VSinema was not expressly invented so that Nicolas Cage could crush an animatronic gorilla to death in the toilet of a children’s restaurant, and yet here is Willy’s Wonderland, offering this very unforgettable spectacle, hitherto unseen in the history of the medium. This might be the climax of this cheerfully silly affair, but it’s far from its only enjoyable moment, as director Kevin Lewis and screenwriter GO Parsons deliver a bloody Western horror film B whose tongue is so firmly planted in her cheek, it’s not I wonder if her star ever takes a word from her mouth
That’s right – in Willy’s Wonderland (on VOD Feb. 12), Cage stars as an unnamed perpetually silent man (he is credited as the Janitor) who rides the remote rural enclave of Hayesville in his roaring horse Chevy Camaro. When he gets a flat tire thanks to a strip of studs suspiciously placed in the middle of the road, he waits patiently by his car until a tow truck operated by Jed (Chris Warner) offers him a lift in a garage, where he is informed that repairs will cost $ 1,000 in cash. Since the janitor doesn’t have that kind of money on him and the ATM is broken, Jed offers him a seemingly harmless way to pay off his debt: to spend the night cleaning up Tex’s (Ric Reitz) wonderland, which has become Willy’s Wonderland, which used to be a favorite spot for children’s birthday parties, but is now an abandoned and dilapidated junkyard decorated with spray-painted messages like “Kid Killers” and “Gateway to Hell “.
With nothing but a series of stern glances (which director Lewis often enhances with such intense and memorable zooms in close-ups), the janitor accepts the deal. Inside Willy’s Wonderland, he’s greeted by a collection of animatronic characters on the main stage: Willy the Weasel (Jiri Stanek), Arty the Alligator (Chris Bradley), Cammy the Chameleon (Taylor Towery), Gus the Gorilla ( Billy Bussey), Ozzie the Ostrich (BJ Guyer), Knighty Knight (Duke Jackson) and Siren Sara (Jessica Graves Davis). They are a grotesquely overgrown group who, like their establishment, resemble warped versions of Chuck E. Cheese, and soon after Cage’s loner takes over, he begins to suspect that these unreal creatures are watching him and moving about. behind his back. Nonetheless, following Tex’s advice that he should take regular breaks from work, the janitor drops everything when the alarm on his watch goes off, heading for the kitchen to lower cans of punch cola while dusting – then dusting off. playing – a vintage Willy’s Wonderland pinball machine.
Willy’s Wonderland doesn’t keep the audience waiting too long before the Janitor shows off his impressive fighting abilities against a striker Ozzie the Ostrich – a brawl that culminates with the Janitor ripping off the bird’s spine. This excessive violence is juxtaposed with the janitor who completely wipes Ozzie’s robot blood from his face, then changes into a new Willy’s Wonderland t-shirt, firmly establishing the absurd humor of the proceedings. The janitor is Cage’s Clint Eastwood-style desperado, and a late shot of the hero standing against Willy – both perched at opposite ends of the big-screen frame – further underscores director Lewis’s cheeky tribute to Sergio Leone. That the Punch cola cans read “A Handful of Caffeine to Your Kisser” and that villainous Tex wears a ten gallon hat and eats a cigar, are just the icing on the tribute cake.
Willy’s Wonderland Embraces her horror roots as well, mostly via the introduction of local teenager Liv (Emily Tosta), who has vowed to set Willy’s Wonderland on fire but is temporarily thwarted by her legal guardian, Sheriff Lund (Beth Grant). Eventually, Liv and her friends – all cliché types, from love interest (Kai Kadlec) and the blonde sexpot (Caylee Cowan) to the bigmouthed alpha male (Terayle Hill) and nerd (Jonathan Mercedes) – find themselves in the restaurant, trying to help the janitor bring down his monstrous mecha-opponents, who stalk the venue’s playrooms (arcade, dining room, jungle gym) like demons from a slasher movie. It’s no surprise that a couple abandons their mates to go have sex (and suffers a lot), or that when Liv informs the janitor about the horrific backstory of Willy’s Wonderland, the explanation for all this madness is a riff on Child’s play.
Without uttering a single word – the full extent of his vocal performance involves grunts – Cage still reveals himself to be hilarious and magnetic, playing the janitor as a mysterious, near-mythical nomadic warrior passionate about the brutal slaughter of his enemies. Wielding a broken mop handle as a martial arts weapon, breaking his neck with his thighs and beheading bad guys with huge swords, he’s the kind of man whose unstoppable power is cast as a wink joke. . The same goes for his diligent adherence to his routine of cleaning, soda-and-flipper breaks, killing animatronic beasts and changing his shirts – a mechanized sequence of events that awkwardly cast him as a cognate spirit to his. robotic rivals.
“Without uttering a single word – the full extent of his vocal performance involves grunts – Cage still reveals himself to be hilarious and magnetic, playing the janitor as a mysterious and near-mythical nomadic warrior with a passion for brutally slaughtering his enemies.“
Willy’s WonderlandThe generic supporting characters are a drastic step down from the protagonist of Cage, only serving to lend the story scenes of murder and mayhem that are punctuated by the janitor who dispenses a gruesome finishing gesture. Lewis doesn’t stray from her basic storytelling model, and while her exaggerated direction sets a sufficiently playful tone, she also quickly wears off her welcome, especially by the fifteenth shot in wild spinning around an actor, a shaky camera skirmish or an unnecessary tilted angle. The monotony may be built into the film’s core vanity (and action), but that doesn’t make it any less welcome.
Better are cases where Cage and gear are in perfect wackadoo harmony, like a late-night pinball game that finds the janitor shaking, bouncing, and drifting downright in pleasure as he accumulates a high score to the tune of a heavy synth. . 80s theme song “Willy’s Wonderland”. In times like this Willy’s Wonderland takes full advantage of its headliner’s supernatural charisma and channels it into something uniquely bizarre and comical. The end result is not one of the actor’s true classics – or, for that matter, even one of his most extravagant endeavors, given the incomparable craziness of his work. But it skillfully fulfills its promise as a bonkers saga about Nicolas Cage battling fantastical Satanist-possessed robots in a funhouse restaurant, and really, it’s no small feat.
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