Welcome to The Daily Cup a movie blog/writing project by Kyle B. Dekker, presented by Hot Chocolate Media. You can read series concept here. The basic rules, Kyle must watch 365 movies in 2018 and write about all of them. 292 of them have to be movies he's never seen before. Thanks for reading.
I really love movies that know exactly what they are, embrace that fact and are 100% dedicated to it the whole time, films without an ounce of pretense. Mayhem (2017) from director Joe Lynch is just that kind of film. It’s a full octane action movie of white collar assholes killing each other in brutal ways for 86 minutes. It’s a film that never shies away from the violence and cynicism of the world it has created.
Steven Yeun stars as Derek Cho, an up and coming attorney in a big time law firm. His big win for the firm was crafting an argument absolving a man for a brutal murder. The client he defended was infected with a virus that unleashes the most extreme behaviors in people, the man was declared innocent because he couldn’t be held responsible for his actions while infected. Predictably the law firm’s building has an outbreak of the very same virus and the CDC locks it down and quarantines the building. Just before the lockdown, Derek is fired after being made a scapegoat by another powerful attorney in the firm. Jaded and angry Derek teams up with Melanie Cross (Samara Weaving) a client who has also been screwed over by the firm. The pair fight their way to the top of the building to have some words with the partners running the law firm. Knowing they can’t be prosecuted for their actions the pair kill their way to the top.
The action in the film is brutal. If you are squeamish about blood and violence you may want to skip this one. I find the violence incredibly well choreographed and so over the top (in the best way) that I enjoyed every minute of it. There were a couple of shots that made me squirm a little, a credit to how awesome the practical blood effects were. The fights weren’t just hollow though, every fight in the film involving the main characters had stakes, something Derek and Melanie needed to achieve to reach their goal. This kept the violence interesting, instead of mind numbing. Good cinema has obstacles the protagonists need to overcome, and in Mayhem that obstacle is a bunch of pissed off lawyers who need a hammer to the face.
I really loved the dark and cynical humor in this movie. All of the violence in the film is aided with a very slick script full of quips and proverbial dick measuring between all the lawyers fighting to the death. As someone who spent four years of his life working for lawyers this competitiveness and cutthroat attitude among them plays really well. It’s not too much of a stretch to think that a stressful work environment would devolve into a battle royale given the participants know they are free from the legal consequences of their actions. I'm sure anyone who has fantasized about stabbing a terrible boss with a pair of scissors can relate to some parts of this movie.
Mayhem is a fantastic film that commits to its premise from minute one, and delivers on it the whole time. It puts a mirror up to the toxic nature of an hyper competitive work environment and introduces gladiatorial combat into a the workplace. The performances from the cast are solid across the board, and the fight scenes a slick and filmed impeccably. This is a completely ridiculous violence filled daydream rooted in a very real environment that anyone who has spent time in a cubicle can relate to.
Movies new to me watched: 29/292
Other movies: 9/73
Total movies watched: 38/365
Have your own thoughts or opinions on this movie? Comment below or contact Kyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @kbdekker.