APRIL 18, 2009
My knack for falling asleep during a movie (also concerts, lectures, and as of this week, trials) is well known amongst my friends, and probably a good bulk of my regular readers. But even those folks will probably be pretty amazed at how quickly I nodded off during Bats: Human Harvest. Thirty minutes in? Nope. First couple of scenes? I wish. Opening credits? Not a chance. Nope, I was out BEFORE THE MOVIE EVEN STARTED. I believe I got to the French version of the "The views on the commentary and extra features* are that of the participants and not the parent company... (etc)" screen before passing out, waking up near the film's finale.
Of course, I knew I would fall asleep. It was after midnight, so I thought I would get a head start on the day's movie by starting it before I actually went to bed from the day before (HMAD rule #4 - the movie has to start between 12:01 AM and 11:59 PM of that day); hoping to catch at least the first act. But trial, the first day of Fangoria, and a number of other factors kept me from even coming close to that mark. I woke up and actually laughed at myself. Then I passed back out.
Anyway, once I finally watched the movie (before heading to Fango for the day), I discovered what a colossal pile of shit it was. Even for a Sci-Fi (or is that Syfy?) movie, it doesn't deliver on any single level. I can't even imagine that the (clearly non-discerning) usual Sci-Fi audiences will find anything to enjoy about this one. They'd be better off with Lake Placid 2.
For starters, even by DTV standards, it's fucking sinful to call this a sequel. Yes, there are bats, but they don't look or act anything like the ones in the first movie, nor do they exist in the same locale. Fuck, it's not even the same goddamn COUNTRY this time; instead of southwestern US desert, we're in dreary Russian woods. Did they migrate? I mean, I can see wanting to latch a film on to a big hit - White Noise 2 may have been unrelated to the first one, but you can't fault the studio for wanting to latch it onto a 50 million grossing film from two years before. Is there really any benefit to latching this completely unrelated movie to a decade-old film that no one really remembers? Hell, it might even be DETRIMENTAL, as it's highly likely that someone, being a wiseass or not, opted not to watch the film because he/she hadn't seen the original, like most other people in the world.
And you might think I am splitting hairs when I say that the bats don't look the same, but it's true. The bats in the first film seemed to be of typical size, but these are clearly mutated (though this might just be poor scaling of CGI effects and not an actual storytelling decision). They have also seemingly gained Screamers-esque powers - when they swoop at someone, a limb usually gets sliced off in the process, somehow. Still not quite sure how that works.
But the real problem is that the movie is a giant fucking bore. Not only do our heroes have to contend with bats, they are also up against some Russian rebels (or soldiers, I forget/don't care). So in between dull bat attacks, we get some even duller firefights. In fact, pretty much the only nice thing I can say about this movie is that I was happy to see that the two groups didn't team up against the bats, as I am getting fairly sick of the "the enemy of my enemy is my temporary friend who will obviously sell me out near the end of the movie" plot (note - if one of the human groups teamed up with the bats to take on the OTHER human group, I might be changing my tune on this matter).
It's also just incredibly lazy on every level. None of the actors are recognizable to me (the main guy was apparently on Baywatch - because, yeah, it was the dudes that people remember from that show and thus would be excited to see them in a movie), and they all perform with the conviction of a voice-over actor in the cut-scenes of some Halo ripoff. On more than one occasion I pondered whether hitting B on one of my Xbox controllers would skip the chitchat and resume the shooting action. Of course, the action is no better, due to the fact that no one seems particularly engaged on anything that's going on. At one point our heroes rescue a guy, and he just casually says "Oh, thank you", as if someone had just held a door for him or something.
The most hilarious after effect of this global laziness is a scene with some Russian bad guys talking. No one else is around, but for some reason they speak (broken) English with one another. However, near the end of the movie, when our hero is at gunpoint, the Russian colonel (captain, major... again: whatever) talks to him in Russian (the first time the language had been used in the entire movie, by my recollection), despite the fact that he's saying things that one would expect someone to respond to (like "Why are you here?"). Jesus fucking Christ.
In short, don't bother. And if you must, and you also fall asleep before the "Play" display has disappeared from your TV screen, take my advice: don't bother rewinding it when you wake up.
(p.s. Attn: New reader CB - THIS is a negative review! :) )
What say you?
*The irony, of course, is that the DVD HAS no commentary or behind the scenes type footage, only a pair of brief deleted scenes without any context. So if the unnecessary warning wasn't there, I may have seen, I dunno, the Destination Films logo or something before passing out.