Sir Sean Connery is the Guardian of the GAHHHHHHHH!!!

Guardian of the Highlands

What the crap??? Kill it, kill it with fire!

Sean Connery’s animated film Sir Billi, where he is a skateboarding veterinarian battling to save a beaver (seriously), is getting a US release and a new title to go along with it Guardian of the Highlands. It also has the scariest DVD cover I’ve ever seen. Ever.

It can be yours on April 8th! Don’t say you weren’t warned, because that’s what TarsTarkas.NET does. Warns people who go and buy these films anyway. Also I’ll probably get this film. Because even I don’t listen to myself!

Heart warming and hilarious, Guardian of the Highlands features an all-star cast including Academy Award® winner Sir Sean Connery in his first ever animated voice-over role as Sir Billi, the Guardian of the Highlands.

This is an adventure story about an inimitable Highland hero – a grandpa. As active senior skateboarding veterinarian he goes above and beyond the call of duty fighting villainous policemen and powerful lairds in a battle to save an illegal fugitive – Bessie Boo the beaver! Sir Billi braves treacherous ravines and hazardous gullies with his sidekick Gordon the Goat (Alan Cumming) to save Bessie Boo and Wee Dave the rabbit as they hurtle down a perilous river.

Explore the powerful force of this international Highland community, with its unrivalled landscapes, breathtaking scenery and hidden secrets. Discover the power of the local people when they unite as one against evil and embark on an expedition like no other. Sir Billi delivers the charm and panache that one would expect of a true Highlander. As the Guardian of the Highlands, everyone will want a grandpa like Sir Billi!

via CartoonBrew

Angel Warriors (Review)

Angel Warriors

aka 鐵血嬌娃 aka Five-Star General aka 五星上將 aka The Five aka 5星上將
Angel Warriors
Written by Fu Huayang and Xu Shalang
Directed by Fu Huayang

Break out the pillows, because Angel Warriors will cure your sleep disorders. In fact, you might find yourself reflecting at how you are wasting your brief time here on planet Earth watching something that’s a complete mess of a film. But maybe you’ll then be motivated to go out and achieve something, lest watching Angel Warriors end up your final act.

Angel Warriors

This lady finds more tiger cubs before 6 AM than you do ever!

Angel Warriors began life as Five-Star General, which we actually reported on in 2011, though it sounded completely different and I didn’t even realize this was the same film! But true to my word, I checked it out and now regret saying I would look into it. The two year turnaround to get a release hints at the problem the completed film had. And there are a lot of problems. It is time to address them in list format, because that is efficient, and we’re all about efficiency at TarsTarkas.NET, a site that regularly has rambling reviews that never get to the point. Wait a minute, ignore that last part!
Angel Warriors

I dare you to lick it!

Cinematic Crimes Angel Warriors is guilty of:
Angel Warriors

Just call me Powerglove because I’m so bad!

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Written by Berkeley Anderson
Directed by Arthur Sinclair

Robocroc gets some hang time!

Robocroc! So much promise in that title, and yet what we get is a complete mess saved only by the high caliber actors being awesome. But sadly they are not awesome enough, and Robocroc becomes less worthy of your time. Recent SyFy films have focused on gimmick kills and ridiculous premises. Robocroc doesn’t really feature either of them, but they wouldn’t have helped, as the real problem is the confusion as to how the film is brought together. Minus commercials, it’s almost 29 minutes before we get a confirmed kill by Robocroc (though dialogue later establishes that other characters died. Characters we don’t see get killed!) One of the great pieces for advice for storytelling is “show, don’t tell”, and we should have seen the soldiers getting killed. Even if you avoided that, you could imply things enough that we knew the soldiers were getting killed. Instead, all that is shown is what looks like someone injured.


This film is a crock!

There was a famous story years ago about the formula for SyFy films (back when they were SciFi Channel films), and the rules included that we see the monster all the time and there needed to be a kill every few minutes to keep the audience interested. Robocroc violates the second rule, which is surprising for what looks like a film especially made for SyFy. I don’t fault a film for deviating from the established guidelines, but I prefer when films do, that they do so because it makes the film better. And while I was surprised several characters lived, the story didn’t really take any risks. But maybe I’m being too hard on Robocroc.

It’s fun watching Corin Nemec, Steven Hartley, and Dee Wallace act the crap around everyone else. What looks like a good chunk of the cast was hired locally wherever it was film (Bulgaria?), and a few of them are dubbed over and have the acting skills of paint drying. Yeah, I don’t know what that expression means, either, but it fits. Corin Nemec is awesome, obviously having a fun time being a cool zookeeper and completely avoids becoming a Steve Irwin clone, despite the hints from the script that it is what the writers had in mind. It is a good choice, allowing the character to be unique. Dee Wallace’s sinister scientist character makes you wonder just how far she’s willing to go to test her weapon. Then you watch her blow right past that and get even more evil. All she needed to be the most evil was to feed babies to Robocroc. Steven Hartley was just awesome, acting like a grizzled military commander who has probably fought all sorts of random robot monsters doing retrieval work.

Robocroc does get some props for calling out of the behavior of the creepy guy who is friends with Rob Duffy, every other character (except Rob) treats him like a horrible person, and Rob isn’t very fond of how Creepy Guy keeps getting him in trouble. Creepy Guy’s attempt to perv on some bikini babes gets him dunked into the pool. Later he gets grabby on the dance floor and that gets him locked in the bathroom. Creepy Guy is just a character you want to die. And the film teases and teases and then… Well, sometimes life ain’t fair!

Robocroc has a bit of social commentary on the use of drones/automated weapons. It seems to be against them, because they’ll turn into killing machines that will kill anyone.


Seeing Sydney’s boyfriend get killed is so hot! ::smooch smooch smooch::

Part of Robocroc‘s confusion is just what kind of park they are at. It looks like a random zoo, which is usually just a zoo. But in fact it’s part of a huge entertainment complex that is largely a water park and ATV range. We aren’t told this, we just suddenly cut to those things and wonder why Robocroc is running around there, until later in the film explaining it’s all part of the same complex. I guess they did show, not tell. But this could have been explained in a simple line of dialogue or even a voice announcement! Gah! Robogah!

Jim Duffy (Corin Nemec) – Biologist who takes care of the reptiles at this aquatic park/zoo. Was long ago on a tv reality show related to his crocodiles. Spends his nights getting drunk and coming to work hung over. Rob’s father. Check out the awesome Corin Nemec battling more SyFY beasts in Sea Beast and Raging Sharks
Colonel Montgomery (Steven Hartley) – Military commander in charge of retrieving the space nanobots. Despite all that, Dr. Riley seems to outrank him on some decisions. Is not fond of these experiments, but gets the job done (at least until he’s eaten!) (Spoilers)
Jane Spencer (Lisa McAllister) – new biologist at the marine park hired on the very day that things go crazy. Is a daughter of one of the board trustees, and also was a big fan of Jim Duffy’s tv show, even though she doesn’t admit it until the end of the film. Spoilers.
Dr. Riley (Dee Wallace) – Designer of the space nanobots that were just supposed to go to space and survive, and are now eating people while in crocodile form. A field test is a field test, and Dr. Riley wants the space nanobots to succeed at all costs.
Rob Duffy (Jackson Bews) – Son of Jim Duffy, hangs around at his dad’s workplace with his creepy friend Hud so they can hit on hot chicks. Eventually recruited to help get a band of teens he’s part of out of the park safely, though Rob keeps leading them into danger because the body count has to be higher!
Sydney (Florence Brudenell-Bruce) – Bikini-clad girl who Rob is crushing on and helps save from the Robocroc. Her presumable boyfriend gets chomped, but despite being broken up about it, Sydney is totally into Rob by the end of the film. Nicknamed Flee, Florence Brudenell-Bruce is a model/actress who briefly dated Prince Harry and appeared in the Bollywood film Love Aaj Kal
Robocroc (CGI) – Formerly a docile Australian saltwater crocodile named Stella, the addition of space nanobots turned her into a robotic hardcore killer.


Still better than Transformers 2!

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Abominable Snowman

Abominable Snowman

aka Deadly Descent

Written by Nathan Atkins
Directed by Marko Makilaakso

Abominable Snowman
Hey, guys, funny joke, now let me in!

A group of mountain climbers learn that sometimes the mountain climbs you, even if it isn’t in Soviet Russia and also “the mountain climbs you” is a metaphor for huge abominable snowmen that eat you. Sure, that joke makes no sense, but who gives a crap, we got a gigantic abominable snowman eating people, making sense is for losers!

Proud SyFy vets UFO International drop this tale of man vs. beast (Originally titled Deadly Descent), which follows a similar structure as most of the creature features, so it’s all down to details. While not being a bad example, Abominable Snowman is by the numbers, it does what it does and that’s what we got. The things to distinguish it from other creature features is not the monster, but the vast amount of skiing and snowboarding.

Every character is either active military, a vet, or going into the military. This means they drop military terms like candy at a parade. They’re also all experience mountaineers and skiers thanks to the nearby slopes, so those hobby terms are used all the time as well. I’m not experience enough at mountaineering and skiing to know if they were making sense or blabbing a bunch of nonsense, but I shall give them some leeway here. The military aspect defines the characters. They’re trapped in a small town, the only way out is to go into the army and see the world. Everyone’s friends join up, and the only jobs left is bartending for the broken vets who return. A main character Brian suffers from PTSD, as does at least one of the supporting cast. Adrian Paul’s helicopter pilot character returned from war an empty man and got into substance abuse troubles. Other characters argue about whether to reenlist, how it will disrupt their lives vs. the potential benefits and ability to do something interesting. It’s an evenhanded approach that doesn’t take sides, just shows reality. The variety of military characters as opposed to the usually cliche military nut is what I liked best about Abominable Snowman.

Abominable Snowman
Hi, we’re yetis, but usually we disguise ourselves as ellipses!

Director Marko Makilaakso helmed War of the Dead, which ran out of money and sat on a shelf for years. I haven’t seen it. Beyond that, he’s done a lot of documentary work. Writer Nathan Atkins also wrote Super Tanker and Cold Fusion, but before all this he angered a bunch of people who like a terrible movie too much when he wrote the DTV sequel, S. Darko.

The biggest disappointment is that the monster CGI just a few simple repeated movements, and beyond that we rarely see the creatures. As someone who likes lots of monster shots and shots of monsters doing things, this was disappointing. Beyond that, this ski route has seen a lot of snow bunnies slide down it. So in the end, the needle moves back to average but not terrible.

Brian Tanner (Chuck Campbell) – Obsessed Afghan vet who loses a friend hiking the same way he lost a father 25 years ago – via Abominable Snowman attack. Connecting the dots, Brian goes looking for the monster, and ends up finding him! Uh-oh! Chuck Campbell shows up in Jason X.
Nina Tanner (Lauren O’Neil) – Brian’s sister, was going to head off to officer’s training until her bro went missing. Now she has to go all Where’s Waldo and fight a monster that killed her dad.
Rick McCabe (Nicholas Boulton) – Guy sort of with Nina, which makes Brian uncomfortable because his sister is so young. Rick is a natural leader who takes charge of the search for Brian.
Mark (Adrian Paul) – Pilot and combat vet. Mark was in a helicopter crash, where he was accused of being too drunk to fly. Now drinks milk to forget and argues about his reputation.
Abominable Snowmen (CGI) – The fierce creatures of Glacier Peak, eating everyone they meet.
Abominable Snowman
I should’ve had a V8!

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Tasmanian Devils

Tasmanian Devils

Written by Brook Durham
Directed by Zach Lipovsky

Tasmanian Devils
Inspector Mom is now Ranger Mom!

What if the Tasmanian Devil from the Bugs Bunny cartoons was a SyFy killer movie animal? Well, that’s not going to happen, so enjoy the next best thing, a group of supernatural real Tasmanian devils that attack a group of base jumpers and park rangers. And let’s throw in a flip-flopping gender politics theme for good measure! Thus we have Tasmanian Devils, the best movie about supernatural killer Tasmanian Devils ever! Unfortunately, due to the weird flip-flop the aforementioned gender politics thing takes, Tasmanian Devils gets the fun sucked out of it, and manages to finish as just your average SyFy flick. A shame, because there are some really good things about it. If only they had keep this pot on the stove a few minutes longer…

Dancia McKellar’s Alex is a female park ranger who becomes the defacto voice of authority when all the other rangers are slaughtered. Despite that event, in general her ideas are pretty good and her knowledge of Tasmanian devil habits and aboriginal folklore are assets to survival. But some of the basejumpers (mainly Anderson, a character who is used to being in control and having the answers himself) doesn’t listen to her and does things that work against what is best for survival because he thinks his ideas will work. They just end up in tragedy, and Alex begins to look like the golden child of knowing how to survive a horror film. She even saves a male character named Jayne (and a prior scene points out that both characters have names of the opposite genders!) But by the end of the film, Alex has suddenly become weak and helpless, needing Jayne’s protection and ideas to figure out a way to finally kill the last Supertaz. This sudden shift is strange to say the least, and makes me wonder if there wasn’t some script-flipping schenanigans going on.

Tasmanian Devils
Dental plan! Supertaz needs braces!

Alex is afraid of heights because when she was a child, her brother fell out of a high tree they both were in and died. She says in this confession that she feels guilt that she couldn’t save her brother and vowed to not get into a situation like that again. But it takes so many deaths to get to the realization that she is in the situation that is comes too late. She’s been constantly being the one to save people while working against characters doing dumb things. And instead of overcoming the obstacles and finding a way to get her and Jayne out alive, she doesn’t. Jayne, who at this point would be acting as the surrogate brother, figures out what to do to save the day. In addition, besides being a nice guy who thinks Alex knows what she’s talking about, Jayne hasn’t really come up with solutions to prior problems. His sudden inspiration is out of character. A bad conclusion to what would have been more fun.

The characters Walsh and Lisbon are developed more than Jayne. If anything, Walsh was the coolest character in the film, an awesome cop who both really loved Lisbon but also did stupid things occasionally. Their deaths impact the film by sucking much of the charisma out of it, which takes a further hit when Dancia McKellar’s Alex goes all wimpy. I wanted so hard to like Tasmanian Devils, but it made it too difficult. Instead we get a pretty by the numbers SyFy flick, complete with require references to Jurassic Park.

Tasmanian Devils
I’m about to publish my mathmatical theorem on burning your butt!

Tasmanian Devils is also pretty darn gory, which is cool. More blood for the blood god! The Tasmanian blood god! Writer Brook Durham wrote the fun SyFy flicks Showdown at Area 51 and Mammoth, while director Zach Lipovsky is an effects artist who occasionally dabbles in directing, though this looks like his first SyFy feature.

Alex (Danica McKellar) – American working for the Tasmanian Parks Service because she researches aboriginal mythology and Tasmanian devil biology. Don’t tell her the Tasmanian devils are like the cartoon! She is afraid of heights.
Jayne (Kenneth Mitchell) – A man who was afraid of heights and became a basejumper to get over his fear. Usually listens to others.
Anderson (Mike Dopud) – The man with the plan, helicopter pilot and extreme planner. But his plans are too extreme at times, resulting in some characters dying.
Walsh (Terry Chen) – NYPD officer and extreme sports enthusiest. Base jumping is his religion, the most important part of him. Is the coolest character in the movie, so you know he dies. BOOOOO!!! You might know Terry Chen from Snakes on a Plane and Battlestar Galactica.
Lisbon (Rekha Sharma) – Walsh’s fiance and a ER doctor. Walsh asked her out on a date when he came into the ER with multiple gunshot wounds. Is also a pretty cool character, so you know she dies. BOOOOO!!! Rekha Sharma is best known for her role on Battlestar Galactica.
Simon (Roger Cross) – Basejumper who trusts Anderson, but is unable to properly kick.
Supertazes (CGI) – 6 super Tasmanian devils are unleashed on our characters thanks to some idiot who fell into a hole. Good job, hole guy! When a supertaz is coming, get out of the way! A supertaz will get bigger when it eats the fallen body of a fellow supertaz.
Tasmanian Devils
The best ET shot ever.

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Chupacabra vs. the Alamo

Chupacabra vs. the Alamo

Story by Peter Sullivan and Jeffrey Schenck
Written by Peter Sullivan
Directed by Terry Ingram

Chupacabra vs the Alamo
That’s what you get for not having a basement!

Chupacabra vs. The Alamo retells the battle of the Alamo with a modern twist. And has an ending that might enrage certain people with an unhealthy Texas obsession, which gives it bonus points in my book. There is also Erik Estrada gunning down chupacabras while getting over his wife’s death and reconnecting with his distant children. But mostly chupacabras.

It’s one of the few horror films with a largely Latino-American cast. Spanish is sprinkled in in levels not unusual for a border town or a town with a lot of migrant workers. Both most of the police characters and most of the gang members are Latino, giving a wide slice of personalities.

Chupacabra vs the Alamo
Do you think Larry Wilcox could deal with these chupacabras? Please!

Chupacabra vs. The Alamo is not afraid to address issues of modern border life, from drug smuggling to Mexican gang violence to illegal immigration to the lack of concern in government response. You can easily see some symbolism in the invading immigrant chupacabras attacking heroes holed up at the Alamo on Cinco de Mayo. But inside the heroes are mostly Latino, and they’re fighting to save their homes. The chupacabras are not illegal immigrants, but crazed gang violence, represented in the monstrous form it deserves to be regarded as. Agent Carlos’s son Tommy spent time in jail for bombing a Mexican drug lord (actually for possessing explosives because they didn’t have proof he killed the man), but it’s revealed he did it to prevent the drug lord from killing more innocent people like his gang war was doing. The mix of ethnicities shows that everyone must come together.

Instead of the classic chupacabra image from witness descriptions that loos sort of like an alien grey with claws and spikes, we get a chupacabra based on those dead “chupacabras” that make the news every few years, which are really just foxes and dogs with mange. Thus, the fierce creatures tearing everyone apart are played by tiny dogs. If you ever wondered what would happen if the cast of Beverly Hills Chihuahua went feral and started chomping necks, now you can find out! As you can imagine, it makes the attack scenes range from ridiculous to ridonkulous.

This movie loves green-screening Erik Estrada on a motorcycle! Why not have the star of CHiPs driving around on a bike for most of the film? If you can, you must! Despite the craziness of the title and premise, some of the action sequences are pretty cool. Notably, Erik Estrada running through a high school blasting chupacabras with a shotgun. The ending also takes some guts, especially since it was filmed with the cooperation of the Alamo. The film knows it’s roots and gives us some winking nods to more famous genre films. Though symptomatic of many of the problems that plague SyFy’s low-budget creature features, there is an energy and fun with Chupacabra vs. the Alamo that makes up for it. The important thing for these films is to be fun and entertaining, and Chupacabra vs. the Alamo definitely is.

Chupacabra vs the Alamo
I’ll be chupacaback!

Director Terry Ingram is a veteran of genre films and shows, such as Ice Road Terror, the SyFy Ice Truckers vs. Monsters movie, as well as some episodes of Relic Hunter and Honey I Shrunk The Kids: The TV Show. Writer Peter Sullivan took a break from writing all his The Dog Who Saved… scripts to give us this masterpiece about dogs gone bad (He also wrote Christmas Twister!)

Agent Carlos Seguín (Erik Estrada) – Famed DEA agent and struggling single father since wife died two years ago on Cinco de Mayo. Instead of being a good parent, threw himself into his work. Is said to be a descendant of Texas hero Juan Seguín, who was at the Alamo and in most of the battle, but was sent out as a courier and wasn’t killed. His nickname is Jaguar.
Sienna (Nicole Muñoz) – Carlos’s daughter who is violating curfews left and right, and thus getting grounded left and right Not going to let being grounded on Cinco de Mayo stop her from sneaking out with the boy she likes.
Tracy Taylor (Julia Benson) – A new partner for Carlos, who is at first dismissed, but she proves to be rather brilliant and becomes a valuable asset. Is one of the first to recognize the menace for what it is.
Agent Dani (Vanesa Tomasino) – DEA agent that acts as sort of an assistant to Carlos. Thus she’s helping with most of the bigger attack sequences.
Tommy/Spider (Jorge Vargas) – Carlos’s estranged son and demolitions expert. Is upset that his father let him spend time in jail to straighten him out. Still upset over his mom’s death. Now hangs with a tough crew.
Brooke (Anja Savcic) – Sienna’s best friend who just has bad luck when it comes to attacking chupacabras. Is very good at ironing.
Chupacabras (CGI and dogs Loki and Duffy) – These rabies-infected chupacabra have crossed the border to search for new victims for blood sucking. There are dozens and dozens of them. Are immensely strong despite their small size.
Medical Examiner (David Nykl) – One of the most intense medical examiners ever. Knows the killed animal brought in is not a coyote but something else.
Crockett (???) – Alamo tour guide who is a descendant of Davy Crockett. Knows the Alamo inside and out and even knows secret rumors that help the team escape. No, there is no Tubbs.
Chupacabra vs the Alamo
Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!

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