Heavy Metal 2000 (2000) — Girl and guy vie for immortality

“When you kill someone, make sure they’re dead.”

Justin’s rating: Except if it’s tin foil. That stuff’s light, yo.

Justin’s review: Heavy Metal 2000 is not so much the sequel of the scifi anthology Heavy Metal as a side-quel in the same vein. Instead of a collection of stories, HM2K focuses on a sole story of a berserk miner, a Goth girl out for revenge, and plenty of Quake-inspired violence.

A nasty bit of green stone turns a space miner completely insane and on the search for immortality. He wipes out most of the residents of a backwater planet for no apparent reason than to give our main character motivation to follow him across the galaxy. Our heroine, Julie, comes across as a mix between robed Luke in Return of the Jedi and Lara Croft. She’s bearing a perpetual grudge in a Khan-sort of way, hellbent on destroying the mysterious entity known as Tyler.

After the severe disappointment of Titan A.E. and the general lacking of the first Heavy Metal film, it would’ve been easy for this mix of animation and CGI to be a complete mess. Well, it is messy, but entertaining in its own unrestrained idiom. Space has never been so sordid or hilarious. The entire universe seems populated by about ten humans and a few billion aliens of the sort you’d find in the Tatooine bar in Star Wars. There’s a bar scene, actually, with an appropriate amount of arm-wrestling and an explosive fight involving heavy weaponry.

While the plot might make Al Gore seem complicated, there’s enough freakshow entertainment to have a few moments of unadulterated fun. Action sequences are up on par with good anime, and I loved the idea of the space station shooting a ship into warp like a very large rifle. There’s a lot of humor here, and really cheesy lines are barked so seriously that it begs a laugh or two.

And nobody is more serious than Julie, who’s anger mounts as her outfit gets torn to shreds over the course of the film. Her “I must get revenge” mantra provides a foil for the various companions she picks up along the way. I always love how characters like these grouchy, single-minded revenge machines somehow pick up a large following of friends during the course of the film. Julie beats up friend and foe alike, and has a voice range of “deep growl” to “deep growl.” Truly, the most one-dimensional character ever created for cinema.

Not to say that this film makes a heap of sense. Once again, the mysterious green stuff is never explained. F.A.K.K. and Julie’s home planet are both just thrown to the audience with a similar lack of explanation, as if we’d just pick up the remnants of the plot via telepathy. I actually had to research a few web sites to figure out what these meant (F.A.K.K. being a quarantine zone where nothing’s supposed to support life, but Julie’s planet does anyway). The technology/science behind Tyler’s regenerative nature is glossed over… all we have to know is he takes vials of liquid from time to time. Vitamin supplements, I assume.

With the hard metal soundtrack and flagrant naughty phrases spewed left and right, Heavy Metal 2000 tries so hard (and fails) to be an edgy, rebellious underground flick. But in its failing, it surprisingly succeeds in popcorn and candy nutrition. The visuals are flashy and vibrant and the lunacy is endearing. In the post-PC era, this is a terrific flashback to the spirit of films long past. I honestly feel that this movie can grow on me with a couple more viewings, and perhaps it will do the same to you as well.

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