Movie Review – Paintball (2009)

Hey readers, part of my intention of starting this blog is that I want to get a career by writing. Obviously, something like this is a great way to exercise that desire… and who knows, if this thing gets a decent following it can be a good thing to put on a resume. With that in mind, I’ve come up with a great way to make me post often on this blog: movie reviews!

This first review combines 2 of my interests – horror/action cinema and paintball in the 2009 film, Paintball. I first heard about this movie from a friend of mine who had seen it. He was telling me stuff about acid-filled paintballs, psychotic mercenaries and people battling it out to the death… he said it wasn’t that great, but honestly, it sounded pretty awesome to me! However, while the movie has some decent ideas, they’re wasted for the most part. It’s like Predator, minus everything that makes that movie good. Be warned, spoilers below… not that there’s really that much to spoil.

First off, for a movie called Paintball, there is very little actual paintballing going on. The whole idea is dropped pretty quickly once the bodies start piling up. However, I really question how much anyone involved knew about the sport. In some ways it seems like they’re enthusiasts (one of the plot points makes me think that the production process went something along the lines of “hey guys, I just got a RAP4 Grenade Launcher, let’s make a movie about it!”), but in some very key ways the movie represents paintball horrendously. Case-in-point: the film is supposedly starring professional scenario paintballers, but literally less than a minute into the game they’re all taking off their masks. The #1 rule of paintball is always keep your freaking mask on!!! I think the intention is that it’s supposed to help you know which character is which instead of them being covered by a mask, but the fact that the movie gives us no real attachment doesn’t help this notion at all. Furthermore, some of the characters are wearing goggles instead of full-on masks, so why not just give them all goggles if you’re trying not to cover their faces? Or how about different mask designs per character to differentiate them? Not that hard people, and honestly that’s one of the main ways I differentiate people when I’m playing the damn game itself…

Anyway, paintballing gripes aside, the characters are just plain badly presented. We’re given a very brief intro to them, but I honestly couldn’t tell you anything defining about any of them. One was called “Fred” I think, but I only remember that because his brains get bashed out and they start screaming his name when it happens. It doesn’t help that the sound editing was horrendous, I seriously could not understand what the characters were saying half the time, especially outside the heat of combat. As a result, the movie devolves into a bunch of screaming people running around and getting killed off one-by-one.

Honestly, I could have forgiven some bad characters if the film had had some other redeeming elements. However, Paintball can’t do much right. When it’s on-screen, the violence is pretty brutal, but not really all that satisfying. Most of the deaths are filmed with a thermal vision camera, which is rather cool at times, but it is used too often. The plot doesn’t make a whole lot of sense either. For example… at the start, there’s clearly about a dozen people opening fire on the characters (judging by the amount of paint flying at them). However, the movie later reveals that there’s only 1 mercenary out there killing people. So… who was doing the shooting? The movie does seem to imply that there’s another team running around out there, but we never really see this for certain (and it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for them to be doing the shooting since they were being hunted before the others).

Another major complaint about the movie – it’s just boring. Seriously, even with the frequent brutal deaths, I wanted to turn it off after about 30 minutes. We’re given no investment in the characters and no pay-off when they finally get offed. As much of a piece of crap The Final Destination was (a movie series I will likely go into at some point in the future), at least that movie got the payoff right. Paintball can’t even do this right. Throughout the movie they’re getting the parts to build “something”. At the end we realize it’s a paintball grenade launcher loaded with acid-filled paintballs. Epic, I’ve sat through 70 minutes of this crap, at least I’ll get to see someone killed with that thing… haha. You wish. When she goes to fire it, the gun literally does not fire. Seriously, what the hell?! What kind of screenwriter hypes a weapon like that and then does not use it once? Hell, the characters don’t even use the acid-filled paintballs… which, y’know, might be handy when you’re being stalked by a psychopath who has killed everyone else in your group.

On the positive side, I’ve gotta hand it to the director, Daniel Benmayor – the movie looks fairly slick. He has an obvious love for faux long-takes and an interesting style. With some reining in (long-takes are good, but they’re excessive in this), a good script and a bit of a budget, he could actually make something pretty good. Unfortunately, while Benmayor can view it as a learning experience, to us it’s nothing but a piece of crap. Bottom-line – this movie sucked.

Final Score: 3/10

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