ABC Film Challenge – Horror – M – Megalodon (2018)

Director: James Thomas

Writer: Koichi Petetsky (Screenplay) Thunder Levin (Story)

Starring: Michael Madsen, Dominic Pace, Caroline Harris, Ego Mikitas, Aimee Stolte, Scott C Roe, Sebastien Charmant

 

Plot: A military vessel on the search for an unidentified submersible finds themselves face to face with a giant shark, forced to use only what they have on board to defend themselves from the monstrous beast.


Tagline – You can bet she won’t eat just one.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Run Away Fast

 

Story: Megalodon starts when a Russian submarine captained by Ivanov (Mikitas) unleashes a megalodon in American waters, the US Navy is monitoring the location discovers the sunken submarine, with Captain Streeper (Pace) letting Commander Lynch (Harris) conduct a rescue mission.

When the rescue attempt goes wrong Streeper wants to save his team, while Admiral King (Madsen) refuses to let military personal risked to save people that are more than likely dead. The military battle on the surface conflicts with the one under the ocean as the race against time from the megalodon is on.

 

Thoughts on Megalodon

 

Characters – Admiral King is visiting one of his ships, he is welcomed with open arms, but when the push comes to the shove, he will let people die instead of protecting the men in his fleet. Captain Streeper will do anything to try and save the people of his ship even if it goes against the orders of the Admiral. Commander Lynch is the one that will risk her life to try and save the people on the submarine, she will go against orders to achieve the right thing for people in need of help. Captain Ivanov is the captain of the Russian submarine, he will not give up the secrets of his country despite being put through the questions by the US Navy.

PerformancesMichael Madsen is in this film, he was in Reservoir Dogs, how the mighty have fallen, what is this guy thinking. He however is the best of what is a terrible group of acting, which mostly just follows the actors wobbling like a Star Trek Tv Show and putting on generically week accents.

StoryThe story is US Navy versus Russian submarine and a megalodon, this is all we see, the Americans trying to kill the creature while the Russians try to escape. Trying to put a boring military angle into a basic monster movie only sucks the life out of everything, we spend more time fighting each other than deal with the megalodon which will eat them with ease. This could well be the most boring monster movie story I have ever seen. There are no redeem aspects in this story.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is mostly laughable the shark attacks are a CGI mess, the rest is just shooting guns. The horror is meant to be a monster movie, the fact this is just from watching is being the scariest thing about this. The sci-fi idea about the long thought of dead creature does make sense only for it to be something we see way too often.

SettingsThe film is set in a random ocean with military vessel being under attack from the shark.

Special EffectsThe effects are the normal terrible CGI rubbish we are used to seeing in the syfy world of movies.


Scene of the Movie –
Drunks meet the shark.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The CGI attacks are beyond laughable.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the worst outings that the world of syfy has given us, this is terrible from start to finish and fails to even be a bad monster movie.

 

Overall: Absolutely rubbish.

Rating

 

 

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Bleeding Steel (2018)

Director: Leo Zhang

Writer: Erica Xia-Hou, Siwei Cui (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Show Lo, Na-Na OuYang, Eric Xia-Hou, Callan Mulvey, Tess Haubrich

 

Plot: A special force agent is assigned to protect a scientist and his creation from a sinister gang.


Tagline – One man must unravel the past to save the future.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple, Fun Chan Movie

 

Story: Bleeding Steel starts as we see special forces agent Lin Dong (Chan) face a difficult decision when it comes to protecting a high-profile witness in protection or having his remaining time with his dying daughter, when the mission goes wrong Lin learns about sinister gang that want this man dead and his invention for their own.

13 years later Lin Dong is still searching for members of the gang, with Leeson (Lo) a computer wizard who is trying to unlock the secrets of the Steel Heart with the gang still searching for it and Nancy (OuYang) being the key to everything.

 

Thoughts on Bleeding Steel

 

Characters – Lin Dong is a special forces agent who deals in the highest cases in the department, his latest assignment puts his tragic personal life behind him to save a doctor with a secret that could change the world, he faces a losing battle when he comes up against a technological advanced unit. He gives everything and spends his time searching for the group before they do anymore evil in the world. Leeson is the computer tech guy that has uncovered the truth about Nancy, he wants to save her from the danger she has found herself in and must work with Lin even though their styles don’t work together. Nancy is the young woman that becomes the target for all sides, she has her own personal problems with nightmares she can’t explain which is making her life difficult, now she might get to learn the truth. Andre and the Woman in Black are the ones after the device which would make them even more powerful than they are now.

PerformancesJackie Chan is Mr reliable when it comes to action, we know what we can get and that he can handle everything thrown at him, he is easily the star of the show. Show Lo handles the comedy his character offers well though due to the dubbing it is hard to see him shine. This goes for most of the performers in the film they handle most of the material well.

StoryThe story does come off confusing in places because it doesn’t go full sci-fi, but it is too sci-fi to not embrace this element of the film. the story does have twists along the way, though they can get telegraphed before being revealed to us. The ideas being put together in the story are interesting though, because seeing a world where science can be used for good in life saving procedures being hunted for by villainous gangs is something we can all believe. This however does feel like Jackie Chan is in a Star Trek movie at times, which only adds to the outlandish ideas in the film.

Action/Sci-FiThe action when hand to hand is what we come to see and Jackie Chan and the team don’t fail to entertain on this front, it’s the sci-fi shoot outs which do become weak because of the quality of the laser beams being shot with the future weapons.

SettingsThe film is shot in Australia which is one location we haven’t seen Jackie Chan fight in, we sci-fi locations do look weak, but watching Jackie Chan fight on the Sydney Opera House, yes please.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are not the strongest when it comes to dealing with gun fights, the best parts come from the stunt work in the fight scenes.


Scene of the Movie –
The Sydney Opera House fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The dubbing is really poor.

Final ThoughtsThis is an action film you would enjoy watching if you are a Jackie Chan fan, it does keep things simple enough even if they can be wildly over the top at times.

 

Overall: Jackie Chan 101

Rating

 

 

Horror Express (1972)

Director: Eugenio Martin

Writer: Arnaud d’Usseau, Julian Zimet (Screenplay)

Starring: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Alberto De Mendoza, Silvia Tortosa, Julio Pena, Angel del Pozo

 

Plot: In 1906, in China, a British anthropologist discovers a frozen prehistoric creature and must transport it to Europe by train.


Tagline – A nightmare of terror travelling aboard the Horror Express!

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Cult Lovers Horror

 

Story: Horror Express starts as anthropologist Professor Sir Alexander Saxton (Lee) has made a prehistoric discovery in China and must now transfer it back to Europe for further studies. He discovery is secret and Dr Wells (Cushing) is curious about what is in the box and after people start disappearing and dying, Saxton is forced to open the box.

When the creature gets loose on the train, the bodies start piling up and the decision on whether to follow science or just survive get bought up.

 

Thoughts on Horror Express

 

Characters – Professor Sir Alexander Saxton has travelled the world for his anthropology missions and his latest find could well be his biggest find of his career, now he must fight to keep it from being killed as it hunts for prey. Dr Wells wants to conduct his own investigation into the creature which soon leads him to let the monster out the box. The characters on the train each face their own problems on how to tackle the creature roaming the halls.

PerformancesChristopher Lee and Peter Cushing are two of the biggest icons of horror films, they both shine with their characters which they bring to life. The supporting cast are good without being overly stand out.

StoryThe story follows the transportation of an unknown prehistoric creature from China to Europe when things start to go wrong and the question of science and faith come into question. The story here gains from being on the train meaning our characters must com together for the solution to the problem instead of running and hiding. This is good for a story, but sadly it doesn’t end up being as engrossing as it should be.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror in the film comes from the idea of a creature loose on the train that is taking victims, with the sci-fi side looking at the history of life’s unknown moments before history was recorded.

SettingsThe film takes place on the train, we don’t leave the train which leaves out characters trapped at the mercy of the evil hunting them down.

Special EffectsThe effects for the movie are good for the time, the change in the characters after the creature attacks do work well.


Scene of the Movie –
The change in eyes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is hard to believe in the supporting cast for the most part.

Final ThoughtsFor a cult movie this is a good movie, this does the basics for a horror to make us entertained throughout.

 

Overall: Good cult horror film.

Rating

 

 

Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz (2013)

Director: Kieran Parker

Writer: Rae Brunton (Screenplay)

Starring: Bryan Larkin, Ivan Kamaras, Velibor Topic, Laurence Possa, Alec Utgoff, Johnny Meres, Michael McKell

 

Plot: In this third installment of the hit Nazi Zombie action horror movie, Outpost: Rise Of The Spetnaz, we discover the horrifying origins of these supernatural soldiers and see them in ferocious gladiatorial battle against the most ruthless and notorious of all military special forces: the Russian Spetsnaz.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sloppy and Poor Sequel

 

Story: Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz starts in 1945 as we follow a Russian special forces unit led by Dolokhov (Larkin) navigating the German forest looking for the secret base which has rumours of special experiments.

The plan doesn’t go the way they hoped, they find themselves captured or killed, waking in an underground bunker where they must find a way out joined by American spy Rogers (Lambert), they will learn the truth about the German experiments.

 

Thoughts on Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz

 

Characters – Dolokhov is the leader of the Russian military unit searching for the secrets to the German’s work during World War II, he is loyal to his men and when he starts seeing them killed he will fight back no matter what the odds. Captured he goes through the experiments proving to be the best candidate for the Germans. When we reach the rest of the characters, we hit the weaknesses here, we have the rest of the unit which gets picked off bit by bit, the German soldiers and scientist with only one standing out, that being the man running the outpost.

PerformancesWhen we look at the performances we must face the facts here, the characters are not that interesting which doesn’t give the actors must to work with, Bryan Larkin in the lead role is fine with the combat side of everything, but when it comes to the deep fake accent we see the weakness coming through too often. This is a problem for most of the stars of the film.

StoryThe story here tries to continue to build on the legacy behind this mysterious bunker which was the focal point of the very first Outpost movie, this time we follow Russians that are searching for the bunker only to become the latest victims. Now this has many problems early on, the first film we know this place is abandoned which makes the story interesting, this film tries to explain what happened in the bunker before the English unit finds the location, well I think that is what I saw. The idea that the German’s were doing experiments has been done too much which only leaves us thinking we have seen this before because of the lack of shock behind anything we see. This is a story which doesn’t give us enough investment in the characters to make us care about what is happening through the film.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is war based, with gun shots through the woods, fighting in the bunker and genre hordes of zombie fighting, certain scenes are shot badly with too many cuts and the action does feel clunky. The horror side of the film comes from seeing what the experiments were about and how the zombie like soldiers will not stop, this does play into the sci-fi elements of the film too as we see how far the Nazi’s were going in the war.

SettingsThe film mostly takes place in the bunker, or outpost if you like, it doesn’t feel as claustrophobic as the first film and the lighting makes this a harder watch too.

Special EffectsThe effects are basic and with the editing we lose the moments of gore we would like to see.


Scene of the Movie –
Unleash for the fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Nothing is exciting.

Final ThoughtsThis feels more like a pointless sequel in a franchise which has already gone on too long for its own good.

 

Overall: Dull and lifeless.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Outpost: Black Sun (2012)

Director: Steve Barker

Writer: Steve Barker, Rae Brunton (Screenplay)

Starring: Catherine Steadman, Richard Coyle, Ali Craig, Nick Nevern, Daniel Caltagirone, Gary McDonald, Julian Wadham

 

 

 

 

Plot: The year is 1945, the closing stages of WW2, and a German scientist by the name of Klausener is working on a frightening new technology that has the power to create an immortal Nazi army. Flash forward to present day, and a NATO task force is hurriedly deployed to Eastern Europe, where a sinister enemy appears to be mercilessly killing everything in its path. But this is no ordinary foe. Only Helena, a gutsy investigator on the trail of the notorious war-criminal Klausener, accepts the reality of that they are facing a battalion of Nazi Storm-Troopers, a veritable zombie army on the march. With the help of Wallace, a man who’s been chasing Nazi secrets for years, the two of them team up with a Special Forces Unit to venture deep behind enemy lines. Their mission to fight their way back to the source of this evil army and prevent the seemingly inevitable rise of the 4th Reich.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Idea for the Sequel

 

Story: Outpost: Black Sun starts as we follow Lena (Steadman) in Paraguay searching for German war criminals with her main target being Klausener the man that was involved in the mission Hunt (Wadham) went on last time around. We also see how the effects of the first film have led to the new Third Reich spreading like a virus from the source.

Lena teams up with Wallace (Coyle) to build a team to get to Klausener’s machine to try and bring an end to the war that could be about to bring the promise of the Nazi’s invasion into a world problem.

 

Thoughts on Outpost: Black Sun

 

Characters/PerformanceLena is a strong leading lady, she has been tracking war criminals in the modern time but learning of the existence of Klausener draws her back to Eastern Europe to put an end to his terror. Wallace is an engineer stationed near the bunker who reluctantly helps Lena on her mission as he knows how to stop the machine. The rest of the characters are generic soldiers you barely learn the names of and the now Nazi zombies.

Performance wise, Catherine Steadman does a good job coming into a very male heavy film easily becoming the star performer, with most of the male cast all becoming forgettable by the end of the film.

StoryThe direction the story goes is interesting because it builds on how the last film finished. The idea that the experiment is spreading is a big plus, but the first film had a lot of a supernatural vibe to everything, this time we just get zombies and an elevated sci-fi feel to what is going on. I can understand why things went this way for franchise value but I do feel it takes away from the first film.

Action/HorrorThe action is much heavier in this film as we get to see plenty of fights between the humans and zombies. This increased action does take away from the horror side of the film as it doesn’t reach the horror needed for what is happening.

SettingsThe settings are also a part of this film which lose out by making this a bigger picture, we lose the idea of just one solo location for a bigger battle.

Special EffectsHere is another weaker point, sure the battles and fights all look great but trying to show the effects of a EMP just look cheap whenever they are used.

Final ThoughtsThis is difficult to make my mind up on, I liked the bigger picture going on, but I did find the random jump cuts to after something has happened frustrating, the fast pace also leaves a mixed feeling because it does work but takes away the horror. This is what I would like to think of as a good franchise builder, not saying it is bad but relies on having seen the first and wanting to see more.

 

Overall: Good franchise building horror film.

Rating