"Shut up, crime!"
With that declaration, Rainn Wilson's Crimson Bolt uses a wrench to knock some sense into evildoers. This is really, if not a great movie, at least a very interesting one, and I liked it a lot. James Gunn (of Tromeo and Juliet and Slither fame) has created a film that shows us what it would look like if an average joe dressed up as a superhero and tried to fight crime. It would be boring, it would be violent, and it would be a little insane.
Rainn Wilson, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon, Ellen Page, Michael Rooker, and Nathan Fillion star in this. If that pedigree doesn't get you to at least look at the film, then I don't know what to tell you. Rainn plays Frank, a guy who just happens to be married to Liv Tyler's Sarah. When your first thought is, "Yeah, right," it's a valid point. Especially when she leaves him for Kevin Bacon's Jacques. But we get a well-placed flashback that helps to explain a lot of the characters' decisions. And when Sarah leaves Frank, something inside him snaps. He has a vision (man, that's one wacky vision), and with some help from Nathan Fillion's Holy Avenger, Frank decides to become a superhero and get his wife back. Chaos ensues.
Of course, every superhero needs a sidekick, and the Crimson Bolt is no exception. His accomplice in do-gooding is Ellen Page's Libby aka Boltie. What makes her stand out so well is that fact that she's on a crazy train. From mild-mannered comic book store clerk, to full-blown superhero sidekick, Libby has some real mental issues to overcome, and Frank is so not the man to help with that (because of his own mental issues and all).
And it all climaxes in some incredibly brutal violence.
Make no mistake, this is a violent film. But what's unnerving about it is that it runs the whole gamut, from cartoonish to very, very real. And it constantly keeps you, as a viewer on your toes, because in one minute, you might be laughing at the fact that The Crimson Bolt just dropped a cinderblock on somebody's head, but the next minute, somebody else's legs just got crushed by a speeding car. While the movie is out to shock, it's also trying to at least have a go at giving you something to think about.
There's an awful lot of religous imagery, too. And most of the more serious scenes are given their full do (with The Holy Avenger stuff obviously played for laughs). But Frank's crisis of faith is a strong theme in the film ("Doesn't the bible say violence is wrong?" he questions after bludgeoning someone). It's contrasted nicely with Libby's gung ho attitude, and how she wants to just lay down some beatings, irregardless of criminality.
This is a film that's not for everyone, but you understand why the actors got involved in it. Ellen Page plays completely against type, and her Boltie is a thing of insane wonder (and yes, I realize I may have overused the word "insane" but what are ya gonna do?). Kevin Bacon's wife-stealing Jacques is the perfect foil to Rainn Wilson's Frank (who completely sheds his Dwight Schrute persona).
Being a real-life superhero may not be for everyone, but for the few that are called, here's a great primer on what to do, and what not to do. And just know that as a weapon, a pipe wrench will do.