Jurassic Attack (2013)
"The Final Battle"
A squad of army soldiers is sent into the jungle to rescue a female biochemist who is being held captive by a ruthless South American dictator and to destroy the biochemical weapon that he now has in his possession. But the mission goes wrong and their helicopter is shot down. Struggling through the dense jungle terrain, they stumble into an ancient valley filled with carnivorous dinosaurs.
Jurassic Attack currently holds the dubious distinction of being Sy Fy's last Saturday night original movie before the channel decided to move their monster mash-ups to Thursdays instead and, depending on what month of the year it is, has also been known as Rise of the Dinosaurs in some quarters. So what does that mean for the film? Well not a lot really as I was struggling to write an introductory paragraph and decided to pad it out a little. I could write the same things for all Sy Fy films and usually have so I've decided to skip the instant criticism and waffle a little bit. Anyway on to the review…
We've all been there before with daft killer dinosaur flicks like Raptor Island. We know the drill: expendable soldiers, terribly-rendered CGI raptors, lots of gun fire, awful CG blood and more cheese than a dairy factory. Jurassic Attack rigidly sticks to this formula, providing a reasonably-sized platoon of largely nameless dinosaur chow, a token gruff action hero, a chick in a tight tank top, an overplayed human villain and special effects which look to have been dragged out from before the Ice Age. Originality is lacking but I wasn't expecting it to be present to begin with. Your enjoyment from this will depend on how many of these films you've seen and how much fun you get from watching the same material being served up in a slightly different manner.
It is coincidental that in the year Jurassic Park receives a 3-D cinematic makeover, a similar-sounding low budget cash-in pops it's head out of the Jurassic period. I reckon the original script had little to do with dinosaurs but someone thought it'd be great to cash-in on Spielberg's original being re-released. There's no working explanation for the appearance of dinosaurs in this film. You'll be required to provide your own thesis because the film just presents it as fact. Even the low key reactions of the characters to seeing things that have been extinct for millions of years strutting around in front of them sum up the ho-hum attitude to this new-found discovery. These are dinosaurs we're talking about, not pigeons or horses. Man's usual reaction is to shoot first and ask questions later so before the enormity of this history-changing discovery can sink in, the soldiers are already trying to make sure that the dinosaur extinction is consigned to history once more with round after round of ammo. I'm not quite sure how much ammo a squad like this would carry on for the purposes of their original mission but they seem to respawn bullets like they're buying some in-game purchases.
Special effects-wise, Jurassic Attack fails in every department. Despite the decent cinematography (this actually looks like an undiscovered valley for a change), the dinosaurs look awful. They look poor on their own but when there's more than one dinosaur on screen, the effects are jarring and shoddy. They don't interact well with their real environment (footprints? water splashes?) and the scenes of the dinosaurs slashing and biting at the humans just descend into CGI blood fests. It's a shame because the dinosaurs are well-detailed when they stand still but as soon as any movement is required, the good work goes out of the window. What the special effects lack in quality, the film at least makes up with the quantity of dinosaur attacks. Once they've stumbled into the secret valley, this group is never five minutes away from another devastating dino encounter. Whilst there's no real shock to the order of death of the characters, you never get the sense that the film is coasting. There's always a random dinosaur attack to keep things fresh and interesting. The dinosaur selection is varied too with raptors, T-Rexes and Triceratops all causing problems for the characters.
Fresh off battling the titular monsters in Mega Shark Vs Crocosaurus, Gary Stretch takes centre stage once more as the action hero. Stretch was the best thing about that film and he's the best thing on display here. He’s never going to make it big but in the lead role in these daft low budget films, he’s found his niche. Stretch looks and sounds like he can kick some ass as the dinosaurs find out first-hand. Regular B-movie actor Corin Nemec gets a supporting role as an army commander who spends his entire screen time holed up in the 'command centre' location. Every one of these films has to have a small command centre with three or four army guys staring blankly at the camera pretending to push buttons and give out orders to the main characters. So why Nemec, a popular mainstay in these monster movies, is relegated to background duty with a pointless role is beyond me. He spends the bulk of his screen time butting heads with Vernon Wells' dodgy 'Agent' character. Basically the corporate/government suit, Wells is another guy I'd expect to see in a bigger role in something like this and Jurassic Attack wastes two of its biggest assets in non-essential parts.
Throw all of this into the grinder and what you get is about ninety minutes of mildly entertaining but ultimately forgettable mush which will no doubt be reheated and reserved under the guise of another dino romp in the future. Jurassic Attack isn’t Sy Fy’s worst outing but it’s not exactly recommended viewing.
Also Known As: Rise of the Dinosaurs
Director(s): Anthony Fankhauser
Writer(s): Rafael Jordan
Actor(s): Corin Nemec, Vernon Wells, Gary Stretch, Michael Worth, Natascha Berg, Alicia Ziegler, Rachel Riley
Duration: 86 mins