Bruiser - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Bruiser Reviews

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Super Reviewer
July 18, 2017
You know, I mentioned George Romero in my review for Speech and Debate. I mentioned him because, in the context of that review, I was talking about how I hate public speaking. But, in school, the best oral report I ever gave was on Mr. Romero. I posted that review the day prior to Romero's death and it's just weird to me to be writing this review right now, knowing that one of my favorite horror filmmakers has passed away. Romero, in a way, helped me overcome that fear of speaking in public because I knew his career so damn well. You see, the thing about George, and why I believe he still remains influential, is the fact that he was one of the first people in horror to look at the genre as something more than shock entertainment. His films explored themes relevant to the society of his time. He will forever be known to the mainstream horror audience as being the grandfather of the zombie genre, which has grown in popularity exponentially, he will be forever valued for legitimizing the horror genre in the eyes of naysayers by exploring themes that many would never have expected to associate with the genre. This is why I decided to watch one of his movies tonight, in honor of the man. I didn't wanna watch any 'Of the Dead' movies simply because that is what he is most known for. Sadly, however, I'm only limited to what Netflix (which had nothing from Romero) and Amazon Prime. So that, obviously, limited my choices. If either of these services had Creepshow, I would have watched that again, I fucking love Creepshow. I, eventually, decided on this one (only three movies were available, I believe). I honestly wish I could have picked one of his better movies to pay tribute to the man, cause this movie was...missing something. By this point of Romero's career, while he's still influential, he has seen better days in terms of commercial and, maybe, even creative success. Really, at this point, Romero doesn't really need to get up to work if he doesn't want to, he's got nothing left to prove. But, for some reason, he decided that he needed to make this film. And it didn't make a dent in the slightest. Though, to be fair, horror at this time (2000) wasn't exactly in the best of spots, so I don't think this film with its limited budget and slight story could have made much of an impact anyway. I'd say that this is a decent movie, at best. That might be generous to some, but there are some things that I legitimately like about the film. For example, it has a darkly comedic tone, which I wasn't expecting. Plus Peter Stormare was entertaining in his role. The film has some interesting ideas about a man that is simply stepped on by everyone around him. This mask gives him the confidence to stand up to the people he feels have wronged him. Of course, this sticking up for himself manifests itself through murder, but what can you do? I also like the idea that they play with (at least for a bit) in that, maybe, the effects of this mask are psychological. It is teased that Henry's mask has attached itself to his face and he cannot remove it. But, again, psychologically speaking, this mask gave Henry the courage to stand up to himself. If he removes the mask, he might lose that courage. Jason Flemyng is very good in his role. He doesn't give an award-winning performance, but he's more than solid here. The problem I have with the film is that it just has a cheap look and feel to it. Again, I know I've said that the budget doesn't matter as long as a film is good, but this just screams direct-to-video and the quality of some scenes is really weak. Like, for example, the whole scene at the costume party at this underground club was so fucking hokey. It's completely in contrast to the rest of the film. Some of the dialogue was cringe-worthy and the audio was just weird. It's just a really bad chunk of the film. Bad enough that it ended up downgrading this from 2.5 to 2 stars. How was the gore? Let's just say forgettable and, to me, there's actually very little, if any, of it. I think the limited budget put the kibosh on having a lot of gore. And that might not have been Romero's goal anyway, maybe Romero's goal was to tell a story. If that was his goal, then his did an OK job, at best. The story of a man who's pushed too far has been told many times before and Romero brings nothing new to the table. It's basic and elements of it feel like an old 40s noir movie mixed in with some pulp. It's just a strange movie and not in the good way, where you're compelled by it. Again, the darkly comedic tone helped, but there's just something about this that's off-putting (outside of the costume party that I already mentioned). Romero's influence on horror will continue to be felt for generations to come, but this is clearly not his best film, I think even Romero himself would have admitted that. You will be missed, kind sir, thank you very much for the years of great horror.
December 23, 2016
Overall it was a pretty good movie. The plot is interesting, and delivers a good amount of action. Wasn't perfect, but definitely worth my time.
May 13, 2015
A great lost film. More of a character study than a horror film. But excellent nonetheless.
January 5, 2015
Don't disappoint me. I've been disappointed enough.

A man slaving in corporate America is in love with his asshole boss's wife and his wife won't leave him despite the boss obviously cheating on her. The man is in a miserable marriage where even she doesn't respect him. The man wakes up one day with a white mask on his face and much ambition pumping through his veins. He uses this blank face to take revenge on those who have wronged him.

"If I could fuck a car, I'd never leave my garage."

George Romero, director of Night of the Living Dead, Day of the Dead, Dawn of the Dead, The Crazies, The Dark Half, Monkey Shines, Creepshow, and Knightriders, delivers Bruiser. The storyline of this film is okay but the film felt very 80s and low budget. The film wasn't overly well written and the acting was average. The cast includes Jason Flemying, Peter Stormare, Leslie Hope, Nina Garbiras, Andrew Tarbet, and Tom Atkins.

"I may be a loser, but I know exactly what to do with an extension cord."

Bruiser is a movie I grabbed off Netflix because it is directed by the horror legend George A. Romero and I had never see it. This thriller was fairly mediocre and not on par with The Crazies or similar psychological takes on character situations Romero has historically delivered so well. Overall, this is only worth seeing if you're a Romero diehard.

"Your taste is in your ass."

Grade: C-
½ December 15, 2014
Strange but not overly successful, this tale of a man who becomes faceless only to get noticed rarely gets into gear, and features a ridiculously overwrought performance by Peter Stomare
½ November 27, 2014
This isn't a bad idea for a movie, but it's not well executed. The main character never really emerges as anything beyond a broad sketch of a character, so it's really difficult to care what happens to him. Peter Stormare's villain is ridiculously over the top. That works for him in some films ... not here. This marks the beginning of a serious slump that Romero just hasn't been able to pull himself out of. At least it's not a zombie film ... there's that.
½ August 27, 2014
Bruiser is a B movie masterpiece from one of the greats.
½ 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.
½ May 7, 2014
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
March 13, 2014
A strong start that, by the final act, becomes derailed from flow and becomes a jokey dramatic mess.
½ February 23, 2014
Off horror film about a man who fantasizes about killing himself and others...he has a shitty life, a bitchy wife who openly gives his asshole boss a handjob at a party...and he just takes it. Then one morning he wakes up with no face and decides to kill everyone who pissed all over him. It's a weird horror film from George A. Romero, who having gone through zombies, witches, vampires, zombies, Jekyll & Hyde tales, and zombies...decides to try his hand at a slasher film. It is okay, it isn't as bad as I was lead to believe, but it isn't all that great either. Peter Stormare is irritating as hell in this I usually like him, but his character is awful in this. The party at the end is ridiculous, and seems a little too over the top.
½ November 26, 2013
You'd expect more from Romero.
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.
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.
½ June 12, 2013
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.
½ December 28, 2012
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.
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