Sunday, 21 November 2010

I, Go-Bot [Review: Transmorphers]

This is why I love The Asylum!

You may be surprised to hear that Transmorphers has nothing to do with the Transformers movie at all, taking its cue instead from The Matrix: Revolutions and the Terminator films. Following Earth's complete subjugation by an army of robots - possibly of alien origin - the last humans cower in an underground city, hatch their plans to take back the planet, and generally argue, bitch and catfight.

These robots don't actually transform into mechanical disguises, with a couple of exceptions (and incidentally, did the scriptwriters never see Tom Hanks in Big? Turns out he was right about something) but they do morph between flying, walking and heavy weapons configurations.

General Van Ryburg (Eliza Swenson) has a cunning plan - but naturally it's doomed to failure unless Mitchell (Matthew Wolf) - a revolutionary placed in suspended animation by Van Ryburg - is thawed out to lead the squadron. Complicating matters is Mitchell's former girlfriend Nadir (Amy Weber) who is now married to the General. The General was originally written for a man, and Eliza Swenson has been switched into the part with no changes to the plot or script - creating an interesting dynamic between the lead characters, plus a society that no longer bats an eyelid at either gender roles or sexuality - Captain Jack Harkness would fit right in.

Eliza Swenson as General Van Ryburg

Of all the Asylum movies I've sat through, this one probably has the highest production values - in that it has actual sets, many of which don't resemble painted cardboard. There are also a lot of giant robots, although sadly CGI and bluescreen footage are both overused and poorly executed. By contrast the acting, while not devoid of ham and cheese, is generally good - certainly the best thing about the movie. In addition to the leads, Matthew Tower stands out as the loopy Professor Alextzavich, and his sidekick Suzy the supercharged cyborg (Erin Evans, aka Erin Sullivan, half of the reason I enjoyed Monster so much) is woefully underutilised.

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