ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – P – Piranhaconda (2012)

Director: Jim Wynorski

Writer: J Brad Wilke, Mike MacLean (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Madsen, Rachel Hunter, Rib Hillis, Terri Ivens, Chris De Christopher, Shandi Finnessey, Michael Swan, Noah Blake

 

Plot: Two piranha/anaconda hybrid creatures hunt down the scientist who stole their egg and a film crew; making a slasher film in the jungle.


Tagline – Part Snake! Part Fish! All Killer!

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Trash

 

Story: Piranhaconda starts when scientist Lovegrove (Madsen) takes a new snake egg of a piranha & anaconda hybrid, the snake heads off into the jungle island in search of it killing anyone who gets in its way. Elsewhere on the island Mile (De Christopher) is directing a low budget slasher movie with diva leading lady Kimmy Weston (Finnessey), add into the mix the local gang that are kidnapping people for ransom, we have three groups that are being targeting by the snake who must now work together.

 

Thoughts on Piranhaconda

 

Characters – Lovegrove is the scientist trying to study the eggs of a piranhaconda which only disturbs them from their home, he somehow manages to elude the snake unlike anyone else on the island and fills in information. Talia is one of the kidnappers, she is the right-hand woman and that is about it. Jack is the stuntman that is dating one of the behind the scenes woman while batting off the interest of the leading lady, he kind of becomes the reluctant hero. Rose is the crew member that is starting to date Jack who gets jealous of the leading lady. We also have the director, the diva star and the kidnapping locals.

PerformancesTime to rant without insulting, Michael Madsen has been in Tarantino movies, how did he end up in this? He is clearly her for some form of pay check as he looks like he just turned on at the resort one day and was given the role. Rachel Hunter fills the quota of just having models in the film, she does absolutely nothing. Rib Hillis is the strongest of the performers in this film with Terri Ivens doing the second best, even though I did enjoy watching the diva actresses played by Shandi Finnessey. Most of the performers are women in bikinis running around Hawaii.

StoryThe story follows unlikely group of people needing to work together to escape a giant hybrid piranha anaconda mix, superfast, super hungry and super aggressive. This is simple enough and for sure this is easy to watch if that was all we had, we don’t we have terrible character development as we spend half the story seemingly meeting random people on the island that get selected to be the next victim, usually hot women. The science behind the creation is loose to say the least and to say the storytelling process is smart would be an insult to anyone.

Action/Adventure/Horror/Sci-FiThe action gives us the shoot as many bullets at a creature whose skin just bounces bullets off with a couple of explosions. The horror would come off as the creature feature concept which has always worked well, but not this time. The sci-fi side of the film give us the idea of an unknown creature causing the problems.

SettingsThe film is set in Hawaii which looks pretty, but the reality is that it could be any jungle island.

Special EffectsThis is a sci-fi level movie, we know the level of special effects and this is particular weak because it just uses the same technique for every kill which gets boring quickly.


Scene of the Movie –
Most of Jack solo scene, because he knew what the tone of the movie is all about.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The kill move.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of those truly bad low budget films, it has weak acting, effects and storytelling with only one actor seemingly understanding the tone of the movie.

 

Overall: Not even so bad its funny.

Rating

 

 

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Upgrade (2018)

Director: Leigh Whannell

Writer: Leigh Whannell (Screenplay)

Starring: Logan Marshall-Green, Betty Gabriel, Melanie Vallejo, Harrison Gilbertson

 

Plot: Set in the near-future, technology controls nearly all aspects of life. But when Grey, a self-identified technophobe, has his world turned upside down, his only hope for revenge is an experimental computer chip implant called Stem.


Tagline – Not Man. Not Machine. More.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fantastic Action Horror

 

Story: Upgrade starts as we go to the near future, with improved technology that isn’t too far away from reality, Grey Trace (Marshall-Green) stills like getting his hands dirty for work, while his wife Asha (Vallejo) has accepted this new life. On a routing journey home their self-driving car takes them to the wrong neighbourhood, causing a crash to which the locals murder Asha and leaves Grey paralysed.

Left feeling suicidal Grey gets a visit from a former client and technological recluse wizard Eron (Gilbertson) that offers to give him a revolutionary operation that will bring his mobility back to him through a chip known as Stem, which leads him on his own personal revenge mission with the help of Stem.

 

Thoughts on Upgrade

 

Characters – Grey Trace is a mechanic who in a technology heavy world, he would rather get his hands dirty than rely on the technology, he sees his wife murdered and left paralysed from the incident, he becomes suicidal like you would imagine believing his life is not worth living, he get a chance at revenge though from advanced technology even though himself doesn’t like violence or blood. He is our main character he will have Stem the chip control him in fights movements making him a deadly weapon. Cortez is the technology avoiding cop that is investigating the original case as well as the bodies piling up that could be suspects in case. Eron is the technology wizard that offers Grey a chance to get revenge with a chip to recover his movement. Fisk is a man hunting down Grey, he has extra abilities too which makes his hunt different to Cortez.

PerformancesLogan Marshall-Green is brilliant in the leading role because he takes full control of each and every scene, be it the talking to the voice in his head or handling the fighting. The rest of the cast are good with their scenes without taking any spotlight of Logan.

StoryThe story here shows one man given a chance to go on a revenge mission after getting a technological upgrade that cures his paralyzed position. This does take us into a realistic future with technology that does seem like it could be used in the future. Away from just the technology side of story we get a revenge film which follows the paths we expect, starting with a small fight leading up to a bigger more challenging fight by the end. We get twists and turns along the way which does keep us guessing. If you want to have a story that is fast paced throughout keeping us wanting more throughout the film.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action in this film just keeps getting bigger as the film goes on, we get combat which feel unique in how Grey performs it because of his characters ability or lack there off. The horror blends in with certain graphicness of the kills and the idea behind the sci-fi in an ever-increasing technology heavy world.

SettingsThe film keeps us in a city that has accepted new technology with self-driving cars, drones covering the area and most importantly everything still looks like a normal city.

Special EffectsThe effects are used wonderfully well too, we have different abilities which make for different attacks that shows just how deadly the additional technology could be if we don’t control it.


Scene of the Movie –
Stem take over.

That Moment That Annoyed Me With all the technology in play surely the ‘Off’ switch would activate quicker.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fast paced sci-fi action film that will fly by, it has great choregraphed fight sequences, good use of special effects and a performance from Logan Marshall-Green which you will remember.

 

Overall: Must watch Action Sci-Fi Horror.

Rating

 

 

Patient Zero (2018)

Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky

Writer: Mike Le (Screenplay)

Starring: Natalie Dormer, Stanley Tucci, Matt Smith, Clive Standen, Frederick Schmidt, Frederick Schmidt, Agyness Deyn, John Bradley

 

Plot: After an unprecedented global pandemic turns the majority of humankind into violent “Infected,” a man gifted with the ability to speak the Infected’s new language leads the last survivors on a hunt for Patient Zero and a cure.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Promising Outbreak Movie

 

Story: Patient Zero starts as we enter the world with a global pandemic where an aggressive strain of rabies known as ‘Mad Dog’ has taken over the population, it infects within minutes and turns its infected violent. The human race is now in hiding, with the group we follow led by Dr Gina Rose (Dormer) searching for patient zero in hope of finding a cure, joined by bitten, but never infected Morgan (Smith) and surrounded by the military, this is a race against time, that isn’t being won by the humans.

Morgan has the ability to communicate with the infect which helps him search for the answer to just who patient zero is and now they are getting closer than ever, until the Professor (Tucci) turns up with his own agenda from the infected side of the battle.

 

Thoughts on Patient Zero

 

Characters – Dr Gina Rose is leading the search for the cure for the infection, she has been since the first outbreak, she demands to be in control of the base never letting any army member intimidate her. She is however taking her own risk with her love interest on the base. Morgan is a soldier on the base that once got bitten, though he never got infected, with this ability he gained the ability to learn how to understand the language the infected speak. He interviews the infected as they search for patient zero, hoping to be able to save his wife from the infection. The Professor is one of the infected, one that doesn’t act the same as the rest, he gets interviewed and tries to reflect the nature on the humans. The rest of the facility includes infected being interviewed, soldiers that are risking their own lives and would rather pull the trigger and survivors.

PerformancesNatalie Dormer in the leading role is easily the strongest part of the film, we believe her characters desperation to be the one that helps cure the world. Matt Smith on the other hand, well his acting is good, but his accent is horrendous don’t worry he isn’t the only one that loses his accent at times. Stanley Tucci is good to watch in this film, as soon as he appears he grabs your attention. Outside these three we get average performance for characters that were never developed fully.

StoryThe story in the zombie genre of films is always getting people trying to bring a fresh spin, the story here does start promisingly with the idea that this isn’t a full zombie movie it is an infection which causes rage, but can be controlled. Now searching for a patient zero to find a cure is good to watch and having the one man that was bitten and never turned being able to communicate with the infected does bring a fresh feeling. The problems with this story come from the ending which just goes the way all zombie style movies go and you will just lose the interest we have gathered from the early parts in the film. If you did see the movie ‘The Cured’ it touches on similar subjects even if it is further down the line of recovery.

Action/HorrorThe action falls into the generic infected/zombie panic stuff we have seen before. The horror never feels scary because we are focusing on the bigger picture over going for scares.

SettingsThe film keeps nearly all the action in the bunker which makes sense for the whole film, the only time we leave is with flashbacks showing the moments of infection, which are interesting scenes.

Special EffectsThe effects are very simple with the one big moment looks great.


Scene of the Movie –
The bite to the doctor.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The ending is cliched.

Final ThoughtsThis is a promising infection style movie that starts so, well only to fall into the generic style we have seen too often and the less we talk about Matt Smith’s accent the better.

 

Overall: Infection Film 101

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – N – Neon City (1991)

Director: Monte Markham

Writer: Jeff Begun, Buck Finch, Monte Markham, Gus Peters (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Ironside, Vanity, Lyle Alzado, Valerie Wildman, Nick Klar, Juliet Landau

 

Plot: “Mad Max” clone set in the not-too-distant future about a group of people trying to escape to a safe haven called Neon City after a solar disaster that has decimated the Earth.


Tagline – Take a deep breath, it may be your last. Welcome to the year 2053.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Mad Max Rip Off

 

Story: Neon City starts in the 2053 as lone drifter Harry M Stark (Ironside) goes around the wasteland searching for the next payday, his latest was Reno (Vanity) being the choice in a hope to get to a place known as Neon City, a safe haven from the wasteland.

With the latest transport heading from Jericho to the Neon City, Harry is forced into the transport along with a host of colourful characters, but the journey isn’t going to be that easy for them.

 

Thoughts on Neon City

 

Characters – Harry M Stark is the lone drifter looking to make the money to head to Neon City to extract his revenge on the man that murdered his mutated son, he has nothing to lose but will make sure the transport gets to the city in the best condition possible. Reno is the latest criminal that Harry is transferring to jail for the murder of her parents, she is a fighter and will help the people in need on the transport too. Bulk is the old friend of Harry that is leading the transport, he knows his clients are the most valuable part of the transport and will do the right thing for the people he is transporting. The rest of the characters we meet are the different people with different stories to why they are on the transport.

PerformancesMichael Ironside is the biggest name in the film, he does a good job in the leading role and shows why he is the star of the film. Vanity is good for the supporting role showing enough fire in her performance and Lyle Alzado is good fun in the role he plays too and the whole cast does look like they are enjoying their roles enough to be good throughout.

StoryIf you don’t compare this movie to Mad Max, then you would be lying about knowing too much about film, the wasteland the concept and even certain styles are just what we have seen in those movies. The story does follow a group travelling across a wasteland in hopes of reaching a safe haven from the harsh conditions, each character has their own reasons for being on the trip which gives meaning to what they are willing to risk in the battle to survive. This is an easy watch with how the story flows keeps the pacing good throughout.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action follows the transport as they go from one city to the safe haven, we get the shoot outs from the vehicles which give us general explosion, this plays into the adventure side of the film as we see the obstacles they must face. The sci-fi side of the takes us to the wasteland where we see just what has become of the world.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us just how the wasteland can look for the journey which can hold the problems they will be facing.

Special EffectsThe effects are solid enough, but never come off to standout for the film to great.


Scene of the Movie –
The final run in.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It isn’t the most original.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable and easy to watch sci-fi movie in the same ideas as Mad Max, which can be fun to watch.

 

Overall: Fun and easy to watch.

Rating

 

 

Inhumanity (2018)

Director: Joe McReynolds

Writer: Joe McReynolds (Screenplay)

Starring: Darcel Danielle, Diana Rose, Ford Austin, Leviticus Wolfe, Karl Anderson, Darrell N Mitchell

 

Plot: Narrowly escaping death at the hands of a notorious serial killer, Jessa Dixon awakens from a coma to learn her father committed suicide. Unconvinced, she investigates the suspicious suicide and uncovers a dark corporate conspiracy involving the police and the psychotic killer that almost took her life.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slightly Too Much Going On

 

Story: Inhumanity starts when serial killer Six Pack Sam (Wolfe) is about to kill his latest victim Jessa (Danielle) before getting stopped before he finishes, leaving Jessa in a coma, Dr Campbell (Rose) wants to use Six Pack Sam as an experiment.

3-months later Jessa awakens from her coma to learn her father committed suicide and she isn’t convinced, joining forces with a journalist she starts to investigate what happened, with Sergio (Austin) a former friend of her father’s, only to uncover a bigger conspiracy involving the experiment of Six Pack Sam.

 

Thoughts on Inhumanity

 

Characters – Jessa is the latest victim of serial killer Six Pack Sam, she survives in a coma, waking up to learn her father has committed suicide. She isn’t willing to accept this and sets of to investigate the truth. While she is a victim we don’t see enough about how she wants the truth and she never feels like she is doing the leg work. Dr Campbell is the one operating the experiments on Six Pack Sam, she goes against the people who want her search to make sure her idea could change the world. Sergio is a friend of Jessa’s father, the one who uses his connection to help her learn the truth, he has his addiction which could cause problems between the two. Six Pack Sam is the serial rapist and murderer, stronger than most men, he just doesn’t hold back when it comes to committing his crimes, now he is being experimented on as we learn about his motivation.

PerformancesDarcel Danielle is the leading role is good as the victim and woman that wants to know the truth, she isn’t just a woman on a mission which makes her performance need to be more withdrawn at times. Diana Rose is good as the idealistic woman believing she can change. Ford Austin is good as the investigator trying to get to the bottom of everything. Leviticus Wolfe is an imposing threat as the serial killer and rapist which makes him the standout performer in this film.

StoryThe story here follows one woman that awakes from a coma after a sexual assault to learn that her father has killed himself and must try to figure out just what really happened to her father. This would have been enough for a conspiracy riddle thriller, though we get more with a doctor trying to cure a serial killer of his ways which with balance could have work too. The problems with the story come from the overcomplication of characters involved in the conspiracy which only ends up giving us an extended run time with less time with the characters we need to be following. If you do like watching films that go around with large numbers, this will be one that could be enjoyed.

Action/HorrorThe action is a mix of different fights, with the assassin like guy chasing down Jessa as the highlight of them, the horror in the film comes from just where and how brutal the kills going on.

SettingsThe film takes place in a city, one we don’t know which has the serial killer in it and shows us just how everything can end up being in this one city.


Scene of the Movie –
Chainsaw time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me One or two too many characters introduced.

Final ThoughtsThis is an action thriller with a pinch of horror that is ambitious with the pure number of characters we are introduced too. We get a slow build up to the big conclusion which will be remembered.

 

Overall: Action thriller that is slightly too long.

Rating