To the film’s credit, the fights are suspenseful insofar as you have no idea who’s going to win the bout, but the problem here is that suspense only works, if you actually care about whomever it is that you’re watching. When the shambling remains of a resurrected mummy does battle with some dull lady-vampire archetype, the execution is intended to have us on the edge of our seat. Lamentably, your mind will drift off to happy-land, or you’ll start thinking about naked ladies. When you snap back, you’ll remember that you were promised something offbeat and strange – something that was supposed to capitalize on the opportunity that it was given.
Then it hits you; you’ll never get to see the crazy, over-the-top display of movie icons going absolutely bonkers – or at the very least, being more creative with the wrestling moves that they’ve chosen as their repertoire. Sadly, an idea like this can only be done once. And this is it. It’s not particularly horrible – it just could have been much more entertaining.
Remember Hobo with a Shotgun? Well, imagine if it was literally about a hobo with a shotgun who kind of fights stereotypical movie muggers and then goes to sleep. Imagine if the uber-violent teen gangs were never there to begin with. Imagine the ultra-quotable dialogue being written solely to move things along, and imagine all of the CGI being very conspicuously done through Adobe After Effects.
It’s a depressing thought, it is. It’s enough to make a guy strap himself with dynamite, get up on stage for this year’s American Idol auditions, and then blow himself to smithereens on national television.
“It’s the let-down of the century!”
That being said, there are some comedic elements to be found, mostly supplied by two color commentators played by Dave Foley and Art Hindle. Because they’re stuck commentating onmovie clichés kicking the crap out of one another, we’re treated to gems like:
“Oooh a brutal kick to the face of the glutinous Swamp Gut.”
“Alright, let’s get these two bastards into the ring.”
Alternatively, we get Jimmy Hart playing himself, but his bits of entertainment are pretty much hit or miss.
There’s really not much to say about Monster Brawl, and that in itself might be what’s so disappointing. It seems like writer/Jesse T. Crook made the film based on the assumption that the premise alone is enough to hold your attention and just kind of left it at that. Now, I know it’s a might pretentious to chastise a movie for what it’s not, but this was a golden opportunity to revel in the trash that a title like this would entail. Instead, we just get wrestling matches between guys dressed up as mummies ‘n’ shit. It’s the sort of thing that is intended to be watched with an ensemble of your closest homies, and a copious supply of beer at hand. Apparently, it was not meant for stuffy critics, with hallucinogenic proclivities.
Imagine a friend of yours came up to you and said:
“Hey, you like cake, right? I mean, you really like it, right?”
And you’re like “Yeah.”
“Well, have I got a surprise for you, man! Wait right here! Don’t move, broheim!”
And then he brings you a plain vanilla, one-layer cake with one layer of icing-from-a-can with no pursuit at decoration or effort.
“See? It’s cake! Just like I promised! You like cake!”
Yep, that’s pretty much Monster Brawl, for you. It’s the cinematic equivalent to that one kid in school who has the potential for high marks and excellence, but scrapes by with 60s because that’s really all you need to get by.