What I'm Watching: Axe Giant
Rewriting myths and folklore for the modern age seems to be all the rage these days, with stuff like the brilliantly awesome and fun Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, to Jack the Giant Killer. Heck, that's what folklore is, stories being passed down, and retold, and changing with the tellings.
But what happens when you take the well known bit of Americana, like Paul Bunyan, and turn that into a horror movie??
It is an interesting choice, that's for sure.
First up, let's cut to the chase. This movie is cheesy. I mean, how can it NOT be? But even beyond the expectations of Paul Bunyan as a long-lived axe slaying maniac, we have some seriously low budget effects, and some painful acting.
Which pretty much explains why I'm reviewing it, eh?
You know what you're getting into here, with a title like Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan, and with wha I've already told you, so the best I can say is, this was really quite fun.
I enjoyed it.
The plot revolves around a bunch of first time offenders being dragged off into the woods for their punishment, to let them spend time to vent, center themselves, and basically give them a slap on the wrist while trying to steer them off the path they might end up on if they keep going. They're accompanied by their therapist, and an utterly crazy correctional officer. Sgt. Hoke is so gloriously over the top. He is the crazy drill sergeant who is in charge, and isn't about to take any crap from his charges, or even treat them as much more than his typical cons. Every line out of his mouth is a hilarious bit of scenery chewing, so you can't wait for his imminent demise, but you miss his quips when he is gone.
Once in the woods, the kids discover the skeletal remains of Babe, the blue ox, and take one of her horns. The disruption of her remains awakens the rage of Paul, who seeks bloody vengance. Now, while the effects are cheesy, the effects on the deaths are fucking spectacular. When someone gets cut in half, it is one of the best looking effects of that sort I've seen, for this level of budget. I can forgive their giant blue ox looking almost like a rabid cartoon animal, for that level of amazing crazy.
Trisk favourite Joe Estevez puts in an appearance as the old coot in the woods who knows the true story behind Paul, and how the truth became twisted into the fuzzy, family friendly version we all know and love. His shining moment in this movie is giving that backstory, frankly. He does it in such a non-linear fashion, and tells it in such...well, such a way an old crazy hermit would, that it feels real, and is brilliant to watch.
The ending manages to be satisfying enough, while still leaving that door open, and they even manage to make you feel sorry for the monster, all good things that are welcome additions to a fun movie.
Seriously, if you like the sort of movies this site specialises in, Axe Giant is a REAL treat. Cheesy in ALL the right ways, and they know it. It's just the right kind of thing I love to see.