Between THE AVENGERS and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES films last year it can be safely said that superhero movies made big box office bank last year and since B movies always follow closely to popular mainstream trends in film here is a new film called “CRIMSON”. This is a workable film that offers fresh take on the old downtrodden loser who gets a special, superhuman ability through mad chance/happy accident and then spends the rest of his life trying to right old wrongs, (and settle old scores).
Let us take a look at this tale of heroes, villains and one guy in a red hoodie who is at odds with everyone, but none so more than himself.
This is the story of a starving artist comic book writer named Walter Levitte who like many writers, borrows inspiration from his own downtrodden life to write his new graphic novel, it may be equally stated that the fictitious character of CRIMSON borrows a little bit from him as well especially after a violent brain injury leaves him unable to tell his own identity from that of his own imaginary red rogue, especially when he too is gifted with CRIMSON’S solitary superpower of not being able to feel pain anymore (due to severe nerve damage). Worse yet, Walter has run afoul of the Irish Mafia who has been trying to force his sister to sell her house to them and before he has even time to sew a logo on his red hoodie, Crimson is finding himself in a constant fight for survival fighting many bad guys who all stare in disbelief as their bullets and knives have little effect on Levitte in the brief seconds before he takes them out. With nowhere to hide, nowhere to run and no “normal life” to return to after his girlfriend leaves him and his publisher cancels the comic book which has literally become his existence, Levitte soon crusades not for justice, merely for revenge and as such, the ending of this while apt, may seem bittersweet for some viewers.
First the good, I liked the fact that they made Walter Levitte look like a mild mannered balding man with a beard; a man who looks like he might actually write comics for a living (except for the fact he didn’t weigh 300 pounds). Also the “special pain proof ability” of Crimson himself was equally thought out and it made you wonder why DC or Marvel hasn’t thought of it first by now. Yet after the transformation into Crimson I felt this film was lacking character development. Before you say that sounds ironically impossible by the vbasic meaning of those words, let me explain. Levitte was a sympathetic, likable character who you wanted to see somehow survive. He is replaced by a character who speaks only in a hoarse (Christian Bale) Batman impression, kills bad guys who had nothing to do to with his original injury and who wears a red hoodie as his only costume prop. I don’t want to call this boring because there are prolonged scenes of fighting, action violence and even some basic stunt work, but it just seemed kind of tedious, even though for all intents and purposes the mayhem is ratcheted up for the remainder of the films running time..
It could have been the fact that the bad guys were terribly inefficient, comically bumbling and always seemed to quarrel and threaten each other like the Three Stooges. Also, the character development for Crimson himself seemed to stop when he put on the red hoodie of infinite justice. What I wouldn’t have given for just a single scene of subtlety: a transformation/ soliloquy sequence where the main character paused for just one moment to understand his new abilities (as in every CROW film). A simple moment of introspection would have paid dividends here. Such “becoming” moments in a superhero film let the audience know that while we now know as little of this confused, tormented main character as he does himself, it is all but obvious that we are about to join him on an exciting journey of personal redemption and extreme violence. Instead what we get is a guy in a hoodie who simply refuses to die, loves killing bad guys, and it could have been so much more.
Finally, this film did wonders with what appears to be a shoestring budget but I do have to say that it bothered me how every interior location seemed to be filmed in the same slum tenement building. For most scenes this didn’t bother me. For example I didn’t mind that Levitte’s apartment looked kind of crummy, or that the Irish Mob seemed to operate out of a warehouse, but when they had a set of a police station that looked like the inside of a crack house I was simply saddened because considerable effort was put into making this film seem more expensive than it was.
They had some good ideas here and with a bigger budget they could have made something that would have been a “working man’s “ Batman with all the righteous violence and senseless brutality that both true vigilantism and Unrated films all but demands. As it stands, CRIMSON colored me mildly impressed.
Extras include some behind the scenes exposition material and a trailer vault.
CRIMSON is released March 12, 2013. Special Thanks to Independent Entertainment for the advance copy.