Picture the scene. You’re the grandson of a pretty famous (if not terribly good) actor, and the son of a not particularly famous (or good) actor. Due to this moderately tenuous link to fame, you are given an astonishing four chances to direct films, eight chances to write them and even a few starring roles. If this was you – person reading this review – chances are you could do better than Shane Van Dyke (grandson of Dick, son of Barry). He’s the writer / director / star of “Titanic 2”, and probably brought snacks for the rest of the crew too. But did he do anything approaching a good job?
This film should be a comedy. Firstly, there’s no way anyone would name a boat after the most famous boat disaster of all time, and even if they did only absolute crazy people would go on it. That would be an interesting film, but this, about ultra-wealthy Hayden Walsh (Van Dyke) building a boat and it looking like the original and sailing it across the Atlantic, from the USA to Southampton this time, is most definitely not.
Problem is, the boat barely passed its safety tests, and there’s chunks of ice falling off a glacier causing tsunamis and throwing lumps of ice at whatever is in its path. Bruce Davison, the only name in the cast who anyone might recognise, is a Navy person, sent to check the glacier out, and his daughter Amy is one of the crew of Titanic 2. You see where this is going. Anyway, disaster strikes, people try and save themselves, an even bigger disaster strikes, almost everyone dies, the end.
First and foremost, this film makes no sense at all, on any level. A brightly lit city is visible out of the windows whenever we see them; no effort is really made to make any of the sets look like they are part of a boat; and they go out of their way to tell us how half-arsed the entire operation is on multiple occasions. The engines weren’t tested properly, the on-deck lifeboats are only for show and don’t work, and much of the work done on the boat was a rush job. If you were spending hundreds of millions on a new boat, with a name like Titanic, wouldn’t you spend that extra few £££ on safety and testing and stuff like that?
Never mind any of that though, because we get to see THE CIRCULAR ROOM! The San Pedro Water Treatment Plant makes its fifth appearance in an Asylum movie (since I started counting, which means probably quite a few more), this time as the bridge of the ship. Those wooden shutters do not move an inch, even though you’d think being able to see what was going on might be a slight advantage in a storm.
There are a few fun little touches in here – may just be fun to me, not the filmmakers or any other viewers, but we’ll see. Van Dyke is a complete “Marty Stu” – pure wish fulfilment on his part. He spends the first twenty minutes of the film with two beautiful women on each arm, then when the ship is hit he rescues people and sacrifices himself to save his ex-girlfriend. He’s not quite as perfect as The Room’s Tommy Wiseau, but he’s getting there. Oh, and my other favourite bit was a character reading a book called “The Original Titanic” – I just get the feeling that Titanic 2 is unlikely to dislodge the first one as the primary Titanic in anyone’s minds.
After a low-rent ripoff of the end of the 1997 original, the film doesn’t so much come to a conclusion as much as they just turn the cameras off like they’ve had enough. What a strange and pointless film! Perhaps there’s lots more environmental stuff which was left on the cutting room floor. Perhaps Van Dyke should never be let near a film set, in any capacity, again (while the Asylum has been sensible enough to not employ him as either an actor or director since 2011, he’s still getting scripts made, including the truly awful “Battledogs” from last year).
Rating: thumbs down
PS. They announce the launching of Titanic 2 would be on the 100th anniversary of the first one. But the film was made in 2010, two years before that. Could they not just have waited a bit and took advantage of the publicity?