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Adam Chaplin (2011)

Studio: Autonomy Pictures

Theatrical Release: October 7, 2011 (UK)

DVD Release: October 8, 2013

Director: Emanuele De Santi

Not Rated

Review by James Klein

This over the top graphic splatter fest from first time actor / director Emanuele De Santi is a film that has many highs and many lows. At various points in the film, Adam Chaplin will be quite enjoyable but then suddenly it becomes rather cheap looking and dull. Adam Chaplin looks like the type of movie a 13 year old boy who loves gore films would have made. Or rather if Peter Jackson had directed The Crow in 1994, he would have come up with this.

The movie begins with a woman being tortured by the gangster Denny Richards. Denny is the town's local mob boss who looks like a cross between GWAR's Oderus Urungus and The Humungus from The Road Warrior. Denny is pretty much a walking monster who hides his ripped apart face due to a childhood tragedy with his dog. His mask looks like one of those S&M masks but with an upside down cross in the middle of his forehead. Once Denny burns the woman alive after he is done with his questioning, the credits begin. From that moment on, one knows exactly what kind of movie they should be expecting.
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Adam Chaplin (Santi himself) wife is the woman who was burned alive by Denny and Adam is hell-bent on getting revenge. Unable to go to the police who are in Denny's pocketbook, Adam is given superhuman strength by a demon who has somehow buried himself in Adam's back. The only marking on Adam's back is an upside down cross which shoots out blood whenever the demon appears. The demon guides Adam to all of the men who were responsible for his wife's death: crooks, cops, gangsters, even the homeless. Everyone is dispatched in gruesome fashion like Adam punching a hole in a person's face or kicking a kneecap completely out of one's leg.
adam chaplin violent avenger

Adam Chaplin is just a strange movie and one that had potential in being a lot of fun. But  the movie often drifts off into Matrix-like territory with slow motion action scenes or a point of view shot from a bullet. One second a gangsters death could be super gory with some nasty make-up effects and then all of a sudden the effect looks like a really bad cartoon thanks to the awful decision to use CGI. I can almost see why the effects would be more computerized given the fact that many of the fight scenes look like something out of Mortal Kombat. The entire film feels like a live action comic book. But when it gets overly stylish with the directing and editing or focuses on too many cheap looking effects, I lost my interest.
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But yet I am torn because there are some aspects of the film I really enjoyed. I liked how all of the characters just looked down right disgusting. Even the poor homeless characters look like zombies. The chiseled, six-pack Adam is covered in blood most of the movie, making his long hair stringy and dripping with crimson. I also loved the character of Denny, a mean and heartless monster who has become what he is due to his own father. His deep demonic voice while talking about his childhood is strangely moving yet disturbing. And yes, the movie goes out of its way to gross out the audience and I for one couldn't help but laugh at seeing such graphic kills. I haven't seen this much blood splatter in a 90 minute movie in a long time.
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The DVD by Autonomy Pictures looks pretty good. I'm glad they didn't try to dub the film and kept the original Italian dialog. I got annoyed at times at how dark the picture looked with everything tinted blue but that is more of a stylistic choice by Santi than it is the picture on the DVD. There are a few special features on the disc, none too interesting. I found myself laughing at "Building Up Adam" which is just Santi lifting weights.

Adam Chaplin is a hit and miss all rolled up into one. There were things I really liked about it and things I really didn't like about it. I will say the movie stuck with me after it was over. Adam Chaplin is not a movie that will be easily forgotten so that must mean something, right?

[Rating: 2.5]

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