There’s something inherently charming about Metal Hurlant: Resurgence, the Season 2 adaptation of cult French anthology comic-book series. Beneath the sub-Syfy special effects are a group of stories that while hit and miss, are never boring.
Kicking off this set is ‘Whiskey In The Jar’, which sees an inept, alcoholic doctor (James Marsters) suddenly being the given the gift of a healing touch – although this quickly proves to be more of a curse. Also starring Michael Biehn as a grizzled old sheriff, there is a definitely Firefly vibe here thanks to the frontier setting, even if the plot elements are more Twilight Zone in tone. Regardless, it’s a strong start, and one we got on with.
Also impressive is ‘The Endomorphe’, in which a ragged group of humans (led by Michael Jai White) attempt to fight their way past hordes of bloodthirsty cyborgs in order to get the titular chosen one to safety. Out of the six, this is easily the most enjoyable. Combining all the best bits of Underworld and Resident Evil into just under half an hour (yep, there’s enough of them) and being capped off by a genuinely good final twist, we had a lot of fun here.
From here, however, things get a little bit more middle-of-the-road. ‘Loyal Khondor’ (based on an Alejandro Jodorowsky comic) sees Karl E Landler’s prospheticed-up hero attempting to save his beloved from an illness, cracking skulls and breaking necks in the first place. It’s hard to get a handle on, and seems to veer aimlessly from one tangent to another, but Handler’s committed performance just about sells it.
Next up is ‘Second Chance’, in which douche-bag down-on-his-luck gambler Joe (Scott Adkins) trying to escape his creditors, encountering the enticing Ivy (Lygie Duvivier) on the way. Probably the weakest of all the stories here, such is the lead character’s extreme twattishness that you’re almost willing him to get offed from the get go (an encounter with Landler’s character from ‘Loyal Khondor’ in which just that nearly happens is a highlight). Most unforgivably, it is boring.
Marking a return to form is ‘Second Son’, which is almost Stardust-meets-Basic Instinct as brothers Byron (Landler again) and Tybalt (Guillaume Dolmans) squabble for the attentions of the seductive Laerana (Frédérique Bel). It’s fairly straightforward, but competent enough, and most importantly it keeps you guessing until the actually quite surprising finale.
Rounding things off is ‘Back To Reality’, a Total Recall-esque tale in which Norman (Jimmy Jean-Louise) gives people their wildest fantasies – although is he as benevolent as he makes out? Short answer: no, not really. It doesn’t finish the series on the highest possible point, but brings things full circle nicely – hell, it may even inspire a rewatch.
So as you can see, Metal Hurlant: Resurgence is largely a mixed bag of inspired and insipid stories combined into one. Definitely worth a watch though.