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The 100




Glass Jungle, The
(1983)
Reviewed by Roger M. Wilcox
Rating: 9 Beans

his movie is obscure enough that you won't find an entry for it in the Internet Movie Database. But it is, in the opinion of many of those "elite, select few" who have seen it, the absolutely worst movie ever made.

At a recent get-together of some of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 newsgroup's regulars, one of the attendees had the chutzpah to pull out his tape of _The Glass Jungle_ from his Bag of Tricks. He claimed that the video store he got it from, which was going out of business at the time, would give anyone 10 free rentals if they could watch _The Glass Jungle_ all the way through and say that they liked it. No one ever got the 10 free rentals. And I can see why.

The hero of this movie, a taxicab driver with an utterly forgettable name, gets caught up in some kind of drug/money-laundering deal with the local gangsters. Or maybe they're the local police looking to bust the gangsters. Or maybe they're figure-skating transvestites from Mars. It's impossible to tell. But whoever they are, they want the hero to -- get this -- drive around on his normal cab route for several weeks while carrying five million dollars in his trunk. Yes. The gangsters/cops/Martians want him to carry around five million dollars, for nearly a month, until one of their operatives comes by to pick it up. And they're willing to beat him up, kill his brother, and kidnap his girlfriend to get him to do it.

At this point, the siren call of logic invaded my brain and I screamed, "What the hell do you need someone to hold your money for?! Can't you hide it someplace?!!" I should have known not to allow logic to cloud my thoughts while watching this film. Why, if he didn't have to carry the money around, we wouldn't have gotten to see minute after minute after agonizing minute of him DRIVING!

Of course, the driving wasn't entirely boring. It was also annoying. The movie's title song, which consists of howler monkeys with throat cancer belting out "In a glass junnnnglllllllllllle!!!!" at the top of their lungs, almost succeeded in masking the mind-numbing dullity of watching block after block after block after block after BLOCK AFTER BLOCK AFTER FRIGGIN' GODDAMN BLOCK of Manhattan scroll by.

Now, even the producers of THIS mindless waste of celluloid eventually realized that you can't make an ENTIRE feature-length film out of driving scenes alone. So, after the first 17 hours of driving scenes were over, we got to sit through about 40 more hours of ... flashbacks. He flashes back to his girlfriend ice skating. He flashes back to a DREAM he had about his girlfriend ice skating. He flashes back to an LSD-inspired image of his girlfriend ice skating in a bulletproof vest. He flashes back to every single day of his relationship with his girlfriend, which must've lasted long enough for them to have celebrated their FIRST two golden anniversaries some time last century. And then, he flashes back to scenes that have ALREADY HAPPENED IN THE MOVIE!! We're getting the same scenes TWICE! Aaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrggghhhhhh!!

I'm surprised he didn't flash back to himself flashing back while driving the cab.

Finally, the flashbacks catch up with the present, and the producers have no choice but to end this movie. They do so by having the hero drive up to the big bad guy's mansion for the Grand Showdown Between Good And Evil [TM]. He defeats the villain's guards by picking up a conveniently-placed archery set, equipped with genuine Bad-Guy-B-Gone brand arrow heads. The main villain, now desperate, comes out of his mansion with the hero's girlfriend in tow, pointing a gun at her head. The hero drops his bow and arrows to keep his girlfriend alive. The villain grins maniacally, which in movie-talk always means, "He ha, now you are unarmed and I can shoot you AND your girl! You'll never stop me! I will rule the world! Wah ha ha ha!!"

And, suddenly, the hero reaches behind his back and pulls out a LOADED MINIATURE CROSSBOW -- which previous camera angles, shown less than a minute ago, proved was definitely NOT there. And so the villain, staring in open-mouthed incredulity (just like we in the audience were) gets shot by a miniature crossbow bolt through the mouth.

This ending generated a wonderful chorus of giggles and guffaws from the crowd assembled to watch this movie. But ... was it worth it? Was it worth sitting through a movie more boring than Andy Warhol's _Empire_ and more improbable than _Armageddon_ just to get to the most ridiculous showdown ever filmed?

I say thee nay. Do not rent this movie. Run away from it. Fast. Gouge your eyes out if you must, but don't submit yourself to _The Glass Jungle_. Your time would be better spent watching paint crack and peel off the walls of your local sewage treatment plant. And it would smell better, too.






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