WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
If I’m being totally honest, after AE: Apocalypse Earth, I was feeling a little fragile. My inner sci-fi geek can take a lot, but that movie gave me a fair beating. Nevertheless, I’m not one to turn down an epic mockbuster, and Atlantic Rim was just too great an opportunity to pass up. So, with Tropical Mary, Stygian Mole, The Occult Specialist, and our new friend Ms Misery in attendance, we sat down to watch this movie. My my my my my. I don’t know anything about Pacific Rim, so this movie had to sell me with only what it had to offer. What might that be, you ask? Well, it has the usual terrible CGI, atrocious acting and cheap sets that one would expect from an Asylum production, but it also has some of the most ADD-ridden editing I’ve ever seen in a film. I know it’s sci-fi, but good God not everything can teleport that quickly! Needless to say, though, this movie is a ton of fun, although I would recommend watching it on the tail-end of a movie night so you have the benefit of mild delirium to cover up some of its not-so-great moments.
Deep at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean lurks one of mankind’s greatest threats: giant amphibious dinosaurs with backwards knees! No seriously, how these things can walk is a marvel in itself. No one knows where they’ve come from or how they’ve managed to survive down there for so long without any of us noticing, but they’re about to start wreaking all kinds of havoc. The first sign of their existence that we experience is when one of them, with no provocation and unknown intent, leaps up from the sea floor to destroy an oil rig. Apart from a quick and somewhat greasy lunch we don’t know why they are suddenly deciding to attack now, and no one back on land knows what happened to the oil rig / ate its crew, so it’s up to the military to fall back on some half-baked, untested battle plan to solve this maritime mystery.
The plan? Send 3 gigantic robots worth $500 billion down to the ocean floor to see where the hell the oil rig went and what the hell may have dragged it down there. These robots will be piloted by the best pilots the program’s remaining $15 worth of budget could find. Decked out in what appear to be wetsuits held together by pieces of coloured duct tape, White Douche, Token Black Guy (aka TYREESE!) and Generic Blonde descend to the bottom of the Atlantic to check things out. The mission is plagued with problems – the control room in the bots becomes sweltering after descending more than 3 feet into the ocean, they’re controlled using what appears to be joysticks from old arcade machines, and they tend to shut down at random (this, for some reason, also sucks all of the available oxygen out of the robot’s interior), so it’s all rather slow going. Oh yeah, and there’s that giant monster floating in the background trying to eat them.
The violence quickly escalates from this point – the monster appears on land, we’re treated to half-a-dozen shots of the monster looped and mirrored maybe 20 times, and suddenly there are dead people everywhere. Why? We’re not really sure. Now, it becomes obvious that the American Government can’t just allow these beasts to run around Manhattan, but the team’s divided. Admiral Hadley, the head of some-or-other division, throws his full support behind the robots. The opposing faction, headed up by a man with an eye-patch whose speech patterns clearly indicate that he has recently recovered from a stroke, proposes nuking the monsters (although the word, when he says it, ranges anywhere from ‘puke the monsters’ to ‘fluke the monsters’). With these two factions at war, Generic Blonde and TYREESE! being innately useless, White Douche being super douchey, and the robots themselves leaving a bit to be desired, does mankind really stand a chance against these backward-kneed behemoths? Watch and be completely whelmed by the whole experience!
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- It is possible for oil rigs to become dislodged from their bases, float around in the ocean, and crash into Iraq.
- You should always wear self-tan to a review board meeting.
- The best mankind-protecting-robot is one that’s commanded by someone with a lot of experience in Tae Bo.
- Every secret military base should be equipped with at least 100 horns.
- The more squint the monster, the greater the threat it poses to us all.
- No matter what the emergency, a woman’s eye-shadow should always be unfaltering.
- Nothing says ‘time for a drink’ more than blowing up $500 billion worth of military equipment.
ATLANTIC RIM TRAILER
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:
Oh dear, another interesting concept with dreadfully poor execution. There’s so much more that can be done in a movie centred around killer paintball with a slight dusting of Hostel for fun, but you’d be amazed at just how boring poor film making can make this concept. It suffers from a number of things: firstly, the camera work is shoddy. The cameraman actually moves bushes where no bushes should be moving. Secondly, the camera also appears to function as the microphone and as soon as anybody moves too far away it’s virtually impossible to ever make out what they’re saying. Finally, it suffers from that terrible movie affliction where the director tries to make it obvious just how distressed the characters are but the outcome is a bunch of whiny little people who scream (unintelligibly) at one another for the entire duration of the movie. Mr Paintball director, I do ask that before you try to make another movie that you and I have a chat so we can make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.
There comes a time in everyone’s life when you begin to question what it is you’re doing and what the purpose of your existence is. Thankfully many of these questions can be answered with a little intense paintball action. Turns out there are numerous places around the world that cater to individuals who just have that undying urge to shoot paint at moving targets, and our little story takes place somewhere in Europe where renegade paintball is all the rage. It’s a secret little society where the location is unknown, people are brought in blindfolded and made to rely on their teammates (who they’ve never met) and their wits. It’s an intense game of survival and only the best will come away unstained, but for some its just what you need to feel alive.
And so our little team (whose names I can’t remember) set out on this new adventure to become the ultimate paintball champs. It takes all of 3 minutes before they start arguing with one another, debating on who gets to be leader, how to get to the flags and who can actually read a map. The situation is tense – the other team might be just around the corner and decisions need to be made quickly. The team makes their way to a spot in the forest filled with old cars and one derelict bus. They move with the precision of army commandos, but are about as quiet as howler monkeys during mating season. While searching the area the other team spots them and begins to pelt them with paint, and they duck for cover in the old bus. The action begins to diverge from usual paintball practice when the opposing team throw two smoke canisters through the bus’s window, followed shortly afterwards by a box containing a bullet proof vest. When things go quiet and the team begin to make a move they realise just how different this game really is – the opposing team has started to use live ammunition, and our little group is running in plain sight.
Faced with this new terror our group does what they do best: panic and scream at one another. So they panic off as fast as they can, only to discover that the entire forest is surrounded by a highly charged electric fence. After screaming at one another they panic off in a different direction, but soon pause to scream about where they’re actually going. Some more panicking and screaming ensues, and nobody really knows what’s going on, and gradually they’re all being shot. Along the way there’s an Asian person who adds nothing to the story, and a few booby traps here and there to make things a little bit more exciting in this game of cat and mouse. But who would be so evil as to corrupt an innocent pass time like paintball? Surely such people have been sent by Satan himself to vilify what our dear, screaming characters once held to be so positive and character building? The answer, unfortunately, isn’t anywhere near as exciting.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Taking part in super elite, top-secret paintball tournaments is the absolute height of badassness.
- Part of staying well hidden involves screaming at the top of your lungs wherever you go.
- Part of hiding from enemy fire involves running around in the open.
- Fat guys are always the first to panic when a paintball massacre breaks out.
- Asian people make terrible paintball hostages.
- The smaller your knife, the better your throat slashing abilities.
- It’s incredibly difficult to speak when you have a machete rammed through your chest.
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