If you don’t know anything about this flick and are buying it because you’re under the impression it’s a new movie about a ‘killer genie,’ I hate to tell you but you’re in for a big let down. That’s not say, though, it’s a bad movie. If you listen to every other review on the net, then, yes, it’s a bad movie. It’s not a perfect one, I’ll admit that, but it’s not as abysmal as some of those other reviews are making it out to be.
There are more than a few films out there sharing the same ‘Jinn’ (aka Djinn) title. I at first thought it was either Tobe Hooper’s Jinn movie, but the title of that one is Djinn (2013) or this other Jinn movie about these soldiers trapped in this desert by these beings, but looking that one up on IMDB too reveals the original title for that flick was, Djinns (2010, it’s now being called, Stranded). This Jinn flick is something totally new and totally different.
About the midway point is when I figured it out. I’ll give you a hint as these things crossed my mind: Charles Band, Empire Pictures, Doctor Mordrid, Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider. Disregarding Band and his former studio, which may be a bit off the mark here, but the other three topics hit the nail on the head. This is basically a super hero origin tale.
The movie starts out by quickly hitting you with the mythology of when God created the world he created three races: man, angels and the Jinn. When God favored man the Jinn became enraged. There are two factions of Jinn, one that protects man and one that does not, this latter species are also devil worshippers and after this history lessen we’re introduced to a 1901 time period in India where this holy man is venturing through the woods eager to confront one of these devil worshipping man-haters. This part of the flick reminded me of Evil Dead (1981), with the Jinn’s creepy “domicile” and the fog lurking about.
This particular Jinn has taken some girls from the village and this priest has come to rescue them and send this demonic-like being back to where ever it came from. In physical form they look like emaciated humans and exhibit abilities like levitation, clinging to walls and ceilings like an insect, in general supernatural behavior that would remind you of an Exorcist movie.
This Jinn is defeated but not before he curses the priest’s bloodline vowing to hunt down and kill his descendants for however far into the future they extend, which brings us to present day USA.
Shawn (Dominic Rains) and his wife, Jasmine (Serinda Swan), are the starter characters we get to know. He’s an artist of some kind and she’s really hot. All you need to know there. Then one day a mysterious package comes, a VHS tape, a recording of this man talking to the camera with a child playing on the couch behind him. This man is cryptic in his talk but what he tells Shawn is basically a warning that something is coming for him, something possibly supernatural, and that he’s to fight it with everything he’s got. He then reveals himself to be Shawn’s dead father and that kid back there is Shawn himself.
That day the weird shit begins, escalating until Shawn is finally confronted by this smoke and fire entity who explains in dialogue befitting of any villain you might find in any hero flick that it intends to kill Shawn and take over the world. This Jinn then kidnaps Jasmine, or so we are meant to believe for a while, which it actually did.
Gabriel (Ray Park) and Father Westoff (William Atherton) introduce themselves to Shawn. Later in the film Gabriel is revealed to be one of those good Jinns, and it was refreshing to finally see Park playing a good guy for once. He’s better known as Darth Maul from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999) and Toad from X-Men (2000). And knowing Park is an accomplished martial artist I was wondering if this supernatural role would allow him to indulge in some of his patent, stylized ass-kickery and wouldn’t you know it, it did. It’s only one scene, but it satisfies.
Gabriel and Westoff know all about the Jinn that’s trying kill him, and Shawn’s role as future potector of mankind, if they can get him to get his shit together. He’s given a potent dagger than can kill one of these beings dead and needs to go through some kind of stylized Star Warsian meet-yourself kind of trial that’s supposed to harden and prepare him for combat with this thing.
Final combat is at once physical and in the mind, bringing us full circle to that moment in India in the prologue. Before then it was actually Jinn versus car, and since this appears to be a comic book homage our hero, Shawn, has to have a “special vehicle.” With protective runes placed all over the inside the Jinn can’t get him, and this car of his is fast, ‘fast enough to out run a Jinn,’ which is an actual line used in the movie to foreshadow this scene even.
At one point during his training he meets this asylum patient who is revealed to be his uncle who joins his nephew in the final battle. Like most DC and Marvel flicks this one is even rated PG-13. The CGI and the practical Jinn FX are top notch. FX artist Robert Kurtzman is even in the credits. I would not have been surprised one bit if Doctor Mordrid or Ghost Rider had made a cameo. By the time the end credits are rolling you’re even hit with, ‘The Jinn Will Return,’ more solid evidence this is definitely comic book territory and that a franchise is in the making. Even the music felt very super hero strong.
Events move at a pretty brisk pace and characterizations on one level are shallow but within this mythological context I was all right with that. Cinematography, however, was very well done. I’m going to assume I’m probably one of the very few reviewers who are looking forward to the inevitable sequel. Bring it on, I say.
Back on April 14th Freestyle Digital Media released Jinn on DVD only here in the U.S. If you want a blu-ray you’ll have to order the German version.
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen—2.0 English Dolby Digital, 5.1 English Dolby Digital—No subtitles.
Video and audio did not pose any problems.
- Soundtrack Preview (3:23)
- 3 trailers
The Soundtrack preview is simply a collection of scenes from the movie sans dialogue. As I mentioned the music is very cinematic. I enjoyed it.