Now, I know I said this about the last Asylum film I watched, but I’ve definitely seen this one before, right? Perhaps it’s “Collision Earth” or an old episode of “Sliders” or perhaps, like the Matrix, I’ve begun to see behind the scenes to see the weird machine that churns out the plots for these movies. Or perhaps it’s…
THE SET! Making its fourth appearance in an Asylum movie – after “The 3 Musketeers”, “Super Cyclone” and “Airplane v. Volcano” (and probably a few others), is the circular room with wooden shutters, filled with computers and, usually, busy soldiers, scientists, whatever. The Kondelik Brothers, directors of “Airplane v. Volcano” were kind enough to tell me that it’s the San Pedro Water Treatment plant, so if you’re planning a tour of the venues of Asylum for your next holiday, be sure to add that to the list.
So, there’s an asteroid headed for Earth. Really, I hear you ask? It’s not just a weird title for a mature relationship drama, then? Even though it’s far too far away to have any sort of impact on the planet, the weather starts going screwy, which gives the Asylum the opportunity to use their stock footage again. Fair play to em, they’re getting pretty good at making it look like part of the movie. This weather turns Robert Davi’s house from perfectly normal to bombed-out-looking in about 30 seconds, but he just leaves his wife there (who’s young enough to be his granddaughter) when he gets called up to save the world (he’s an Army General, or something high up). He’s fairly unique in low-budget disaster movie Army guys because when the oddball genius spots the IMPENDING DISASTER, he believes him immediately and signs him up as a special adviser.
The other side of this film is an interesting threesome. First up is Tia Carrere as Marissa Knox, some sort of deep-sea scientist, and then there’s a couple of Marines- Lt Cmdr Chase Seward (Jason Brooks, the main guy from “Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys”) and Lt. Rudy (Wade F Wilson). Rudy acts as matchmmaker for Seward and Knox, and they go from being complete strangers to ready for lovin’ with the simple addition of several hours of drinking. On their way for some sex, they’re stopped by the Army, bundled in a car and taken to save the world – lucky coincidence, eh?
I’m getting bogged down in detail! Rudy is another interesting character, as he’s gay, stopping regularly to phone up his boyfriend (and his Mum). When he tells one of his fellow Marines that he’s gay, the response is “we know” and then everyone gets on with their jobs. Well done, this movie! The director is Christopher Ray, Asylum mainstay and son of cheap-o “master” Fred Olen Ray, so he ought to be commended for showing how gays in the military would be dealt with in an ideal world (no-one would care, either way).
What he shouldn’t be commended for is what might politely be called a lack of polish in some scenes. Rudy and a few other Marines survive a meteor fragment hitting their base, and are tasked with taking a few nuclear warheads to a volcano – but it’s never really established where they are, how they’re getting to the volcano, and there’s a lot of scenes in their sub-plot that feel like they were filmed with very careful camera angles to hide the normal business going on all around them. Also, they don’t start on this mission til about 15 minutes before the end, so it all feels tacked on, like they realised they’d not filmed enough. Apart from this mission, the rest of the film doesn’t have tons of drama in it – smart and capable people behaving in smart and capable ways does not an exciting thriller make.
It’s not all bad, though. The acting is pretty solid, and the front cover has a pretty funny joke on it. Under the title is “The classic sci-fi thriller returns” – what? Is this a sequel to a film I was previously unaware of? Or are they just referring very specifically to other sci-fi thrillers, and how they’ve not had any classics in a while? A very confusing sentence if it’s not a joke from someone at the Asylum. Also, and I almost didn’t mention it because it shouldn’t be worth mentioning, but people of colour make up a majority of this film’s cast. It’s a good sign, I think, and it’s a shame we have to go to the lower-end of the budget / talent scale to find films where this is a thing and it’s not commented on (inside the film itself).
I don’t like nit-picking, but there are a couple of beautiful moments in this film. It features the greatest mobile phone in the history of mobile phones. Rudy is stood at the edge of a very active volcano, next to two nuclear warheads, on a deserted Japanese island. And he makes a call! Whatever provider he’s with, sign me up, because my reception cuts out if I go into a lift. Also, General Robert Davi liaises with his counterparts from Russia and China. Russia seems okay, but the location of the Chinese high-level military personnel? A lovely suburban living room, complete with swords on the wall and a pot of flowers in the background. WHAT?
Ultimately, the problem this film has isn’t its rather odd moments, but in the main narrative thrust. It’s just not particularly exciting, and they try and cram in too many sub-plots (not a problem I thought I’d ever have with an Asylum movie). Chase and Marissa actually get locked in a room for a decent portion of the film just so the film can concentrate on other people for a bit, but it’d have benefited from trimming their part even more and concentrating on Rudy, who’s clearly the film’s hero. If you’re really desperate for an Asylum fix, you could do worse, I suppose.
Rating: thumbs down