Fatal Deviation is an ancient curse on the Irish people ("ancient" being 1993), passed on by a few VHS tapes like cinematic herpes until DVD technology re-released it on the world in exactly the same way archaeological digs "re-release" angry mummies.
Fatal Deviation is not a parody. It's an Irish martial arts movie about a secret kung fu tournament run in a barn by a group of hobo-monks in the scenic village of Trim*, and I repeat: not a parody.
*This is a real place in Ireland and clearly not as much fun as you'd think.
The DVD warns you that they're using a magic super-secret encryption which will totally destroy your computer if you try to copy it, a combination of childish optimism and absolute failure which extends to everything on the disc.
To call this a playground recreation of violence would insult the thousands of children who genuinely hurt themselves. Modern action movies couldn't hope to approach this level of sucking without a nude Jackie Chan fighting a homosexual black hole.
The tagline promises "A classic good versus evil action flick, mixed with kicks, guns, motorcycles and a hot babe!"--a sentence that's just as awesome as it is a complete and shameless lie.
"Good" - The Hero
Our hero, recycling an overstressed posing pouch as a T-shirt
According to the credits, Jimmy Bennett stars, writes, cinematographs, produces, directs, "Fight-Action Choreographs," casts, second unit directs and comes dangerously close to scribbling "by Jimmy Bennett, age 23" in crayon all over the film. From the first kick, it's clear his only hopes of getting into action movies were filming his own, or pretending to be an amputee orphan and applying to Make-A-Wish. Unfortunately for dignity, he chose the former.
Jimmy seems to do most things because he thought they were cool when he was eight and hasn't thought again since. He shouts "WAPOW!" during fights, believes an extreme martial-arts-training-montage is pushups and strikes a "Crossed arms dual pistol Chow Yun Fat" pose only to individually sight down and fire each pistol in turn. It's less Van Damme than I Am Sam, to the point where you feel kind of bad for making fun of him.
"Evil" - The Drug Lords Gang*
*That's their actual name.
You could find a better action hero in an osteoporosis ward, and you'd find better villains in an episode of The Smurfs. And I'm not even counting Gargamel--I mean amongst the actual Smurfs. Your action movie loses a lot of credit when the ultimate villain has clearly been stolen from an old folks' home, and could only be described as a "Drug Lord" if you count prescriptions.
The bewildered face of evil.
He reacts to the news that a lone hero is dismantling his village-wide crime empire the way your grandfather would react to a lecture on HTML. "One man beat all four of you?" he asks, and where a real villain would be demanding to know how four untrained thugs could be beaten by a single master martial artist, which is still a stupid question, this outpatient seems genuinely curious to learn what the words "one," "four" or even "you" might mean.
Old Man MacOnfused's second in command was played by Mikey Graham, who at the time was a member of Boyzone, Ireland's only boy band, thus making Fatal Deviation a perfect storm of everything the Irish ever did wrong.
If you've ever dropped something in the kitchen, congratulations on having a bigger budget than Fatal Deviation. In the "bar fight" scene, a henchman, hurled over the bar at the speed of fingernail growth, manages to catch hold of the bar in mid-tumble, and gently lower himself to the ground, because they clearly couldn't afford to break any glasses. I've seen less careful fights in priceless Ming vase collections. The only major stunt in the whole film, a car crash, wasn't even meant to happen.
Note the powerful off-center angle of the car, playing on the uncertainty of chance and how no one involved had any clue this was going to happen.
Jimmy actually crashed his only (terrible) vehicle while attempting to drive it down a straight road, a more perfect metaphor for the movie you couldn't make up.
There are so many things about making a movie that Jimmy doesn't know, that you could replace film school with this movie alone--just screening it once for students and asking them to list all the things it did wrong. Anyone who doesn't write "everything" instantly fails. But we don't have time to cover every second of the movie, so we're only going to take on the five biggest problems:
Number of Cameras
Most action movies aren't judged on number of cameras, in the same way most weightlifting competitors aren't judged by number of arms. Fatal Deviation has precisely one, rising to two thanks to Raymond Egan (credited with "Additional Camera" at the end of the movie) whenever the awesome star-power of Mikey turns up. While ordinarily he'd only be qualified to play "Second Tree from the Left" in a school production, he is by far the best actor here, and the entire Deviation crew is in awe of him, to the point of filming him separately for every scene. Especially the ones where he's part of a group conversation, and whenever possible at a different time of day (it is entirely possible this is because they only had Mikey for one day.)
Conversations at Drug Lords Gang dinnertimes were very strained.
These actors couldn't deliver a line naturally if the script read "OH GOD YES" [WHILE BEING RUBBED TO RELEASE BY BRAZILIAN CHEERLEADING SQUAD], and the lines stagger like a drunken Frankenstein's monster. It doesn't just take you out of the movie, it launches you out of there like an ejector seat.
Producers' Lack of Shame
Even the people who made Caddyshack 2 acted like that was something real humans with souls might do, knowing they'd make their money back through a combination of genetic failures, poor parenting and DVD sales. But Rising Sun Productions, proudly advertised on the DVD case and in the opening credits, have destroyed all evidence of their aiding and abetting this movie from their website. And yet they still proudly advertise "The Telephone Procedure" from "The Kata of Business."
Pictured: a more fearsome opponent than James Bennett.
Naked Cowboys Taking a Bath For No Reason
This man turns up with no reason, no lines and does nothing but show his ass.
For the brave, starting at 3:10:
I cannot stress enough how there is no explanation for this: We've never seen him before, we'll never see him again, and the only time we do it's his big fat white ass. If this man's backside was any flabbier, Han Solo would try to work for it--and if it was more pointlessly terrible so would Jar Jar Binks.
"A Hot Babe!"
A "hot" "babe."
No one has ever used the phrase "hot babe" and actually known one, a fact this movie does not change. The leading lady looks like she left the strip club because crack dealers were bringing it too up-market. My very existence can confirm that Irish women are better looking than that, because I was born. If all Irish women looked like her, the entirety of Gaelic history would have been the British arriving and asking, "Why isn't there anyone here? And where did all these shaved yeti corpses come from?"
Confusion: leather pants and she's sitting like she's expecting that wine bottle in there on a first date, and yet she's not Tila Tequila.
Everything you need to know about this movie is conveniently contained in the ending, a fact I (and now you) unfortunately discovered far too late. Same video, starting at 9:25.
"You killed my son. Now I am going to kill you. Just as I killed your father."
Jimmy beats up a senile old man and still manages to make it look rigged.
"You killed my father, now I'm gonna kill you, just like I killed your son!"
And that's it. That's the closer for the whole film, and it's the only thing in the entire movie more unwieldy than the protagonist's feet.
Past the Ending
A bloopers reel is normally an entertaining look behind the scenes, but here it's not so much funny as it is the basis for a class-action lawsuit by Homo Sapiens against the director. This only proves that what just happened to your eyes was on purpose. It's like a grizzled homicide detective finding party poppers inside his family's stab wounds--he now knows that not only did the people responsible have the mental age of a toddler, but they obviously enjoyed themselves while committing this atrocity.
Fifteen years later, Jimmy Bennett appeared as an uncredited bullfighter in Beverly Hills Chihuahua. And I don't want to kick a career when it's down, but there's no bull fight in that movie.
Luke McKinney writes at lukemckinney.org, endures more terrible movies with Dolemite (the whackinest blackinest exploitation movie your honky ass ever did see) and also does things to potato chips their creators would never dream of.
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