WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
It’s a rare thing for me to be left utterly dumbfounded by a movie. Amused? Sometimes. Confused? Occasionally. Angry? Fairly often. But dumbfounded is a feeling only brought on by particular kinds of movies, and Airborne just happens to be one of those movies. It starts off as a simplistic post-911 action thriller, but somehow, through various twists and turns, lands up being a pseudo-mythological, demonic possession movie. It’s quite astounding, really. And then there’s the foreboding. This movie has more dramatic foreboding in it than the Twilight movies had stares. The only way it could have been less subtle is if they had a full orchestra go into full swing every time the camera settled on someone’s face. Don’t believe me? Then read on, dear reader, and for the truly brave, perhaps you can give it a watch.
It’s a frightfully stormy day in Merry Old England, and due to an approaching storm (which, by the looks of the radar images we’re shown from time to time, appears to be a hurricane larger than the British Isles) all flights out of Heathrow have been cancelled. All except one, of course. Onto this plane assembles the largest group of misfits you can imagine: soldiers fresh off a tour in Iraq and accused of using excessive force, an Godfather-type and his two cronies, a raging alcoholic, a doctor accused of malpractice, and a sudden replacement air steward that no one has ever met. Oh yeah, and that mysterious crate that gives off funny noises and occasionally jumps around that’s under the special protection of the British government. With all of this to consider, what could possibly go wrong?
The flight starts out nicely enough. The alcoholic awakens with a raging hangover, the Godfather behaves in a typically refined-yet-thuggish manner, and two randy love birds get it on in a tiny bathroom. It’s exactly the sort of thing you’d expect on such a midnight flight. But something is terribly amiss. You know this because the love birds land up being bludgeoned to death and the plane makes a mysterious and unreported change in flight path. Not that flight control back in Britain seems to be overly alarmed. Apparently it’s quite normal for planes to change direction and go to Florida instead of New York without checking in with anyone. Back on the plane, people are starting to disappear at an alarming rate, and even our motley crew of passengers knows that people do not simply disappear while you’re flying however-many-thousands of feet above the ground.
The foreboding is cranked into high gear when suddenly, and for no apparent reason, the most top secretist agents in all of Britain take over the flight control centre and threaten to have the Americans blow the plane out of the sky unless they can get someone to respond. Back on the plane, a hostage situation develops over the content of the crate, which turns out to be a Chinese vase worth over $ 10 million. But something isn’t adding up about this hostage situation: the two hostage takers cannot account for all the dead people, which means that something else has been killing off the passengers (and the pilots) while they weren’t looking. Hypothetically this third-party may or may not be the spirit of a Chinese deity that was imprisoned in the vase and is busy looking for a human host that he can possess. Once this has hypothetically happened and he has found the ideal host he will be able to take over the world and fulfill the Mayan 2012 Doomsday prophecy. Can our hapless group of hostages stand up to the might of an ancient Chinese deity and save the world from absolute destruction? Probably not: the foreboding’s gonna slow them down too much.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Britain’s just a breeding ground for conspicuous Godfather-types.
- Britain’s also home to several pockets of irritatingly chatty, global warming-obsessed geography teachers.
- Air stewards must be proficient in mixing drinks and performing sleeper holds.
- If a drunk irritates them enough, flight stewards can be made to break standard health and safety procedures.
- Complimentary drinks are usually all it takes to quell an uprising of plane passengers.
- Most air stewardesses know which two wires to cross to make a plane just drop out of the sky.
- The Chinese gods and Mayan priests were in cahoots when it came to the 2012 prophecy.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
So there I was, minding my own business, when I was suddenly struck by a terrible case of the shakes. I broke out into a cold sweat, my mouth was bone dry, and I was starting to see double. I had gone into soft science withdrawal. It’s a terrible thing when it happens, and you need to have a sci-fi b-movie ready for when these symptoms strike. Thankfully, I’d saved Absolute Zero for just such an emergency. The movie manages a number of feats: it’s a b-grade disaster movie that wasn’t made by either the Asylum or the Syfy Channel, it’s mind-numbingly painful to watch, and the science is so soft that it would make a marshmallow roasting over Satan’s arse seem like titanium. Prepare to witness the movie that dares to ask the question: how soft is your science?
Meet Dr David Kotzman, a brilliant man working for Inter Sci. Dr Dave specialises in looking at the effects that temperatures plummeting to absolute zero (-273 degrees Celsius, or -460 degrees Fahrenheit for my American readers) would have on life on Earth. They’d be fairly devastating, to put in mildly. But Dr Dave has a theory, you see: he’s convinced that the last ice age didn’t occur over a period of hundreds or thousands of years as modern science would have us believe. No, he believes that the ice ages are brought on when parts of the world suddenly plummet to absolute zero for a few seconds, freezing absolutely everything in sight. For all we know this theory could have been brought on by a night at an opium den, because the movie really isn’t going to explain how we got there. Then again, the theory could have been inspired by the constant thumping porno beats that play when he’s doing his research. Suffice to say Dr Dave is going to get an opportunity to test out his theory soon enough.
You see, there’s been some very strange weather going on across the globe lately: thunder storms over Antarctica (which are apparently very normal), ice bergs floating through the harbours of Florida, tropical weather in New York, and the list just goes on. How are we ever going to find out what’s going on before it’s too late? With cave paintings, that’s how! Dr Dave meets up with an Inter Sci research team already out in Antarctica (presumably building the emergency opium den) and, with a little help from global warming, manage to find a cave full of fully frozen people. Using a tiny microscope and a few spare grad students that just happened to be lying around, Dr Dave concludes that the world’s magnetic poles are about to shift themselves. This will have devastating consequences across the globe, as everything along the equator suddenly finds itself fighting off the onset of absolute zero (dun dun dun!).
Can we stop all these terrible things from happening? With this much soft science? You must be joking! Unable to save the world from succumbing to this frozen nightmare, Dr Dave has to at least try and save his grad students and his ex-girlfriend who he’s never forgotten and conveniently met up with just before the disaster struck. Luckily she’s a specialist in ancient cave drawings, and using the ones from Antarctica she arrives at the same conclusion as Dr Dave: the world is about to be thrown (rather haphazardly) into the next ice age. It’s a race against time as temperatures continue to plummet, funnels of freezing air strike at random, 10-year-old girls speak monotonously into walkie talkies, and lifeguards take over half an hour to evacuate a paddling pool. The world will never be the same again after it succumbs to… ABSOLUTE ZERO (dun dun dun!)
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Global warming means grad students can now spend a semester out in Antarctica.
- Even the president doesn’t have the authority to pull university students out of Antarctica.
- You can just book commercial flights to Antarctica these days.
- When light freezes, it’s time to get the winter jerseys out.
- Even with a doctorate degree in the field, it’s very easy to confuse archaeology for anthropology.
- Antarctica once held a small, but thriving, colony of ancient Egyptians.
- We can date 10 000-year-old cave paintings to the exact day they were drawn.
- Only in America can big corporations think that they can stop the weather from happening.
- The Earth’s axis of rotation has absolutely nothing to do with the seasons.
- There’s nothing quite as ineffective as an optional evacuation.
- Strip clubs provide excellent landmarks in times of crisis.
- Absolute zero is really dangerous, but people can still survive quite comfortably at -158 degrees Celsius.
- Always remember to keep your emergency power supply dangerously far away from the bunker that’ll save your life.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
“When a colossal tectonic shift causes the sea level to start rising, a microbiologist gathers the DNA of as many species as she can, while the military creates an “ark” in a desperate attempt to preserve life on Earth.”
The Asylum and I have really got to stop meeting like this. Seriously, how many of the movies in my collection have their sneaky little paws behind it? Now, I was in the mood for a decent cheesy disaster flick, but this was too much. Above is the blurb for this movie taken directly from the Asylum’s website, which I feel needs to be addressed. Firstly, there was no tectonic shift, not on any of the 40 days this movie purportedly spans. Secondly, sea levels did not rise; at best we had a few isolated inland tidal waves. Thirdly, there is no way on God’s green Earth that that woman was a microbiologist. Fourthly, surely samples of 3 bees and a few moths doesn’t count as ‘DNA of as many species as she can’? Fifthly, no country has a military made up of 7 people. Sixthly, that wasn’t an ark, it was a strange train that floated. Seventhly, the DNA of 3 bees cannot preserve life on earth if you didn’t take any life with you onto the ark. So yeah, that about sums up how I felt about this movie, but I’m gonna do my usual review now to drive home just how daft it really was.
Jon and Tessa are such a lovely couple – you’ve never seen a 50-year-old man and a 19-year-old girl so madly in love. They’ve got a pretty good life too – they work for the super-secretive black-ops illuminati division of the US military, which means they’re very clever, very wealthy, and very well looked after. All that and as many rooftop picnics as they could ever dream of! What could possibly go wrong for a couple as spritely as this? Oh right, the world’s about to come to an end. How’s the world going to come to an end? Be damned if I know; all I saw were four drunken kids driving around the Sahara desert when a few thunder clouds appeared over head. Next thing they (and I) knew, there’s an enormous tsunami coming over the mountains and the whole desert’s submerged by an ocean of CGI water.
In what turns out to be the Asylum’s answer to 2012, a massive super storm is developing over Africa, and within the next few days it will cover THE ENTIRE PLANET. How this super storm started to develop we’re never going to know, but said super-secretive black-ops illuminati division of the US military has to come up with some way of saving at least a nominal portion of the American public (mainly the smart ones though). To do this they’ve decided to build an ark. The ark will be the world’s first live-saving sea vessel shaped like a dildo, and despite the fact they have to cram in 3 years work into a week to get the thing built, everyone’s fairly convinced that it can be done with relatively few screw ups. Oh, how they underestimated Mr Murphy on that one…
Turns out there are a few hiccoughs to overcome before the ark can sail. Firstly, it’s powered by turbines built on completely theoretical technology that, despite being the size of a small cat, will harness the power of the waves and wind to generate enough electricity to keep it sailing for as long as they need. Surprisingly, there are a few problems getting these turbines working. Now, that’s Jon’s job. Tessa’s job is to collect DNA samples so that they can rebuild nature once the flood waters recede. Unfortunately a rock slide took out the train carrying all her samples, and now she has to go out into the wild to collect more before everything’s under water. And this is only the beginning of their troubles: once the ark sets out, who knows how long they’ll all be at sea? Who knows if the ark will be able to hold its own against the power of nature gone utterly berserk? In the end, none of it will really matter, since you’ll have been bored to tears long before the flood waters even cover your baby toe.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- If it means a quickie on a roof, saving humanity can just wait 15 minutes.
- If it means a quick tussle under the sheets, then escaping the rising Biblical flood will also just have to wait.
- There’s a lot more rain and wind in the eye of a super storm.
- You can safely transport DNA samples in an empty Evian bottle.
- The secret of human evolution, life, and all philosophical pursuits, ultimately lies with the humble moth.
- Most ships can be rendered utterly useless with a simple power drill.
- It’s easier to pistol whip someone than to answer a stupid question.
- The lesser-spotted cave bee is a key player in upholding the planet’s various ecosystems.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
So I’m back in the saddle but feeling a little rusty; it’s been a few months since I’ve ripped a movie to shreds and I need a little practice. Pretty sure that The Asylum was founded simply for those reasons 🙂 Somehow, through the workings of some malevolent supernatural force, Hold Your Breath (or #holdyourbreath – I don’t know why) actually managed to get a (I imagine very limited) theatrical release. If malevolent supernatural forces were not involved in this process, my only other logical conclusion is that The Asylum has an entire department of buxom young females whose job it is to sleep with whoever necessary to get their movies out there. The movie’s awful, plain and simple; it actually kind of feels like it began shooting, changed scripts, carried on from there, changed scripts again, did some final shooting, and the three different movies were just thrown together for the hell of it.
As a general cautionary tale, this movie advises that at least a little caution should be taken when you come across a zealoty über-German priest out to rid the world of all its sins and vices. This is what Vicar van Hausen tried to do, murdering a number of alleged-harlots along the way, and maiming many others. For his hard work he’s been sentenced to death by electrocution, and the most bizarre array of individuals have turned out to watch the event. The proceedings get underway when a prison guard, obviously mistaking this for an episode of Deal or No Deal, prattles on about what van Hausen did. Van Hausen, before being electrocuted, manages to kill one of the guards before feeling 10 billion volts of CGI electricity coursing through his veins. But can mere CGI electricity put an end to such an evil?
Of course not. If it was, the movie wouldn’t be able to give you gratuitous shots of L-shaped breasts, now would it? Wanting to relive the glory days of high school, a group of friends decide to head off into the wilderness and leave the boring world of rent cheques and deadlines behind for a bit. Driving along their merry little way they happen upon a cemetery, where Blonde Girl tells them that they all have to hold their breath. Why? Because apparently, when a spirit is SO evil that Hell itself cannot contain it, simply holding your breath means that it is powerless. Everyone but The Stoner does this, and he becomes possessed by the ghost of van Hausen. To be fair he was a pretty obvious target from the very beginning, as his nipples are so large they could easily store an additional 3 or 4 evil spirits. In the midst of all this craziness the group decides to take a break and visit an old, abandoned insane asylum and have some sex before continuing on to the great outdoors.
After the necessary amounts of sex have been had and the movie’s done some good padding with the old electric chair, the group eventually decides to move on. Possessed Stoner has already killed a cop and set him on fire, but thankfully the body and car vanished into thin air before anyone saw what he was up to. The problem with evil ghosts, however, is that they tend to become a little slutty, and one body just can’t satisfy them. So van Hausen takes to hopping around between the group in order to exact his non-sensical revenge on the world. The group’s a bit slow so they’re gonna need a little help that comes in the shape of a hermit with a shotgun. The hermit was at the asylum when van Hausen was executed back in the 50s and, through magic of his own, has only aged about 25 years since the event. Thankfully the hermit has a little friend he can call on to bring van Hausen’s drizzle of terror to an end once and for all… maybe…
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Only 5-year-olds are scared of getting caught smoking pot on a street corner.
- High school teachers take sabbaticals to recover from traumatic paper clip injuries.
- Nothing says ‘fun’ like having sex in an abandoned asylum’s mortuary/maternity ward.
- In certain circles it’s frowned upon when people in their 30s don’t behave like they did in high school.
- Blowjobs are a common bartering tool to get former badasses to sit in an electric chair.
- Two things you don’t want in life: the creation of a new asshole by means of a pitch fork, and having carnal knowledge of a bobcat.
- Possession-based amnesia is a terrible problem in areas with a lot of cemeteries.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
When I’m alone and life is making me lonely I know I can always go – to the DVD cupboard and rake through it long enough until I find a movie by The Asylum. I’d had a rough day and I knew that only a movie with implausible disasters and highly questionable science would do the trick, and so far as those two things go Super Cyclone is a major winner. It’s so implausible and questionable, in fact, that I didn’t even believe the opening credits. Plus it has Dylan Vox in it, and wherever that man goes absolute cheese is sure to follow. I’m going to try and explain this bizarre series of events to you, but I recommend getting yourselves a copy and watching it yourselves – this one’s good for a few dozen laughs.
OK, so, the movie goes a little something like this. We start off on an oil rig where the men are out going about their day as usual. They’re about to tap into a rather large oil deposit which, given the current economic climate, is going to mean good business all round. During the survey of the area, however, nobody seemed to notice the GIANT magma pocket located just next to the oil, and the rig drills into it. This sudden release of pressure creates a super volcano that begins to erupt under the ocean, as well as taking out a series of small islands. Despite the fact that the rig is clearly floating, it also starts to leak into the structure but without causing any serious damage or threat to the people on board.
This erupting super volcano begins to cause a number of problems. First of all, it starts to make the ocean boil. No really – the ocean is bubbling like a kettle. This, in turn, creates a massive cyclone above the rig that’s roughly the size of the entire continent of North America, and it’s (very) gradually making its way towards land. Now this cyclone is particularly dangerous because it’s also creating freak lightning storms, tornadoes, earthquakes and tsunamis. The other problem comes in with the oil reserve – the oil begins to mix with the lava, gets sucked up into the cyclone and suddenly the whole storm (and subsequently the sky) are on fire.
Thankfully Dr Jenna Sparks is on the case. She’s Asian and uses phrases like “We may be able to use my nanotechnology research to stop the storm!”, so you know she’s gonna be able to save us all. Of course, before she can save us all she has to get herself to a safe location, which is tricky in amongst the general looting, angry black hillbillies with guns, and minor catastrophic flooding. Her first plan to save mankind involves taking one tiny plane with a suicidal pilot, flying it into the eye of the cyclone and seeding it. This will stop the storm and, through some mysteries of science, also plug the volcano. When that fails she’ll have to resort to a more daring plan of that involves a navy destroyer, some good sailing, and a tanker of liquid nitrogen. Then, and only then, will she be able to call herself Earth’s saviour and begin dating one of the daring young men that assisted her in this endeavour.
Note to self: when you win the lottery, donate an actual helicopter to The Asylum so they don’t need to keep CGing them in. It just looks silly when people are meant to look like they’re being blown by the wind from the propellers and the helicopter hasn’t been edited in anywhere near them.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation cures people with serious burn wounds.
- ‘Hold it together’ literally means grabbing onto a plank of wood and trying to stop an oil rig from falling apart.
- Warm water and moist air are the real Devil’s playground.
- Every movie needs a crew member to act as the designated hay thrower.
- Performing minor surgery in a ship’s kitchen in no way compromises minimum hygiene standards.
- Clean shirts are the signature look of a man with a college education.
- The oceans in the tropics are known to boil from time to time.
- Modern ships and cars are designed to withstand being picked up and dropped by enormous tornadoes.
- After being adrift in near-boiling water for 5 hours what you really want is to be covered with a blanket.
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