There are bad movies out there. There are some truly awful pieces of celluloid in existence. The fact that these things keep getting produced shows that someone, somewhere, is watching them. Paul ‘Logan Blaze’ Anderson is one such person, who tends to find something ANYTHING of merit in some of the most despised pieces of film history. Except Picnic at Hanging Rock. Never bring up Picnic at Hanging Rock. Join Logan as he tries to convince you that a questionable film deserves some attention. Yes, Logan Blaze is…….
The Bad Movie Apologist
In 1993, Marvel’s latest multi-title extravaganza, Fatal Attractions, led to a major change in the life of comic’s perennial poster boy. Wolverine lost his adamantium only for the world to find out he had bone claws. In that very same year, Full Eclipse was released and you can’t help but think the writers were sniffing from the same sharpie as Marvel’s writers.
Jim is raring to get back into action. Indeed, we quickly see him taking a very straightforward approach to a car chase. He decides to take out the middleman and not use the car. Leaping from vehicle to vehicle with a decidedly feral expression on his face, Jim’s actions leave Max a little suspicious. He must be using his finely tuned detective skills. The curse of his name hits again soon after when Jim blows his head off in front of Max. This understandably leaves Max a little depressed and he enters group cop counselling, led by the not-sinister-at-all Adam Garou. Garou…..Garou...how IS your French by the way?
Casey helps convince Max to joining the group in some extracurricular activities leading to the first appearance of the X-Men….sorry...the Pack. Wearing more skin-tight leather combat attire than the full cast of GI Joe, Max watches from the a distance as the group inject ‘vitamins’ before annihilating a dinner party full of high-class mob members, mostly bare handed. Well mostly bare handed...as the group returns to Max from the slaughter we see them in all their glory. Feral, bulked out. Oh, and they all have bone claws popping out of their knuckles. Really...full on Wolverine claws.
Post-coitial Max and Casey suit up and take down a drug den, with Max now in full super mode. Part of the Pack, he then joins them in their next mission against L.A.’s mobs. The gang lords take exception to the new team ruining their fun and they blow up their pack-mobile. While they are in it. The gangs look on in glee, but the Pack exit the flames singed, but unharmed. They show their displeasure at the loss of their ride in brutal fashion, further whittling down the scale of the mobs. The still smoking Pack head back to Police HQ to ask for a new vehicle. They really do this. Garou walks up to the desk sergeant, plays the burnt steering wheel in front of him and asks for a new car.
Max’s suspicions are now piqued though, because things were all so above board and simple before. He finds out the man in the cell was also a cop, coming from one of the towns Garou had worked in. Max also finds that all the other cops that have worked in Garou’s past teams are dead.
Seeking answers, Max confronts Garou. This is where we get the big reveal. Are we all sitting down? Garou is a werewolf. YES REALLY! A shock I know. Garou has been dosing cops up with his brain fluid. If it is not taken regularly, you go into withdrawal and waste away. Of course, when trying to convince the rest of the Pack to go clean, things don’t go well and Max and Casey are forced to flee in quite a direct manner. Through a window and down around four storeys onto parked cars. With both of them off their vitamins at the time, this act leaves them a little injured. In order to save him, Casey gives him his last stashed dose and she dies in his arms. Oh well - at least he has his wife to go back to.
This is where things get a little silly.
Garou then goes full wolf. I know - you should never go full wolf but what yer goin’ to do? The now bear-like Garou starts chasing down Max killing the rest of the Pack in the process. As the full eclipse ends, Max lays some science on Garou and injects him with silver nitrate and drops him from a crane. As the two lay in the rubble, the aching Max and the rapidly aging and dying Garou chew the fat. Garou laments the deaths but wants the good fight to continue, He lays more lore on Max, urging him to lay in his blood and take his powers. As Max can barely stand it is not much of a push for him not to get out of the muck.
Skip forward and Max has now reconciled with his wife and appears to be heading up his own crime fighting task force now. As we see him google when the next full eclipse is, his wife cuts her finger while cooking. The wound closes quickly as she smiles
DUH DUH DUHHHHHHH It does seem that the marriage which grows together also growls together.
Who's afraid of the big bad wolf? well the big bad wolf in this would have trouble scaring a toddler. The final creature effects are exceedingly poor and really take you out of the film, It is made worse by a awful digital morph between Garou’s human form and full wolf mode. It is really clear the effects budget had run out of money at this point.
The steps to the big wolf reveal are also painful. I am not sure if they are really trying to keep anything hidden to keep an air of mystery or if they are being blatant and seeking to get some humour out of the ‘knowing’ clue dropping. Clues are not exactly dropped as thrown from a great height and fanfare. From Garou’s name, the claws and feral features, it is quite clear very early on what the score is. It is no game and feels like the characters involved - especially Max - are just stupid
Some of the hints and reveals are cute and well done though. Two in particular stand out. At one point, Max is given a surprise party and presented with a medal. A silver medal. Once pinned on him the wound starts to smoke and he runs to the toilet to remove the item. As well as giving Max more clues to his position, his reactions to the party and the way the scene is shot underline how isolated he has become from his old friends and family. He is part of the pack now. The second scene further underlines how separated the group has become. At a wedding for one of the Pack, the groom freaks out, leaving his wife at the alter, stating he can't go through it anymore. Garou welcomes him back into the fold.
Also providing a good clue is the physical changes the vitamins create. While a little on the nose, the practical effects of the half-wolves is truly awesome. It helps when you have such a good main cast to sell the effects. Both Patsey and Peebles sell the animistic physical nature of their new role. However, the largest applause go to Garou, played by the irrepressible Bruce Payne. THe man eats every scene he's in, but is one step away from camp to still hold a true sense of menace. I think it is the shoulders. He really plays the broad looming animal stance well. This really comes to play when he confronts Casey after she has dosed Max for the first time. At first he sniffs the spot where she shot him, then he confronts her, menacingly, chastising her not for dosing him, but for having sex with him She is his and even before he rapes her, his very presence fills the screen He dominates it and her. Payne also has fun throughout the film. Garou loves his condition and revels in it. When Max discovers him and where the vitamins come from, there is no indigent shock. As Payne uses a syringe to extract the fluid from his own brain, he sees Max in the mirror, and plays off the classic ‘this is your brain on drugs’ PSA. He is the best type of monster- self confident, funny, scary but also alluring.
This scene also brings out the director. As Garou sees Max, we see half Garou’s head, in focus in the foreground, but also Max, still in focus in the background. This is a very common visual motif for director Anthony Hickox, the man behind MANY films that I will ultimately get around too. Hickox has a lovely knack of balancing action, comedy and horror, sometimes in a single shot. The overriding tone in most his films though is plain fun. He carries a joyful energy in what he puts on screen, keeping the camera moving and as active as any of the characters on screen. Full Eclipse is a good example of this.
Finally - lest we forget the MAIN thing which should bring ANY viewer to this film. ITS THE GAWDAMN WOLVERINE AS A BLACK COP DAMMIT!!!!
SCORE- 4 popped claws out of 5
Paul "Logan Blaze" "Sugar Bear" Anderson has mined the best and worst of geekery for many years. He hosted Shut Up and Watch This, has worked for the Nerdsphere Network, and been a regular on The Underbase podcasts and owns more truly strange movies than you or I could ever do.
He is also the single greatest man bear pimp to have walked the planet.