Starring: Graham Greene, David Chokachi, Jackie Moore
You may like this if you like: Pacific Rim (Guillermo Del Toro, 2013), Transmorphers (Leigh Scott, 2007), War of the Worlds 2: The Next Wave (C. Thomas Howell, 2008) or anything by The Asylum
So prolific mockbuster maestros The Asylum are at it again and this time it is Del Toro’s imminent big budget spectacle that gets their unique treatment. When an oil rig in the ATLANTIC Ocean (Yes, not that other Ocean) disappears down one of the deepest parts of the ocean the US government decides it is time to finally put one of its secret operations to the test. This naturally involves giant robots that are each powered by one human. When checking the sea they discover giant sea monsters (naturally). As these giant monsters head for New York (it is on the Atlantic coast see!) it is now only these untested robots and their maverick pilots that can save humanity (well, New York).
For anyone that is not aware of The Asylum, watching this will be quite a shock. For the majority of us that have stumbled across their unique brand of film making while trawling the movie channels in the evening that are, shall we say, at the lower end of the quality spectrum this is business as usual. Expect the usual trademark Mega Drive style CGI, a wafer thin plot, a clunky as hell script, some of the worst acting you have ever scene and a few “I recognise that face from somewhere” moments. Well, as they say, ‘if it aint broke, don’t fix it’! Their films often make a profit and so they will keep churning out these err, things. Though this is of course not hard, considering they have the budget of a minimum wage monthly pay packet and probably take a few days to film. Well, they certainly look like they do.
This being The Asylum, I am not even going to attempt to review this properly as that would be a pointless task. To say it is made by The Asylum says more than any review can point out. I approach their films differently, knowing it will be absolutely abysmal in so many ways I look for little unique parts of the film that make me laugh. These are bits that could be described as the ‘extreme’ end of really bad film making. They are so bad you just have to laugh. As with most of their films, the front cover of the DVD looks better than what we see on screen, and could certainly be described as a little misleading. Tentacles? On the cover, never in the film!
In the case of Atlantic Rim there are some very funny moments to look out for and here is a few that stood out for me. In any action film you get the inevitable slow motion shot of our heroes walking intently. Well here you have it from multiple angles for a few minutes. When you think we are ready to go to the next scene, there is yet another angle of it! In this film we have three robots, and they all have one colour each: Green, red and blue. So cue patronising Power Rangers style less than subtle colour coordination for each character throughout. These were both highlights for me that really made me chuckle. David Chokachi’s character is even called ‘Red’ for god’s sake!
Of course, this being a film from The Asylum a few familiar faces turn up. We cannot name them as we watch them desperately cling on to those narrow threads that remain of their acting career, but we recognise them from somewhere. Well here we have David Chokachi who was a regular in Baywatch and Anthony ‘Treach’ Criss who is a rapper who rapped on songs in 8 Mile and Up in the Air. However, for me there were two true standout performances and these were Graham Greene (he was in Die Hard: With a Vengeance you know!) and Steven Marlow (nothing). Graham Green plays the wise old commander Admiral Hadley and he never moves his head, blinks, changes where he is looking or changes the level of his voice. Now that is method acting at its finest! Newcomer Steve Marlow gives a break out performance as the excellently named Sheldon Geise and brings a new definition to the word intense. Wearing an eye patch (no idea why), giving a deep voice to match Christian Bale’s Batman voice and a stare so intense it could kill small children. He is one to watch. These are a few standout moments for me, but the beauty of such a profound piece of cinema is that it will be different for everyone.
One thought that always occurs to me when watching such ‘films’ though, due to the budget most of those making it know exactly what they are making. However what about the screenwriter (in this case there are three of them), do they genuinely think they have crafted a strong script that may elevate them to the Hollywood big league? They haven’t of course, but do they think otherwise?
What is the next cinematic masterpiece to come out of The Asylum then I hear you ask! Well, it is called Skarknado and stars Tara Reid…