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Film / Mutant Chronicles

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Mutant Chronicles is a 2008 film inspired by the game of the same name starring Thomas Jane, Ron Perlman, Sean Pertwee, and Devon Aoki. In the distant future, Earth and its off-world colonies are ruled by four major corporations that wage perpetual war over resources and markets. In the midst of a pitched battle between the forces of Capitol and Bauhaus Corporations in Central Europe, an ancient evil from the long-forgotten past (still in our far future) re-emerges, slaughtering both sides and replenishing its own ranks from their casualties.


As the mutant threat spreads, the corporations agree to set aside their differences for the sake of the survival of humanity, but are barely able to slow the advancing juggernaut. Enter The Brotherhood an ancient and reclusive Catholic monastic order that fought the mutants before, and have preserved the knowledge necessary to defeat them again. A small team is formed of the best soldiers from each corporation's army, led by a monk and a nun from the Brotherhood. If they can find the mutants’ headquarters in the ruins of a buried city, they can destroy the machine that creates and controls them.


This film exhibits the following tropes

  • Action Girl: Mishima soldier Valerie Duvall (Devon Aoki, no surprise) and Brotherhood nun Severian.
  • Advertised Extra: Despite appearing together with the other characters on the DVD and Blu-Ray cover, John Malkovich as Constantine appears in just three scenes and gets Killed Offscreen by the mutants. Though he's the one who gives the tickets to Brother Samuel.
  • And I Must Scream: Mutant soldiers are essentially trapped in their own bodies, powerless to do anything but whisper. After Mitch escapes from the machine mid-conversion, Duvall threatens him with a sword. He convinces her that he's still himself by snarling, "Get that fuckin' pigsticker outta my face!"
  • Anti-Hero: Major Mitch Hunter of Capitol. He’s a loner who doesn’t get along well with others (except Nathan Rooker), but he has a moral compass.
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  • Asshole Victim: Mitch kills one of the Imperial soldiers guarding a ship while they're shaking down civilians desperate to get off the planet.
  • Badass Boast: "We don’t get paid to believe. We get paid to fuck shit up!"
  • Black Dude Dies First: The first member of the party to die is Captain John McGuire.
  • Body Horror: Mutant soldiers are converted from living humans. They still possess a limited awareness of who they are, but are unable to control their own actions.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The bundle of dog tags from fallen Capitol soldiers, which Hunter later uses as an improvised knuckleduster.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: The Brotherhood is a Catholic monastic order.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Everyone is quite fond of the word "fuck," with some scenes having hardly a single line spoken without it.
  • Crapsack World: The Corporations have fought eachother constantly for centuries and only stop when a greater foe threatens to wipe them all out. Most of Earth is either war zones or overbuilt industrial districts. The opening scene shows combat between the forces of Bauhaus and Capitol, with trench warfare and massed infantry assaults being the order of the day. It’s World War I on steroids.
  • Diesel Punk: The technology we see throughout the film, both human and alien, runs on this visual style. Case in point, the dropships are coal-powered flying steamers (complete with stokers shoveling coal into the boiler), and the alien machine that creates the mutants looks, appropriately enough, like a mechanized slaughterhouse.
  • Dwindling Party: The team starts taking casualties before they even reach the buried city, and continue dropping like flies.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: Mitch Hunter is the only member of the team left at the end.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Corporations, in culture, geographic origin, and the parts of the world they control.
    • Capitol: America with a pinch of post-imperial Britain
    • Imperial: The Victorian/Edwardian British Empire
    • Bauhaus: Imperial Germany
    • Mishima: Japan with a bit of China mixed in.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Valerie Duvall gets sliced half by the giant fan under the Machine. Also, Severin cuts in half a mutant with her sword.
  • Here We Go Again!: The final sequence shows the Machine heading for Mars.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Several, including some by minor characters like the crew of the Imperial transport ship. Brother Samuel invokes this in the narration as he describes each of the team members and their response to the offer of a ticket off of Earth in exchange for their services.
    • Corporal Jesús Barrera of Capitol asked that his mother and sisters be evacuated. And asked Brother Samuel to promise him that his sacrifice would ensure they go to Heaven.
    • Captain John Patrick McGuire of Imperial refuses his ticket, declaring it his duty to protect those who can’t protect themselves. Samuel notes that McGuire is "the kind of man we should be saving."
    • Major Mitchell doesn’t tell anyone what he did with his ticket, but it’s later revealed that he gave it to Captain Rooker’s daughters.
  • Important Haircut: Severin cuts her hair before travelling with the fellowship to stop the Machine.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: Invoked by Corporal Valerie Duvall of Mishima, who thinks that dying together is the ultimate intimacy. Corporal Barrera of Capitol snarks, "Jesus, you make it sound like we're gonna fuck."
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Mitch Hunter is a cynical asshole who nevertheless cares about people and will willingly sacrifice himself.
  • Made of Iron: Mutants aren’t quite Immune to Bullets, but they do soak up an awful lot of them before going down, and possess Super Strength. Von Steiner explains that the mutant captured by Bauhaus troops had to be pinned under a tank.
  • Mercy Kill:
    • After being mortally wounded in the crash, Captain McGuire asks Mitch Hunter for "the honor of a grenade" to go out on his own terms without slowing the team down. Mitch obliges.
    • Mitch does this to an agonizing Nathan, who is already half-converted would rather die than become a mutant.
    • Mitch delivers one to a now-fully-converted Brother Samuel at the end.
  • Money Is Not Power: Or rather, "connections have no power". After crash-landing, the team encounter a couple of Imperial soldiers who are extorting money or sex from people desperate to board an off-world transport. On top of that, if someone gets outbid, they keep the money already paid by the person being kicked off. When a man doesn’t have enough money to buy seats for all of his family, they laugh and suggest he abandon his youngest daughter. The man growls out a "do you know who I am?" to the soldiers, and the leader just puts a bullet between the man's eyes, replying "THAT'S who I think you are!" before spitting on the corpse. Disgusted, Hunter shoots the senior Imperial grunt dead, then orders the other one (at gunpoint) to offload any luggage to free up space and weight for everyone.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Hunter and Rooker.
  • Worthy Opponent: Captain McGuire and Corporal Wu both express such sentiments towards the other team members, with McGuire especially saying that deeply respects his former enemies and is honored to fight alongside them.