action, adventure, movie, movie review, sci-fi

October 25th, 2018 Movie – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

jurassic world fallen kingdom

Yay, I get to watch another dinosaur movie. Was there any doubt that I was going to be buying this movie as soon as it came out on video? I mean, I have the other movies in the franchise, as well as dozens of other dinosaur movies, so this really should come as no surprise. Now I will admit that as much as I wanted to see this in theaters, I never did. I can’t really make any excuses about it, I just never went out to the theater and saw the movie. So let me make up for my oversight and get right into today’s movie, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

The plot: 3 years after the incident at Jurassic World, two mercenaries pilot a submersible towards the lagoon, with a tech support man on the island opening the gates for them. Once inside, they locate the remains of the Indominus Rex and retrieve one of it’s fangs, which they send to the surface. The tech support man tells the mercenary team in the nearby helicopter to pick up the tooth and once they retrieve the tooth, he tells the sub team to leave the lagoon to close the gate but they are eaten by the Mosasaurus. As the tech support guy tries to regain contact with the sub, the helicopter pilot notices something moving through the jungle towards him. As they shout out a warning, the man looks up and sees the Tyrannosaurus heading towards him and he runs for the helicopter, grabbing on to the emergency ladder they drop for him. As the helicopter lifts off, the Tyrannosaurus bites down on the ladder and attempts to pull them down but the ladder breaks off and as the man cheers his good fortune, the Mosasaurus leaps out of the water and swallows him. As the rest of the mercenary team contact their boss to tell him they have the tooth, the Mosasaurus swims out of the now open gates and into the open ocean. In Washington D.C., a Senate panel is convened to discuss whether the dinosaurs on Isla Nubar should be saved from the volcano that is set to erupt, or if they should be left to die. Dr. Ian Malcolm is called in to testify and he tells them that they should let the dinosaurs die out to correct the mistaken John Hammond made in cloning them. Meanwhile, Claire Dearing, former operations manager for Jurassic World, has started a nonprofit called the Dinosaurs Protection Group to try and save the dinosaurs when she hears the senate panel say they won’t try to save the animals. As she tells everyone to keep working, she receives a call from Benjamin Lockwood, Hammond’s former partner, who invites her to his mansion. When she arrives at the mansion, she meets with Lockwood and his assistant Eli Mills, who tell her that they have purchased an island, which they call Sanctuary, and intend to transport as many dinosaurs as they can to the island. As Lockwood is wheeled out by his caretaker Iris, Mills tells Claire that they need her help reactivating the tracking system so they can easily track the different species but he also needs her help in trying to capture Blue, who is the last Raptor alive. Claire says that Blue will know they are coming miles before they get close to her and he asks if she can figure out a way to get her. Claire goes to see Owen Grady, Blue’s former trainer and her ex-boyfriend. and after arguing over why they broke up, Claire tries to convince Owen to help her save the dinosaurs, including Blue, and when Owen says he won’t help, she tells him that her charter flight leaves in the morning and she hopes he will reconsider. That night, Owen watches videos of his time training Blue when her and the other raptors were newly hatched and he decides to join Claire’s team. Claire is surprised to see Owen on the plane and she introduces him to her coworkers Zia Rodriguez (a paleo-veterinarian) and Franklin Webb (a former park technician) and they head off to Isla Nubar. When they reach the island, they are greeted by Ken Wheatley, leader of the mercenary team that Mills hired to capture and transport the animals. As the volcano continues to threaten to erupt, They head to the old command center and Franklin is able to get the systems running again. As Claire unlocks the tracking software, they see a large concentration of dinosaurs on the east dock and Wheatley says that that is where there boat is, saying they already captured several of the larger herbivores. After finding Blue’s location, Owen heads out, with Zia, Wheatley, and some of his team following. When they get close to where she is, Owen goes ahead on foot and encounters Blue after a little while. Blue growls at him but Owen is able to get Blue to recognize him when Blue is struck by a tranquilizing dart. As Wheatley and his men circle Blue and Owen, Owen tells them to stand down while he tries to calm Blue down. When Blue sees a man behind Owen raise his gun and attacks him, only for the man to shoot her with his pistol. Owen yells at Wheatley, who shoots Owen with a tranquilizer dart and when Zia grabs a gun and threatens Wheatley, he takes her with them as she says she is the only one that can keep Blue alive. Back in the control center, Claire and Franklin are locked in just as the volcano begins to erupt, while Wheatley contacts Mills and tells him they have the dinosaurs, including Blue, and he wants his money when he gets there. Meanwhile, Owen sees the lava approaching him and manages to shake off the effects of the tranquilizer and get to safety, then starts running back to the command center. Claire and Franklin try to find a way out of the center when they are confronted by a Baryonyx, who had entered a tunnel to escape the oncoming lava. They manage to escape out a ladder as Owen appears and tells them to run, as a stampede of dinosaurs is rushing towards them to escape the lava. They manage to take shelter behind one of the old gyrospheres and Claire and Franklin get inside just as a Carnatosaurus appears. IT’s attention briefly turns to a Chasmosaurus and it begins attacking it but during the struggle, the gyrosphere’s door is closed and Claire and Franklin are trapped inside. The Carnatosaurus is killed by the Tyrannosaurus and the gyrosphere is sent rolling down the hill and into the ocean below, with several dinosaurs falling off after it. Owen dives down and manages to rescue them and when they reach the shore, they see Wheatley’s men using a helicopter to carry the Tyrannosaurus to their boat. The three head to the dock and after stealing a truck, drive it onto the boat just as it is leaving, then watch as the island is covered with lava, as a lone Brachiosaur bellows out at them from the dock before it is consumed by the lava and smoke. Back at Lockwood’s Estate, Mills meets up with Gunner Eversol, an high stakes auctioneer, and tells him the dinosaurs will be there tomorrow and then discusses the latest creation that Dr. Wu has designed, a creature that combines the DNA from the Indominus Rex and Blue that they call the Indoraptor. Lockwood’s granddaughter Maisie overhears them talking and goes to tell Lockwood but he tells her she probably misheard them and that he will find out in the morning. Back on the ship, Owen and the others find Zia tending to Blue and she tells them she needs a transfusion from another carnivore and the only one that matches what they need is the Tyrannosaurus. Owen and Claire head to the container with the Tyrannosaurus, which is still tranquilized, and they manage to get the blood but it wakes up and they quickly leave before it can get them. At Lockwood Estate, Maisie sneaks down to the genetics lab in the basement and as she looks around, she sees video of Owen working with Blue. Suddenly, Maisie hears Mills entering the lab, arguing with Henry Wu about Blue being shot and his need for Blue in order to ensure the next generation of Indoraptor has the same traits as Blue. As Maisie tries to hide from them, she backs up to the cage that holds the indoraptor and screams when it tries to grab her. Mills discovers her as she tries to run and locks her in her room, telling Iris to keep her in there when Iris tells him that Lockwood wants to see him. Back on the ship, Zia is able to remove the bullet and stabilize Blue when they arrive at their destination. Owen and Claire manage to sneak out of the truck but Franklin gets caught and mistaken for deck crew and told to help them to leave. Owen and Claire manage to get into another truck and drive off the boat, following the other trucks towards Lockwood’s Estate and try to make a break from it but Wheatley is alerted to their presence and captures them. At the estate, Lockwood berates Mills for his deception and tells him to call the police but Mills tells him that Hammond was right about what Lockwood had done, then smothers him with a pillow. Owen and Claire are placed in a cell in the basement with the captive dinosaurs and Mills talks to them briefly before leaving to see the guests arrive for the auction. Maisie sneaks out of her room through the window and heads to her grandfather’s room only to discover that he is dead. Hearing Mills approaching and calling out for Iris, Maisie hides in a dumbwaiter and overhears as Mills tells her that Lockwood is dead and she will no longer be needed to look after Maisie. In the basement, Owen and Claire are talking when Owen discovers that the dinosaur next to them is a Stygimoloch and he begins irritating it so that it smashes into the wall connecting their cells, eventually breaking through, then has it smash the door so they can escape. On an upper level, the auction is commencing and several of the dinosaurs are being sold for millions of dollars, then taken away. Back in the basement, Claire and Owen discover Maisie and when she runs off, they convince her to get out of the dumbwaiter and after she tells them that Lockwood is dead, they convince her to come with them so they can find their friends and get out of there. They manage to see into the auction room just as the Indoraptor is brought out to show what a future creature will look like. After showing how the Indoraptor has been trained to target and hunt specific targets, the buyers begin bidding and Mills agrees to sell it even though it is a prototype, much to Wu’s chagrin. Realizing how dangerous the Indoraptor is, Owen goes to stop them and uses the Stygimoloch to disrupt the auction. Mills orders the Indoraptor to be evacuated but Owens stops them and rips the power from the cage, leaving the Indoraptor on the auction floor while he goes after Mills. Wheatley sees everyone fleeing the estate and heads inside looking for Mills when he sees the Indoraptor. Wanting to grab one of it’s teeth for his collection, he tranquilizes it and heads inside the cage only to discover that the Indoraptor was playing possum and it quickly kills him, then leaves the cage, killing Gunnar and several other buyers who were trapped in the elevator. Meanwhile, Owen meets up with Claire and Maisie but as they try to leave, Mills stops them. When he tries to get Maisie to come with him, she hides behind Claire and Owen and Mills tells them that Maisie is not Lockwood’s granddaughter, but a clone of his dead daughter, which is what causes the falling out between Lockwood and Hammond. Suddenly, one Mill’s men is killed by the Indoraptor and as Mills run off, Owen tells Claire and Maisie to run as the Indoraptor chases after them. In the lab, Wu is having all of his research and samples evacuated and wants a sample of Blue’s blood but when Zia tells him that Blue’s blood is contaminated by the transfusion, Wu is startled long enough for Franklin to use a tranquilizer dart on him. Two guards show up and as one of them gets Wu out of there, Zia releases Blue form his cage and Blue attacks the guards, allowing Zia and Franklin to escape but during the fight, Blue damages some gas tanks and hydrogen sulfide begins leaking into the lab. Elsewhere, Owen, Claire, and Maisie are still being chased by the Indoraptor but manage to escape in the display cases, with Owen turning off the lights in the room so they have a better chance at staying hidden. Zia and Franklin see the gas and when Franklin notices that the ventilation system is off, he has to restart the system, which inadvertently turns the lights back on in the display cases. Seeing them, the Indoraptor crashes through the display case to get at them and Caire tells Maisie to run and hide but the Indoraptor chases after her. Owen tends to Claire but she kisses him and tells him to go after Maisie and he grabs a gun that was on the floor and heads out after her. Maisie managed to take the dumbwaiter up to her room and hides in her bed but the Indoraptor climbs up onto the roof, then climbs down and enters her room through the window. As it goes to attack her, Owen bursts into the room and fires at the Indraptor but the bullets don’t seem to faze it. Owen realizes he is out of ammo and the Indoraptor approaches him when Blue shows up and begins fighting with it. Maisie tells Owen to follow her and they head out the window and along the edge of the house but the Indoraptor, having stunned Blue, follows them. Owen and Maisie walk along the top of the glass ceiling of the display room and almost fall off but Owen manages to grab onto a weather vane to stop them. The Indoraptor approaches them but Claire distracts it, then uses the laser sight and sonic signal on the gun she has to send it after Owen, who tricks it into jumping through the glass ceiling . The Indoraptor holds on and manages to climb back up but Blue leaps at it from another roof and drags it down into the room, where it is impaled on the skull of a Triceratops. AS Blue runs off, Frankling and Zia show up and tell the others that they have a problem in the lower levels. Explaining about the gas and how it will kill the dinosaurs unless they are freed, Claire moves to push the button to open the gates but can’t bring herself to do it. As Owen goes to comfort her, Maisie pushes the button, telling them that she had to as they are alive like she is. The dinosaurs burst out of the basement and escape into the forest, with the Tyrannosaurus killing Mills and destroying the Indominus Rex tooth as he tried to escape with it. Owen and the others head outside and encounter Blue and as Owen moves towards her and tells her he will take her to a safe place, Blue looks at a nearby container, then backs away from Owen and runs off into the woods. As the dinosaurs that were sold and successfully taken from the estate are transported to their new locations, Owen and Claire are heading back to Owen’s cabin, with Maisie coming with them. Malcolm is speaking before a new senate panel about the dangers that are now upon them as humans and dinosaurs are not brought together, calling it a new Jurassic world.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 48% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom adds another set piece-packed entry to the blockbuster franchise, although genuinely thrilling moments are in increasingly short supply.” Director J.A. Bayona and writer Colin Trevrrow revealed that the Brachiosaur left behind on Isla Nublar as it gets destroyed is actually the same Brachiosaur that Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler first saw in Jurassic Park. Despite the poor reviews, the movie was a box office success, earning $1.305 billion off of a $187 million budget, with a sequel scheduled to be released in 2021.

This was a good follow up movie but I feel like it could have been better. The acting was good, with Chris Pratt (Owen) and Bryce Dallas Howard did great jobs reprising their roles, as were Jeff Goldblum (Malcolm) and BD Wong (Wu). I also liked Daniella Pineda (Zia), Justice Smith (Franklin), and Ted Levine (Wheatley) but felt that Rafe Spall was a little weak as Mills. The story was interesting but honestly, didn’t really feel that original. I liked the idea of the island’s volcano (which was in the novels) being a plot element in the movie and how they were in a race against time to get the dinosaurs off the island before the volcano erupted, but the whole mercenaries capturing dinosaurs bit was essentially the plot of The Lost World. I’m not sure how I really felt about the whole Maisie story line but it did bring up an interesting debate in regards to if clones should be treated the same as other living things. The special effects were really good in this movie, both the CGI and the animatronics. One scene in particular that was absolutely incredible was the scene with the Brachiosaur on the dock as the boat was leaving, with it bellowing out to them and then, as it is enveloped in the ash cloud, you see it’s silhouette highlighted by the lava as it continues crying out while raising up on it’s back legs, as it tries to get some fresh air, which really did make for an emotional scene. Weak plot not withstanding, this was still an enjoyable movie and one worth watching if you enjoy the franchise.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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

February 14th, 2018 Movie – They Live

they live

Today is going to start out to be a good day, because I am going to be watching the first of two John Carpenter movies this week. Now I remember first watching the last minute or two of this movie years ago on TV. I would then get reintroduced to it on a school trip my freshman year (Good Lord I am getting old) when some friends were talking about the movie they watched and how ridiculous the scene with Nada and Frank just putting in the contact lenses with no problems. It would be a couple more years before I would actually see the whole movie but I was immediately hooked and wound up buying it on DVD as soon as I could. Now it’s time to sit back, chew some bubble gum, and watch today’s movie, They Live.

The plot: In Los Angeles, a drifter named Nada wanders in to town and attempts to find some work and eventually gets some work at a construction yard. At the end of the day, another worker, Frank, leads Nada to a shanty town/soup kitchen where he can get a meal and a place to stay. As they are eating, Frank tells him about how he has a family in Detroit but the steel mills kept laying people off while giving the management and owners raises. As Nada finds a place to sleep at night, he walks by two men watching a television set when suddenly, a pirate signal breaks into the program and a bearded man starts warning the viewers that they have been blinded by those in power to what is really going on. The pirate signal gives Nada and the other men a headache and as Nada looks away, he notices a blind street preacher that he saw earlier saying the exact same things that the man on TV is. On of the men changes the channel and Nada notices a man named Gilbert arguing with the street preacher before leading him back to the church across the street. The next day, Nada questions Gilbert about the church seeming to be active late at night but Gilbert says that they let them use the kitchen to feed everyone in the shanty town. Later, the pirate signal comes on again, with the bearded man saying saying that “They” are in control and humanity is their cattle, then says that they must destroy the signal at the source before it cuts out again. Gilbert gets a worried look on his face and heads to the church and a curious Nada follows him. Inside, he finds that the choir singing is actually a recording being played through speakers and there is a lab setup inside along with dozens of cardboard boxes. He overhears Gilbert talking with the bearded man about trying to reach more people when he is discovered by the street preacher, who asks to feel his hands and face. Nada quickly leaves the church and as he leaves, he sees a police helicopter flying over head, while Gilbert and another man exit the church wearing sunglasses and look up at the helicopter. At the shanty town, Frank is listening to another drifter talking about a cult in San Antonio when he sees Nada walk up to a kid and borrow his binoculars, then use them to observe the church. When Frank approaches Nada and asks what’s up, Nada tells him about what he saw at the church and Frank says to leave it alone as it’s not their business. That night, the police raid the church looking for people, then proceed to destroy the shanty town and drive off the homeless there. As Nada runs from the police, he sees the bearded man and street preacher being beat down by the police, then notices the kid he borrowed the binoculars from hiding nearby and quickly grabs him and helps him escape, with both of them hiding in an abandoned building with some other members of the shantytown. The next day, as people start picking through the rubble for their belongings, Nada heads to the church and grabs a small box that he had hidden behind a panel in the wall. Ducking into an alley, he opens the box to find it filled with sunglasses and, not sure what to make of it, hides the box, keeping a pair of sunglasses for himself. Walking down the street, Nada puts on the sunglasses and discovers that they cause the wearer to see the world in black and white. The sunglasses also reveal that the various signs and billboards all have hidden messages such as “stay asleep”, “no independent thought”, and “obey”. As he wanders by a newsstand, a wealthy businessman steps up next to him and Nada sees that the businessman is actually a humanoid alien with a grotesque face. As Nada stares at the alien, the alien asks him what his problem is, then pays for his newspaper and walks to his car, and Nada notices that the money says “This is your God”. Walking down the street, Nada notices more and more people are actually the aliens, with many of them seeming to be rather well off people. As he wanders into a market, he proceeds to insult one of the aliens, commenting about how she looks normal without the glasses, then notices that all of the aliens are suddenly talking into their watches and describing him so he quickly leaves. Making his way down the road, Nada is forced into an alley by two aliens that happen to be cops and they try to offer him a deal and ask him to come with them but Nada fights back and ends up killing both of them. Taking both of their revolvers and a shotgun from their car, Nada makes his way down the street and ducks into a bank to avoid another police car. When a security guard, who happens to be an alien, shoots at Nada, Nada kills him and then starts shooting several of the other aliens in the bank. When one of them starts talking into his wristwatch and when Nada points the shotgun at him, the alien suddenly disappears. Seeing more police arrive, Nada quickly ducks out of the bank, taking out an alien spy drone as he does. Nada grabs a woman named Holly and forces him to drive him out of the area, telling her to take him to her place. When they get there, Nada tries to explain to Holly about what he saw telling her to put on the glasses but she smashes him with a wine bottle and knocks him out of her window, where he tumbles down the hillside. Nada makes his way back into the city and heads to the construction company to try and talk to Frank but Frank tells him to get out of there, not wanting to risk being seen talking to him. Heading back to the alley, Nada goes to get some more sunglasses out of the box, having to climb into a garbage truck to do so. Frank shows up in the alley, offering Nada some money and telling him to hide until the heat dies down and then get out of town. Nada tries to talk to Frank and get him to put on the glasses and the two end up fighting in the alley before Nada is finally able to put the glasses on Frank so he can see the aliens himself. The two head to a hotel to lay low and Frank wonders where the aliens came from and how long they have been there but Nada doesn’t have any answers. The next day, Gilbert sees Frank and follows him to the hotel, where he meets up with both Frank and Nada and tells them about a meeting later that night. When Frank and Nada arrive at the meeting, they are given a pair of contact lenses to wear, which don’t cause the headaches that the sunglasses do. Arming themselves at a table full of weapons, with Frank also grabbing a watch from a dead alien that another man was showing them, they listen in as Gilbert discusses what they should do. Nada sees Holly at the meeting and goes to talk to her and she apologizes for what she did, saying she didn’t know. Before they can talk further, the wall is blown out and the police raid the building, killing everyone inside. Holly manages to get out and run from the police while Nada and Frank find themselves pinned down in an alley. As Frank messes with the watch, he ends up opening a portal and they both jump down to avoid the police, finding themselves inside a tunnel under the city. Wandering around the tunnel, and avoiding the guards, they soon find themselves in a large banquet room, where an alien is giving a speech about the partnership between his species and the power elite in the room. Nada and Frank are approached by the drifter, who had sold out and joined the aliens, and he starts showing them around. When he takes them to the TV studio, where the signal is being broadcast from, Nada and Frank kill the two guards outside the studio, and force the drifter to tell them where the signal is coming from. He tells them the roof, then disappears when they are distracted by another guard. Making their way through the studio, killing several aliens in the process, Nada and Frank make their way towards the roof, intending on destroying the signal. Killing off the guards on the way, they encounter Holly and take her with them up to the roof but as Nada goes ahead, Holly pulls out a gun and kills Frank. Reaching the roof, Nada prepares to destroy the signal but Holly points a gun at him and tells him not to interfere. As a police helicopter hovers overhead and orders Nada to drop his weapon, he does so but then pulls out a hidden pistol and shoots Holly. Nada is gunned down by the police but not before he shoots the satellite dish and destroys the signal. With the signal destroyed, the subliminal messages and aliens’ appearance are now able to be seen by everyone, resulting in shock from the human population.

They Live met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A politically subversive blend of horror and sci-fi, They Live is an underrated genre film from John Carpenter.” Intending to be a commentary on Reagonomics, many neo-nazi and white supremacist groups would co-opt the movie for their own purposes, claiming that it was really an allegory about how Jews ruled the world. This forced John Carpenter to go on Twitter and declare that, “They Live is about yuppies and unrestrained capitalism. It has nothing to do with Jewish control of the world”. Roddy Piper’s famous line, “I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and I’m all out of bubble gum”, was ad-libbed by Piper, taken from a list of ideas for on screen interviews as a wrestler, while the famed fight scene was only supposed to be 20 seconds but Carpenter was so impressed with Piper and Keith David’s performance that he decided to include the whole scene, all 5 minutes and 20 seconds of it. Debuting at #1 it’s opening weekend, the movie would experience a decline in ticket sales but was still a box office hit, earning $13 million off of a $3 million budget, and would garner a cult following.

This is such a great film and honestly is as politically compelling now as it was back then. The acting was really good, with Roddy Piper doing a great job in his role as Nada. I also liked Keith David (Frank) and thought his interaction with Piper was fantastic and really felt natural. The story was really good, with the idea of an alien invasion taking over the world using subliminal messaging making for a rather unique aspect. The political aspect of a ruling class working to suppress people and keep them down while the wealthy make themselves wealthier was a valid concern among many people back then, and is relevant today as well. I liked the design of the aliens, making them look like ghouls being rather symbolic as they were supposed to represent the corrupting aspect of humanity. The fight scene between Nada and Frank was definitely top notch, as indicated by the fact that it tends to make it to the top ten of almost every list of top fight scenes. The effects might be dated but the story is still top notch and this movie is definitely worth watching.

Rating: 5 out of 5

adventure, movie, movie review, sci-fi

January 2nd, 2018 Movie – Alien Apocalypse

alien apocalypse

One thing I can count on my friends for is to help enable my movie addiction by buying me more movies. One of the DVD’s I got was a triple feature of movies starring Bruce Campbell. Now I have been a fan of Bruce Campbell ever since I first saw The Evil Dead many years ago. I have always thought he was an entertaining actor and enjoyed just about every movie or TV show he is. Today’s movie is one of two movies that were pitched to Sci-Fi back when they were cranking out original movies on a weekly basis. Let’s see how entertaining it is as I watch Alien Apocalypse.

The plot: Dr. Ivan Hood and his associates Kelly, Captain Chuck Burkes, and Aida crash land back on Earth near Portland, Oregon after spending 40 years in cryo-sleep in space. After leaving their shuttle, they comment on the lack of radio communication as they were landing when they discover Portland in ruins and the forest surrounding it completely wiped from existence. They quickly hide when they see a group of human slaves being marched through the wasteland by some bounty hunters but are soon captured by some more bounty hunters. When Chuck tries to speak with the men, the men strike him and quickly gag Chuck and the others and start them marching with the other slaves, killing Aida when she falls behind due to her broken leg. They eventually reach a saw mill, where Ivan, Kelly, and Chuck notice some strange structures nearby while other slaves are cutting down trees and turning them into boards. The three are forced to work on moving some boards before the men that captured them take them to speak with the “Mites”, a race of humanoid locusts. Chuck tries to question the Mites about where they came from but the Mites’ leader says he isn’t showing them respect and has his subordinates kill him by biting off his head. Kelly explains that they had been in space for the past 40 years and the leader tells them that if they work hard then they will live, then dismisses them as he is brought a bowl of human fingers to eat. Outside, Ivan speaks with the bounty hunters and ask why they are helping the Mites and the bounty hunters say that it is better than being a slave before sending them down to the slaves’ underground sleeping pens. In the pens, Ivan and Kelly try to get some answers and speak with a man named Jeff, who explains what happened while they were gone. Jeff explains that the Mites dropped EMP bombs to shut down technology before they invaded 20 years ago and they were here for the planet’s wood, which they send back to their home planet. Alex, a young slave, tells them that the president is still alive and gathering an army to attack the Mites and free them all but Jeff says that is just a myth. Kelly agrees that 20 years is a long time to wait for a rescue and Ivan says they should work on trying to escape. Ivan and Kelly work on digging an escape tunnel at night while they are forced to continue working to log the trees during the day. After several days/weeks, Kelly is grabbed by some of the guards and locked onto a post to be punished when Ivan attacks the guards and frees her. After they knock out the guards, Ivan shouts out “Freedom” to the other slaves, hoping to rally them, but Alex is the only one willing to go with them. As they try to sneak out of camp, they encounter a Mite and Ivan kills it, shocking Alex, and grabs it’s weapon while Kelly grabs a bounty hunter’s rifle as they quickly make their way out of the camp, with the other bounty hunters giving chase. Kelly shoots some of their pursuers but is soon captured when she is knocked unconscious by an explosion. Meanwhile, Ivan and Alex manage to make it up to a cliff and Ivan tries to use the alien weapon on their pursuers but when it fires, the shock sends both Ivan and Alex falling into the water below them and the bounty hunters believe they have been killed. Ivan and Alex manage to swim to shore, where they encounter a woman named Bizzi, who shelters them before leading them to her village. In Bizzi’s village, Freedom Valley, Ivan speaks with Issac, the village leader, and they learns that President Demsky is supposed to be gathering his army in the nearby Cascade Mountains so Ivan wants to go there to either prove he is still alive or that he is dead, and if he is alive, return with his army to free Kelly and the other slaves. Meanwhile, Kelly is tortured and taken back to the slave pen but when she regains consciousness, Jeff tells her that the fact that Ivan had killed one of the Mites has gotten all of the other slaves talking, as well as the bounty hunters. Ivan, Alex, and Bizzi begin their journey and after witnessing some bounty hunters killing some slaves trying to escape, Ivan sees a wounded slave and manages to heal him after the bounty hunters leave. The slave, Tyler, joins them and they continue to the mountains, recruiting more members to their group including Fisherman Bob and a bounty hunter. When they reach the mountains, they are met by Mountain Man Bill, who says he knows where Demsky is and leads them to him. When they reach the camp where Demsky and the other surviving members of Washington are staying, they meet Demsky, who asks if Ivan was from the probe mission as the probe had warned them of the Mites approaching Earth. Ivan tells Demsky that they are there to join his fighting force to retake the Earth but Demsky admits that he is no longer a leader and fears the aliens are too powerful. Ivan tries to persuade him by saying he killed one, which surprises the other members of his group, but Demsky refuses so Ivan and the others leave. They head back to Freedom Village, breaking the news that there is no fighting force, and Ivan says that he plans on leading the rebellion himself but Issac and the other disheartened villagers refuse to follow him. That night, Alex tries to stop the bounty hunter from raping Bizzi and when Ivan questions what happens and speaks with the bounty hunter, the bounty hunter says he is going to go back to the saw mill and tell the Mites where they are so Ivan is forced to kill him. The next day, Ivan and the others lead an attack on the saw mill, killing the bounty hunter guards and forcing the surviving ones to take cover in the guard hut. When the Mites begin firing back at them, Ivan orders his men to fall back but as the Mites give chase, Ivan reveals that the retreat was a diversion as he uses hidden weapons to kill the aliens. As Ivan reunites with Kelly, who has lost a finger due to her escape attempt, the other slaves join in the revolt and capture the bounty hunters. As they decide what to do with them, the slaves all turn to Ivan for guidance and he tells the bounty hunters that they are free to join them if they can prove their intentions, then orders them locked into the guard hut. Suddenly, a tank shows up with some more Mites and though Ivan and the others kill some of the mites, the tanks begins firing rockets at the group and they are soon captured. When the Mites’ leader arrives and questions the captives as to who led the rebellion, everyone says they are the leader but the leader says he suspects Ivan to be the real leader and orders him to be executed. Suddenly, Demsky arrives with the people from his camp and Freedom Valley and leads them into a fight with the Mites, with Ivan and the others joining in. After they finish killing all of the Mites, Demsky speaks with Ivan and thanks him for showing him the will to fight and Ivan says they need to get ready to head to the next saw mill and liberate it and continue on to the next one until all of the Mites are killed. Alex is shown to be chronicling Ivan’s adventures and as Ivan continues to liberate saw mills in the Pacific Northwest and they make their way to California, he has become know as the Great Exterminator.

I am on the fence as to how much of a parody of classic sci-fi this movie is but in either case, it is pretty entertaining. The acting was pretty good, with Bruce Campbell (Ivan) and Renee O’Connor (Kelly), reunited from their days of Xena, doing a great job with their roles. I also liked the chemistry between them but I am curious as to what would have happened if Lucy Lawless had taken the role instead of Renee, as she was initially offered it. The story honestly felt a little weak as it seemed patchworked from several classic sci-fi movies, primarily Planet Of The Apes, but there was also a nice little Spartacus moment towards the end of the movie. The special effects were laughably bad, and there were a couple of times where they reused footage in some of the battle scenes but that all added to some funny moments. It won’t end up in the annals of great sci-fi movies but it is worth a watch if you want some mindless, stupid entertainment.

Rating: 3 out of 5