The New Rose Hotel (2001) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Two thumbs down for this film:

Scoop's notes in white: (SPOILERS)

The New Rose Hotel was based on one of the short stories in "Burning Chrome", an anthology of the short fiction of William Ford Gibson. He also wrote the short story and the screenplay for "Johnny Mnemonic", and is the guy who coined the term "cyberspace" in his 1982 novel "Neuromancer", which was soon elevated to cult status as one of the first novels in a new science fiction sub-genre called Cyberpunk. The cyberpunk literature of the eighties had a very pessimistic view of the future of information, predicting that the evolution of computer technology would enable greedy multinational corporations to have a great negative impact on privacy and other elements of everyday human life.

Here is's interview with Gibson, who is far more interesting than this movie

The basic premise of this film is that corporate espionage has changed. It makes no sense to steal patents and technologies in this near future, because they are all obsolete in six months. The only true value is the minds of the men who create the valuable replacement technologies. Christopher Walken and Willem Dafoe play a couple of corporate raiders/spies who specialize in getting the top minds to defect from one company to another. Asia Argento is the hooker they recruit to assist them in their biggest score. Things go wrong. Really, really wrong.

The innovative stylistic device used in this movie is as follows. The director takes about 70 minutes to tell the story, painted in only the broadest brush strokes, with much of the essential action off-camera. Then he takes another 20 minutes or so to show the events again in flashback, filling in some detail of what went wrong, as Dafoe himself tries to piece it together. Only one thing wrong with this - the last 20 minutes are a complete waste of your time.

There are only three characters to follow. You know that Dafoe didn't double-cross himself, and you know Walken isn't responsible, for reasons shown on camera. Therefore, there's only two possible solutions: Either (1) the entire thing failed because of something never discussed and we don't know or care about the solution, or (2) Argento herself was planted by some other spies to make Dafoe fall in love with her, and trust her.

Now, we know we're watching a movie, and it can't be #1, because that's not how stories work, and that would make the entire story pointless. Therefore, Argento was using them, not being used by them. So when they show that extra 20 minutes, and Dafoe recalls that she told him conflicting stories at various times, well, we already know that she was lying.  This is supposed to be some grand irony, since they used his own method back on him, using the very same girl to gain his trust that he planned to use to gain the trust of the scientist.  The company that set him up is no less evil than the one he works for, and ultimately planned to use this situation to kill all the scientists in the company that benefited from Dafoe's piracy techniques.

No need for the re-cap, boys.

Still waiting for a top adaptation of a Gibson story. This one has some of the right look and feel, and some good performers, and I thought it was headed in the correct direction stylistically, but the narrative is muddled and ultimately bungled because it can't deliver the knock-out punch at the right time in the movie.


Argento looks great, and shows her breasts in several sex scenes and a swimming pool scene.
Tuna's notes in yellow:

New Rose Hotel (1998) is based on a William Gibson short story, and takes place in the very near future. It describes itself as a cyber-punk thriller. Christopher Walken and Willem Dafoe are trying to get a famous geneticist to defect from his current employer and leave his wife and family, and go to work for their client, for which they will be paid $10m. The decide to use a young Italian hooker from Tokyo, Asia Argento, to lure him away. They are successful, the scientist is set up in a lab, then he is joined by most of the other scientists from the company. A virus runs amok, killing everyone except Argento, who, it is rumored, has escaped. Walken and Dafoe check their bank account, which is now gone. Walken fears that the corporations will be out to kill them, but figures out a way to defeat their plans -- he jumps off a balcony and kills himself.

That is pretty much the plot. Unfortunately, the film has not nearly run out of running time at this point.

DVD info from Amazon

  • Commentary by screenwriter

  • Theatrical trailer(s) and Photo Gallery

  • Bonus Easter Egg Hidden Feature

  • Widescreen letterbox format, 1.85 ratio

New Rose Hotel is ... how do I put this delicately? It has all the appeal of a double-dip cone of yak excrement. There are only two good points to this film, one on each of Asia Argento's breasts. Walken and Dafoe play themselves. You might wonder how someone could turn a short story into a feature length film, and the simple answer is that they couldn't. They padded a lot with grainy images that were supposed to be computer and surveillance displays, which got them to about the 48 minute mark where they ran out of plot. The solution? Repeat the entire film as flashback.

I found it interesting that every major review I found had at least one important plot point wrong. Even the reviewers watched it with their fingers on the fast forward button.

The Critics Vote

  • Apollo 70/100 (??? This reviewer apparently feels that 70 is the minimum score that can be accorded to a Walken movie)

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 4.5/10, Apollo voters 55/100


IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a D (Scoopy) or D+ (Tuna)

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