Phantom Limbs dog The Bad Batch, but it's not the arm that Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) gets shucked by a gaggle of hungry desert ghouls early on in the movie that troubles the most - it's the ghost of Imperator Furiosa's robo-limb in Mad Max Fury Road, and it's the Machine Gun Leg of Cherry Darling in Planet Terror. Namely it's the amputations of better characters played by far far more interesting actresses - they're the real villains of The Bad Batch, because they ain't never gonna let a haughty posturing cipher whose best asset is her winking choice in booty shorts play their cool girl reindeer games. Sorry, Arlen. There's no room at the Inn.
And sad, without such a limp noodle in the lead I really could've gone places with The Bad Batch - there's whole lots to love stuffed and sauteed at its margins. Director Ana Lily Amirpour carries along with her all of the primo stylings she deployed so gorgeously in A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, plus a few new tricks to boot; where that movie was all slo-mo atmosphere and strange smoky shades-of-grays this one's burnt embers and bright cannibal chaos, popping with a full regiment's worth of forward-marching funk-a-delic capital C characters, all juggled with confident jazz hands from Amirpour behind the camera. Except the one that matters most.
Still when you've got Jason Momoa peering over both his bifocals and his two massive breasts, saying it all with a sly sheepish grunt and a grin; when you've got Diego Luna shimmying loose-limbed to a skittish beat as he crams cancer sticks down his boot-scooting y-fronts in a neon cowboy fog; when you've got Keanu fucking Reeves doing Late Stage Elvis astride an army of Uzi-wielding sister-wives... when you've got all this local color and flavor for the appetizer and the dessert, well you've got it pretty damn tasty. Just wish some salt could've made its way onto that main course, is all.
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