When I read the premise of this film, I expected a light-hearted conspiracy romp around swinging 60s London. What I did not expect was an exploitation schlock-fest of drugs, tits, and exploding heads. I’m not saying this is a bad thing necessarily, I’m just saying that maybe the press release could do with a tweak.
The script for Moonwalkers is based on the famous bullshit conspiracy theory that acclaimed film director Stanley Kubrick was the man responsible for filming the moon landing right here on earth. I personally don’t put any credence in this particular theory, but I was intrigued to see the film anyway. Then I saw it was starring Ron Perlman and Rupert Grint. My level of intrigue dropped a bit at this moment. Nothing at all against either performer, it’s just not a double act I ever expected or wanted to see on screen.
Perlman plays Kidman, the CIA stooge who is sent from the Pentagon to recruit Kubrick, on the grounds that 2001: A Space Odyssey looked like it was really in space. Kidman is a special ops agent, just returned from Vietnam. He is suffering from PTSD and the occasional grotesque hallucination of dead Vietnamese people. I mention this only because the film makes a big deal out of it in the first half. Then completely forgets about it, which is hardly a surprise considering where the films end up.
Grint plays Jonny, the manager of a rubbish rock band. Following a case of mistaken identity, Kidman thinks Jonny is the producer who will connect him with Kubrick. Jonny plays along, roping his flat mate Leon (Robert Sheehan) into pretending to be Kubrick. Kidman falls for it, and hands over a briefcase full of money. This is just what Jonny needs, as he is up to his eyeballs in debt with a loan shark.
There are so many problems with this film it is difficult to know where to start. The dialogue is ridiculously contemporary, and full of modern slang. There are lots of old-fashioned stereotypes about how Brits see Americans and vice versa. Nearly every joke is about taking drugs or being wasted, so much so, it is a bit of a surprise that it takes nearly 40 minutes for White Rabbit to appear on the soundtrack.
But the biggest problem – that I have already alluded to – is that this is not the story of the faked moon landing. If they’d actually gone for it, and cast someone as Kubrick, positing the notion that it actually happened, then it could have been an interesting film. However – for reasons I have yet to comprehend – what we are given is a ferociously violent and blood-spattered farce.
If you are looking for a light-hearted comedy, then I would advise to look elsewhere. If you are looking for a film about the moon landings being a fraud perpetuated on the general public, then I would recommend Capricorn One. However, if you’re interested in acid trips, sexy topless hippies, heads being blown off, and people killed with axes, then you could do a lot worse than Moonwalkers.
Cast: Ron Perlman, Rupert Grint, Robert Sheehan Director: Antoine Bardou-Jacquet Writer: Dean Craig Released By: Icon Film Distribution Certificate: 15 Duration: 92 mins Release Date: 30th May 2016