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.
Thursday, August 8, 2013
AE: Apocalypse Earth (2013)
This is an Asylum joint that I saw on Instant, and it listed Adrian Paul and Richard Grieco as its stars. The whole thing looked really fun, so I figured I'd give it a shot. Let's see how it went.
AE: Apocalypse Earth takes place in the future, where we're being attacked by aliens, and it looks like the aliens are winning. Humans are trying to colonize other planets, and while Army Lieutenant Adrian Paul is protecting a group of evacuees boarding a ship to one of those planets, he ends up on board it as it takes off, and the ship's captain, Richard Grieco, lets him know that due to the laws of physics, he's on board for the long haul. After who knows how much time, the ship crash lands on a planet, and the evacuees wake up as an army of invisible aliens are shooting at them. Now it's up to Paul and the survivors to get their ship fixed and get off that planet before they all die, and in that endeavor they have the help of Lea, a local alien whose people have been hunted by the invisible aliens for generations. Will they make it?
So this one was fun. It was a throwback to those 1950s lost island adventure kind of things. The end was a little weird and convoluted, and one thing I don't like about these throwback things, is that they can call the hokey ending an homage to the hokey endings those films in the 50s had, which to me is a cop out. I don't want to get into the ending because it will give too much away, but it was kind of predictable, and then had an awkward element on top of it that betrayed what the film was before it, which was both fun, and, to a large extent, well executed. It was as if in the ending the old Asylum reared its ugly head, and I was seeing Transmorphers; but before that we were treated to that new, more consistently better Asylum, and I think that's what counts. Overall it was a good time.
Back when we started this blog, the expectation was that Adrian Paul would be a big part of it, that his post Highlander: The Series acting career would be in a lot of DTV flicks, and we'd be reviewing a ton of them. In fact, our third ever review was a Paul film, The Breed. That makes it all the more crazy then that in the over 900 reviews since then, this is only the fourth Paul film review, giving him now a whopping five total. That's too bad, because he is one of my favorite syndicated TV actors of all time on one of my favorite syndicated TV shows of all time. Who knows how he got so lost in the shuffle, especially when we have so many alums from Highlander: The Series on the blog. Anyway, he was great in this movie, second only to Bali Rodriguez for me, meaning my lapse in reviewing his films has been a mistake on my part, and one I hope to rectify.
What do we do with Richard Grieco? This is not the first time we've seen him here either, nor is this his first Asylum joint, having played Loki in their mockbuster of Thor. Funny, I don't see a lot of young ladies making gif sets of him on Tumblr like they do Tom Hiddleston-- I haven't seen The Avengers or Thor yet, but I loved him as F. Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris. Have you ever heard that joke about him? "Who is this 'Scott Fitzgerald', and why is everyone so upset with him?" Haha, get it? F. Scott Fitzgerald? Wait, wasn't this a paragraph on Richard Grieco? Oops. In the film, he gets a concussion in the crash, and from then on he's pretty much just there, popping in and out. Kind of like this paragraph about him.
There was this gross looking troll-ish guy in the movie who was like the heel trying to cause problems and derail Paul's plans. I don't know why movies put in characters like this. Intrigue? Really, we didn't have enough with the large carnivorous lizards and invisible alien hunters? So we need someone to annoy us too? Maybe characters like that were in the 50s versions of these films, but they weren't fun then either. They were the characters that MST3K dedicated fantastic host segments to, but they did that because they loathed them as much as we did. Stop putting these characters in your movies. Please. They hurt.
I wanted to save the best for last, and that was Bali Rodriguez. Yes, I know what you're going to say: you're a straight male Matty, of course Bali Rodriguez is the best for you in this movie. Fine, I'll accept that, but she turned in a better performance than just the hot model in green paint that she was. Yes, her character was supposed to be that exotic Amazon woman type that those 50s and 60s films objectified, but I think she transcended it. She gave her character a humanity that made us root for her, and in turn made us root for Paul because he rooted for her too. All right, maybe I'm just a straight male, but don't hold that against Bali Rodriguez.
And with that, I'll wrap this up. This is a fun time, and whether you see it on Instant, RedBox, or cable some night-- this one is listed on imdb as "Video", meaning it went DTV without taking the SyFy detour first, so who knows if it'll be on that channel--, it's worth a look. When the Asylum is right, they're a lot of fun, and I think they were right here.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2756412/