The Bad Batch was a hard movie to find. It has a popular cast and an even more popular concept; I would expect it to be advertised more than it currently is. It stars such powerhouses as Keanu Reeves, Jim Carey and Jason Momoa. Add an upcoming female lead (played by Suki Waterhouse) and throw them in a post-apocalyptic environment with a cannibalistic cult and you should have a hit. This movie just screams blockbuster. Instead, it sort of just appeared. Unfortunately, this movie won’t be in theatres for long. It is popular enough to get a handful of people to come out to the opening night at midnight on Friday during a national holiday.
Don’t expect The Bad Batch to be an action-heavy, quip-filled bloodbath. It’s a slow, sepia-toned art film. The movie starts off quite violently, but quickly loses its bloodthirsty drive. The first real bit of dialogue and conversation doesn’t happen for a while. Instead, you are introduced to the world through signs, people’s actions, and taking a tour of the compounds and wildlife. You are brought into a world where very little is explained, and you will need to pay attention to piece things together.
This movie abhors exposition. It keeps an easygoing flow, and expertly stands its ground. It is definitely not for everyone, and I will have difficulty finding many people who will appreciate it. If you expect encyclopedic knowledge of their biographies, then you are out of luck. Other movies tend to use this conversation as a cheap trope to explain every motivation, dream, and desire. Don’t expect too much from the characters in this regard. Instead, you’ll just need to accept that some things will remain a mystery. Even actors such as Jim Carrey and Jason Momoa play it subtly, doing more through gestures and glances than anything else.
The true star of the show is the desert landscape of the southern United States. You are surrounded by rocky landscapes; star studded nights, and living breathing compounds. The movie perfectly uses the weather to enhance the scenes. You really understand how frightening and arid a wasteland can be.
I have to be honest. The real reason I wanted to watch this movie was Keanu Reeves. He may not be the most expressive actor, but he plays broken stoicism like no other, always giving it his all, effortlessly displays a sense of confidence. If he wasn’t in this movie, I probably would have passed on it.
I can only recommend this movie to those who love world building. It feels more like playing a Fallout game when you enter the main hub for the first time than it does watching a Mad Max film. It has oddities abound, and enough charm to make it endearing, but can get a little too slow at times. If you prefer the violence and gore of a cannibal B-movie then you will be quite disappointed.