Of all the bad movies I have had the misfortune of watching, none are quite like Red Zone Cuba. While Leprechaun: In the Hood, Highlander II: The Quickening, and Super Mario Bros. are horrible, horrible movies, none of them come close to this. Even the infamous Manos, the Hand of Fate at least sticks to one awful plot. Red Zone Cuba doesn’t even have standards that high. It’s so bad that, believe it or not, it actually switches plots repeatedly.
But before I get into that, allow me to address the writer, director, and star, Coleman Francis. I have no idea how he came to get in the chair, but he helmed two other films. I have seen one of them. The Beast of Yucca Flats is pretty bad but would still deserve a positive rating on my scale, albeit just barely. My guess is that Francis was not satisfied with that. He dreamed of being the anti-king of cinema. To accomplish this, he would make a movie so grotesquely terrible on all levels that almost nothing could match its suckiness. In doing so, Francis destroyed his own career but forever solidified his place on the list of worst things to ever happen to cinema. How else can you explain that instead of growing as director, he got so much worse with time?
We begin with a wanted criminal and presumed escapee named Griffin. He meets two bums named Landis and Cook. They decide they’re going to get some work. As luck would have it, the military is about to try to invade Cuba (this movie was made just a few years after the bay of pigs). So we switch from a runaway fugitive concept to an invasion of Cuba story. The trio is captured in Cuba and fellow prisoner Bailey gets Gangrene but not before telling them that he and wife back home have a mine. Our second plot switch occurs after Griffin, Landis, and Cook escape. A bunch of seemingly random shit happens for awhile to give us our third plot. Finally, they find Ruby and the mine for our fourth plot. In the closing minutes, we finally revert to the original plot when they are ratted out.
Now, I have one serious issue here: how can you change plots on a dime like that? The most basic part of a film is coming up with a single point to the movie. If you’d rather make the movie about something else, rewrite the damn thing! You can’t just use what amounts to taping four or five different scripts together. Even Uwe Boll movies don’t do this.
The acting isn’t quite as horrendous as the storytelling but it’s still in negative territory. Everybody either shows way to much emotion or does nothing but halfheartedly spout lines. The worst performances happen in a couple scenes in which someone is shot dead. There is no expression of pain. Instead, the victim maintains a blank expression as he slowly sinks into a laying position.
Although Red Zone Cuba is only known to exist because of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode, it provides a studio name. That indicates that it appeared in theaters. And again, Francis had two movies on his resume. Red Zone Cuba is what you might see on Youtube from teenagers on their first film project, not something people paid to see in theaters. I realize that there is stricter quality control now, but the fact that makers of such a disaster could technically say they were professionals is unbelievable.
In closing I will reveal a little something about myself. Since I couldn’t find the real version on Netflix, I thought I could never review this. Lo and behold, I found an online store that sold a copy to me. In other words, I paid money for this. What the f*ck is wrong with me? Or the sellers for showing their address (just kidding).
Overall: – 9 out of 10