Summary: A Yankee sheriff takes over in a southern town where a series of attacks has left many people dead or missing, including his predecessor. With his deputy, a local beauty and a Native American trying to help solve the crimes, a missing guy nearly everyone in town thinks is a murderer, and a big oil magnate and his son who came by their oil-bearing swampland less-than-honestly, nobody suspects what’s really decreasing Bywater’s population one by one until it’s almost too late.
I have to honestly say that I have never seen a Marvel comic-turned-movie like this. First off, there was plenty of cursing. And I’m talking the f-bomb, so for someone like me, that’s a bonus. It’s a fair bet that’s because it was made in Australia. Granted, I haven’t seen tons of Australian-made movies, but in the ones I have seen, they seem to be a lot less uptight than U.S. studios about the use of colorful language. Between them and American independent films, I’m a happy camper.
I’ve not read the comic version of ‘Man Thing.’ In fact, I’d never heard of it until I was looking for movies in which actors from the current Hawaii Five-0 have appeared, for purposes of doing reviews just like this. It took a while for me to get around to ordering it…and fans of Alex O’Loughlin’s will simply be horrified to know it wasn’t the fact that he was in it that finally made me break down and purchase the thing. It was more that it was him and other specific actors. But we’ll get to that shortly.
I think some of the characters acted campy some of the time. Jack Thompson’s character Schist did a lot of that very villainous, very campy evil laughter, which kind of made me cringe at times. (Although I like Jack very much as an actor, I must say.) There was also a terribly campy evil-laughing-villains moment between Schist, Sr. (Thompson) and Schist, Jr. (portrayed by Jack’s son, Patrick).
Jack Thompson (left) and his RL son, Patrick Thompson
There’s a scene where the two are sitting in a vehicle plotting their next move and oh, Lord, I could practically see the overlay of a set of cartoon characters on top of them. Given that I loved seeing father and son act together in Feed, I was a little disappointed in that particular bit of Oh-No-They-Didn’t, but I’ll live.
Alex O'Loughlin as Deputy Fraser
What fun it always is to see Alex O’Loughlin in non-McGarrett (Hawaii Five-0) roles. Fun, that is, until the poor guy gets dismembered. I will admit, that was a little disturbing. While O’Loughlin’s character didn’t exactly meet a happy end in Feed, this was the first time I’d seen a character of his die, and I wasn’t prepared. I forget, he wasn’t as hot a commodity in 2005 when this movie was made, so I should’ve taken off my “they never kill the heroes” hat and put on my “he wasn’t Mr. BAMF yet” hat before I watched.
As for the movie itself, well…other than the aforementioned campiness – and there were other moments, too, not just those – it actually wasn’t altogether that bad. I saw some tweets over the past week between people who’d just watched Man-Thing and they were…less than complimentary. I have no clue whether the movie followed the comic closely or not, but as a standalone being watched by someone who is not a comic book reader (sorry, Peter Lenkov, I’ve never seen the R.I.P.D. one you created either, but I’ll be sure to watch the movie!), I have to say that I actually had fun watching this.
I think that was the point of it: fun. But I may also be terribly biased because of what I have come to call the Australian Rat Pack. I’m talking about director Brett Leonard, and actors Jack Thompson, Patrick Thompson, Alex O’Loughlin and Matthew Le Nevez.
I was very well aware that the Thompson boys (can I call them that without getting hated on?) and Alex O. were in the movie, but hadn’t yet done a lot of research on it. If I had, I wouldn’t have been so surprised when Le Nevez’s first appearance made me pause and say out loud, “Those eyes look so familiar.” And then, when I hopped over to IMDb to try and find out why those eyes looked so familiar, I saw the name of Man-Thing’s director on top of it and said, “You have got to be kidding me!”
Matthew Le Nevez as the Sheriff
The Australian Rat Pack. Why? Because Brett Leonard directed the movie Feed, which starred…yep, you guessed it: Alex O’Loughlin (Michael Carter), Patrick Thompson (Phillip Jackson), Jack Thompson (Richard) and Matthew Le Nevez (Nigel), among others. Leonard, O’Loughlin and the two Thompsons formed a production company called Honour Bright specifically to produce Feed (and yes, it was me who put that bit of trivia on Patrick Thompson’s IMDb page, along with a few other tidbits).
There’s no telling what else these gentlemen might’ve gone on to do together if Mr. O’Loughlin hadn’t gone to Los Angeles to seek his fame and fortune…which he obviously is doing pretty darn well at with the advent of Hawaii Five-0! I’m a little nostalgic after only getting these two films with this different Rat Pack – thinking about what might’ve been – but hey, we’ve got Steve McGarrett now, so I’ll take the compromise, I suppose.
(Hey, psssst…Hawaii Five-0 producers…I’m holding out to see the Thompson boys and Le Nevez on a episode of the show…surely you can have some Aussies visiting Hawaii for some reason. Think you can help out with that? *smiles pretty*) Heck, get Leonard in to direct it and I may just have an Australian Rat Pack Happy moment!
See? They think it's a good idea to get them onto "Hawaii Five-0!"
Okay, so Brett Leonard isn’t Australian, he’s one of Hollywood’s sons. But still, he did a great job with the actual Aussie members of my Rat Pack, so we won’t hold it against him.
Rachael Taylor as Teri
All that aside, there’s yet another thing that ties Man-Thing to Hawaii Five-0 besides Alex O’Loughlin, folks, and you can just chalk this up to me doing way too much research all the time. I recognized the blond woman who played Teri in Man-Thing but for the life of me couldn’t place her. When I looked her up, I found out it was Rachael Taylor, and that she’d been in the 2007 Transformers movie playing Maggie Madsen. A-ha, yes, I recognized her then! Only my brain suddenly poked me in the shoulder and said, “Ahem. Transformers?” I rolled my eyes and shook my head.
Who wrote Transformers?
Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.
And who are they?
If you’re a Five-0 fan, you already know that this Dynamic Duo created the action-packed show with Peter Lenkov. Oh, and they also did a little thing called Cowboys & Aliens and you might’ve heard of some sort of reboot of Star Trek starring Chris Pine…their resume’s way too big to fit here.
Wow. Connecting the dots is enough to make my head spin. I think we’ve moved along from Zero Degrees of Separation (if you read my blog posts about the Hawaii Five-0 actors and their movie roles on Hawaii Five-0 Online, you’ll know what I’m talking about). Yeah, we’re way out of Zero Degrees territory. We’ve moved into Nega-Degrees as far as I’m concerned. I mean, I’m willing to buy Hollywood being a small town, but now we’ve gotten a whole other continent involved and that’s when it slips below zero. I’m calling the Taylor-Transformers-Kurtzman-Orci thing, like, a negative ten or something.
All in all, my gut-reaction to Man-Thing, since that’s why I write these things after all, is that I think it’s a good romp. Although to be honest, I’d probably have liked it even if it was the worst thing ever made just because of the Aussie Rat Pack, but I already admitted I’m biased, okay? Yes, I broke down and bought it because the Thompsons are in it – especially Patrick, whose work it’s hard to get your hands on when you’re a Yank – along with Alex O’Loughlin. I enjoy these guys together because I know they’re friends. Call it a weakness.
Even if you’re not watching Man-Thing for any of the actors that are in it, I still think it’s fun. I like the whole Native American legend aspect (that’s always fascinated me, anyway). I like hearing Aussies try to sound southern-U.S. (*snort* – well, Patrick’s wasn’t too bad…) and I like very much the special effects that were meant to be the point-of-view of the swamp creature.
Hey, why not give it a try? If nothing else, you will have fun watching swamp tree root thingies popping into and out of victims’ bodies, and best of all, see that Patrick’s got a tattoo! (Sorry, Ladies, Alex never gets down to anything more than a long-sleeved shirt, so your Alex Tattoo Alert is hereby canceled for this evening.)
Psst, Patrick, your tattoo is showing...
That said, enjoy this little collage of Mr. Alex O’Loughlin as Deputy Eric Fraser. (Book ‘em, Alex. Huh. Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it…)
If you’re interested, you can purchase Man-Thing on DVD by clicking here.
You can check out the comic book version of Man-Thing by clicking here.