Eye See You

tn_eyeseeyouaka D-TOX

Here’s a movie that brings a new angle to my Badass Auteur Theory. If this starred Ben Affleck or Ewan McGregor or somebody it would just be a mediocre stalker thriller from the director of I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER. But since it stars Sylvester Stallone we can only see it in the context of his body of work. It forces us to look at it as a Sylvester Stallone vehicle and compare it to CLIFFHANGER and stuff. So it has the advantage of being an interesting tangent in his filmography.

Stallone plays Jake Malloy, former city cop turned FBI agent. The wikipedia entry makes me think he was supposed to be a Seattle cop, but I didn’t pick up on that from the movie and it wasn’t filmed here. Anyway, he’s on the trail of a serial killer who targets cops. He’s been chasing this guy for 6 months but he’s not in so deep he doesn’t have a personal life. He buys an expensive ring so he can propose to his girl (Dina Meyer), so I think you know what that means. He better own a black suit.

Also in trouble: the fellas, because he goes out for beers with them. I like the scene where his old partner drunkenly calls him out, saying that if it was feds getting killed instead of cops they would’ve found this killer in a weekend. It’s tense and hurtful and then they smooth it over, but it leaves that question hanging in the air. Is he really doing enough?

So the guy kills the girl and the ex-partner. In most Stallone movies he would then disobey his superiors or even quit the force so that he could plunge himself into an obsessive quest to find the identity of the killer and participate in a cat-and-mouse game until he blows him up or fist fights him and then shoots his head off and throws him off something onto something else. In this Stallone movie he doesn’t do any of that. He just drinks himself into oblivion and goes into his garage and slits his wrists.

Luckily Malloy has a good friend in Charles S. Dutton, who plays a Charles S. Dutton type of character. He’s worried about Malloy even before the suicide attempt and afterwards finally gets him to enroll in a unique rehab program run by a former cop.

mp_eyeseeyouThe rehab is in a former military facility out in an inaccessible icy area. I think they’re going for a THE THING type of snowy isolation. I guess that way you know nobody’s gonna sneak out and get a fix. Unless their dealer’s into ice fishing.

The other patients are also messed up cops, and just like the ones back in Seattle (?) they resent Malloy for being a fed and are weirdly cruel to him about his past. This is not a supportive group at all, and do almost no therapy before they have to give up and just try to stop a killer. It would be cool if this experience turned out to really help all the survivors with their addictions so then there would be a DTV part 2 starring Cuba Gooding Jr. where they pretend to have a killer loose in order to provide a unique therapy but then one time there’s a real killer again.

Anyway, this has a good cast: Kris Kristofferson is the head of the place, Tom Berenger is the maintenance man, patients include Robert Patrick (still slim but more muscular than in T2), Stephen Lang, Sean Patrick Flanery, Courtney B. Vance and Jeffrey Wright.

I always like seeing Jeffrey Wright. Here he’s a twitchy junkie with a big ugly scar on his cheek from trying to blow his brains out and, I guess, holding the gun crooked. I wish they let him chew as much scenery as in SHAFT 2000, but at least he gets a couple bites.

As you might guess, this isn’t a serious drama about recovery. People start turning into bodies, and it seems like it’s the same killer that Malloy failed to catch on the outside. How the fuck did he get in here? It’s an Agatha Christie which-one-is-the-killer type deal, but unfortunately most of the characters aren’t really compelling enough to get you real involved in the mystery and care which one dun it. And although it’s Jim Gillespie directing he doesn’t really have a slasher movie approach, doesn’t give the shadowy-faced killer an iconic look or do any clever kills. You mostly see the gruesome aftermath – more SEVEN than FRIDAY THE 13TH, but not quality-wise.

At the same time he doesn’t let it turn into a full-on Stallone style action movie. One welcome exception (SPOILER): Malloy overhead presses the killer and body slams him onto some spikes.

By the way: slasher movie that takes place partly at a gym, the characters are all body builders, title is DEADLIFT. Go ahead and take it, but I get an executive producer and “story by” credit.

The stalker thriller that takes place inside the rehab is what makes this stand out from other Stallone vehicles, but the part before that is what makes the movie almost work for me. I like the emotion Stallone puts into his performances when he’s serious about them, and this one’s unique because he’s playing such a moper. He’s seriously damaged and depressed, and not hiding it. He hangs back and stays quiet most of the time in the rehab, he doesn’t play alpha-male and try to be the center of attention… for a while. But when he realizes that this might be the guy who killed his wife he goes through a transformation, or he wakes up, and he goes into FBI agent mode, investigating and giving commands and getting asked the ol’ “who put you in charge?” and all that.

I also like his friendship with Dutton. Malloy doesn’t reciprocate, but Dutton is such a positive guy he goes way out of his way to look out for his buddy. Not just in bringing him to rehab, but then he hangs around in the area and travels on foot through a dangerous snow storm when he thinks his friend might be in trouble. I was touched by his dedication to Malloy’s well-being, and also in suspense to find out if he was gonna end up getting Scatman Crothered. It’s too bad that the stalking stuff going on inside the facility isn’t as successful as that subplot.

A word about the title. It’s EYE SEE YOU because the guy is spying on him and leaves him messages that say “I C U” and stuff. But also he drills people in the eyes. So it’s ‘Eye’ instead of ‘I’, you know? Yeah. Shitty title.

Well, it wasn’t the original title. Most of you in other countries probly know it as D-TOX. I don’t get that either. Why not DETOX? Does the ‘D’ stand for something? Is the ‘D’ for ‘Dangerous’? What do you people have against the letter ‘E’?

The book it’s based on is called Jitter Joint. That’s probly explained in the book.

The name change was part of the movie’s unenthusiastic release in the U.S. It was filmed in 1999 and wasn’t released until 2002, and on only 788 screens, where it made about $80,000. It would’ve been Stallone’s next movie after COP LAND, but it was delayed so long that GET CARTER and DRIVEN came out first. There was alot of hype about COP LAND reinvigorating his career, but instead he just went into this period of not very well-received, not very widely seen movies. But I’m happy to see that this is not a terrible movie, it does have some interesting things to it. It just didn’t work out.

That could be a tagline for DEADLIFT maybe. “He just didn’t work out,” and it shows a guy with a barbell stuffed in his mouth, real gory, like the HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME poster. Or “He could’ve used a spotter.” Something like that. Think about it. Coming soon.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 13th, 2013 at 8:16 am and is filed under Reviews, Thriller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

26 Responses to “Eye See You”

  1. Deadlift is incredible.
    They find out the killer is using a stash of steroids to rage out so they also use steroids to rage out The Rager.
    The meta is they’re turning themselves into monsters to catch a monster.
    So really they’re all monsters. It’s an outrage.

    To save money have a chase on a treadmill or if you’re real fancy an elliptical.

  2. The Black White Shadow

    February 13th, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Clearly, the killer from ‘Deadlift’ should use a flamethrower as his weapon of choice. So the tagline can be ‘feel the burn’…

  3. When the movie was released, I remember how “critic” Hans-Ulrich Pönack (Our Armond White, only with regular TV appereances and acting like Louis DeFunes on crack, when he is talking about a movie) totally ripped it a new one, saying that the movie is disgustingly ultra-violent, people get slaughtered non-stop and he just doesn’t want to see shit like that on screen.
    He also claimed that the first LOTR movie was awful and WAY too violent. But for any reason he fucking loved SHOOT ‘EM UP, claiming that it leaves you screaming for more.

  4. I think the slasher should just be impossibly huge, like how Kelley Jones used to draw Bane in the Batman comics. Maybe he grafts or absorbs the muscles of his victims, making them look like puny, weiner versions of their former selves. I suddenly have an interest in seeing this. He needs a backstory. Someone run with this.

  5. DEADLIFT

    “Your pain is his gain…”

    SUMMER 2014

  6. Caught this on Netflix Instant a while back and really liked the first half, the Alien3/The Thing style setting, Stallone’s subtle performance, and of course the joy of watching a TON of genre vets and dependable actors sharing the screen. This is seriously an incredible assemblage we have here.

    But the cast is also kind of the problem – there’s way too many characters/red herrings going on, and if I remember correctly, Stallone actually gets to the D-tox center 30-something minutes in to a 90 minute movie – the murder/suspense scenes feel rushed and busy when they should be drawing us in.

    Entertainment Weekly strangely gave a shout-out to this movie recently where they pointed out the awesomeness/awfulness of Stallone’s final one-liner – “I see you……Do you see……THIS?????”

  7. Maybe the killer could turn the exercise machines into saw style traps but our intrepid hero uses free weights.

  8. well at least everyone will be fit. even if they’re dead.

  9. Deadlift sounds amazing. I’m pumped for this.

  10. You guys know ABKing the internet movie forum Sly/Arnold fanatic? I remember he and I were like the only people who were anticipating this one on the cinescape boards back in the late 90′s.

    This movie tested so bad back then that it was pushed back over and over again and then delayed forever. It became like another project by an artistic entertainment legend that used the word Detox as a title reference point. It never came out you just heard ghost stories about it. Then it eventually went DTV but like Vern said at that point after DRIVEN and GET CARTER burn out I no longer really cared.

    To this day I never saw it despite looking forward to it initially.

  11. The original Paul

    February 14th, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Broddie – I might be the only person on the forum who’s seen “D-Tox”, as it was called then, and all I can say is: don’t bother. I thought the idea of a locked-in slasher mystery movie starring a bunch of middle-aged male character actors from various action movies was the kind of genius idea that they couldn’t fuck up. One problem: they did. The execution of this one is just terrible. I went in as a fan of mystery, suspense, and action films. On all three counts it failed utterly to deliver.** Great premise, rotten execution. I would love to see something like this done well, but that movie is not “D-Tox”.

    I would totally watch “Deadlift”. Three times.

    **It suffers also from the classic bad mystery movie problem: you will see every twist coming a mile away, but you won’t care.

  12. I was originally psyched by the idea of Stallone and Berenger doing a movie together, but Tom is totally wasted, in a twist ending he should have been revealed as the killer so he and Sly could fight it out, but Tom is not even a red haring, he’s just a victim. So that was a disappointment and a missed opportunity.

  13. Deadlift could have a young Arnie-like character who tries to hide from an embarrassing porn past, only it’s a set-up to a joke that all the body builders tried to get movie careers by starting out in porn.

  14. Are you sure about the US release? I don’t recall it ever getting released or screening.

  15. I heard that the release had no publicity that it just kinda showed up one day, like Death Wish V did years earlier. Anyway I did see this in a theater with my dad who is a serious Stallone nut, I think we are two of the three people who saw “An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn”.

  16. The original Paul

    February 15th, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Shawn – I’m the third person. It’s bizarre and somewhat schizophrenic, but it’s hardly as bad as everybody makes it out to be. In my personal opinion.

  17. DEADLIFT sounds kind of similar to a cheesetastic 80s slasher called KILLER WORKOUT (aka AEROBI-CIDE), only that one has a distinct emphasis on lithe young women doing aerobic routines in spandex, then getting stabbed to death with a very large safety pin. It’s really, really fucking terrible and you should all see it as soon as possible.

  18. Jericho— I thought you were being facetious about Killer Workout, but no, there it was, listed on IMDb. In the message board section for that movie, someone mentioned a different movie titled Bruce Lee Fights Back From The Grave (1976). A martial arts movie without Bruce Lee or even Bruce Le or Bruce Li, but one wag/genius on that movie’s message board had THIS to say about it:

    “I dare say, this is the worst movie I’ve ever seen.
    Which, of course, means I must watch it again ^^”

    Naturally, I ordered the DVD copy of it without thinking twice. Thanks for the (peripheral) tip.

  19. Don´t do it,Larry!! The title is funnier than the movie. The movie has nothing to do with the title. if you want to watch a disastrous but funny as fuckfunny Bruceploitation, I recommend FIST OF FEAR, TOUCH OOF DEATH. You won´t believe it, until you´ve seen it…

  20. Vern, it’s like you’re doing a retrospective of my filmography as an office PA, with Camouflage, 6th Day and now Eye See You: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0956843/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
    Let me know when you get to Wrinkle in Time. Good luck finding it.

    I remember while I was on Detox, talking to the editor that this was a horror film. He kept telling me they avoided that label — horror films at that time were still considered the leper of film genres. This was before the renaissance of the mid-2000′s. Remember that golden era?

    At any rate, I have a vague memory that Detox was supposed to have taken place in Portland, but it’s been a while. I have no idea why they called it D-Tox either, but it kept going from that to Detox — I’ve got free swag that says both titles, I

    If you get to reviewing Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked and see my name, please have mercy. I’ve got kids to feed and a high-priced mortgage.

  21. Vern— Really? Dammit, dammit, DAMMIT! I should’ve known a martial arts movie aficionado like yourself already had that review notch carved on his [black] belt. That’s a straight-up Simple Jack move on my part. At least I have your review to look forward to after doing penance by watching this turd.

    Shoot— Point taken and followed through. I just ordered a copy of FOF,TOD from Amazon. I’ve always found your action movie acumen to be solid, but I gotta watch that non-Bruce Lee trainwreck at least once.

  22. Larry -Thanks for the trust! FIST OF FEAR, TOUCH OF DEATH is a bizarre Bruceploitation. It´s a “movie” you need to experience so it´s hard to explain why. Just don´t expect a traditional narrative or even anything like an average kung fu film. Just expect so bad it´s good.

  23. FIST OF FEAR TOUCH OF DEATH is on YouTube: Good times! ( or…well…)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHdYwerv0NE&wide=1

  24. seeing as this is a Agatha Christie inspired mystery thriller, it’ll be interesting to see how this compares to Arnold’s upcoming ‘actual’ Agatha Christie adaptation (sort of) of Ten Little Indians, that being ‘Ten’.

    Being a David Ayer directed film, its gotta have dirty cops and fragile men using bullshit machismo as a shield against the world, and being an Arnold film there’s got to be at least a little bit of machine gunning of worthless punks and some quipping. I don’t know how the hell Ten Little Indians gets remade into a modern day action thriller, but I sure am eager to see them try.

    I mean, that would really defeat the purpose of the “we don’t know who among us is killing us and we can’t stop it” premise of the original if everybody in the isolated manor, opps, I mean drug lord’s stash house, is a heavily armed somebody. Maybe it’ll be like Walter Hill’s Southern Comfort and only the good guys have blanks in their guns, or something. Ah, they’ll figure it out.

    I hope this becomes a theme amongst the Expendables cast, where everyone is involved in at least one classic mystery premise that gets action-ed up for today’s audience. That way, actual most famous Belgium citizen Jean Claude Van Damme can play the most famous fictional Belgium dude. “Van Damme is Hercule Poriot, in Murder on the Orient Express” where he solves the murder and rescues his daughter from the terrorists in the newly added subplot. I’m telling you it can work.

  25. The Original... Paul

    February 19th, 2013 at 6:19 am

    Arnold is doing “Ten Little Indians”? HOLY SHIT! Best… premise… EVER. (And ok, that didn’t do so well in D-Tox – in fact, D-Tox is a terrible movie – but I have hopes.)

    And you know what – it can’t be any worse than the majority of television adaptations of Christie’s work. I know this is kind of off-topic for this forum, but I just find those things SO condescending and SO obviously tailored for what the producers “think” her elderly fanbase (never mind that I and a lot of my friends grew up addicted to those novels, so there’s a lot of younger fans out there) would want. So all the lead female characters become token “damsels in distress”, despite the fact that Christie herself absolutely hated this kind of character.

    And likewise, all the “nasty” characters get blunted and “sentimentalised”, again, despite the fact that Christie absolutely hated this kind of sentiment; most of the characters who extolled it would turn out to be either hypocrites or killers. So the killer in “4:50 from Paddington”, who in the book is a particularly vicious manipulator who kills three people for money and plans on killing others, in the TV adaptation ends up begging forgiveness from a victim’s sister and claiming “I did it for love”. Bleugh.

    So yeah, the idea of an Arnie-starring action thriller based off the premise of “Ten Little Indians” just hits my sweet spot. Maybe a group of witnesses for a trial of a world-famous terrorist or drug lord, forced to go on the run after they’re betrayed; but when they arrive at the safe house, they start dying. And of course they’re still being hunted by the terrorist / drug lord… something like that.

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