Jarv’s Schlock Vault: My Name is Bruce

“You know Jeff, I’ve gotten a lot of use out of chainsaws over the years. Killed a lot a zombies, saved a lot of lives, but at the end of the day when push comes to shove… they’re just too damn heavy.”

Jarv’s Rating: 2.5 Changs out of 4

It’s very hard to dislike Bruce Campbell. Sure he may star in a lot of crap (a hideous amount of crap, to be honest), but he seems to have a real sense of humour about himself. Everyone loves the Evil Dead trilogy, and most people like Bubba Ho-Tep, but even the hardiest chin-o-phile struggles to find anything good to say about some of his howlers.

My Name is Bruce is fun. It’s never going to win any awards (aside from Best Chin), and it isn’t likely to go down as one of the greatest films ever made, but it is a highly enjoyable piece of schlock- and the reason that it is enjoyable is that The Chin approaches this little film with great gusto, turning in a bravura comic performance and spares no energy in making himself look as ridiculous as possible.

This spoof is directed by The Chin himself, (he also produced) and really is an affectionate parody of B-movies and the strange cult of Bruce- who has to come to the rescue of the town of Gold Lick which is being terrorised by Guan Di an ancient Chinese spirit and patron saint of bean curd. Bruce, however, is a moron, and thinks this is a birthday present from his agent. So he plays along and leads the townsfolk into battle before shitting it and running for the hills. Obviously he returns to save the day, sort of, but that’s the film in a nutshell.

This is a very, very simple film- straightforward really doesn’t cover how one-tracked it is- and I think that this simplicity actually helps the film, as it trims it from all extraneous distractions and allows the film to do what it really wants to do: take the piss out of Bruce and his fans.

Bruce is magnificent here. This is probably his best performance outside of Bubba Ho-Tep since Ash. He gets to run the whole range of his comic acting, fat, sleazy and obnoxious with some great physical moments. Bruce the character is a hugely unlikable asshole. He’s cowardly, bitter and selfish, eaten up by self-hatred, a degenerate alcoholic and sex maniac. Bruce seems to be loving this- he’s rude to fans, keeps calling his ex-wife when drunk, treats people on the set of his laughably bad Cavealien film like shit, and (in the funniest sequence in the film) drinks whiskey out of his dog’s bowl. Bruce the actor performs this with some relish. He’s having fun.

He gets good support from the other actors, particularly Grace Thorson, Taylor Sharpe and Ted Raimi (in about 5 roles), but really, this is the Bruce show and they know it, so they are supporting the lead rather than having equal billing.

The script is deliberately hilarious, and unsurprisingly, Bruce gets all the best lines (aside from the singing hooker’s admission that she’s also a pre-op tranny). It’s also stuffed full of references to Bruce’s oeuvre, such as the brilliant “You’re exempt from my wrath, sweetcakes and if you’re lucky, later I’ll let you play with my boomstick” . This is an intentionally funny film.

Unfortunately, and it does pain me to say this, but the last third of it is crap. The essential problem is that it’s a one joke film, and although it’s only 84 minutes long, it feels like that’s 20 minutes too long. Up to Bruce’s return to Gold Lick, it’s wonderful fun. Unfortunately, when he returns to fight Guan Di the film comes to a jarring juddering halt. We totally buy Bruce the asshole, but I didn’t buy Bruce the hero. The end sequence which is stuffed full of postmodernism is little more than annoying, and almost painfully unfunny.

Still, there’s plenty to like here- from the clever references to the equally clever deliberate mistakes (Moontrap and Mindwarp are frequently conjoined into “Moonwarp”) and Bruce is such a great physical comic that the last 20 minutes aren’t enough to render the film a complete failure, and certainly not enough to mar any memories of the fun first hour.

Overall, I would recommend My Name is Bruce. I’ve got a variety of reasons for this, but at the end of the day this is a fun little film that’s got that most intangible of assets: heart. It’s affectionate, amusing and a highly entertaining way to spend some time- even though nobody is going to be quoting it in 20 years time.

While My Name is Bruce isn’t exactly a Hail to the King movie, being instead a “Hail to the fat sleazebag” film, it’s celebratory and amusing and more than worthy of a place at the better end of the spectrum of The Chin’s filmography. It’s certainly better than The Man with the Screaming Brain.

And I am quite looking forward to the sequel

Until next time,

Jarv.



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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

14 responses to “Jarv’s Schlock Vault: My Name is Bruce”

  1. Bartleby says :

    Good review Jarv. I agree, this was fun, but at the same time kind of a waste. I’ve never seen it save for once, with Bruce himself in attendance giving Q and A afterwards. It was a good time, and awesome to the see ‘the chin’ even if he vanished so fast afterwards that the slobbering geeklings (who actually tried to grab ahold of his shirt on the way out) had no time to stage a full attack.

    Here’s the video from that evening:

  2. Jarv says :

    Shit.

    So I did.

    However, I have no qualms about making corrections.

  3. kloipy says :

    I’m glad you liked this Jarv, I had only heard bad things about it, so I’ll check it out now

    On a side note a movie that seemed to get a lot of praise that I just didnt’ think lived up to it was Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer. It had some cool moments but it took way too long to get to anything. And I thought it would be a myriad of monsters not just 2

  4. Tom_Bando says :

    Jarv-you should do Congo. It’s good for you and will make you better appreciate the sheer brilliance of casting Joe Don Baker as a Bill Gates/JR Ewing combo. Congo is your friend and will be there for you always.

    • MORBIUS says :

      Noted Sage_Bando knows of what he speaks.

      CONGO! CONGO! CONGO! CONGO! CONGO!

      ” You have any idea what’s going on in the Congo as of the radio show this morning? The Kigani have had it with Zaire, AND they’re eating people. You go in there with Robertson Reynolds, you’ll be coming out somebody’s bowel movement.”

      • Jarv says :

        Congo is coming soon, along with Turbulence.

        Next time either of them are on telly- I’m thinking about doing a completely OTT villian series.

  5. herrmilflover says :

    My favorite from Bruce was the tv series Jack Of All Trades, an 18th century action comedy from the makers of Hercules, in which he played Jack Stiles AKA The Daring Dragoon, a sort of US spy/Zorro spoof going against the French forces on a remote colony island of Pulau Pulau, sometimes squaring off against Napoleon himself, played by Mini-Me Verne Troyer. That show was awesome and so funny, but only had one season. Another dvd box set I need to buy someday.

  6. herrmilflover says :

    I havent seen a lot of Bruce’s crappy movies, but I’m willing to bet the worse thing he did was that Herbie The Love Bug movie. Horrible even by Herbie movies standards.

  7. Droid says :

    I feel I must correct you on something…

    that most intangible of assets: BOOBS

    I haven’t seen this so I’m not sure if it actually does have boobs in it, but the most intangible “assets” a film can contain is many, many shots of sweater puppies.

    Anyhoo, good review. I must check this one out.

    The Chin FTW!!!

  8. Jarv says :

    No- Boobs are very tangible.

    You can get handfulls of the right ones.

  9. Droid says :

    Fair enough. I stand corrected.

    Does this film feature these “tangible” assets? If so, I may be sold enough to watch it today. Yes. Today. That’s right. I’m not at work today! Huzzah!

  10. Jarv says :

    You’re not at work?

    bastard.

    And there is a 0 boob sighting count in this.

  11. lordbronco says :

    I too thoroughly enjoyed this flick while at the same time having to admit it has some serious flaws. Almost all of which are explained by it’s a less than zero budget picture-basically home made by Lord Chin himself! hennce, for once, any profits go towards him and Dark horse film Directly-hence the sequel!

  12. Brandon Wagner says :

    That’s Egg Shen, not Chang. Just effing with you, not really it’s Egg Shen.

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