AE: Apocalypse Earth (2013) – Review

3 Stars

It must be summertime blockbuster season, when the Asylum mock-busters begin to crowd the SyFy channel, Netflix streaming services, and the Redbox Kiosks. AE: Apocalypse Earth is another in a long string of rip-offs from the company known (and sued) for trying to trick unsuspecting audience members with titles and cover-art extremely similar to coinciding big budget studio releases. Last summer we had Battleship playing in theaters while The Asylum’s American Warships ruled the cable airwaves, John Carter was a notorious debacle but that didn’t stop the release of Asylum’s Princess of Mars, and so on. So it may come as sort of a backhanded compliment to state that Apocalypse Earth hangs together better than its forebears, and is by far the most polished and watchable production yet from the dodgy releasing company.

AE: Apocalypse Earth is designed to garner attention from the theatrical debut of Will and Jaden Smith’s After Earth. Writer/Director Thunder Levin (insert Thor joke, here) has instead brazenly stolen from Predator, Star Trek, Avatar, Prometheus and just about any other Sci-fi hit in recent memory. Headlined By Adrian Paul, the one-time star of TV’s Highlander series, he fits right into the mold already established by C-listers Antonio Sabato Jr., Marc Singer, and fellow co-star Richard Grieco. Both of these old vets bring a solid stoic quality, elevating the run-around-the-jungle sequences into something watchable. As with all Asylum productions, AE has about 25 minutes worth of story that is stretched into a feature running time of roughly 90 minutes. This makes for a tremendous amount of filler, scenes that exists to elongate the proceedings, for understandable reason, but to its detriment none-the-less.

Which is to say that AE is firmly rooted in the grand tradition of B-movie exuberance, and all the inherent flaws that entails. I appreciated the laid-back charisma of Adrian Paul, and the grungy looking Grieco, whose hair is so oddly distracting I spent the first three minutes of the movie, trying to decipher if the growth was natural or extensions. That hair is one of the best special effects in the entire film. Admittedly, AE is an above par outing for the Asylum and it’s hard-working crew. Those familiar with the brand will find much to enjoy here, other expecting a picture on the level of After Earth will be greatly disappointed. On a side note: if you are still considering your viewing options based solely on DVD cover art, then you deserve to be fooled by the bait and switch going on here.

Director: Thunder Levin
Stars: Adrian Paul, Richard Grieco, Bali Rodriguez

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