14th Sep2018

‘Bunker: Project 12′ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: James Cosmo, Joaquín Sánchez, Natasha Alam, Eric Roberts, Timothy Gibbs, Tony Corvillo, James Conner Ferguson, José Luis de Madariaga | Written by Joaquín Sánchez, Jaime Falero | Directed by Jaime Falero

bunker-project-12-US-poster

Released way back in 2016 here in the UK, Bunker: Project 12 (aka Project 12: The Bunker, which is also thre on-screen title, just to make things awkward) was, at the time, billed as “Outpost meets The Terminator” which is actually rather apt… Bizarre scientific experiments taking place during times of war, ala Outpost and its Nazi zombies; and cyborg killing machines ala The Terminator. Because Bunker: Project 12 touches on both of those.

You see the back story goes that the Russians were working on a secret project to win the Cold War, an army of cyborg super-soldiers – the titular Project 12 – however realising the dangers of unleashing their creation on the world they scrap the dangerous scientific project and bury it forever in the “bunker” of the title. But… Cut to present day and greedy-ass businessman John Henderson (played by Eric Roberts) wants to uncover the secrets and harness whatever it is to make himself rich[er].

So what does he do? Well he does what all wealthy, power-mad businessmen do – he hires mercenaries to find the Russian scientist still alive, James Cosmo’s Brian Balanowsky, after the Russians unsuccessfully attempt to exterminate him, to find out the location of the hidden bunker and the Russian super-soldiers hidden within! And so goes the rest of the film… The mercenaries capture Balanowsky to find the whereabouts of the bunker and [eventually] head in. Big mistake.

Bunker: Project 12 is officially the second film I’ve seen this week where you can clearly see that the budget does not match up to the filmmaker’s vision. In this case co-writer and director Jaime Falero tries to give us a globe-trotting adventure in the films first half, cutting from location to location. But instead of giving this film a huge global feel and massive scope, the lack of budget and obviously replacement locales, standing in for the locations emblazoned on the screen, means it all becomes convoluted and confusing – the jumping around doing little to progress the overall story and muddying the plot somewhat.

The film picks up however once the mercenaries take Balanowsky into the bunker and the film changes tone from action/adventure espionage flick to a sci-fi horror story, complete with Terminator-esque, flame-thrower wielding, unstoppable cyborgs! The game of cat-and-mouse that ensues amps up the action and excitement that was drained out of the film by the aforementioned globe-trotting sequence – just enough to hold the audiences attention long enough for the big reveal: the return of a maniacal Eric Roberts to proceedings and the eventual unveiling of the “Project 12″ of the title.

Something of a middle-of-the-road movie, in that it’s not a complete disaster but probably only good enough for a one-time watch at least, Bunker: Project 12 is available in the US now on DVD and Digital from Vision Films.

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