Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Mega Shark Vs. Kolossus (2015)

A giant shark fighting a giant robot? Of course I’m on board. Though I suppose that sort of already happened in the previous Mega Shark movie, Mega Shark Vs. Mecha Shark, but I haven’t seen that one yet. (I still have Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla on VHS, but I suppose that’s a bit off the topic.) The other thing that had me interested in Mega Shark Vs. Kolossus is Illeana Douglas’ involvement. She’s an actor I admire, and I have to wonder what the hell she’s doing in this film. It can’t be for the pay check because this movie is put out by The Asylum, not known for being overly generous to its employees.

Well, Russian civilians are mining red mercury in the ocean near Brazil, when some hot chicks in submarines show up and tell them to stop. They agree to stop, but a giant shark destroys their boat anyway. The girls attack the shark, using “attack pattern Red 5,” but nothing seems to hurt this shark, not even Star Wars references. (There is another Star Wars reference later, when one pilot addresses another plane as “TK421” – “TK421, why aren’t you at your post?”)

Meanwhile in the Ukraine the filmmakers don’t believe we’ll be able to understand an Asian chick or a bearded guy, so – even though they’re speaking English – they provide subtitles for them. I wonder how the actors feel about that. Well, these guys have some red mercury (everyone wants red mercury). While they’re engaged in a screwed up business deal, a giant robot is mysteriously activated.

And at a naval base in Florida, Illeana Douglas shows up as Dr. Alison Gray and goes to a meeting. The guy running the meeting opens it by saying: “Thank you all for coming. I wish it weren’t so.” Wait, what? Was another line supposed to be between those two lines, or am I giving the writer too much credit in assuming at one point this dialogue made sense? Well, no matter. What we learn is that the new shark is a baby megalodon but is growing at a ridiculous rate. Also, it’s able to leap out of the ocean to eat fighter jets. Kids these days! And I’m having second thoughts about those lines having once made sense, because the writer has Illeana Douglas say this: “This man’s ignorance about sharks may cause the end of mankind.” Wow. She and a businessman want to catch the shark rather than kill it.

And that big robot? It turns out to be a doomsday device which is somehow able to “blow itself up a thousand times over.” Uh-oh. But it’s not just an indestructible shark and a doomsday robot that our heroes have to worry about. We also have one character who goes a little nutty near the end and becomes the chief villain.

There are some good things here. The mega shark is a playful character, and it enjoys tossing ships out of the water and batting missiles with its tail. And at one point it wears the U.S. flag. How can you not enjoy its antics? Also, the film does have something to say about humanity seeking its own destruction through its creation of weapons like atomic bombs and giant robots.

At the end the Kolossus gets the mega shark in a hug and detonates itself, and that’s it. But wait a moment. Remember earlier, the guy said that the robot was able to “blow itself up a thousand times over.” It’s done it only one time so far. How can anyone think this is the end of Kolossus? Hmm. At the end of the closing credits, we’re given no mention of Kolussus, but are left with this threat: “Mega shark will return.” That leads me to think the next movie will be Mega Shark Vs. James Bond.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Click: The Calendar Girl Killer (1990)

You know a movie is going to be bad when it lists several writers in the opening credits. It took four people to write the screenplay for Click: The Calendar Girl Killer, and two others got “Story by” credits. Holy moly, six people had a hand in writing this thing. This movie also had two directors of photography, and two directors. Uh-oh. It took ten people to do three jobs.

Early on in the film a nut stabs a mirror with a knife, while apparently remembering being yelled at as a child. Oh boy, it’s another one of those movies. Then we go to a party full of models, meaning a lot of people you hope get stabbed soon. Suddenly the party is over, and one whiny model named Nancy is upset because she was knocked into the pool, and is now worried about her image. Alan says to her, “Why not promote your own image?” So she agrees to pose for Jack for a calendar, and we see her in a beautiful fur coat, and the movie has suddenly improved. She says, “I do feel better.” Of course she does. She’s in a gorgeous fur. But soon she has the coat off, and everything else off for that matter.

Jack is creating a calendar called Deadly Weapons, and he compares what he’s doing to Goya and Picasso. Gullible, eager models will do anything, even for creepy photographers with delusions of grandeur. I like that one model’s boyfriend is the voice of reason. He tells her, “I’ll find a girl who’s real.” He doesn’t, however, and instead follows Cindy to Jack’s ranch, where Jack has gathered a bunch of models to shoot his calendar. Every time one of the girls poses for the camera, the worst music begins playing.

Meanwhile some guy is sneaking around, watching the goings on, and taking his own photos. At this point we have no idea who he is, nor do we care. One of the models draws herself a bubble bath, and then while the tub is filling, she applies more lipstick. Odd. But before anyone can ask her why she would do such a thing, she’s murdered. Hurrah! And it only took fifty-four minutes to get to our first murder. And, oh boy, it’s another of those crossdressing killers that we had so many of in movies for a while. He was yelled at as a child, and now he dresses as a nurse. That’s about as deep as this film is going to get.

Anyway, the crossdresser kills some other people, but like most of these films, we don’t really care. And the pacing is all over the place. It feels like scenes are missing, or the filmmakers simply forgot how to build suspense, particularly toward the end. The guy sneaking around turns out to be a private investigator. We know this because he tells two other characters he’s a private investigator. He’s been hired to find Nancy. Remember Nancy? Well, the investigator is there just to provide a bit of exposition. And then he’s killed. There are lots of random explosions, which are perhaps the filmmakers’ way of adding excitement. The killer himself provides more of an explanation as to why he’s a killer, but it’s lame and not at all original

So what is good about this film? Well, I mentioned the model early on wearing a sexy fur coat. And then later the hot blonde wears a cute fur for one shot (by the way, she was in one of the Friday The 13th movies, but not one of the good ones). I also like the anti-smoking message of the fight scene. That’s about it. By the way, Troy Donahue is in this movie. I can never watch him without getting “Look At Me, I’m Sandra Dee” in my head. But I suppose that’s my own problem, and I’ll have to work it out.