by Kevin Carr
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|| MOVIE: *1/2 (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5 stars)
Jeff Fahey as MAJOR NICK REYNOLDS
Jo Bourne-Taylor as DR. JANE PRESTON
Hristo Mitzkov as YAGER
Evgenia Vasileva as DOKIC
Jonas Talkington as BURKE
Stefan Ivanov as KLOTCHKOV
Dejan Angelov as TIMOV
Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Directed by: Tommy Withrow
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Being a huge fan of “Starship Troopers,” I was actually a bit excited to watch this movie when I saw the cover box. The image shows a military man blurred in the background, firing a weapon. Then, ripping through the box is a insectile claw, making me think of that forgotten sci-fi epic from ten years ago. (I’m sure this was entirely intentional on the manufacturer’s part, of course.)
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It was this anticipation for a “Starship Troopers” rip-off that left me a bit cold when I actually saw the film.
Now, I understand the Roger Corman approach – to find a popular movie then rip it off in the lowest of low budget ways. I admit that I ran out and rented “Carnosaur” after “Jurassic Park” hit the screens in 1993. So my biggest disappointment with “Scorpius Gigantus” is that it wasn’t a “Starship Troopers” rip-off at all.
“Scorpius Gigantus” is, not surprisingly, about a giant scorpion. It is a military experiment that is accidentally set free when a group of eastern European rebels ambush a convoy, hoping to attain nuclear weaponry. However, the cargo is these mutated, monstrous scorpions, which quickly eats through its new captors.
In order to capture and secure the rogue giant bugs, the military brings in Major Nick Reynolds (Jeff Fahey) and his Delta Force team. They partner with Dr. Jane Preston (Jo Bourne-Taylor), who designed the monsters. However, as they start to hunt the giant arachnids, they find out that their adversaries are not as dumb as they might think.
I love cheapo horror movies, and I love giant bug movies as well. And I even have a soft spot in my heart for some of Roger Corman’s cheesiest films. (If you don’t believe me, check out my review of “DinoCroc.”) But “Scorpius Gigantus” is an example of where Corman’s low budget style is leading the way for some really poor films.
The biggest problem this movie has is its look. Shot on hi-def instead of film, it has a really poor independent film look to it. If not for Jeff Fahey’s presence, apparently to pay his rent, I would have expected this to be someone’s student project. (At the very least, it looked like it had a similar budget.) Maybe the advent of digital video is upon us, but there are some films that should still be on film, or at least proce3ssed to look like film.
The bug effects are laughable, and there are a lot of them. It’s poor CGI work at its best, and the director would have been better off using a lot of other low budget techniques like tricks of light and shadow or avoiding showing the monsters too soon.
The dialogue is pretty cheesy, and the science is beyond bad. Ultimately, this film is exactly what you might expect from Corman’s team in a crunch time – not too good.
“Scorpius Gigantus” is pretty lame. It might be enjoyable if you’re drunk.
Specifications: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Full screen (1.33:1). Spanish subtitles. English language subtitles for the hearing impaired.