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Tag Archives: Syfy

Review: Seeds of Destruction

DVD Review

Seeds of Destruction DVD 001This cheap SyFy production is a dumb lazy story with a poor clunky script and it irritated me with stupid shallow plot driven characters, cheap unconvincing CGI. It is a dumb film with no passion churned by the SyFy channel then released on DVD straight to bargain bin section next to the Asylum films   

The film opens with its mad scientist Dr Frame Marcos (James Morrison) mucking about in his greenhouse, blowing cigar smoke at the leaves of a plant then telling his assistant Noel (Daniel Bacon) about how it is absorbing the toxins and there is no monoxide, it has all been converted to oxygen though if he’s talking about carbon monoxide I wonder what the plant did with the carbon. There’s no context given for this yet but it is a nice looking greenhouse

The next scene has two ecowarriors Kate (Luisa D’Oliveira) and Joe (Jesse Moss) at a disused mine that they know has been used for illegal dumping of hazardous waste. So they are going to wait there on the off-chance that before they die of dehydration out in the middle of Nevada someone will just coincidentally pick that time to do some illegal dumping. Seriously, there is no hint from either of them that they have any information about who is dumping or when they are likely to do it. Instead they witness a dodgy science type meeting up with an even more dodgy government type. The scientist is trying to sell a seed to the government type who shows him a case of money. Kate spots a sniper who is there with the government type and the sniper spots her. This gets the government type thinking he’s been set-up and the scientist type does a runner, gets shot and spills his seed on the ground. It germinates instantly and soon there are giant roots sprouting out of the ground. The roots spread across the countryside destroying everything in their path including the government type. The two ecowarriors manage to flee and escape but the roots are racing down the road after them even though they are a plant and aren’t chasing anyone.

There’s a secret agency called Scope and they get right on the case recruiting Jocelyn (Stefanie von Pfetten) a paleobotanist to help them figure out what’s happening and put a stop to it. As it turns out years before she worked with Marcos on a search for seeds from the Garden of Eden. As soon as I heard that I knew that I was in for a whole load of stupid bollocks. I am certainly not someone who remembers the bible in any detail but I am fairly confident that there is nowhere it talks of the Gadda da Vidda being populated by monster plants that destroy the Earth. This film treats the Garden as a real place and Adam’s fall as an historical event. I normally don’t mind bible stories being included in horror films but this clunky script is not subtle and has been peppered with crude on-the-nose dialogue about belief and wouldn’t ya know it there’s a Hollywood Atheist in the person of Scope agent Jack (Adrian Pasdar) who gets to learn the folly of his ways and is of course only an atheist because of personal tragedy.

Kate and Joe are wondering how to get involved in the script so they don’t contact the authorities because Joe is a paranoid idiot at all points of this film. Kate realises that she has videotaped the number plate of the van the scientist guy was driving and if only they had access to the police database they could find who owned it. Fortunately not only do they know a hacker that can do it, the guy lives only a short drive away in rural Nevada. They get there with the plant roots not far behind them. Their friend Spit (Don Thompson) seems to be another idiot just a way of creating  more fake tension as he screws up until the roots are closing in on them. He gets killed when he goes to rescue his pussy. This gets Joe angry but we never got to know Spit except that he’s smelly hippy and an irritating idiot

Back at Scope headquarters they are watching the progress of the roots on satellite live feed. They are trying to come up with ways to stop them. The boss Wilson (David Richmond-Peck) gets to send jets to blow things up after some talk about destroying  the growing tips which any gardener would tell you is an idiotic idea. Kate and Joe see the jets and realise that they are in the line of fire so we get yet more fake tension as they drive past a wall of flame and yet escape unscathed. Back at Scope headquarters they are cheering and cracking open the victory champagne before the dust has settled. Of course they have haven’t destroyed the roots, they have just made them angry and the paleobotanist acts surprised when she realises the roots have been running under the ground and yet again I wonder why they didn’t just bring in a gardener.

The story continues in completely predictable fashion with its Hollywood Science solutions and a big showdown at ground zero. It is possibly stupid enough to be enjoyed ironically with chemical assistance and it has plenty of really stupid mad science but on its own it’s just another dumb Syfy film.

Rating 4.0/10

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Posted by on June 9, 2013 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: Outpost II – Black Sun

This is a straight to DVD sequel to the fairly forgettable Nazi zombie film Outpost. This film expands on the original and increases the threat but it really comes across as a low-budget SyFy channel special with its vague sense of geography, shallow characters and comic book plot.

The first film had a squad of mercenaries discovering zombie Nazis in a bunker re-animated with top secret Nazi technology. These zombies are not mindless hungry beasts like the zombies in Romero’s films but every bit as smart and devoted to the cause of world conquest as when they were alive only now they are unstoppable animated corpses.

This film focuses on a young Nazi hunter Lena (Catherine Steadman) who is carrying on her parents’ mission and has tracked down a Nazi officer Neurath (Michael Byrne) to a hospital in Paraguay. She breaks his fingers to try to force him to tell where Nazi scientist Klausener is but despite his age and frail state Neurath doesn’t tell her anything. Lena reckons that he must have kept a few mementos and finds a map indicating a location in Europe and of course it turns out to be where the bunker is. She also finds a ring that opens up into a key and I wonder if that will come in handy later.

Klausener (David Gant) is not at the bunker but is watching what’s going there on a live link. He has sent a scientist Hunt (Julian Wadham) in with an armed escort to reactivate the secret Nazi machine that everyone seems to know about because the UN have sent troops in to the area but the Nazi zombies powered by the machine kill them all off. This is seen in poor light with confusing cuts so it was difficult to really see what went on. At the UN camp outside of the zombie zone they are examining a map that shows a field around the bunker that is expanding. Inside it zombies can’t be killed and electronics don’t work.

Lena gets to Europe not far from the bunker and stops at a small settlement. Armed men stop her and search her belongings but she gets rescued by a café owner Marius (Clive Russell) who stops the thugs with a shout and a dirty look. Inside the café Lena meets Wallace (Richard Coyle) who she already knows. Wallace is a scientist (with a poor American accent) and knows about Klausener’s device and says he wants to shut it down permanently. Lena just wants Klausener and thinks he’s at the bunker.

Lena drives Wallace towards the bunker. Wallace know a militia group who can provide an armed escort to the bunker but the car cuts out before they get there and Wallace realises that the field has expanded further than he thought. They make their way on foot to the camp but when they get there it’s under attack from zombie Nazis and their contact is dead.

They carry until they reach a town that is empty because all the locals have either fled or been killed. They take shelter in house but have to move on when the Nazi zombies turn up and are about to be killed too when they get rescued by a squad of British soldiers. The zombies keep attacking and there are several soldiers killed in struggle to rescue these two. This squad are on a mission to get an EMP device as close to the bunker as they can so they can blow the secret Nazi device destroy the field and kill all the zombies and they have a physicist with them to operate the EMP. Unfortunately they are forced to blow their wad prematurely when they come under an overwhelming force of zombies and they lose not just the EMP device but their physicist. Fortunately they discover Wallace is a physicist and so take him along but Lena gets left behind with a gun and has to make her own way to the bunker for the big showdown with the Nazi zombies.

Since I wasn’t a fan of the first I wasn’t expecting much from this sequel. If anyone could take the idea of Nazi zombies and make them a bit meh then it is the producers of this franchise. The acting wasn’t bad but it was a bit flat. The characters were pretty shallow creatures of the plot with little sense of any them being real people. The plot itself was like something from a comic book and that sense got even stronger during an entirely silly climax in the bunker. The zombies seemed almost unstoppable except with explosives but then I never saw anyone try a head shot or failing that blasting off their knees. There’s no contagion element to these zombies so no real sense that the threat is anything but limited. This isn’t a bad film but it’s also not a very interesting film.

Rating 5.5/10

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Posted by on September 1, 2012 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: Cyclops

This film was going cheap in HMV and I saw Roger Corman‘s name on it and thought it worth a look since it would probably an entertaining enough B-movie. But this is only produced by Roger Corman and it really struggles to make it to the D-list. I think it was a made on a TV show budget and probably shown on the SyFy channel (short for syphilis I think)

The story is that there’s a cyclops who killed people who robbed him. Cyclops is CGI about 20 foot tall and looks strangely shiny. Anyway clearly Cyclops is not a tax payer because when Emperor Tiberius (Eric Roberts) hears about it he sends a troop of Roman soldiers off to capture him. The soldiers are lead by a centurion called Marcus (Kevin Stapleton) who is kind of doughy looking but I guess on their budget they couldn’t afford anyone with a gym membership. They also don’t seem to have more than 20 Roman soldier outfits

Marcus and his men capture the Cyclops and take it back to Rome. Falco (Craig Archibald) is nephew of the Emperor and he has some sot of grudge against Marcus. This one of those characters that only exist in these films to further the plot by causing trouble and being a vain petty selfish idiot much like the Emperor only cheaper. It was his idea to send Marcus and his men after Cyclops so he is very happy to see Marcus’s men arrive back wounded and dead. He’s not so happy when Marcus appears heading the rest of his troops in triumph with Cyclops in a cage.

Falco is also unhappy with his builder so he suggests to the Emperor that he feeds the builder’s slaves to Cyclops in the arena. A slave girl called Barbara (Frida Farrell) let’s the other slaves in on these plans which doesn’t make them very happy. Meanwhile Cyclops is chained up out in the street and some little brat is teasing him with a dead rat on a stick. This leads to the brat losing his rat and his hand and in the panic that ensues (in the real world it would have been laughter) Cyclops manages to break free and rampage through the streets killing and eating people. This includes the guard outside the slave quarters so led by a slave called Gordian (Mike Straub) the slaves kill their master and escape from Rome.

Marcus and his men capture Cyclops and put him in a cage at the arena and Marcus comes up with the genius idea of feeding him now and again. After that he gets promoted then demoted again then sent out to recapture the slaves only this time Falco will lead them. He is told to both show them no mercy and to bring back as many alive as possible. This goes as well as you’d expect with Marcus interfering with Falco’s attempt to crucify Gordian and subsequently being made into a slave by the Emperor.

The rest of the film is set in the arena, the tiny little low-budget arena. We see Cyclops against four slaves chained together. Then we get the typical battle between friends Gordian and Marcus. Marcus befriends Cyclops. Then there’s big fight in the arena that leads to overthrow of the tyrant Tiberius.

This film was not really a fun watch which is what you want out of a B-movie like this. There’s plenty of gore in  it I suppose but it’s all CGI. Cyclops is done pretty well and the CGI does an okay job at making it look like Cyclops is interacting with the environment. I wonder why they went for the shiny look Cyclops? It made him look more plastic than anything. The actors are not so good their part of the illusion and there’s just no charisma or conviction in any the acting. The reason it wasn’t fun was all the action was hung around this feeble story of politics, insecurity and jealousy. It was sub-par TV writing and I bet the life of Tiberius was much more interesting than the guff we got in this film.

Rating 3/10

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Film Review: Ferocious Planet

 This is a film made for the cable television channel SyFy which is probably as much information as you need to judge how good this film is.

Synopsis: A group of people are gathered in an underground laboratory in a Federal building, including scientists, military and politicians, to see a presentation of an experiment into viewing other dimensions. Just as you’d expect from such predictable piece of hokum there is an accident and instead of just viewing another dimension it rips the whole lab out of our dimension and dumps it into a parallel dimension populated only by plants and giant carnivorous CGI monsters. The survivors must find a way to repair the machine that brought them here and escape the ferocious creatures.

As always seems to be the case with SyFy channel films, the problem lies in the writing. An accident during an experiment is one of the laziest and most ham-fisted plot devices in cheap science fiction. The closest we get to an attempt to justify what has happened is a few lines of mathematical looking rubbish scribbled by the scientist and her geek into a notebook. The CGI monsters are good enough for the price but there’s no attempt to set them in a believable ecosystem. What do the creatures eat when there are no humans?  Another sign of this sloppy writing is that the deaths of various characters requires them to be flawed idiots in various ways such as fear, greed, arrogance or just being a dumbass

Overall this was very a mediocre and lazy film. I can’t fault any of the actors too much since they were competent enough with what they had to work with. Joe Flanigan plays his standard wise-cracking soldier hero part. John Rhys-Davies is the cynical arrogant Senator. Dagmar Döring plays the scientist in charge of the project.

Rating 5/10

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004RBC5S8

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1637728/

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2011 in Entertainment, Film

 

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