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3.43

DVD Review: MICHAEL ALLRED'S G-MEN FROM HELL

by David Blackwell

I have always been a big comic book fan. I grew up reading comics and I still do read them.  Comic books provide a visual medium that is stuck somewhere inbetween books and movies.    They exposed me to various worlds that were only limited by the imagination of the writers and artists.  One of the comics that I did get into was MADMAN by Michael Allred (colored by his wife Laura Allred). MADMAN had an interesting style to it as Michael Allred blended together things from different time periods in the 20th century along with pop culture. One set of characters he created were the G-MEN FROM HELL. Hollywood has taken a big interest in Michael's characters. Robert Rodrigeuz wants to direct a MADMAN movie and there was a small budget movie made called MICHAEL ALLRED'S G-MEN FROM HELL.

G-MEN FROM HELL was a movie that was shot on a small budget with a bunch of character actors and some beautiful actresses. It is a neo-noir movie with the Devil, a mad scientist, a robot, and two G-Men who escaped from hell because they feel they don't belong in Hell. Our dead G-Men set out to do some good deeds and set themselves up as private detectives. Of course, they have the Devil on their tails who wants to send them back to hell, two police detectives (one who is a sadistic homosexual) who think they killed the husband of their first client, and a weird superhero called Cheetah Man who knows more than he is telling about what is going on. I did forget to mention the robot and the resident from hell sent to get the G-Men back to Hell (but he has his own plans).

This movie is one fun movie with some wit and crackling dialogue. Gary Busey steals the show as the sadistic leather wearing homosexual police detective. He is a riot in every scene he is in (too few unfortunately). Christopher Coppola has directed one very crazy movie with so much cramped into it from the props to the camera angles. I would be extremely interested in checking out other Christopher Coppola movies if they are as good as G-MEN IN HELL. It is one of those movies destined to be a cult classic that the mainstream unfortunately missed.

VIDEO/AUDIO: The movie is presented in 1.33:1. the colors and blacks are well represented. The audio is sometimes great and loud where other times it sounds low like it is a mono soundtrack.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

The commentary track features Michael Allred and Laura Allred. Michael mentioned that there would be a second commentary track by director Christopher Coppola, but it's absence suggests that commentary track was never recorded or didn't make it to the DVD for some reason. The commentary by Michael and Laura is a very fun (and informative) track to listen to. You learn how the G-Men From hell were created, how the movie came to be, how Michael really loves this movie and used some of the stuff in the movie for his revised version of the G-Men from Hell characters when their storyline was wrapped up in 4 issues of MADMAN, how many of the shots in the movie matched up to panels he drew in the G-MEN FROM HELL storyline in the Graphic Muzik comic book, and how he ended up doing a cameo due to a suggestion from one of the actors.

Also included among the special features is a six minute interview with Michael Allred, a trailer for the movie, Comic to Film Shot Comparison, and some trailers for some other movies. the final special extra on the DVD is Michael Allred's no-budget movie, ASTROESQUE, shot on $10,000 with an old 16 mm Russian film camera. ASTROESQUE is sometimes an interesting directorial debut, but sometimes it feels slower than Tarkovsky's SOLARIS. The movie was done as one of two companion pieces to the RED ROCKET 7 comic book (the other part is a music CD). Together the movie, CD, and comic book form a project done in 3 parts. The movie was put on this DVD because they had some extra space left on the DVD.

MENUS: The menus are very interesting. The main menu starts out with a montage of footage from the movie mixed in with comic book art. The navigation is good, but it does get old when you have to go through the montage every time you go back to the main menu.

FINAL ANALYSIS: The movie is an underrated cult gem presented on a DVD with loads of great extras. If you are looking for a movie that isn't like the same movies you see over and over again in the theaters, this is a movie for you to check out. You should check this one out if you're a comic book fan looking for a comic book adaptation that doesn't suck.

this review is (c)6-16-2004 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content (and site updates) at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia