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Movie Review: Ice Sharks

Ice Sharks

Released: 2016
Genre: Action / Sci-Fi
IMDB Rating: 3.6 / 10

Just after I reviewed the decidedly average Mega Shark VS Kolossus a little something from one of its lead actors popped up in my Twitter notifications:

Ice Sharks_EdR Tweet

Not wanting this to be another Kacey Zen-type incident I decided that there was only one rational thing I could do: become the President and Chief Financial Officer of the Unofficial Edward DeRuiter fan club. It made sense – he tends to be in movies I enjoy watching and he had that oddly buff office worker vibe going on. And so it was decided that I would watch any movie that Mr DeRuiter had a starring role in after the aforementioned Mega Shark VS Kolossus, and the fan club kicked off its run with Ice Sharks.

Once they reach a specific age marine bases swim off to start families of their own.

Once they reach a specific age marine bases swim off to start families of their own.

The Plot

On at undisclosed island somewhere around Greenland at an unnamed facility doing unspecified but very wide-reaching research things are about to get a little hairy. According to the local Scottish Indian Inuit people are going missing on the ice, and Tracy and David (played by the ever-charming DeRuiter) decide to head out and see whether the polar bears are snacking on things they shouldn’t. It all goes a bit pear-shaped when it becomes apparent that several creatures lying in bits and pieces on the ice have been attacked by Greenland sharks, and even David’s swoon-inducing smile isn’t enough to ward off an attack, and he and Tracy barely make it back to the facility alive.

But these are clever sharks, evolved to have razor-sharp fins and a strong understanding of circles. Working as a group they saw through the ice, separating the facility from the connecting land and causing it to float off into the sea. Cautionary tale kids: don’t build your research facility on wafer-thin ice – not even David’s rippling biceps will be able to reconnect that to the rest of the shelf.

Things take a decided turn for the worse when the sharks rally once more and sink the facility, sending it to the sea floor from whence they can pick off the survivors one by one. It’ll be up to David and all his sensuous manoeuvres (and the help of several unimportant characters and a large ice breaking ship) to make effective use of soft science that’ll refloat the facility if anyone’s going to have a chance of seeing the surface world again.

Ain't nothing wrong with a little extra thigh.

Ain’t nothing wrong with a little extra thigh.

The Visuals

I’ll say this: leave The Asylum to its own devices and it can really throw some painful stuff your way, but have SyFy pitch in with a little spare cash and what I presume must be a vision of some sort and you end up with something that, while not tremendously good, is still quite entertaining. I mean I’m not quite sure why we’re building things on tiny flecks of ice or how a tank that sunk right down landed up half a kilometre away from where it was dropped or how one short cable can turn into four very long sunken-facility-lifting cables, but if that’s what the movie wants to throw at its audience then fine, I’ll accept that. Of course the vast majority of everything is also that CGI work from circa 2002, but it wouldn’t be an Asylum or SyFy movie without it. The day they cough up for real special effects is the day I tap out.

Of course, with all these CGI sharks and floating research facilities, one thing that’s all real (and all man) is Edward DeRuiter, and that’s all that matters at the end of the day.

He got that, he got that, he got that D.I.L.F. $

He got that, he got that, he got that D.I.L.F. $

The Feelings

I went into this movie for ice sharks and Edward DeRuiter, and I left satisfied.

At the end of the day you’re going to get out of this movie exactly what its title and lineage suggest: sharks in and around the ice, some very questionable science, and a bonus round of cockblocking from a Scottish Indian Inuit. In my humble opinion there are far worse ways to spend a Sunday night.

And of course, it has Edward DeRuiter. With absolutely no knowledge of a Germanic language other than English I’m fairly sure his surname must translate to ‘the dreamy one’, and that’s the most important thing this movie will teach you.

My Final Rating: 4 / 10
Buy Ice Sharks at Amazon.com

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Posted by on August 15, 2016 in Movie Review

 

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Movie Review: Martian Land

Martian Land

Released: 2015
Genre: Sci-Fi / Action
IMDB Rating: 2.3 / 10

Watching this cinematically-induced lobotomy brought to mind the words of one of the world’s most eminent scholars:

“Yes, I see. Something involving that many big words could easily destabilise time itself.”
– 
Professor Hubert Farnsworth

This was all that lay at the core of this ill-conceived attempt by The Asylum to ride on the coattails of The Martian: if we throw enough big words at the audience, whether or not they make sense, maybe they’ll think that we understand what we’re talking about. Well guess what The Asylum? My penchant for reading hard sci-fi novels from the 60s and a few quick glances at Wikipedia have taught me more about what it would take to live on Mars than anything you tried to throw together!

Next time you build a Martian colony, maybe cover it in something a bit more resilient than Plexiglass!

Next time you build a Martian colony, maybe cover it in something a bit more resilient than Plexiglass!

The Plot

In the distant future the Earth has been lost to mankind. Our habit of burning fossil fuels and the subsequent global warming ultimately resulted in an unprecedented rise in volcanic activity across the planet, leaving the homeworld enveloped in an impenetrable cover of nuclear dust which left life on its surface impossible. And so we set off to Mars to build civilisation anew! Alas, our bad habits will once again be our downfall. While Earth was the perfect temperature to begin with and didn’t really need our help Mars was a bit chilly when we got there, and so we set about trying to warm the place up a little. This fractional rise in temperature has one horrible unintended side effect – it re-ignites Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in our solar system, which causes an enormous dust storm to erupt and begin spreading out over the Martian surface.

The domed cities of Mars are not designed to withstand the wind strengths generated by this storm, and Mars New York is quickly compromised when its dome is shattered. Over in Mars Los Angeles Miranda, a truly remarkable mind in a scientific field so generically named that she could literally be studying anything, needs to mount a rescue operation that will somehow both save her daughter who was in MNY when the storm struck, and deactivate the storm before it can cause similar damage to Mars’ other cities. Thankfully she knows just the right guy for the job.

Miranda has her current husband, Neil, bring her ex-husband, Foster, to Mars from Earth, where he has apparently been living quite comfortably while trying to restore the Blue Marble to its forgotten majesty. Foster devises the ultimate plan to stop the storm – by placing EMF emitters at key points, one of which must be in the eye of this eyeless storm, they can blast the storm apart and thus save mankind’s new home. But Mars is a frigid bitch and a hostile mistress, and it will take all of Neil and Foster’s acting inabilities to pull this plan off before all of the Martian cities are lost.

I would like, at this point, to assure anyone reading this that every word in this description has been carefully chosen to accurately reflect the plot of this film.

You know it's Mars because it has spacey looking buildings like this.

You know it’s Mars because it has spacey looking buildings like this.

The Visuals

This has all your typical The Asylum crap and then a bit leftover for you to take home afterwards.

As a rule of thumb The Asylum’s films all tend to have enough budget to produce maybe three CGI scenes which must then be made multipurpose. Martian Land is no exception, and one generic cityscape will just need to cover every city on Mars, with the only difference being how much damage has been done to it by the storm. There’s also no need for extras because all you need to do is copy and paste the same guy running over and over again into the same shot and voila! You have a crowd.

Below par CGI aside Martian Land also has many other wonders to behold. Martian bushes littered all over the planet, for example. And who needs technologically fancy spacesuits to survive a hostile alien world when all-over lycra and a spray painted welding mask with some coloured tape stuck to it will do the same job for a tenth of the price? Why build your Martian rover using fancy materials when all the interior really needs are some broken up crates and a bank of fans from that old PC you were going to throw out anyway? And why are we wasting so much money here on Earth looking into clean forms of energy when all you need is an old TV antenna to act as a lightning rod that can instantly charge batteries?

If bullshit were a currency, Martian Land would be worth its runtime in gold.

My expression throughout the whole movie.

My expression throughout the whole movie.

The Feelings

This movie touched me in a bad place and then went in dry.

I am by no means an expert on terraforming or any of the other countless subjects that Martian Land so haphazardly attempts to throw at its audience like Naomi Campbell throwing a cellphone at an assistant she doesn’t like, but I find the concept of interplanetary travel and the colonisation of alien worlds to be a fascinating subject. And to be honest, you don’t need to be an expert to understand that global warming won’t activate a volcano. You don’t need to be an expert to know that you couldn’t breathe on the surface of Mars (although, to be fair, only some characters do this sometimes). And for the love of the bloody maker you don’t need to be an expert to understand that a storm needs to have an eye in the first place if an entire plan hinges on throwing something into the eye of the storm!

You know, I get it – in any space adventure film you can never get all of the facts right, and sometimes you need to bend the truth a little bit in order to make the movie fun. But the only thing that Martian Land managed to get right is that there is, in fact, a planet called Mars, and that’s just not gonna cut it for me.

My Final Rating: 2 / 10
Buy Martian Land at Amazon.com

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Posted by on July 24, 2016 in Movie Review

 

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Movie Review: Zoombies

Zoombies

Released: 2016
Genre: Sci-Fi / Horror
IMDB Rating: 3.6 / 10

Sometimes life gets a bit busy and you just need a good (bad) movie to settle your spirits. The kind of movie that’s cohesive in its stupidity, that laughs at how seriously it takes itself, that stands steadfast in the face of its own inadequacies. Zoombies, dear reader, is sadly not that movie.

This is The Asylum’s answer to Jurassic World in a very loose sense (in that it references Jurassic World and has a park filled with lots of animals), and one would think that that kind of ripoff combined with zombified animals would result in a fantastic hour and a half, but it doesn’t. Something’s gone horribly awry at The Asylum of late where they just can’t seem to pull off making a good bad movie, despite having all of the ideas and none of the budget necessary to make such things happen.

Tis a pity.

Anyone who wears a side scrunchie in this day and age is just asking for trouble.

Anyone who wears a side scrunchie in this day and age is just asking for trouble.

The Plot

Welcome to Eden, the largest and most spectacular wildlife park on Earth! Home to every kind of creature imaginable, Eden is the last refuge for many species on the planet, and will soon open its illustrious gates to the public so that all can admire Mother Nature’s glorious bounty.

That’s what Dr Ellen Rogers is hoping for anyway. Having inherited the park from her grandfather she’s quickly come to realise that it’s rather pricey to maintain a place that has fully thriving replicas of every ecosystem on the planet (because it’s not that difficult to build an artificial savanna next to an artificial polar region), so she’s getting ready for the grand opening where thousands upon thousands of children can get up close and personal with nature with their grubby, sticky little fingers. Of course, such grand openings are never without a few teething problems…

The teething problem being a virus that started out in a monkey enclosure and is rapidly spreading across the entire park. The virus kills its host and then re-animates them, turning once adorable koalas and majestic giraffes into salivating, blood-thirsty predators. It’s up to Dr Rogers and her team of useless interns, inept security guards, and untrained scientists to try and isolate the virus and discover a cure before it can reach Eden’s aviary and infect the birds, who will surely spread the disease across the world.

Doctor, his test has come back positive for death!

Doctor, his test has come back positive for death.

The Visuals

The visuals in this movie are quite astounding, because when you start watching everything’s quite good. I was sitting there thinking that The Asylum had really upped their graphics budget and updated their PCs to run on at least Windows 98, so it was all rather promising. Sadly that promise quickly evaporated as the animals became more and more blurry and poorly animated as time wore on.

Now I understand that it must be difficult, as an actor, to react to creatures that will only be added in in post-production, but even this isn’t enough of an excuse to subject an audience to some of the things that I had to see. I do not believe, for instance, that you can simply bandage up a leg and walk off an injury that was caused by an elephant standing on you. I similarly do not believe that if you were violently thrown from a car that rammed into a tree at full speed that you would walk away with nothing but one or two grass stains on your pants. I’m no zoologist but I also do not believe that a giraffe has the kind of teeth that it would need to viciously gore and mutilate a human as this movie would have you believe.

These are just my opinions as a movie watcher and a specialist in absolutely nothing, but I feel that they are important nonetheless.

The Jungle Book's King Louie had seen better days...

The Jungle Book’s King Louie had seen better days…

The Feelings

Excitement which rapidly gave way to boredom.

Zombified zoo animals. Just ponder that for a moment – let it roll around in your mind and conjure up spectacular images of horror and madness. That’s what Zoombies should’ve been, but wasn’t.

I was really excited when I heard this movie was coming out, but watching it what struck me the most was just how amateurish it was (even by the low standards set by The Asylum). Most of all it committed the one cardinal sin for movies in this genre – it wasn’t funny. If you don’t have the money to make it serious then you have to camp it right the way up until the audience member’s brain is so assaulted by what’s on the screen that they have no choice but to enjoy it. That never happens, and what you’re left with is 90-or-so minutes of “actors” plodding along desperately trying to find their way to some kind of plot.

My Final Rating: 3 / 10
Buy Zoombies at Amazon.com

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Posted by on April 25, 2016 in Movie Review

 

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Movie Review: Alone in the Dark

Alone in the Dark

Released: 1982
Genre: Thriller
IMDB Rating: 6.2 / 10

It is pleasing to know that, despite tremendous pain and suffering, something good can come from any ordeal. That other Alone in the Dark was the epitome of suffering (if I had military secrets I would’ve talked if it meant I could get out of watching it), but thanks to that experience I found a hidden little gem of a slasher film. I’d never heard of this Alone in the Dark until I searched for the other, more malevolent one to get its IMDB rating for my review. From what I can gather it was largely ignored or forgotten when it released, being seen as either too similar or a bit inferior to the likes of Halloween and Friday the 13th. I can kind of see the argument, but if you like a good quality 80s slasher then you should go and dig up a copy of this anyway.

It's like a shot of heroin of a clear Summer's day.

It’s like a shot of heroin on a clear Summer’s day.

The Plot

Dr Dan Potter has just taken up a job as the resident psychiatrist at Dr Leo Bain’s mental asylum. As you can guess from the asylum’s name, Haven, Dr Bain runs the place more on the principles of flowers having feelings than on good medicine. While this works fine for your run-of-the-mill lunatic who thinks their intestines are trying to strangle them, it’s perhaps not the best for the psychopaths on the third floor. The third floor houses Frank Hawkes (a paranoid schizophrenic), Byron Sutcliff (a former preacher with some issues to do with pyromania), Ronald Elster (a child rapist) and The Bleeder (a guy who either gets nosebleeds when he strangles people or strangles people when he gets nosebleeds – I didn’t quite catch which way round that went).

Dr Bain was only allowed to keep these four at Haven provided he install the necessary security measures to ensure they didn’t escape. What he installed instead was a system that relies on motion detection and heavy doors that activate either when one of the psychos trips one of the sensors or when one of the staff hits a panic button. All this does the trick until a very 80s fear-mongering blackout strikes the nearby nuclear power plant and plunges the town and Haven into darkness. And you know Haven doesn’t have a generator to keep the security measures up and running.

The town goes from 0 to 100 very quickly and rapidly descends into chaos as looters take advantage of the lights being off to steal as many fridges as they can get their hands on. Frank, Byron, Ronald and The Bleeder, believing that Dan murdered the doctor who used to treat them and who they were quite fond of, use the failed security measures and the growing mayhem to get out of Haven and acquire the necessary weapons to slice and dice Dan enough that you could serve him up at a sushi restaurant.

It’s up to Dan, who lacks the necessary life skills to spot the immediately obvious, and Leo, who keeps smoking something that isn’t tobacco out of an Indian smoking pipe, to round-up the maniacs and save Dan’s family from a paranoid, rapey, fiery, strangley end.

Guuurl please...

Guuurl please…

The Visuals

There’s not an awful lot to say here. As there are no horror elements to this movie it doesn’t require special effects beyond setting things on fire (which it does very well) and making people bleed (in that beautiful nearly-neon red colour that only people in the 80s seemed to have). Other than that the camera work is good and the sets are all nicely decorated and well-lit.

If for no other reason, watch this movie for the fashion. Whether it’s the holdovers from the 70s or the nascent 80s obsession with leather and side ponytails, this Alone in the Dark has it all!

Can you give me directions to Crystal Lake?

Can you give me directions to Crystal Lake?

The Feelings

Delighted.

The 80s churned out many a slasher, but finding the good ones among the bad is as tricky as it would be in the late 90s and early 2000s when the genre experienced a resurgence. Alone in the Dark is far more than just a competent little movie painting by numbers – it has good characters (and Donald Pleasence always did that hint of crazy so well), the maniacs are genuinely unnerving, and it serves up a nice little twist at the end that I didn’t see coming at all.

And, if I didn’t already mention it, the movie has side ponytails. If good scares and bad hair don’t convince you it’s a movie worth watching, then I don’t know what more I can do to help you.

My Final Rating: 7 / 10
Buy Alone in the Dark at Amazon.com

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Posted by on January 4, 2016 in Movie Review

 

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Movie Review: Mega Shark VS Kolossus

Mega Shark VS KolossusReleased: 2015
Genre: Sci-Fi / Action
IMDB Rating: 3.3 / 10

You know what, The Asylum? I am a good person, and I would defend the movies you make to anyone who says that they don’t really have a place on people’s TVs, but this, this, was just painful. I’ve seen Mega Shark VS Giant Octopus and Mega Shark VS Mecha Shark and those showed so much b-movie promise that I had hopes for this franchise. But then you go and put this out and tarnish the good-bad name you’ve made for the mega sharks of this world and, in doing so, you really upset Tropical Mary. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

This blonde's 3 minutes of screen time showed so much promise.

This blonde’s 3 minutes of screen time showed so much promise.

The Plot

The ongoing megalodon attacks continue to wreak havoc on the world’s economy as oceanic travel becomes near impossible and flying carries with it the risk of a mega shark leaping out of the ocean and eating the plane. Just when the apparently super-powered United Nations thought it had killed every last megalodon in existence one little bastard had to go and procreate through parthenogenesis, leaving the world once again in a deadly dance against the mega shark. Kind of like Dance Dance Revolution but with nuclear weapons. This dance shall be led by Dr Alison Gray, a marine biologist out to save and study the megalodon, and Joshua Dane, a multimillionaire businessman whose intentions may not be as altruistic as they first appear (this isn’t a spoiler, the pornstache gives this away right from the get-go).

Entirely separate to this Moira King, a CIA agent whose attempt at an Asian accent makes it sound like she’s a little touched in the head, has infiltrated a group of people trying to make contact with some Russian mercenaries (who can’t hold their accents for any extended period of time) in order to illegally purchase a little red mercury. As the transaction’s going down they accidentally awaken the Kolossus, a Russian Cold War-era weapon that now has its eye on the destruction of the world. With the help of Spencer, an oddly buff office worker from the CIA, Moira will have to track down the Kolossus’ inventor while teaming up with Alison Gray when the Kolossus and the Mega Shark get into a bit of a tussle over who exactly has carte blanche over Earth’s total annihilation.

Prepare yourself for a middling showdown of unexceptional proportions!

The fate of the world rests in the unassumingly defined biceps of this man.

The fate of the world rests on the unassumingly defined biceps of this man.

The Visuals

It’s The Asylum so one shouldn’t expect wonders, but good on them for getting their graphics up to early PS3 levels. There’s a whole lot of technology that the movie tries to throw at you (some of which, I’m fairly certain, isn’t so much technology as it is black magic), and it’s a lot of fun to watch Joshua Dane pretend to use a holographic keyboard. It looks like he’s conducting a little orchestra in his head.

HUG ME!!

HUG ME!!

The Feelings

Complete disappointment.

The main problem with Mega Shark VS Kolossus is that it’s clear as day that the Kolossus part of the storyline was originally meant to be its own movie that for reasons unknown got tacked onto a Mega Shark movie. While both the Kolossus and the shark get about a 50/50 share of screen time there’s no actual VSing going on until you hit the last 20 minutes of the movie.

The two plot points also in no way gel with one another: the Mega Shark half of the movie is concerned with ecological balance and the Kolossus part is concerned with espionage and Russian doomsday weapons. Given that there’s no attempt to bring these stories together until the very end (which is done in a very half-baked manner) means that you spend the hour and a half between opening and closing credits switching between two separate movies.

No one watches an Asylum movie in the hopes of being wowed by its intelligence or thought-provoking stories and characters, but this didn’t even succeed at being fun and mindless to watch. It’s a megalodon and a bionic weapon of mass destruction for god’s sake, how hard do you have to work to suck that premise dry of all fun and insanity?! I’m not sure how they did it, but the maker’s of this film succeeded in turning an awesomely terrible concept into a painful trudge from beginning to end.

My Final Rating: 3 / 10
Buy Mega Shark VS Kolossus at Amazon.com

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Posted by on August 10, 2015 in Movie Review

 

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Movie Review: Bound

BoundReleased: 2015
Genre: Drama / Thriller
IMDB Rating: 3.4 / 10

Tropical Mary and I make some odd life choices. We recently subjected ourselves to Fifty Shades of Grey, during which I absolutely forbade Mary from choking to death on her pizza as a means of getting out of finishing the movie. With a little time behind us and our wounds reasonably healed, I managed to get my hands on a copy of The Asylum’s it’s-different-enough-from-a-legal-standpoint-that-we-won’t-get-sued knock off.

The sad thing in all of this is not that we subjected ourselves to this movie, but that on every count Bound is streets ahead of Fifty Shades of Grey and is a far more engrossing movie to watch. And when The Asylum can get that right where millions of Hollywood dollars couldn’t, you have to weep at the sheer thought of there being two more Fifty Shades movies in the making.

The face you make when you find out your mom's a sub.

The face you make when you find out your mom’s a sub.

The Plot

Michelle Mulan is having a tough time at the moment. The real estate company her family owns is about to go under, her dad (and owner of the company) is loving in the same way that getting smacked across the face with a damp fish is loving, her daughter’s about to fly the nest and go off to college, and her boyfriend (who seems to own all the hair product in the world) simply cannot get her off. What’s a 40-something year old gal to do?

Well, provided the stars align in just the right way, you have a fortuitous meet-up with a significantly younger man named Ryan Black with the defined jaw line and cheek bones that the gods themselves would have struggled to forge, and you get it on! Nothing too kinky at first, of course. Just letting him eat her out on her father’s desk while putting on some stranger’s underwear, followed by a fundraiser with a vibrator in her knickers that he has the controller for. After a respectable amount of time has passed (a few days) the two then begin to engage in some BDSM, which Michelle takes very well too. After so many orgasms I’m not entirely sure how Michelle was still able to walk, but it seemed to be doing wonders for her tension headaches.

Of course it can’t be all sunshine, roses and nipple clamps. While Michelle’s getting her world rocked it seems more and more likely that her family’s company will have to be sold off or face going under completely. Michelle should be coming up with a plan to counter this but, as the old wives’ tales tell us, some handcuffs and a light spanking will get the better of most girls. It doesn’t help that her father, who looks like he’d smack her across the room but buy her a new car to make up for it, finds out that unlike Christian Grey, who made a lot of money running a company which seemed to do nothing but churn out blonde receptionists, Ryan makes his money dealing drugs and stealing cars.

Will Michelle be able to strike a balance between leather corsets and budget sheets? Is Ryan really looking out for her best interests? Will a visit to a sex dungeon provide Michelle with divine guidance in her time of need? Oh, you bet it will…

I hope that's Evian water, otherwise this is just degrading...

I hope that’s Evian water, otherwise this is just degrading.

The Visuals

You know, when they don’t need to pull a Mega Shark, a Gatoroid, a Crocosaurus or a Bermuda Tentacle out of their arses The Asylum can actually serve up some decent cinematography. Instead of the poorly CGI-rendered monsters that we have grown to love in their other movies, Bound serves up in their place a lot of latex and leather and enough gratuitous boob shots to keep you interested.

Now you sit there and think about what you've done!

Now you sit there and think about what you’ve done!

The Feelings

Surprise mainly.

Here’s a list of the things that Bound got right in comparison to Fifty Shades of Grey:

  • An attractive male lead.
  • An attractive female lead.
  • Actual chemistry between the lead characters.
  • Actual businesses and work.
  • Actual contracts.
  • Actual BDSM.
  • A slow and considered approach for new-comers to BDSM.
  • A new-comer to BDSM doing a little research into what she’s getting herself into.
  • A sub who knows her limits.
  • A dom who listens when the sub says the safe word.
  • Really good outfits.

It’s not that Bound is a tremendous movie, but on reflection what I liked most about it was that it showed that Ryan’s relationship with Michelle (and, by extension, Christian’s relationship Anastasia in the Fifty Shades trilogy) is not romantic or protective – it’s dangerous, and that whipping someone and forcing them to call you ‘master’ is not an accurate representation of BDSM culture.

Would I recommend that everyone rush out and watch this movie? No. But if you’ve seen Fifty Shades of Grey and felt as hollowed out by the experience as I did then Bound is worth a watch to see how much better it could’ve been done.

My Final Rating: 5 / 10
Buy Bound on Amazon.com

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Posted by on July 13, 2015 in Movie Review

 

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Movie Review: Mega Shark VS Mecha Shark

msvms_posterReleased: 2014
Genre: Sci-Fi / Action
IMDB Rating: 4.3 / 10

God bless The Asylum for the good work they do. Anyone who followed my first blog will know that I have a lot of experience with the movies these wonderful people churn out, and at least 50% of the time I’ve walked away with only minor emotional scarring. That said, the Good Lord knows I love me some soft science in a movie, and Mega Shark VS Mecha Shark is just such a smorgasbord of delightful scientific tripe that you can’t help but be entertained.

And with this odd circle we shall rule the seas!

And with this odd circle we shall rule the seas!

The Plot

As we all know, global warming is a bit of a thorn in humanity’s side at the moment. Being the eco-warriors that The Asylum’s producers and directors undoubtedly are, they decide to open this film by showing us the great lengths desert countries such as Egypt will have to go to to supply their populations with fresh drinking water – by having a tiny dingy tow an iceberg into the Mediterranean. That the iceberg will simply be frozen salt water is just one of the delicious scientific inaccuracies that we as the audience will have to deal with.

But it isn’t just salt water frozen in this iceberg, oh no. The iceberg also contains a frozen (yet completely alive) Megalodon. Since the Mediterranean is a somewhat more temperate environment than the North Pole is, the iceberg begins to melt, releasing the prehistoric shark into the world’s oceans where it proceeds to wreak havoc on all forms of oceanic trade, oil rigs and busty holiday makers.

But never fear, somewhat dumb-struck viewer, for the UN is always on hand to rescue us in times of (unlikely and improbable) crisis! For those of you who don’t read the news very often, the UN has its own mechanical shark-submarine division just raring to go as soon as this sort of situation arises. Their plan (and one must never underestimate their expertise in this particular field) to combat the Megalodon is to build a mechanical shark that can do battle with it.

Whilst this all sounds utterly convincing and fool-proof on paper, the difference between a plan in theory and a plan in action is often striking. From the very get-go, the planning of this mission makes the Bay of Pigs invasion seem like a well-planned and well-executed military exercise:

  • The UN tests and green lights one mechanical shark, only to scrap it and go in blind with a bigger, completely untested mechanical shark 2.0.
  • A slight nudge from anything under water completely disables the mecha shark.
  • The shark’s AI, Nero, has been designed to become romantically attached to its pilot.
  • Despite the fact that the mecha shark is nothing more than a redesigned submarine, the AI loses complete control of its systems at any depth beyond 500m.
  • The mecha shark is loaded with torpedoes, although none of them have any kind of guidance system to aid them in reaching their target.
  • The AI can lock its designer out of its programming if it doesn’t feel like doing what it is being commanded to do. Since the designer is the husband of the pilot the AI is romantically attached to, this happens a lot.
  • At a depth of anything beyond 200m, communications between the surface and the mecha shark are no more than the fevered dreams of a mad man.
  • The AI was not designed to be able to differentiate between the Megalodon and a falling rock.
  • The AI, when in amphibious mode, was not designed to be able to differentiate between the Megalodon (which, surprisingly, isn’t running around on land) and groups of soldiers or unarmed civilians.
  • The AI was also not designed to be able to tell the difference between the Megalodon and a video camera.
  • The mecha shark has two on-board AI systems designed to try and lock one another out of piloting the craft.
  • These two competing AIs have different objectives and programming, which can (and does) lead to serious malfunctioning depending on which one has temporary control of the craft.
  • Kill switches designed to turn off the AIs don’t work because each AI can override the kill switch, and then one another.

So, all in all, this mission isn’t exactly getting off to a booming start. To compound these problems, it would appear that the UN used up all its budget building this useless mecha shark and had to resort to the bargain bin at whatever shop one goes to to buy a scientific advisor on ancient sharks. Not that she hasn’t aged wonderfully, but I have my doubts about Debbie Gibson’s ability to ensure our future as an ocean-going people.

Given the seemingly insurmountable problems facing the machine that’s designed to save us, the Megalodon itself seems relatively easy to handle. The simple fact of the matter is, after being frozen in ice for over 2 million years, the thing’s horny as hell. That his species became extinct during his time in the ice certainly isn’t going to help matters either. All the scientists and the mecha shark will have to do is beat the Megalodon to Australia (its alleged ancient spawning ground) and destroy it before it realises it isn’t going to get any and becomes the horny shark equivalent of the little girl in The Exorcist.

Even Debbie Gibson has her doubts about the events of this movie.

Even Debbie Gibson has her doubts about the events of this movie.

The Visuals

It’s The Asylum, so one mustn’t expect miracles when it comes to what you’re looking at. CGI is obviously going to abound, and it would actually be a bit of a disappointment if the shark didn’t change its size a few times throughout the course of the movie.

So far as the mecha sharks are concerned, they look exactly like what they’re meant to look like – highly computerised mechanical sharks. The inside of the mecha sharks leaves a little more to be desired, since I’ve seen more advanced technology in a 90s arcade racer. This, however, is nothing compared to the ships the commanders of the fleet sail on. You could raise the Titanic and there would be less rust on it by comparison, but I’m certainly no sailor so I may be entirely misjudging sailing standards. I always just imagined ocean-going fleets would be a little cleaner.

The Feelings

A bad movie has succeeded when you walk away from it filled with anything other than blind rage that you just gave up an hour and a half of your life. In that regard, Mega Shark VS Mecha Shark succeeds admirably – if you’re anything like me (which in itself is a frightening thought) you will walk away from this one highly amused. Slightly confused, but still highly amused.

Aside from the feelings, there are also the tremendous lessons that we can take away from films like this. Lessons such as,

  • Giant squids will fiercely defend their territory against incursions by mechanical sharks.
  • Megalodon attacks are no reason to infringe on the rights of small fishermen.
  • Counter-Megalodon shark-submarines can be completely powered by disco lights.
  • AIs can be really sassy when it comes to people smoking.
  • Australian soldiers are trained to evacuate entire cities in the event of a prehistoric shark attack.
  • The UN has a career division dedicated to training people to pilot shark-submarines.

With all this entertainment value, so many invaluable scientific and life lessons to be gained, not to mention watching Debbie Gibson trying to be a scientist, if you can resist watching this movie then you are a far stronger individual than I could ever hope to be.

My Final Rating: 4 / 10
Buy the Movie at Amazon.com

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Posted by on March 8, 2014 in Movie Review

 

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