Posts Tagged ‘Dolph Lundgren’

Shark Lake Movie Poster

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Swimmers and land-lovers begin to become part of the food chain In a quiet town on Lake Tahoe.

After Legendary (2013) Dolph Lundgren returns to another creature features themed film in this slightly better than a Syfy feature thanks to some murky CGI. Lundgren with limited screen time plays a black-market exotic species dealer named Clint, I kid you not.

With a setting reminiscent of Lake Placid, there’s plenty of fake blood, CGI and attacks in two feet of water. It warms up slightly in the last twenty minutes and as the water gets deeper, but don’t go expecting Jaws or The Reef, as Dolph and company thump their way to survival. It’s played straight and the actors do there best, notable is the young actress Lily Brooks O’Briant and Sara Malakul Lane as cop Meredith Hendricks.

To director Jerry Dugan’s credit the fantastic location gives it some atmosphere and the night-time scenes hide much of the production’s low budge short comings. With an air of seriousness it’s better than the endless amount of CGI shark versus… fill in the blank, or spoofs doing the rounds. Its not good or memorable enough to achieve cult status, a lot of effort has gone into this but it’s probably no coincidence they’re hunting a Bullshark.

A contagious virus escapes from a research facility turning people into flesh eating killers. The city is quarantined and a soldier and his team are hired to rescue his daughter.

Christopher Hatton writes and directs this low budget science fiction romp that fuses two sub-genre subjects, the modern zombie-infected and Robots. Coincidently it shares the same basic concept as Zombie Massacre (2013) and elements from a lesser known zombie film Severed: Forest of the Dead (2005).

Shaky camera shots aside it’s a b-film that has atmosphere thanks to the unusual Malaysian location and interesting architecture. The generic costume design fittingly works, the music by Joe Ng and Ting Si Hao although borrowing from many sci-fi films is excellent. The violence is aplenty, with the gun and abundance of knife play being effective enough.

There’s no small Dolph Lundgren cameo it’s very much is his film focusing on his Max Gatling character throughout. Both actresses Oda Maria as Anna and Melanie Zanetti as Jude are notable with the rest of the cast being adequate given Hatton’s limited script. The zombies sadly are not the slow shambling kind and the robot CGI effects are a mixed bag. Nevertheless, the relationship between both the main robot (voiced by Tim Cooper) and Max is quiet interesting and humorous. Beneath the low end production there is quite a good story even if it swaps development, depth and pacing for action.

Don’t expect too much, Hatton has a lot on his hands juggling all the high concept elements coherently and keeps it linear but what is on offer is the infected, robots and soldier high-jinks and basically that’s what it delivers.

Led by Luc Devereaux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) a cloned UniSol Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren) are now wanted by the government who will do anything to find them a wipe out their UniSol army for good.
Universal Soldier fans maybe left scratching their heads, however, sci-fi action fans looking for slick, stylish direction with hard hitting violence and a Philip K. Dick tone – in the vain of Impostor (2001) maybe impressed by director John Hyams offering.

While not a fun hammy 90s hit like it’s original, this is smaller personal intentionally vague story adds another angle on UniSol. Reckoning may have benefited from being a stand alone low budget Dredd/Memento/Bourne-like film as it’s so far removed to the original’s feel.
This is actor/stuntman Scott Adkins film with very limited screen-time for Van Damme or Lundgren which isn’t such a bad thing as their characters have become dismembered to those in the first outing. Nevertheless, Adkins as John carries it under Hyams games console shoot ’em up direction. While this film may not be Adkins Jason Statham ‘star vehicle’ it shows he’s a convincing action man with some range of emotion to match as John goes on his hunt for Devereaux in some Apocalypse Now (1979) homage of sorts.
With excellent camerawork, lighting, stunts, ambiguous script, perfect moody atmosphere it’s not a normal action film – and with nudity, blood and horror like gore it’s not for the faint hearted either.

Don’t expect a rehash or even the Universal Soldier you fell in love with and you may be surprised by this basic, dark, testosterone injected ride. Now somebody needs to remake 1987’s cheese-fest Dead Prey with Adkins as the lead.