The Gratuitous B-Movie Column 3.31.2014 Issue #300: Attack From Beneath (2013)
Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz on 03.31.2014
A look at the 2013 giant robots vs. giant monsters movie Attack From Beneath, new B-Movie Babe is named, a new Douchebag of the Week is crowned and more!
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #300: Attack From Beneath (2013)
Monster March: Week 5
Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that didn't think it would ever reach issue one hundred, let alone three hundred, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number three hundred, Monster March concludes with a look at the low budget giant robots vs. giant monsters movie Attack From Beneath, which came out in 2013.
Attack From Beneath (2013)
Attack From Beneath, also known as Atlantic Rim, is one of the most depressing low budget monster movies I think I've ever seen. It's depressing because, despite a nifty premise that borrows liberally from the great Guillermo del Toro epic (and best movie of 2013) Pacific Rim, Attack From Beneath is an incomprehensible mess that is tedious to sit through. It has no real plot, it makes absolutely no sense, and is at times incredibly boring. It pains me to say that as no movie featuring giant robots fighting giant monsters should ever be considered boring.
The movie, directed by Jared Cohn, stars David Chokachi as Red, a sort of bad ass scumbum soldier/sailor/maybe air force guy who is called into action whenever the military needs him to pilot a giant robot. Red is usually joined by his ex-girlfriend Tracey (Jackie Moore) and his best buddy in the whole world Jim Rushing (Anthony "Treach" Criss) on these giant robot missions. After an incident involving an oil rig in the Atlantic Ocean, Red, Tracey, and Rushing are called into action to find out what happened. Using the robots, called M-Bots (they're part of something called "Project Armada"), Red and his crew dive into the ocean and explore the ocean floor. It doesn't take them long to find the thing that destroyed the oil rig: a giant lizard fish thing.
So then some stuff happens, Red ends up fighting the monster on the beach and then in a nearby city, a bunch of people are killed, and Red is arrested for disobeying a direct order from his boss General Hadley (Graham Greene). Red's imprisonment isn't a real imprisonment; it seems as though it's just something that General Hadley had to do because the M-Bots are a secret to the general public and Red's excursion onto the beach was a clear violation of the rules. So then some stuff happens, the military finds out that there are more monsters in the Atlantic Ocean to deal with, and then Red is removed from prison and charged with tracking down the other monsters with his fighting robot crew and taking them out. The military believes that the monsters are going to head towards the east coast of the United States, New York City specifically, and all hell will break loose.
While all of that is going on, there's some hooey involving Tracey and Rushing possibly getting together. They both seem to think that Red won't be able to handle their relationship and they try to hide it. And while all of that is going on, the eye patch wearing Sheldon (Steven Marlow) is pissed that General Hadley won't take his advice when it comes to operating the M-Bots, and he's working on some deal to launch nuclear weapons against the monsters (and by deal I mean he's trying to get someone to pay him to launch these weapons. I have no idea who. I'm confused about that particular bit of the movie).
So what, exactly, is going on here? I wish I knew. I wish I knew why the military created the M-Bots and initiated the "Project Armada" thing in the first place. Did the military suspect that the oceans were filled with prehistoric monsters? Is that why the robots were created? Had the movie dealt with any of these things Attack From Beneath might have been okay. Maybe. I also wish I knew why the sort of triangle relationship between Red, Tracey, and Rushing was so important and allegedly interesting. I don't think I've ever seen a group of characters who are supposed to be killer colleagues have so little chemistry.
And then there's Graham Greene, who gives one of the worst performances in the history of low budget cinema. I think he's deliberately tanking his entire performance because he has no choice. I don't think he knows what's going on, either. And his stilted dialogue delivery is just bizarre. Is he making fun of people who try to make fun of American Indians by speaking in short bursts? Greene does have some chemistry with Chokachi, but the movie isn't interested in exploring that relationship.
The special effects are the only thing the movie gets "right." Both the giant M-Bots and the giant killer lizard monsters look fantastic and are some of the slickest looking special effects I've ever seen in a low budget monster movie. And the carnage the robots and the monsters inflict on one another and the surrounding area is top notch stuff. I just wish the production spent some time creating a proper looking cockpit for the M-Bot pilots to sit in. The cockpit just looks like a dark room with some equipment in it, a lighting scheme (each pilot has its own neon light color scheme), and a chair. Why spend so much money on the CGI robots and monsters and skimp on the live action cockpit?
Attack From Beneath should be so much better. All of the elements are there to create a minor low budget classic. What we end up with, however, is a lame, boring, incomprehensible mess. Attack From Beneath is a bad movie and should be avoided at all costs. If you just have to see it, though, wait for it to show up on the Sci Fi Channel. Or borrow it from your local library. Spending money on a movie as bad as Attack From Beneath is something you'll deeply regret. I know I do.
Don't see Attack From Beneath. Avoid it, avoid it, avoid it.
So what do we have here?
Dead bodies: Hundreds, maybe thousands. It depends on how you want to look at it.
Explosions: A few.
Nudity?: None. It's a TV movie.
Doobage: A massive underwater debris field, a submarine, a submarine cockpit that looks like a room with some chairs in it, giant monster attack, a huge explosion, a parade, giant robots that are going to be used to deep sea dive in the ocean, parade beads, a guy with a chain, a street brawl, face punching, testicle kicking, finger lights, ear popping, wreckage, win surfing, a second monster attack, people eating, a bloody arm, monster killing on a grand scale, a burning building, a street filled with dead bodies, several terrible salutes, a big dance party, submarine thrown out of the water like a lawn dart, exploding aircraft carrier, a hammer, more dead bodies, stealth bomber hooey, multiple explosions via aircraft attack, giant robot kung fu training montage, giant robot attacking a giant monster near the Statue of Liberty, a jump into space, and a lame as fuck ending.
Kim Richards?: None.
Gratuitous: Graham Greene, Mardi Gras beads, three people walking towards something in endless slow motion, finger lights, stock footage of major naval warships in the ocean, a CGI fire, exercising in prison montage, disaster area stock footage, doing shots, a bunch of crap about a nuclear strike, people playing checkers, robot kung fu training, and a lame as fuck ending.
Best lines: "Quinn? Can you read me for Christ's sake?," "Ah, yes, Project Armada," "Who is the bitch now? Whoo!," "It's always a hard hit," "Close call. She was never in any real danger," "Initiating gyroscopic equilibrium," "Who would take down an oil rig?," "Holy crap! What the hell is that?," "What is this on our sonar? It looks like a mermaid!," "Jesus H. Christ I'd really love to be watching the news tonight!," "This thing is all over my ass! It's going to tear me up!," "Orders my ass!," "I guarantee you, you'll be in Siberia next week watching polar bears mate," "Check on Jim? Jim's a grown man. Why are you going to check on Jim?," "Jimmy boy, you sure do know how to bring down a party," "It's not over," "Oh, God, he's going to detonate the nuke!," and "Jesus, you know how to make a mess."
Next week: Action April begins with Android Cop!
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Things to Watch Out For This Week: Part 1
- Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues: It's not as good or as brilliant as the original, but Anchorman 2 is still quite funny and a worthy sequel. I just wish it wasn't a two hour movie. Two hours is just too long for this kind of comedy. I mean, am I the only one who felt that the movie released played more like the unrated DVD version, with scenes added in? The "alternate" version is, I guess, going to be a part of the Blu-ray release. I didn't get a chance to see that, so I have no idea if the "different jokes" thing works.
- The Bag Man: Yet another low budget John Cusack thriller, this time featuring the great Robert DeNiro. How the heck did that happen? Is DeNiro hurting for money? Is he bored out of his mind and willing to do anything to pass the time?
- 47 Ronin: This Keanu Reeves movie was one of the bigger box office bombs of last year, which makes this a must see just to see if it deserves the awful reputation it has. I mean, all of the trailers looked insane, and there's a chance that the movie just got lost in the bustling Christmas movie season. That's what I'd like to think.
- Knights of Badassdom: I don't know much about this Joe Lynch directed weird beard comedy, outside of it has a funny trailer and it stars Steve Zahn and Peter Dinklage. Did anyone out there see this? Is it has funny as it seems?
- T.J. Hooker: Seasons 1 & 2: Since the rat bastards at Universal HD removed this show from its weekly lineup for Monk reruns (because you just can't see that show on TV nowadays) I guess this DVD set and, hopefully, future DVD sets of the remaining three seasons, are the only way I'm going to get my T.J. Hooker fix. I loved this Bill Shatner show back in the day and I appreciate even more now. I wish there were more modern TV shows like this one. I really do.
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Theme of the Week
TV Quick Hits
- The NCIS: New Orleans potential spin-off thoughts: One episode into the big backdoor pilot for a possible third NCIS, NCIS: New Orleans, and I can sort of see what producer Mark Harmon is trying to do. New Orleans would be a sort of cross between the original NCIS and the glossier NCIS: Los Angeles; fun and dark but not too dark. Scott Bakula is a bit like Gibbs but not as high strung, and Paige Turco is a cool female agent that likes a clean office (or, really, one that isn't so cluttered. And she doesn't seem to be all that interested in leaving that big door open, either). I'm not too keen on Lucas Black, though. He comes off as a meathead DiNozzo, and CCH Pounder's medical examiner character is a nobody at the moment.
Now, should CBS go ahead with this potential spin-off? Yes, I think it should, mostly just to see what kind of show Harmon and the other producers really want to do. I think it would be interesting to see how much crime involving the Navy and the Marines exists in the region the New Orleans office operates. Would the show take on a mix of bad guys, both local yokel types and international gun runners and whatnot, or would the show, in essence, keep to itself and focus only on the events happening in the south?
I am a little concerned, though, about the whole New Orleans thing. Would the show be all about jazz and the party atmosphere that seems to exist non-stop in the media version of New Orleans? Will every southern city/area the team operates in look and feel the same? Or will it take on the look and feel of a show that features characters constantly on the move?
Again, I think CBS should go ahead with this spin-off. However, as the other NCIS spin-off NCIS: Red shows, when it comes to CBS you can't just be a good show. You have to be a great show, or at least show with the potential to be great. There isn't much room on the CBS schedule at the moment, so you really have to fight for a spot. Red didn't have that kind of life in it, so it didn't get picked up. New Orleans, given enough time, could turn into a viable TV show. Will CBS give the show that kind of time?
And think about this: if CBS did pick up the show what night would the network air it? Would it run on Tuesdays in order to create a ratings mega powerhouse (three NCIS shows in one night? Madness!) or would it air on Wednesdays at 8? Maybe Friday nights at 8pm? Or, would CBS use it as a summer series? I mean, that could happen, right?
I guess we'll know in a few weeks if CBS is interested in a third NCIS. I think it's worth trying.
- Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker build-up: The build-up for the upcoming match between The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania XXX has been underwhelming at best. It would seem to me that, in order to make this match an absolute must see, you would want to set it up so the Undertaker's streak would be in real jeopardy. At this point, it's obvious that Brock Lesnar is going to lose. I mean, it was always obvious on some level that Lesnar would lose, as The Undertaker's streak will remain intact at Wrestlemania regardless of his opponent, but wouldn't it make sense to add at least a little danger to the proceedings? Wouldn't it make sense to have the possibility of an Undertaker loss at Wrestlemania? Shouldn't Lesnar be dominating The Undertaker at the moment?
It just doesn't make any sense to me to have Lesnar as the underdog going in. That coffin bit last week was ridiculous. Why didn't Lesnar destroy the druids and then smash the coffin open? Isn't that what "The Beast Incarnate" is supposed to be all about? Why is he scared? And, for the love of God, after the contract signing thing, where The Undertaker rammed a pen "through" Lesnar's hand, shouldn't Lesnar have come back the next week and knocked The Undertaker out?
I'm going to blame this bad run up to Lesnar's limited dates contract. If the WWE had more dates to play with so Lesnar could appear on TV every week for like two months before Wrestlemania I bet the run-up would be better, or at least more interesting/exciting. As it stands now Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker is just another match at Wrestlemania XXX. The streak is in no danger of ending.
Am I the only one who feels this way? Am I the only one under whelmed by this build up?
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Babe of the Week: Jackie Moore
*** Things to Watch Out For This Week: Part 2
- The Depraved: This is apparently some sort of low budget German horror movie. It looks pretty messed up, and I guess it has to since the main characters are exploring the underground tunnels of Berlin or something. How is anything good going to come out of that trip? And I don't want to pick on Berlin here. How is that kind of trip going to work out anywhere in the world? How?
- About A Zombie: This low budget Irish zombie movie was once known as Portrait of a Zombie, and based on the trailer I can't figure out why the title was changed. I mean, About a Zombie sounds like the name of a zombie romantic comedy, doesn't it? Anyone out there see this?
- Action: The Complete Series: This snarky but hilarious Hollywood insider type comedy aired on Fox back in 1999. It lasted a season and was, as I remember it, a bit of a critical darling, but no one else seemed to be interested. Jay Mohr was excellent as the star, and I always thought having Buddy Hackett as head of security was brilliant casting. It'll be great to see the show again.
- The Bunker: The great Ken Shamrock stars in this low budget Vietnam War movie. When was the last time the low budget movie world had one of those? Well, Uwe Boll made that one movie a few years ago. That was probably the last one. Anyway, The Bunker looks kind of cool. I'm always in the mood for a low budget war movie.
Phantasm 5 is happening? Yes!
A fifth Phantasm flick is something Phantasm nerds have been waiting for since 1998, when Phantasm IV: Oblivion ended with Reggie Bannister disappearing into, I guess, the Tall Man's universe. This fifth movie, Ravager, according to various sources on the internets (I read about it on Fangoria's website), has been secretly filming off and on for several years and we're going to get a chance to see what the heck is next very, very soon. Series creator Don Coscarelli didn't direct this one (a frequent Coscarelli collaborator named David Hartman helmed it), so it'll be interesting to see what a Phantasm movie looks like in the hands of someone else besides the franchise creator. The trailer below looks pretty damn cool.
I can't freaking wait to see this. Phantasm V: Ravager! Yeah!
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week
This week, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week goes to the "liberal" media, for allowing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to claim openly that he's been exonerated from any wrongdoing in the ongoing GWB bridge closure scandal. Instead of looking at the tax payer funded "investigation" into wrongdoing with massive skepticism (the governor used a hand picked law firm filled with friends, the report failed to question the three main people allegedly involved in the scheme), the "liberal" media is allowing Governor Christie to claim victory and "move on." Oh, sure, the "liberal" media has brought up the hand picked law firm thing and the "three main people not asked a goddamn thing" thing but they've been framed as questions that remain, sure, but no big deal. I mean, the "liberal" media allowed Christie to stage a press conference where he once again controlled the room, controlled the questions, and acted like the douchebag asshole that "regular" people allegedly love. Where's the outrage? Why isn't the "liberal" media hammering the governor's office on this and screaming "Bullshit!" at every opportunity?
Oh, I forgot, that would be partisanship. And that's wrong. It's practically communism.
And then there's Neil Munro of the Daily Caller, for being a raging homophobe on television. As reported by the fine folks at Media Matters, Munro has been going on Russian news channel RT essentially defending both Russia's "anti-gay propaganda" law and Uganda's recent crackdown on gays and claiming that President Obama is part of some worldwide gay agenda to undermine the world.
I wish someone could explain to me what the "gay agenda" really is and why it's a good idea to "punish" gay people and focus so much time and effort on denying them rights. Perhaps Neil can do it on an American news channel, like CNN or even Al-Jazeera America, because I'd love to understand this ongoing conspiracy. I'd also like to know why this issue is a case of "powerful America punishing smaller countries for not believing what it believes." Why are human rights such a problem?
Pretty sad, Neil. Pretty sad.
And finally there's the media in general, for continuing to ask what failed Republican Presidential candidate Willard "Mitt" Romney thinks about anything. Governor Romney, who ran twice for President of the United States and lost both times, is on TV seemingly every other week, offering up his opinion on the events of the day. He's been a popular guest on right wing political chat shows lately because of his "Russia is America's number one geopolitical enemy" comment during the 2012 campaign (he understood what that Kenyan didn't!). Now, I don't blame Governor Romney for showing up on these programs as he's probably bored with being mega rich and needs something to do to pass the time, but is the media really that hard up for guests that it fucking needs this guy to come on TV and offer up meaningless opinions? I mean, what exactly does Willard bring to the national discussion? What?
This stuff needs to stop. It really does.
Indycar and NASCAR thoughts
The 2014 Indycar Series, now sponsored by Verizon, got off to a rather boring start in Florida at the St. Pete street circuit. Team Penske's Will Power was clearly the driver to beat the entire race, leading the most laps and just spanking the field. Pole sitter Takuma Sato did lead the first part of the race, but he faded towards the end and had to settle for seventh. Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay tried to run down Power and make a race of it but he had to settle for second. And Helio Castroneves, who was fast all day, too, finished third.
The race went green for seventy five laps, which is sort of becoming the norm on the road and street courses in Indycar. The first restart of the race, which caused Marco Andretti and rookie Jack Hawksworth to crash, was one of the worst restarts I think I've ever seen. Will Power sandbagged the restart, holding back until the last second to accelerate (which is his right as the leader to do). However, either race control or the starter in the flag stand said "green" and caused half the field to accelerate, which then caused a massive bottleneck that then caused Hawksworth and Andretti to crash. I know that Hunter-Reay and Scott Dixon said that they didn't think Power did anything wrong, but it's obvious that absolutely no one knows what the hell the restart procedure actually is. I think it's high time that the series either adopt the World out Outlaws cone rule (you don't go until you pass the cone) or simplify the restart procedure to "when the green flag comes out, go." It doesn't get any simpler than that.
I was surprised at how lame the Ganassi cars seemed to be. Dixon finished fourth and Tony Kanaan finished sixth, but neither guy was ever really in the hunt for the front. And the Ganassi B-team was lame, too, with Charlie Kimball wrecking and Ryan Briscoe finishing 10th. Perhaps they're still learning the Chevy engine.
Juan Pablo Montoya, in his first open wheel race in seven years, finished a disappointing 15th. He was never a threat to win and seemed to be having trouble negotiating the course's tight corners (I think one of the ABC announcers said that Montoya was having issues with the paddle shifter). He didn't wreck and managed to finish the race, which is what he needed to do in order to get back into the swing of things. He'll probably suffer the same results at Long Beach, the next race on the schedule.
Mike Conway, in his first race for Ed Carpenter, had an okay day, running up front for a stint towards the end of the race. He probably would have had a top ten finish if he hadn't passed the pace car under caution (he thought the official in the pace car was waving him by). And Carlos Munoz had an okay day, too, despite a 17th place finish. He'll probably win a race this year. He's that good.
The series was only able to scrounge up 22 cars for the race, down two from the usual starting field of 24. That is not a good sign. The series had better come up with more teams, especially for Indy which is only a month and change away. The Indy Lights Series, which also opened its season at St. Pete, and managed to put together a 12 car field, up four from last season. Zach Veach won the race, leading every lap. Will Long Beach have 12 cars, too?
The Long Beach Grand Prix is in two weeks and will be the first race of the year covered by the NBC Sports Network. It'll be interesting to see if Will Power can win two in a row.
Over in NASCAR land, Kurt Busch shocked the world by holding off Jimmie Johnson at Martinsville to collect his first series win since 2011. Busch thought he was done after crashing into Brad Keselowski early in the race, actually telling his crew over the radio that he thought his car was too damaged to challenge for the win. Amazingly, Busch slowly worked his way to the front and passed the dominant Johnson with only a few laps to go. I really thought Johnson was going to run Busch up into the wall, as Busch really didn't give him much room when he passed him. I'm also surprised that Keselowski didn't try to wreck Busch at some point during the race. He seemed angry enough in the pits to go back out onto the track to do just that. Maybe Roger Penske called him up and told him not to?
Where the heck did Dale Earnhardt, Jr. come from? He finished third, but I could have sworn he was back in 20th with like thirty laps to go. And how about Marcos Ambrose finishing fifth? Has the road racing ace finally figured out the oval game? Could he win an oval race this season? And what the heck happened to Danica Patrick? She started tenth and then...? Why did she drop to the back? How did she go down several laps so quickly?
What the heck does Jeff Gordon have to do in order to garner a good finish? He's usually quite good at Martinsville, and it looked like he might get a top five finish by the end of the day. However, Gordon ended up finishing 12th, well off the pace. Again, what the heck happened there? Matt Kenseth had a good day, running up front for most of the day and finishing a solid 6th. How often does he run well at Martinsville?
I didn't get a chance to see the Camping World Truck race, which was rained out on Saturday and moved to Sunday after the Sprint Cup race. Matt Crafton won the race, holding off Darrell Wallace for the victory (I read that on yahoo).
Texas is up next for both the Sprint Cup Series and the Nationwide Series. Nationwide races on Saturday and Sprint Cup races on Sunday. The Trucks are off for a month and return in May at Kansas. Who the hell comes up with these schedules? Why are the Trucks off so much?
And finally, a quick Special Commentary: What three hundred issues of The Gratuitous B-Movie Column really means
Wow. Three hundred issues. When I started this column back in 2008 I didn't think it would last a year. I figured I'd either get fired from it or that life outside of the internets would keep me from doing it. And the column has changed quite a bit from 2008. It started out as a full on movie review column, with two, sometimes three movie reviews a week. That format lasted for a little over thirty issues. The column then became one movie a week, followed by one-movie-a-week with the occasional B-movie commentary bit thrown in. And then, when I stopped doing TV Rants & Raves in 2011 (you can read that column here) I sort of combined what I was doing in that column (TV Quick Hits, The Big Question, Random Thoughts, Douchebag of the Week, and the weekly racing stuff) with the movie review stuff I was doing with the B-Movie Column. And that's what The Gratuitous B-Movie Column essentially is right now. A movie review and a bunch of other stuff. Should it continue to be that column? Should it transform into something else?
I don't know. I'm not sure what else I can do with the format. I'm not sure if I should add something or take something away. I do know, though, that I still love reviewing B-movies, I still love talking about them, and I still love watching them and searching out the new and the old, the well known and the obscure. That aspect of the column won't change; I do know that. Everything else is up for review, though.
The "themed months" idea has, I think, worked well so far. "Ninja New Year" was a hit, and "Debuary: A Month of Debbie Rochon" allowed me to track down Debbie Rochon movies I had only heard about but had never seen. And "Monster March" has been a nifty experience, watching low budget monster movies, something I don't get to do all that often (outside of catching something on Sci Fi on the weekend every so often, usually in the middle, that is). And after "Action April" I'll be delving into the low budget natural disaster movie genre, another genre I don't watch enough of. Hopefully, that excursion will be as much fun as the previous four months. Hopefully.
And that's what I hope everyone who has read an issue of The Gratuitous B-Movie Column has had. Fun. That's what I aspire to do every week anyway. And I hope I get to continue doing it week in, week out for a long time into the future. I love doing it. I really do.
And so, here's to three hundred more issues of The Gratuitous B-Movie Column. I don't know what issue number six hundred will look like, but I'm sure, in some small way, it will be kind of cool. Maybe. I guess it depends on your point of view. And I think that'll be about it for this issue, issue number 300.
B-movies rule, always remember that.
(And Nemesis will eventually get officially reviewed, perhaps this year at some point. So, yeah, be on the lookout for that).
If there's anything you want to see reviewed here in this column, feel free to offer a comment below or send me an e-mail. I'm always on the lookout for new stuff to watch.
And don't forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.
Attack From Beneath
David Chokachi- Red Graham Greene- General Hadley Anthony "Treach" Criss- Jim Rushing Jackie Moore- Tracey Steven Marlow- Sheldon Jinhi Evans- Quinn Nicole Alexandra Shipley- Stone Lawrence Gamell Jr.- Smith
Directed by Jared Cohn Screenplay by Richard Lima, Thunder Levin, and Hank Woon, Jr.
Distributed by The Asylum
Unrated Runtime- 85 minutes
Buy it here (although I'm not sure why you would want to)