Image Entertainment presents
My Name is Bruce (2008)
"I've gotten a lot of use out of chainsaws over the years. Killed a lot a zombies, saved a lot of lives, but at the end of the day when push comes to shove... they're just too damn heavy."- Bruce Campbell (himself)
Stars: Bruce Campbell, Grace Thorsen, Taylor Sharpe, Ted Raimi
Other Stars: Dan Hicks
Director: Bruce Campbell
MPAA Rating: R for Language and Some Violence
Run Time: 01h:23m:34s
Release Date: 2009-02-10
DVD ReviewThe premise of My Name is Bruce is amazing. Since we’re probably never going to get an Evil Dead 4, the premise of Bruce Campbell, mistaken for his on screen, Evil Dead persona and forced into battle with a real demon sounded like the next best thing. Even Bruce’s worst movies are worth watching as his presence always elevates the material (no matter how dire). Why, then, does My Name is Bruce turn out to be such a misfire? We’ve got the trademark Campbell charm in spades, along with an honest and self-deprecating sense of humor. Couple that with in- jokes so ‘in’ that only the most hardcore of devotees will notice. So what went wrong?
The un-ambitious approach is one problem. It begins with the aforementioned premise but never does anything with it. So, for 83 minutes, we watch Bruce Campbell play an exaggerated version of his persona: His movies are nothing more than grade Z schlock. Our leading man is nothing more than a self-absorbed jackass. He doesn’t realize how obnoxious he is or how much those around him hate his guts. He’s also not terribly bright, as the circumstances that lead him to the tiny Oregon town of Gold Lick wouldn’t fool Wile E. Coyote.
The script, written by Mark Verheiden, forces its comedy down our throats while trying to get a lot of mileage out of the titular character’s dimwitted personality. Unsurprisingly, it grows old very quickly. Furthermore, it absolutely fails to generating any tension of excitement and those expecting something akin to Army of Darkness should proceed with caution. I know this is a comedy, but Guan Di generates no menace (all he does is decapitate extras every 10 minutes or so) and his inevitable confrontation with Bruce is simply yawn-inducing. In fact, outside of a few amusing references to some of Campbell’s worst films (“why’d you do Serving Sara!?”), Verheiden’s script is pretty much a bust.
Campbell’s work behind the camera doesn’t help, either. You’d think he would’ve learned a thing or two having worked closely with director Sam Raimi on several occasions. But there’s no panache here. It looks cheap and feels small. The town of Gold Lick is nothing more than two buildings and some trees and the Guan Di creature is shot primarily in close-ups, presumably to obscure the budgetary limitations. It wouldn’t be as much of a bother if something else here clicked but, instead, it becomes another laundry list item of things that do not work.
And yet, for all of the things that DON’T work about My Name is Bruce, there’s enough charm to warrant a look for all the actor’s fans. Not many people are as fun to watch as Bruce Campbell and I’ll never understand why he didn’t become a bigger star (he sure came close a few times in the 90s). I’ve always admired his down-to-earth mentality and loyalty of his fans. That’s why this movie exists and it’s packed with more references to his career than you can imagine (or maybe you can). In fact, watching this movie made me remember how much I adored Bruce Campbell in the late 80s and 90s. It’s a shame that his recent output has been less than impressive (save for his role in the great series, Burn Notice), and sadder still that My Name is Bruce does nothing to rectify that.
Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: C-
|Aspect Ratio||1.85:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Image provided a standard definition screener for the purposes of this review. It's a clean and sharp widescreen image, but the constant shifting from color to black and white (as screeners often do) can hinder an accurate judgement.
Not a bad looking disc, with good colors and contrast. I wish I could discuss the transfer in more detail, but the shifting color scheme makes it difficult to go into more detail.
Image Transfer Grade: B
Audio Transfer Review: Presumably, this screener's audio presentation was not affected. It's a solid 5.1 track, with some enjoyable rear speaker work (especially when the demon shows up). If the production design was fairly cheap, the sound design does its best to off set the balance. Rear channel speakers will get a consistent workout, even if it's not necessary. Dialogue appears to be confined to the center-channel speaker and is clear. Overall, a good, not great audio track.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 19 cues and remote access
Extras Review: Image decided to offer this screener sans extras, which is a shame considering the official release looks to be jam packed with Bruce-centic extras.
Extras Grade: F
Final CommentsWhat can I say? I love the guy. If you don't, there's probably no reason to even consider checking this out. It's got more groaners than guffaws, but it can be a really stupid way to kill some time if you're of the initiated.
Matt Serafini 2009-04-03