Sci-Fi Showdown Episode IV: Iron Thunder

Richard Hatch stars in a tank movie where people with plugs in their heads control tanks…but still have to control them manually…and it tries to force philosophy…Anyway, can a single redeeming character save the movie? (Spoiler Warning: He can’t.) (Minor warning, some nudity but it’s covered.)

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[blip.tv/play/h%2BF8gu7BYwA]

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This movie…wow…

I know it’s only 4 episodes into SciFS, but this is probably the worst movie I’ve reviewed so far. The only reason I’m probably not angrier at it was because I watched it the first time with Ellif, which padded the pain a bit.

Let me put it this way, I would rather watch 4 back to back showings each of un-Rifftraxed “The Room” and “Birdemic” while the Torgo theme looped on headphones than sit through this piece of garbage again.

I’ve seen some bad movies in my time, but this is bad stretched out to over two hours and slowed to a crawl. When I say Hess was the only likable element in this entire movie, I mean it.

There’s so many things I didn’t touch on that’s just wrong with this movie. I’ll point out a few here:

1. Robinson’s aqua phobia is continually referenced to absolutely no conclusion. There’s even a point where he watches a bug slowly drown in a pitcher during the briefing. Then during the sex scene a canteen spills over, I guess making him perform worse. Then as he dies drowning in his own blood (which, considering we saw the open bottom of the helmet repeatedly would have been an impossibility) it intercuts between him dying and the ocean waves.

2. Timon and Glasses’ smoking side story. No, I don’t remember their names because I frankly don’t care about either of them. Spaced through the movie are instances where Timon keeps trying to get Glasses to smoke but he keeps saying no until they’re in battle, then he does after Timon dies…I honestly have no idea what they were trying to allude to, but it was annoying and I praise Hess for continually rejecting it.

3. Doctor Asshole’s hatred of swearing. Every time someone says something on the curse-level above “ass”, he would say, “Language, please!” Was this an attempt at humor? I don’t know, because I never laughed and when the movie continually drops f-bombs, it lost its point rather quickly.

4. What the hell was supposed to be the tone of this movie? It had points (like the Redneck scenes) that seemed like they were supposed to be humorous, but then when Timon dies it tries to take this whole philosophical route like it’s Full Metal Jacket or Platoon. If your movie’s tagline involves watching two tanks fight, keep your movie about the damn tanks.

5. The cover:

Yeah, I might be really nitpicking here, but this is one of those stupidly misleading covers. There’s no “convergence of man and metal”, just plugs in the back of their heads. The reason the entire “team” dies is mostly because of their own stupidity. Nelson shows no planning ability, just that he’s watched way too many Vietnam movies. This thing shows explosions, attack helicopters (that look photoshopped) and all kinds of misleading fail.

In retrospective, I probably should have made it far more obvious in the video, but I really hate this movie. The more I’m writing about it, the more hatred I’m finding. Christopher Grey (also known as Christopher Cho, his website is here: http://christophercho.net/) was the closest thing this movie had to a saving grace.

How could one improve this movie?

The best action would seriously have been to focus on Hess and Nelson. Make Hess’ muteness his main defining point as the “old” version of super Nintendo mind plug experiments, but young soldier against the “new” version of mind plug solider but experienced vet in Nelson. Nelson would have been Hess’ mentor or trainer maybe and saw Hess leaving the project as a betrayal of sorts.

This would have solved the first issue of Robinson’s uselessness as a character and get rid of that obnoxious sex scene in the middle of the movie. It would also have added depth to the fight at the end which really seemed to narratively come out of nowhere.

Speaking of which, I haven’t addressed Albright. She was completely useless aside from a sexual object. They try to inject some sort of sympathy for her, but it falls totally flat and even after everyone else dies, her death is just pointless.

You really only needed three characters in this movie, Hess, Nelson and Dr. Asshole. Make it a chess match between those two while the Doctor plots to end them both. But with actual technologically advanced tanks fighting.

And putting Las Vegas in there when you mention it repeatedly might help.

In conclusion, this movie’s terrible but try to find more from Christopher Cho. At least he’s able to display emotion.

Take care, peeps.

-N’Eligahn

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For added fun, this is the movie’s synopsis in IMDB:

“Danger faces unsuspecting tourists in Las Vegas (A place that is apparently on the corner of Death Valley and the ocean) as Colonel Nelson, who goes mad when he is accidentally electrocuted (Which is only kinda shown on screen since he’s shown to be plenty crazy in the intro.) by the very super secret U.S. military tank he is testing, Iron Thunder. He now believes he is in the middle of an actual war and the city of glittering lights is his target (Not directly implied, he’s just lost and randomly blowing stuff up). In a desperate attempt to stop him from using the state of the art offensive and defensive technology on board, the head of the Iron Thunder project sends out a Special Forces team, headed by woman who has to deal with a crew that has its own ulterior agendas (Robinson, either get re-instated or SCREW THEM ALL/Timon “Got a smoke”/ Glasses “No I don’t.”/ Hess “Why the hell am I here?”). Following Nelson’s trail of destruction across the desert (Two shacks and a skeleton.), they face off in a spectacular battle (About 4 shots are fired.) and force Nelson out of his tank. The battle continues on foot into the ruined Ghost towns of times gone by (Also known as, “Throw some abandoned trailer parts over here.). Nelson is in his element, matching wits and weapons with the less experienced soldiers. (Wits = Smelling cigarettes and knocking out the only useful person.) Iron Thunder is about military technology gone wild (And in one scene, women gone wild.) and the price humans must pay to survive in the 21st century (Apparently whatever this piece of crap cost to make.).”

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