MARCH 27, 2010
I recently upgraded my cable package to include Showtime and The Movie Channel (and now I pay less, for some reason), so expect an influx of crappy DTV horror movies like Komodo Vs. Cobra, which is the stuff they show in the middle of the night in between airings of Twilight. As I have literally exhausted my local Blockbuster's supply of horror movies (barring new releases and a few sequels to movies I haven't seen yet), these are the types of movies that I would never think to go out of my way to add to my Netflix queue, but will hit "record this" while thumbing through the guide without a moment's hesitation.
Hopefully some of these films will be better than Komodo Vs. Cobra. Or worse. The movie followed the monster/island/experiment gone wrong template to such a T, I felt I could have simply watched the movie on fast forward and known exactly what was happening, even when people were talking. I'd almost rather an outright disaster like Lake Placid 2 than something this dull.
Of course, maybe I was just missing the subtle nuances of the film because it was a sequel to a movie I hadn't seen (ironic, considering my above excuse as to why I recorded the thing in the first place). The film began with people already being chased by Komodo, and when it eats one particular guy, it seems like it's supposed to be a big shock and/or really upsetting for the audience. So I did a little research and discovered that there was a film a year earlier titled Curse Of The Komodo, by the same director (and by all accounts, an identical film), but I also discovered that the actor who died at the beginning of this film played a different character in the first one (Foster in Curse, Dr. Richardson in KvC), and the girl playing his daughter wasn't in Curse at all (nor does another actress with the same character name), so who the fuck knows. I've already put more effort into this than anyone involved did.
And who is responsible for this nonsense? Jim Wynorski, of course, albeit under one of his many aliases (Jay Andrews, if memory serves - I already deleted the damn thing off my DVR). A quick look at his IMDb filmography reveals some interesting tidbits: 1. He has directed an average of 3 films per year (even Uwe Boll only does about 2), and 2. His entire career switches between softcore porn (most with movie parody titles - I'm partial to The Hills Have Thighs) and crappy monster/action movies like this. The goodwill he earned from Chopping Mall has long since run out (many would argue he pissed it all away just a few years later with Return Of Swamp Thing), but god bless him for being such a workhorse, I guess. I guess when you direct six films in between your two Komodo movies (which came out only a year and change apart), you can forget things like the name of your main character.
So with that guy dead, the lead this time is Michael Paré, who also executive produced. Paré's entire role consists of making jerky, "cool" comments toward the "group", a bunch of young rabblerousers who want to expose the island's experimentation on animals (or something). So like, they offer him 5 grand to take them to the island, but rather than stay with his boat like any normal captain would, he stays with them. Why? "I got reasons to make sure they make it back in one piece.... five thousand of them." Ah, such wit! At least, that's all he does during the non-monster scenes (of which, unsurprisingly, there are many). When a Komodo and/or a Cobra shows up, he stands in one spot and fires his automatic weapon over and over, despite the fact that it never does even the tiniest bit of damage (it barely even seems to annoy the damn things). All of the gunfire is digital, so his arm doesn't even twitch, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was just a still frame of Paré holding a gun half the time. He also takes the "movie guns never run out of ammo" thing to a ridiculous degree - at one point he fires at LEAST 40 times in a single scene.
Then again, such cheapo giveaways are about the only entertainment value this movie holds. I love the establishing shots of the Army HQ, as it looks suspiciously like the main building of a highway visitor center. The stock footage matches even less than you would expect it to, given that the film was shot digitally and the stock footage is on film. Neither monster looks even remotely good - some of the animation is passable, but compositing is even weaker than normal - they don't even bother adding half-assed displacement (knocking over small brush and tall grass as it moves) like some of these other things. And whether it was a goof or a strange acting choice, I laughed my ass off at the scene where the group's cameraman gets killed, as he runs around and dodges the advancing Cobra without ever dropping his cigarette. I like to think that Wynorski grabbed the guy while he was on break and had him run around for a few minutes, and the actor was like "Fine, whatever" and didn't bother putting out his butt.
I must also mention the film's very special soundtrack. Besides a score that sounds suspiciously like a Connery era Bond flick, all profanity in the movie is "bleeped" via animal sounds - squawks and chirps and such. It's rated PG-13, and most of the swears are of the PG-13 (or even regular TV) variety - bitch, ass, et al, so I'm not sure what the hell the point of this is. Also, for a Wynorski movie, there is a shocking and complete lack of nudity, which is like seeing a Michael Bay movie without an explosion. I admit to being partially interested in the film when I saw Michelle Borth's name in the credits, having been smitten with her a few years back when she was in those "Office" Burger King ads. Borth + Wynorski = satisfaction for a brief actress crush from 6 years ago, right? Nope. In fact, the mildest praise I can offer this movie is that it doesn't take too long to get going - they land on the island and within 10 minutes are being chased by Komodos and Cobras, so there wouldn't have been any time for nudity anyway.
Finally, the title is a spoiler. The two creatures only meet/fight at the very end of the film. Of course, this is nothing new for VS movies, but they point out early on that there are many of each, so I thought we'd get a couple of fights and then a big battle at the end, like 3 on 3 or something. But nope. Their fight is pretty lousy too, they just bite each other a few times before the stock footage army blows them up via footage from what I think is Behind Enemy Lines. And Cobra barely gets any play - there's a 2:1 ratio of Komodo to Cobra scenes. Poor Cobra.
Oh well, they're sort of paying ME to have Showtime (seriously, my bill went down 10 bucks and I got another tier of basic cable channels as well), so I can't complain too much. Here's hoping that something called The Gathering, starring Christina Ricci (airing at 3AM tomorrow), fares better!
What say you?