This summer is just packed with high production value action films - so far we have X-men Origins: Wolverine, Star Trek, Terminator: Salvation and coming soon is Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen and G.I Joe: Rise of Cobra.
Well I've got another action film that has managed to dip far below the radar: Transmorphers: Fall of Man.
That's right, Asylum, the awesome studio that gave us incredible "mockbusters" such as: The Terminators, The Day the Earth Stopped, Street Racer, 100 Million B.C, Snakes on a Train, and most recently, Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, has returned with the second installment of their prized Transmorphers series.
Unfortunately, Leigh Scott (who called the first Transmorphers a "cult classic" in his blog) did not return to write or direct this time around but fear not, Shane van Dyke has stepped in as writer and Scott Wheeler as director. This will be Wheeler's second time in the chair after working his movie magic on 2008's Journey to the Center of the Earth (not the version that starred Brendan Fraser). Shane van Dyke is no stranger at putting pen to paper either. He also wrote The Day the Earth Stopped and Street Racer.
Bruce Boxleitner, of Tron fame, Jennifer Rubin and Shane van Dyke all star in this story of robotic Armageddon. This time we see the story of how the earth became overrun with robots from outer space 400 years before the original Transmorphers. So this would make it a prequel of sorts. To get your juices flowing and help build your excitement, I have included the trailer for Transmorphers: Fall of Man below:
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By now, you should realize that in this article I have my tongue placed firmly in cheek. Nobody that I know of would find the movies Asylum makes to be modern cinematic marvels, much less find them entertaining. These films aren't really known though for their cutting edge special effects (did anyone else hear the modem squeal half-way through the trailer as a sound effect?), visionary directing or Oscar caliber script. What Asylum is known for, however, is their ability to release a "mockbuster" film on DVD at or around the same time as the big budget movie they are ripping off closely copying. Think of Asylum as the "Weird" Al of movies, without the parody.
Asylum isn't immune from legal troubles with their releases either. Last year they were sued by Fox to prevent them from releasing The Day the Earth Stopped. I can't help but laugh at this irony here. Maybe if someone had done the same thing to Fox we would have been spared their lifeless Keanu Reeves remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still as well.
So who is watching all these ridiculous movies and how does a company continue to produce sub-standard material on a consistent basis and still turn a profit if no one wants watch them? Well, IMDB shows Asylum with 179 movies to their credit since 1992. The answer might just be on Asylum's website. Here is a quote from their blog/news section on MSvGO:
Almost as popular as porn...the trailer for Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus has become a small internet sensation. We've has almost as many hits as [Director David Micheal] Latt's sex tape.
A quick Google search tells us the porn industry made $2.84 billion in US revenue in 2006. Now, I haven't seen Asylum's balance sheets but I'm thinking its WAY under that, but they could be onto something. All that money to make their films is coming from somewhere; so even though they constantly get horrible reviews and criticism, they continue to produce films. If anything you have to admire their tenacity. And don't think Asylum is oblivious to all the negative feedback; just the opposite is true. They address all the negativity on thier website, and I have to say it's quite amusing:
Every couple of months we receive an email that includes some variation of the following:
'Give me back the two hours of my life I wasted watching your movie.'
We don't mind negative feedback (it's practically the only kind we get), but this one just bugs me.
For one thing, it's not clever and it's not original. In fact, dare I say it... it's sort of a mockbuster of cinematic criticism. Second, our movies are rarely longer than 90 minutes (they just feel like they're two hours). And frankly, they don't usually get any better after the first 15. If you hate the movie and still end up watching the whole thing, I'm sorry... but that's on you.
Well, I am willing to admit it; I enjoy watching these "mockbusters" but not by myself. I need to watch them with a group of buddies to truly enjoy it. I recently watched Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus with some friends and had rousing good time, even though the movie was horrible. (Debbi Gibson has the same look for concentration, concern, disgust, anger and sexual pleasure.)
So, do you have what it takes to stand up and finally admit that you both watch and like these type of movies? I'll go first to make it easier for you:
"Hi, I'm Paul and I watch less-than-B movies made by Ayslum."
Transmorphers: Fall of Man lands squarely on rental shelves June 30, 2009.