Sunday, September 14, 2008

"Turistas" review

Turistas (2006)

Director: John Stockwell
Writer:Michael Ross

Josh Duhamel ... Alex
Melissa George ... Pru
Olivia Wilde ... Bea
Desmond Askew ... Finn
Beau Garrett ... Amy
Max Brown ... Liam
Agles Steib ... Kiko

A bunch of tourists are in Brazil to soak in the beautiful sights and sounds that the country has to offer. Their bus has a minor disaster which gives them the perfect excuse to ditch the group and see what trouble they can get into. They find a secluded beach which offers the usual tropical paradise cliches of drinking, dancing and fornicating. Tragedy befalls the group as certain devious individuals lust after their bodies and can't wait to harvest their organs. Their vacation hits a low point as they try to get away from a maniacal doctor and his crew of body part thieves.

I wish I could say that "Turistas" is a blatant rip-off of "Hostel" but that would be too insulting to "Hostel". Nor could I say "Turistas" is a rip-off of "Hostel II" as the gory sequel would also be offended. In fact, I couldn't even say that "Turistas" is a horror movie even though the poster clearly shows a scalpel descending on some doomed turista's head. But then what is "Turistas"? At best, it's a thriller with some eye candy running for their lives. At worst, it's the filmmakers travelogue on Brazil with some misguided attempts at horror thrown in. That way it at least gives the illusion that they were working while boozing it up on the beach. I suspect the filmmakers saw "Hostel" and wanted to capitalize on its success. Hmmm...

(Drunken Filmmaker): "I liked "Hostel" but I didn't really like the grungy Eastern European feel to it. Hey, I know, why not shoot it in Brazil? Yeah! We can have some Pina Coladas on the beach, film some babes in bikinis, jump off some waterfalls, it'll be a fantastic vacation! Say man, what's the Spanish word for Hostel? HAHAHAHA! What's that? They speak Portuguese there? Ahh, who cares? Round up the women! We're leaving for paradise! And maybe make the movie when the whiskey runs out."
I'm glad the filmmakers got to have some fun down in Brazil because my fun was lacking. As a horror movie, "Turistas" is a dud. There's nothing remotely scary going on here. The doctor's plan to start cutting up some turistas is known too early which drains all the tension from the movie. We know that these lunkheaded turistas are heading to their doom no matter what picturesque stop they make along the way. Once the turistas are stuck with the doctor, there is one gory scene of organ harvesting but the doctor blabs his way through it with his psychotically altruistic motives. A true monster doesn't need a reason to rip people's guts out. He would have done it just for fun.

But on the plus side, there were a lot of gratuitous shots of babes in bikinis. You have to like that. There were also a couple of topless scenes which I always appreciate. In many ways, I'm easy to please. But since I was expecting some semblance of a horror movie, "Turistas" failed to thrill me. It's an easy movie to sit through as you watch turistas drink and party up and down the beach. But partying turistas is just not enough reason to watch it.

SCORE: 2.5 out of 4 drunk turistas

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