09th Mar2020

‘Jurassic Thunder’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Heath C. Heine, Rick Haak, Jon Cotton, Dmitri Raskes, Elvis Sharp, Ivan Pavletic, Aga Kistler, Rich Richardson III, Leon Mayfield, Nicole Goeke, Mia J Park, Kevon Ward, Mia Paris, Jared Johnson | Written by Milko Davis | Directed by Milko Davis, Thomas Martwick

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Jurassic Thunder starts as it means to go on. There’s an absurd ZHX opening title card that parodies the old THX audio logo, only this film is ZOMBIE sound… It’s an introduction to the film that sets up exactly what tone this film is taking and where the audiences mindset needs to be.

Then the film throws the audience in at the deep end starting with a zombie attack in the jungle, before introducing an armed dinosaur a la Dino Riders toys of old. Oh and the title comes from the name of a comic in the film, which features zombies and armed dinosaurs… Coincidence? I think not. In fact it’s a Creepshow-esque way of telling the films story, dipping in and out of the pages of the titular comic.

A comic which tells the story of a virus which topples the African government of Wakangu (a play on Marvel’s Wakanda perhaps?). With no one in power a ruthless warlord seizes the countries nuclear arsenal. Desperate to stop him without starting World War III the US military agrees to use unconventional means Russian weaponized dinosaurs. Yes, dinosaurs. However the virus is not just contained to humans and with the weaponised dinosaurs now on the rampage too, four commandos are sent in to clean up the mess.

So we have a comic book movie featuring zombies, zombiefied weaponized dinosaurs and pretty much no budget. Sounds like cinematic torture right? Actually Jurassic Thunder turns out to be ridiculous, stupid, asinine and… fun. Daft fun; so good its bad fun. Because this film is bad. Very bad. But it never, ever, feels like a chore to watch. Everything, no matter how preposterous, works.

And Jurassic Thunder works like this because nothing that happens is in any way played seriously. It’s all camp, it’s all over the top. Character motivations are ludicrous, behaviours even more absurd. All all very tongue in cheek. Hell, the film – which uses a comic as its main storytelling trope – even takes the piss out of comic collectors, not readers, COLLECTORS. The type of people who buy comics to keep in mint condition rather than reading them and enjoying them.

Oh and this film has a distinct hatred for Donald Trump, portraying him as the totally incompetent leader who knows waaaay too much about the Russian’s biological weaponry, knows the Russian scientists involved; but knows nothing when asked to his face if he’s ever seen the tech or met the Russians before. VERY on the nose storytelling right there! In fact, at least in terms of its representation of politics, in particular the politics of war, Jurassic Thunder is actually rather more subversive than you’d think.

Of course the film has a few problems, namely in the effects department; but for me the low-budget nature of Jurassic Thunder is also part of its charm. In fact this film reminded me very much of the movies of Brett Piper – filled with great monster effects (the dinos look really good here, as do the zombies) but then said effects are combined with the actors performances through the use of old-school methods – in this case most of the dino/human interaction is through superimposing the actors onto the existing puppet FX footage. Even the CGI, if it is CGI, at times looks like its bee superimposed onto the action after the fact rather than created using the filmed footage.

In the end Jurassic Thunder plays out like a homage to 50s monster movies and a spoof of pretty much everything else! An odd mix but one that I appreciated immensely.

Jurassic Thunder is released in the US tomorrow, March 10th, by High Octane Pictures.

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