If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Here we are again, ladies and gentlemen. Another year, another overly-complicated, under-written mess of a season of that one machinima show that can't seem to die - Red vs. Blue. For those who haven't followed the series, Red vs. Blue began as a comedic online show where two groups of soldiers in a boxed canyon fight for dominance, survival...and flags. What was fascinating about the show was the creators' usage of the tools from the game Halo: Combat Evolved (and from every subsequent Halo FPS) for the purpose of making their own series. Microsoft and Bungie, thoroughly impressed with the results, gave the group their blessing to continue making, and consequently selling, their series to diehard fans.
The series has provided the folks at Rooster Teeth with the foundation on to which they have built their empire. It's probably for that reason (it's continued success) that they seem to always come back to it, even though they had seemingly finished off the series at the finale of season 5. I theorize the group's other plans either fell through or weren't received as highly, making it necessary to continue going back to the proverbial well to desperately gulp down a cup of thirst-quenching financial success. One could hypothesize that Burnie Burns (creator, writer, and voice actor of the series) and company wanted to create a more serious storyline to satisfy their desire for drama, but they decided to tack it onto a series founded on comedy. For those of you who are new to writing, that is NOT a good idea.
As I described in my review of Season 9 of the series, the series has drifted into the unsettling territory of not knowing what genre it's apart of. Video games like Killer 7, or movies like Brotherhood of the Wolf defy genre, in a good way - by working with the strengths of all the various aspects while ensuring they don't trip over each with their respective weaknesses. Red vs. Blue does the opposite. The 'writers' have a (supposedly) serious story arc of a group of soldiers out for revenge against a seedy military director who had used them like guinea pigs for his own experiments. Alongside that, we have those bumblin' stooges from Blood Gulch giving what passes for humor which feels like an entirely separated ordeal. The American government should be giving Rooster Teeth a subsidy for how much their LLC has recycled from earlier in the show's history. Characters and jokes pop up from the series history just to give long-time fans a quick reminder of the quality the series is no longer known for.
Monty Oum, the action coordinator for the series, should be commended for the excellent physics-offending action scenes he makes; those who currently helm the series should be slapped on the wrist for incorporating him. I have nothing against Wuxia-esque action scenes, but when these segments are completely counter to the animation and style of the machinima the company has utilized, you can't help but wonder who in the world suggested such a strange pairing of styles.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again - the in-game animation and physics of the Halo series added to the nature of the comedy aspects of the games as the characters never entirely seem combat capable, however, when you suddenly flip the action scenes into a Jet Li martial arts film where the characters seem to fluidly dance around their enemies than fight, you have a problem. Oh, and that rap/hip-hop soundtracks they played over the action scenes in the last season? Yeah, they're back and even frequent and migraine-inducing than the last go-around.
In the drama, or lack thereof, of the story, we're treated to a completely bland and uninteresting group of freelancers who quest for vengeance. Why do we care about these people? Because they've been experimented on? The problem with that concerns the fact that they FULLY ALLOWED these types of experiments to happen to them. It would be one thing if they were forced into the lifestyle, but they seemed to have adjusted pretty well to being ruthless killers as they nonchalantly murder hundreds of soldiers (some whose only crimes are just being alive).
There's nothing to grasp onto in terms of character motivation nor characterization. Are you looking for a good entry point into the series? Better go somewhere else as this series never feels it's necessary to bring the viewers up-to-speed on the history of this convoluted show. I struggled (and I mean fucking STRUGGLED) to figure out who was who, what their motivations were, and how they related to one another. Like the previous season, the creators attempt to inject "character"(I wish I could make bigger quotations) into the freelancers by just having them give poorly written one liners to throw at one another hoping bravado and chest-pounding can make up for the fact that the writing is so on-the-nose that the characters might as well hold cue cards up informing the audience on how they feel and what's going on.
Rooster Teeth, if you're reading this, please listen to me: inject SOME subtly into the dialog. I'm not asking for Aaron Sorkin or Quintin Tarantino level of dialog, but for Fucks sake, don't make it Michael Bay.
Red vs Blue, as of right now, is a colossal failure. Not only is it incompetent, poorly written, and just plain lost in terms of the series' direction, but what little faith I had in a series has been utterly crushed by those I once trusted many years ago to always leave me in stitches. There is no punchline to this article and there's nothing I can say to embarrass Red vs. Blue that Rooster Teeth hasn't done themselves.
Roses are Red, and Violets are Blue, you'll regret going back down Blood Gulch Avenue