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Lost City Raiders Review

November 23, 2008

I know what you’re going to say. “Is that a football team?” No.

Instead, its this week’s SciFi Weekend Horrorshow (and by “Horrorshow” I mean how horribly they’ve ruined cinematic rules.) It takes place in 2048, after Al Gore has destroyed the world–I mean after global warming has made the seas go up. An old man and his two grown sons are salvagers, going out to find the scepter Moses used to part the Red Sea for the Roman Catholic Church, which magically still exists. The movie begins with them finding a ledger book in Los Angeles, and the “action-adventure-not-too-bright-diving-son” (hereby referred to as ACTION) almost gets eaten by a shark. I think this is how the script went:

EXT. UNDERWATER
On ACTION
ACTION
…or not.
CUT TO:
Stock shark footage from any generic IMAX marine biology movie.

He then gets pulled up on a line and is “almost eaten” by that shark in a completely unbelieveable sequence, and then on the boat says something to the effect of “Man, that thing must have eaten a nuclear reactor!” Except it didn’t. It was a standard, generic great white shark. Normally, you could write it off as he’s joking, except earlier, the father and the nerdy son (hereby referred to as NERD) made comments to the same effect, that it was a mutant shark. Which could only be true if being in IMAX footage makes you a mutant.

So they take this ledger to Rome, where the Cardinal and the Roman Catholic Church tell Daddio to go find the scepter in an ancient tomb in Rome. Obviously, its not there, and the one (IMHO) good scene in this movie is when the son steps on a tile, the father says “Booby-trap!”, knocks the son down to avoid being shish-kabobed–and nothing happened. I don’t know, I just thought it was funny.

Unfortunately, that’s about the best scene in the movie, so it doesn’t bode well for anyone. Just before that, we see a real estate mogul who’s bought practically the entire Earth hire Action’s Ex-Girlfriend, who is working on a theory to blow up parts of the mantle to stop the rising floodwaters, to get the scepter. So she shows up with some of the mogul’s thugs (although she is against their guns) and a fight ensues. Father uses concussion grenades to bring down the bad guys, getting the object they’ve found but having dad die in the process.

Unfortunately, the movie just gets worse from there on out. A woman the boys pick up to be their mechanic (and falls in love with NERD) has her entire dialogue dubbed by a rather fake-sounding voice actress. The same character’s boss defies physics, and being a fat man with more lard than muscle throws a harpoon through a concrete wall. A traitor in the Catholic Church follows the heroes to an island, and is apparently a LEVEL 89 ROGUE WITH EPIC ARMOR because nobody sees him. Oh, and on this island, there is a little chamber that is covered with a map of the world and what looks like technical inscriptions, but there is absolutely no explanation as to who created it. Martians? Atlanteans? Steve Jobs? Nope, nothing. Oh, and it also has a hole in the floor, which is above a magma pocket, which is then used in a very Obi-Wan vs. Darth Maul sort of battle. And then the movie ends with some Backstreet Boys knockoffs singing a ridiculous and, IMHO, unncessary pop song with everyone eating dinner.

Granted, that’s a very simplified and not very thorough summary, but that’s basically the entire movie. Its yet another slow moving, rather generic, poorly stitched together composition of discarded science fiction ideas monstrosity from the folks who run the SciFi Saturday division of SciFi Inc. And its rather depressing. Science fiction is a large and expansive canvas, and ditto for horror and fantasy (as well as any other forms of speculative fiction.) Unfortunately, SciFi has botched it with nearly all their TV movies. And I can’t help but feel that this ruination is becoming endemic within visual SciFi. (I mean, they canned SGA for chrissakes.) If this movie has anything going for it, its the fact that it isn’t a random monster movie. I hate monster movies with an unbridled passion. 99% of the time they are utter dreck. Unfortunately, this, too, is dreck.

Spare yourselves, and read any of the Best Science Fiction Anthologies by Gardner Dozois.

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