.

Some ads open the disc. We get promos for Keith and Palo Alto. The DVD also includes trailers for Bruce and Cavealien 2.

Inside the DVD’s case, we locate a mini-comic book. It focuses on events inside the cemetery where Guan-Di first arises and does his thing. It’s a decent little addition to the set.

A parody of a mockery of a spoof, My Name Is Bruce tries too hard to be too many things. It fails as action flick, comedy or anything else it might desire. The DVD provides generally good picture and audio along with extras marred by too many jokey elements. This is a generally positive DVD but the movie doesn’t go anywhere.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.8333 Stars Number of Votes: 6
25:
24:
1 3:
12:
01:
View Averages for all rated titles.

.
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main