THE MACHINE is a raunchy, violent action comedy about Bert Kreischer, a comedian who, when he was in college 25 years ago, took a trip to Russia and wound up being forced to hang out with Russian mobsters for a week. Bert had to engage in robberies and drinking contests to save himself. Now newly sober, middle-aged and trying to be a family man, he and his father are kidnapped again by mobsters. He’s forced to find an invaluable pocket watch or risk the death of himself, his father and his teenage daughter, who’s also been kidnapped. Will Bert be able to save the day? Can he reconcile with his father and be a better man?
THE MACHINE has some funny lines, but they are scattered very few and far between. Also, despite come moments of inspired slapstick violence, THE MACHINE otherwise is an unfocused, unfunny mess without a real target audience. It also has an awkward mix of serious introspection, regrets, strong foul language, graphic violence, substance abuse, and other hedonistic behavior. THE MACHINE is unacceptable and hard to watch.
(PaPa, BB, C, LLL, VVV, SS, NN, AAA, DD, M)
Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Strong pagan, hedonistic, somewhat mixed worldview where title character is depicted as a hedonistic party animal in college days flashbacks, but in middle age he’s trying to reform for his family, stopping drinking and trying too hard to do good things for his teenage daughter to attempted comedic effect, he also reconciles with his long-estranged father and tries to be a better son
At least 112 obscenities (including many “f” words), four Jesus profanities, eight GD profanities, several light profanities, and two people vomit after witnessing a decapitation
Numerous shootouts with graphic bloody killings played for laughs some of the time, lots of fistfights and kicking, many wounds spurt blood (including two throat slittings), and a man is decapitated by another train when his head is forced out of a train window and lots of blood is seen as a result
Nothing visual but numerous crude sexual references and jokes are made
The hero is seen shirtless throughout most of the movie, and there’s graphic rear nudity when his older father bends over
Lots of scenes of drinking to excess (especially vodka), the title character is the official billboard model for a national Russian brand of liquor, when he needs to save the day in the finale, he, the title character, drinks copious amounts of vodka to power up, the man is called “the American Drinking God” and “The Machine” because of his ability to out-drink everyone around him
Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
Someone vapes, characters snort cocaine in one scene, characters get high by eating pot edibles, man eats an old marijuana laced brownie and hallucinates;
In a nightmare, lead character’s father is holding son’s testicles after it’s implied he removed them, no blood is scene, and it’s an obvious fake prosthetic.
THE MACHINE is an action comedy with painfully few laughs and mostly cliched action sequences that’s based on a story that made comedian Bert Kreischer (who stars as himself) a huge star in the comedy world. The story in question involves how, when he was in college many years ago, he took a trip to Russia and wound up being forced to hang out with Russian mobsters for a week.
During that time, Bert figured out the only way to survive and find a way out of his predicament was to agree to rob his fellow passengers on a train and also out-drink the mobsters with copious amounts of alcohol. As a result, the Mobsters nicknamed him “The Machine” because he was an unstoppable drinker.
The resulting story became a raunchy comedy legend. However, in this movie the story involves his recounting the college misadventure through flashbacks and non-stop narration, while being kidnapped by the mobsters again, along with his estranged father, Arthur, played by Mark Hamill.
The reason they have been captured is that one of the items that Bert stole 25 years ago was a fancy watch that was a precious family heirloom of one of the mob kingpins. Bert is expected to find the watch by any means necessary, and he’s forced to find it to save the life of his father and his also-kidnapped teenage daughter.
Throughout the movie, Kreischer is wrestling with guilt about his hard-partying past and being a bad example as a husband and father with his on-stage comedic antics.
Will Bert be able to save the day? Or, will he and his family suffer grave consequences? Can he reconcile with his father and be a better man? Or, will he fall into temptation and party his way to a disaster?
THE MACHINE could have had a focused, fun premise, but the movie goes in too many conflicting directions. Bert Kreischer’s fans are blue-collar partying males, and they greeted Bert’s frequent introspective regrets with disappointed moans. Although Bert’s character is a very hedonistic guy in his college flashbacks and in the climax, he extensively discusses his regrets and attempts to be a better husband and father. He also wants to be a good son and reconcile with his own father. Such self-reflection and desire to live a more moral life are commendable. However, THE MACHINE also has a large amount of strong foul language, alcohol abuse, drug use, and graphic violence that will turn off viewers looking for a family-values story.
The movie’s bouncing back and forth between flashbacks and the present is confusing and poorly done, and the staggering amount of alcohol and graphic violence are seldom presented with real pizzazz. The constant punching and kicking fights and shoot-outs have been seen millions of times before.
Bert Kreischer is surprisingly good in his acting debut, handling the serious moments with aplomb. Hamill is fun to see outside of his role as Luke Skywalker in the “Star Wars” movies, but even his presence is an indication of how far this movie veers off-course. When your major co-star is an actor who’s only been seen in one role for nearly 50 years, and there are no other recognizable actors, that’s a problem.
THE MACHINE has some funny lines, but they are scattered very few and far between. Also, despite come moments of inspired slapstick violence, THE MACHINE otherwise is an unfocused, unfunny mess.
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