About seven years ago I bought a DVD player from the Blockbuster in Finchley. It cost me £200. I could have got a much better one for that sort of money but you see this one came with 50 free movies! Bargain!
Well the DVD player is long gone but the movies remain for two reasons, firstly and ironically the cheap double sided discs would not play properly in the cheap DVD player they came free with and secondly, despite starring such luminaries as Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey and Russell Crowe they are uniformly awful. Seriously, the biggest film of the bunch is The Lawn Mower Man!
As the years have rolled by they have sat on my shelf in the ‘I’ll get round to them some day’ pile and what better reason to get stuck into them than to inflict my reviews on you gentle people.
As well as a review I shall be giving them a mark out of five which will not only be an indication of quality but a prediction of their very immediate future:
***** Might actually keep
**** Attempt to sell on Ebay
*** Straight to the nearest charity shop
** Straight to the nearest bin
* Will give away as a gift to anyone who makes me listen to Coldplay
So here goes…
The movie opens with the proud statement ‘Roger Corman Presents’. Now any horror movie fan will be aware of this man’s influence over the genre, however they will also know that his name is not always a sign of quality. On last count IMDB has him down as having produced 395 movies and most of his recent contributions have been to portmanteau monster movies like Sharktopus, Dinoshark and (I can barely bring myself to type this one) Piranhaconda! I am ashamed to say I have seen Sharktopus, it is awful. But back in the heady days of 1996 he put his name to this little feature which is the first from our Thriller Films box set. It’s called Primal Species, it is worse than Sharktopus. Though I guess ‘Presented by Roger Corman’ sounded slightly better than ‘From the director of Bloodfist VII: Manhunt’.
The movie opens with an army convoy being hijacked by some unconvincing terrorists who think they have some uranium on their hands, instead what they discover is genetically recreated dinosaurs which promptly rip them to pieces. Enter some unconvincing police officers who suffer the same fate. Now it’s down to a bunch of unconvincing army types to take them down, so they enter the warehouse where the dinos are hiding with a little help from a heat sensor device ripped straight out of Aliens. Remember that scene in Jurassic Park where the kids are trapped in the kitchen by the Velociraptors? Well this scene is the complete opposite of that. The dinos push cardboard boxes about and someone we didn’t have time to care about is killed by a rubbery looking fiend.
Enter a slightly Michelle Pfeiffer-esque scientist who gives them and us a brief rundown on the dinosaurs (or Carnosaurs apparently) and insists they are captured alive for further research. So they call on their basic army training to devise a plan to capture the beasts, well, that’s if their basic army training was watching Scooby-Doo as the plan involves getting a big net and dangling a piece of meat from it. Unsurprisingly this doesn’t work and the dinos escape onto a ship, we know this because we are told, though how they got there and managed to get down the thin staircases to the hull is anybody’s guess. More people die and eventually the sergeant and the scientist blow up the ship with just enough time to jump free and doing a little flirtin’ in the water. A natural reaction to nearly getting eaten then blown up my psychiatrist assures me.
Everything about this film is bad. The acting is awful, in the opening scene we see a guy fail to act ‘sitting down in a truck’, he fidgets and smiles awkwardly while trying to work out what to do with his gun. When they start talking it gets worse, though to give the actors credit they had little to work with in the way of dialogue, at one point a cop describes the carnage left by the dinos as like “Some sort of Friday the 13th nightmare” while another describes it as looking like an airplane crashed, funny, I always thought airplane crashes would have more bits of airplane and not just bloody body parts. But hey, I’m no scientist.
Then there are the dinosaurs, and oh boy are they shitty. Remember how awesome the T-Rex looked when it first appeared in Jurassic Park? Well three years later this film was still utilising the old man in a rubber suit technique. The director didn’t even have the good sense to hide them in the shadows, in some scenes they are presented in all their glory waving their rubber arms about, and once trying to shoulder barge a door open.
I know this all sounds jolly fun if you like that sort of thing but despite the odd unintentionally funny moment this movie is really just irritatingly half assed. Even the attack scenes are without any kind of excitement at all.
Apparently this is actually the third in a series of films and also goes by the name Carnosaur 3: Primal Species. I shall not be rushing to Amazon to pick up the first two, even if this was the Godfather 3 of the trilogy it still wouldn’t be worth it.
On the upside, while I was watching this I was missing Transformers 2 on Channel 4. Oh well, ‘every cloud…’ as they say.