Stars: Adrian Paul, Jhey Castles, Georgina Beedle, John Rhys-Davies, Dylan Vox, Dan Cade | Written by Steve Bevilacqua, Jacob Cooney, Bill Hanstock | Directed by Ben Damaree
We all know that those lovely folks over at The Asylum have a reputation for churning out low-budget, cash-ins of whatever the latest franchise or flavour of the month has currently hit the cinemas. From Transformers to The Avengers, you can be count on an Asylum production rearing its ugly head. That’s why I find it a tad confusing that Paul W.S. Anderson’s Pompeii got the Asylum treatment in the form of Ben Damaree’s imaginatively titled Apocalypse Pompeii. Did anyone even care for the original film? If this isn’t going to be the red headed step child, I don’t what is.
Actually, I quite like redheads…
To cut a long story short, the film follows Jeff Pierce (Paul), a successful security firm owner, his wife Lynne (Castles) and their volcano nerd of a daughter Mykaela (Beedle). The family find themselves in Naples due to Jeff visiting for an important meeting. To pass the time, mummy and daughter go over to the island of Pompeii to do some sightseeing and wouldn’t you know it!? The bloody volcano only goes and erupts! Turns out that Jeff is and ex-marine, soldier or mercenary… I don’t know… and by turns to old friend Col. Carlo Dillard (Rhys-Davies) to help. Dillard rounds up a few members of their old team and they all set out to save the rest of the Pierce family and the obligatory volcano fodder who have been guided by young Mykaela’s expertise when it comes to volcanos.
Painfully simple and sometimes silly plot? Check! Annoying characters who have continual and repeatedly unfunny jokes? Check! Classic abuse of stock footage and horrific CGI!? CHECK! Yes folks, this is The Asylum at their finest! Like I said, I actually really like redheads. This film is more “BangBus red haired nubile” as opposed to Christina Hendricks (Peter, you have a problem!), but we all know the BangBus is something you both enjoy and regret at the same time right? Well, whether you agree or not, I did enjoy this film as much as one possibly can. Adrian Paul is likeable and watchable lead actor and is really the saving grace of this film. Actually, to be fair, the biggest plus for me is the setting itself. Italy is a beautiful country and it’s shot quite nicely here. Seeing Playstation One-style smoke effects ingulf did detract a little, but we’re all here for dem totes on fleek CGI parts! There’s really not too much to say about this one, it’s exactly what you expect minus an actual Apocalype (Cough… SPOILER ALERT!) My only gripe is that film is just too long. I think condensed down to around the 60 minute mark would make this a much more digestible effort.
If you want a fun time waster that doesn’t take itself too seriously, this is definitely worth a go. If you are a die hard disaster movie fan, you may want to skip this one if you aren’t a forgiving viewer. I have definitely seen worse from The Asylum and you know what? I’d take this over the tripe it’s leeching off. I know a bit more about volcanoes too. So there is that.
Hmmm…. Christina Hendricks in a BangBus…. That’s an interesting idea…
Apocalypse Pompeii is available now in the US on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD. The UK release is set for March 13th 2017, courtesy of High Fliers.