Cinema Review: Moonwalkers | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, April 6th, 2020  


Studio: Alchemy
Directed by Antoine Bardou-Jacquet

Jan 14, 2016 Web Exclusive
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Summer, 1969 – the United States is mired in a space race with Russia. Apollo 11 is about to launch making the Americans the first ones to walk on the moon, but what if it doesn’t make it to the moon as planned? What if all those conspiracy theorists aren’t so off-base and the US government really did fake moon landing, or at least try to? It is upon this is wacky premise that Moonwalkers precariously rests. A cartoonish period piece that relies heavily on broad, not-quite-offensive humor, this comedy isn’t as icky as it could be. Rupert Grint and Robert Sheehan hold their own as Johnny and Leon, two disheveled, bohemian twenty-somethings still finding their footing in swinging London, and the idiotic banter between government officials overseeing the top secret mission is pretty clever.

Settling into the first act, any outstanding apprehensions about the film’s elaborate premise begin to dissipate. However, after Leon and Johnny have successfully convinced the shell-shocked Agent Kidman (Rob Perlman) of the CIA that they are actually Stanley Kubrick and his agent just as the plot begins to pick up, the film takes an unfortunate turn. Once the pace picks up and the plot gets going, director Antoine Bardou-Jacquet reveals an icky penchant for overdoing the gory, gratuitous violence. The body count is obscene, with Kidman shooting, chopping, and kicking his opponents to a pulp in overdone and derivative slow motion, the blood droplets flying toward the camera in a extreme close-up as a clichéd 1960s pop song kicks in to play up the ironic juxtaposition. Oy.

Kidman’s enlightenment comes after taking too much LSD with the free-loving hippies enlisted into the moon-landing hoax film production. His hands finally stop shaking and the hallucinations of Vietnam War casualties dripping in Napalm finally stop plaguing him. But Johnny’s transformation comes after Kidman convinces him he’s killed someone. Instead of being upset or stressed, Johnny is elated. And yet, the audience is still supposed to side with this psychopathic murderer to whom human life means nothing.

It’s too bad Moonwalkers takes this weird, clumsy turn (probably a result of Bardou-Jacqeut watching too many Tarantino films in anticipation of his directorial debut), it had the potential to pleasantly surprise. 

Author rating: 5/10

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Average reader rating: 5/10


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