Raptor Island

Raptor Island

Lorenzo Lamas as Hacket
Steven Bauer as Azir
Hayley DuMond as Jamie Cole
Michael Cory Davis as Marcus
Peter Jason as The Captain

Sci-Fi Channel has aired some stinkers. I know that, you know that, TarsTarkas.NET knows that in spades. Even with some of the junk they air, most of the films have a few redeeming points, money shots, or one or two enjoyable scenes. Sometimes, such as Frankenfish, the movie is actually very enjoyable. Usually, it’s 90% junk. Once in a while, a movie comes along….a movie of such caliber….that 100% junk does not do it justice. Raptor Island is well over 8696843% junk, and still climbing. You can take that to the bank, after all, I am a scientist. Much of the junk in Raptor Island is so bad there isn’t words to describe it. It’s terrible. Terrible. TERRIBLE! There is nothing redeeming about this film. From Lorenzo Lamas being out acted by rocks and trees, to CGI monsters so badly rendered a kid with crayolas would do better, to action sequences involving people standing still shooting while their targets stand still and take fire. You won’t believe the origin of the raptors. I’d rather watch the Toronto Raptors trapped on an island than see this film again. You couldn’t pay me to watch it again, and I’ve seen Manos two dozen times. There cannot possibly be a worse Sci-Fi Channel movie than this one. Read on, if you dare…

A toy airplane wobbles on it’s string in the middle of a CGI storm in the first laughable attempt at effects, foreshadowing the doom and gloom to follow. CGI lightning starts a CGI fire on the plastic model wing of what is supposed to represent a real airplane. The plane and it’s cargo of a mysterious unnamed box go down. The mysterious box was probably bound for the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

40 Years Later! Well, thank goodness for that. Because otherwise….uh….yeah. A group of counterterrorists lead by Lorenzo Lamas (as Hacket) are preparing to rescue an undercover agent and destroy and arms cache of the notorious terrorist Azir. The counterterrorists are based on the ship USS Drake, which you will recall was also a ship on Star Trek: The Next Generation, the ship first offered to Riker as a command before he took his first officer’s job (and was eventually destroyed by the Minos weapon.) This has nothing to do with the plot of the movie, but is far more interesting that anything happening onscreen at this time, despite it’s ubernerdity. Lorenzo Lamas and his group of unremarkable soldiers storm Azir’s ship as a UN boat sinks nearby into the deep ocean. A gunfight erupts aboard. How unfortunate for the film’s crew that they films this action sequence at the same time a 10.5 scale earthquake was going on. That is the only thing that could explain the massive shakiness of the camera. Or maybe they had Michael J. Fox or Janet Reno doing hand-held work. As Shakey-Cam and rapid jumpcuts just serve to confuse the audience as to what is transpiring, it took me a minute to realize that Azir, a few of his goons, and the captive agent girl escaped on a speedboat. Lamas’s team sets timed explosives on the weapons cache and they give chase, failing to give us an exciting speedboat shootout.

Azir’s gang, as well as the perusing Lamas, make it to a nearby island. The first thing the camera notices for us is the raptor tracks on the beach, ignored by our heroes. The island is a typical tropical island in the South China Sea, as explained in the film. Except it looks just like Northern Canada, or Eastern Europe! I’m not sure which of those cheap film locations it was shot in, but it was autumn when it was shot, as there are plenty of dead leaves on the group, colored foliage in the trees, trees hibernating for winter, the whole works. During the first few shots on the island, the time on the bomb on the ship is counting down, as the movie must drag out it’s few lame attempts at entertainment. The timer is set on “Movie Timer” mode, which means the numbers jump around instead of following normal time, until it finally goes off. “At least something is going right today,” says one of the soldiers, except it wasn’t really, they need to get their timers checked.

One of Azir’s goons slips while on the run and manages to get completely and totally lost in less than a second in the middle of the woods, I mean tropical jungle. The people he was right behind must have had a burst of speed that The Flash would be jealous of to have left him behind so far, and Lost Goon goes off clomping in a new direction. A ROAR sound effect plays, because raptors don’t like it when terrorists get lost in their woods. Azir sends two more of his goons back to the beach to destroy the counter-terrorist team’s boat, as well as move their own. The two goon’s work is interrupted by….RAPTORS! The title characters make their appearance, and what an appearance it is! Remember when Jurassic Park helped to popularize that raptors were intelligent, quick, and hunted in packs? Well, this island must house the Raptor Special Olympics Training Squad. These raptors, besides not only just looking stupid, behave less intelligently than sea sponges. They manage to eat one of the goons, and the second unloads an entire clip from his machine gun into some raptors, who respond by…JUST STANDING THERE! Even Forrest Gump figured out to run away when people were shooting at him. Finally, after he empties his clip, they decide to beat it. Goon #2 then destroys the counter-terrorists’ boat and takes off on his, but two counter-terrorists return and snipe the boat’s engine in one shot, which causes the boat to explode in a ball of flame so big a boat made entirely out of nitroglycerine wouldn’t go up as big. While Snipy McSnipeSnipe fired his weapon, his partner vanished. Whatever could have happened to him? Either raptors or he got lost in less than a second like that Lost Goon. Hey, it could happen, and it might be more exciting than what really happened, off screen death.

A massive gunfight elsewhere on the island causes all of Azir’s remaining men (except the Lost Goon) to get killed off. The Agent Girl is also freed during the firefight, and she expresses her gratitude by yelling at Lorenzo Lamas. Meanwhile, Snipy McSnipeSnipe is wandering through the New England autumn woods retracing the ride of Paul Revere– at least that is what it looks like, but instead of the Redcoats he sees red blood on yellow leaves. Yellow Oak leaves. On the tropical island. He then gets attacked by the raptors. By attacked I mean the raptors just stand there while he shoots them repeatedly, bullets doing nothing (especially since the animators keep forgetting to add bullet holes!) Snipy manages to fall over like a woman in a horror film, and the animators finally remember to have the raptors move, it looks like the end of Snipy! Nope! He’s saved as the rest of the counter-terrorists arrive. The fire repeatedly on the raptors, where the CGI artists finally remember to add some bloodsquibs to the raptors. Bloodsquibs meaning flashes of red smears on the raptors for a second, before the blood vanishes without a trace. They look like fireworks. The raptors just continue to stand around looking confused. One raptor gets blown away by a grenade, another gets gunned down, so it falls down in place and the other raptors pay it no mind. One of the counter-terrorists is killed by the lone raptor to do anything but stand around, and then all the raptors run off.

The team cuts open the stomach of one of the dead raptors, not to keep an injured jedi warm in the snow, but to find the tracking device that was located on their missing comrade from earlier. The team is revealed to be stranded for at least 20 hours, plus they have radio problems. The team is pretty nondescript, none really come off as memorable in any fashion, except for one that has a very deep voice, one that makes Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget cartoons seem like a soprano. His name is Quinn.

Lost Goon returns, he finds the ancient wreckage of a plane (could it be the plane from 40 years ago in the beginning of the film?????) Raptors also find the Lost Goon, who empties clip after clip after clip into the raptors, who just stand there. The CGI artists remember to leave bullet holes in ONE of the raptors for a few seconds. Just a few seconds. Finally, one raptor jumps behind Lost Goon, and he sort of falls down as the raptors circle and feed. The counter-terrorist team arrives, guns blazing, and the raptors ignore them! They keep eating while being shot, one even drops dead and the others just keep on eating. I went to the trouble of making an animated gif of this idiocy, as the raptor just falls down while nothing else happens. Seriously. Just look at it. Even with my crappy screen captures and amateurish gif making abilities, the incompetence of the filmmakers shines through like a light in the darkness, guiding a path to new regions of ineptitude.

Afterwards, the bullets keep hitting the raptors, including one who is shot in the butt repeatedly. Finally, the raptors get bored with eating and taking incoming fire, so they wander off. The rest of the counter-terrorism team searches through the wreckage of the plane, find some Chinese markings on the plane but US cargo. This is never explained, why would the Chinese be flying American cargo in the 1960’s? Plus, we find out it’s radioactive material, so why would the Communist Chinese be carrying that, pre-Nixon in China? AND…to make this the most ridiculous explanation ever…the counter-intelligence team figures out the radioactive stuff is what is responsible for their radio problems and the raptors. Yes…you see…radiation causes things to mutate back into Cretaceous time. Yeah, the writers didn’t even try. I’ve never seen a worse explanation for the origin of the monsters in 27 years of monster movie watching.

Azir (remember him?) is still alive, and shoots one of the counter-terrorists. We then get told that the active volcano on the island is about to erupt, destroying the island. So the group wanders to a cave, where some of them explore while Lorenzo Lamas goes to look for water. The only team members left are the Spy Girl, Deep Voiced Quinn, and a token black guy named Marcus. The Spy Girl finds a room in the cave that is full to the brim with raptors, just chillin’. What are those hundreds of raptors doing in the cave? And what could they possible be eating on this island to support so many raptors? Especially raptors so stupid they have virtually no defense mechanisms except to stand around at they are attacked? Are they eating the volcano? Because that would be cool. So it can’t be, because this movie sucks.

Outside, the movie decides that raptors aren’t really scary enough, so they add a new terror, T-Rexes. I mean add a new “terror”, badly animated T-Rexes. T-Rex eats a raptor while a second stands there for a bit before it’s primitive brain cell (note the singular) remembers it needs to run away. Lorenzo Lamas sees this, then heads back to the cave. In the cave, Marcus is chased by some raptors while Quinn gets bugged by some baby raptors, who are neither cute nor effective. Marcus gets eaten as the cast is thinned out some more. Spy Girl comes up with some more theories about raptor origins, such as the thermal heat speeding up the mutations. Yeah. They’ve moved from “not caring” to “just making up crap stoned hippies wouldn’t believe.” Spy Girl talks about the raptors saying “creatures, intelligent, cunning…” What movie does she think she’s in? Obviously, she deluded, high on crystal meth, thinking she’s stuck in Jurassic Park. Back at the USS Drake, they are reminding us that it still exists, and a storm is coming, to add to the volcano and dinosaur troubles.

Spy Girl also figures out that the raptors go into blood frenzy when they smell blood, and eat their own kind. She must of had some sort of Indian vision quest to have figured this out, as this WASN’T going on in the entire movie so far, but now suddenly all the raptors follow this rule (in addition to their being morons who stand around while getting shot.) As the team is low on ammo, they need to make every shot count, yet still shoot round after round into the dead raptor. The plan works for around three seconds, until the raptors get bored and head towards the humans. Either that, or they just forgot they are supposed to go into bloodlust. The result is the raptors are the most active they’ve ever been as they do something, namely injure Quinn. Quinn stays behind to die shooting raptors as Lorenzo Lamas and Spy Girl escape. The two managed to fall into a muddy, smelly swamp, and get covered with mud. The raptors are confused by the mud, and can neither see nor smell them anymore. Yes, the movie just added Predator to the list of movies it’s stealing from….I mean homaging. Lorenzo Lamas and Spy Girl get some character development as they go back to hide in the plane wreckage, but it’s too little, too late.

Character development can wait, as a T-Rex comes growling through the clearing. With the massive amount of noise the T-Rex makes, it’s a wonder it hasn’t starved to death. But here on Raptor Island, the Triple-Chromosome Raptors just waltz up to the big scary monster and hop in his mouth. Back at the USS Drake, the ship is enveloped in a CGI fog, while the island a short distance away is completely crystal clear. Lorenzo Lamas and Spy Girl decide to set a bunch of charges to blow up all the raptors, who will be dead in a short while when the volcano explodes killing everyone one the island, including Lorenzo Lamas and Spy Girl. Plus big explosions probably won’t be good for keeping the volcano stable, so I don’t get the logic here. It seems the stupidity of the island’s inhabitants is caused by something in the island, which has now infected Lorenzo Lamas and Spy Girl as well. Spy Girl falls into a hole during all of this, confirming the stupidity theory, and Lorenzo Lamas thinks she’s dead, so he sets off all the explosives, causing lava to flow everywhere, including all through the raptor’s nest. The logic seemed to be to get some raptors injured so they’d eat each other, but what happens is they all drown in lava.

A rescue chopper has been sent, still flying in fog while Raptor Island is clear skies. He notices the explosion and goes to investigate. Azir manages to capture Spy Girl, as they both somehow survived the rivers of lava despite being in the volcano cave system in the lower level where liquids would flow. The lave must have caught the “Raptor Island Stupidity” as well. I have never seen a movie where rocks were getting stupider, but there you go. Spy Girl escapes from Azir, finds Lorenzo Lamas, and they get chased by raptors who weren’t killed (probably because they were too stupid to remember how to get home.) Azir surrenders to them, but they leave him to get attacked by the raptors because they’ve stopped following things like “rules” and stuff. Azir curses: “I should have killed you when I had the chance!” but Spygirl retorts “Yeah, you should have but you DIDN’T!” Iceburn, man. Iceburn.

It suddenly becomes pitch black outside, the chopper almost leaves them, but then returns to pick them up after finding a pocket of non-interference. Azir managed to not die for a bit, and starts firing at the helicopter as it picks up Lorenzo Lamas and Spy Girl. They shoot back, but miss the well lit target, and instead Azir grabs Spy Girl’s legs. I think he is supposed to be dangling off the side of the helicopter, but they don’t have the money to show it, so it looks like he’s just lying down on the ground. Lorenzo Lamas kicks him, and he “falls” down to the ground, where a happy T-Rex is waiting for his supper. Azir is dead, the island explodes, and Lorenzo Lamas and Spy Girl fly away happily into the sunset.

So happy…that the movie is over! Ha! I kill me…

Wait, hold on, I forgot the “twist” ending, the “shock” ending. You see, three of the raptors are seen swimming away at the end of the film. Yes. Shocked? I didn’t think so. I was shocked. Shell-shocked. Why was the special effects so horrible? Terrible, terrible effects. The raptors seemed to have about two points of articulation, and were like the same four shots superimposed in different places. They did nothing except stand around and die. The terror of the raptors was the damage this film did to their reputation. Dinosaurs used to be the top dog of Hollywood, everyone feared the raptors thanks to Spielberg. Then came The Lost World, and they suddenly became easily defeated by gymnast girls. Down and down they went, until they end up making schlock Sci-Fi channel films. No one will ever be terrified of raptors again. I now know if I see some raptors, I can just chuck a few rocks at them and walk away, they will randomly fall down dead. You have nothing to fear from raptors, except shame if you somehow wander into their claws. This movie was terrible, terrible, terrible. Oh, Look! They’re making a sequel! And Azir is in it, despite being dead! I can’t wait, this movie will be so bad, the audience will de-evolve into single-celled organisms to defend themselves from the legions of dumb they will be assaulted with. I COULD be wrong, but I doubt it.

Rated 2/10 (Baby Raptor, Lava Raptors)

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Written by Tars Tarkas

Tars Tarkas

Runs this joint!