Battle of the Damned Sharknado 2 – you lose!

Battle of the Damned and Sharknado 2 are not on Netflix but I watched them last week while I was ill.

Battle of the Damned

 

Battle of the DamnedĀ (2013) – Rated R

Following a deadly viral outbreak, private military soldier Max Gatling leads a handful of survivors and a ragtag band of robots against an army of the infected.”

Battle of the Damned is a severely schizophrenic film. Writer/director/producer Christopher Hatton crafts a pretty standard zombie scenario here. A mercenary team led by Max Gatling (Dolph Lundgren) goes into a city quarantined because of a virus outbreak that naturally turns the inhabitants into zombies. Having watched it, I am unsure how the city could possibly have been quarantined – particularly when the outbreak spreads quite rapidly but I digress.

Naturally, his team doesn’t make it far but Gatling meets up with some other survivors and decides to high-tail it out of quarantine land. Again pretty standard zombie fare. The picture is low budget but filmed well. Zombie action isn’t bad but nothing impressive either. That’s when the picture takes a left turn into crazy town. Gatling and crew encounter a team of life-saving robots.

This gonzo move held my attention for the rest of the movie. No, Battle of the Damned is not particularly good but it is a darn sight better than any of Asylum’s offerings.

Speaking of Asylum…

Sharknado 2

 

Sharknado 2: The Second OneĀ (2014) – Rated TV-14

A freak weather system turns its deadly fury on New York City, unleashing a Sharknado on the population and its most cherished, iconic sites – and only Fin and April can save the Big Apple.”

I want to reiterate that Asylum’s Sharknado (and by extension almost any other Asylum production) was really just a bad film with a funny concept and name. It did not take proper advantage of the premise in spite of a few minorly amusing scenes.

Sharknado 2 embraces its stupidity, even in the title. Asylum finally found out how to do a bad B-movie (more than half a century after Corman and others learned how). Most of Asylum’s offerings are advertised in such a way that you will think they are so bad that they are funny. Only after sitting through them do you discover that they were just plain bad.

Sharknado 2 is the film that is so dumb, it becomes funny. The movie is filled with cameos done with a wink and a nod. Robert Hays plays a pilot. Judd Hirsch plays a taxi driver. Subway’s Jared is shown eating a sub in the subway. Wil Wheaton, after joking about it on The Big Bang Theory, appears here as do a slew of other guest stars.

The writers here had a lot of fun. Characters are named after ones in Jaws. They filmed the movie in the winter so they just threw a second storm, a vicious cold front, into the story. There are riffs here on Jaws, Happy Days, Airplane, Taxi Driver, and more. The silliness is ridiculously over the top as our hero can apparently do every job known to man, including that of airline pilot.

Finally an Asylum movie you can watch, laugh at, and enjoy!

Alone in the Dark – Videogames are bad for you week

Well I hated to see last week’s ‘Don’t Get on That Boat week’ end but it’s time to move to a new topic. This week is ‘Videogames are bad for you week’. All of the movies will be about videogames or are based on videgames. Alone in the Dark is currently available on instant Netflix.

Alone in the Dark

AVOID: Alone in the Dark (2004) – Rated R for violence and language

“Private sleuth Edward Carnby (Christian Slater) specializes in weird supernatural phenomena, and he’ll be forced to work with his archaeologist ex-girlfriend (Tara Reid) to defeat the demonic ancient Abskani tribe, which is set to wreak havoc on Earth. But Carnby already has experience with the evil beings, which also attempt to infiltrate his mind. Stephen Dorff co-stars in this sci-fi thriller based on the popular video game series.”

Ha ha ha – I hardly know where to start. Let’s begin by revising Netflix’ information. All of the above is wrong. The Alone in the Dark they have on instant play is Alone in the Dark II not the film listed above even though that’s the information they have for it. The corrected listing is below.

Alone in the Dark 2

AVOID: Alone in the Dark II (labeled Alone in the Dark) – Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, and brief drug content.

“When a 100-year-old witch (Allison Lange) hatches a horrid plot to sacrifice a young girl with a mystical dagger, a team of witch hunters led by Edward Carnby (Rick Yune) set out to stop the killing and retrieve the terrible blade. But soon they discover that anyone who touches the knife falls under the power of the witch’s vengeful bloodlust. Michael Roesch and Peter Scheerer direct this horror film that co-stars Lance Henriksen.”

“This is radioactive solution…makes you invisible to the other side. It cancels out the aura.”

I’m not sure whether to be pleased or disappointed that I won’t have to watch Uwe Boll’s original film. This direct to video sequel replaces Christian Slater with Rick Yune as Edward Carnby. It is written and directed by Michael Roesch and Peter Scheerer.

First off I have to say that I’m glad this wasn’t a theatrical release. The combination of shaky cam, jump cuts, shifting camera angles and out of focus photography would probably have made me very ill. It is still almost headache-inducing to watch.

It really has no connection to the first film except that one character is called Edward Carnby. The film revolves around a group of hapless Ghosthunter-wannabes. They might as well be wearing red shirts or bullseyes.

The film is ridiculously heavy-handed. You see everyone hiding in an electrified cage so you know the power is going to go out. It does so almost immediately. You see a device with a large spike so you know someone will get impaled on it. Lo and behold, moments later someone is impaled on it.

Hilariously there is a door that opens partway up from the ground. Clearly Carnby can crawl through but Natalie (Rachel Specter) declares only she can squeeze through. Later on the door closes and the heroes spike it to keep it from closing completely. When it opens to about the same height as before, Carnby removes the block (even though he could go through and leave it there) and crawls through. The door promptly tries to shut on his foot. Then another character says that they’ll go get the car jack – something that would have made the whole sequence moot.

It is a shame that this movie isn’t any good. They assembled a genre fan’s dream cast which is surprising for a direct to video feature. It is not surprising that these people would be in a DTV movie – it is just surprising that so many of them are in the same one.

In addition to the always wonderful Lance Henriksen, Michael Pare (Bad Moon, Gargoyles) pops up briefly as Willson. Danny Trejo (Grindhouse, From Dusk til Dawn) and Ralf Moeller (best known as the giant German from Gladiator). Also putting in appearances are Zack Ward (Freddy vs. Jason, Transformers), Bill Moseley (Grindhouse, The Devil’s Rejects), Natassia Malthe (DOA, Elektra) and Jason Connery (son of Sean).

In spite of the ineptitude the film almost ends well and then we have a cheap cop-out. After the cheap cop-out, we have an obligatory second cheap cop-out which makes absolutely no sense given what went on throughout the entire film. Sorry to keep that vague but I hate spoiling even the bad films.

People Watch: Who should pop up as Lance Henriksen’s wife but P.J. (Carrie, Halloween) Soles.