King of the Ants‘ story is a fairly familiar one: hapless boy (Chris McKenna) is hired for contract killing (of Ron Livingston, alas); does job; falls in love with mark’s wife; doesn’t the money for his services; gets instead repeatedly battered in the head with a golf club until he vaguely resembles Eric Stoltz from Mask; has grotesque, hallucinatory dreams in which the object of his fascination, Kari Wuhrer, has a dick and/or resembles the Trash Heap from Fraggle Rock; escapes desert torture shack; beds said girl in nice daytime sex scene after she nurses him back to health; accidentally kills girl in confrontation regarding how he offed her husband; roasts George Wendt’s severed head on an open flame; and then wreaks revenge on Daniel Baldwin. Seen it once, seen it a thousand times, right?
As directed by Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator), the movie scores a certain number of points for its sheer audacity and originality — adapted by Charles Higson from his own novel, King of the Ants is one of those all-too-rare films that, since it revels in its pure, careening joy, you never quite know for sure where it’s headed. Yet as its implausibilities mount, you can’t help but feel as though you’re simply being put on. As Sean Crawley, though, McKenna — who evokes comparisons to a younger brother of Mark Ruffalo — displays considerable squinty-eyed Everyman appeal. Housed in a regular Amray case and presented in 1.78:1 widescreen, King of the Ants‘ DVD extras include a brief behind-the-scenes featurette and an audio commentary track. To purchase the movie via Amazon, click here. C+ (Movie) B- (Disc)