Wednesday, August 12, 2009

To the Limit (USA, 1995)

Bad films usually improve – that is, become more entertaining – with age. Despite all the years since To the Limit was made, however, the film still needs to age awhile longer – say, around thirty to ninety years, if not an eternity. This movie, a sequel of sorts to director Raymond Martino's equally inept Da Vinci's War (1993), is a true celluloid fuck-up, a turd so abysmal that the few laughs instigated by its unprofessional incompetence end up being choked by the embarrassment the viewer feels both for the people involved and for watching it. The only things in To the Limit that are worse than the plot are the direction, lighting, music, editing and acting. Need an explosion or have someone shot off the Hoover Dam? Well, make a loud "Bang!" and edit to after the fact, to the person dead or the survivors looking down over the side. Continuity in this film, whether in terms of the editing or in the story development, is non-existent – much like any form of tension or suspense. Was there actually even a complete script when the film began, or was it ad-libbed throughout?
Had Raymond Martino, the director, jettisoned the plot, the male actors and virtually everything but for the occasional bulbous, silicon-filled love-pillows of the various females, the movie would've have been much better, if not at least mercifully shorter. In truth, while there are some tit shots and flesh, there is hardly enough to make the film worth watching, with or without Anna Nicole Smith, the infamous (and dead) 1993 Playboy Playmate of the Year, as the character Collette. Although she always did look good in beat-sheets or when seen briefly and dressed as a stereotype, as in The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994/trailer) and The Hudsucker Proxy (1994/trailer), when naked in To the Limit there is not only a full lack of grace in her out-of-balance movements, but her breasts reveal a slightly unnatural form that infers good skin but excess stuffing at work (an accusation easily supported when comparing the two following photos, one of her in the film having an orgasm while bathing, the other of her in earlier years).
OK, true, when she was alive and in form, and not zonked out on drugs or talking, there probably wasn't a jug-loving heterosexual man alive that would have said no to the chance of sliding his stiff weenie between her pair when oiled, but in To the Limit Smith is so bad an actress that one is left wishing they could simply say "Shut up and swallow." She does a good job at proving that Mamie van Doreen was indeed a talented actress, but then, Mamie never had to pretend that every shower or bath she took naked gave her an orgasm. (Smith really should have stopped trying to act and simply given the viewer a decent beaver shot.)
The protracted, confusing plot concerns some nasty bald guy with a beard and tattoos who smokes opium and likes to have hot wax dripped on his back when he wants to shoot a load. That he is ex-CIA we know because not only does he sit in front of a cheap, second-hand computer in most scenes, but everyone says it again and again. He's after some diskette full of all sorts of nefarious information, and wipes out Colette's husband China Smith (Michael Nouri) and most of Frank Da Vinci's family and friends at his wedding. Frank, played by John Travolta's gray-bearded, shorter and talentless brother Joey, spends the rest of the film in Vegas with his mob friends, playing an indecisive Hamlet and dodging various half-assed hit attempts before he teams up with Colette and bonks her good. Is it true love, or does Colette also have some dark, evil plan of her own? Who the fuck cares?
How bad is the film? Joey Travolta is actually the best and most convincing actor in the whole production, but for the couple strippers at the bachelor's party scene — that should give you an idea. To the Limit comes across like some excessively long, unfunny and surreal R-rated Saturday Night Live skit from hell, puffed up from 1½ minutes to 1½ hours. The film is to be avoided at all costs, even for jug-lovers. If you want tits, get a decent porn film instead, as it is sure to have at least the same quality in tits but much better production values, direction, editing, lighting, acting, music, continuity and plot than this turkey.

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