Saturday, January 31, 2015

Movie Review: Princess of Mars

Princess of Mars a.k.a The Martian Colony Wars a.k.a. Avatar of Mars a.k.a. John Carter of Mars
Starring: Antonio Sabato Jr., Traci Lords, Matt Lasky, Chacko Vadaketh , Mitchell Gordon, Noelle Perris, Matt Lagan, Kimberly Ables Jindra, Tomas Boykin, Rob Ullett, Dean Kreyling, Mohammad Kavianpour, Jay Beyers, Ali Tagi Alexander, Jonathan Footman, Jordan Steele
Director: Mark Atkins
The Asylum, USA, 2009.
Princess of Mars title
This movie is part of Master of Disaster collection containing nine films from The Asylum (published by Great Movies GMBH).

The story is loosely based on the novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

John Carter (Antonio Sabato Jr.) is US Special Forces officer working in Afghanistan. He tries to save some people from opium smugglers but gets fatally wounded. Luckily everything that is needed to reconstruct him can be fitted on 16 GB flash memory stick. Then John Carter can be sent to gather intelligence from planet Mars-216. 
Antonio Sabato Jr.
John Carter
Tomas Boykin as Cornwell Sams and Rob Ullett as Hudson
So John wakes on Mars-216. First thing he sees is a glimpse of The Princess (Traci Lords) and her bodyguard. In the planet's low gravity he can jump like a superhero. He is captured by Tharks (who look like orc cosplayers) who want to see his jumping skills. After battling giant spiders together with the Tharks, he is offered some dubious cuisine. Food gives him ability to understand their language. Two Tharks introduce themselves Tars Tarkas (Matt Lasky) and Sola (Noelle Perris). John becomes member of the Thark tribe.
Traci Lords
The Princess
Antonio Sabato Jr.
John is captured by Tharks
Matt Lasky
Tars Tarkas
A spaceship appears and the Tharks try to shoot it down. Apparently The Princess stole Jabba the Hut's barge and also found wardrobe containing Leia's bikinis. John witnesses the murder of Kantos Kan (Matt Lagan) and Saroh Kan (Kimberly Ables Jindra). Before dying Kantos asks John to save Princess Dejah Thoris from Sab Than (Chacko Vadaketh). John "captures" Princess to get information from Tharks. It is revealed that tyrannical Thark boss Tal Hajus (Mitchell Gordon) wants to use Princess as a bargaining chip for getting technology from the people of Helium.
Traci Lords
The Princess is captured
Chacko Vadaketh
Sab Than
Helium people are also maintaining machines that makes breathable air for the planet. The Tharks do not believe that the machine is working and that the Helium people are only lying. It's up to John to save the planet, rescue the princess and put end to the tyranny. By the way the air station worker is Dean Kreyling, a familiar face from other films of The Asylum. 
Dean Kreyling
Air station mechanik
Spaceships look nice
Also the matte effects look good
This movie is not mockbuster of John Carter, because this was made three years earlier. Instead this was meant to be mockbuster of Avatar. The movie is quite mixed bag. On the other hand the scifi effects look good for an Asylum production. Landscapes and matte effects looks very nice. The movie is also relatively faithful to the original book. But the movie also contains lots of silly random moments that leave you scratching your head. Also the dialogue is terrible. It is disappointing. This could have been a good B-movie, but the unevenness ruins the final experience.

Rating: Average (as a low budget film) or Bad (as a regular movie)

Friday, January 30, 2015

Movie Review: The Land That Time Forgot (2009)

The Land That Time Forgot a.k.a Edgar Rice Burroughs' The Land That Time Forgot a.k.a. Dinosaur Island
Starring: C. Thomas Howell, Timothy Bottoms, Lindsey McKeon, Darren Dalton, Anya Benton, Christopher Showerman, David H. Stevens, Patrick Gorman, Stephen Blackehart, Christian Stoehr, Scott Subiono, Lew Knopp, Jonathan Sanders
Director: C. Thomas Howell
The Asylum, USA, 2009.
Edgar Rice Burroughs' The Land That Time Forgot title
This movie is part of Master of Disaster collection containing nine films from The Asylum (published by Great Movies GMBH).

Although said to be based on a book by Edgar Rice Burroughs the movie really has very little to do with it.

Boat caught in storm goes through some kind of time distortion. The travellers arrive in an island, Karen (Anya Benton) stays in the boat while the others go exploring the island. Stack (Christopher Showerman) gets attacked by flying dinosaur, and the rest run away from tyrannosaur. Lindsey (Lindsey McKeon) and Frost (C. Thomas Howell) stay building a camp while Captain Burroughs(!) (Timothy Bottoms) and Cole (Darren Dalton) try to save Stack.
Timothy Bottoms and Christopher Showerman
Captain Burroghs and Stack
C. Thomas Howell and Anya Benton
Frost and Karen
Lindsey McKeon and Darren Dalton
Lindsey and Cole
Tyrannosaurus Rex lived about 65 million years ago. Frost explains that flying dinosaurs lived in prehistoric time when the level of oxygen was higher. Well that's strange, already from another Asylum movie "100 Million BC", which was actually set in 70 million BC, we learned that in Cretaceous period the level of oxygen was lower (and that didn't stop the dinosaurs from flying!). Didn't someone do his homework? Well it is a trick question anyway, scientists are not certain what the oxygen levels were in Cretaceous period with estimates varying from 10 to 30%.
Let's go to nice island!
Flying beast attacks Stack
C. Thomas Howell, Darren Dalton and Lindsey McKeon
We're not in Kansas anymore
But that wasn't the only thing that got me confused. The bigger mystery was captain's beard. The beard length varied from short stubble to short beard ALL THE TIME. It was really weird.
Captain Burroughs' Magic Beard
Next morning the adventurers meet pilot Jude Jackson (David H. Stevens) and Conrad (Patrick Gorman), all from different eras. It is revealed that all of them were traveling inside the Bermuda Triangle. There is also a German WWII submarine whose crew has taken Karen hostage. One of the Germans is Lonzo (Stephen Blackehart who also appeared in "100 Million BC"). However getting out of the island forces the opposing groups to co-operate. And they must also avoid getting eaten by tyrannosaur.
David H. Stevens
Jude Jackson
Patrick Gorman
T. Rex
The beginning is quite boring with the characters just running aimlessly around the island. After slow start the movie gets better and in the end it grows into quite exciting adventure. Positive was also that the German submarine crew were not usual Nazi-stereotypes, but just soldiers trying to get home. Special effects are usual Asylum level, so you should know what to expect. Some editions of this movie may have a voice-over prologue by Frost but at least this version did not have one.
Stephen Blackehart
Rating:  Average (as a low budget film) orBad (as a regular movie)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Movie Review: 100 Million BC

100 Million BC a.k.a Prehistoric a.k.a Jurassic Commando 
Starring:  Michael Gross, Christopher Atkins, Greg Evigan, Marie Westbrook, Phil Burke, Wendy Carter, Geoff Meed, Stephen Blackehart, Dean Kreyling, Daniel Ponsky, Nick McCallum, Dustin Harnish, Jeff Bornstein, Eric Spudic, Aaron Stigger, James Vieira, Prince Pheenix Wade, Michelle Dickson, Kit Martineau
Director: Griff Furst 
The Asylum, USA, 2008.
This movie is part of Master of Disaster collection containing nine films from The Asylum (published by Great Movies GMBH).

Navy scientist Frank Reno (Michael Gross, known from Tremors-movies) is experimenting with time travel. One of the failed tests was was the Philadelphia Experiment in 1943. In 1949 a group of scientists and Frank's brother Erik (Christopher Atkins, known from Blue Lagoon) were sent back in time to the year 70 Million years BC. Two archeologists (Michelle Dickson and Kit Martineau) find cave paintings with messages to Frank.
Michelle Dickson
Archaelogist Michelle
Greg Evigan and Michael Gross
LCDR Dorn(Greg Evigan) and Frank Reno
Frank collects a Navy SEAL rescue team commanded by tough Lt. Peet (Stephen Blackehart) to save the lost expedition. First Frank teaches the soldiers some basic quantum physics. The soldiers travel through time using a Rainbow-device which looks and works like the Stargate.
Usual military grunts
Stephen Blackehart
Lt. Peet
The time travel technology has fatal side-effects if the traveller is teleported to a location having an obstacle such as tree. In the jungle the soldiers meet dinosaurs and killer plants. The soldiers start get eaten, and the rest are saved by group of cavemen, i.e. the lost expedition. Their leader is Bud Stark (Dean Kreyling). Other surviving scientists are Betty (Wendy Carter) and Ruth (Marie Westbrook). Ruth is actually Frank's old girlfriend.
Christopher Atkins
Erik Reno
Phil Burke and Dean Kreyling
Stubbs and Bud
Marie Westbrook and Wendy Carter
Ruth and Betty
Prehistoric Earth is a dangerous neighbourhood so the heroes decide to return to more hospitable times. The survivors arrive in modern time Los Angeles but also a Carcharodontosaurus named Big Red follows. After that the movie puts on Godzilla gear. Dinosaur runs around the city munching citizens and soldiers try to stop it.
Nasty plants
Dinosaur attack
Big Red goes to town
Some of the action-scenes look shaky and messy, it is difficult to see what is attacking. Probably that saved some of the special effect budget. As a scifi B-movie this is not so bad but fun to watch. Also the plot is above par usual Asylum efforts, although it creates some big time paradoxes in the end. It has some beautiful location scenery filmed in Belize, and acceptable although uneven production values. Just remember that this is not big budget movie like Jurassic Park. The soldiers are usual military grunts, exhibiting standard acts of bravery and throwing amusing one -liners like "Time travel's a bitch, ain't it?" and "What?! Civilians? You mean snacks!" The lost scientists are a more colourful group. My favourite was Dean Kreyling's character Bud who painted funny prehistoric graffiti.
Oh, just messing around.

Rating: Good (as a low budget film) or Average (as a regular movie)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Movie Review: Hyper Sonic

Hyper Sonic a.k.a. Air Race
Starring: Antonio Sabato Jr., Adam Baldwin, Alex Jolig, Michael Sutton , Amandah Reyne, Julian Vergov, William Zabka, John Capilla, Tyrone Pinkham, Alvin Poteat, Darrell J. Johnson , Robert Sands, Gail Sands, Francie Hart 
Director: Phillip J. Roth
United Filmmakers Organization (UFO), Air Race Productions LLC, e-m-s the DVD-Company, USA, 2002.
Hyper Sonic a.k.a. Air Race title
Fighter pilot Grant Irvine (Antonio Sabato Jr.) attends Air Race. His brother Kevin (Michael Sutton) is his supply team leader. After a bad accident air race supervisor Chris Bannon (Adam Baldwin) puts the blame on the brothers. Grant loses his pilot license and Chris loses his supervisor position. Hypersonic Air Races are suspended.
Antonio Sabato Jr.
Grant Irvine
Michael Sutton
Adam Baldwin
Race supervisor Chris Bannon
Four years later Chris invites Grant to be a crew chief in a new air race. The competitors will fly a route around the world. The pilot of his team will be Kevin! Evil TV-channel boss (William Zabka) wants to see accidents to boost TV ratings. No matter that the contest was canceled after accident, apparently the pilots have become expendable during the few years. The brothers also meet pretty tanker-plane captain Trina Raymond (Amandah Reyne). Add some Russian mobsters, squabbling between contestants and some Top Gun references and the movie plods on routinely. When Kevin gets hurt, Grant must continue the race (the pilots can be changed mid-air).
Tempest 12 Aero Package
Antonio Sabato Jr.
Grant being tough guy
Amandah Reyne
Trina Raymond
This is direct-to-video movie, that is not as exciting as it wishes to be. The special effects are quite bad. CGI-effects are overused here and there, this is the only non-scifi movie where I have seen a CGI-wristwatch. Flight mechanics are unrealistic, even sonic boom is ignored. In one scene the pilots fly through Vladivostok, and no windows are broken! The aircrafts called Tempest 12 Aero Package in the movie seem to be based on Eurofighter Typhoon, but using Grumman logos. Adam Baldwin is good as crooked supervisor. Other actors do their best. It is notable that many of the actors in the movie were uncredited.
What sonic boom?
Rating: Bad

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