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VHS Files: Equilibrium

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While cleaning out my father-in-laws apartment, we came upon over 2000 VHS store bought videotapes. I grabbed a few tapes, and I’ll be watching them (on VHS) from time to time, letting you know what I thought.

“Good morning, the Worm your honor

The crown will plainly show the prisoner who now stands before you

Was caught red-handed showing feelings

Showing feelings of an almost human nature; 

This will not do.”

 “The Trial”– Pink Floyd


If you’ve ever listened to the five lines above from The Wall and wished that Roger Waters and Co. had been able to expand on that theme, well, I have the movie for you.

 Equilibrium has got to be the coldest, most sterile, and definitely most violent movie ever made that has the lead character’s epiphany come from how he feels about a puppy. 

 Here is what you got- World War III has left the world decimated.  The powers that be have decided that the reason why human beings resorted to nuking one another is because of feeling too much.  That’s right- rage, joy, envy, uh… gregariousness all contributed to our near-destruction of a race.

 What to do?  Outlaw feelings of any kind!  The government, now run by a mysterious Wizard of Oz-type named Father, now forces the public to shoot up with a drug calldd Prozium every hour or so.  If you don’t, you’ll start to have feelings again.  And if you begin to feel again, well, here comes the law.

 The Grammaton Clerics are a squad of ultra bad-asses led by Christian Bale’s John Preston.  They wear little dentist smocks and practice a fairly cool style of fighting called Gun Kata (not to be confused with Gymkata.  Ah, Gymkata…).

Anyay, these guys don’t have much of a sense of humor. They’re raison d’etre is to come to your house, destroy anything that will cause you to feel (the movie opens with them destroying the original Mona Lisa without so much as a blink), and then either shoot you on the spot or arrest you so you can be incinerated the next day.

 The look of this movie is supposed to make you think of a dystopian nightmare- very George Orwell.  Actually, it reminded me of Queen’s Radio Ga-Ga video. 

You cab tell this was not made on much of a budget, and it looks fine, actually. The problem is that it really, really wants to be The Matrix.  This came out in 2002, and at that time we had only seen Matrix #1, the good one.

Gun Kata is pretty fun to watch, admittedly.  But it is so reminiscent of the various action scenes in The Matrix that is gets a bit embarrassing (for Equilibrium, not The Matrix).  Basically, if you liked that scene in The Matrix when Neo and Trinity bust into the office building, guns a’ blazin’, then there are three to five scenes in Equilibrium that you will like, just not as much.

I could go on and explain how Bale decides that he is no longer going to shoot up with the Prozium, how he evades his colleagues as he begins to feel emotions, how that damn puppy almost gets him killed, and how Taye Diggs fits into the whole thing, but I won’t.  If you catch this on TNT on a Sunday afternoon when you are hung over or have diarrhea, you won’t hate it. But if you watch it in any other state than the one I just described, you’ll have some problems.

 But here- I’ll give you the best scene of the movie (and yes, it involves the puppy). You’re welcome.


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