Once again, The Asylum delivers. With “Pacific Rim” actually promising to be quite good, their low-budget “Atlantic Rim” has a chance to make some money. But is it worth 80+ minutes of your time? Well, let’s see.
After a weirdly stilted opening, where it appears the two people in the scene shot their sides of the conversation at different times, and our first view of the monster, we go to Mardi Gras. It seems the Asylum loves New Orleans! (see also “Arachnoquake”). David Chokachi of “Baywatch” and a new ISCFC favourite, is a Navy guy, and along with a woman he’s maybe sort of having a relationship with and his extremely tattooed mate, is a giant robot pilot.
Oh yes, the three robotas are colour co-ordinated. So, they’ve been tasked with finding out what happened to a destroyed oil rig, but why the robots had to be gigantic for this job is never fully explained (or explained even a little bit, for that matter).
But lucky they are massive, because monsters! They bring one of the movie’s giant lizard baddies onto the shore, kill a bunch of people by just wildly firing their lasers and then finally manage to drop the lizard thing. All the corpses you see strewn around the street after that point? Baywatch did that. That lizard didn’t even make it past the beach. But he’s fine about his mass murder, and has not the slightest pang of guilt. In fact, he does address this in dialogue – “oops”. Cold!
I don’t see there’s an awful lot of point describing the ways Asylum saves budget – if you’re watching one of their films, you know what you’re getting. But this is particularly heinous – the main Navy base, where they’re launching nukes and all sorts, has two people in uniform and then just a bunch of office people; and the room we briefly cut to which houses the guy who apparently warns all the branches of government that a huge lizard attack is on the way, is just a completely ordinary office, with zero signs that it belongs to one of the most important people in the country.
There’s a second lizard, of course, but Baywatch is locked up for offending the Navy brass, and in one of the film’s funniest scenes is seen in his “cell” exercising, pacing, rearranging the meagre furniture and so on. It looks like weeks of activity, the sort of thing most films would have to show the extended passage of time. In this film, we discover it’s still the same day, and given it looked like dusk was on its way before, it can’t be any more than a few hours.
The film has some romantic intrigue! Love triangles! And then we’re on to mama Lizard visiting Manhattan. In the classic Asylum tradition, they can’t just rip off one film, so this climactic battle owes more than a little to “Cloverfield”. There’s a clever bit where we see the monster hitting the city, and all the enormous billboards are advertising other Asylum films…and we then find out the robots can fly, and they all have “melee weapons” – a sword, a hammer and a club. It’s pretty silly, even for a film like this. Countless thousands of New Yorkers lose their lives, but do they defeat the lizard? Which brave robot pilot will the woman go for? Do they all even survive?
I do need to really hammer this point home – “Atlantic Rim” is rubbish. I’m worried that my critical faculties have worn away, because I kind of enjoyed it. Baywatch is having fun, there’s some good-rotten acting, and it’s got more plot holes than is usual, even for something from these guys. I say give it a go!
Rating: thumbs up