The title tells you most of what you can expect from this. If you were flicking through the channels and saw a SyFy Channel original called “Flying Monkeys”, I reckon a good 75% of you would have described this exact movie without having seen a single second of it. But let’s see, shall we?
Right from the off, they want you to know that it’s going to have lightness to go with the dark – or they at least try. A pair of old men are having a talk outside a garage when a car full of high school-graduating girls drives past. Old man 1: “That’s the thing I love about high school girls – I get older, they stay the same age”. Now, this is a line ripped off from 90s classic “Dazed And Confused” (and likely not original to there, either), and the humour comes from a sleazy guy in his late 20s talking about 17 year olds. When it comes to guys in their mid 70s doing the same thing, it goes beyond a little sleazy to something a great deal less savoury, which if they’d been aiming for that would have worked fine, but it’s just two old guys shooting the breeze!
A couple of Chinese guys are bringing over a number of exotic animals to what turns out to be a completely ordinary-looking pet shop in random small town Kansas. One of them is an innocent-looking Capuchin monkey, but at some point during the flight all the creatures except that monkey (including the co-pilot) are brutally slaughtered by creatures unknown. Well, it’s the monkey, sorry, otherwise the name of the movie would be really stupid. The guy in charge of the pet shop, who looks more like a security guard for a Vegas gangster than he does a guy with a very strange pet-based business model, also encounters the evil of the monkey and decides to sell it to the first sucker who comes along.
Fun Bobby! Vincent Ventresca, who is better known to a generation of TV fans as Fun Bobby from “Friends”, plays the Dad of the main family, and he’s upset at missing his daughter’s graduation from high school, so he buys her a monkey. That daughter is Joan (Maika Monroe), and she’s about to go to vet school…so you think she’d have plenty of pets already, especially given she works at a vet place part time. But if this movie were logical it’d never get going, so let’s give it some slack and move on.
At nightfall, the cute little fella transforms into a large flying monkey and goes out killin’. If you shoot it, it splits into two flying monkeys. We discover this thanks to the other side of the story, the Chinese side. Two mystical warriors who have enchanted weapons (a sword and a crossbow) and find the American preoccupation with guns bizarre. It turns out the monkey is actually an ancient demon called a Zigo, and the one that Joan has is one of only two left in the world. So, the two Chinese, giving it all the “prophecy says we must do X and Y” garbage, set off for America.
Joan goes back to the pet shop when she thinks the monkey isn’t eating (of course, it’s popping out at night and munching on the local population), and notices an endangered animal for sale. Owner guy threatens her, but rather than reporting this and helping out the animals, she…does nothing. Why bring it up?
Aside from the Chinese heroes indicating this has got some funding from that part of the world, everything else progresses exactly as you’d expect. People shoot, rescue their beloved family members, figure out a way to save the day, etc. The special effects are sort of okay by SyFy standards, abysmal by any others, with the Zigo themselves looking like the bad guys from a late 90s computer game. The acting is fine, it’s occasionally amusing, it’s just so painfully average. It’s like wallpaper.
If you don’t have that screen saver on your computer that’s bouncing text, or the pipe one (the pipe one is occasionally exciting) then this movie will provide an adequate place to point your eyes at for a couple of hours. But adequate is no good for a place like the ISCFC! You and I require the wild highs and the crazy crazy lows!
Rating: thumbs down