The Bad Batch (2016) Review
Published on April 26, 2019
A spunky, undesirable tearaway is renegaded to the wasteland of Texas and forced to fight for survival or die trying!
October 1, 2017
The Bad Batch
'Mad Max: Fury Road' eclipsed 88th Academy Awards by becoming the most nominated film of that year. 'Fury Road', the adrenaline-fuelled reboot, additionally brought feminism to the forefront of the male dominated franchise by giving Charlize Theron (Monster) the centre stage. Theron’s character has both the physicality of an anti-heroine while equally
demonstrating barbaric tendencies, and while 'Fury Road' glared vengefully at critics who wrote the film off even before the colour-drained fourth instalment saw the light of day the turbocharged, high-end revamp lacked the 'Mad Max' charm that gave the first two films their well-sustained comic-strip energy.
Jump to 2018, when a self-contained movie with a smaller budget and a less loud take on the post-apocalyptic concept used in 'Fury Road' made its way onto Netflix. While not part of the 'Mad Max' canon, it damn well should have been. 'The Bad Batch', written and directed by Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night), is a cannibal love story set in a Texas wasteland, which by all accounts shouldn’t work, but Amirpour ignores the lore of genre films which are of the belief that action speaks louder than substance and delivers a lavishly distressed soundscape with blanched set pieces and an amputee feminist that’s likeable and unforgettable.
'The Bad Batch' is somewhat of a throwback to the late 80s’ plot-light chaos and violent post-nuclear holocaust outings, but it swaps its topless unswaggering masculinity for a size zero model in emoji hot pants. Arlen (Suki Waterhouse), the hot pants-wearing exile, is forced to live and fend for herself in the Texas wasteland after becoming deemed undesirable by society. The film begins with little mileage in the tank but swiftly breaks away from its formula with Arlen’s capture and the introduction of the go-go boy post-apocalyptic future cannibal colony, whose members spend their days working up a sweat whilst listening to revamped eighties tunes. Skilful filmmaking hereon in helps set 'The Bad Batch' apart from its otherwise barest possible bones of a plot and gives it elegance in a world beaten by its violent desert landscape.
"Amirpour ignores the lore of genre films which are of the belief that action speaks louder than substance and delivers a lavishly distressed soundscape with blanched set pieces and an amputee feminist that’s likeable and unforgettable."
At the cannibal colony we briefly meet Miami Man (Jason Momoa). Miami Man is one beautiful specimen and his beach bum, Culture Club-loving ways make for interesting viewing. He’s also a dab hand with a paint brush. What transpires within the colony, however, is less than the
otherworldly camp, but surprisingly it is less graphic than I remember. The implied butchery renders Arlen disabled but her ingenuity won’t allow for lethargic moments and she escapes on a skateboard, eventually to be rescued by a mute desert Samaritan (Jim Carrey), who takes her to a makeshift town named Comfort, where she is cared for and given a prosthetic leg. During Arlen’s time at the Comfort compound we really get to see her inner workings and the simple setups that have her cutting limbs from porn magazines and sticking them to her mirror so she can see her body as God intended it to be helped progress the narrative without the need for much dialogue, and at times with no dialogue at all.
Once again the film’s tone shifts and Arlen returns to the cannibal colony for retribution. Much of the scathing criticism is that the film stumbles through its acts and has far too much wasted running time with little action. These very same critics also pointed out 'Fury Road'’s pitfalls for having too much action going on at one time. Amirpour’s direction walks the walk and creates a piece of celluloid that is one part 'Tank Girl' and three parts 'Mad Max'. Characters such as Dream (Keanu Reeves) are straight from the Titan Comic pages along with its desert aesthetic, while Miami Man would feel right at home among the leather-wearing, loincloth-parading biker gangs of 'Mad Max'.