Main cast: Mark Stevens (Man-Thing), Matthew Le Nevez (Sheriff Kyle Williams), Rachael Taylor (Teri Elizabeth Richards), Jack Thompson (Frederick Schist), Rawiri Paratene (Peter Horn), Alex O’Loughlin (Deputy Eric Fraser), Steve Bastoni (Rene LaRoque), Robert Mammone (Mike Ploog), Pat Thompson (Jake Schist) William Zappa (Steve Gerber), John Batchelor (Wayne Thibadeaux), Ian Bliss (Rodney Thibadeaux), and Brett Leonard (Val Mayerik)
Director: Brett Leonard
Well, it’s pretty clear this movie, while co-produced by Marvel Enterprises based on its own Man-Thing IP (not to be confused with Swamp Thing – that one belongs to DC Comics), is not the Disney-owned Marvel movie of these days. The first few minutes of Man-Thing features the obligatory two dumb kids running away to have sex in some isolated place (in this place, on a boat, drifting deeper into the swamp, because why not), and quickly the young lady takes off her top to reveal what she paid her plastic surgeon for, followed by a side view of the guy’s naked rear end humping between her thighs. When the bloke gets killed, the camera focuses for quite a bit on the lady’s naked chest. Good lucking finding such scenes in the Marvel movies of today!
This turns out to be a pretty standard monster flick, though, based on the twisted fantasies of a PETA zealot. The new sheriff of Dark Waters, Kyle Williams, soon learns after his arrival, from his earnest but rather bumbling deputy Eric Fraser, that 47 people had gone MIA ever since Fred Schist managed to buy up tracts of the swampland to drill for oil. Some of these folks show up dead with plants actually growing in their corpses. Meanwhile, folks like Teri are protesting hard against the pollution of the swamp. Oh, and the body count keeps piling up. Poor Kyle comes here to have a more peaceful existence, but it looks like he’s instead stumbled right into the heart of the party.
Mind-numbingly boring is the kindest way I can describe this movie. It is shockingly inept in every single way. Matthew Le Nevez looks the part and broods appropriate to give his character some semblance of cool, kickass vibe but Kyle is essentially a hapless bystander as the Man-Thing creature indiscriminately slaughters people in the swamp. Teri is the typical overemotional, incompetent white savior heroine who decides on behalf of the tribes she claims to champion what are best for them, without actually consulting them, and to add insult to the injury, after all her shrill screeching about how she is a sassy and independent lady, she is also a damsel in distress.
Poor Jack Thompson has to play the caricature of the evil industrialist, but the movie doesn’t allow the PETA-types to bask in glory either. I mean, having a monster killing people regardless of whether they are on its side or against – how is this going to promote a love mother nature message? The tree huggers come off like a bunch of spoiled white kids thinking that they know what is best for and therefore can speak and make decisions for the local aborigines, unconcerned about the fact that having a robust industry will allow these locals to have better jobs and hence a better stab at financial stability.
On top of that, this movie promotes a bizarre take home message that locals all talk in woo-woo manner and they have an obligation to die so that our white hero and heroine can live happily ever after.
Throughout it all, this movie has boring gore, poor pacing, and a reliance on painfully drawn caricatures to carry it. Kyle being forced by the script to be unable to do anything to qualify as an action hero is tragic enough, but the movie also has no clue how to be entertaining or even interesting. Man-Thing is not going to be considered the pride of the Australian movie industry anytime soon.