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I, FRANKENSTEIN WITH AARON ECKHART

year: 2014 rating: **
Well if Abraham Lincoln can become a Vampire Hunter, why can’t Frankenstein's monster hunt demons? After all, they’re after him, so why the bloody hell not?

Following a brief prologue/introduction by the man, or rather, the thing itself, narrating that familiar Mary Shelley tale, we join in with the slouching, wandering nomad…

Not a bulky Boris Karloff from James Whale’s Universal classics or Robert De Niro’s melancholy grouch in the faithful yet ponderous Kenneth Branagh adaptation…

But with a gaunt face, a cleft chin and disheveled long hair, Aaron Eckhart’s creature wouldn’t seem that familiar except the patchwork of facial scars resembling whip marks or the result of a bad morning shave.

The brooding man-beast winds up in a dark forest, fighting a group of angry demons – are there any other kind? Well these horned harpies have something personal against the legendary result of a mad doctor’s experimentation. But before getting in too deep, he’s abducted by a fleet of intrepid Gargoyles that, when not in flying form, resemble male models led by their castle-ruling queen, who names the Creature “Adam.”

Karloff for good measure
Much of the film involves frantic battles pitting two aggressors, fervently running at each other in a joust-like cadence combined with MATRIX style slo-mo. Between these violent brawls are loads of expository dialogue about why the demons want Adam for their own nefarious plans. The reason is probably the cleverest aspect of a glossy film reminiscent of PRIEST, VAN HELSING, the UNDERWORLD series and, after a shorthaired Adam ventures into modern times to face the same demons (now wearing business suits), a weak version of HIGHLANDER.

Here’s where the plot becomes more complicated and clearer at the same time: We still have a lot to learn but only the banal fighting matters. Then, throughout the havoc, a pseudo love interest enters in the form of a gorgeous blond scientist seeking knowledge from Adam’s only possession: that being Dr. Frankenstein’s journal providing insight on how he was created in the first place. The book becomes a whirlwind wishbone for all included, and there’s even an ultimate plan by the head demon to eventually… you got it… take over the world!

The best thing about this already-maligned revision is it’s not very long. The worst thing is very little happens and in surprisingly few locations… Meanwhile the literary (and/or cinematic) icon, thrown in with so many screaming gargoyles and writhing demons, is hardly distinguished from friends or foes other than not morphing into a powerful, monstrous being…

Making one yearn for that grunting, bolt-necked green guy who was at least memorable and endearing. A few minutes after I, FRANKENSTEIN you’re bound to forget all about… what’s his name.  
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