Carnosaur 2 Review

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1995 – R – New Horizon

83 minutes – Starring John Savage, Cliff De Young – Directed by Louis Morneau

Remember the movie Aliens, that awesome movie about a crew of misfit Colonial Marines that go to a far off planet after communications were lost with them and they battle waves of xenomorphs that bleed acid? Wouldn’t it be great if they remade that, but with dinosaurs? Really cheap ones too! Like, so cheap you’ll laugh until you’re on the floor rolling, holding your ribs in pain, wishing for it to stop. Throw in some one dimensional knock offs of each character and set designs so cheap, it looks like the movie was shot at a children’s carnival spooky house attraction and you have Carnosaur 2! It’s described as a “low budget sequel,” but I think it should have been described as a “much, much lower budget sequel.”

You could argue that the movie doesn’t exactly begin like Aliens, but that it begins like some of the deleted scenes from Aliens, but this is as about as far as the movie stretches its originality. It’s like those scenes with the colonists and Newt with her family. Actually to be fair, the beginning of this film doesn’t rip off Aliens. No, it flat out rips off that other successful James Cameron sequel, Terminator 2. In particular, the scene where John Conner is hacking an ATM machine for money, only here, the Eddie Furlong clone and friend are hacking into some storage unit in an underground super secret mine/lab to steal some dynamite or as this young Keanu Reeves inspired actor puts it, “Industrial strength blammo, dude.” Now I have to ask… why is he stealing it? What the hell is he planning (maybe it would have been better than this movie)? Anyway, the kid’s name is Jesse and his uncle who works for this facility catches them. Rather than being completely shocked as to how they broke in and why they are stealing dynamite, he just sends Jesse’s friend home and scoffs. Leaving work, Uncle Whatever-his-name-is tells Jesse not to wonder off and of course, the little creep does just that (and he has the whole 90’s grunge look to prove he doesn’t care!) only to be offered to drive a forklift for a moment and is told never to press a certain lever because IT OPENS A METAL DOOR WITH 150 FOOT DROP STRAIGHT DOWN. I’m sure this will in no way come back later in the film. Especially not the climax.

Jesse and his uncle stop at the mess hall for some grub, because it’s cheap to shoot there. We’re introduced to some cook who works there whose purpose is to hear a noise, which he thinks is coyotes. Once outside, he likes to taunt these coyotes we can’t see to provide suspense, when suddenly he hears… that clicking sound the Predator makes? Yeah, it sounds just like it, making for something else this movie rips off. As the poor guy is having his face eaten off, all I can do is sit here and ponder how the filmmakers couldn’t even have enough originality to make a dinosaur sound (hell, the trailer even rips off Jurassic Park sounds). Back inside, the dinosaurs are throwing garbage (why?) in a fit of rage and tossing people around like pro wrestlers.

After a cross dissolve, we see John Savage roll up in a jeep to another unknown location, hungover, no doubt trying to drink away the thoughts of falling not so gracefully since The Deer Hunter. Another character named Monk is introduced with the elegant line of dialogue, “So, I’m hammering this girl…” then proceeds to talk about cheating on his wife like it’s the most casual conversation. I know the intention of the writers was to provide him as comic relief, but if my first reaction is to smash this man’s esophagus, it’s not a good thing. Moving along, we are introduced to our rag tag bunch of Colonial Marines, I mean… Mercs? What are these guys supposed to be anyway? They look like janitors in their one piece, patchless uniforms. Each one of them represents a one dimensional character trait of a Colonial Marine, so when you think of these characters, you’ll be thinking of others characters from another movie. It’s a collection of D-List actors, although the only one I recognize is Miguel A Nunez Jr from Return of the Living Dead And Friday the 13th Part V, making him the only actor I can tolerate on screen. Being the film’s only ethnic person though, he doesn’t seem to have a high survival rate.

After they are woken up… ’cause they can’t call it hypersleep. This is a more realistic movie, you know… with genetically engineered killer dinosaurs. Anyway, they are debriefed on the situation by this movie’s Paul Reiser, McQuade, a pudgy, frizzled hair guy who’s even dressed like Carter Burke, bubble vest over flannel and all. Well gee, wouldn’t you know it, turns out the company lost communications with the workers inside the secret mine… just kinda like how that other movie lost communications with a planet. With no time to waste, the crew hop in their chopper, but instead of going the homo-bashing helicopter scene from Predator route (which I actually thought they were going to do), they instead play ‘Flight of The Valkyries’ on a boombox, ripping off Apocalypse Now, only here it’s not very good and makes no sense.

Once inside the facility, we get the usual “searching the perimeter” scene, until the stumble upon Newt, I mean Jesse, who is traumatized. After claiming to have searched the facility (although this is literally the only room we see them search), the team thinks they should bail, but McQuade tells them otherwise. They bicker and argue and are about to leave, but for some reason change their minds and stay, which makes the whole ten or so minutes you just sat through with them arguing completely pointless.

By now, you’re probably catching on to the beat of the movie, especially if you’ve seen Aliens: Setting up a coms room, looking at destroyed architecture, the Newt and Ripley bond… just to stretch out that moment until you finally see the dinosaurs, except when you do eventually get to see them here, it’s like looking at rubber puppets. The dinosaurs start to kill the Mercs, forcing the remaining others to flee like the cowards they are, calling for an immediate evac and this is where the film leaves me in shock. They do a shot for shot remake of the evac crashing scene, but to be honest, they got me. I didn’t see that coming. I thought, “Surely the filmmakers aren’t this lazy and stupid to copy EXACTLY every little scene that happened in Aliens,” but they got me! I was expecting Monk to cite the famous, “Game over, man!” line. So yeah, their obviously toy helicopter being blown up with firecrackers crashes, so they head back inside for the film’s exposition scene where we learn all about the dinosaurs and what McQuade is actually up to. This would have been a shocking reveal if they weren’t obviously ripping off a character from the movie they are ripping off who was revealed to have a secret agenda for the company he worked for. Bottom line, IT’S NOT A SECRET IF IT’S OBVIOUS BECAUSE YOUR AUDIENCE IS AWARE OF WHAT FILM YOU ARE KNOCKING OFF.

No more screwing around, it’s time to escape! Jesse hacks the mainframe (it’s what all kids knew how to do in the 90’s), the team goes off to collect the dynamite, McQuade tries to stop them… I really shouldn’t have to be explaining this. We’ve all seen Aliens. Speaking of, isn’t there a real crucial scene where they discover that the planets reactor is melting down? So how do they do it here? Turns out, this facility was used as a place to store nuclear warheads after the Cold War and the dinosaurs damaged it… you know, because it happened in Aliens, okay!? By now, the curtains are coming to a close and there are only a few scenes left to reenact, so I’m going to finish this up by saying once more, LITERALLY the exact same things that happened in Aliens, happen here. You do get to see the movies only moment of gore, as one of the Mercs gets their arm ripped off and then guts ripped out, so that’s worth at least a couple of rewinds. I should also mention that in place of a Queen Alien, you get a T-Rex, which to be fair, I guess would be the equivalent of that. Oh and take a guess if that forklift and the 150 foot drop make a return…

Wow, there are rip offs, then there are blatant rip off photocopies and Carnosaur 2 goes above and beyond that. It’s so cheap, it even rips off the first movie! This movie makes films by Bruno Mattei look subtle and that guy made a career out of ripping off films. Even for a Roger Corman produced movie this is shameful. I mean, my god… it’s literally Aliens with velocioraptors… and bad acting… and crappy effects, bad music… It’s just bad, but not too unwatchably bad, since it’s worth watching for the unintentional laughs alone. It fun to see what feels like a film student’s reenactment of Aliens as a dinosaur puppet show. Since there isn’t much in the way of boobs or gore, a lot of horror fans will find it hard to sit through, even with the cheese factor going through the roof. This is a film I’m really in the middle of the road about. On one hand, it’s a piss poor excuse of a knockoff, but it’s so incredibly bad, it’s as if it makes you stupid while you watch it, so you can sit through the entire movie. But you know what the worst part is? There are three more entries in the series. We’re all doomed… DOOMED!

Stay Frosty at The Lost Highway!

carnosaur2-2

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