Like John Belushi's career, Botched is short, gory and full of inexplicable absurdities. But it's also brimming with mirth. The premise is that professional thief Ritchie Donovan (Dorff) is the sole survivor of a robbery that goes wrong, and thus faces the wrath of a Russian mob boss who send him to Moscow to steal a priceless artefact from a family of media moguls. Little does he know that his accomplices for this audacious heist will be a pair of bungling brothers, comprising the psychotically aggressive and domineering Peter (Foreman) and nervous, cowardly Yuri (Smith). From the title you will by now have rightfully guessed that this piece of skulduggery is equally ill-fated, but I doubt you will predict just how weirdly wrong it goes.

But before I summarise the bungles in true reviewer fashion, I have to address something else you may now be thinking. "Smith" and "Foreman" don't sound very Russian, do they? Well, they're not — in fact none of the "Russians" in the entire caper seem to have ventured anywhere near Mother Russia, yet they all sport the most ludicrous attempts at a Russian accent I've ever heard. This pitiful stereotyping almost had me incensed before I realised why this movie HAD to be set in this far-too-frequently parodied land. The failed thieving results in the felons taking a bunch of unwitting hostages and holding them captive on an apparently disused floor of the media moguls' HQ, but they are not alone. No my friends, they are soon to be pursued by a crazy killer whose zaniness lies far beyond previous lines drawn in the sand. Not only does this bloodthirsty attacker have a penchant for decapitation, carefully positioned spikes and dancing, but he also appears to be a descendant of Ivan the Terrible. Need I say more? OK, well just a little bit to prove that it's not just stupid. The caricatured characters combine with a saturation of comic horror conventions to create an atmosphere in which all of these ridiculous moments don't seem tired and unoriginal but rather come across as playful in a gleefully childish way that it's difficult not to find endearing and amusing.

I'm hesitant to call Botched a dark comedy as there is actually very little that's dark. Yes, it has loads of blood and death, but none of it can be taken remotely seriously and there is no shock factor whatsoever. It's sheer zany silliness taken to its extreme, and I kind of love the movie for it. There's nothing that innovative, but as director Kit Ryan says: "To me this is a real popcorn movie — you don't have to work hard to enjoy it." Well said sir.

Official Site
Botched at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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