Hostel: Part III

Director: Scott Spiegel (2011)
Starring: Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper, Kip Pardue, Brian Hallisay
Find it: IMDB

Men on a stag party in Las Vegas run into trouble when one of their number goes missing. They attempt to retrace the previous evening's footsteps in the hope of recovering their disappeared compatriot. By the end of it, a punch in the chops from Mike Tyson is going to be the least of their worries. "Not much of a party," says an observant hooker of the group's crappy stag do. Not much of a party indeed. In relocating the Hostel Hostel to Las Vegas, this threequel loses a lot of the franchise's Eastern European creepiness and just feels like an episode of CSI.

Instead of the torture being a private affair between torturer and tortured, Hostel 3 turns it into a group exercise in which rich bastards bet upon the variables of violence. One game has the participants attempting to guess how long it will take for a character to give the "I have a wife and kids" speech. It's an interesting concept, but beyond that one game, it's barely touched on again. Another game sees the rich bitches guessing how many arrows a character will take to the body before he dies. It's hardly a game of chance though, since the killer then goes and shoots him in the face. The bad guys in Hostel III are essentially John Cleese in Rat Race, taken to the extreme.

There is some amusement to be found in the movie's first half, which playfully and continuously toys with the audience's expectations. Some of the red herrings there are strikingly predictable (the opening, for example) but others work well. But the problem with all of the Hostel films is that once the action reaches the torture basements, there's nowhere left to go. Like part 1 and 2, Hostel III blows its load three quarters of the way through, and has to make with a predictable and passionless escape sequence, just for convention's sake.

It helps not a jot that the characters are mostly terrible. The lead character (Hallisay) is a blank slate; supposed to be sympathetic and relateable because he treats prostitutes like people and won't cheat on his fiancée (again). Best man Carter (Pardue) is just as much a nonentity. John Hensley looks like Ant or Dec from off've Ant or Dec and hits a man with his crutch. To be fair, he's the least punchable person in the film. But there's little schadenfreude to seeing them die, since the torture scenes are dull too.

The concept is interesting, the set-up fun, and Hostel III does have its moments - there are more ball gags than you could fill a ball gag ball bag with - but mostly it's silly, needless and plays like a rip-off of itself. The build-up is well done, but the action within the Hostel is boring and graceless. It's the least gruesome entry so far. You may be better off staying on the hotel roof instead.

1 comment:

  1. I was on the fence about renting this one. Now I know not to bother. Cheers.