Apocalypse Pompeii (2014)


I have a lot of time for Adrian Paul and John Rhys Davies, stars of two of my favourite series of the 90s, “Highlander” and “Sliders” (okay, they were both really cheesy, but I loved em). So any film where their names are above the title will have me in attendance.

I probably shouldn’t have bothered, though. I suppose this is a mockbuster for the soon-to-be-released “Pompeii”, but if it’s anything it’s a painfully ordinary recreation of a hundred other Asylum films, with the same beats, the same non-locations, the same wooden supporting people and the same everything else. It’s the morning after I watched it, and the details are already fast slipping from my mind.

Volcanoes be eruptin’. The Galapagos Islands are wiped out, then we see Adrian Paul, his wife and daughter on a trip to Italy. Dad is going to do some business deal in Naples (turns out he’s a former Black Ops Marine, and is now setting up a private security firm) and the ladies are going to see Pompeii. Well, almost as soon as they get there, Vesuvius erupts, and there we have the two sides of the film – mother and daughter trying to survive the eruption, father trying to rescue them.

JRD is a NATO army guy who helps out Dad by hooking him up with members of his old Black Ops unit, all of whom were conveniently located in Naples. I thought “ol John Rhys Davies, he looks like he’s playing the same part he played in “100 Degrees Below Zero”, and an IMDB check reveals that in this, he’s Colonel Carlos Dillard (Carlos is definitely a name I’d associate with an old Welshman) and in “100 Degrees…” he’s Colonel Ralph Dillard. What an odd bit of continuity across their films!

The scriptwriter clearly read the Wikipedia page on volcanoes in preparation for this, and his mouthpiece is the daughter, who knows all the tricks for avoiding the worst of the lava, the dangerous gases, and so on. So, blah blah blah. As a substitute for dramatic tension, the film just kills off cast members fairly regularly, but you know who’s going to survive anyway.

Time for a spoiler, just to indicate how terribly terribly dull this film is and how you definitely shouldn’t watch it. There are news reports of other volcanoes erupting, and with the title, you think there’s going to be an apocalypse, right? But then, right at the end, as our heroes stand and look proudly out over the ash, we get a from-nowhere radio news voice telling us the eruption is all done and everything’s going to be fine. Huh?

It’s all so pointless. The middle of the film is the mum and daughter sat in a room with the other survivors, talking, while Dad and friends are in a helicopter, talking. No drama, no spectacle, no nothing. Adrian Paul was never a great actor and it shows, while John Rhys Davies, who’s a fine actor when he tries, appears to be wearing a brand new set of false teeth which look horrible and affect the way he talks. And obviously isn’t trying either. Sorry John.

It’s not worth watching for a laugh, and it’s not worth watching for any level of excitement or fun either. Boo to this film.

Rating: thumbs down