Monday, December 17, 2012

Manticore...Hey isn't that Chakotay?

Back again kiddies and boy do I have moving pictures magic for you.    It’s got excitement, drama and really wild things.  Actually it has Chakotay leading an Army unit against a CGI monster but hey that could be wild….so grab a movie machine gun, load it with infinite ammo and brush up on your Greek mythology.  This is Manticore.


UFO Pictures strikes again with another monster film at the ready thanks to Writer (John Werner of Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes, Witchville and Rudy Blue) confabbed with Director (Tripp Reed of Walking Tall: The Payback and Walking Tall: Lone Justice) and if you cannot trust the writing for the third installment of Pumpkinhead, well what in life can you trust?

Two thieves decide to break into an antiquities chamber during the remnants of the Iraq War in order to plunder some treasure and make out like bandits… you know the wealthy part.  Pretty sure these two weren’t going to drop on the sandy floor and make out but hey I am not judging if they did. The only thing they manage to get their mitts on is a medallion with a lion’s head carved in it.  Looked like a left over from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.   Robert Beltran (of Star Trek: Voyager) portrays Sgt. Baxter, a hard nose Army vet tasked with capturing looters from the National Museum, insurgents move in and Baxter has to let the looters go including the two thieves.  A substantial gunfight ensues including some tight zoom handheld shots that really improved the overall effect.  Gave you that feeling you were in the thick of it.   Not an easily accomplished task with Sy-fy’s budget.  Mind you from the architecture you get the notion we are nowhere NEAR Iraq at all.   Again for the sake of the crew and cast that is probably best.  The buildings have a European feel on the design so a quick check on IMDB pointing out they went to Bulgaria.   I did start chuckling when recognizing two the sarge’s squad.  Heather Donahue (The Blair Witch Project, Boys and Girls and Taken) as well as A.J. Buckley (Disturbing Behavior, Happy Feet and CSI: NY).    The mission is SNAFU and they head back to HQ for Baxter to be read the riot act by his CO played by (in my humble opinion) legendary character actor Jeff Fahey (Silverado, Body Parts, The Lawnmower Man, Planet Terror and Machete) reams Baxter’s butt for failing to meet the primary objective of the mission, regardless of what happened and yadda, yadda yadda..  Hey wasn’t there a creature of untold destruction in this flick?   Let’s go find that.

Bumbling duo from the beginning set out in the desert to find their fortune.  Armed with a super secret, chocolate fudgy medallion of impending doom, our two thieves find themselves in quite the pickle as they unwillingly unleash the Manticore!!!  Meanwhile Lois Lane archetype Ashley Pierce (Chase Masterson of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Terminal Invasion and General Hospital) and trusted red shirt cameraman head in the residing villages trying to dig up proof of the whereabouts of WMDs only to find more than they bargained for.  Bum bum bum!!  Baxter’s squad is assigned to find the reporter and red shirt only to find the town has been decimated and a large flying creature with laser beams shooting from its eyes could be the culprit.  Yes fricking Darksied Omega beams style. 

Now admittedly I had a hard time buying our heroes as trained soldiers.  No rifle discipline at all, the cover fire was laughable and I felt like I was sitting through another Lorenzo Lamas film.  
 Well what can we say about this experience?  The acting was pretty good, the cinematography was impressive and hell the CGI monster had some decent chops.  It was a bit graphic for those of less constitution but c’mon it is a monster film about one of the nastiest creatures of Arabic and Greek mythology.
 A flying lion with the tail of a dragon or occasionally a scorpions tail, horns, claws and more teeth than the entire Osmond family.  From a historical stand point this creature is been in Persian culture throughout the better portion of the Caspian Sea region.   Aside from the quick lesson there I had fun watching this regardless if I found it silly in places.