Night Train to Mundo Fine Reviews
RED ZONE CUBA is as gargantuan a mess as any movie I have ever seen- there is, quite simply, nothing good about it. Absolutely nothing. It is not even enjoyable to watch. Even the opening titles are atrocious and actually borderline unintelligible. This is a completely incomprehensible movie that doesn't really even have a story and apparently takes place in a hilly desert in Cuba- although there aren't any deserts in Cuba, which is an island country that is of course entirely tropical- but I am hard-pressed to believe that Francis even knew what Cuba was before he had heard about the Bay of Pigs incident. Apparently, all of Francis's films were filmed in Santa Clarita, a town just north of Los Angeles.
Francis himself starred in this film- and the man himself looks like Curly from The Three Stooges- only a far more shady, sketchy and repugnant version of Curly. This is a guy, who, initially assaulted me brutally with this disgraceful film, can't even act. But neither can the cast- whom Francis must have picked randomly off the street. Being the repulsive idiot who had about as much emotional depth as a children's swimming pool, Francis's incompetence adds up to him making the film look like he just effectively ran around with a camera in the high, hilly aridity of Santa Clarita, telling his cast to just do... random things, I guess- random things that he thought American military soldiers would do. There really is no story- apparently the film is about the invasion of the Bay of Pigs- but I certainly didn't get that. All I got was just a bunch of completely repulsive, inhuman assholes running around, assaulting and killing innocent people and each other- all of the main characters were apparently military soldiers but had about as much discipline as most convicted felons. You will get better quality film than videos filmed on cell phones by people who have no interest in filmmaking as an art form.
Movies like this aren't really worth reviewing- because they are so worthless, so utterly forgettable that it would be a loss of one's self respect even watching it. But something about this movie sticks out from its total incompetence and incomprehensibility. What really stuck out about this movie is how negative and repulsive it is. Most movies this incompetent are hilarious and sometimes fun to watch. Definitely not this one. This is a movie that has no joy in it. All the characters- and I mean all of them- are as pleasant as cancer or AIDS. You cannot begin to imagine how unpleasant and repugnant these characters are. They are the pigs here. These people just hurt each other for no reason, and people die for no reason- not just to satisfy the film's ego, but because there really isn't a story.
This is a movie that rips the joy and happiness right out its audience and tramples on it- for no reason whatsoever. This is a movie that will make you feel violated and even molested. I will not even call it evil- because it is so hopelessly incompetent, that it is to be pitied. Francis himself was to be pitied- even though he died in 1973. This was 8 years after the film was made- so clearly, even he must have realized that he had no filmmaking skill at all. This movie will make you feel depressed and maybe even psychologically scarred.
You probably have never heard of Coleman Francis, and with good reason. Francis was a third rate actor who snagged minor roles in B-movies and TV during the fifties, then somehow got it into his head that he was capable of directing. Let me make something clear: He was not. He had no business directing films, writing films, appearing in films, or holding any job in the film industry beyond that of theatre usher. I?m not saying that Francis was one of the worst directors ever; I?m saying that he was THE worst director ever. I have seen infinitely better movies made in a week by a group of twelve and thirteen year old Boy Scouts for a merit badge class. Army training films public service announcements from the fifties are on a higher plain of existence than anything that Coleman Francis has ever produced.
Roger Corman will never be considered a great director, but his films were at least good enough to gain cult status. Michael Bey may not have any insights into plot, characterization, or working with actors, but at least he knows how to film good explosions. Ed Wood was hopelessly inept in everything he did, but there was such earnestness to his work, such a cheesy feel and a desire to please that his films have become classics of unintentional comedy. None of this can be said for Coleman Francis. His movies are dead zones of monotony and idiocy that suck all joy from the room and the very life from the viewer. Sitting through one of them is like watching paint dry in slow motion while getting a root canal in the lobby of the DMV.
By now you?ve probably noticed that I?ve yet to say what Red Zone Cuba is about. I must admit that I have been putting it off as long as possible, for my sake and yours. If you?re still reading by this point, Red Zone Cuba is about an escaped convict and two drifters who get conned into joining the Bay of Pigs invasion, which in this film involves about eight people on each side, including a white Fidel Castro. The three are captured, and spend just enough time in a Cuban prison to overhear a fellow inmate talk about his wife and the tungsten mine he owns.
After escaping and returning to the US, they kill an old man for no discernable reason, meet the wife of the guy they left behind in Cuba, and are caught by the authorities just before reaching the tungsten mine. In the film?s only bright spot, Francis?s character is gunned down as he tries to flee. If you have any idea why someone would use this as the plot for a movie, please tell, because I am utterly baffled. Why, in a story that begins and ends with three destitute losers in the American Southwest, did Francis decide to include the invasion of Cuba? This must be one of the most aimless, meandering storylines ever filmed, with nothing holding this string of events together, save for the presence of the three central characters.
So like I said earlier, there?s no real story. There?s also no real acting or dialogue. Francis and his costars are as wooden as cigar store Indians, reciting their handful of lines with no more emotion than an answering machine. At least there?s no baffling narration in this one. Seeing John Carradine?s name in the opening credits gives us brief hope that someone in this disaster will know what they?re doing, but alas, he only appears in the first two minutes. I am somewhat at a loss to explain his presence in this film. I know he needed the money by this point, but how much could he have been paid out of a thirty thousand dollar budget? However much it was, it must have broken the bank, because I can?t see where else the money went. In a move of almost unparalleled cheapness, Francis actually used Nevada as a stand in for Cuba.
So if you haven?t figured it out by now, the whole point I?m trying to make is do not watch this movie under any circumstances. There is absolutely nothing to recommend it. The original cut will scar your very soul, and even the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 version will leave you struggling to stay awake. I find the very act of making and showing anything this cretinous so despicable that I can only give it zero stars. The fact that Red Zone Cuba is not the worst film Coleman Francis ever made is less a compliment to the movie than a source of unending shame to the director.
Ah, Coleman Francis, the only director who could truly give Ed Wood, Jr. a serious run for the money in the "Worst Filmmaker of All Time" contest. Bumped up from 1/2 star to 1 star strictly because of John Carradine's inimitably gravely (yet strangely catchy) rendition of the movie's theme song.
I would tell you what this movie is about except no one knows. Apparently I knew i was in for it when i heard john carradine belting out the soulful theme song. i really felt remorse for the MST3K crew. I mean they had to actually watch this, probably several times without hearing their own hiliarious comments. us MST fans should really concider sending them flowers or something. Anyway, coleman francis is at his toughest, pushing around those smaller than him, in this rip roaring adventure. three ex-cons join up with a small (and privately funded?) army or national guard or marines or what ever preparing to fight "cubans" (5 guys, one girl and a guitar) being led by a man with wool taped to his face (castro?). Cherokee Jack flies them from new mexico to new mexico for their 12 hours of extensive training. their mission soon begins with them landing in new mexico, wait, i mean cuba...yeah cuba. a whole confusing series of events ensues, justine gets gangrine, people get lined up in front of a firing squad (one of the shot shows up in the next scene as a Cuban!), just to get paint thrown in their faces, a clever plan involving "wata" gets them out and back to new mexico to mine for something they heard about from justine. They toss a helpless old man down a well or something, steal a few cars, and search for justine's tungsten mine but stop for coffee at his house first to talk to his wife,then, like the brave men they are, they shoot his wife just as Justine comes home (yes he was not dead! But looked like Sulu). The movie ends with some line about running to hell with a penny and a broken cigarette (actually they were holding a nickel). By the end of this movie, believe me, you'll wish you were in hell. next time you're online ready to buy a brand new episode of MST3K, pick this one up. oh yeah, there's a great short involving speech and posture. if the movie really gets you down, you could always put your hands on your knees and swivel. I'm cherokee jack.