In the tradition of splatstick classics like “Dead Alive” and “Bad Taste” comes Kit Ryan’s “Botched”, a seriously silly horror/comedy that has more in common with “Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein” than “Evil Dead 2”.
Stephen Dorff stars as Ritchie, a professional thief working off his family’s debt to Russian mob boss, Mr. Groznyi (played by Sean Pertwee). When Ritchie loses the loot from a botched diamond heist, Groznyi assigns him a new task to pay off his debt; rob an antique cross from the penthouse of a Moscow apartment building.
Ritchie is teamed with Boris and Yuri, a pair of bumbling brothers with wildly different personalities - Boris is murderous sociopath, while Yuri is a mealy-mouthed man child – and the trio embark on their caper disguised as exterminators. The cross is recovered, but not before Boris has a chance to kill a cleaning lady, thus blowing the crew’s cover, and forcing Ritchie to alter their escape plan. The crew end up taking an elevator full of people “hostage”, and on their way down to the lobby, the elevator stops on the 13th floor, dumping them all on what appears to be an abandoned level of the building. It’s not long, however, before the nefarious nature of the thirteenth floor is revealed, as, one by one, hostages and thieves alike become pawns in a twisted family’s game to hide their ancient secret.
Filled with gags ranging from hand puppet rats to a seemingly indestructible former Soviet Special Forces officer who now serves as the world’s most gung-ho security guard (ho ho), Botched is the kind of movie that is probably best watched in groups, and under the influence of substantial amounts of alcohol. It’s so over-the-top in every way – from its geysers of blood and Benny Hill style chase scenes set to the seemingly endless barrage of innuendo and bawdy one-liners –that I think it would be best appreciated in the same state of mind that one can only imagine Kit Ryan was in when he conceived the film (not to mention the state of mind of the studio execs he pitched it to).
Botched just didn’t work for me. Sure, I chuckled a few times, but it was of the uncomfortable variety; the sort of laughter I usually reserve for desperate comedians drowning in flop sweat. Some of the gags work okay (hence the one skull rating), but the majority fall flatter than Kate Moss lying on her back. Ryan lobs the jokes in such rapid succession that the humor works about…oh…2% of the time, and, when the jokes don’t stick, the director lazily opts for ludicrous amounts of gore. It’s all very crude, tedious, and, on occasion, downright grating.
The DVD from Warner Brothers is a frills-free affair, offering not so much as a trailer. The transfer is serviceable, but I noticed a fair amount of motion blur in the opening heist sequence, as well as some digital crush in dimly lit interiors. Audio is also fairly unremarkable. Dialogue is clear and up front, but, overall, the surround mix struck me as being a little flat and one dimensional.
This one's been sitting around in a pile under my desk for a few years now, and I'm actually sort of bummed out that I watched it. It's obvious that Kit Ryan and his crew really had fun making Botched, and I just feel all sorts of bad for hating on it like I am. Heck, I’ll even admit I’m probably one of the worst guys to review this sort of flick as I stopped laughing at shit like this before I sprouted my first pubes.
What can I say? I’m a gloomy fucking Gus.
Still, once they started in with the sped-up Benny Hill running gags and goofy ass Russian circus music, I’d pretty much already made up my mind about Botched.
The thing is, I know there are a lot of folks out there who eat this stuff right up, so if you think you’ve got a sunnier disposition than me, and ridiculously excessive gore and really broad, silly, humor sounds good to you then, by all means, give Botched a look. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.