I recently saw a movie that changed my life completely. Prior to watching it, I thought I knew what a bad movie was. I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of them. Maybe even thousands. Nothing could have prepared me for Catch 44, though. The positive side is I can now go to any movie confident that I will like it at least a little bit. “At least it wasn’t Catch 44,” I’ll say to myself, while enjoying a chuckle at the old me. The me of last week. The one who somehow managed to sit through that entire movie (to my credit, I did fall asleep for part of it, but sleep is a cruel mistress and I was only out for a few minutes) and lived to talk about it. I’ve done a little nosing around on the ‘net and I’ve discovered that many people tried to be forgiving of this movie, which is a grave mistake. Even those who ripped into it did so tastefully and seemingly with the concern that anyone who was involved in the production of the film (All six of the high school students in that English Media class and Bruce Willis) would read it and have terribly hurt feelings. I’m not that guy. I’m diabetic, so I’ll leave that sugar-coating for some glucose-crazed liars. It’s time to get serious.
First of all, I have to say that nothing makes me appreciate Quentin Tarantino more than watching a bunch of doorknob hacks try their hardest to rip his style off and proving that he makes the money he does for a reason. This movie starts with a group of “tough” girls sitting at a booth at a restaurant, trying their damnedest to sound like strong female leads from any of Tarantino’s movies. Their “witty banter” is really just Someone Who Doesn’t Like To Read’s idea of what witty banter is. Within the first minute of the movie you’re instantly hoping everyone dies, even yourself before the movie can continue further. After this blatant style rip-off we’re all in store for a shootout. If you have to take a leak at this point or you fell asleep like I did, or maybe you want to make sure your socks are all sorted, it doesn’t really matter. This same shootout scene happens something like six times in the movie. It’s not like it starts further into the shootout, either. It starts at the exact same place every time. Don’t get yourself thinking it’s a particularly good shootout, either. It’s just a person shooting another person, then getting shot, then the person who shot them gets shot, rinse, lather, cry yourself to sleep.Bruce Willis has a reputation for being a douchebag to work with and, as my good buddy Sly put it, he’s greedy and lazy. Catch 44 is the definition of greedy and lazy, so Willis was obligated by nature to work on this film. I use the word “work” in the loosest sense of the word. Willis didn’t even call this one in. I think he had an assistant call it in for him with a recording of Bruce throwing up his dignity for an hour and a half. Is he supposed to be on drugs in this movie? Maybe he just threw that in as a bonus. Willis’ character is.. a guy. It’s really hard to define him as anything other than that. A stupid guy, maybe? Certainly a boring guy. A guy who wished people still wanted to see Die Hard movies. Oh wait! I forgot his character has way more dimension than that! I was just looking at pictures from the movie and I can also say, for sure, that his character is a guy with some weird spots on one side of his face. Unless they were explained during the blissful period I was asleep, they are mystery spots. You haven’t seen this kind of depth since the last time you looked at a poster. Luckily no other Big Names made the mistake of.. wait.. that wasn’t Forest Whitaker, was it? Forest Whitaker doing four completely different accents for seemingly no reason? Well, apparently it was Mr Whitaker, throwing caution, and perhaps his career, to the wind. I can only imagine what he did in a previous life to deserve this. Maybe he was an atomic bomb? Whitaker takes the completely idiotic role he is given and tries his hardest to run with it, but he’s not a miracle worker and this isn’t Make A Wish. His purpose in this movie is to really show you how bad this movie is. If he were not a part of the cast your brain would become so used to garbage that it might be a little forgiving of it. Seeing someone actually trying to act in this movie puts it all in perspective. My favourite part about his character is that he kills a cop so he can steal his car and uniform for literally no reason at all. It has no bearing on the plot other than him pulling the girls over and acting like a fucking creep. I guess I have a hard time identifying with someone who kills police officers just so they can assume their position and pull people over to ask them stupid questions. Bonus Points if you notice Whitaker spends a good two minutes screwing a silencer to his pistol out in the woods where no one will hear the shot, only to confirm this fact by firing the gun at full volume. Every time said gun is fired afterwards it actually is silenced.
I guess we should get around to “the plot” because the people who made the movie never did. The girls (I can’t remember their stupid names, it really doesn’t matter) have been working for Willis’ character doing all sorts of “missions” that they’re really awesome at. We know this because they tell it to us repeatedly. We never actually get to see them being good at anything, and when it comes time for the big shootout (all six times) they put on a show that is worthy of the circus. There’s no such thing as spoiling this movie, but if you’re a masochist and you want to watch it as Satan intended then you should probably stop reading right now. One of them gets up and points a gun at the woman behind the bar and tells her not to move. The other two girls have their own firearms out and are covering the rest of the bar. Somehow, directly in front of Bimbo #1, the woman behind the bar grabs a shotgun and shoots her in the stomach. She had ONE old lady to cover and she lost a duel where she had a handgun pointed in the woman’s face, and the woman had to pull a shotgun out from under the bar, cock it, and then fire it into the Bimbo’s stomach. I’m reminded of the Far Side comic where ol’ Morty gets shot by the sloth.Bimbo #1’s sister is a little upset about this turn of events (I’m not being facetious here; her sister is blown away in front of her and she gets a little bit angry) and starts the formula I previously described. Then we cut back to before the shootout so we can learn more back story on the people we just saw die. I might be the only one in this instance who doesn’t give a shit about characters who are already dead when they died so stupidly, but you can’t rip Tarantino off without going back and forth in time, enriching the story more with each pass. They’re supposed to be there to kill some cocaine runners who are competition for Willis, but that’s just a cover for the fact that they fucked up on their last mission (it’s hard to imagine what that fuck up was, given they’re all still alive and the current fuck up is a complete amateur bloodbath) and they’re going to be silenced now before they tell anyone to escape before the movie can end.
After many people get shot, Willis shows up with a bag full of money for no apparent reason and gets shot by one of the girls (the non-sister) who has already been shot in the stomach and is bleeding very badly. It’s also very likely her system has gone septic, due to the bullet passing through her intestines. So Old Shitgut shoots Willis and gets in his car and drives away with the money. Even though she’s probably going to die in the next five minutes and her fingerprints are all over a bar with something to the tune of fifteen dead people in it, we can only assume greener pastures lie ahead. For everyone involved, because this is the moment where the movie ends.
If you can watch Catch 44 without saying “what the fuck?” at least once then it’s probably because you don’t speak English and you shouldn’t be reading this review. This isn’t even one of those really funny “good” bad movies, like Leprechaun. It doesn’t make you laugh at how bad it is. It makes you afraid for the world. If you watch this movie, then sit down for a few after the fact, ask yourself this: How many people had to say, “That sounds like a good idea!” in order for this travesty to be released. Hundreds? Thousands? How many people heard the dialogue and said, “Yeah, that’s way over my head so it must be smart!”? I mean, if it was made by Adam Sandler that would at least make sense. Who threw money into this hole and thought they’d get some back? Catch 44 is so aptly named it hurts. No matter what you do this movie will make you pay for it, and double. Do yourself a favour and watch anything with a better story. Like Power Rangers. Or Street Fighter: the Movie.