Sunday 26 April 2015

IMDb Bottom 100 Review – Number 52 Red Zone Cuba (Night Train to Mundo Fine)

Convicts fighting the filthy commies during the early Cold War slash Great Depression times in Cuba? It's a thing here, and we're in for a rare gem tonight. If by gem I mean a piece of badly fossilized mammoth fecal matter. I almost lack words to adequately convey how watching this movie made me feel. I found some, as you will soon read. But just know, that tonight's text did not come easy. With, sadly, no further ado, I am about to review...

'I was blackmailed into this. Why did I have to snort all that coke off of a hooker's ass'

Movies made in one era, possibly made out to look like they were from a different era, without consistency or attention to detail? Yes, this one is such a movie. And I'm not even sure it was a deliberate attempt at a period piece or even a deliberate attempt at a... well, piece. It was cack. Dreg. Shit. Crap. Waste of time and brain cells, even if I doubt any were wasted on making it I know some were on watching it. I think my 6 year old great-niece would be embarrassed had her group of little preschool friends gotten together, and cranked out this 90 minute dog turd. Imagine getting smacked in the face with a wet newspaper (Sunday edition) repeatedly for six hours. Then multiply that by infinity and you're tapping into the feeling I had when the credits, finally, rolled on this movie. It's just not OK. It's not.

The famed title train. That plays a surprisingly small role. As in it's not even a minor plot element.

The plot. No, I can't use the word plot with a straight face to describe things in this movie. The scenes in this movie are as nonsensical as any I've ever seen. Troll 2 was a Scorsese masterpiece in comparison. Things that happen in Red Zone Cuba can't possibly have made sense anywhere, on paper or in the mind of whoever deranged individual conceived it. We open with a reporter interviewing some dude at a train yard. No introduction or lead in. He reveals that 3 guys ran across the yard the night before and into a train. The reporter is shocked, and the music reflects that the mood now is supposed to be shocked. But what the fuck? We have no context in which to feel shock. 3 escaped convicts ran into a train? Who gives a shit? The credits begin, while the train dude serves his second, and last, purpose in this film: singing the theme song. Granted, he did an OK job. But it doesn't in any way make up for the subsequent 75 minutes of life draining 'entertainment'. Perhaps the rest of the movie is a flashback, but the action, if we can use that word without flinching, takes places before, during and after the three convicts are in a train, and there is no possible way that train yard stoogie could have any fucking clue what they were up to before or after just from vaguely seeing them run across a yard. What the hell do these people take me for?

This guy was choked to within an inch of his life for no reason. He hit a trigger word apparenrly
The three convicts start out as two guys, possibly convicts we can't say for sure because nobody tells us. The third guy sneaks into the back of their pick up truck and they all become fast friends once he threatens them with a gun. They decide to join the Army, because there is a crisis going on down in Cuba, and the Army is paying a thousand bucks to people who join, and another thousand when they return. They meet a guy who flies them down there for 15 dollars a piece. They haven't got the money so they offer him their pick up truck. He says it's worth 35 dollars. Then he accepts it as payment for ll three. 3X15>35 last time I checked, but hey... anything to move this shit along. They join the army and start the lamest training I've ever seen. Basically just jumping off a small hill, some 4-5 feet, then climbing back up. At night they discuss stuff in their bunk beds. The third guy, who is the worst of the three, suddenly jumps up and starts choking one of the other two. No explanation. Meant to convey drama or tension I'm sure. It didn't. They are finally shipped off to Cuba after the worst depiction of a mission briefing in the history of cinema or man kind as a whole. It looks like a kid was given a bunch of crayons and told to draw a map of Narnia. What the shit? They hit the beach of Cuba during night time, scale a hill by means of a rope some infiltrator had hung there the night before, and are immediately captured by Cuban forces. Like not even really a fight. Just captured. It's pitiful. In the shed they are in, and it's really just a shed with big open windows, no bars no locks just a big hole in the wall through which they could climb at ANY moment, they rendezvous with a fellow soldier, who is shot in the leg. Apparently his leg has contracted gangrene in the space of 24 hours. He talks of his family farm, and claims there are thousands worth of metals and other resources. If only they'd take him with them. They don't.

This was the window to their prison cell. The guards walked around. It would've taken two seconds to slip out and run. But no.
They steal an airplane, that one of them magically is able to pilot, and fly back to the States, where they steal a car and head to the train yard, where they get on a train. Back off the train, they need transportation and steal another car. It seems like it would've been easier to just keep the first car. Or fly the airplane further than they did. Or sell the airplane? No? Alright. Anyway, they finally hit the farm of their soldier friend, whose wife readily lets them in and says she'll help them mine her husband's resources. This makes so little sense, I think I forgot precious childhood memories because my mind was thrown into severe acute dementia right then and there. Two cops that look like they were stationed specifically to look for these convicts, see them and report it in. We are treated to a brief arrest of the two lesser evils, and the wife being shot by main baddie before he's shot from a helicopter, faintly reminiscent of that other movie I reviewed here in which somebody was shot from a helicopter (editor's note: It was The Skydivers).

This guy was in the prison cell with our protagonists. He isn't referred to at all or explained. He's just sleeping.Until another unexplained prisoner is up for execution, upon which this guy hands him a painting he's had under his blanket. I don't know. 
For a film with no discernible plot, using three paragraphs to describe it might strike some as odd. I agree. However I think I've found, that the less sense the plot makes, the harder it is to actually describe it. If a movie makes perfect chronological and logical sense, relaying it is a piece of cake. This one certainly doesn't make sense. So let's have a looksee at who the fuck took time out of their no doubt insignificant schedule to grace us with their cinematic presence. First off it's singing train yard guy. Now his face was mildly familiar, but it wasn't until later I realized it was John Carradine. Yes, that daytime Emmy winning walk of fame star awarded dad of autoerotic asphyxiation in a Bangkok 2 dollar hotel room victim David Carradine John Carradine. Joining the cast to smoke ominously and sing the title track that really wasn't the title track because the movie wasn't called Night Train to Mundo Fine anyway I think. It's unclear. It's kind of like it's two movies fused into one, because somebody couldn't quite decide. John Carradine does little besides kick this shitfest off with a song. Then, of course, there is Coleman Francis. Oh my god Coleman Francis. You know what? I'm going to go ahead and dedicate a whole paragraph to Coleman. I'll see you in the next paragraph for this one.

Military briefing detailing their 8 man invasion of Cuba. I'm all for making indie films on a small budget, but this is just ridiculous. 
Hi and welcome to this paragraph dedicated to Coleman Francis and why you should hate him now, if you aren't already. 'Why would I hate him? I've only just met him?' I can almost hear you thinking, and if it had been almost anybody else I might be inclined to agree with you. Surely he's an upstanding citizen, man of the cloth, small business owner, chairman of the tennants association in his building? I can't dispute any of those things, nor do I care to. Remember how I mentioned a scene in Red Zone Mundo Cuba Train similar to The Skydivers reviewed some time back? It's not a coincidence. You can thank Francis Coleman. He is the brains moron behind both. Not only is he the dude who chose to sneeze his cinematic mucus all over the world, he is also the 'star' of this movie as well as 'acting' in The Skydivers. Good heavens, thinking back on Skydivers I almost remember it fondly. At least in comparison to this complete codswallop. He made Skydivers, figured it wasn't enough mayhem released on an unsuspecting world, and found the resources to make this movie as well. He died in the late 70s a mere 53 years old. I guess making shitty movies takes its toll. But alas, my dearest Readington, our run in with Mr. Francis doesn't end here. No. He wrote and directed a third movie. Ah yes, the fairy tale 3. We remember that from last time. The most diligent of you will already have looked his ass up on IMDb, and to you I say 'I am proud of you, but don't ruin it for those who like to keep living with the suspense' because you see, his third movie is also on this list. It's going to be a bit yet before we reach it, but when we do, I feel certain it'll be blatantly apparent.

Speaking of ridiculous, this is the military training. This and jumping off a 5 foot obstacle. 
Summing everything up in a paragraph is both hard and easy. Actually it's not that hard. But it's not that easy either. The movie sucked. It sucked hard. And what's more, besides terribly terrible acting, abysmal writing, completely void of imagination direction as well as the general feel of being invited into a well assorted French wine cellar for a glas of luke warm butter milk, this movie was ugly. Yes, butt fucking ugly. It looked like it was recorded on equipment modern when Abraham Lincoln was still El Presidente. Further more, it looked like the people who churned this shit out couldn't quite decide whether the movie ought to look like it was from the 30s (John Carradine was in Grapes of Wrath after all) or if it was supposed to be contemporary. I guess that could be a credit to them, seeing as they made the movie timeless in essence. However, it didn't work. At all. It feels weirdly mixed and indecisive, and it doesn't do the movie any favors. Like the 3 dudes are in a work camp and run around in clothes that kind of look 1930ish, but then they are off to fight Cubans at the Bay of Pigs and drive Cadillacs. It doesn't make sense. Coleman Francis is supremely annoying as the main bad guy, trying to appear deeper and thoughtful while just coming off as a Special Education kid who ate paint chips for supper every day before his teens. He is laughably amateur. Nobody does an even passable job with acting. The lighting throughout the movie is horrible, in an attempt I think, to make the movie gritty and noir. It feels like somebody forgot the develop the film properly.

Did I use the word ridiculous yet? This is the entire army. Invading Cuba. 
I hated every second of this shitty flick, and it's hit Top 5 of worst movies on this list for me, so far. I just made up that Top 5 and perhaps this isn't even on there. I can't honestly remember which movies I hated more than others. I try not to think about it too much, for fear of going on a rampage. That's right. Rampage. It's nearing that point.   


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