ORBzine - Movie Reviews July 2005

Piranha 2: The Swarming a.k.a. Flying Killers

James Cameron made his directorial debut on this film, and the ending certainly resembles his later works. Not least is the casting of Lance Hendricksen as the local sheriff!

The film takes place on a tropical island resort, filled with the usual mix of cliched 1970s disaster movie stereotypes. The piranhas have been genetically modified, cross-bred with flying fish. Yes, not only can they survive in salt water ... they can fly and breathe air!

Predictably, the hotelier refuses to evacuate. Instead he invites the guests to the annual fish festival on the beach, at midnight.

The climax sees Hendricksen out looking for his teenage son. Meanwhile, the babe (yes, the protagonist is a heroine! Another very Cameron touch) must set a bomb in a shipwreck, then escape through the air vents. Not unlike the situation in Aliens .

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  • Death of the Incredible Hulk

    This is the last of three made-for-TV efforts from the 1990s. The subplot about the newspaper reporter has been left out, but David Banner (Bill Bixby) still wants to cure himself.

    Banner poses as a mentally special-needs man, and gets a job as a janitor at a Top Secret US Government lab. His plan is to leave enough clues from his own research that the scientist in charge will discover how to cure Hulk-itis. Unfortunately, the US Military-Industrial complex want to create super-soldiers. Yes, they want to weaponise Hulk-itis!

    A Russian spy/gangster (Andreas Katsulas - Babylon 5 ) sends a babelious secret agent ( Elizabeth Gracen ) to infiltrate the lab and steal the research. Despite their talk about the cause, it seems evident the spies' Agency has gone rogue and will sell the research to the highest bidder.

    Eventually, Banner teams up with Gracen to defeat the villains and save some hostages. Their romance is reminiscent of the implied relationship between Banner and Black Widow in Avengers 2: Age of Ultron .

    As a rule a review should never give away the ending, but in this case the title is a bit of an indication. That scene in particular is flat, uninvolving, and more of a tacked-on anti-climax than any such well-loved character should have to suffer.

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  • War of the Worlds (1952)

    George Pal 's 1950s technicolour adapation of the original Victorian novel by HG Wells has transplanted the action to the USA. A meteor lands near a hick town. Luckily for them, the world's geatest expert is a US scientist on holiday 12 miles away!

    The hero hangs around town to see what happens. Partly because of the meteor, partly because the local schoolteacher is a babe with an MA and a yearning to be his groupie. Despite her intelligence, she does not get to be the brains in this pre-Feminism film.

    The meteor is an alien tank. Unlike the novel, it hovers. The USAF Flying Wing uses nukes in response.

    There's a religious unertone to the film. The babe's father is the local reverend, and at the end the hero retreats into a church.

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  • Dean Koontz's Sole Survivor

    Billy Zane investigates the plane crash that killed his wife and daughter. He discovers that the US Govt's secret Telekinesis progam is involved.

    This is 3 hours long, tedious and mediocre. In its defence it was shot in Canada, and made for US TV.

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  • Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

    This is a black and white b-movie horror film. It is a strange example of how a remake is sometimes better than the original. Better cast, script, SPFX ...

    A loser who works in a flower shop discovers a flower that eats flesh.

  • Little Shop of Horrors (1980s)
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  • Anti-Trust

    Ryan Phillipe (Cruel Intentions) is hired by a Bill Gates Type (Tim Robbins - Shawshank Redemption, Mission To Mars ) who is a really nice guy with a secret agenda (world domination).

    Phillipe has two girlfriends, Clare Forlani and Rachel Leigh Cook Which one is the spy, and which one will be the love interest at the happy ending?

    This is a prett smart technothriller. Nothing we have not seen before, but it is better than Hackers or The Net .

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  • Quicksilver Highway

    Christopher Lloyd ( Back to the Future ) is a sideshow owner who tells weird tales.
  • Chattering Teeth by Stephen King
    Missy Crider is a bride, while Veronica Cartwright is the lady co-owner of a diner sited beside a US desert highway.

    The tale itself, about a pair of plastic wind-up teeth, is not really shocking. The ending is not really ironic either.

  • The Body Politic by Clive Barker
    Matt Frewer ( Max Headroom, Robin of Sherwood ) is given an insight into what the world would be like if he were a surgeon. His hands try to kill him and escape!

    Bill Nunn is a shrink, while Clive Barker and John Landis get cameos as the surgical team.

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  • Horror Hospital

    1973, England. A Rock 'n Roll songwriter goes to stay at a clinic. Unfortunately it is run by the sinister Doctor Storm (Michael Gough), who tends to decapitate his patients.

    The hero looks like the bloke from the Confessions of a Window Cleaner films, a cheeky chappy with a huge mop of 1970s hair. Typical of the era, but it really dates the film.

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  • Trigger Effect

    Kyle Mclachlan ( Dune ) and Elizabeth Shue ( Hollow Man ) are a happily married couple living in suburban America, 1996. The USA has power cuts, and society slowly disentigrates. Nice portrayal of a slow apocalypse.

    The moral of the story seems to be, every time guns are involved things get worse. Very contrived, and the events do not ring true.

    Conor O'Farrell ( Dark Skies ) pops up as a cop, while Michael Rooker ( Jeremiah ) is a guy in need of a lift.

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