The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Transmorphers: Fall of Man (2009)

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I must confess, I haven't seen the recent big theater Transformers movie. 2 and 1/2 hours just didn't seem that appealing, and everything I'd heard about how bad it was made me keep pushing it off. This Asylum sequel to their earlier film, which was meant to make money of the earlier Transformers film, seemed more like my speed. At least if it sucked, I'd only have to sit through 90 minutes, right?

Transmorphers: Fall of Man, is the prequel to their Cleopatra 2525 rip-off meant to deceive video store shoppers looking for Transformers. It's the current time, and in Bakersfield, CA, some of our electronics are acting funny, ie they're killing people. Turns out in the 50s these aliens gave us the technology to make computers, and unbeknownst to us, this was a trap so they could invade. We fend off our computers, only to have the aliens still invade, and drive us underground.

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This wasn't even 90 minutes long, it was 85 minutes long, but it felt like 2 and 1/2 hours, believe me. I see what they were going for: a throwback to the old invasion films of the 50s; but the thing is, those were often boring too-- and they were often even shorter! The film may have borrowed from (or paid homage to, as I'm sure they'd put it) many things, but for the most part the plot was ripped from Terminator 3, though actually improved upon by adding in the alien conspiracy element. What killed it and made it so dull was the lack of action for the first thirty minutes, broken up by a good thirty minutes of fun, followed by twenty-five minutes that probably shouldn't have even been there. I mean, at the hour mark, when things seemed to wind down, I was like "wait, there's twenty-five minutes left, what are they going to do?" It was just a mess.

But a mess that really could've been tons of fun. First off, the alien conspiracy theory, that aliens gave us all of our technology, is a great thing to base a modern 50s style invasion film on. Bruce Boxleitner was great as the local sheriff, playing it all very seriously and professionally, which added to the great fun feeling. And the CGI robots and effects were hilarious, and made me think of something like The Giant Gila Monster, which is again what I think they were going for. Not only that, they made a reference to the great Atari game, Missile Command. Had they just shrunk the initial dull opening down to 15 minutes from 30, then stretched out the middle 30 to 55 or 60, and wrapped it up with five minutes of whatever, it would've been perfect. Even making a cheesy throwback film needs to be paced properly-- fun done improperly can still be boring.

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As I mentioned above, Bruce Boxleitner was great. Just his voice alone worked, but he really looked the part too. A good chunk of his career has been on TV, meaning his DTV work is very scant, so I was excited to get a chance to review one of his films on the DTVC, because I've always loved his stuff. One of the best recent things he did was as The Chairman on She Spies. He just celebrated his 60th birthday on May 12, so happy belated birthday Mr. Boxleitner, you're still the man.

In my May 3, 2010 post for Interceptor Force, I mentioned a show called Ancient Aliens on the History Channel, which is hilarious. Their biggest message is that aliens came and visited ancient people and taught them all the things they needed to start civilization. I'm sure you're also familiar with those that suggested all of our computer technology came from aliens too. It might be ridiculous, and seeing professors giving what's supposed to be real information on a channel like History is pretty disquieting; but for a movie, it's a great idea. See, that's the thing, movies can make stuff up and it's awesome. When so-called experts posit silliness on TV and try to pass it off as real, it's ten kinds of bad.

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The female lead in this was very hot, especially in her dress and Go-Go boots early in the film. I think it was supposed to add an element of the 60s-- only the movies they were emulating were made mostly in the 60s. Her name is Alana DiMaria, and according to imdb, she hasn't really been in anything else, and doesn't plan to be either. Hopefully that will change, and maybe The Asylum will help us out.

This is currently available on Watch Instantly, so it may be tempting. Don't do it. It's funny, but not that funny, and the poor pacing and useless last 25 minutes will kill any bad movie party you want to include this in. A bad way to jump back into The Asylum after a long lay-off.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1376460/

3 comments:

  1. Well I personally loved both Transformers films, I mean I know why Michael Bay gets hted on alot, but what I don't get is why those who hate him always feel the need to look down upon others who actually enjoy his films, I mean I may hate those damn Twilight films with a passion, but I certainly won't look down upon people for liking them. Anyways most Asylum mockbusters are pretty weak and uninsteresting, so i'm glad I didn't waste my time with this film, Snakes On A Train was the only mockbuster that was actually entertaining.

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  2. I'm not saying it's right for others to look down on people for their tastes in films, but I think in the case of Michael Bay's movies, the reason why people do it is because his movies such mindless sacks of ass crack. Again, I can't comment on Transformers, because I haven't seen either, but Pearl Harbor was absolutely abhorrent. How someone can turn one of the most defining moments in the United States' history into a three-hour long bad action/cheesy romance film is beyond me, but it's what Bay did. On some levels I was offended by how bad it was.

    As far as the mockbusters go, Snakes was pretty rough as far as I remember. My review of it wasn't too nice. The first Transmorphers wasn't bad though. Sometimes The Asylum is close to making it happen, and really captures that 1950s style sci-fi/horror movie; and sometimes they're so sauteed in wrong sauce it isn't funny. The thing is, though, there are tons of their films on Watch Instantly, and they're all under 90 minutes, which makes them perfect for when I need a review in a pinch, as I did for this week.

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  3. I wasn't too fond of Pearl Harbor myself, but that's just mainly because i'm not big on historical epics, and i'd quite honestly rather watch Bay's films over the films of some critically acclaimed directors like Christopher Nolan, oh boy is he overrated!

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