• Bruiser
    2 minutes 51 seconds
    Added: May 9, 2008

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Bruiser Reviews

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Sandman1968
June 24, 2014
As a lover of the genre, I'm all for horror films that try something different or stand out as particularly ambitious. "Bruiser", however, is a major disappointment from a major talent in the field, director George A. Romero, and the biggest concern I had with most of it is that it seems to have contempt for the genre and the audience who loves it.

Nobody can fault the filmmaker for wanting to elevate the genre, but here he seems to be biting the hand that has fed him so well for decades now. This is a silly, overly arty and extremely pretentious film that thinks it has "something to say" but fails miserably in every possible respect. Whatever message it's trying to get across is lost in the sheer boredom of the whole thing, as the story and characters couldn't be more uninteresting.

Not helping the situation any is the lead performance by Jason Flemyng, who is incredibly bland even before donning his mysterious white mask. He's even worse afterwards. The tone of the film is all over the map, with the central story being very modern but a subplot involving the police investigation with Tom Atkins is weirdly old school with the music and Atkins tossing around the word "dame" all the time. The two worlds do not mesh at all.

Any hope that this would at least be redeemed by a decent ending are squashed as soon as the credits roll. It doesn't make any more sense than the rest of the film. "Bruiser" isn't bad enough to call into question Romero's talents as a filmmaker, but it is a misguided mess with precious little to like. You have to wonder what he was thinking.
February 22, 2009
Bruiser (George Romero, 2000)
[originally posted 30Nov2001]

George Romero and the Hollywood mainstream have been making moves towards compromise for almost thirty years now. Romero's been getting less graphic in relation to the rest of the world, and the rest of the world has been getting more graphic in relation to him. Because of this, it should be no surprise to anyone that some of the purists (actually, quite a few of them) have labelled Romero a sellout or worse, leading to the commercial failures of Monkey Shines (a fine movie) and The Dark Half (a... not so fine movie), and Romero's subsequent self-removal from the film world for seven long years. He returns with Bruiser, a film which never received theatrical distro in the United States. Thankfully, someone at Lion's Gate had the sense to at least put the VHS and DVD out over here in preparation for Romero's first bonafide blockbuster, an adaptation of King's The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon due out in 2002. [ed. note 2014: we still haven't seen it.]

Bruiser is another slice of Romero's favorite pie-an examination of the role of the outcast in a satirized version of society. Twenty years ago, Romero enjoyed forcing his point home with buckets of gore, but he's grown up a little these days and gone out on a limb. Bruiser is, for the most part, gore-free, leaving us to ask ourselves whether Romero's filmmaking style alone is enough to make Bruiser as relevant as Knightriders, as savage as Dawn of the Dead, and/or as heartbreaking as Martin. My answer, after a few days of reflection, is a qualified yes.

I say "qualified" because, while the subject matter is unmistakably Romero, the style of direction here is just as unquestionably Argento. This is a giallo film without the violence and with more of a backing story; Romero has replaced the gore with Argento's operatic, sweeping style of filmmaking. So the gimmick hasn't disappeared as much as it has changed.

In the new episode of Pie a la George, Everyman, known here as Henry Creedlow (Jason Flemyng, late of From Hell and every Guy Ritchie film ever made), wakes up one morning and realizes two things: a. he's losing it, and b. he may have never had it in the first place. Henry Creedlow's first morning as these revelations come to him is filled with fantasies of violent things he'd like to do to himself and others (cf. Jennifer Connelly's forking of Sean Gullette in Requiem for a Dream last year). While this is happening, he comes to realize that no one he knows actually thinks about him in anything more than a surface way, including his boss Miles (Peter Stormare, of Chocolat, 8MM, Playing God, et [many] al.), his wife Janine (Nina Garbiras, recently of the short-lived TV series "The $treet," who bears more than a passing resemblance to the "dream girl" in Argento's Tenebre), and his high school chum/stockbroker James (Andrew Tarbet, known for The Famous Jett Jackson). The two revelations eventually coalesce to turn Henry into something of a nasty bent-on-being-noticed sociopath.

Many reviews of the film seem to be panning it for relative lack of acting skills; I didn't see it that way at all. Some characters come off as artificial, but they're supposed to be, a la Argento or (as an even better example) Joe Mantegna in Mamet's House of Games. It's all part of the satire. this isn't, thankfully, society as we know it; just as the shopping mall zombies of Dawn of the Dead were American consumer culture, the shallow husks we are handed here are Hollywood power-structure culture. They're no less mindless for not being caked with blue makeup and covered with the blood of their recent meals.

Bruiser is definitely worth a look, especially if seven years of Romerolessness have had you climbing the walls. While its lack of groundbreaking psyche-related revelations don't put it in the same class as Dawn of the Dead or Martin, it's good, solid filmmaking. *** 1/2
November 3, 2013
Probably the worst Romero film, but it's still worth checking out. It starts off good and then gets super cheesy at the end.
October 28, 2013
Cheesy. I would not mind so much but this is a film by George Romero. I expect more from the king of zombie movies.
John W.
July 11, 2013
Although he, like everyone, has had missteps, Bruiser proves once more that when Romero is on, he can tell a cinematic story like no one. Less horror than psychological drama, it's a great metaphorical thriller about self.
August 12, 2012
I have definately seen worse but this is not a good film. The over acting is cringeworthy and the story is a bit ridiculous. For a horror director like Romero it must be a low point.
February 24, 2013
Not a good movie, pretty much by the numbers schlock that many had used in the thriller genre up to this point particularly in the 1990s direct to video boom. Only interesting points are the Misfits play during the climax of the movie in a live setting that will remind you of warehouse parties that were prevalent during the time this was set. I miss those parties. I will not miss efforts like these from George A. Romero.
March 22, 2008
Not a Romero film I'd recommend.
December 15, 2012
I swear this man should not be allowed to make any more movies. Honestly, this may have been the worst movie I have ever seen. I'm damned close to being ashamed, even here, to admit that I have even seen it. No wonder it went straight to beer coaster....uh...I mean, DVD.
Doom Eager
November 17, 2012
This is an exceptional movie. It is well-crafted, stylish, and engaging to the very end - indeed, evidence Mr. Romero is not only a versatile director but shows a concern with the human condition as well. This story can be interpreted in many different ways: as revenge narrative - where justice is a dish best served cold - cinema of desperation, art house, apocalyptic, etc. Whatever form it takes it leaves fear, loss, and destruction in its wake. Mr. Romero, moreover, treats his audience to a taste of the familiar: vigilante justice (our protagonist dons a cape for heaven's sake). But what about those other areas of exploration: such as, the drive for self-recognition, the nature of power and corruption, the desire for freedom and individual expression, and ultimately the will to dominate. These themes do not occur at different times or separately from one another; they are deeply intertwined, part of a larger network of being, something that is made of many parts and yet is somehow more than the combination of its parts. The film is flawed in that it romanticizes its subject and distances itself from the general character of human consciousness. It sure as hell is a lot of fun to watch, though. A surefire success.
November 12, 2012
Romero's first film in years is uneven but not without interest.
November 7, 2012
It's not bad... more action and a better developed script and it would have been awesome. Highlight seeing the band "The Misfits' appearing as them self's.
March 25, 2009
A rather ingeniously allegorical fairy tale worth telling for Romero who exposes by example the lack of significance or emotional energy not only in most of today's comatose knock-offs, but of today's shallow, vanilla status quo. It's captivating in a delirious sort of way, and very accomplished at making its point.
June 25, 2012
I would love to say that the pros and cons (there are many of both) cancel each other out and leave us with a respectably average movie. But alas, they do not. Bruiser is a mess of a film. Our protagonist is an unlikable and one-dimensional sadsack. The "high-concept" plot ultimately fails on both a cerebral and an emotional level. The acting is mostly bad and the few good performances, such as Peter Stormare's, are hampered by amateurish dialogue and sloppy direction. Even the violence seems subdued and lazy.

Its not all bad though. It is after all a movie directed by George Romero and many of his trademark touches are present. Just like in his "Dead" films Romero demonstrates an ability to look into our mundane routines and find those dangerous and disturbing aspects of our lives that we like to keep hidden. This could've been a really good movie. It just makes me sad that it wasn't.
May 28, 2012
Okay, since this is one of Romero's earlier films, it's okay...it was better than Martin. I can see why he stuck to making zombie movies.
But I'm wondering if how the mask got on and off his face, was something symbolical of the mask we wear for other people each day?
October 22, 2010
I slightly remember a guy with a blank face and watching the clock to see much longer it was until this was over. Very droll and boring affair.
Marcus W

Super Reviewer

April 10, 2012
This is a fun take on the "I'm not going to take this shit anymore, grrrr!" genre. Away from zombies, Romero has made some smart little flicks. This is one of them.
March 31, 2012
Not his best, but an interesting flick none-the-less.
juliantoepfer
October 3, 2011
Romero re-affirms my belief that he's one of the most overrated horror directors in history with this bomb.

Its exceedingly boring, unimaginative and bland. Throw in the Misfits, and you have a total garbage fest. The mask is cool, I have to give it that. A much better version of the Michael Myers mask. But thats pretty much it. Bad script, bad acting, extremely anti-climactic ending, and just totally devoid of creative expression.

A very strange performance from Peter Stormare... Out of character for him, and he clearly was out of his element. The only way I can recommend this is if you're having insomnia problems. This movie should take care of that right away.
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