Since the Stanley Kubrick moon landing conspiracy theory endures to this day, inspiring Kubrick’s daughter to address the idea as recently as this month, some might want to check out “Moonwalkers,” a violent comedy starring Ron Perlman as the CIA agent dispatched to London to secure Kubrick to direct a “just-in-case” fake moon landing. Rupert Grint stars as a cash-strapped bozo who runs afoul of this plan, subbing in his permanently stoned flat mate for Kubrick with very, very bloody results.
I personally find these two lead fellows interesting enough for a viewing of this so-so film. Capitalizing on a case of mistaken identity while trying to borrow money from a wealthy talent agent (Kubrick is a client), Grint’s character Jonny, desperate for the cash he owes some gangsters, bites off far more than he can chew. He successfully tricks Perlman, who is plagued by visions after his tour of duty in Vietnam, but Jonny’s time with the suitcase full of money is extremely brief.
Soon, Perlman is shooting up the gangsters, and Hellboy and Ron Weasley form an uneasy union as they try to get their fake moonwalk movie made, working with a fat, pretentious hippie in a huge mansion turned commune instead of Stanley Kubrick. Jonny is an unsuccessful producer of an unsuccessful rock band, and I did enjoy when the film eventually gives them a reason to don giant jellyfish costumes. The time spent making the fake moon landing is amusing, with plenty of ill-advised costumes and ideas, and the requisite “square” taking an accidental acid trip.
There could be plenty to work with in a 1960s London setting. However, by the time this movie plants us in a huge house where hippies make silly movies and wear little clothing, the vibe becomes R-rated “Austin Powers.” While the premise of “Moonwalkers” was rather original, the execution is fairly generic.
It has some genuine charm in places, but it also relies on explosive, outrageous violence for humor, which has been wearing ever thinner and thinner, since way back when we first heard of Quentin Tarantino. There may be some traction left in that device, but this film doesn’t find it. Nevertheless, the concept is interesting enough to sustain a very short movie with watchable actors in it, and it moves fast enough that even the thin parts don’t entirely fail.
Ultimately, “Moonwalkers” is worth watching if the premise interests you, but it’s not a must-see film. It’s funny but not hilarious, and original but not groundbreaking. The ending, in which they handle the question of whether the moonwalk was in fact faked or real, is great.
“Moonwalkers” is currently available to rent.