Once again, The Asylum delivers. With “Pacific Rim” actually promising to be quite good, their low-budget “Atlantic Rim” has a chance to make some money. But is it worth 80+ minutes of your time? Well, let’s see.
After a weirdly stilted opening, where it appears the two people in the scene shot their sides of the conversation at different times, and our first view of the monster, we go to Mardi Gras. It seems the Asylum loves New Orleans! (see also “Arachnoquake”). One of the guys from Baywatch is a Navy guy, and along with a woman he’s maybe sort of having a relationship with and his extremely tattooed mate, they’re three sexy giant robot pilots.
Oh yes, they’re colour co-ordinated. So, they’ve been tasked with finding out what happened to the oil rig, but why the robots had to be gigantic is never fully explained (or explained even a little bit, for that matter). They bring one of them onto the shore, kill a bunch of people with their lasers and then finally managed to kill the giant lizard thing. All the corpses you see strewn around the street after that point? Baywatch did that. That lizard didn’t even make it past the beach. But he’s fine about doing it, and has not the slightest pang of guilt. In fact, he does address this in dialogue – “oops”. Cold!
I don’t see there’s an awful lot of point describing the ways Asylum saves budget – if you’re watching one of their films, you know what you’re getting. But this is particularly heinous – the main Navy base, where they’re launching nukes and all sorts, has two people in uniform and then just a bunch of office people; and the room we briefly cut to which has the guy who apparently warns all the branches of government that a huge lizard attack is on the way, works in a completely ordinary office, with zero signs that he’s one of the most important people in the country.
There’s a second lizard, of course, but Baywatch is locked up for offending the Navy brass, and in one of the film’s funniest scenes is seen in his “cell” exercising, pacing, rearranging the meagre furniture and so on. It looks like weeks of activity, the sort of thing most films would have to show the extended passage of time. In this film, we discover it’s still the same day, and given it looked like dusk was on its way before, it can’t be any more than a few hours.
The film has some romantic intrigue! Love triangles! And then we’re on to mama Lizard visiting Manhattan. In the classic Asylum tradition, they can’t just rip off one film, so this climactic battle owes a little to “Cloverfield”. There’s a clever bit where we see the monster hitting the city, and all the enormous billboards are advertising other Asylum films…and we then find out the robots can fly, and they all have “melee weapons” – a sword, a hammer and a club. It’s pretty silly, even for a film like this. Countless thousands of New Yorkers lose their lives, but do they defeat the lizard? Which brave robot pilot will the woman go for? Do they all even survive?
I do need to really hammer this point home – “Atlantic Rim” is rubbish. I’m worried that my critical faculties have worn away, because I kind of enjoyed it. Baywatch is having fun, there’s some good-rotten acting, and it’s got more plot holes than is usual, even for something from these guys. I say give it a go!