Tag Archives: bad zoology

100 Million BC (2008)

100_million_bc

“An elite mercenary team. Sent back in time. They will not return … Alone.”

Directed by Griff “Louie Myman” Furst
Starring Michael Gross, Christopher Atkins, Greg Evigan

An elite team of Navy SEALs (not, as the poster says, mercenaries) are sent back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the earth in order to rescue another team of Navy personnel who were sent back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Together with professor Frank Reno (Gross), they wander around the jungle, getting et one by one, until they find the stranded sailors, among them Reno’s brother Erik (Christopher Atkins) and former love interest Ruth (Marie Westbrook). The survivors return to the modern day, but a hungry T. rex follows them back to Los Angeles, where it rampages through the city until yet another version of Reno turns up, having time-travelled from the 40s, and sends it back where it came from.

Continue reading 100 Million BC (2008)

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Dracula Untold (2014)

Who's the dark prince of Wallachia who's a death machine with all the Turks?
Who’s the dark prince of Wallachia who’s a death machine with all the Turks?

“Every Bloodline Has a Beginning” or “The Legend is Born”

Directed by Gary Shaw
Starring Luke Evans, Dominic Cooper, Sarah Gadon and Charles Dance

After being conscripted to fight in the Ottoman army alongside a thousand other Transylvanian youths, Vlad (Evans), also known as the Impaler and the Son of the Dragon, rules his domain in peace. When Sultan Mehmed (Cooper) demands more boy soldiers for his army, and Vlad’s son as a hostage. For the sake of peace he is prepared to go along with it, but then a Turkish officer calls him a pussy, so he goes to a monstrous being in the mountains (Dance), becomes a vampire and embarks on a rampage of destruction which will ultimately lead him down the road to becoming the legend that is Dracula. Continue reading Dracula Untold (2014)

Robocroc (2013)

As near as can be made out, 'from the Director of Young Guns' is what in PR terms is referred to as 'a bare-faced lie'.
As near as can be made out, ‘from the Director of Young Guns’ is what in PR terms is referred to as ‘a bare-faced lie’.

“The world’s most LETHAL WEAPON”

Directed by Arthur Sinclair
Starring Corin ‘Dragon Wasps’ Nemec and Dee ‘ET’ Wallace

A military drone crashes in a zoo, where its payload of experimental nano bots infects a Saltwater Crocodile, transforming it into a cyborg engine of destruction. Zoo keeper and croc hunter Duffy (Nemec) must track and destroy the beast before it gobbles up the guests at the zoo’s spring break waterslide park (I don’t know, maybe US zoos have them), but the project scientist Dr Riley (Wallace, apparently slumming it) is more worried about her experiment.

What’s wrong with it?

Another of SyFy’s creature features of doubtful quality, Robocroc – or possibly Robo Croc – follows a pretty standard pattern: Beast is woken/provoked, beast escapes, beast gets somewhere super bad for it to be, beast is ‘destroyed’, whoops! it wasn’t, now it is.

The titular Robocroc is a pretty piss-poor attempt at CGI, and the human characters are barely more convincing. The roles are all pretty bare-bones – “cerebral adventurer”, “plucky sidekick/love interest”, “manly military man”, “science bitch” and so on – and while the cast are game, there’s not much to work with.

 Duffy is briefly joined by his croc hunting partner Irish guy. He’s Irish, and then he dies. It’s moving, because he was Irish and they had awkward male bonding banter.

And then there’s the whole bit with the water park and Duffy’s son, which is sort of knocked off from Jaws… the one with the water park. 3D? Yeah… that whole plotline is kind of pointless, except to teach us that girls shouldn’t judge a guy based on the fact that he’s not a classic jock and enables his creepy friend’s creeper photographing of you in your bikini (um… yay?)

What’s right with it?

No-one mugs at the camera or sleepwalks their lines; the cast may know they’re in for a shipwreck, but they’re committed to the process.

How bad is it really?

Terrible, but at least it never winks at the camera.

Best bit (if such there is)?

The army sends a helicopter to look for the crocodile, which suddenly leaps from the water in a high, graceful arc to punch clean through the chopper.

What’s up with…? 

  • The entire water park scene? I swear, kid Duffy and his mate were so creepy, I was sure they were the sacrificial arseholes for that bit of the movie.

Ratings

Production values – Oh, dear lord… 18
Dialogue and performances – Crappy roles, played straight, so I give them that. 12
Plot and execution – Basic, but competent, apart from the entire half of the movie that fits awkwardly. 11
Randomness – Half of this film is a random digression, with creepy ‘heroes’ and… badness. 14
Waste of potential – Would have done better to stick to the robot crocodile and ditch the teen drama. 13

Overall 68%

Dragon Wasps

dragonwasps_300

“A New Breed of Evil”

Directed by Joe Knee
Starring Corin Nemec, Dominika Juillet and Benjamin Easterday

When her father disappears, entomologist Gina Humphries (Juillet) takes her best friend and a military team led by going-native Captain John Hammond (Nemec) and his 2IC Meyers (Easterday) into the Mexican jungle to look for him. Here, they uncover a corporate conspiracy to create a breed of fire-breathing giant wasps, and are caught between the wasps and a band of voodoo drug growers led by the psychopathic Jaguar.

What’s wrong with it?

Like most SyFy Channel creature features, Dragon Wasps is incredibly cheap, and heavily reliant on CGI. Not only are the wasps themselves pretty lame, every explosion and every bullet impact is CGd.

There were clearly a few changes in running order late in the day, as the pistol Hammond gives to Gina disappears for a while.

The history between Hammond and the cartel is never really explored, in particular, it’s not clear why Jaguar calls him ‘Beastman’*, which is super-confusing since he does so more often than anyone calls him Hammond. I just figured it was his name.

What’s right with it?

The performances, if not Oscar-worthy, are not terrible, and the terrible CGI action sequences are spaced out with humorous character moments. Also, cheap horror is hard to do, but insects laying eggs in people is a reliable trigger.

How bad is it really?

Dragon Wasps is a blast. It knows it’s bad, so it has some fun, but without being all wink-at-the-camera or cheesy.

Best bit (if such there is)?

Discovering that coca paste repels the wasps, the leads spend the second half of the movie slightly high from rubbing coca leaves on their skin. At the denoument, they discover that they are out of leaves but that Gina has accidentally brought a dozen bricks of import grade cocaine from the cartel compound after mistaking it for C4.

Gina: The good news is, it’s super potent.
Meyers: And the bad news?
Gina: It’s super potent.

What’s up with…?

  • ‘Nature’s Napalm?’ How does a fire-based chemical defence make sense for a species living in a densely forested environment? I guess they were engineered.
  • Jaguar’s crazy voodoo cartel? They’re lifted whole-cloth from Predator 2 and I can’t see how they would be a credible threat given their extremely skewed weirdness-to-professionalism ratio.
  • Name-dropping Mansquito and Sand Sharks? Man, monster movies just got meta.

Ratings

Production values – Cheap and cheerful, which at least means that it’s cheerful. 12
Dialogue and performances – The script is basic stuff, but with enough humour to carry it, and the players deliver it straight, never mugging for the camera or winking at the audience. This is the work of solid pros earning their supper. 6
Plot and execution – Sets up its premises and works them through. It’s not big and it’s not clever, but again, it neither pretends to be, nor makes any claim to be a satire when it isn’t. It does the job it came here to do. 10
Randomness – Beastman? Voodoo cartels? Fire-breathing wasps? Okay, that last one is pretty much in the title. 11
Waste of potential – Oh, if only all creature features did their job this well! 3

Overall 42%

* In retrospect, it might have been ‘police man’.