Prisoners of the Asteroid vs. Earth Sun

Asteroid vs. Earth is currently available on instant Netflix

Asteroid vs. Earth

 

Asteroid vs. Earth (2014) – Not Rated

An elite team of scientists races against time when a torrential storm of giant meteors threatens to annihilate all life on Earth.”

How do you know the tonnage of our weapons?” – “Google, sir

Is there a more dire warning of what’s to come in a movie than “The Asylum Presents”? I think not. The movie opens with a young man watching a series of monitors that clearly aren’t conveying anything useful. The monitors are arranged around a circle and he stares at them even though most are showing generic space pictures.

Another scene shows a General at home where a supercell instantly forms over his house. Huh? This is interspersed with scenes of actual flooding in some other, undisclosed location. I’m not sure if we’re supposed to assume these are the same or different locations as neither is labeled though clearly terrain isn’t even remotely similar. It appears as though they just spliced in scenes from another movie as the flooding and supercell don’t appear to have anything to do with the plot.

Our young man tells the military that their warheads won’t do anything to the asteroid but, and I am not making this up, if they detonate them selectively on Earth, at a faultline, they can move the Earth out of the way of the asteroid. The plot does not get more intelligent as we go along.

The usual assortment of AWCs (Actors without Careers) are present. Tia Carrere (Wayne’s World) plays an important scientist. Tim Russ (Tuvok from Star Trek Voyager) takes a break from convention-hopping to represent the military. Veteran heavy Robert Davi collects a paycheck as General Masterson.

One would think that Asylum’s CGI would naturally get better over the past decade but it really hasn’t. In short, no aspect of this movie is competently handled.

AVOID

Prisoners of the Sun

 

Prisoners of the Sun (2013) – Not Rated

A group of explorers embark on a perilous mission under the Egyptian pyramids to stop the resurrection of hostile ancient beings who threaten mankind.

The room is unfortunately now armed.” (referring to a room in the pyramid)

At least this doesn’t start with ‘The Asylum Presents’. Prisoners of the Sun takes the standard start for a mummy movie and adds aliens into the mix. There is an entire movie’s worth of exposition in the first three minutes.

Our slumming actors here are John Rhys-Davies (here clearly trading on his Raiders cred) and Joss Ackland (The Hunt for Red October, Lethal Weapon 2). They at least make an attempt with the material, unlike Asylum’s casts.

Unfortunately there is a worse harbinger than ‘The Asylum Presents’. That would be Uwe Boll’s name in the credits, here as a producer. The director is Roger Christian, the man who directed Battlefield Earth. He most recently directed the execrable Stranded.

Prisoners of the Sun is easily better than Stranded. Unfortunately that doesn’t make it good. Plotting and scripting are slapdash but still much better than Asteroid vs. Earth. Toss in an alignment of the stars, an ancient bloodline, tomb raiding, a woman who has visions, and the requisite mummy and mix well.

Unfortunately the individual elements aren’t handled very well. Prisoners of the Sun only looks good in comparison to Asteroid vs. Earth or Stranded. It is not terrible but there are far better uses of your time, unless you are particularly attached to John Rhys-Davies.

Kull the Conqueror

Well it looks like Robert E. Howard gets to be responsible for almost half of our Sword and Sorcery week. Kull the Conqueror is currently available on Netflix instant play.

Kull the Conqueror

PASS: Kull the Conqueror (1997) – Rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence and sensuality

“Kull (Kevin Sorbo), a barbarian and warrior, becomes the king of Valusia when he kills the old king in battle. But to maintain his royal title, Kull must conquer many enemies, including Taligaro (Thomas Ian Griffith) — the head of Valusia’s royal guard who wants to take over the throne. In hopes of ousting the king, Taligaro summons Akivasha (Tia Carrere), a 3,000-year-old demon whose looks could be deadly if Kull can’t resist her.”

I think the main difference between this film and Red Sonja is that Kull seems to know that it is pure cheese. Originally planned as Conan the Conqueror, it became Kull when Arnold Schwarzenegger declined to participate. Lacking Conan they went with TV’s Hercules, Kevin Sorbo. Kevin Sorbo plays this with the same tongue-in-cheek style he uses in Hercules – in fact he doesn’t so much act as simply change his character’s name.

There is a nicely timed shot where as Kull’s time as a prisoner is mentioned, we see his scarred back for the first time but other than that there aren’t many directorial flourishes. Akivasha steals a line from Darth Vader at one point – “I am altering our bargain. Pray I don’t alter it any further.” which caused me to groan when I originally saw this. Most of the rest of the dialogue is anachronistically modern – just enough to be cheesy but not polished enough to reach the level of the far better film, A Knight’s Tale. They also throw some heavy metal licks in the score.

I have to say that while I hated this film at the theater, I enjoyed the cheesiness on this second go-around. I really can’t recommend it except on that level so I’m rating this a pass.

People Watch: Look for Harvey Fierstein in a small part as Juba