Cube Zero

Sunday marked the start of our reduced hours at work, so we closed at 10 pm instead of midnight. Around 10:15, Jessie called me because the timelock safe wouldn't open. Well, duh. That's because it's not supposed to open until 12:05 am, and I forgot to call the safe company to change it. So I went in, and basically babysat the store until the safe would open, incidentally giving me time to watch Cube Zero.

I'm a big fan of the first movie in this series, Cube (or as the Spanish call it, El Cubo), but I was sorely disappointed by its sequel, Cube 2: Hypercube. So I had low expectations for this prequel, but in the end it was fairly entertaining, and provided a nice link the original film that I didn't expect.

Like the previously reviewed Saw, Cube took a fairly simple setup and ran with it. In the original, a bunch of strangers meet in a series or interconnected cube-shaped rooms, some of which are discovered to contain ultra-violent, ultra-deadly traps, the egg-slicer inspired dicer being my personal favorite. None of them remember who they are or how they got there, but they have to work together to try to escape. Cube Zero gives background on who is running this maze, and their motives, but also focuses on another group of lambs inside the cube.

The mechanism is basically described as an alternative to the death penalty, ala The Running Man. Each of the subjects inside supposedly agreed to enter voluntarily, as to at least have a sporting chance at life. But no memory, they don't know that. So one of the technical operators, fed up with watching people die, perhaps needlessly, decides to intervene, and enters the cube with the intention of saving a particular blonde that he's taken a shine to. Ho-hum. I know this all sounds mind-numbingly dull the way I describe it, but the parts of the movie inside the cube are good. It's just the endless banter between the two techs that seems really stretched out, and I ceased to care after a couple scenes. Get to the carnage! Get some dramatic tension going on! Do something!

Where the Cube movies all falter is the generally terrible acting throughout. While the three movies have three different writing/directing teams, they all seem insistent on coming up with the cheesiest dialogue they can think up, and then instructing the cast to overact to the nth power. Now, I'm not expecting a low-budget sci-fi film to rival Mystic River in performance standards, but when the acting distracts from the plot, that's not good.

All said, Cube Zero is a worthy addition to the Cube mythos. While not as fresh and original as the first movie, it's definitely better than Hypercube, and probably the best direct-to-video flick I've seen in a long, long time. While I did like it, the acting takes it down to a C. Word.


Blogger Maxx said...

Found something I thought you'd appreciate...I don't know if you frequent penny-arcade.com, but here's a comic from a while ago... http://www.penny-arcade.com/view.php3?date=2002-04-17&res=l

10:20 PM  

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