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Review: AGGRO DR1FT is a Mind-Numbing Experience – Daily Dead


Once upon a time, I believed any completed movie that found release was a minor miracle. After enduring Harmony Korine’s infrared-only Aggro Dr1ft (written in “leetspeak”), the first production under the filmmaker’s new boundary-pushing “multimedia design collective” EDGLRD, that mantra is shattered. This movie is theatrical imprisonment. Its duration? A life sentence. Aggro Dr1ft is an 80-minute music video masquerading as a provocative and startlingly stylized action flick that’s devoid of any provocation, groundbreaking style, or on-screen action.

Aggro Dr1ft follows a downtrodden Miami-based mercenary, Bo (Jordi Mollà), who wishes to vanquish a demonic crimelord and become a stay-at-home family man. It’s a crayon-box blur of fuchsia skies and lavender skin tones, paintball-masked mini militias mean-mugging on yachts with hot tubs, mumbled dialogue lost underneath EDM tracks, and robotic performances so unintelligible you’d think you’re being pranked. Travis Scott randomly appears as a next-generation assassin (he’s named Zion, according to the credits), but he doesn’t do anything besides huff a cigar and flick his serpent’s tongue — oh, right. Atop human outlines, digital effects overlay candy-skull tattoos or automaton skeletons meant to look like a Terminator X-ray, because that’s what Korine wants, and he doesn’t owe anyone an explanation (your movie’s choice, your movie’s funeral).

As the Toronto International Film Festival blurb reads: “But the particulars of its minimalist plot are largely moot; the vibe is what’s paramount.” Mission accomplished, except those vibes are like a bad trip that blends Predator vision, A Scanner Darkly, and that unwatchable night vision scene in the Rollerball remake (yet somehow even worse).

Aggro Dr1ft is a “disruptor” in the way Edward Norton’s character would praise (and we would mock) in Glass Onion. It’s like being promised an action-packed video game, but all you get to do is watch half-assed cutscenes. Bo’s journey of self-atonement and righteous revenge is aimless, unwarranted, and without a pulse of energy. An exhausting assembly of monologues scribbled on napkins with a kindergartener’s vocabulary. He’ll chant things like “My home is safe, my family is home” for what seems like an eternity, the camera devouring his curvaceous wife as she twerks and sensually carcasses herself for our entertainment, like we’re stuck in some soul-sucking purgatory inspired by Grand Theft Auto skits, but even Rockstar games lets you skip past their markedly better cutscenes where Korine holds your eyes open à la A Clockwork Orange.

As for its clear video game inspirations (Korine describes the film’s aesthetic as “gamercore”), Aggro Dr1ft heroically misunderstands what makes video games addicting and enjoyable. You can control a character who pulls off insane bullet-time acrobatics or mows down enemies with an array of weapons fed unlimited ammo. There’s progression, tiered challenges, and excitement to behold. Korine decides to strip all that out and only allows Bo to engage in dialogue with other “characters,” dialogue that’s so inorganically cringy it sounds like an AI trying to imitate a Miami Vice underworld goon. There’s a behemoth skeleton manifestation like a Diablo dungeon’s final boss that mimics Bo’s scant violent acts, the added nonsensical future-mech enhancements as already detailed, and an unnamed villain who keeps hump-thrusting at his sword and demanding his bikini-wearing harem “Dance, bitches,” but that all means absolutely nothing because Aggro Dr1ft means absolutely nothing. 

It’s the equivalent of John Wick if John spent the entire movie talking to the Continental Hotel’s staff, speaking about all the killing he’d eventually accomplish, verbally teasing other killers about the epic fights they were about to have — and then rolled credits without showing a damn thing.

Even on technical assessments, Konine’s psychedelic dreamscape is shockingly unimpressive. Sound mixing makes it nearly impossible to decipher what Bo is prattling about with the annunciation of a zombie, drown out by repetitive synth beats that never stop killing moods. The visual experimentation of using thermal cameras to create this neon-80s vaporwave playground is unique for a split second but smudges the screen into smears of colorization that illustrate steamrolled-flat and incomplete pictures. Korine’s filmography gravitates towards rambling movies that run on “vibes,” but at least his other examples display fundamental filmmaking merits. Between audio quality that sounds like an TikToker’s microphone dropped into a fishbowl and digital effects torn from an original PlayStation edition of Sony’s MediEvil 2, the excruciating performances and insistence to shield the audience from any respectable action sequence (through spastic shaky camera movements or complete erasure by turning the camera away), it’s like Korine is actively trying to infuriate his viewers.

In that regard, EDGLRD — a truncation of “edgelord,” often describing online behavior that’s insistently contrarian for kicks as “edgelord bullshit” — lives up to its name in the worst ways possible. My disdain for whatever Aggro Dr1ft wants to call itself will never dissipate, so at least it’s unforgettable. What’s promised is never delivered; the film’s flaccid payoff taunts the audience, knowing they’ve already spent their hard-earned money on a ticket. Aggro Dr1ft isn’t just a failed experiment; Aggro Dr1ft is a mind-numbing, brain-rotting experience that “disrupts” Hollywood about as well as Sega Dreamcast cemented its legacy.

Movie Score: 0.5/5

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