Stars: Casper Van Dien, Lauren Parkinson, Lou Ferrigno, Milynn Sarley, Marah Fairclough, Rileah Vanderbilt, Elizabeth Peterson, Kimo Leopoldo, Henry Foster Brown, Jonathan Medina, Daniel Nemes | Written and Directed by Jeremy M. Inman
Sometimes you see a trailer for a movie and know it’s perfect for you… that was Avengers Grimm for me. So much so that I specifically hunted down a copy for review!
An off-the-wall mix of Grimm Fairy tale characters and superhero team-up movies which, frankly, should have been obvious given the title, Avengers Grimm is the latest film from the schlockmeisters The Asylum – you know, those folks behind such films as Transmorphers, Hercules Reborn, Sharknado and a myriad of other mockbusters, cash-ins and giant sea creature movies.
Like many and Asylum movie, the plot is relatively simple: when Rumpelstiltskin uses the Magic Mirror to escapes to the modern world taking Snow White with him and destroying the mirror in the process, the four fairy tale “princesses” – Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and Little Red Riding Hood – give chase, journeying through a magic portal in order to bring Snow White home and the evil one to justice… Of course these aren’t your traditional damsels in distress of the Disney movies, oh no. These four are ass-kicking, Xena-style warriors who think nothing of going toe-to-toe with anyone who stands in their way.
OK, so maybe Avengers Grimm doesn’t have the biggest of budgets and the script could do with a lot of work, but there’s something so endearingly charming about the film that I couldn’t help but love every minute of it. Maybe it’s because I’m a fan of the TV show Once Upon a Time, of which this shares a LOT of similarities? Or maybe it’s the B-movie junkie in me? I’m leaning towards the latter. After all, I’m the type of guy that gave glowing reviews to Asylum flicks like Sharknado, Mercenaries (easily the best film the company have EVER produced) and Hercules Reborn.
Besides the obvious influence of both superhero movies and the aforementioned Once Upon a Time (and its short-lived spin-off) Avengers Grimm also seems to take inspiration from Zenescope Comics and the lascivious fairy tale books such as Grimm Fairy Tales, Wonderland – which weave the traditional Brothers Girmm characters into all new stories, all the while adding copious amounts of sex and violence. However Jeremy M. Inman’s film does away with the sexier aspects and instead presents what is, for the most part, a family-friendly action-adventure movie with a strong female-led cast, something which – given The Asylum’s track record – is somewhat of a surprise.
Avengers Grimm is a lof of fun, but it’s also not without its problems. For one the performances of the ass-kicking heroines varies wildly. Lauren Parkinson, as Snow White, and Marah Fairclough, as Sleeping Beauty, both are unconvincing as the fairy tale heroines whilst Team Unicorn members Milynn Sarley and Rileah Vanderbilt, as Cinderella and Rapunzel respectively, really shine – even when going head to head with scenery chewing “big-name” actors (The Asylum always know that names sell, no matter the film) Lou Ferrigno and Casper Van Dien. Interestingly Ferrigno gives another great, scene-stealing performance – he’s now two for two with this and his other recent role in The Scorpion King 4.
Jeremy M. Inman, who writes and directs Avengers Grimm has obviously channeled his experience on previous Asylum productions into his work here. Be it knowing how to get the best out of his cast and his budget, or knowing what makes for an interesting, modern take on the Brothers Grimm mythos; Inman has – despite limitations – produced a fun post-modernist example of the “fairy-tale” movie.
Avengers Grimm is released on DVD on April 27th, courtesy of Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment.