Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark and Frankenstein’s Army are currently available on instant Netflix
Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark (2014) – Not rated
“When a new Mega Shark threatens mankind, the government unleashes the top-secret Mecha Shark to defeat the monster in a pitched battle.”
Quick what do Christopher Judge (Teal’Q from the various Stargate series), Elisabeth Rohm (Angel, Heroes, Law & Order), and 80s pop star Deborah Gibson have in common?
A: a desperate need for money?
B: a complete lack of shame?
C: a knowledge that their glory days are behind them?
D: appearing in the third of Asylum’s Mega Shark movies?
E: All of the above?
Okay the movie does begin hilariously with a ship towing an iceberg into the port of Alexandria to fight drought. We cut to a member of the crew playing chess with himself while he quotes Bukowski. The Megalodon clearly buried within soon frees itself, again to hysterical effect. In spite of the bad CGI, the humor involved made me think that perhaps this wasn’t an Asylum movie.
I love how our Mecha Shark commander pilots the Shark by herself with freshly manicured and long red painted nails. She also wears a Google glass clone eyepiece that does nothing, not surprising since she has a trio of large computer screens in front of her. They also give her an earpiece for communications which seems rather unnecessary as well.
Sadly, after the first few minutes this devolves into the usual Asylum mess. Poor plotting, woeful writing, acrid acting, directionless directing, and crummy CGI allow this movie to quickly jump the shark. This should not be surprising as Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus (2009) and Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus (2010) were both fun as trailers but nothing more.
Flee this sinking ship while you can!
Ugh! I also just found out that The Asylum is doing a television show for Syfy called Z Nation, about – you guessed it – a zombie apocalypse. I guess Asylum was overdue for ripping off The Walking Dead.
Frankenstein’s Army (2013) – Rated R
“Russian troops pushing into Germany discover that the Nazis have created monstrous new soldiers pieced together from body parts of the dead.”
“My father said, men will be more efficient if they have hammers and screwdrivers instead of fingers.”
I hate the found footage/handicam subgenre. It was imaginative a half century ago when it was called cinema verite. It was still creative when it was used in The Blair Witch Project. After that it just became a lazy way to tell a story without having to bother with expensive special effects, complicated stunts, or competent cinematography. Occasionally it works ([REC]) but most often it does not.
Frankenstein’s Army is not an exception. The conceit that a Russian filmmaker is attached to a squad and films everything in color, complete with sound, is more than a bit of a stretch. The first quarter hour is hard to get through. A saving grace is the use of actual WWII era weaponry.
It is also unfortunate that the film is named Frankenstein’s Army as it gives away a central plot point much earlier than necessary. Obviously the name is a selling point as is the evil of the Nazis, a personal weakness of mine.
I love Nazi horror films. Well many of them anyway. I love the trashy Shock Waves, the ham-fisted Boys from Brazil, the mysterious The Keep, the low budget The Outpost, the completely wacky Dead Snow, even the inept Madmen of Mandragoras (recut as They Saved Hitler’s Brain). Yet for every Shock Waves there are several Oasis of the Zombies, for every The Keep, a Blood Creek, and even The Outpost’s sequel, Black Sun, paled in comparison to the original.
Having stated all of that, Frankenstein’s Army is wildly inventive. The makeup and special effects are simply wonderful. Creature design makes up for all the other deficits of this movie. Frankenstein’s Army is not a very good movie but marveling at the creature design certainly makes it a worthwhile one.