ylvester Stallone's new movie, D-Tox is a
combination Ten Little Indians and a Slasher movie. A Ten Little Indians movie
shares a lot of the conventions of a Last Stand In a Haunted House film, but
with one major difference: the "thing" that is killing the trapped
characters is very much human. D-Tox has not been released theatrically
in the States as of this review, so I am going under the assumption that this
latest Stallone film has fallen into Direct-to-Video hell.
D-Tox stars former muscleman Sylvester Stallone as
Malloy, a FBI agent who is hunting a serial killer preying on cops. When the
killer decides to make the hunt personal and murders Malloy's fiancée (Dina
Meyer), Malloy's life crumbles, and he falls into the bottle. After a failed
suicide attempt, Malloy's partner, Chuck (Charles Dutton) packs up their things
and takes Malloy to a d-tox center in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming. The
center is run by Mitchell (Kris Kristofferson), an ex-cop who has set up the
d-tox center to help clean up other burnt out cops. No sooner than Malloy
arrives at the d-tox center does it becomes clear not everyone there is who they
say they are, and in fact the serial killer who had killed Malloy's fiancée has
followed him to the d-tox center to finish the job...
There are a lot of inherent problems with D-Tox, one
of which involves the d-tox center itself. We are asked to believe that ex-cop
Mitchell is rich enough to purchase what used to be a government missile silo
and turn it into a hospital for paranoid cops. Even if I could accept the belief
that Mitchell had that much money on hand, I can't help but wonder how he could
afford to keep the silo/d-tox center open with just 10 cops as patients per
year? What are these cops paying him, $50,000 a head? And if the cops themselves
aren't paying, who is? Would a police department spend all that money just to
help one cop out of thousands clear his head? I doubt it.
The above problem aside, D-Tox is a highly
predictable and generic film. One of the movie's biggest faults is the
motivation for the killer. Early on, the killer tells Malloy that he's killing
cops because Malloy ruined his (the killer's) killing spree of prostitutes 4 years earlier. Why
in the world was he killing prostitutes 4 years ago in the first place? And why
doesn't he just go back to killing prostitutes instead of killing cops? There is
very little motivation for why the killer does what he does, and the killer
himself, once revealed, proves to be incredibly annoying. And not annoying in
the he-might-get-you way, but in the God-will-he-just-shut-up-already variety.
Without a properly written bad guy, the good guy's crusade has no resonance.
Of course, once the killer murders Malloy's wife, Malloy now has a personal
vendetta -- but why in the world did the killer continue to follow Malloy to the
d-tox center? Just to torment him?
Then there are the cops at the d-tox center. There's a
loudmouth SWAT cop, a paranoid undercover Narc, and Slater (Christopher
Fulford), some kind of cop from overseas. As expected, no one gets a lot of
attention or development besides the cursory "surface" personalities,
so once the cops start getting bumped off, it's quite difficult to even keep
their names in order. What passes for dialogue between the patients involves
them verbally abusing and trying to psyche each other out only to have the
hospital staff interject with a, "That's enough!" to break up the love
fest. This happened about a half dozen times throughout the movie. Needless to
say, it's obvious whom the movie must kill off. Bye bye, SWAT boy.
As is the case with all Slasher movies, the killer in D-Tox
possesses superhuman speed. The man can move at the speed of light, or at least
it seems so. The movie
also racks up an astounding bodycount, but unfortunately not a single one of
them matters because the people biting the bullet are cardboard cutouts.
Another staple of Slasher movies is idiotic character decisions, and our rough
and tumble cops, as well as the hospital staff, are all determined to split up
at the first possible chance. This, mind you, with a killer stalking them
through the hospital's small and darkly lit corridors. The most eye-rolling
example of this stupidity is towards the end, when Polly Walker, playing
Stallone's obligatory love interest Jenny, wanders to "find him". Of
course we know the real reason why the filmmakers had her going out
there: it's so Stallone can save her from suffering the same fate as his fiancée, thus allowing our hero to
redeem himself. Humbug.
D-Tox is, at best, an average Slasher film. Stallone
does a good job in his role as the down-and-out cop, and he is actually the
movie's only bright spot. Stallone doesn't do a lot of heavy lifting here, but
he does show off good thespian skills. If there is one other positive, it's that
it's quite difficult to figure out who the killer is, since the movie goes
beyond the call of duty to make everyone a potential suspect.
Unfortunately the film has zero scares, very little
tension, and very weak kill scenes. And as everyone knows, uncreative kill
scenes are the kiss of death for any Slasher movie. If you're not going to make
the movie original or exciting, at least put some effort into the blood and guts
to entertain us for a while.