Tuesday, December 18, 2018

'Evil Bong 666' breathes new life into the series

Evil Bong 666 (2017)
Starring: Mindy Robinson, Robin Sydney, Sonny Carl Davis, Michelle Mais, Jessica Morris, and The Don
Director: Charles Band
Rating: Five of Ten Stars

After the mysterious disapperance of the former owner, Eebee's Magical Weed Dispensary is purchased by the devil-worshiping goth chick Lucy Furr (Robinson). When she opens to Sexy Hell, Rabbit (Davis) and the Evil Bong (Mais) join in an uneasy alliance to stop her mellow-harshing schemes... and a new hero emerges. But will even his pot-powered might be enough to save the day?

"Evil Bong 666" is a sequel to "Evil Bong High-5" and it picks up the story roughly a year after the events of that movie. It marks the end to a cycle that started with "Gingerdead Man vs. Evil Bong" and starts a new one... and if future films continue the trend started here, we're in for some fun times.

There are several things that the folks at Full Moon did right with this one. First of all, this is a complete movie, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Sure, it doesn't stand completely alone--viewers who watch this without having seen, at the very least, "Evil Bong High-5" won't get all the references and jokes--but at least some effort was made to provide a well-structured script. Secondly, by replacing Larnell and/or Rabbit as the shop owner, they gave the series a new tone and an all-new life. Lucy Furr is hilarously short of patience with the drug-addled morons who come into her shop and her exaperation is a lot of fun to watch. Thirdly, Full Moon cut back on the pointless cross-overs with other properties that were only there to sell merchandice. There is product placement in the film, but it's more subtle than in previous entries (well, with one notable exception, but it's incorporated nicely into the film so it's at least not obnoxious), and the one major cross-over is part of a running gag in the film.

Speaking of that cross-over, it marks the return of Luanne (played by Robin Sydney) to the Evil Bong Series. She was last seen as the replacement for Batty Boop on Killjoy's Psycho Circus TV show (in "Killjoy's Psycho Circus"), a gig she was fired from when the real Batty returned, and she keeps up the Batty routine in this film. Mostly. There are fourth-wall-breaking references to both Mindy Robinson and Robin Sydney having played other characters in the Evil Bong films, to which the actresses react rather than the characters, and these "continuity gaffs" are very amusing.

What's also amusing is the dialogue. This is the wittiest script since the original "Evil Bong", with virtually every joke working and every zinger that Lucy Furr fires off in reaction to another character being stupid stricking home with malicious hilarity. Mindy Robinson, who has just sort of been present in the past few "Evil Bong" pictures gets to show off her knack for comedy in this one, and I hope she'll have similar opportunities in future films.

On the downside, I was disappointed that the Frankenstein spoof that was such a major part of the preview I saw is actually a minor part of the overall film. It's a high point of the movie, and I wish more of it had been this spot-on and well put together. Further, as funny a concept as Sexy Hell was, the concept was crippled by the film's low budget. Most of the effects dollars appear to have gone into the film's three creatures (Gingerdead Man, Evil Bong, and a new character that's added in the third act), so there wasn't much left to bring Sexy Hell to life--as was done with the animated scenery for Bongworld. Instead, we see the actors performing on a cramped green screen set without even animated "long shots" to provide even the slightest illusion of there being something beyond that little corner. This goes great damage to the whole concept... but maybe it will undergo a fix similar to what Bongworld received.

In the final analysis, this film was more of a joy than a chore to watch. I am looking forward to finding time to watch the final entry (so far) in the series, hoping the upward quality curve will continue!

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