MULVA 2: KILL TEEN APE! (DVD)

4 Stars
Year Released: 2005
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 62 minutes
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Chris Seaver is, perhaps, the perfect filmmaker to parody Tarantinos “Kill Bill”, because truth be told, Seaver is probably the indie film world’s closest Tarantino parallel. Both take recognizable genres and put their own undisputable signatures on them, building their own worlds around the clichés, creating new ones, and fabricating their own logic to the proceedings. For Tarantino, the trappings are crime dramas wrapped up in ‘70s pop culture and occasional bits of ultra-violence. For Seaver, its horror parody zipped up in a bubble of ‘80s pop culture with frequent bits of ultra-violence. Both directors write ample amounts of dialogue for their characters, and just as every character in a Tarantino film speaks in a similar cadence, so too do every person in a “Seavage” film. As ancient Samurai continue to interact with the modern world in Tarantinoland, teenage apes, demons and aliens coexist with the candy-obsessed geeks and living cowboys in Seaverland.

“Mulva 2: Kill Teen Ape” picks up where “Mulva: Zombie Ass Kicker” left off. Well, sort of. The candy-obsessed Mulva (previously played by Missy Donatuti) was put in a five-year sugar coma by the misogynistic simian, Teen Ape, and awakens transformed into Debbie Rochon (a running gag throughout the film). In Seaverland, comas are thereputic, and she wakes up to immediately kick the ass of Heather (who wears a Darryl Hannah eye-patch because it’s cool!). From there, Mulva embarks on a quest for revenge on those who beat her and stole her Halloween candy (namely, Teen Ape’s gang who comprise “The Rag Tag Axle Rose Swagger Dance Death Squad”).

That’s really all the plot needed for the movie (which is actually slightly more than “Kill Bill” had, come to think of it). For the rest of the nearly too-brief 62 minute running time, Mulva dons the now-familiar yellow jumpsuit (poor Bruce Lee, so ahead of his time in fashion) and hacks and slashes her way through the Low Budget Pictures realm, carving new ones for regular characters like Puggly (Lauren P. Seavage) and T-Bone (Jason McCall), taking sage advice and training from Mr. Bonejack (Seaver), who is now white due to “Michael Jackson Disease”, coming up against “The Wacky Eleventeens”, and finally the smack-talking, jive monkey himself in the movie’s climax.

While manic bloodshed is common in a Seaver flick, he seems almost giddy as he watches his stock characters bite it one-by-one (there’s a decapitation nearly every other scene) via dildo, plastic ax and (I suspect) deliberately-awful sword-fight choreography. There is an impressive amount of laugh-out-loud moments as well. All the characters speak a mixture of white-kid-doing-‘street’ slang, and it’s often hilarious, particularly in the scene where Mulva confronts “Squeaky Fromage” and her alien offspring near the beginning of the movie.

Though it’s set in “Tromaville, NJ”, just as the early “Mulva” movie, the world created by Seaver no longer feels like “Troma, Jr.” Seaver’s realm is finally a fully-crafted reality where the rules are strictly his own. So if a strange character named “Bag Head” pops up to murder another, slightly less-strange character, who are we to judge? In other films, this would feel like a cheat, but as he’s already established 21 times over, the rules for a Seaver Movie are that there are generally no rules. As we know this going in, we have no reason to complain. As the cast and crew seem to be having a good time, a griping viewer would be the only wet blanket

While “Mulva 2” follows the plot and trappings of “Kill Bill”, Seaver wisely stays away from the disjointed chronology of the latter. This is probably Seaver’s most mature work to date (say it ain’t so!). The script avoids toilet humor in favor of absurdity and character, and technically-speaking he’s never been better. The footage is usually very beautiful, shots are generally thoughtful and well-executed, and it’s lit better than any of his previous 21 productions. Above all, the sound is over-all crisp and professional, which is a drawback in many of his earlier movies (a common problem among indies). There are still some technical glitches here and there, but the end result is so gleeful and chaotic, there’s literally no time to dwell on the negative.

In all, “Mulva 2: Kill Teen Ape” is an enjoyable good time. The Tempe DVD offers two commentaries (one with the cast and one with Seaver on his own), a behind-the-scenes featurette that’s half as long as the movie, an over-long “Tribute” by Lloyd Kaufman that lets its running gag grind on too long, a “Jen-Co Syrup Commercial”, still gallery and trailers—a nice package for your bucks.



Posted on April 9, 2005 in Reviews by
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