Toxic (2008)

Genre(s): Crime / Drama / Mystery
Weinstein Company || R - 92 minutes - $19.98 || June 8, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-06-28


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Alan Pao
Writer(s): Corey Large (story), Alan Pao & Kyle Kramer (screenplay)
Cast: Susan Ward, Corey Large, Master P, Dominique Swain, Charity Shea, Danny Trejo, Bai Ling, Paul Johansson, Costas Manylor, Tom Sizemore


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
    None


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Toxic, no it’s not a movie based on Britney Spears’ hit single. It’s a film about... hell if I really know. Well, I kind of do, so bear with me.

This ensemble mess centers on Lucille (Shea; Alpha Dog), a mental patient who escapes from a hospital and leaves a trail of dead bodies in her wake. She’s the daughter of crime lord Van Sant (Sizemore; any random DTV flick) who, because he knows how dangerous she is, wants his goons (Large and Trejo) to find and kill her. The film jumps back and forth from past to present and back again several times, so you’ve got various characters coming and going. In the present, Sid (Large) works as a bartender at a strip club for Steve (Mandylor; Saw 3-5) and finds a connection with a fellow worker named Michelle (Ward; The In Crowd).

Meanwhile, in the past, Lucille, homeless and penniless, is discovered by Nadia (Swain; Face/Off) in an alleyway. Nadia is a call girl working for Angel (Master P) and wanting out of the business sees Lucille as an opportunity to do so. Of course, to connect the dots further, it seems Angel had a past partnership with Van Sant so things get sticky when he discovers Lucille is his daughter...

Even if I were to set aside this inane story and shoddy acting, director Alan Pao takes that crank-camera style used recently by Tony Scott in Man on Fire and Domino to the extreme, so much so that it was more of a nuisance rather than a unique and innovative way to present a story. If Pao’s plan was to confuse and at the same time somehow bore the audience, then he has succeeded. Pao, who co-wrote along with “actor” Corey Large (story credit), fails to establish anything that special about Lucille. Sure, he gives the character a little (and this is definitely SPOILER territory here) A Beautiful Mind, but with little to no emotional impact. Even Quentin Tarantino flicks have an emotional foundation.

You can have cool dialog and flashy direction and still have interesting characters. Well, nobody, and I mean, nobody in Toxic is that fascinating. Instead we have a jumbled and stupid story, terrible C/D-level acting and uninspiring style that is only there for a “coolness” factor, rather than something to serve the story.

Yeah, we have a decent set of actors here: Tom Sizemore, the latest to join the DTV squad (along with Steven Seagal and Wesley Snipes); cutie Dominique Swain who needed more screen time IMHO; and the always reliable Danny Trejo who REALLY needed more time! Add to them a cameo from porn star Ron Jeremy (the best actor of the bunch), hottie Susan Ward and Bai Ling playing Sizemore’s physic.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Some trailers for other Weinstein Company movies, nothing concerning this one, however.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

It’s difficult to accurately access the picture here. The movie is oft overly saturated with bright colors bleeding across the screen and when it is toned down, Pao uses quick cuts that blur things. If there were dust and/or scratches, I have to assume they were part of the plan...

Toxic does boast a solid sound track. The solo source is a Dolby 5.1 track that gets the bass moving with some choice music. The only reason I’ve given this a lower rating is because the dialog was at times off.



.::OVERALL::.

Toxic, oh what an amply named title for this crap-fest: Bad to terrible acting, an absurd story and direction so amateurish and chaotic that makes you wonder how in the hell did they get a studio, The Weinstein Company no less, to fund it? Please avoid this film at all costs, it’s not worth your time, money or energy. One Girl... One Curse... Seventeen bodies... 92 minutes of sheer stupidity.