Archive for February 9, 2013

This review is an edited / rewritten version of the first film review I ever wrote (hopefully with much better grammar)  and is based on the UK DVD release of the film……..

Yet another creature feature produced by the ‘great’ Phillip Roth.

Who is Phillip Roth? I here you ask…

Well, over the last 10 or so years Phillip Roth has lent his producing hand to numerous creature features, this film included. He seems to have a knack for finding films that have the possibility of being quite good and therefore in terms of creature features, he is the name to look out for. This is one of the reasons I got excited about ‘Python II’ the third film in the kind of ‘Python VS Boa’ quadrilogy. The first of these films Python, starred the great acting talents of Robert Englund, Casper Van Dien, Will Wheaton and William Zabka (the bad kid from ‘Karate Kid”). It was a great film, full of fun and some great sequences of suspense (not to mention sheriff Python the Bomb Defusing Snake – you’ll understand when I review it.)

The second film entitled either ‘New Alcatraz’ or ‘Boa’ starred the great Dean Cain (the New Adventures of Superman) it was very different form ‘Python’ in the fact it was set in a giant underground prison in the middle of Antarctica. (Like ‘Python’ I plan on reviewing this film at a later date) Needless to say, the film was again a great piece of fun filmmaking and was this time directed by Phillip Roth. It had its flaws, but was still highly enjoyable.( This one featured Deputy Boa the Parachuting Snake – again you’ll understand later)

This brings us to the third part in the series which ids entitled Python II (although the UK DVD release is entitled ‘Snakes: Mankind has found a new enemy’ – worst title ever. I have no idea why as it just made finding ‘Python II’ that much harder. when I finally realised it was the third part I just found myself getting annoyed with the UK distributors. They also have trouble with roman numerals on the case writing world war 111 instead of III. It’s little thing#s like this that make reading DVD boxes amusing.)

The film semi continues on from the previous Python film. I say semi as it is only really a sequel by name and some of the actors (namely William Zabka reprising his role as Greg Larson, the sheriff). Zabka is possibly the only ‘good’ thing in this film, but that is only because they’ve changed him from a good guy to the main human villain of the picture.

Where the original film proved to be amusing for almost its entire run time (mainly due to the wonderful Robert Englund), this one fell to pieces during it’s opening scenes. Gone are the following:

  • Amusing one liners
  • Casper Van Dien’s hilariously bad russian accent
  • Some pretty good acting for a creature feature
  • Sheriff Python the bomb defusing snake (who is also a master of disguise)

What we are left with is a boring ‘Ten Little Indians’ like story of a commando unit trying to capture an 85 foot snake that is running (slithering) loose in an underground military base.

The film begins with an overlong sequence where a military unit are trying to capture the giant snake of the title in a 6 foot long box. (the snake is clearly far bigger than 6 foot. I have no idea of how they plan on fitting it in. Even if they cut it up I still think it would be far far to big. If they had numerous 6 foot boxes I may understand but they don’t.) The sequence reuses the same death footage again and again to give the film a longer running time. The opening should be enough to tell you what you’re getting yourself in for.

After this it is essentially the same plot as the first film, just in an underground bunker kinda like Boa in fact, albeit with a worse script, worse CGI and worse acting. The only promising moment in the film is when Zabka returns towards the end, but even he can’t make up for what’s come before. ( it is amazing how the special effects are worse than the first Python film made 2 years previous.)

Before you say; ‘This sounds like the perfect film to watch over beers!’ It’s not. I watched it with a 2 other friends (all of us usually enjoying this sort of film) One friend fell asleep while me and my other friend discussed how we would have made a better film (we still plan on making our version).

To round this whole thing off I’d say that the film has no real redeeming qualities and really isn’t worth the time. You’re better off just watching the first two films in the series and imagining a third which focuses on sheriff Snake and his newly opened Bomb defusal business, which may or may not be set all across the globe. (Please someone make this film).  2/10 (It’s still better than some films I’ve seen and does feature a giant albeit poorly CGI’d snake)

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Let me just say I am not one of those who hate Uwe Boll. I actually really like a few of his films (Rampage, Darfur, Tunnel Rats), his other films are all amusing because they are so bad (except Far Cry). It feels very much like his best films are those that aren’t based on a video game franchise. He should focus more on these smaller films as they really aren’t all bad.

So… Is Seed good because it’s not based on an existing franchise?

No…

It’s taken me a little while to figure out how I really feel about the film as it is very different from his other movies. This one follows a mass murderer Max Seed as he seeks revenge on those who put him in the electric chair and failed to kill him. It’s an unfortunate turn of events as they fail after 3 shocks to kill him and instead of setting him free (a practice given up before the electric chair came into effect) they bury him alive. – Probably not the best Move

The detective who takes it in his own hands to stop Seed is played by the great Michael Paré. (If you’ve read my Komodo vs Cobra review you’ll know how much I love him) But even he fails to save this film.

So what’s the problem with the film?

Well it’s a mean-spirited film which aims to shock for the sake of it (unlike films like ‘August Underground’ that actually try to use shock as a means of evoking a study on violence). This film opens with real footage of animals being tortured and killed ( the footage is from PETA and is used with them knowing) The fact that it is being used for an entertainment medium is what annoys me. It almost feels like Uwe Boll decided his film wasn’t shocking enough so he would use footage of real animal cruelty (which is far more sickening and horrible than anything Boll films). I actually found it hard to watch but hoped Boll would have a good reason for using the footage. He did not.

The rest of the film is just your basic, badly acted revenge horror with the odd scene of strong violence thrown in to shock. One scene in particular that just goes on and on is a scene where scene is hitting someone with a hammer. the first 30 seconds are quite shocking but then it just gets boring and unrealistic.( I’ve read people state that it is the most realistic violence they’ve seen on-screen that isn’t real….. They clearly haven’t seen ‘August Underground’, ‘Men behind the sun’, ”I never left the white room’. I could go one for a long time … even ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ is more realistic). All of the films I’ve mentioned have some reasoning behind the violence but not here. It felt much like ‘a Serbian Film’ which again for me felt like a pointless excercise in shock to disguise how bad the film actually is.

It is just a nasty little film with very little merit. The direction is OK I guess for what it is and occasionally the cinematography is ok (although large amounts of the film are just far to dark). Paré is just OK but it was hard to really like much about this film.

So is it Boll’s worst film?

After a fair amount of thinking about it, I’d probably say yes. Even the worst of his other films (Far Cry) are kinda fun in a bad way. This is just nasty for the sake of it (this is coming from someone who considers ‘AU’ and ‘I Never Left the White Room’ truly great horror films) . I’m not sure what I was expecting but I really did not enjoy it in the slightest. 1/10 (for Paré alone)

Andy Garcia vs Michael Keaton in a hospital……

The basic synopsis for the story is;

Frank Conner’s (Garcia) kid needs an urgent bone marrow transplant. The only match it Peter McCabe (Keaton) a convicted murderer. McCabe sees this as his perfect chance at escape. As he runs around the hospital evading swat teams and police, Conner finds himself in a tricky position. He must capture McCabe alive so his son can have the transplant meaning he’s going to need to protect him from the rest of the authorities.

It’s a pretty cool idea for what is essentially a chase film in a hospital. The pace of the film is fast throughout and there is very little let-up. Both Garcia and Keaton are on top form and play off one another really well. (Keaton makes a great semi likeable villain.) There are some great sequences such as McCabe’s initial escape into a packed hospital reception.

The problem is, although there are some great scenes and some great acting, as a whole the film doesn’t ever set itself apart from any other chase movie (and if anything the hospital setting wears a little thin by the end.) Don’t get me wrong, It’s not bad by a long stretch, it’s just nothing special (which ultimately effected my enjoyment of the film). It’s worth a watch if you like this sort of thing but it won’t convert any who don’t. 6/10