Asylum! SyFy Channel! It’s the combination that tastes great and always goes down smooth. When I heard about the imminent broadcast of this, schedules were cleared, phones were taken off the hook and other fake preparations were made. I started singing the Barry Manilow song “Bermuda Triangle” round the house, just changing the words a little, and even my wife seemed to be moderately looking forward to it.
The President is caught in a crazy storm while flying over the Bermuda Triangle in Air Force One, and has to eject in a special Presidential rescue pod. He’s got sort-of greasy slicked back hair, and it’s so odd looking that they make a reference to getting a haircut before a press conference; presumably, the actor was growing his hair for another part. Anyway, he drops out of the story for a while, and we’re introduced to a US Navy fleet who are trying to rescue the pod, now at the bottom of the ocean.
Hard-ass Admiral! Wacky scientist! Sexy multi-ethnic/gender group of badasses! Cannon fodder! What surprised me about this film is how quickly things kick off – we’re barely ten minutes in when he see 30-metre tall worm-looking things rear up out of the ocean and surround the ships in the fleet. The Admiral (Linda Hamilton, looking a little like she’s rather bummed out to be here) tells Chief, the head of the group of badasses, that he’d better not defy any more direct orders. The only surprising thing about it is that it takes him 18 minutes of the film before he does so. While the Navy is trying (and failing) to fight the worms on the surface, Chief takes his group, along with former rapper Mya as the Admiral’s representative, down in the special submarine they have to go get the President.
And that’s when things get a bit odd. Turns out there’s a rather unusual reason for the Bermuda Triangle’s existence (even though smartypants like me will tell you it doesn’t really exist, no more ships disappear there than any other comparable area of the ocean, etc.). When they find themselves in some sort of underwater cavern, 7 fathoms down, the true scale of their problem becomes apparent…
This isn’t the greatest acted movie ever. Linda Hamilton and Jamie Kennedy look like they can’t be bothered to be there, and it’s only Mya of the “name” cast who makes much of an effort (although not enough that you’d say she was a great actress or anything). The crew of the submarine all try their best, but it seems most of The Asylum’s money was spent on sets, and that’s where the film really shines. It looks like they’re really on a real Navy boat, and when the submarine crew encounters an “underwater” boat / plane graveyard, it looks like they filmed in a place with hundreds of abandoned boats and planes. They’re definitely stepping up their game when it comes to the look of their movies, which is maybe just in the hope they luck into the next “Sharknado”, but might just be a few people at the company who want to make better movies, rather than ones which just scrape a profit.
Without giving the game away, you’ll spot the fairly popular film which the ending is completely lifted from (with the addition of a helicopter to give it a bit of that Sharknado flavour). There’s half an attempt at some romantic tension between the Chief and Mya, and the film goes out of its way to make them both look gorgeous – the Chief, wind blowing through his hair as he gives his best dramatic pose; and Mya, biting her lip in a very coy manner. That it comes across as her being a prize for him doing well, even though they’ve basically shared no real moments in the film, is just how films do things (sadly).
But enough of my whinging about sexual politics! This is a film about giant worm things attacking boats! And it’s surprisingly good fun. Ignore the poor acting, and just let the plot and special effect roll over you. For a film from these guys, this is an absolute success.
Rating: thumbs up