Attila (2013)

None of this happens

None of this happens

When an Asylum film tells you anything about the past, it’s always best to assume they’re just making it up off the top of their heads. So it is with their potted history of the Huns, which starts off this particular cinematic epic – firstly, they weren’t black (Eastern European to the Western bits of the Orient) and secondly they used weapons. But if that’s their worst crime, we should still be okay.

After an opening which is like a bargain-basement version of “300”, set in the olden days, we’re in the present day, where some Army guys are tracking down a bit of the Staff of MacGuffin – the magic thing that Attila had and divided so no-one else could use its power. They find it, the General and his archaeologist assistant want it, but unfortunately they also happen to bring back to life one of Attila’s sons (the one he didn’t like all that much, it seems).

So, the son is an indestructible badass, and he’s killing Army guys like it’s going out of fashion; our hero (the guy who found the staff) is given a crew of top soldiers and told to track down the son, kill him and get the staff bit back. Other than a few twists and turns and the ludicrous reasoning behind why they want the staff, that’s all the summary you need.

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If you’re firing a gun at someone, and he’s already survived like a thousand other gunshots, and he’s walking quickly towards you, would you:
1. keep shooting, while standing still
or
2. run like heck?
If you picked 1, then you might be a cast member on this movie. If you laugh at seeing the recently removed bones of your comrades, then you might be a cast member on this movie. If you…nah, you can add a few of them yourself if you like.

“Attila” features maybe the biggest continuity error I’ve ever seen on an Asylum movie, as two cannon fodder guys are walking round in t-shirts, enter a room and they’re suddenly wearing jackets. The bit where our hero is obviously not carrying the staff, for ages, then suddenly produces it when needed, is small potatoes by comparison. It’s good to know for all their Sharknado money, they’re still no good at noticing that A should be followed by B.

It’s not all bad – a few of the main guy’s crew are decent actors, and they bother giving them character, sort of. Well, apart from that, it is all bad. Calling it Attila when he’s not really in it is a bit of a swizz, too – I suppose calling it “Attila’s Least Favourite Son” wouldn’t have got the dollars rolling in. Add on an ending where all their effort is for absolutely naught and you’ve got a completely middle-of-the-road Asylum movie.

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Rating: thumbs down

PS. I want to get on my Asylum soapbox for a moment. Their own Facebook page linked approvingly to this news article – http://magazine.good.is/articles/sharknado-vs-hollywood . I’ve not really found their incompetence funny for a while now, and the article’s tale of them having unsafe working conditions and using unpaid interns to do a lot of their work leaves a slightly bad taste in the mouth.

Also, the article claims they’re of a similar ilk to Troma, the schlock super-studio run by Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz. This annoyed me more than I expected – for all the tiny budgets Troma work with, and all the terrible terrible movies they buy in and repackage, their own movies are almost always fantastic, and show more invention and fun in one movie than the Asylum have managed in any ten of theirs. It saddens me that anyone thinks the Asylum is “trashy” – trash yes, mercenaries yes, trashy no.

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