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Will Yun Lee
"Before there was LOST... before there was JURASSIC PARK... before the was KING KONG... there was Arthur Conan Doyle's THE LOST WORLD" - That's from one of the trailers for this, so you can see what audience there trying to attract this time. You know the way there would be companies that would specialize in doing rip-off type films *cough New World Pictures cough* ? Well this has been the ground that The Asylum has staked out in recent years. Not that it's necessarily a bad thing as they have turned out quite a few commendable b horror movies of late, but I just wanted to point out for those not acquainted with them what they're about.
Yup, this is the latest b movie from The Asylum. This is probably their most ambitious film to date and for it they gather most of their regular actors, "The Asylum Players", including:
Rhett Giles (Mangler Reborn, Frankenstein Reborn, War of the Worlds, Jolly Roger, Legion of the Dead) Jeff Denton (Beast of Bray Road, Frankenstein Reborn) Thomas Downey (Shapeshifter, Beast of Bray Road, War of the Worlds, Dead Men Walking, Frankenstein Reborn, Jolly Roger, Shapeshifter) Christina Rosenberg (Beast of Bray Road, Frankenstein Reborn) Sarah Lieving (Beast of Bray Road, Frankenstein Reborn, War of the Worlds) Eliza Swenson (Beast of Bray Road, Frankenstein Reborn) Amanda Ward (Legion of the Dead, Way of the Vampire, Alien Abduction) and Leigh Slawner (Shapeshifter, Dead Men Walking, Frankenstein Reborn, War of the Worlds, Jolly Roger) who is also the director and has previously directed Beast of Bray Road and Frankenstein Reborn
Unfortunately there's no sign of Bernadette Perez, one of their regular actors who can usually be counted on to supply some nudity.
They've also added a couple of "name" actors, Bruce Boxleitner and Steve Railsback.
Okay, first off, this is not a monster movie. Yeah, there's a monster or two, but this is really more of an adventure film like Lost World. They also try to capitalize on the popularity of LOST (which I've never seen by the way) and of course the upcoming King Kong by throwing in a giant ape. And just for fun they add a touch of Lord of the Flies.
The story starts with a airliner crash on a beach somewhere that I guess is supposed to be in South America. A group of the survivors move inland looking for the front half of the plane, the radio, and any other survivors. Along they way they run in to some unusual jungle wildlife. The story is really straight forward and just an excuse for the jungle adventure. It moved along at a nice pace, so while the story was nothing special it wasn't boring.
The acting, as usual for The Asylum, is quite good. Rhett Giles, who I usually don't like, does a really good job here. I do think that he studied acting from watching early Clint Eastwood films as I have yet to see him smile in a role. On the other hand, Thomas Downey, who I usually like as a good guy doesn't play a jerk all that well. Jeff Denton does another good job as the main character. Christina Rosenberg is especially hot in her biggest The Asylum role so far. Special kudos to Amanda Ward who supplies the only (brief) nudity in the film.
Bruce Boxleitner does an acceptable but uninspired turn as the military guy with a hidden agenda. Steve Railsback puts in a day's work and collects a paycheck.
So the story is nothing special, the acting is pretty good, but a movie like this lives or dies by the F/X. Unfortunately that's where the movie fails. It's pretty obvious that this was rushed through in order to get it on the shelves in time to coincide with the release of King Kong (with a cover prominently featuring a giant gorilla).
As far as monsters it's CGI all the way. And not good CGI. We get a big spider, some big scorpions, some flying dragons (???), and of course the giant gorilla. The cgi critters are all pretty unconvincing and detract from the film. Also, there's just not much monster action, and most of what little there is takes place in the third act. The cgi gorilla, which we don't see much of at all, doesn't so much look like a cgi gorilla as it does a cgi man in a gorilla costume.
While the actors were commendable, they weren't enough to carry a film with a mediocre script and sparse yet unsatisfactory effects. For the scope of what they were attempting with this one the fact that it was really rushed is painfully obvious. Also, The Asylum, which usually comes through with some gratuitous nudity, let me down this time with just a couple of seconds of toplessness. There was a tiny bit of gore, but again, not enough to satisfy. I'll be generous and give it a 6/10 because the acting was good and I wasn't bored, but I wouldn't really recommend this.
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