Year Released: 2003
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 97 minutes
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For a while there, who wasn’t poking fun at “The Matrix”? Late night TV, cartoons, my little sister playing with her barbies. All you needed was a couple of characters in slick leather coats engaged in a slowed down quasi-Kung Fu fighting scene and we got the reference already. “The Helix: Loaded” is thankfully a bit more ambitious. Like any spoof, the plot loosely follows its inspiration except there are more giant rabbits, silicone implants, and Vanilla Ice. Basically, a group of urban druggies including Theo (Vanilla Ice), Chad (Dane Moreton), Swatch (Brigett Fink), Nuvo (Scott Levy), Ping (Eugene Kim) and a few others who inexplicably come and go, are in search of the ultimate drug called The Helix. While some in the group are in it strictly to get loaded, the leader, Nuvo (Levy), seeks The Helix for what it supposedly induces—Enlightenment. The motley crew’s quest is guided by the wispy Infiniti (Samantha Brooke) and Orpheum (Dana Woods). It so happens that Infiniti (Brooke) and Orpheum (Woods) are also searching for something, The Other One, a being who can take The Helix without going insane—think: the brown acid. They had found The One before, but he died in a freak boating accident. Everyone’s plan is thwarted by a trio of special agents in black suits and sunglasses, led by Agent Smak (Geremy Dingle). The agents don’t want these bumbling Enlightenment seekers to have The Helix for reasons that have something to do with American Consumer Culture and Post-Capitalist Society. But all of these agendas and quests and, really, any logic whatsoever is muddled, which yes, is apropos considering the loose ends in “The Matrix” movies, but which makes “The Helix” reminiscent of an ad for antacid—“plot plot fizz fizz.”
On the other hand, the special effects (Ryan Carter) in “The Helix” are surprisingly good. It would’ve been way too easy to just cop a couple of Matrix-style scenes, which may ultimately be what “The Matrix” is remembered for, and forget the rest of the tricks. But the effects in “The Helix” went way beyond that, in fact when Nuvo (Levy) dodges flying bullets and Theo (Ice) stops them in mid-air it looks deceptively close to the original.
But the quality of a spoof comes down to how funny and clever the jokes are and “The Helix: Loaded” just isn’t that funny. Hijacked scenes from other films sometimes feel forced and too often the characters, like overdose-king Ping (Kim), try to be funny but are mainly annoying. Nuvo (Levy) plays a dead-on, wooden Keanu Reeves and looks a hell of a lot like him, but we already know even a comedy can’t rely on that. The craziest thing about “The Helix” is Vanilla Ice (who isn’t terrible!) and I can see it becoming some underground classic because of him.
Posted on April 17, 2004 in Reviews by Sommer Browning
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