“Fallen” was not an enjoyable experience for me at all. With “Azazel”, Boon has removed a lot of the problems I had with it, but it still ended up as an average thriller for me.
I agree with the points Mollo makes in his review and funnily enough many of the obstacles Boon is dealing with in this movie are the same ones that Mollo faced with “Killer Horizon” (which I also just watched and reviewed). For example; a leaden leading man who won’t come unhinged (even when he should); weak side characters; too many questions about motives/logic. And while both editors were able to correct some fundamental flaws in both of these films and make them much more watchable, some elements remain that prevent them from being completely immersive experiences for me. Let me clarify that in both cases I found the originals to be very, very bad. So bear in mind while my reviews may not be overwhelmingly positive, I consider both to be very well done. They have taken nearly un-watchable films and made them at least halfway decent.
Of course I have no complaints about the Video or Audio. Boon knows what he is doing. It all looks and sounds great. He did an especially amazing job with removing the voiceover, to the point that I forgot there was one. That is a very good thing. I can imagine the amount of work that went into it, because it was invisible to me.
I noticed the same video cut Mollo mentioned at the end, but it was not too big a deal. The new ending worked o.k. within the film, but I almost wanted it to feel a bit more panicked or desperate when it went into the last bit of “Azazel-vision”. Maybe some more intense visuals or a demon cry of some sort. But if I really had my way, I would choose to remove the Azazel-vision completely. I thought it was a fairly gimmicky device that treats the audience as if they are a bit stupid, just like the excised voiceover. If it could be removed somehow for version 2…;) All of the other cuts Boon has made are definitely smart and to the viewers’ benefit- although I feel it could use even a bit more trimming. The initial meeting at the bar with Gandolfini, Goodman and Denzel, for example, served no purpose to me- except to date the movie with beer brand references and make Gandolfini look like an idiot.
As I mentioned, a few of the characters and performances are still poor (Especially the Theologist) and there are some suspensions of logic made. But the real central problem for me is that I never really get a real sense of menace from Azazel, nor find out what is really driving him. Azazel is never really developed into a full character, so I can never quite buy fully into the proceedings. Why the hell IS he tormenting Hobbes? It is never made clear. And that is what unfortunately brings the film back down to average for me, even with Boon’s considerable improvements.