May 14, 2014

Rabid Rewind: My Name Is Bruce starring--you guessed it--Bruce Campbell

My Name Is Bruce
starring Bruce Campbell, Grace Thorsen, Taylor Sharpe, and Ted Raimi
directed by Bruce Campbell
written by Mark Verheiden
Image Entertainment (2008)

I remember seeing a trailer for this movie back in 2009, but that was about it. Never saw it at the rental shops, and I'm pretty sure it never made its way through the theater circuit in my neck of the woods. And so, out of sight, out of mind. Then I found out my local library had a DVD copy and my interested was peaked yet again.

My Name Is Bruce is a self-deprecating action-comedy saturated in all the pulpy goodness for which Bruce Campbell is now legendary. Jeff, a teen Bruce-superfan in the tiny mining town of Goldlick, inadvertently unleashes an ancient Chinese god after removing a medallion from the old cemetery to impress a date. Oh, you teens. Is there an unholy terror you haven't unleashed during your midnight trysts?

To fight the demon, Jeff enlists his hero, Bruce. Well, he doesn't so much enlist. More like abduct. Bruce tricks himself into thinking it's a guerilla-style film project though, so instead of trying to call the cops, he treats it like improv. So while the entire town of Goldlick prepares for the fight of their lives, Bruce hams it up for cameras that aren't there, flirts with Jeff's mother, and marches off into the woods come nightfall with no idea there's a vengeful spirit waiting for him.

For a movie that was made for about a mil-and-a-half, the production value is really good. I guess it helps when you can use your own property as the studio lot. And the whole feel of the movie comes off like the cast and crew had a blast during the shooting of the film, despite all the headaches cataloged in the "Making of" featurette. Bruce is ... well, Bruce. Taylor Sharpe as Jeff and Grace Thorsen as his mother were quite likable--and convincing, which is such a welcome addition to a low-budge movie. And Ted Raimi hammed it up as he does best. Although, his role as the elderly Chinese miner, Wing, came off as uncomfortably racist at one point. Akin to those old Charlie Chan mysteries from nearly a century ago. Just eye-rollingly bad.

If your only familiarity with the Bruce is through his cameos in the Spider-Man flicks or his supporting role in Burn Notice, don't bother. You'd just be setting yourself up for a disappointment, I imagine. Anyway, the premise is super cheesy, but compared to some of the utter dreck Bruce Campbell has worked in (some of which he lampoons in this movie), My Name Is Bruce is cheesy with charm. And I believe there's even a sequel called Bruce Vs. Frankenstein supposedly in the works, if not already released. If you're a fan and you haven't managed to see this one yet, you really ought to. 

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