action, comedy, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

February 17th, 2019 Movie – The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation Of Toxie

the toxic avenger 3

So here is a question I must ask myself. Since I am basically free to pick whatever movie I want to watch for this blog now, why am I still choosing to do today’s movie. I mean, I hated the first sequel in the series so why would I go ahead and watch the next movie, when it is nothing more than the second half of the sequel. Unfortunately, I am somewhat of a completionist and tend to go through with such endeavors to the end. So let’s go ahead and get today’s movie over with as I watch The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation Of Toxie.

The plot: In Tromaville, NJ, a group of thugs working for Apocalypse Inc. enter the local video store and proceed to take the people inside hostage. Saying that there is too much variety in the store, the goons proceed to tell the hostages that they will only be allowed to watch the “Top 20” videos, including Apocalypse Inc’s self help videos, and proceed to destroy the other videos, including the Troma movies, and kill one of the hostages. While the goons are trashing the place, the Toxic Avenger arrives at the store and proceeds to kill the goons and as the hostages thank Toxie, he tells them he is back. A few months earlier, Toxie was feeling depressed as he had cleaned up all of the crime in Tromaville but was unable to do anything else. As he returns to his home with his fiance Claire, he receives a flyer for a surgery that could restore Claire’s eyesight but it cost $347,000. Toxie decides to get a job so he Claire can have the surgery but all of his attempts failed, causing him to become even more depressed and insecure. Meanwhile, the Chairman of Apocalypse Inc is still upset that Toxie managed to force them out of Tromaville but comes up with a new way to gain control of Tromaville, then take over the world. He sends a letter to Toxie, offering him a job with enough money to afford Claire’s surgery and Toxie accepts the job, with his blood mixing into his signature on the contract. Toxie happily shows his mom that he has a job and pays for Claire’s surgery. Meanwhile, Apocalypse Inc proceeds to take over Tromaville and after the Chairman speaks to the crowd, Toxie talks to the crowd to try and convince the townsfolk that this was for the best, but notes that the crowd, including his mother, don’t seem happy with what he is doing. Meanwhile, Claire’s surgery is a success and when she finally sees Toxie, she says he is beautiful and falls even more in love with him. However, Claire’s newfound sight allows her to see what has become of Tromaville and how Toxie has become “yuppified”. Claire tries to talk to Toxie and tell him that what he is doing is wrong and he argues that he signed the contract for her and leaves. After seeing some kids tearing down a poster of him and calling him a traitor, Toxie goes to his favorite place to think and realizes that he has been duped by the Chairman. Toxie returns to his trailer and apologizes to Claire, telling her that he will make things right. Back in the present, Toxie works on regaining the people’s trust again and taking the fight to the Chairman. Toxie heads to the church, which the Chairman has converted into his new headquarters, and confronts the Chairman but the Chairman suddenly changes into a green skinned demon and reveals that he is really The Devil. The Devil then challenges Toxie to his favorite game, The 5 Levels of Doom, in order to save Tromaville. The first level, Earth, causes Melvin to sink down into the ground and as hemanages to push his head back above the surface, Malfaire pays a man to run over Toxie with a lawn mower but Toxie catches the blade in his mouth and spits it back at an Apocalypse Inc. goon. The second level, Fire, has The Devil engulfed in flames and he proceeds to set Toxie on fire as well. The citizens of Tromaville help extinguish Toxie but with The Devil still on fire, and no water available, Toxie is forced to urinate on him to put him out. For the third level, Wind, The Devil has a bus full of children drive towards a cliff and perch on the edge. He then summons winds to blow the bus off the cliff but Toxie is able to get the kids out of the back of the bus before it falls, where it lands on Malfaire and kills her. The Devil repairs the bus and for the next level, Water, he drives off, with Toxie clinging to the hood, and crashes into a massive puddle of water in order to drown Toxie but Toxie uses a sumo trick he learned in Japan to save himself. For the final level, The Devil changes Toxie back into Melvin Junko and the Apocalypse Inc employees proceed to bully him. Claire attempts to help Melvin but The Devil causes her to become blind again and everyone takes cover as she begins blindly shooting around. As The Devil proceeds to taunt Melvin some more, Claire makes her way back to the trailer and finds the contract Melvin had signed and proceeds to find an escape clause in it, saying that the contract would be rendered null and void by an Act of God. As The Devil mocks that God isn’t there, a messenger named Angel arrives with a message for Melvin. As Melvin receives the letter, it suddenly starts raining and he is turned back into the Toxic Avenger. Toxie then proceeds to rip The Devil’s skin off, revealing a mass of rats and bugs covering his body. Toxie then decapitates The Devil and tosses the head into the air, where it ends up landing in Japan. In Tokyo, the TV announcer that kept running into Toxie is doing a broadcast about a hair growth product when The Devil’s head lands on his test subject, and the announcer excitedly keeps spraying the man. Back in Tromaville, Toxie and Claire celebrate his victory by getting married.

Yeh, this is just as bad as Part II, which makes perfect sense considering the circumstances regarding the movie. The acting was as bad as the first one, with Phoebe Legere almost seeming worst than she was in Part II, while the narration continued to be absolutely annoying. The story honestly didn’t feel all that original, and that is not just because of their playing up a Biblical aspect in the plot. I meant the whole aspect of the hero selling out to the bad guys for what he feels is a good cause just seemed completely played out so the whole movie just felt boring. The special effects regarding some of the blood and gore did seem a little better in this movie than the previous one, but was still not as good as the original movie. So it is a lot of the same with nothing new added to it, which does not make for a very good movie.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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February 10th, 2019 Movie – The Toxic Avenger Part II

the toxic avenger 2

Back in the day, I could always count on Troma for my dose of B-movie goodness. That being said, as much as I like B-movies I can admit that there are times where the movies are not as good. That is the case with today’s movie. See, I have always enjoyed The Toxic Avenger but when I first watched the sequel, I honestly thought it was cheaper than the original. Granted, that has been several years since I watched it so it is possible that my opinion will have changed. Only way to find out is to go ahead and watch today’s movie, The Toxic Avenger Part II and find out.

The plot: Having killed the corrupt mayor and other criminals in Tromaville, Melvin, The Toxic Avenger, has made the city safe for the citizens. However, with no more evil to destroy, Melvin is at a loss for what to do so he takes a job at a Home for the Blind so he can spend more time with his girlfriend Claire (Sara in The Toxic Avenger), but he still finds himself depressed. One day, the Chairman of Apocalypse Inc. arrives in his limo and sends one of his underlings to deliver a bomb to Melvin while he is inside the Home. When the house explodes, some of the Chairman’s underlings begin putting a property development sign on the lot but Melvin emerges from the rubble and kills them. The Chairman sends out some more thugs to kill Melvin but Melvin easily kills them all, except for one that leaves to go to his piano lessons, and the Chairman drives away in disgust. At Apocalypse Incs corporate headquarters, the Chairman berates his underlings for losing Tromaville and failing to kill the Toxic Avenger, as it disrupts his plans for the company. The Chairman’s assistant Malfaire says that she has come up with a plan to remove Melvin from the equation. Malfaire tells the assembly that the Tromatons created when Melvin fell into the barrel of toxic waste are what causes him to seek out and destroy evil but their scientists in Japan have created an anti-Tromaton formula which will remove his strength. However, since they are unable to transport the formula to them, they will use Melvin’s psychiatrist, who is employed by Apocalypse Inc., to send Melvin to Japan instead. Melvin’s psychiatrist tells him that his problems are due to his father abandoning him and that he should go to Japan, where she says his father now lives, and confront him. Melvin is hesitant to leave Claire and his mother but Claire tells him that he should go so he hops onto a windboard and sails off to Japan, entering the country “Godzilla-style”. Unable to speak Japanese, Melvin had one of the workers at a Japanese restaurant from home write out his father’s name on a napkin so he can show it to people but doesn’t have any luck. One day, his Tromatons act up when a woman named Masami is attacked by a gang and he pursues and kills her attackers. Masami thanks Melvin for saving her and helps him to try and locate his dad but they have no luck. Meanwhile, Apocalypse Inc. has taken advantage of Melvin’s absence by taking over Tromaville and every aspect of the city, even changing the name of the town to Apocalypseville. The citizens tried to fight back against Apocalypse Inc. but they were powerless against the Chairman’s goons. Back in Japan, Melvin and Masami finally locate Melvin’s father, Big Mac Junko, at a fish market but Melvin is shocked to learn that his father is a drug smuggler and white slave trader. Big Mac shows Melvin that he has a bottle of Anti-Tromatons and dares him to come after him, allowing his men to attack Melvin and Masami. Melvin is able to defeat Big Mac’s men and the ends up fighting Big MAc, who dons a sumo outfit to battle his son. When Big Mac pulls out the bottle of anti-Tromatons, Melvin kicks it out of his hands, then throws Big Mac onto a chopping block, where a distracted worker chops him into pieces, but the bottle falls to the ground and breaks open, exposing Melvin to the anti-Tromatons. Masami takes Melvin to a sumo dojo, where Melvin is restored to health and after thanking Masami, he heads back home to Tromaville. When he arrives back in Tromaville, Melvin is shocked to see what has become of Tromaville and quickly races home, where he rescues Claire from being attacked by Malfaire and her “Bad Girls”. Melvin then begins cleaning up the city and removing Apocalypse Inc’s influence so the Chairman decides to simply destroy the city. Carrying 300 lbs of nitroglycerin, the Black Rider rides into town with the intention of crashing into city hall so Melvin gets into a cab and chases after him. Melvin is able to stop the Black Rider’s plan, making him crash into a house and explode. Later, as the people celebrate Melvin saving the city, Big Mac Junko appears and greets his son and wife. When Melvin asks who the guy was in Japan, his father explains that that was Big Mac Bunko, and that he had been mistaken for him for years. With his father back in his life and the city safe, Melvin is able to feel good about himself, while the Chairman and Malfaire are seen trying to hitch a ride away from the city.

The Toxic Avenger Part II was absolutely panned by the critics, holding a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics felt that the movie lacked the energy of the original but did admit that the cheese factor would appeal to fans of that type of movie. The original edit of the movie was over 4 hours long so Troma decided to cut the film into two separate movies. John Altamura, who was hired to play The Toxic Avenger, was fired during production and Rick Fazio, who was asked to serve as a distant shot double, ended up taking over the role. Since John Altamura’s footage was used in the movie, as well as Part III, both men’s names are listed in the credits as paying The Toxic Avenger. The movie was a box office dud, earning $792,966 off of a $2.3 million budget.

Nope, I am going to stand by my original opinion. This movie is definitely a step down from the original movie. The acting was so over the top bad at times that it honestly made the movie less enjoyable for me. Having the voice over of Melvin serving as the narrator didn’t help matters, as it honestly just started irritating the hell out of me. The story honestly felt a little weak, which I admit might be due to the fact that the movie was basically cut in half due to it’s length. One thing that did annoy me was the name changes that occurred between the first movie and the second one. I can kind of understand the reason for changing Melvin’s last name from Ferd to Junko, as it made it easier to utilize the mistaken identity of his father for Big Mac Bunko in Japan. However, I don’t understand why they changed Melvin’s girlfriend’s name from Sara to Claire. I mean, how hard is it to look up what the character’s name was in the first movie and simply continue using it. The special effects were ok but I felt like they did a lot more in the first movie with a lot less money. All told, this is a let down of a sequel and not really worth watching unless you want to watch all of The Toxic Avenger movies.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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February 3rd, 2019 Movie -The Toxic Avenger

the toxic avenger

A few weeks ago, I started watching this series of movies again and decided, what the heck, why not review them as well. So let’s get right to it as I rewatch my first introduction to the Troma Universe. I remember seeing the video case for this movie at video stores all the time but was never able to convince my parents to rent it for me. When we got cable TV, I remember catching this one night during some late night TV binge watching and thoroughly enjoying it. So lets have a bot of fun with today’s movie, The Toxic Avenger.

The plot: In the small New Jersey town of Tromaville, the toxic waste capital of the world, a young nerd named Melvin Ferd works at the local health club but is mocked by everyone there, especially Bozo, Slug, Wanda, and Julie. One day, the 4 bullies pull a prank on Melvin, with Julie seducing him into wearing a pink tutu and having him meet her in the pool area, where Melvin is tricked into kissing a sheep. As the bullies, as well as the other health club patrons, laugh and taunt him, Melvin runs from them and ends up jumping out a window, landing in a barrel of toxic waste that was in a truck parked outside. A crowd forms as Melvin reacts in pain from the toxic waste and as two police officers try to disperse the crowd, one of them touches Melvin and his hands catch on fire, while Melvin, now on fire himself, runs down the road and out of sight. Melvin makes it home and douses the flames in his bath tub but the toxic waste has caused his body to start mutating into a “hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength.” That night, a drug dealer named Cigar Face and his 2 flunkies attempt to bribe Officer O’Clancy but O’Clancy, one of the few honest cops in the town, refuses. The drug dealers then attack him and prepare to shoot him when Melvin appears and attacks them. Melvin kills Cigar Face’s two flunkies, shoving mops in their faces when he is done, and chases Cigar Face away, then helps O’Clancy to his feet, apologizing for his actions as he does. Later, O’Clancy tells reporters what happened, dubbing the monster a hero, but as the mayor hears of the incident, he is upset as Cigar Face works for him. Melvin attempts to go home but when his mom sees his appearance, she screams and slams the door in his face so Melvin begins making a home for himself in the local junkyard. The next day, three men (Frank, Leroy, and Rico) rob a Mexican restaurant; killing one of the patrons when he tries to stand up to them. Seeing a blind girl named Sara sitting there, Frank has Leroy kill her guide dog, then attempts to rape her when Melvin shows up to stop them. Melvin kills the three robbers then goes to check on Sara, who asks him to help her home, where Sara invites him inside and offers him a sandwich. During a press briefing, a scientist theorizes that the monster is somehow drawn to criminals due to some need to destroy evil. Melvin heads back to the Health Club and kills a drug dealer that works for the mayor, then later attacks Wanda in the sauna, burning her butt on the hot rocks. As Melvin continues to help people and stop criminals, he begins to become beloved by the citizens but the mayor, afraid Melvin will eventually attack him, decides to try and have him killed but his men fail. Meanwhile, Melvin also continues his relationship with Sara, with the two becoming more romantically involved and Sara moving into his home. Melvin returns to the Health Club to get revenge on Julie, chasing her down into the basement and cutting all of her hair off. The next day, Bozo and Slug steal a car so they can go on a hit & run spree but Melvin shows up and attacks them, throwing Slug from the car as it is moving and causes Bozo to drive off a cliff. Some time later, Melvin kills a little old woman and, feeling guilty over the incident, decides to head out to his private spot with Sara so he can avoid killing anyone else. In town, the mayor is happy to hear about the incident, as he feels he can use the attack to ensure Melvin is killed but when the chief of police tells him that the woman was the head of a white trafficking, the mayor covers up the story to ensure the people don’t learn the truth. The chief of police conducts a search for the monster and when his men spot Melvin and Sara in a field, the report back to the mayor, and the mayor calls the governor for assistance, who sends out the National Guard. As the National Guard surround the camp site, several of the citizens, including Melvin’s mom, and people that Melvin saved stand in front of Melvin, begging with the mayor to spare him. The mayor tells the National Guard and police to get the children out of there and fire but the refuse to do so. The Mayor attempts to kill Melvin but when he fails, he begs for his life and offers to cut Melvin in on his criminal business but Melvin kills him. Melvin then rejoins Sara and as the crowd cheer them, they head back to their home in the junkyard, with Melvin continuing to protect the citizens of Tromaville as the Toxic Avenger.

The Toxic Avenger met with mostly positive reviews from the critics, holding a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A silly and ribald superhero spoof, Toxic Avenger uninhibited humor hits more than it misses.” The monster Melvin turns into was never actually referred to as the Toxic Avenger by any actor in the film besides the narrator. They did not have a name for the character as the film was being made. This is proved further by the kids in the film wearing t-shirts that say “I love the monster hero”. The movie was minimally successful in theaters, earning $800,000 off of a $500,000 budget, but it would gain cult classic status due to late night showings and home video rentals, resulting in 3 sequels and a short lived cartoon series.

This movie is still as ridiculously 80’s as I remember it, and just as fun to watch. The acting was pretty decent, with Mitch Coheen doing a good job as the Toxic Avenger, with Andree Maranda and Pat Ryan doing equally good as Sara and the mayor respectively. The story was pretty much a spoof of some of the more popular comic book super heroes, where someone is accidentally exposed to radiation, in this case toxic waste, and mutates into a super strong being as a result. While making him a crime fighter was obviously the logical process, adding the part about his being drawn to and seeking out evil was a nice twist, almost making him like Ghost Rider in a sense. The special effects were pretty graphic at times, such as the kid’s head being squashed by Bozo when he runs him over, and at other times they are so totally cheesy that they make you laugh, but that blended together for a nice but of fun. An absolute staple of 80’s B-movie goodness that everyone should watch at least once.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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January 20th, 2019 Movie – Rampage (2018)

rampage

Man do I miss the good old days of spending hours upon hours, and tons of quarters, at the arcade, and one of my favorite games to play was Rampage. I mean, you get to go around as a giant monster and destroy a city while fighting other monsters. That is a kid’s playground fantasy come to digital life right there. When I first heard that they were making a movie based on the game, two thoughts went through my head; 1) this is going to be another terrible video game movie, and 2) it was definitely a movie that I would be interested in seeing/owning. Let’s face it, almost every movie that has been based on a video game has absolutely sucked so there is definitely a precedent that this will be a bad movie. However, this is also a movie involving giant monsters destroying a city, and those are some of my favorite movies to watch. With these two differing factors weighing in, I honestly didn’t feel like spending the money to go see this in theaters and waited till it came available to rent before watching it. Then I saw that there was a sale on the digital copy of the movie for $5 and decided that was a pretty decent price for some entertainment, which is what brings us to today’s movie, Rampage (2018).

The plot: In 1993, the breakthrough gene editing technology known as CRISPR allowed scientists a way to treat incurable diseases but by the year 2016, gene editing had been deemed a “Weapon of Mass Destruction and Proliferation.” In 2018, the space station Athena-1, owned by the Energyme corporation, is doing illegal tests when the test subject, a rat, breaks free and attacks and kills the crew. Dr. Kerry Atkins, the lone survivor, tries to make it to the escape pod but finds the hatch sealed remotely. She is told by Claire Wyden, the CEO of Energyme, that they won’t unlock the hatch until she retrieves the canisters of the pathogen they were testing from the lab. Atkins makes her way to the lab and begins retrieving the canisters when an alarm sounds that the space station’s hull integrity has gone critical, just as the rat appears down the corridor. With the rat chasing after her, Atkins makes it to the hatch with the canisters and is allowed inside, then jettisons the escape pod before the station explodes but the damage done by the rat causes the pod to break apart as it reenters the Earth’s atmosphere. At the San Diego Wildlife Sanctuary, Davis Okoye, along with his friend Nelson, are leading new team members Amy and Connor into the gorilla habitat to see how Paavo, a new arrival, is integrating into the enclosure. When Paavo sees them, he gets agitated but Davis is able to calm him down until George, a large albino gorilla, appears. Paavo gets agitated again, frightening Connor and causing him to run, with Paavo chasing after him but before Paavo can attack him, George knocks Paavo aside and roars at him, cowing the younger gorilla. Davis goes to check on Connor as George roars at them, but then starts laughing and Davis realizes he is joking with them. Davis then signs to George and tells him tobe nice, welcome and protect Paavo, as his family had been killed by poachers, and George agrees to do so. That night, the debris from the escape pod crashes to Earth, with one landing in the Wyoming desert, where a wolf investigates it and is engulfed in a green gas, and a second one landing in the Florida Everglades, where an alligator swallows it. A third canister lands inside George’s gorilla habitat and when George touches the canister, it breaks open and envelops him in a green gas, causing him to roar out. The next day, Davis is summoned to work by a call from Nelson about George and when he gets there, Nelson tells Davis that George is in the grizzly enclosure. The two head over there and find that the grizzly is dead and a wounded George is sitting in a cave and when Davis convinces him to come out, they are shocked to see that George has grown considerably. Connor radios Nelson and tells them to come to the gorilla habitat, where he and Amy show Nelson and Davis the canister that was still in it’s crater and Davis uses a sample bag to grab it and says they need to figure out what it is. At Energyme’s corporate headquarters in Willis Tower in Chicago, Claire’s brother Brett is upset about the space station’s destruction and the hit that their company took on the stock market but Claire tells him that everything will be ok. She tells him that Atkins had gotten the research canisters off the space station and even though the escape pod blew up, the canisters were designed to survive reentry, and one of them had landed in Wyoming. Claire tells Brett to deal with the press while she uses a private military unit, led by a man named Burke, to retrieve the canister. When they arrive at the crash site, Burke contacts Claire and tells her they found the canister but whatever was inside was gone or destroyed. He then tells her they found a pack of wolves that had apparently been killed by a single wolf and Claire, realizing that the wolf had been infected with Project Rampage, tells Burke to bring her the wolf dead or alive. In Los Angeles, a genetic engineer named Dr. Kate Caldwell sees the news report about Athena-1’s destruction, and the story about George “escaping” his enclosure, and she quickly heads to San Diego. In San Diego, Davis is looking over the lab results for George when Kate arrives and tells him she can explain. Davis takes Kate to see George and Kate explains that she worked for Energyne and had developed a way to advance CRISPR so that instead of altering one cell at a time, her system allowed entire DNA strands to be edited at once. Suddenly, George breaks free from the containment cell and breaks out of the lab, terrorizing the visitors to the sanctuary. As police show up and threaten to shoot George, Davis is able to calm George down but a Homeland Security helicopter arrives and shoots George with multiple tranquilizer darts, bringing the large gorilla down. Back in Wyoming, Burke and his men spot the wolf, which has grown to giant size, and attempt to kill it but the wolf kills them all. Back in San Diego, Davis and Kate are taken into government custody by Agent Harvey Russell, who loads them onto a plane along with George. As they are flying, Russell reads Davis’ file out, revealing that he was former Special Forces and is now part of the UN’s Anti-Poaching Task Force. Russell then shows them the video of the giant wolf, who has been named Ralph, and when Davis says that Kate can cure the animals, Russell reveals that Kate used to work for Energyne and had been fired two years ago, then sent to prison for 13 months for stealing company hard drives. In Chicago, Brett shows Claire surveillance photos of Davis and Kate being loaded onto the plane with George and Claire says that they should have killed Kate when they had the chance. She then tells Brett that there is a pill that can halt the growth and aggression in someone exposed to Project Rampage, and that the pathogen also rewired the host to respond to low level radio signals. Claire activates a radio transmitter that her team modified atop Willis Tower, which will lure the animals to Chicago, and in the case of George, destroy the plane and kill Kate in the process. When the signal is activated, George, who had been sedated, wakes up and breaks free from his enclosure and begins attacking the agents when they try to shoot him. During the fight, some explosives are detonated, blowing a hole in the plane and causing it to crash. Davis and Kate parachute to safety, with Davis rescuing Russell as well, while George goes down with the plane but George survives the crash and makes his way to Chicago. In Chicago, the FBI arrive at Energyne and after serving Claire the warrant, begin taking all of the hard drives and servers while Claire begins trying to pass the blame onto Kate. Back at the crash site, Russell tries to secure transport for the three of them while Kate tries to explain herself to Davis. Davis isn’t interested at first but Kate tells him that she had joined Energyne to try and use CRISPR to save her brother but when she learned that Energyne was using her research to weaponize DNA, she tried to destroy it but got arrested for it, and her brother died while she was in prison. Russell manages to get military transport to a base outside of Chicago, where the base commander is coordinating an assault on George and Ralph before they reach the city. Davis and Kate try to explain that Energyne must be luring the animals to the city and that the attack won’t work but the commander has them taken away, saying the FBI wants to speak with them. Davis knocks out their guards and he and Kate head to an unguarded medevac helicopter when they are stopped by Russell, who hands Davis the keys and a satellite phone and says that they are on the same side. Russell returns to the operations room just as the attack on George and Ralph commences and when it fails, he contacts Davis to let him know what happened. Davis and Kate reach Chicago just as George and Ralph begin attacking the military in the city, and are shocked to see a giant alligator, Lizzy, emerge from the river and join in the attack. Realizing that the military won’t be able to stop the giant creatures, Davis and Kate head to Energyne to try and find the antidote, being contacted by Russell and told that Blake is ordering a MOAB to be dropped on the city to destroy the creatures. When they reach the labs, Kate finds that the system has been completely scrubbed clean by the Wydens but the keep looking and eventually find the cure, only to be confronted by Claire and Brett. Claire tells them that the R-19 doesn’t return the animals to their original size, merely removes the growth and aggressiveness in them, then demands that Kate hand them over but Kate secretly sneaks one into her coat. Claire then tells Davis and Kate to move and when Davis refuses, Claire shoots him, then forces Kate to head to the roof. They head for the waiting helicopter but George arrives on the roof and destroys the helicopter, then begins smashing the transmitter. Davis, who only wounded, rescues Kate from the debris and when she reveals she still has a cure, Davis says they should give it to George and hope that he will help them deal with the other two monsters. The two head down the stairs to get off the roof but are stopped by Claire, who wants them to distract George so she can escape. Davis appears to agree, but then yells out for George while Kate throws the cure into Kate’s bag, where the other two vials are, and shoves her back into George, who grabs her and swallows her. In the building’s lobby, Brett is trying to call for an escape when he encounters Russell, who tells him that he will let him escape if he hands over the laptop he is carrying. Brett quickly agrees, but as he walks outside, he is crushed by some falling debris. Back on the roof, Davis realizes that the building is about to come down and quickly gets into the Wyden’s damaged helicopter with Kate and powers it up, managing to stay just above the building as it falls before they crash to the ground. Davis and Kate walk away from the wreck just as George emerges from the debris, and they are happy to see that his gentle personalite has returned. When Ralph and Lizzy emerge as well, Davis sees a Humvee and tells Kate to use it to find Russell and get him to call off the air strike while he and George deal with the creatures. Using a grenade launcher, Davis fires on the animals while George attacks them, and they manage to lure Ralph into flying towards Lizzie, who grabs his throat in it’s jaws and decapitates him. George and Davis then turn their attention to Lizzie, just as Kate reaches Russell and tells him what is going on. George is overpowered by Lizzie and tossed into some debris, ending up impaled on rebar. As Lizzie closes in to finish off George, Davis gets into a downed Apache and begins firing at Lizzie, taking it’s attention off of George. As Lizzie goes to kill Davis, George takes the rebar and impales Lizzie through the eye, piercing the brain, and finally killing the giant alligator. Colonel Blake, who had been alerted to the situation by Russell, calls off the airstrike and as Davis tells George that they saved the city and George saved him, George collapses from his injuries. Davis cries for his friend’s death just as Kate and Russell show up and as they see the military helping the survivors, Davis sees George move and realizes that George had been playing a joke on him. After talking with Kate and Russell, Davis says that they should help get the people to safety, then find George a new home.

Rampage (2018) met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 52% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but contrary to appearances, this makes it the highest reviewed movie based on a video game of all time. The critical consensus on the site is, “Rampage isn’t as fun as its source material, but the movie’s sheer button-mashing abandon might satisfy audiences in the mood for a brainless blockbuster.” During the movie when Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) signs to the young gorilla Paavo to calm him down, the sign he makes while saying “It’s me” is for”rock”, a reference to his WWE days as The Rock. The mutated rat at the beginning of the movie is likely a reference to Larry, a character that was only available in the Atari Lynx version of the game. The film was a success at the box office, earning $428 million off of a $140 million budget.

Ok, this was not what I would consider a great movie but it was a pretty entertaining movie. Dwayne Johnson was pretty good in his role and the interaction his character had with George felt pretty natural. Naomie Harris (Kate), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Russell) and Malin Akerman (Claire) were also good in there roles as well. The story was pretty good and did a decent job in sticking to the basic premise of the video game, but instead of humans being the subject to the experiments and turning into monsters, the movie chose to simply have animals accidentally be exposed to the pathogen that turns them into giant monsters. The special effects with the creature designs were pretty interesting, well Ralph and Lizzie’s design, as George was simply a big gorilla. One thing I didn’t particularly care for the consistent power-ups that they seemed to give Ralph. First it was the projectile spines that he fired at one of the helicopters, but then he was able to fly, which was just weird. Another thing that I thought was interesting was that Lizzie seemed so much more massive than George or Ralph. The only reason I can think as to why this was is because Lizzie had swallowed the canister with that pathogen, receivng a larger concentration of it, as opposed to what happened to George and Ralph, who had simply been exposed to a portion of the gas. A nice bit of mindless, city trashing entertainment that can be fun to watch.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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action, comedy, horror, sci-fi, The Asylum

January 13th, 2019 Movie – The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time

sharknado 6

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and that includes the phenomenon known as Sharknado. Yes, when it was announced that the latest Sharknado movie would be the end of the series, I will admit that I was pretty sad to hear about it. I mean, ever since the first movie took the world by storm (pun somewhat intended), Every summer I would get a week of brand new shark themed movies to go along with the latest installment in the series. It is going to be very hard to let go of something that awesome. Anyways, after the last movie, and learning that the next installment would be the end, I was curious to see exactly how The Asylum was going to close out this franchise. Let’s see how they did with today’s movie, The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time.

The plot: During the Cretaceous period, a velociraptor is curious about a large, shark fin shaped rock but it quickly runs off when the rock explodes as a jeep drives through it. Inside the jeep, Fin Shepard turns to talk to his adult son Gil but notices that Gil has vanished. Suddenly, a hologram recording of Gil appears and tells Fin that due to the energy involved in time travel, a person can only go back in time once or else they vanish. Telling Fin that the time travel device is built into the pilot wings that Gil threw to Fin, Gil explains that Fin has to go through time and stop all of the past sharknado’s from happening if he wants to prevent the world’s destruction. When the recording ends, Fin goes looking for the bag that contains the cyborg head of his wife April only to see a dinosaur grab it in it’s mouth and run off. Fin drives the jeep after it and finds himself in a stampede, slamming on the brakes before he joins the dinosaurs in going over the cliff into the sea below. As Fin looks down the cliff, a megalodon breaches out of the water, causing Fin to step back from the cliff’s edge. A tyrannosaurus appears and Fin manages to avoid it and when it turns to attack him, the megalodon leaps out of the water and grabs the tyrannosaurus, dragging it into the sea. Fin then turns and faces the dinosaur that grabbed the bad and attempts to get it back when a masked figure suddenly leaps down from a nearby cliff, attacking the dinosaur with knives and forcing it to drop the bag and run off. As Fin grabs the bag, he is shocked to see that the masked figure is Nova, and she if joined by Bryan and a non-cyborg April, who rides in on a pteranodon. Fin is shocked as everybody had supposedly died and they explain that Gil had saved them all before they died and brought them there to help Fin stop the first sharknado. A meteor storm occurs just as the first sharknado appears and the group decide to use the meteors to destroy the sharknado but they aren’t powerful enough. Fin jumps onto the back of a megalodon caught in the vortex and as he forces it to swallow some of the meteors, he spots Gil riding on another shark and calls out to him but Gil disappears through time. Fin jumps back onto the pteranodon and Bryan hits a meteor into the megalodon, causing an explosion that destroys the sharknado. When a time vortex appears, they fly through it, thinking that they are returning to the present day but find themselves in the medieval kingdom of Camelot, and that Bryan has suddenly become a woman. The sorceress Morgana shoots down the pteranodon and attempts to take them prisoner but she is called off by Winter, who escorts them all to the castle, saying their arrival has been foretold. Winter introduces them to Merlin, who tells them that Gil had been studying with them for 10 years and Winter goes to fetch him only to see him sail off into an approaching sharknado. When she reports what happened, Fin and April want to try and save him but Nova tells them if they stop Gil from traveling through time to search for his parents, he won’t grow up and pull the others out of time to help Fin stop the sharknados from occurring. When an alert sounds from the bag containing the cyborg April’s head, everyone is curious about what is in the bag and Nova tries to grab it from Fin, only for the bag to open and the head rolls along the floor and lands at April’s feet. Fin explains to April that it was the only thing left of her when the world is destroyed and April tells Fin she forgives him but decides to hold onto the head. Fin and the others go to stop the sharknado but are stopped by Morgana, who tells them she has a potion that will destroy the sharknado but will use it only if Merlin agrees to remove the spell around Excalibur. Merlin agrees and Morgana uses an arrow to send the potion into the sharknado but instead of destroying it, it causes the sharks to start breathing fire. Fin and the others rush to defend the castle and Fin decides to try and use Excalibur, pulling it from the stone and revealing it to be a chainsaw sword. Fin uses Excalibur’s magic to stop the sharknado, with Morgana being killed in the process, and they then seal themselves into a large cauldron and are fired from a catapult so they can go fast enough to travel through time. They arrive in colonial America, with Bryan returning to being a man again, and they begin to wonder if their attempts to stop the sharknados might do more harm than good but when they see a sharknado approaching the colonial fleet, they decide to stop it before America ceases to exist, only to be captured by colonial soldiers. They are taken to General Washington’s camp and after explaining to Benjamin Franklin that they are there to help save the colonies from the sharknado, they are allowed inside to speak to Washington. Fin and Bryan explain their plan and after Washington allows them to proceed, Fin has the army fire their cannons into the sharknado, timing their attack to coincide with the lightning strikes to cause the cannonballs to become electrified. After destroying the sharknado and sending the British fleet retreating, Fin and the others try to figure out a way to get home but Nova, having encountered her ancestor, rushes off to talk to him. Nova hands her ancestor a note to be passed down to her grandfather but Fin takes it from her ancestor, causing an argument between him and Nova on her desire to change her past and save her grandfather. Fin and Nova rejoin April and Bryan so they can leave but Bryan, due to his being a history teacher, decides to stay behind and ensure America is put on the right path. With Franklin’s help, the three head off to the time vortex, where they end up landing in the Old West, where they come between a stand off between Billy the Kid and the town sheriff. Surprised at the arrival of the carriage, Billy is disarmed by the sheriff and runs off and the sheriff arrests Fin for his role in helping Billy escape. As Fin is taken to jail, April and Nova hide in the carriage and are shocked to see Skye appear. In jail, Fin speaks to another prisoner, who was supposed to be rescued by Billy the Kid, and as the prisoner is taken from his cell to be hung, Fin realizes that the prisoner is a grown up Gil. Nova and Skye break Fin out of jail and Fin explains that they screwed up and Gil is about to be killed and Skye goes to rescue him, just as a sharknado approaches. Fin and Skye rescue Gil, who races off into the vortex, while April and Nova use cyborg April’s head to destroy the sharknado. After a standoff with Billy the Kid, who wants to go to the future, Fin, April, Nova, and Skye get onto a train and use it to travel through the time vortex. They end up on the Santa Monica beach in the 1950’s and as a sharknado approaches the beach, they rush to save the people on the beach only to be shocked when they see Fin’s parents, Gilly Shepard and Raye Martin, working to stop the sharknado. After the adult Gil makes it through the vortex and the sharknado is destroyed, Nova sees the prototype capacitor that Gil had left behind and shows it to Fin. They see the date on it is the date of the first sharknado that hit Santa Monica and realize that that is their next destination and borrow Gil’s Cadillac to make the trup but Nova reprograms the capacitor to take them to 1997 San Francisco so she can try to save her grandfather. Fin tries to talk her out of changing her past but Nova refuses to listen to him and heads off. Nova reaches the charter boat that her grandfather owns and heads on board, with Fin and the others getting on board as well. The group head out into the ocean and as Nova watches her grandfather interact with her younger self, Fin again talks to Nova about what she is planning on doing. Nova argues her reasons for saving him, and after noticing the ripped up note she gave her ancestor framed and mounted on a wall, she rushes to warn the captain, inadvertently causing the boat to crash on some rocks. Realizing that she is the reason her grandfather died, Nova starts to freak out but Fin helps Nova’s grandfather and younger self escape on a raft. Nova attacks some sharks to give them time to escape and ends up falling overboard, with the cyborg April’s head falling with her. As a shark attacks Nova, April tries to save her and ends up getting dragged overboard, where both her and Nova are killed. Realizing that the only way to save them is to keep stopping the sharknados, Skye grabs the capacitor while Fin hooks a shark and the are dragged behind it, allowing them to warp to the future but instead of the year 2013, a malfunction causes them to end up in the year 20013. They find themselves attacked by a robotic flying shark and once Fin kills it, they are captured by an army of April clones. The clones take them to their base, where they are confronted by the repaired cyborg April, who reveals that she had perfected time travel and rescued April to use her DNA for cloning her army. As Fin rushes to April, Skye confronts the cyborg April and ends up encased in carbonite, then tells Fin that she brought him there to be her queen. Fin tries to attack the cyborg April, who tries to stop him by showing him robotic versions of his children Matt and Claudia, as well as a robotic Nova, but Fin continues his attack, killing the replicas. Cyborg April attacks Fin but her attack also disables the stasis chamber that April is in, who leaves the chamber and begins attacking her cyborg doppelganger. The cyborg April easily overpowers the original but as she attempts to kill her, her power strikes the capacitor just as Fin grabs it, sending him back to 2013. Fin lands on the boat owned by Captain Santiago, whose crew has just brought cyborg April’s head back to the surface. When Santiago orders his men to throw it overboard, Fin convinces them not to and the cyborg April is happy to see that Fin came back for her. Santiago goes to kill Fin but as the sharks on the edge of the sharknado begin killing his crew, as well as his traitorous business partner, Fin convinces him to work together to destroy the sharknado. Santiago and Fin use Santiago’s weapons to attack the sharks but Santiago is swept up by the storm and killed. Cyborg April’s head says that her lasers are recharged and they have to destroy the sharknado or else time will unravel but before Fin can aim her at the sharknado, Gil appears. Fin is happy to see his son and embraces him and Gil tells him that he can fix everything but he needs the capacitor. Fin moves to hand it to him but when Gil messes up the Shepard family motto, Fin realizes he is an imposter. Gil is revealed to be the future cyborg April, who tries to get the capacitor from Fin so that he can’t destroy the sharknado. Fin and cyborg April’s head are sucked up into the storm, with cyborg April’s head being swallowed by a shark. Fin and future cyborg April struggle for control of the capacitor and when Fin is knocked away by some debris, future cyborg April laughs as time begins unraveling. Suddenly, the shark with cyborg April’s head appears and destroys future cyborg April, then tells Fin they have one shot; activating her self destruct button in her head which will either destroy the sharknado and restore time or wipe out the universe. Fin kisses the cyborg head, activating the self destruct and April’s head explodes, restoring time. In a sharknado free 2013, an explosion is heard off the coast of Santa Monica and the patron’s of Fin’s bar wonder what it could be. As Nova, Matt, and Fin’s brother-in-law Martin Brody stare out the window, a shark suddenly slams against the glass and Nova feels sorry for it, as she loves sharks now. Fin and April, who is pregnant with Gil, are planning to retire to Kansas and are turning over the bar to Martin, who tries to convince Nova to stay but she is going to college thanks to a loan from Fin. Bryan tells everyone to check out the TV, where the see a political add for Skye, who is running for President. As Gemini enters the bar, and Wilford and May Wexler talk with April about the baby, Claudia hands Fin a letter from The Colonel, which contains his flight wings, in case he doesn’t make it back from space in time for Gil’s birth. Fin offers a last round on him to everyone at the bar and giving a heartfelt speech about how much they all mean to him. Just as he finishes, April’s water breaks and the Shepards, as well as Wilford, May, Nova, and George (a regular bar patron of Fin’s), head out the door to go to the hospital, while a TV weather report has Al Roker telling the audience that there is not a cloud in the sky anywhere in the world so people should go out and enjoy it as there won’t be another like it ever again.

So I had a lot of expectations going into this movie and while it did hit several things that I wanted it to, I was honestly a little disappointed and felt like they could have done more. The movie was the same ridiculous fun that all of the others have been, and all the returning characters did great in their roles. Ian Ziering was great finishing off his role as Fin Shepard, while Tara Reid and Cassandra Scerbo were just as good reprising their roles of April and Nova respectively. I actually think April was written a little better in this movie, as she did more than just scream all the time. I liked that they brought Judah Friedlander (Bryan) and Vivica A. Fox (Skye) back and the interaction with the other characters was pretty good. Some of the cameos were pretty funny, such as Neil deGrasse Tyson playing Merlin and Dee Snider playing a sheriff, but most of the cameos felt a little flat, as if they were running out of ideas on how to make the most of them. I will say that I was kind of glad that they used some archive footage from the first movie to have John Heard’s character George show up at the end. The story was ok but the way they brought up time travel into things actually made the story feel rather disjointed. I did think it was funny how they tried to reference Back To The Future a couple of times during the movie, such as the capacitor looking like the flux capacitor as well as Gil telling Fin he has to be going 88 mph to start the time travel. The special effects were ok for the most part, though there were times where they honestly were a little worse than I was expecting, but that makes these movies that much more fun to watch. So it was a good way to end the series but I still think that they could have done a better job with it.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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action, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi, The Asylum, Uncategorized

January 6th, 2019 Movie – 6-Headed Shark Attack

6 headed shark attack

A new year is upon us and, as promised, I have returned with more movies to watch and review. Since I cut back on my movie purchasing after I finished my initial run, I am only going to be posting reviews over the weekend, primarily on Sunday but I could do them on Saturday as well depending on how busy I am. So, let’s dust this thing off and get right into a new movie. Today’s movie was part of Syfy’s Sharknado week last year and is the latest installment in the multi-headed shark franchise (I don’t think they have an actual title for the series). This was one of the movies I was most looking forward to seeing during that week, mainly to see how the shark was going to look with all of those heads; with the actual plot of the movie being a distant second. Luckily, the movie actually turned out to be pretty entertaining, much like the other movies in the series. So let’s sit back and enjoy today’s movie, 6-Headed Shark Attack.

The plot: In 1984, a graduation party for the UCSB School of Biology is being held on the floating Marine Research Station off the coast of Isla Corazón in Baja, Mexico. During the party, a couple argue over the man’s flirting and actions at the party, causing the woman to throw her engagement ring into the water. As the man heads back inside to the party, the woman stays outside to cry when she notices a large shadow moving through the water, just as a 6-headed shark begins attacking the station. In the present day, Isla Corazón has been bought by William and turned into a marriage boot camp. William is holding a session with the latest group at camp, Mary and James, Duke and Daphne, Angie and Kip, and Jake and Sarah, but when James questions where William’s wife is, William brushes off the question. After the group finishes the first task, with James refusing to participate, William notices a boat approaching the island and tells the group to grab their wetsuits and meet him on the beach, then tells his assistants Brad and Rebecca to prepare the next challenge while he goes to meet the boat. Brad and Rebecca set up the challenge, then head off to enjoy the surf but they are attacked and killed by the 6-headed shark. Meanwhile, William paddles out to the boat, where his wife/ex Suzanne and her new boyfriend greet him, and as William argues with his wife about her giving up on the camp, he reluctantly signs the papers she asks for so she can dissolve their business. On shore, the couples are all getting ready for the next task, with Jake telling Sarah his belief that the island was the home for a secret government project that was shut down during the Cold War. Meanwhile, Daphne flirts with Kip, causing tensions to flare between Angie, Kip, and Daphne, while James and Mary argue about their being at the camp and James telling Mary he is jealous about how William was looking at her. William is trying to get in touch with Brad and Rebecca when Mary approaches him, telling him that James and her want to leave. When William tries to convince her to stay, she threatens to sue him for false advertising and William relents and says that he will take them back the next day and refund their money. Mary rejoins the others, telling James that they can’t leave until tomorrow, and they all head out to the floating dock, where their supplies are. Meanwhile, William discovers a severed foot in the shallow water of the beach and rushes to join the others, just as Brad’s body surfaces near Mary. As Everyone reacts in shock on the small dock, William tells them that their only chance is to head to the boat, as the tide is to low for him to risk bringing it to them, and after James argues with him for a bit, William comes up with a plan and they all begin paddling the floating dock towards the boat. They manage to reach the boat and William tries to radio for help but is unable to reach anybody. William decides to head back and try to find Rebecca, despite the objections of the guests, and Duke decides to go with him, fashioning a make-shift bang-stick to use against the shark. They head towards the beach, where Duke spots a shadow in the water and heads out to kill the shark, while the others raise the boat’s anchors and head out to try and help them. As the shark approaches Duke and William, Duke jabs it with the boom stick, seemingly killing it, but as he talks with William, the shark revives and attacks him, ripping him in half between it’s heads, then rips off the damaged head, which quickly grows back. Meanwhile, the others are shocked by what they saw and end up running aground on the rocks and William swims out to them and tells them they have to swim back to shore. Everyone reluctantly does so and William has to help Daphne through her guilt for Duke’s death before she starts swimming. The group manage to make it to shore, where Sarah blames William for what has happened and as tempers start to flare up, Daphne points out an approaching storm system and Sarah tells them that the intensity of the storm will put the whole island underwater. William suggests heading to an old lighthouse but Sarah says that is in the direction of the storm and they won’t make it in time. Jake says they should head to the lab, as it is on floating docks, and convinces the others to go with them, with William and Daphne, who says she will go where he goes, reluctantly following. When they get to the lab, they try to find something to help them survive, with William finding a radio and attempting to call for help again. Meanwhile, James and Jake discover that the shark had been created at the lab, which had been testing the regenerative properties of sharks. Suddenly, a storm swell rocks the labs, causing Jake to fall into the water and a shelf to fall onto the opening. Sarah and the others lift the shelf so Jake can get back onto the lab but as Sarah embraces him, the shark leaps up from the opening and grabs both Jake and Sarah, killing them, then tries to get the others. William works on fending the shark off, allowing the others to escape, then starts to swim for shore himself when he hears Suzanne speaking over the radio. William rushes to the radio and makes contact with Suzanne, telling her to meet him and the others at the lighthouse, then avoids the shark before making his own swim to shore. The others reach shore and after James spots the lighthouse, they all start heading for it. As they make their way there, Kip and Angie end up falling behind and discuss their relationship. As they decide to make it work, they are shocked to see the shark approaching them, using 4 of it’s heads to walk across the sand, and Kip and Angie are both killed. Mary, James, and Daphne run for the lighthouse, with the shark shuffling after them and as it moves to attack Mary and Daphne, William appears and cuts off one of the shark’s heads, then chases it away from them so they can get to the lighthouse. When they reach the lighthouse, William and James work on finding the fuse box and getting power to the lighthouse while Mary tends to Daphne, who is in shock but when Mary leaves Daphne to look around for supplies, Daphne leaves the lighthouse and wanders to the nearby rocks to scream out her frustrations, only for the shark to kill her. Back in the lighthouse, James confronts William over his imagined affair with Mary, pointing a rifle that he finds at him but William quickly grabs the box of bullets. Mary appears with some acetylene canisters and they start bringing them up to the light to use when James spots Suzanne’s boat approaching. When the shark moves towards the boat and begins circling it, causing a vortex to drag the boat underwater, James tells William to hand him the shells but William refuses, not wanting to risk James hitting Suzanne. William leaves the lighthouse and Mary follows after him but they can only watch helplessly as the boat is dragged under and Suzanne and her boyfriend are killed. William decides to use the acetylene canisters to kill the shark, handing James some bullets for the rifle while he and Mary place the canisters on the beach and prepare to lure the shark towards them so James can shoot the canisters but James instead attempts to shoot William but Mary realizes what he is doing and knocks William aside, saving his life. James then shoots the shark in one of it’s heads but the shark simply rips it off and flings it at the lighthouse, crushing James underneath it. The shark heads back to the water and William tells MAry to grab the canisters and they swim back out to his boat, which has come free of the rocks due to the storm swell. With the motor damages, William says they will have to use the sails to get out of there, just as the shark starts attacking the boat. Mary fashions a spear to attack the shark and after fending off the shark, William grabs it and heads down into the hold to attack the shark as it tries to break through. William manages to stab the skark in the head and pin it to the ship just as Mary drops the canisters down there, flooding the hold with the gas. William shoots a flare at the shark, attempting to kill it with the gas, but the flare doesn’t ignite and they quickly swim to shore, with the shark getting free and following them. As they run from the shark, it leaps after them and gets stuck in the rocks and William shoots another flare at the canisters, causing an explosion which blows off all 6 of the shark’s heads. With the shark finally dead for good, William and Mary embrace each other before heading back towards the camp so they can try to signal for a rescue off the island.

Man, was I ever glad that this movie lived up to my expectations because it was exactly the sort of ridiculously funny movie that I enjoy watching. The acting was pretty good, with Brandon Auret doing a good job as the lead role of William. Thandi Sebe (Mary), Cord Newman (James), and Jonathan Pienaar (Duke) were also pretty good in their roles but nobody else really stood out much. The story was good in the sense that they actually attempted an explanation of how the shark came to be, though I will admit that they could have done a better job using that explanation. Unfortunately, there were some plot holes in the movie, with the biggest ones being the storm that was approaching the island, prompting the discussion on whether the lighthouse or the labs would be safer, but then it never actually materialized and seemed to have been completely forgotten towards the end of the movie. The special effects were pretty good and I loved that they finally had the shark look similar to a starfish, which is what the shark was rumored to look like in 5-Headed Shark Attack before the design was changed. I especially loved the part where they had the shark walking on land, using the snouts from the 4 back heads to move itself, as I thought that was the funniest, and most original thing I had seen from this type of movie and it literally had me falling out of my chair laughing. So it’s a fun bit of horror/sci-fi shark entertainment and if you were a fan of the other movies in the series, then you will enjoy this one as well.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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action, comedy, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

November 11th, 2018 Movie – Tremors 6: A Cold Day In Hell

tremors 6

2018 was kind of a disappointment on the sci-fi front. See, there had been talk of a reboot of the Tremors TV series, with Kevin Bacon returning to star in it. They even made a trailer for the show but then Syfy decided to pass on it. The only bright spot on this bit of sad news is that we did get a new movie in the franchise. As soon as I heard that this movie was being made, I immediately made plans to purchase it as soon as it came out. So let’s see what new horrors are in store for us with today’s movie, Tremors 6: A Cold Day In Hell.

The plot: At the Nanavut Province in northern Canada, 3 scientist (Aussie, Yankee, and Dutch) are taking core samples of some ice when their drill hits something under the ice. As Yankee and Dutch work on the drill, a yellowish fluid starts seeping up, just as Aussie detects a seismic anomaly, as if something living was moving under the ice. Suddenly, a large graboid burst out of the ice and swallows Aussie, while whatever was struck by the drill begins moving, dragging Yankee with it. As the graboid burrow under the snow towards Dutch, he starts running and falls down an embankment, only to have the graboid kill him. Some time later in Perfection, New Mexico, Burt Gummer is approached by Special Agent Dalkwed of the U.S. Treasury Dept. Dalkwed tells him that due to Burt’s not paying taxes, the government is putting a lien on his property. As Dalkwed leaves, Burt’s son Travis shows up with supplies that he had gone to get and he argues with Burt over his not making more of an effort to work with him. Back in the arctic, Dr. Rita Sims, the head of the research team, heads out to the site of the attack with team members Valerie McKee and Aklark and when they see the carnage, Valerie recognizes what has happened. Back in Perfection, Burt is taking a nap on the roof of Chang’s store but is plagued by painful nightmares of the time he was swallowed by a graboid. As he falls out of his hammock, Travis tells him he has a phone call from a woman saying they have a graboid problem. Burt picks up the phone and speaks with Rita but when she tells him where they are located, he says that it can’t be a graboid attack as they are desert/tropical creatures. Valerie gets on the phone and tells Burt she is a graboid enthusiast, impressing him with her knowledge of the creatures, and tells him the site has all the markings of an attack and convinces him it is worth coming out there to investigate as it would be a new phenomenon for him to explore. Burt packs up for his trip and Travis packs to go with him, which Burt objects to his coming but Travis convinces him that he needs to teach him how to hunt and kill graboids for when the time comes that he is unable to do it anymore. The two head out to Canada and as they are flying to the site in a single prop plane piloted by Mac, they are attacked by an ass-blaster, which runs into the prop and forces them to land. On the ground, they are approached by Mr. Cutts, who is in charge of a DARPA facility next to the research station. Cutts confiscates the alcohol that Mac was smuggling into the area and warns Burt to stay out of his way, while Burt warns him that he should take his team and leave the area. As Cutts leaves, Valerie and Aklark show up and Valerie rushes up to hug Burt. Burt chastises her for not telling him about the ass-blasters and when she learns they saw one, she says her parents aren’t going to believe it, then reveals that she is the daughter of Valentine “Val” McKee and Rhonda LeBeck, whom Burt lost track of after they left town following the first Graboid attack. The head out to the Boite Canyon Arctic Research Facility, towing Mac’s plane behind them so she can repair the engine. They are approached by Rita and Dr. Charles Freezze, who is upset to learn that the plane is broken as he wants to leave as quickly as possible. Rita introduces Burt and Travis to the rest of the staff and Burt tries to tell them of the dangers they are now facing. Burt then asks Rita to step aside and asks her about Cutts and the DARPA facility and she tells him it is a joint US/Canada project but they are being secretive about it. Suddenly an ass-blaster appears at the site and kills a security guard while trapping Freezze underneath the communications tower, which it destroys while trying to get to him. Burt heads out to rescue Freezze, handing him an insulated pancho to hide his body heat from the ass-blaster when Burt suddenly has a seizure and collapses to the ground. As the ass-blaster flies towards Burt, Travis and Rita head out and start shooting at it and Burt recovers enough to shoot as well and they eventually kill the ass-blaster, but Burt passes out. When Burt regains consciousness, Valerie tells him he had surgery and the two talk for a bit before she leaves as Travis enters the room. Travis asks Burt how he is doing but Burt angrily asks him where he got the HK that he was using when they are interrupted by Rita, who says she has something Burt needs to see. Meanwhile, the DARPA team is at the Meltwater Hot Springs 8 miles from the camp taking reading of the water when they detect a high level of formic acid in the water. Suddenly, the scientist in the water hears something just before a graboid appears and kills her. Back at the research facility, Burt is told that he has a parasitic organism in his blood that is killing him and when they tell him that it came from a graboid, he figures he was infected when he was swallowed and had to cut his way out of one. Travis suggests that they kill a graboid to get the antibodies but they tell him they need a live graboid, which Burt says is impossible to catch. Suddenly, graboid tendrils snake through the window and grab the doctor, yanking her outside to be swallowed  by the graboid. Burt orders everyone to secure the area and since they can’t get any seismograph readings due to their comm tower being down, he asks for a satellite phone only to discover that Freezze has taken it and fled. Travis radios Mac and Aklark, telling them to stop their work on the plane, just as the graboid moves under the lab and away from the area. Realizing that it is chasing after Freezze, they look outside to see him heading for the nearby truck. Hart rushes off to try and stop him but the graboid knocks the truck over and kills Freezze while Hart climbs up a nearby tower. Burt has everyone else get back inside and they try to come up with options. Swackhammer says they have some dynamite and supplies to rig up a bomb to feed down the graboids throat but Travis comes up with a better idea, using the generator to fashion an underground electrical fence to keep them away from some of the buildings. As Burt splits the group into teams to head out, Cutts and his men show up and Burt taunts him, believing that they were somehow responsible for this. Cutts tells Burt that they aren’t creating bioweapons, but are trying to access the water and figure out a way to transfer it to cities. Suddenly, the graboid breaks through the floor and attacks them, killing one of Cutts’ men. Burt tells the other to head out according to their plan and Burt tells Cutts to get somewhere on high ground and stay there. Travis sticks a makeshift fuse into the gas can on Aklark’s ATV and drives off to create a distraction and as the graboid chases after him, he jumps to safety while it swallows the ATV, only to be blown up. Burt yells for everyone to head to the hangar but when a second Graboid appears, they are forced to take shelter, with Burt and Swackhammer heading to the tower Hart is on while Travis and Rita are on the flipped over truck. Burt has Hart pee on the ground to lure the graboid towards them, then tells everyone to continue towards the hangar but as he makes a run for it, Burt suffers another seizure. Valerie and Vargas spot a third graboid heading towards Burt and he manages to make it onto some rocks before he collapses. Swaghammer manages to make the makeshift electric fence, which stops a graboid from entering the hangar but it instead heads over to the DARPA facility, attacking the building and people in there. While it is gone, Burt recovers enough to make it to the hangar and tells everyone to start prepping the bombs. Travis argues with Burt about their needing to capture one of the graboids in order to save him, then reveals that he had gone to see Heather, which is where he got the HK from. When the core sampler starts up automatically, the graboids approach the tower that Hart is on and Valerie rushes over to shut it off. Burt tells Swackhammer to shut off the fence while everyone else uses powertools to make some noise and lire the graboid towards them, then Swackhammer turns the fence back on, killing it. Valerie manages to shut off the fence as the third graboid takes off and they head towards the base. Inside the hangar, the generator gives out just as Burt has another seizure and collapses into a coma. Travis takes the lead and tells Mac to get the plane ready while they head to medical but before they leave, they hear Cutts calling out for help. Travis tells Rita and Aklark to get Burt to medical and keep him alive while he and Swackhammer head out to rescue Cutts. When they get there, Cutts demands that they get a ladder so he can get down but Travis refuses to do so unless Cutts arranges to remove the lien on Burt as well as ensure that neither Burt nor Travis have to pay federal taxes ever again and Cutts reluctantly agrees to it. Travis and Swackhammer return to the base with Cutts and he goes to see Burt, who tries to get out of bed but Travis argues with him that he needs to stay down and let him handle this as he has a plan. Travis has Swackhammer cut out the ends of a shipping container, fashioning a trap for the graboid. They then set some bait and as the graboid grabs it, Mac is able to use her plane and it’s own momentum to steer it into the container, where everyone pushes some steel bars through the slots to trap it in place. They then open the other end of the container to reveal steel bars are keeping it from closing it’s mouth and they attempt to sever the three proboscis tentacles, with Burt shooting them from the base camp before passing out again. Travis crawls inside the graboid’s mouth and extracts the venom from it’s gland sac and they take it back to medical to fashion the antibodies needed to save Burt’s life. With Burt fully recovered, he and Travis prepare to leave and Cutts shows up with the signed paperwork ensuring that Burt is clear of any tax penalties or owes any taxes ever again. Cutts then comments about the graboid being a good bioweapon but Burt has Hart fly one of his RC planes carrying a bomb into the graboid’s mouth, then detonates it, killing the graboid. Valerie says goodbye to Burt and comments about how she is going to have a great story to tell her parents and he tells her to tell Val and Rhonda he said hi. Travis and Rita, who had become attracted to each other, say goodbye, with Rita telling him she will be back in the states in 6 months. Travis kisses her on the cheek and as he joins back with Burt, Burt chastises him for simply kissing her on the cheek, prompting Travis to go back and fully embrace and kiss Rita, to the cheers of the other staff. As Travis rejoins Burt, Burt tells him it was better and that they should head back to Perfection.

One thing I like about these movies is that even though the basic premise is the same, they manage to add a new twist to make things interesting. This movie was a lot of fun to watch. Michael Gross and Jamie Kennedy did great jobs reprising their roles of Burt and Travis respectively, and I liked that they still had the clash or personalities as Burt still struggled to accept Travis as his son. Tanya van Graan (Rita) and Jamie-Lee Money (Valerie) also did great jobs in their roles and I loved the interactions between them and Travis and Burt respectively. The story was good, with the new location being a nice twist, while also being a not so subtle nod to the climate change debate. Aside from the introduction of Valerie, there were also a couple of other nods to the original movie that were pretty funny if you caught them. The special effects in the movie were good and I liked that they used the new designs from the previous movie for the graboid and ass-blasters, as it felt like the right versions to use, as they were frozen in ice millennia ago and never thawed until the temperature warmed up along the Arctic, allowing them to move about. So a great entry into a fun franchise and hopefully they will continue on with the it, either with more movies or another attempts at a TV show.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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