Star Runners (Review)

Star Runners

aka Termination Shock

Directed by Mat King
Written by Rafael Jordan

In space no one can hear you run from stars. Or something. More likely, In space no one can hear you “borrow” from franchises.

Giant bugs in space…holy Starship Troopers, Batman! The special effects guys obviously love Battlestar Galactica, every shot of ships in space is done with the hand held camera zooms that were popularized on the cult remake series. The plot borrows heavily from Firefly and Starship Troopers, and characters are named after characters from Aliens. I give the movie props for trying to be more than just your average creature feature, but it also fails on a few other aspects. This mixed message actually hurts the film more than it should, which is unfortunate and a little unfair. I will always prefer a movie that tries and fails to be something better than a film that doesn’t even bother.

This film used to be known as Termination Shock. People saw it on the SciFi Channel news listings, knew it starred Connor Trinneer and James Kyson Lee, and nothing else. They went crazy trying to find out information. Then suddenly this mysterious film Star Runners was listed on the schedule. No one knew what it was. Finally, people figured out the movies were the same, and there were giant bugs! And then…it aired. Life went back to normal. That is the story of Star Runners.

Tycho ‘Ty’ Johns (Connor Trinneer) – Tycho Johns is a pilot who likes to smuggle and doesn’t like to get caught. But he does and is forced by Bishop to pick up some cargo, which turns out to be more trouble than he thought. And then giant bugs came… Connor Trinneer is best known for playing Trip Tucker on Star Trek: Enterprise and for having a rabid fanbase that was so desperate for information about this film before it aired on SciFi Channel they were asking me questions. Me!
Lei Chen (James Kyson Lee) – Lei Chen is Tycho’s sidekick and copilot in the future. It is nice to see more scifi media acknowledge that there will be a bunch of Asian people running around in space in the future because there are just so many Asian people. James Kyson Lee is famous from playing Ando in Heroes and he was also in a McDonald’s commercial!
Asta (Toni Trucks) – Our naked, mute, magical, amnesiac mystery girl! Poor girl finally gets her memory back, only to find out she was named after Nick and Nora Charles’s dog.
Jenessa (Aja Evans) – A crash survivor with a secret. Only her hairdresser knows for sure. Yes, that ad campaign is older than me, but I know about it thanks to Mad Magazine.
Bishop (Michael Culkin) – Bishop is an evil military dude in charge of blowing up stuff and taking possession of Asta. Thus, he is constantly chasing after Tycho, who he sent to get Asta. Besides Bishop, there is also a Hudson and a Hicks running around. How many Culkin kids are there?
Rebel Leader (???) – I don’t think he gets a name on screen, so I don’t know which actor played him or even his character name. He leads the local Rebellion against the UP, who are evil because the plot demands them to be.
Bugs (CGI) – Besides the normal bugs, there are bigger bugs and even huge bugs. You might ask how this desert planet supports a giant bug ecosystem, to which I would answer “Shut the hell up!”

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Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (Review)

Starship Troopers 3: Marauder

Directed by Edward Neumeier

Would you like to know more? Because we got more! More bugs, more troopers, more kill them all! Get your war on and suit up, trooper! You want to live forever? Johnny Rico is back! That alone makes this film rule. Plus, Edward Neumeier returns to help bring this franchise back on track. He wrote the first two films, but directs this one. Starship Troopers 2 wasn’t very good, mostly limited due to the budget, and also kept the satire to just bookend portions while the bulk of the film was just people talking in dark rooms. Now we have less talking and more killing, which is just what we like here at TarsTarkas.NET! Join the Federation today, the Federation of citizens who read this review of Starship Troopers 3: Marauder! Don’t drown in the satire!

Colonel Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien) – Johnny Rico is back! Where would we be without Casper telling us to “Kill ’em all!”? Nowhere, that’s where. And that is where the previous DTV sequel went. Johnny Rico is now a Colonel, and has been on the front the entire time. This makes him more sympathetic to the plight of local farmers.
Lola Beck (Jolene Blalock) – She’s the personal pilot for the Sky Marshall, and a tough broad who is entertaining as well. Has a thing for Dix. T’Pol is here doing her best imitation of Angelina Jolie and Denise Richards morphed into one.
General Dix Hauzer (Boris Kodjoe) – Johnny Rico’s old friend is now a bigwig in the government. They still dress in very Nazi-esque clothes. In love with Lola Beck. The guy who replaced Doogie Howser is Dix Hauzer…
Sky Marshall Omar Anoke (Stephen Hogan) – Psychic and a singer, the leader of all human-kind. Yes, seriously. Eventually wanders into a gigantic mouth vagina.
Admiral Enolo Phid (Amanda Donohoe) – Some random Admiral, she’s probably not important, even though she’s pretending to be the missing Sky Marshall and imprisoning people who blab. Oh, wait…

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Caved In: Prehistoric Terror (Review)

Caved In: Prehistoric Terror

Christopher Atkins as John Palmer
Colm Meaney as Vincent
Angela Featherstone as Samantha Palmer
Monica Birladeanu as Sophie
David Palffy as Marcel
Chelan Simmons as Emily Palmer
Stevie Mitchell as Miles Palmer
Directed by Richard Pepin

On the next Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Chief Miles O’Brien fights giant rhinoceros beetles! Well, that would still be better than that stupid baseball episode. Instead, we get another average SciFi Channel movie. Unlike some of their other movies, this one is not so terrible you want to gouge out your eyes and ears to become blind and deaf to the world. Now, that doesn’t make this movie any good. It is just as far from good as it is from bad in many places. In fact, at some points it’s laughable, and several of the characters are never in any danger at all, as the movie is incapable of doing anything inventive like kill off a member of the main family. The problem with the predictability is the film becomes uninteresting. While not committing the ultimate SciFi Channel sin of being boring, it is not anything you’d sit around and catch the second running of. Watch, rinse, forget. Not many films are brave enough to specialize an obscure beetle, but I bet the writer saw a special on the Discovery Channel that mentioned that rhinoceros beetles are proportionally the strongest animals on the planet. Some gears started to crank, electricity began to flow, the light bulb started to flicker…Bingo: make them huge! That also somehow makes them prehistoric, and meat eaters. Since real rhinoceros beetles only eat fruit and rotting wood, they are only dangerous to Jack Pumpkinhead from The Marvelous Land of Oz. He is nowhere to be found, though it would have made the film that much cooler. Instead of that weird fun, we have to put up with the Palmers. Not the Palmers from 24, but these are some professional outdoors adventure guides who show rich people around in the outside while overcoming the troubles of modern families like homework and teenage girls hogging the bathroom.

Caved In: Prehistoric Terror follows the Type B SciFi Channel monster movie formula: Large Swarms of similar creatures with a Giant Queen terrorize a group (similar films: Pterodactyl and Snakehead Terror.) Type A SciFi Channel monster movie formula: A singular or small group (4 or less) of monsters terrorize a group(similar films: Frankenfish and Manticore.) Type C SciFi Channel monster movie formula: A swarm of monsters with no queen terrorize a group (similar films: Komodo vs. Cobra and Curse of the Komodo.) Now that we’ve outlined the basic three plots, we can jump into the film itself, starting with the characters.
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Insecticidal (Review)


Meghan Heffern as Cami
Rhonda Dent as Josi
Samantha McLeod as Sophi
Shawn Bachynski as Martin
Vicky Huang as Fumi
Travis Watters as Mitch
Anna Amoroso as Jenni
Directed by Jeffery Scott Lando

The Horror Genre is blooming again in the movie industry, this time getting a massive infusion in the Low Budget Arena due to the profitability of producing cheap horror films for video rental outlets. This has lead to many terrible, terrible films, and a few good ones mixed in. The glut of horror has also produced films that try to stand out by mocking the genre, or introducing comedy in an effort to sidestep the standard celluloid (by celluloid I mean digital frames in the DVR Camera.) Thus, we get another send up of horror movies, specifically the giant bug horror movies. Insecticidal also grabs from several other traditional sources of horror, including sorority houses, nerdy girls, tons of nudity, and infested humans. Not ashamed dwell in it’s low-budget arena, Insecticidal has some fun. One of the subtle gags is all the girls in the sorority have their last name end in “I”. From Cami to Jessi to Fumi to even Belli (Belli?) it’s universal. Normally, I hate replacing Y’s with I’s, but in this case I’ll make an exception. Now, the low budget causes problems, noticeably the effects on the giant insects aren’t very good, and the bugs repeat the same animations over and over again. At times, it’s overly distracting. The actresses are largely unknowns (keeping with the low-budget theme) but many of them can’t keep their clothes on to save their lives, and many of them die horrible deaths as insect food. The acting varies, but there is a healthy mix of good and bad, and none so horrible that they ruin the film. The major thing to look for with low-budget films is whether or not you were entertained. If that is the case, all of the other flaws seem to be less important.

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