Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection - Freddy vs. Jason Blu-ray Review

Written by ZigZag

Blu-ray released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Directed by Ronny Yu
Written by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift
2003, Region A, 97 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on September 13th, 2013

Starring:
Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger
Ken Kirzinger as Jason Voorhees
Monica Keena as Lori
Jason Ritter as Will
Kelly Rowland as Kia
Chris Marquette as Linderman
Brendan Fletcher as Mark
Katharine Isabelle as Gibb
Lochlyn Munro as Deputy Stubbs
Tom Butler as Dr. Campbell

 

Review:

Infamous child murderer Freddy Krueger rots in hell and the worst part of his torment is that the community he once terrorized has forgotten him. Unable to handle the anonymity any longer, Freddy hatches a plan that will bring fear back to the average citizen, which will be his ticket back to the spotlight. He enlists a patsy, Jason Voorhees, to do his manual labor and Jason is more than willing to comply. As the body count starts to grow, Freddy's plan works-like a dream, and soon he is strong enough to claim his own victims once again.

Trouble arises as it seems the giant goalie is not so easily controlled once he gets a taste for blood. When Jason starts taking teens from Freddy's grasp, shit gets real. The two titans are quickly squaring off with a handful of expendable characters caught in the middle. The battle rages from reality to the dream realm and back again as the iconic anti-heroes duke it out. What follows is a love-letter to the fans of both franchises as the two deliver a surprisingly vicious battle that contains more blood than the MPAA had allowed to spill in years.

This is the battle genre lovers have talked about for a decade. Once you get to the third act, Freddy vs. Jason puts forth a lot of good will to help viewers forget many of the forced moves that helped bring this all together. This is either the eighth Freddy movie or the eleventh Jason flick and it plays more like the latter (complete with a "best of" franchise recap) since despite having an impressive body count, Freddy only kills one character (two, if counting a parental flashback). Krueger is in the backseat a lot of the time, but he is clearly driving this picture as Jason has been transformed into more of a lumbering Frankenstein's monster type of thing.

 

Robert Englund reprises the role he has rocked seven times in the A Nightmare on Elm Street series and does so with effortless glee. Ken Kirzinger (Wrong Turn 2) wears the hockey mask this time because Kane Hodder was not asked to return. At the time, there was much grumbling from the Friday fans, but this casting misstep did not keep anyone away when it was finally released, and the film did surprisingly well at the box office. Director Ronny Yu (Bride of Chucky, Bride with the White Hair) delivers a fun ride that is faithful to both franchise crowds and manages to keep things moving at high speed, even as the characters wade through numbingly high piles of spoon-fed exposition.

Screenwriters Damian Shannon and Mark Swift deserve credit for cracking the formula of bringing these monsters together, but their script is totally dependent upon convenience and coincidence as their characters make one successful logic leap after another. The high schoolers figure things out so quickly by simply running into the right person at the right time, but all of it hardly matters… unless you are paying attention. There are definitely some fantastic set pieces, including an outdoor rave party, a fight in a construction zone and a flashback to 1957. The film is hardly perfect but is easily more enjoyable than numerous sequels from either franchise.

 

Reflections from Behind the Mask (may contain spoilers):


I understand that Freddy is not a fan of fire, but since when has Jason ever been afraid of the water? He was never a good swimmer, but he managed to chase people into the lake on more than one occasion. Retrofitting continuity can be successful in moderation, but this is as goofy as when Jason suddenly got a sister in Jason Goes to Hell.

Kane "heavy breathing" Hodder claimed ownership of the role of Jason Voorhees not only because he was the only actor to play the character more than once, but he also played the role for ten years. When Jason moved from Paramount to New Line, Hodder stayed in position behind the mask. It was with his first appearance in The New Blood that producers first entertained the idea of a crossover film with Freddy Krueger, but the rights to the character were unavailable. When Jason Goes to Hell added the last shot of Jason's mask being pulled underground by Freddy's glove (worn by Kane), the rumor mill of an imminent face-off kicked into high gear. Development hell claimed the picture for another decade, over which time Hodder appeared at countless horror conventions and other public events hyping the upcoming project. When produces worried the character had been gone too long to be relevant, Jason X was made and Hodder returned a fourth time.

Freddy vs. Jason eventually got permission to shoot and there was talk of having Robert Englund (Freddy) and Kane Hodder serve as producers on the project in addition to starring. Soon, talk surfaced of replacing Hodder with someone taller, leaner and with more sympathetic eyes. Rumors countered that Hodder was being difficult. Regardless of reason, it was decided that Hodder would not be returning as Jason despite the large outcry from his angry fan base. Instead of taking the silent high road however, the actor made several public comments about the situation and cemented the reality that he would never play Jason again. The character existed before him and continues to do so today. He did a fine job leasing the keys to the car, but it was time to move on. Things could have been handled better and for all the time Hodder spent promoting the film, he really should have gotten the title shot.

 

Video, Audio and Special Features:

Video, audio and special features for this collection will be discussed on the final page of this review.

 

Grades:

Movie: Grade Cover
Video: Grade
Audio: Grade
Features: Grade
Overall: Grade

Which Friday next?

 

 

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