88 full movie review - Disjointed Cliché of Violence and Revenge and a Waste of Talent
Actual rating 3.3/10 mainly due to the ability of cast: Katherine Isabelle, Christopher Lloyd, Michael Ironsides and a special mention to director April Mullen.
First, the movie is a cliché of the Hollywood (Canadawood) B cinema of girl goes gun crazy for revenge. Exploitation films usually run it after a rape or family violence but in this case it's boyfriend revenge. At least so we think. So it draws comparison with the superior Kill Bill. But it lacks the style and coordination of Kill Bill. In many ways, it tries to be Memento, also another superior film, but it is far more disjointed with too many cuts, parallel time(?!) and flashbacks which only makes the film confusing and nonsensical.
It's also disjointed in its treatment of its own title 88. The first 20-30 minutes it does build on it. So there's some interest. And someone pointed out 88 has a significance with Christopher Nolan's Back to the Future. Which adds to the interest. But somewhere in the middle, the film is confused and forgets about its own title. So why 88? It actually means very little after a bit of number play in the first 20 minutes.
It's like if you ever meet someone or have a friend who's had a drug or mental issue. Someone who experiments on drugs. They never make sense. And the experiment goes bad. I'm not sure how other reviewers give it a higher rating (or how did it get a 4.5/10 here, which tells you, it definitely can't be a good film). But keep in mind, often lesser films on IMDb get high ratings due to the limited reviewers being probably connected to the film (e.g, friends, employees) or strong fans. After a few hundred reviews or with time and loss of enthusiasm, it often goes down in ratings. (So why do I review it? I like reviewing both good and bad films. No real reason in particular but if I have time and the film strikes me in a way, in this case, Isabelle, Nolan and how they can be in a poor film).
Our heroine Katherine Isabelle plays Gwen, Gwenny or Flamingo. That is, yes, she doesn't have a clear identity or fugue state as the movie opens. One thing is for the main character to have a fugue state but the whole film is a fugue state. A woman who kills several people accidentally or intentionally? Are we supposed to sympathize with our character? Trying to draw into the character and making the film imitate the character doesn't accomplish much. Imagine The Hobbit being a short film on a small screen because the main characters are dwarfs and hobbits. And the men in this movie either get killed, kill themselves or die trying to protect her. It seems she had a violent past int he end but she never showed on police records although her associates (e.g, Cyrus) did. I'm not sure why what's so special about her, that people try to protect her.
Basically the film is trash like the sets as someone inquired where was this film so badly shot? It's like trash like its trashy characters. I almost never say that for any film but it's a rare film, maybe a 1 in 40 or 50 films. Yes, that bad but not the worst. 90% of my films I rate are 4/10 and above on IMDb. Nothing special about directing (rather poor), screenplay, cinematography, all substandard.
Just hardly worth watching, except for the somewhat good, curious casting: Christopher Nolan emerges from his Back to the Future to play a aged hood, Michael Ironsides always plays the cliché cop (or villain), and Katharine Isabelle gives a very good performance. She was terrific in American Mary, which is an underrated film on IMDb at 6.3. I would give it more a 7.0/10 if you can stand the gore and appreciate the originality. 88 tries to emulate that originality of character but falls very short. Special mention to April Mullen who plays Lemmy, a far more interesting character than as the director of this movie. It's a short cameo role as the gun dealer Lemmy who has a bizarre but funny flip sign in her abode/store. Probably the best moment of the film.
Without the cast, it would be a 2 or 2.5/10 or bottom 1 out of every 200-300 films. Just really, really bad without the main characters. But you may want to tolerate this film if you have nothing else to do but see what Katherine Isabelle or Christopher Nolan can do. But I think they themselves would rather not see this film on their own resume. It is that forgettable and straight to netflix.