What Went Wrong With… Len Wiseman?

Caricature of Len Wiseman by What Went Wrong With shown with a lens flare

Len Wiseman’s penchant for creating the dullest and most drab looking films has now spanned across almost every popular genre, from Horror (Underworld), Action (Live Free Or Die Hard), and Science Fiction (Total Recall). With the most ironic surname in Hollywood, Wiseman started his career in the Art Department on such schlockbusters as Independence Day and Godzilla. We can only assume that by working under Roland Emmerich, some of his wackness must have rubbed off on him.

According to Wiseman’s IMDb page “His design talents soon got him behind the camera directing commercials”. Ignoring the misuse of the word “talent”, it is strange that over the last few decades this has become a weird gateway into the film industry. These days, every Tom, Prick, and Harry who’s ever made a commercial or music video is allowed to direct a film. From Michael Bay, Gore Verbinski, Alex Proyas, Antoine Fuqua, McG, and also Wiseman; they are collectively responsible for ruining the look and feel of mainstream movies. If Hollywood wasn’t so far up its own arse it would realise that directing two hour films is not the same as making a two minute promo, and scooping up all the scum from the visual arts does not make for a talented pool of filmmakers.

When it comes to Len Wiseman in particular, his work on commercial briefs definitely shows, and his crappy films such as the torturous Underworld (and all its sequels) are some of the most shabbiest and painfully bad examples of filmmaking since Ed Wood picked up a camera. It’s strange that Screen Gems seem to love producing anything but actual “screen gems”, and by letting Wiseman create such soulless films; have given yet another Hollywood pass to yet another hack.

With its wannabe Blade-cum-Matrix aesthetics and constant speed-ramping, Underworld was one of the most dismal and dreary films ever to feature in anybody’s nightmare of the noughties. This lycan lameness was not however the last of Wiseman’s tragedies, and Len who seems to crow-bar his scrawny forgettable wife into every piece of crap he makes, would go on to further their tag-team of terribleness with Total Recall.

Kate “Proof That Offspring Should Never Follow The The Same Trade As Their Parent” Beckinsale has been po-facing her way through Hollywood for a while now, and by appearing in almost everything Wiseman does, has become as synonymous with shitty films as her husband. But surprisingly, alongside the corny dubstep soundtrack and Jessica “Shubunkin Looking” Biel; for once she wasn’t the worse thing to feature in this particular film. With it’s piss-poor script trying constantly to allude to the Verhoeven original, and its needless strobes and lens flares from the J.J. Abrams school of post-production, Total Recall was one of the most lifeless Science Fiction films ever to be made.

It was however, Wiseman’s God-awful Die Hard 4.0 that was probably the epitome of his career in shittery. Mr. Wiseman claims he loved the original Die Hard when he first watched it, so much so that he made his own version in his backyard with the family video camera. It is then, quite ironic that after studying Film at De Anza College (not to mention many years in the movie business) his professional version was if anything; worse than an amateur film made by a child. Even though he has now simmered down with his reboot frenzy, Len for the last seven years has been on some kind of a mission to destroy every eighties and nineties Action movie he allegedly loved. If he remakes a Stallone flick; he’ll have a Planet Hollywood hat-trick of film-fuckery.

Aside from his mundane movies, Wiseman’s face which looks like a photofit of Eric Bana put together by somebody with amnesia; is so featureless that I almost nodded off while I drew his caricature. The end result looks so unlike Len Wiseman that in some strange unintentional homage to his films; it is a poorly constructed recreation of something that came before it.


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