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Revenge of the Red Baron
Next time somebody tells you that the worst movie they ever saw was The Hulk or The Phantom Menace or even Battlefield Earth, you need to sit them down with a truly bad piece of filmmaking. Pretty much any of the movies lampooned on Mystery Science Theater would do the trick, or you can get your fingers on the astonishingly inept, ridiculously unwatchable, and biblically atrocious Corman production called Revenge of the Red Baron, which is a "movie" in the same way that a small handful of M&Ms is "dinner."
Were it not for the presence of the now-famous Tobey Maguire, Revenge of the Red Baron would still be locked away in the Corman vault, gathering dust on a shelf labeled Unreleasable, even for us. It truly is something to behold, my friends.
The flick opens with a really dodgy-looking aerial dogfight before we switch into the meat of the matter: Young Jimmy (young Maguire) is forced to spend time with his disturbingly weird grandfather (weird Mickey Rooney), only to discover that gramps has an obsession with radio-controlled planes. In an effort to appease his ridiculously unpleasant father, Jimmy hangs with the old man, and soon begins to realize that there's something strange about the airborne toys. Any when I say "strange," I'm referring to a living Red Baron doll who loves nothing more than killing people before hitting the skies with a silly little quip. Weird, weird stuff, folks.
I'll get right to the point: This thing is painfully bad. Name a facet of filmmaking, and you'll be mentioning an arena in which this movie is deficient. The screenplay is far and away the worst factor in the equation, but jockeying for position are the home-movie acting performances, the aggressively shoddy directorial style, and the endlessly redundant editorial approach. (Interesting to note that director Robert Gordon is a career editor, and even went on to cut Toy Story after the Red Baron negative was remanded to someone's garage.)
The tones wavers between banal family melodrama and bizarre "possessed toy" thriller, with unhelpful moments of comedy schtick and dreary dialogue from Larraine Newman, Cliff DeYoung, and Don Stark. As far as the young Tobey Maguire goes, heck, he was a teen when he got this gig, so he's hardly to blame ... but I bet he broke out with a big involuntary cringe when he learned this flick was actually getting a DVD release.
I give up. Where's Crow T. Robot when I need him?
Video: It's a 1984 VHS-style transfer. Full screen and fugly.
Audio: Mono. Enjoy.
Odd that Disney would opt to put "Family Adventure" atop the DVD case of this non-movie, mainly because the flick features some rather bad language, several nasty murders, and a complete lack of anything resembling "adventure."
I mean, really, Disney... If you've purchased the rights to all 350+ of Roger Corman's movies, why wouldn't you save this one for dead last?