Director: Paco Cabezas
Cast: Mario Casas, Vicente Romero, Macarena Gómez and Luciano Cáceres
Release date: 11th June 2012
The film opens with a bullet being fired at Ricky (Mario Casas, Spain’s answer to Danny Dyer), before it hits he begins to relate his story in voice over. He’s a minor criminal who decides to open a strip bar slash brothel to try and earn his mother’s love upon her release from jail (no, this makes no sense to me either), roping in his two idiot buddies, pimp Angelito and muscle El Niño. Angelito is a real charmer who trains his dog to attack prostitutes so he doesn’t have to. El Niño is a hulking brute with severe learning difficulties. Ricky gradually gathers a stable of girls to work in his club (all of whom are pathetically grateful to be rescued from some other fate). In the course of all this he crosses paths with repellent gangster El Chino. Worse, his mother comes out of jail with dementia and doesn’t know who he is.
Neon Flesh (aka Carne De Neón), shows the deterioration of style that has happened over the last couple of decades as more and more young turk directors take the route of relying on cheap-ass CGI instead of practical effects. In the opening shot we see a bullet fired from an impossible viewpoint inside a gun barrel. Then the bullet in close-up spinning through the air towards its target. This is not unlike the stunning set-piece in Dario Argento’s Terror At The Opera, which similarly showed a bullet fired from a gun in ultra slo-mo from inside the barrel. But Dario used practical effects back then, which have a weight that poor CG doesn’t. Here the CGI bullet looks fake, like it doesn’t belong in the frame. From this point on things get much worse.
This film is full of whizz bang techniques borrowed from advertising, MTV and reality TV. Aerial city flyovers that go fast, then SLLLLOOOOOWWWWW. Character intros where names appear on screen behind the person being introduced then do some fancy After Effects thing, while they pose for the camera like it’s an episode of The X Factor. Everything is graded in super high contrast saturated colours. Whip pans, funny angles, the works gets thrown at the audience. The effect is unbelievably boring. The character intros in particular are a real irritation, making the film’s opening feel grossly extended and breaking up what little narrative flow there is.
Neon Flesh is a misogynistic, sadistic piece of crap. Women only exist to be prostitutes, strippers, junkies, and victims pawed over by a succession of creeps. There’s even some hilarious bestiality. It has been a long time since I’ve seen a movie with such a low regard for female characters, most are immigrants so don’t even get a line of dialogue, whereas the putrid trio of dickheads who are the heroes get to drone on and on and on. There isn’t a likeable character in the thing, everyone is a different degree of scum. The film is so grubby it reeks like an unwashed truss. It made me think Judge Death had the right idea. Each of its 102 minutes feels like being gently pricked by a needle in the same sensitive spot, at first it’s merely irritating, but after 10 minutes it’s agonising. There is no rational reason to watch further. But if you do, you will be treated to an ugly tsunami of unfunny, degrading, sexist, violent pish.
It will probably get five stars from Nuts magazine.
Rating: 0.5 stars