Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Slasher Film, Teen Movie  |   Run Time - 98 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Jeremy Wheeler

After a long ten-year wait, fans were finally given the team-up they'd been asking for in Freddy Vs. Jason, a heavily blood-soaked popcorn flick sure to please the masses no matter its D-level cheese factor. Back once again is Robert Englund as number one child-killer Freddy Krueger, this time echoing the sinister and dark sarcastic edge long-lost in most of the latter Nightmare on Elm Street films (not counting the under-appreciated New Nightmare). Needless to say, the glove slips back on perfectly, with Freddy chewing scenery with a maniacal glee sadly missed in his series' nine-year absence. The same can be said about everyone's favorite hockey-mask killer, returning here with a fresh new iconic look, thanks to six-foot-five, 240 lbs. ex-stuntman (and stunt coordinator on Jason Takes Manhattan) Ken Kirzinger -- a controversial bit of casting which caused overt fan uproar when veteran Kane Hodder ended up getting the boot, even though he was one of the driving forces behind keeping fans interest high throughout the years. Gripes aside, Kirzinger's one mammoth of a maniac who not only swings the machete right, but effortlessly makes a dynamic impact each time he hits the screen.

To be sure, when these two finally do go at it during their all-out brawl, thunder claps and so will the audience. Limbs are chopped off, blood sprays excessively, and countless bodies are thrown around (literally) in both the nightmare face-off and the real world duke-out that ends the flick. There's no denying the grisly mayhem that the filmmakers eventually deliver, it's just the first two-thirds of it that might reek upon closer inspection. With more time dedicated to inflating the script and blatant stereotypical characters than there ever needed to be, the fun and ingenuity of each series tends to bleed away to nothing. While some will unabashedly crave the ridiculous story arcs and dialogue that spews from the worthless teen fodder, others will sit back and just get annoyed at the misuse (and as far as Jason goes, disappearance) of the title characters. Making things worse is the truly dreadful casting, headed by teary-eyed push-up bra wonder, Monica Keena - yet another no-talent TV actress doomed to flunk out on the big screen. With acclaimed Hong Kong veteran Ronny Yu at the helm, Freddy Vs. Jason looks great, but is missing the visceral punch that his name is usually synonymous with. In the end, Yu's film is simply a midnight movie splatter romp whose blemishes will either be praised or vehemently hated for years to come - which, just like the eventual gore-filled match, you'll be placing your bets on 'till the very end.