Judge Dan Mancini thinks this flick is a Dinocroc of...
One escaped. The other is about to be unleashed.
It should come as no surprise that the teaming of celebrated schlock producer Roger Corman (Battle Beyond the Stars) and softcore exploitation director Jim Wynorski (The Bare Wench Project) would result in an abomination on the order of the made-for-TV movie Dinocroc vs. Supergator. A sequel of sorts to Corman's previous giant rampaging monster pictures, Dinocroc and Supergator, this turkey opens with the outsized reptiles escaping from the Kauai research facility where they were created. The marginally competent CGI mayhem is punctuated by loads of exposition delivered in a cellphone conversation between a curvy blond scientist (aren't they all?) and slick bad guy Jason Drake (David Carradine, Kill Bill: Volume 2), who we can tell is a greedy, amoral jerk because he spends almost the entire movie barking orders into his cellphone while sunning beside his pool. The rest of the movie largely consists of the monsters tooling around Hawaii, eating dolts standing near enough to large bodies of water to facilitate the use of cheap special effects in their sudden deaths. Eventually, do-gooder environmentalist and anti-poaching activist Cassidy Swanson (Amy Rasimus, Girls Gone Psycho) is joined by Cajun outdoor adventurer Bob Logan (Rib Hillis, Passions), and scientist Paul Beaumont (Corey Landis, Lost in the Woods) in an attempt to save promiscuous vacationers all over the island by turning the two giant monsters against one another.
For the most part, Roger Corman's low-budget collaborations with the Syfy network have failed to entertain even as camp, but Dinocroc vs. Supergator is especially egregious—most likely because Syfy passed on the project early on, forcing Corman and company to whip it together on an even smaller budget than usual. One of the notable hallmarks of Corman's made-for-TV and straight-to-video renaissance is the use of hokey, PG-rated CGI monster violence. It doesn't get any hokier or PG-rated than the kills in Dinocroc vs. Supergator, which mostly recycle the same two effects over and over again: some dope or a couple of horny vacationers are snatched from the edge of the water by the poorly composited digital Supergator, or some dope or a couple of horny vacationers look up and scream before being snatched by the Velociraptor-like Dinocroc, their rubbery CGI arms and legs twitching in his equally rubbery mouth as he swallows them down. Both shots are incredibly cheesy, and they each happen at least a half dozen times throughout the picture. The movie's CGI cheapness is so blatantly cynical in its execution that it completely fails to entertain even as kitsch.
The movie's only star power comes from the late David Carradine, who appears to have agreed to work for only a day or so and on the condition that he was allowed to shoot all of his scenes while sitting in a deck chair beside his pool. Though he is Dinocroc vs. Supergator's human bad guy, he's so disconnected from everything else happening in the flick that he barely registers. The rest of the cast ranges from competent (Corey Landis) to downright awful (Amy Rasimus). The rugged individualism of Rib Hillis' outdoorsman character is telegraphed by a sleeveless shirt, sheathed knives on his belt, a floppy safari bucket hat, and, for reasons unknown, fingerless weightlifting gloves. These goofy wardrobe choices are all that constitute character development in the movie (Landis' character wears a hideous Hawaiian shirt, much insulted by the rest of the cast). We're told that Hillis' adventurer is Cajun, but the actor doesn't even bother trying an accent. It's all supposed to be self-consciously hilarious, I suppose, but not a single moment of the movie made me crack a smile. Dinocroc vs. Supergator is pure, unadulterated hackery.
The movie lands on Blu-ray in a 1080p/AVC transfer framed at 1.78:1. The high definition treatment serves the movie well during the over-used aerial shots of Kauai meant to make the production look far more expensive than it actually was, but only exposes the gross limitations of the digital monster effects. To be clear, I've seen a plethora of these modern made-for-TV monster movies. I know that they tend to revel in the camp of their substandard visual effects, but the CGI in Dinocroc vs. Supergator is unusually bad even for the genre.
The Dolby TrueHD audio mix in 5.1 surround makes decent use of the entire soundstage, including some directional panning, but doesn't reach far enough into the low frequencies to really impress. One expects some thump and rumble in a movie about giant reptiles, but this track doesn't deliver.
An audio commentary featuring Corman and Wynorski actually makes the movie infinitely more entertaining as the duo pulls no punches in detailing their cheapskate ways during the production—from getting a major discount from the aerial tours company they used to shoot Kauai by featuring their logo-emblazoned helicopter prominently in the feature, to using not-so-clever editing to limit the number of actors they had to fly to the Hawaiian islands from the mainland.
The only other extra is a trailer for the movie.
Dinocroc vs. Supergator works neither as a monster movie nor an unintentional comedy. It's an awful waste of 87 minutes.
Guilty as charged.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
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