I don’t know what’s going on over at Syfy, but someone needs to have a sit down and a little real talk with their people. Ever since Sharknado became a thing (and it was a glorious thing, don’t get me wrong) they’ve started to get a little cocky, and it’s in the likes of Lavalantula that it shows. I mean really, they’re lava-spitting, fire-breathing tarantulas for God’s sake, and somehow this still turned out to be a pile of pants. For shame.
I hope the people who made this movie are sitting in a corner somewhere thinking about what they’ve done.
Colton West is a washed-up has-been of an action star that’s just trying to make a couple of hundred thousand dollars to support his struggling wealthy family, but all people want to throw at him are b-action movies, with no films of substance on the horizon for this veteran actor who even Chuck Norris would be embarrassed to be associated with.
Chuck’s chance to be a real-life action hero comes about in a most unexpected way when a series of volcanoes suddenly begin erupting across Los Angeles. Unlike your standard-issue volcano, however, these ones are shooting out giant fire-breathing spiders in addition to lava!
These spiders are nasty little sons of bitches that are hell-bent on barbecuing every human being in Los Angeles (as well as using a few of them as egg pouches). It’ll take all Colt has to shake off his has-been acting persona and become the has-been hero that Los Angeles needs, but thankfully he has a motley gang of film crew, film extras, and a wife that’s proficient in a seemingly endless number of lethal yoga styles to help him save the day.
This was really a mixed bag. The movie clearly had a bit of a budget behind it, but it also seems to have pumped that money into very specific areas rather than opting to give us a well-rounded experience.
On a good note, I’ll give points to whoever designed and did the necessary CGI on the spiders, because they looked fantastic. Those little bastards were incredibly well done and miles ahead of your usual Syfy monster. Everything else, however, is your usual Syfy affair, but a Syfy affair circa 2005. The visual effects looked tacked on, and the green screen sections were particularly bad.
Give me fantastic science fiction nonsense or give me rubbish science fiction nonsense, but don’t try and distract me from the latter with the former – I’m too old to be fooled by such trickery.
Starting to feel a little discouraged over here.
The joy to be found in older Syfy originals was that they were utterly ludicrous in their plots, but played out very seriously within the confines of their own insanity. Since Sharknado came along, however, and gained this kind of film a slight hint of mainstream acceptance, they’ve lost that sense of seriousness and become completely self-referential and satirical (to the point that Ian Ziering from Sharknado makes a cameo).
Now, I don’t mean to say any of that in a hipster ‘I liked these movies before they were cool’ kind of way, it’s just that this could have played out very differently. Where we could’ve soft-scienced the hell out of where the spiders came from and how best to go about killing them, we’re instead treated to a movie that essentially spends 2/3 of its runtime screaming “Oh my God, we have lava-spitting tarantulas! Haha! Lavalantulas! Get it? Get it?! Wow we’re so stupid!”. Therein lies the whole problem – we know it’s stupid, you don’t need to keep pointing it out. What you’re meant to do is take that stupidity and do something fun with it that the audience will enjoy, and that’s where you slipped up.
My Final Rating: 3 / 10
Buy Lavalantula at Amazon.com