I caught the trailer to this one last year and wanted to see it. Not so much because I was interested in the story, but because Kelsey Grammer appeared to be chewing up some scenery. I will say he didn’t disappoint.
Grammer plays Mason, a wealthy CEO who has an expedition in the middle of China looking for some McGuffin that will be used to drive the rest of the story. In the case of this movie it is the secret to eternal life! So that would be worth some decent cash. When that group disappears, he recruits one of the missing men’s sister to join a rescue mission. Of course, it is obvious that he cares more about what they were looking for than the missing employees. At the first opportunity he takes the Maguffin and abandons everyone to their fate.
I should also mention the spiders. In a flashback to ancient times we see that the Chinese had come to Australia and found a particularly nasty spider that their wizard was able to make the elixir of youth out of. Those same spiders eventually overran the tomb/palace and kill everyone who comes near them. So bad stuff happens to our characters before some of them make their escape. Not really a spoiler that not everybody dies. Have you ever watched a movie like this before?
It is obvious that the writers of this movie have. Again and again the tropes for a flick like this are drug out for the audience to watch. The bad guy businessman who betrays them before it even makes sense to. A rickety bridge that puts our characters in danger. Booby traps everywhere. The brother is alive but needs the elixir to heal ala. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Heck there is even a ceiling dropping on them where I expected our hero to reach back and grab his hat! For the briefest of moments I had thought that they were going to let the comic relief live… Not so much. Normally this lifting from other flicks doesn’t bother me too much but here it is poorly executed and predictable. If you are going to reference much better movies you had better make sure you are bringing you’re A game. Here they don’t.
|Someone was having fun chewing on the scenery!|
Where I think the movie does work is with the spiders. You get all sizes of them including a rather large looking queen at the end. Though when will filmmakers realize that spiders aren’t ants and don’t do the queen thing? Regardless their bite is deadly and with all the little ones crawling over everything it makes for some creepy moments. I was also happy with Kelsey Grammer chewing up the scenery, though he isn’t in a big chunk of the movie. Making him run off and abandon everyone was a nice plot device to cover for the fact that the clearly was only available for a few days. The rest of the cast is okay, but nothing terribly memorable.
I paid four bucks for a used copy at my local Family Video. That seems about right for this movie. It was worth watching once but I can’t imagine ever having the desire to revisit it. In fact, I’ve already given that copy away! All in all, it was mediocre.
© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer