A mano-y-mano showdown between the flesh-scorched dream demon and the masquerading corpse with a knack for laying down the law on the authority unabiding.
Director Ronny Yu (“Bride of Chucky”) has cast at the silver screen a film so gorifyingly spitter-splatter, so ghoulishly cornball, so petrifyingly whoop-ass, that your humble narrator couldn’t help but root-root his balled fists all the way up to the wholly satisfactory climax. Indeed, as Freddy and Jason clash machete to finger-blade in the last one-third or so of the picture, nothing — not even Godzilla bearing down fire-strewn exhalation on the might of King Kong — compares to this epic duel pairing two bogeymen who have long infected youth with scaredy-cat syndrome.
Heading into my initial viewing of “Freddy vs. Jason,” I was wary of the casting decision to go with Ken Kirzinger over my man Kane Hodder in the role of the broad-shouldered Mongoloid with a deathly appetite for punishing naughty post-pubescent camp counselors (at least in the beginning). For those of you less familiar with the Friday the 13th series, Hodder portrayed the masked villain beginning in Part VII and ending with Jason X. Tipping the scales at something like 6 feet, 4 inches and 275 pounds, Hodder made Jason appear invincible, like a man-mountain with an impressive Houdini-esque vanishing routine and a refined machete swipe. New Line Cinema’s notion to hire Kirzinger because of his slightly smaller stature was due to the fact Hodder would have towered over Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger) and de-emphasized Jason’s role as the better blood-spiller. Not to mention his sad, pathetic eyes coupled with his less-methodical conduct as an actor — specifically, the studio was not a proponent of Hodder’s deep-breathing practices and robotic movements as Jason — aroused great wrath in this Friday the 13th disciple. However, I was compelled to choke on my sentiment virtually right off the bat.
Whether it’s lightning-quick stab wounds thrust to the lower torso, pulling 540-degree neck swivels on cockamamie punks or backhanding babes into an oak tree some 50 yards away, Jason Voorhees is back and better than ever. Add a Freddy Krueger in top form — undeniably as menacing and obscene as ever before — and, quite frankly, you’ve got yourself a steaming platter of unwholesome, rot-your-brain entertainment.
Starring Kelly Rowland of Destiny’s Child (Kia), Monica Keena (Lori Campbell), Jason Ritter (Will Rollins) and Katharine Isabelle (Gib), as the death-jesting mortals, “Freddy vs. Jason” is by no means perfect. The subplot regarding the untold passing of Lori’s mother was both unnecessary and sidetracking. I mean, was she killed in an automobile accident or lulled to perpetual sleep by the repeated stabbing of her husband, Lori’s father? Or did Freddy fatally dig his claws into her breast prior to the arrival of Lori’s father? Who knows, and who really gives a damn? Not I. I unhanded six greenbacks for a mano-y-mano showdown between the flesh-scorched dream demon and the masquerading corpse with a knack for laying down the law on the authority unabiding.
On the contrary, the bout in question surpassed my expectations by a West Coast landslide. It is truly all that and a bag of Ruffles. Literally all hell is unchained when Krueger gets fed up with Jason’s nonstop hack-’em-slash-’em spree through Elm Street and attempts to “lay this bad boy to rest.”