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Manticore (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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17 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Way better than I expected

Author: johnsamo-1 from Los Angeles
1 December 2005

After watching crap like Raptor Island from the scifi channel, I had shall we say, LOW expectations but was pleasantly surprised. Despite a no name cast with the exception of Jeff Fahey, the acting was solid. In terms of plot, it was REAL DIREVITAVE of James Cameron's Aliens, and a had a few moments from other classic action movies like Predator. But as a low- budget knockoff, it was done quite well. I know a lot about the limitations directors have on low budget action movies. WIth little money or time, its hard to make an action movie that is as slickly made as this movie is... The FX weren't that good however but that's largely the problem of the budget, not the director.

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14 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Pretty average stuff (which is good for the Sci-Fi Channel)

Author: Jack from Minnesota, USA
27 November 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is about a group of American GIs in Iraq. We start with a scene of them interrogating some people who were caught looting a museum. They decide that these people were just really hungry, and it's completely understandable that they would loot someplace in order to be able to buy food. The soldiers release the suspects and give them all their MRE's, establishing them as really nice guys and gals. Some idiot reporter from CNN is hanging around bothering them as well. She pompously informs them that she's embedded with a Marine unit, so she's got the right to go anywhere. They inform her that they're with the Army, so she should go away. It's kind of funny. The reporter is cute and kind of sexy, but she never establishes herself as anything more than the standard issue "anything for a story" cliché. Next, the townspeople arm themselves and we get our first big shootout. It's actually pretty good, not exactly Blackhawk Down, but at least they tried. One thing that is rather amusing is watching these American soldiers ride around in a Russian BTR-70 armored personnel carrier. Don't tell me, let me guess: This was filmed in Romania?

Next we get the obligatory scene of the soldiers having some time off between missions, playing football. The guys have their shirts off and most of them just happen to have chiseled abs. The girl wears a sweaty tight T-shirt, which she fills out very well, if I do say so myself. The commander (that Chakotay guy from Star Trek Voyager, here playing that Chakotay guy from Voyager except in an Army uniform) gets suitably dressed down for letting all the suspects go. Then the "I'm sick of doing puff pieces" reporter gets herself in some trouble in a remote town, and the GI's are sent to rescue her. Little does anyone know (well, we know) that some bad guys have looted a very special artifact from the museum, one which allows them to bring the Manticore to life! Yes, the Manticore will kill the infidels, yadda yadda yadda.

There's a small shootout, then the soldiers get to the town and find everyone dead. Except of course for the reporter and about 4 other guys who were apparently the only ones with enough brains to hide inside a room to escape the Manticore. Then we get a whole bunch of shootouts, one of which involves a really fake CGI helicopter doing all the things that fake CGI stuff does so well, like bursting into flames in totally fake ways. The Manticore itself looks fairly good, at least in close up shots; it's CGI, but they did a good amount of detail on it, and it does look pretty icky. The ending really defies any sort of logic, but what the hey.

Overall, not a bad movie for the Sci-Fi Channel. You've got some hot babes, some very average B-movie acting, and thousands of rounds fired. Nothing particularly exciting, but if you've got a couple of hours to kill and you're a fan of low budget movies, you could do worse.

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16 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly good acting, poor special effects

Author: jjib from United States
31 January 2006

I thought the plot had potential, but the special effects were very poorly done. It would have been better if we had never seen the "manticore" -- just shadows or a claw here and there. And I won't even comment on the helicopter crash.

The acting, though, was a pleasant surprise. Robert Beltran and Jeff Fahey (whose performance in "Silverado" is one of my all-time favorites) turned in good, solid performances. The real surprises came from A.J. Buckley, Faran Tahir and even some of the more minor roles, like Jeff M. Lewis and Richard Gnolfo. I'm looking forward to seeing them again.

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18 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Despite the other reviews, this is a good Sci-Fi Flick!

Author: Eventuallyequalsalways
3 September 2006

The makers of original movies for the Sci-Fi channel must feel like red-headed stepchildren if they ever bother to read the reviews of some of their viewers and posters on IMDb. If I had relied on their advice, I would have passed this movie by, and as a result would have missed a fine piece of movie-making. So it may have been low-budget, so what? They did a lot with the budget available to them. Who really judges a movie's worth by how realistically a helicopter blows up? Small minds reared on a steady diet of cartoons and sit-com TV, that's who! The makers of this fine film took a good "what-if" premise and explored the idea that Weapons of Mass Destruction really exist in Iraq in the form of the "Manticore", a monstrous creature with the body of a lion and a fearsome head of human/tiger/Satan blend. The winged creature has a scorpion-like tail which ends in a ball filled with poisonous darts. The creature is capable of firing the darts at victims or simply devouring them. It's appetite is ravenous and legend tells how victims are devoured completely, even the bones and clothing, so that the victim simply vanishes. In this respect, the movie-makers chose to stray from the actual legend of the Manticore because obviously they wouldn't have as much gore and blood to film whenever a body is left behind after an attack. Of course, we all know it's make-believe, but the scenes involving the soldiers as they pursue an evil enemy through the sandy streets and adobe huts are thoroughly believable. Just ask some of the guys and gals serving in Iraq today what it is like to go house-to-house in search of an enemy hell-bent on destroying them, and then ask them if this movie captures some of the tension and fear, and I think their answer would be positive. Overall, this movie was made seriously by the cast and crew, the acting was certainly plausible, the effects should have been good enough for the audience if they were willing to suspend their criticism so that the budget didn't have to run into the millions. The movie follows a well-written script with a dose of mystery and suspense thrown into the mix. Two hot chicks ought to tempt the teens away from their video games long enough to see what it might be like if they decide to go over to Iraq and spread a little freedom and democracy into a desert country which detests their invasion. Let's give the Sci-Fi producers some respect; if they keep making movies as good as this one, I'll be the first to give them a standing ovation.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

One of the better Sci-Fi Channel films

Author: slayrrr666 ( from Los Angeles, Ca
27 January 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Manticore" was okay for what it was supposed to be.


As the war in Iraq rages on, an Army Squadron, leader Sgt. Baxter, (Robert Beltran) and soldiers Cpl. Keats, (Heather Donahue) Pvt. Sulley, (A.J. Buckley) Ortiz, (Jeff M. Lewis) John Busey, (Richard Gnolfo) and Mouth, (Jonas Talkington) are joined by reporter Ashley Pierce, (Chase Masterson) on a mission to stop the looters of a local museum. Doing some investigating, they find that a strange creature is loose upon the citizens. The soldiers, unknowing of this, head off to look for her in the desert. When they stumble upon a cave featuring an ancient being, they learn the legend of the Manticore, a mythical creature that exacting vengeance. Hurrying to find Ashley, they fall to repeated attacks by the Manticore and the Iraqi insurgents who haven't left the area.

The Good News: Another decent Sci-Fi Channel original feature. The best aspect about the film is that it takes place during the recent wars in Iraq, which is quite timely and gives it a topical relevance that few have ever done. It's a refreshing change from so many of their films that were just creatures on the loose. To have some other meaning to their action is a nice idea that scores some points. This makes for some good action scenes early on, as the squad battles a team of Iraqi's that is pretty decent and isn't in the least boring or out-of-place in the story. It does the grand notion of placing the viewer into the action, making it seem like you're there, and that is never a bad thing in a movie. This is also one of their more violent films, upped greatly with a huge body count, one of the biggest ones in their history. There is a lot to like about the kills, featuring such ones as being ripped in half at the waist, a tail stinger shot into the eye, the tail through the back and out the chest, a couple really brutal and bloody mauled after-effects, and more. There's plenty in here to like for gore-hounds, who will love the gore in here. The first encounter with the creature does set up a pretty great jump, as the creature roars by in the background so fast that the witnesses, who were videotaping the event, don't believe it and believe they saw a mirage or a hallucination, but it's still a really great jump effect that works brilliantly. The ending of the film, the last thirty minutes when the team becomes trapped inside the village and are under constant attack from the creature, provide it's best action scenes, as stalking, killing, and more occur within a small area and time-frame, and that allows it to really leave with a sense of satisfaction. This one turned out to be pretty good.

The Bad News: There really wasn't a whole lot wrong with this one, but what's there deserves to be mentioned. Time and time again, the creature utterly fails to convince that it is a living being. There's really no instance of where it looks like anything other than a really, really bad CGI creation, and that continues throughout the film. Under no circumstances does this appear to be anything else, and it is a sign of all the Sci-Fi creations so it's not going to go away. There's also the problem that during a lot of scenes where a character was running for no reason, not being chased by the creature, there was a weird shaking going on that's really distracting and doesn't serve any purpose other to give the viewer a headache. Speaking of which, trying to figure this one's back-story out be a real challenge. Normally, these are pretty cut and dried affairs, but the need to include several different back-stories into this and tie them all together got a little confusing. Thankfully, it dropped this whenever the creature was on-screen, but otherwise, this didn't make a lot of sense. Otherwise, expect the usual Sci-Fi channel problems with this one.

The Final Verdict: There wasn't anything new to this that haven't been done before by other Sci-Fi Channel creature features, so it's a really hard recommend. If you simply have to see all of them in the program, then give this one a go as well. If you're tired of seeing them all-together, this won't make you a convert over to that side.

Rated R: Graphic Violence and some language

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15 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Just Like Iraq

Author: john-4316 from Thailand
4 December 2006

The first 15 minutes looks like it could have been shot on the outskirts of Baghdad. Having spent 2 years working in Iraq I thought the movie crew did an excellent job with location. The background portraits of Sadaam with the eyes scratched out was a nice touch. Equipment used by the US Army is close to what is actually used except that none of the actors used Level 3 plates. As they add 25Kg to the weight of the body armor I understand why they were left out. The TV reporter should have been wearing black Kevlar Helmut with black body armor used by civilians working in Iraq. For some reason they were not provided with Personal Protection gear.

The movie is entertaining, and makes a fine "B" movie. You will be disappointed by the special effects. It would have been better if only parts of the Manticore were shown. A claw here or tail there. With this movie less would have been more.

I think it was still worth watching on HBO, Cinemax or Star Movies.

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Another Predator imitator

Author: MartianOctocretr5 from Redondo Beach, CA
14 May 2007

The same story line has been used many times, and not just on these Sci-Fi channel assembly line quickies. This flick will certainly not alter the course of cinema, but it has its moments and is OK for a viewing when you haven't got anything else to do.

Military with enormous fire power in the wilderness somewhere: check. Closing in on enemy troops, but finding a monster instead: check. Obnoxious civilians (represented here by a loudmouth TV journalist): check. Shooting useless guns at the thing: check. Blood, gore, high body count: check. Religious zealot in love with the creature who preaches spiritual legends about it: check. The story lacks originality, but the acting is decent. One glaring problem is the animation and design of the creatures. They just don't look evil or scary enough, and their movements are not 3-dimensional.

However, this movie has a few well shot scenes, and the level of action rarely lags. The plot is illogical in places, but the movie can entertain if you turn your brain off.

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9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

See? There WERE Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq!!!

Author: Phillemos from New England, USA
3 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Don't let those flaming, bleeding-heart liberals fool you. It's a good thing we went in to liberate Iraq, because Saddam Hussein might have unleashed the Manticore on the peaceful shores of New England if we hadn't. The last thing this country to deal with in the War on Terror is some acne-faced, flying lion with a scorpion's tail. Luckily, the CNN embed who was covering the war in this movie was skeptical enough to uncover this major scoop and report back to the homeland. Of course, by investing five minutes into research we could discover that this thing turns to stone if he sees his reflection inn the mirror. There are enough mirrors in the United States that I think we can make this country safe for democracy again. Just try to mess with us, al-Qaeda! Maybe we should send the Manticore to Afghanistan to go after bin Laden. Anyway, this is your standard, formulaic monster movie. If you like monster movies, you'll enjoy it; if not, you'll slash your wrists in agony.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A rip off of so many movies and scenes

Author: galahadfairlight from United Kingdom
21 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I can forgive poor special effects. If we all look back at some of our favourite films of the past twenty years, time hasn't been kind to them in the effects department, which is why I can look beyond the very average effects in this TV/Movie.

Firstly, Manticore is in someways a film watchers paradise, watching and spotting all the ripped off scenes from other movies.

There's the helicopter crash that is very much a rip off of the dropship crash in Aliens.

The Manticore itself is a bit too similar to the Kathoga in The Relic.

Plus many more. And then there is the obvious plot hole right at the end of the film.

The man who resurrected the Manticores says at the end that the only way to destroy them is if they see each other, they turn to stone, but seeing as his friend killed the other Manticore with a sword before it fully changed from stone to flesh, then this Manticore could not die as its twin was already dead, and thus could never look at it.

OK, I'll go along with that for two seconds, until you remember at the start of the film, both of the Manticore statues are facing each other, so as soon as they change from stone to flesh, well, they'd be facing each other, and thus turn back to stone again!!! The man with the sword needed to do nothing! Robert Beltram (Chakotay in Star Trek: Voyager) and Jeff Fahey do well to work with what they have, and don't try and ham it up, but it shows Jeff Faheys fall from grace when he's slumming it in stuff like this.

Manticore isn't terrible, its just guilty of being derivative and average, but as its a made for TV movie, I can cut it some slack.

I don't judge a film solely on its special effects, in places Manticore was OK, and in other areas it was amateur, but its the rest of the film thats the problem.

Don't be rushing to buy this on DVD, if you've got noting else better to do and Manticore is on, its simply just....OK!

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Marvellous Manticore munches marines. Menacingly.

Author: James Miller from Manchester, England
1 June 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After ten o'clock, I like nothing better than making a cup of tea and watching a horror / horror thriller – I save The Straight Story etc. for the afternoon or early evening. This film filled the spot well, and despite obviously not having the budget of Independence Day (most evident in the look of the town streets, and the CGI of the Manticore running and jumping), the film looked good, and the Manticore in close-up was detailed, and would scare me if it walked round the sofa. The acting was good, although the reporter jumped a little too quickly from scared out of her wits in a little room, to chasing off after the beast to follow the story (a film cliché, as somebody has mentioned), and her facing a soldier's gun and agreeing to sit down was the low point of the acting and script.

I have to say, I have enough trouble making out anything on those little screens on video cameras, so the final effort at destruction relied heavily on the Manticore both looking at the tiny screen and not Chakotay's finely chiselled head, and having superb eyesight to "recognize" its twin. Would the Manticore turn to stone if it drank from a lake (if it drinks), and is this why, like vampires, there were no mirrors in its lair? In the how good it is / budget ratio, this film is ten times better than, say, Godzilla.

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