2013 – Young adults at a first-time offenders’ boot camp discover the legend of the giant lumberjack Paul Bunyan is real, but is much more horrifying than they could have imagined.
Rejoice, my twos and threes of readers! After a lengthy starting-a-new-job-and-having-it-drain-all-my-creative-passion exodus, I have returned to help you answer life’s pressing movie-related questions. Foremost among these today is: how can a movie entitled Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan (or AGTWOPB) not be the greatest movie ever made?
Here’s the thing: bad movies are only good when they’re not supposed to be bad. It’s like watching someone pretend to trip vs. seeing a legitimate tumble – or, for instance, watching Sharknado as opposed to The Room. The key ingredient is the knowledge that the filmmakers were trying to make something good and failing gloriously in the attempt.
The makers of AGTWOPB consciously set out to make a cheap, bad horror movie. Tragically, they shouldn’t have even had to try. Paul Bunyan is really a gigantic, near-immortal mutant who goes on a bloody killing spree because some kid steals the horn of Babe, the long-dead blue ox? How can that turn into such a dull, lifeless, forgettable affair? In the interest of time (we’ve got a lot of ground to cover) I’ll run through my main complaints:
- There are too many characters with too little screen time. Who is the hero? We should know who to root for within 3 minutes of the opening credits.
- The deaths were not creative enough. Decapitations get old after three or four.
- There’s a pathetic shoehorned-in sympathetic backstory for Bunyan. I don’t care. This isn’t King Kong.
The only glimmer of hope I have is that the ending leaves things wide open for a Friday the 13th style sequel where Bunyan’s corpse could re-animate at the bottom of a lake. With that in mind, I’m proposing a big-budget, star-studded remake to turn this cinematic dump into the cash cow franchise it deserves to be.
Joe Estevez as Meeks
The legendary bad movie actor plays a standard “crazy old coot” who warns the kids about Bunyan but then turns out to be sort of in league with him (I guess). Let’s upgrade to the most respected Estevez, Martin Sheen, who can re-capture some of his Spawn-era glory with a hammy turn here.
Dan Haggerty as Foreman Bill
Foreman Bill is the guy who goes off to take a dump at the beginning of the movie after killing Babe the blue ox. We need a big, imposing brute for this role, and there’s nobody bigger or more brutish sans makeup than Ron Perlman. He’s down for anything.
Thomas Downy as Sgt. Hoke
He’s “the jerk.” The movie blew a real opportunity with this character, a guy who’s such a bastard that he makes up a song about what a bastard he is and forces everyone else to sing it. Unfortunately, Hoke just isn’t given time to blossom. This role is an opportunity for a badass actor to really ham it up and chuckle at himself, meaning it’s perfect for my long-dreamed-of Steven Seagal career revival.
Amber Connor as CB
She’s “the good girl” among the no-good kids at the boot camp. This is the perfect role for a young up-and-comer who needs all the exposure she can get – think Jennifer Lawrence in Last House on the Left. As a matter of fact, hell, let’s just go with Jennifer Lawrence. It’ll give her a chance to prove that her “golly gee I’m so excited to be meeting all the big movie stars because I’m just a regular ol’ gal” routine is as genuine as we all know it isn’t.
Tim Lovelace as Tanner
He’s “the sheriff” and CB’s dad. Another of the movie’s many maybe-heroes. We need a washed-up older guy who still has convincing tough guy credentials. Call in Gary Busey before he succumbs to that stroke he’s been working on the past 20 years.
Jesse Kove as Zack
He’s “the other jerk,” the sullen kid everyone hates who turns out to maybe have a bit of a heart before the end. When you think “jerk everyone hates,” you think Shia LaBoeuf, right? Yeah, I did, too. Just look at him. Jerk.
Kristina Kopf as Ms. K
The goodhearted counselor who is the yang to Sgt. Hoke’s yin, Ms. K is the third member of the movie’s confusing “too many heroes” triumvirate. What we need here is an older, halfway-respectable actress who just doesn’t care anymore. Clearly, as evidenced by her role as Young Hillary Clinton in those awful-looking Divergent movies, Kate Winslet fits the bill.
Jill Evyn as Trish
She’s “the red-haired slut” and fulfills (barely) the movie’s requisite topless scene. Since she has red hair I was going to suggest replacing her with Bryce Dallas Howard…
…but since she also shows her boobs, I’m going to go with Kat Dennings. Just… because.
Clifton Williams as Marty
We’ve come to “the black guy.” This character doesn’t do much, save for one scene where he screams and cries mournfully. Therefore, the actor most perfectly equipped to portray Marty is Will Smith’s Son. I’m not going to bother to look up his name.
Victoria Ramos as Rosa
Again, as the cast’s requisite “non-white woman,” poor Rosa is rather neglected in the screenplay. She is Hispanic, however, and therefore we have no choice but to cast Michelle Rodriguez in the part.
Chris Hahn as Bunyan
Nothing against Mr. Hahn, but we’re going to need to power up and cast Kane Hodder, a.k.a. Jason, as the monstrous mountain man.
I would also accept Andrew Bryniarski.
For now, though, if you want an entertainingly bad movie with almost the exact same plot, check out Grizzly Park.