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Chances are you have done some fucked up shit at some point in your life, something you regret. What's more, it's likely that you have played the villain in someone else's story, even if just for a moment. Maybe you cut off a slow-ass motherfucker in traffic,you were an asshole in highschool, or you got a promotion someone else deserved. You might not even know what the fuck you did or when you did it, but have a place on someone's shit list all the same. I guess we all take turns. In real life all people exist in an ugly, unmeasurable area somewhere between complete fuck-wad and golden paladin. When someone pisses you off, from your point of view, it is clear they are the villain. In that moment, for that story they are the antagonist. Yet, people are complicated,so then ten minutes later you go do some evil shit to someone else, and the cycle of the living asshole continues on. This is not to say there aren’t some real pieces of shit out there that deserve an asskicking, or worse, for the truly fucked up shit they’ve done. In the end, all you can do is try to outweigh your bad with some good and live through the repercussions, if any ,of your deeds. Movies are different. People can be clear cut straight up bad guys, pure good guys or even one dimensional cannon fodder. It's as complex as the writers make it. It’s common for a film to follow a protagonist on the search for vengeance, and because it is told from one person's view, with no details to the contrary, we can relish in the lack of grey tones, knowing that justice was served. In fact this is the direct plot of several of my favorite films. Someone fucks someone else over, fucked goes after fucker, then penance is taken and usually in blood. It's a tried and true template, but the 2011 dark comedy Chop takes things a little bit differently in way of perspective.
Our main character is Lance Reed who, along with being a recovering addict, has been a human bag of dicks his whole life. We meet Lance (Will Keenan), as he falls into some car trouble and pulls to the side of the road. He isn't stuck long, as soon -what appears to be a helpful citizen (Timothy Muskatell)-comes along and offers him a ride in his truck. Shortly into the trip the driver asks him some awkward, personal questions and knocks Lance out using a chemical injection to the neck. When Lance awakens, now a captive of the driver, he is tricked into killing his half brother, shown pictures of his wife fucking said brother and it is implied that he has wronged his captor at some point. He is then sent home with instructions that he is not to confront his wife (Tanishaa Mukerji) about the affair and is told he will be under surveillance. Without giving away too much of the films nuances and effect, things only get worse from there, including more murder, goofy dumb cops, hookers, disabled drug-dealing pedophile hillbillies and the old standby, confined torture.
The film is directed by Trent Haaga, who is all over the place in modern trash. As an actor he played the lead in Troma’s Terror Firmer (1999) and is the title clown in the watchable entries (2 on) in the Killjoy series from Full Moon. Fellow Troma alumni Will Keenan plays the lead character, shit-stain Lance. He plays a lot into the films success for me. He does” unlikable douche” pretty fucking well, and his comedy goes well with the timing this time around. Timothy Muskatell plays “The Stranger” and is a fun addition, but I spent the whole film trying to figure where I had seen him, only to find out later on his IMDB the answer was” a lot of random shit I have watched in the last 13 years.” Both the cops were great (Adam Minarovich, Tamil T. Rhee) , but the wife (Tanishaa Mukerji) seemed to be out of place as far as acting style. From what I understand she has her own following in Indian films.
While several moments in the film may have a “tromaesque” feel, its cartoon tone is much it's own brand. It is a more confined and darker flavor, but still one that doesn't take itself seriously. The characters are less then likable, this includes Lance. You never really feel bad for him and the film doesn't try to make you. The movie could have easily followed the morbid stranger in his misguided quest for vengeance, as many films have before it. Everyone in the film is only relatable for the fact that they are all pieces of shit. For me this was one of the films strengths. It's not the first film to follow a less than golden protagonist, but provides a great low budget example of the experiment, taking the well worn revenge trope and using off perspective to skew it.
The plot works in its dijnonted fashion. There are a few turns that come at strange times, that other films might have used as twists but instead are here used as off ramps in the loosely structured story. There are a few holes and illogical actions, but the cartoon tone helps smooth it over. Dialog is quick ramblings but entertaining and engaging. A Lot of DTV flicks seem to stumble on the speedy back and forths but Chop feels pretty natural for the most part and seems to utilize people based on their ability. It is goofy and maybe a little rushed but it wears that well. There is a lot of blood spilled but little gore, despite some really grim actions depicted. Because of its comedic tone, nothing really holds any serious weight once we are one dead brother and some removed fingers into the film.
The film uses some quick cuts for effect. Some of them work better than others. There are angles that add a lot to the comedy’s effectiveness and linger just long enough for some great body humor. Lighting and sound quality are on par with a modern Full Moon flick, that is to say- passing indoors quality with saturated outside shots. In the beginning the soundtrack was bugging the fuck out of me but it grew on me and really starts to work later on at points. For the most part it uses its resources well and does a lot with very little.
So while it's not going to turn the often stale revenge trope on its head-  has made a fun, mean spirited run at it. Even though it's mostly a blood soaked live action cartoon, it brings a level of realism to the subgenre. That is, it portrays humans in similar fashion to the real world, a bunch of narcissistic fucknuts who make a lot of bad decisions, and then hope they don't come back to bite us in the ass.
 1h 38min | 2011
Director: Trent Haaga
Writer: Adam Minarovich 

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