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Hell's Gate

review by Chad Peter



Rated: R

Running Time: 92 minutes

Starring: Patrick Muldoon, Patsy Kensit, and Amy Locane

Written by: Randall Frakes

Directed by: John Hough


Studio: Artisan

Retail Price: $24.98

Features: Theatrical Trailer, Photo Gallery

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection

Released: July 23rd, 2002



The greats of film theory must be rolling in their graves. Not Eisenstein nor Munsterberg could have conceived the idea that this is where their beloved film would be headed. For years, film theorists have dedicated their lives into shaping film into what it is. While most theorists have the comfort of speaking from "behind the desk," there are those, like Eisenstein, that put their theories to work within the films that they made.

They single-handedly built film into what it is today and kept it from becoming a simple phase or gimmick in the evolution of human history. When nickelodeons across the country were making bank on simple twenty second long films, there were the *smarter* guys and gals living sparsely around the world who were actually creating ideas of montage and intriguing film principles. Yet, why is it today that audiences are becoming this incompetant group of mindless slugs -- all of which are being forcefed this capitalist nonsense crap? The answer is simple -- The Capitalists of this and other nations are draining the film industry of everything it holds. Film is no longer about art to the general population, but rather how flashy the film can be. For example, I once had a friend of mine tellme that he didn't like student films because "they didn't come from Hollywood," and that they were also "too slow." This is a kid that would take one look at a beautiful film like, "The Scent of Green Papaya," and fall asleep within the first twenty minutes of the film.

So what the hell is happening here?

First, as film loses its beauty and luster as an art form, more and more films will begin to be like "Hell's Gate" -- The most unfortunate film I've had to witness yet. Here, we have the product of "wouldn't it be fun to make a movie?" mixed with a load of incompetents looking to make a pretty penny. The Capitalist's first problem is that they assume that any average Joe can make a successful film. Second, they are afraid of the GOOD filmmakers because the GOOD filmmakers are the ones who have the guts to stand up to a stupid decision, and thus they (the GOOD filmmakers) are labeled "elitists". GOOD filmmakers are *not* elitists -- They work hard and know far more about the human psyche than any money grubbing Capitalist.

To use society as an example, if one Capitalist were to create so many artless & thoughtless films that it begins to effect the actual intellect of the NATION (ie, THE USA), then you're left with a bunch of blind grunts who will almost religiously go to the theaters to catch the latest Adam Sandler flick ("Punch Drunk Love," excluded because I have yet to see it). It all adds up to money -- A LOT of money -- going straight to that original Capitalist's pocket. My second example: Do you know that "Titanic" is NOT the highest grossing film of all time? In adjusted dollars, "Snow White" is tops, because far more tickets were sold and a larger amount of people went to the theaters. In second place, "Gone With The WInd" follows, and "Titanic" finally slides in at third. "Titanic" was never as big as "Snow White," but rather the ticket prices have been boosted to create the illusion that the film industry is booming. Ever wonder why your local theater charges so much for junk food and drinks? It's because the movies they show don't bring in enough of a substantial profit to keep the theater running otherwise. All these problems are built on the basis that society grows old of the "same-ol" movies, and in turn you end up with a constantly shrinking audience.

(I'd still like to point out that I myself still enjoy the occasional thoughtless film, but this is getting ridiculous.)

...Now back to connecting all this theory stuff to the ridiculus P.O.S. film I'm reviewing...

I must state that "Hell's Gate" is the worst film I've ever seen. (Previously, last week's "The Pool" held that honor). So, thanks to the buildup of "thoughtless" films, we now have officially taken a chunk of the film industry and REVERTED back to a thought level so friggin archaic that a blade of grass could comprehend the plot and wonder WHY it was made. This isn't new, of course, there's always been a section of the film industry that is *dumb,* but that section of the industry is growing. For the love of God, I swear to take a piss on "Hell's Gate" director John Hough's grave when he finally DIES in a corner, alone. This is a disgrace to the people that work in this industry, and it's a disgrace to all the people that have ever come before Mr. Hough ever set foot out of his mother's womb (the entirity of the crew, by all means, is not excluded from this notion, but I'll give the cast the benefit of the doubt). It's a shame ANYONE has to witness this downfall of film.


What good is a nice transfer when you have a horribly shot film to begin with?

Don't expect too much, the cinematographer and director of photography will hopefully never get another job. The same, HOPEFULLY, goes for the director, John Hough, but I doubt it. He somehow has been allowed to make thirty YEARS of bad movies. Specifically, the transfer here -- As given to me in Full Screen format -- is flat and nearly devoid of colors in general. This isn't necessarily a problem in the transfer, but more along the lines a lack of creative input behind the camera. However, in addition to the utter lack of anything beautiful to look at, there were several scratches and such here and there throughout the entirity of the DVD. Nothing major, but the quality of the image in general makes this look like a golf training video. *shudder*


Oh dear, if only the soundtrack were non-existent. My left testicle, quite frankly, could have made a better score by rolling around on the carpet. For an example, go find a guitar string and beat things with it while recording the sound. Now take that sound and amplify it about 20 db and you'll have a perfect recreation of whatever the hell synthesizer noises the crammed into the music. Even worse, the score just wouldn't let up! During the scenes that should have been quiet, there was ANNOYING MUSIC!!! AHHHHH!!!!

Dolby Digital 5.1? Who cares...They *maybe* used TWO channels for BAD stock sounds. Seriously though, the worst aspect of the sound is that it's all flat. There's an entire sequence in the film that has been dubbed and is OFF by nearly a whole second. What's worse is, only one of the character's in the scene were actually out of sync, and the rest were in sync, making the scene not even blamable on a possible DVD problem. Here again, "Hell's Gate" FAILS!


OOOOOOOHHHHHH!!!! A PHOTO GALLERY!!!!!!!!!!! Honestly now, these people weren't even passionate about their dvd release! I mean, was the plan always to make a horrible movie and then forget about it??? At least give us SOMETHING other than a Photo Gallery to look at! Like, wouldn't a documentary on HOW BAD THIS MOVIE IS be worth actually getting this dvd for?

No, and they didn't even try. F- (with the silly exception of the decent DVD cover).



There's nothing more to say. If you've read my review and think I'm a stuck up punk, hey, by all means, go BUY THE MOVIE.