I think I’ve never seen a movie like this. Mutant Chronicles is this weird blend of steampunk, noir, and science fiction. And on top of it all, it’s taking place in a setting eerily reminiscent of World War I. This is a movie based on a role-playing game as such it features a rather cool and stylish environment. I don’t want to say style-over-substance but I’m gonna say it anyways. You will feel like you’re watching some modern black metal video, like one of the Behemoth’s masterpieces. It’s a very atmospheric movie, counting on this odd blend of motives to make up for all the other flaws.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that this is also a post-apocalyptic movie. The thing I liked most about Mutant Chronicles is the corporate angle. It gave it an almost cyberpunk flavor along with pretty good visuals for a B movie. Yes, sadly this is one of those science fiction B movies but I think it’s one of the better ones. Grossly underrated, it will have its five minutes of glory in the coming decades. I remember watching so many post-apocalyptic and cyberpunk movies from the eighties that were dismissed at the time of their release.
Also, you can bet your sweet ass that there will be glorious graphic violence here. The fights and shootouts are quite brutal and the mutants are truly terrifying. The quality of special effects varies from scene to scene. One can look light it’s from the latest blockbuster while the next one could be utterly horrible. The same goes for the locations we will be visiting. There was some camera shaking but nothing major.
Welcome to the world of grim tomorrow! Four huge corporations rule the world constantly fighting for dominion over it. In this mess, ordinary men and women are the ones who suffer. However, things got worse as an ancient machine buried deep in the Earth is now active. It started creating these mutants who have a huge blades instead of an arm and are bloodthirsty. A few chosen heroes now must venture underground and destroy this infernal contraption.
A nice setup, don’t you think? As a fan of noir, Thomas Jane spearheaded this project with help from another face that’s easy to remember: Ron Perlman’s. If you haven’t checked out his movie Dark Country, it would make for a fine watching after Mutant Chronicles. Movies like this require a huge amount of time dedicated to writing the setting and characters. Since this is such a strange world, there were endless possibilities to tie together some of the elements that, on their own, were not so interesting.
The whole concept of steam-powered machines, unconventional firearms, and mutants is immensely exciting, but all these things were only brushed upon. In the end, Mutant Chronicles is a grossly underrated B-movie gem that you’ll remember as that stylish but also flawed movie quite like none other. And if you’re looking for a similar story, you can always play through the video game Dead Space. It also features mutants, machines and other stuff. And there’s a movie out Dead Space: Downfall.
Director: Simon Hunter
Writer: Philip Eisner
Cast: Thomas Jane, Ron Perlman, John Malkovich, Anna Walton, Steve Toussaint, Roger Ashton-Griffiths
Fun Facts: John Malkovich shot his role in two days.