Image Entertainment // 2011 // 91 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // June 26th, 2011
Screaming, scratching, biting...and that's just the girls.
Stallone and Schwarzenegger. Li and Chan. Deniro and Pacino. Gibson and Tiffany. Icons reunited at last.
Dr. Nikki Riley (Debbie Gibson) is a tree-hugging crusader for animal rights. And she has the tie-dye ensemble to prove it. She's in the middle of an anti-hunting campaign and her aggressive do-gooder tendencies conflict with the law-and-order inclinations of Chief Ranger Terry O'Hara (Tiffany), who's been busy trying to quell a python infestation.
The two women eventually come to blows, yet somehow manage to move past their epic catfights to join forces against two mammoth, mutated beasts: the Mega Python and Gatoroid, which have the capacity to devour blimps.
I've discovered an interesting axiom when it comes to these Syfy creature features. The cooler the cover art, the worse the film. Mega Python vs. Gatoroid has some pretty slick cover art. The actual movie blows.
Much is made over the stunt casting of Debbie Gibson and Tiffany, and to be honest, that inspired slice of gimmickry adds a dollop of fun to the proceedings. The two seem to genuinely enjoy their roles and play off each other with corny glee. They're self-deprecating enough to weave in lines lifted straight from their songs and that likeability goes a long way towards promoting Gatoroid from "brain-stabbingly awful" to just "awful."
But when you're dealing with a sci-fi monster movie espousing the joys of a huge snake battling a huge alligator and the action centerpiece of the film is a prolonged catfight between two former pop stars...it should be a red flag that you're dealing with a steaming pile.
I'm all for some good fun, especially if it involves humiliating icons from the 1980s bubblegum pop scene, but a coupe of girls rolling around a wedding cake for five minutes does not compensate for the entertainment vacuum that is the remaining 85 minutes.
If you've seen any of these VS. movies, you know how it plays out: mankind interferes with nature, mutation kicks in, terrible visual effects begin popping up, there is some devouring and a big showdown occurs in the final few frames, featuring the highlighted reptiles. No different here, though I'm still not completely clear on why the python and alligator became mega and roid-filled.
What I do know is, any time these creatures made it to the screen, I recoiled in horror. And not the good kind of horror either. I didn't think it was possible for visual effects to get worse as time advanced, but apparently that's the new reality. There are plenty of moments when the snakes and alligators appear, a departure from the usual game plan which keeps the reveals until the very end, though in this case I'm leaning toward hiding the monsters all together. They look less like killer reptiles and more like, I don't know, Hershey's chocolate syrup smeared across the TV.
The Blu-ray is headline by a nice, high-res 1.78:1, 1080p transfer that benefits Tiffany's cleavage a great deal, yet leaves the visual effects in the lurch. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track blasts out the mayhem nicely enough, particularly in the over-heated finale when the two heavyweights (the CGI ones) battle it out. One extra: a making-of featurette.
The pop-culture casting oddity is amusing, but it's just lipstick on a pig, and an ugly pig at that.
Guilty. Tiffany deserves better!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
Running Time: 91 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated