Wednesday, September 18, 2013

SyFy vs. The Mynd: Cerberus (2005)

Would-be conqueror Kul Jae Sung (Garret Sato) - who already has five atomic warheads in his possession - really feels the need to acquire the Sword of Mars, the sword through which Attila the Hun once made a pact with the Devil to become invincible (the film never explains what the Devil has to do with something named the Sword of Mars, nor what business a pagan like Attila would have had with a fallen angel out of Christian mythology), before he can go a-conquering.

To find the sword, our bad guy needs the help of Professor of Some Humanity or the Other Samantha Gaines (Emmanuelle Vaugier). So he lets his favourite henchman, US mercenary Cutter (Greg Evigan), kidnap her useless brother Zach (Brent Florence) to convince her to come to Romania and help him. It's a rather effective method, and everything would be set for the glorious rule of Kul, if not for a trio of US agents lead by Jake Addams (Sebastian Spence) out to keep Kul as far away from the sword as possible.

With Samantha's help, they attempt to get the sword before him, but Cutter is right behind them. Oh, and the sword is protected by everyone's second favourite creature from Greek myth, Cerberus.

Ah, the early years of Sci-Fi Channel films, when the structure of the films wasn't quite as codified as they would soon become, but when their boring crapness factor was quite a bit higher than it is today.

John Terlesky's Cerberus is a rather nice surprise in that regard, seeing it is not horrible and boring but rather a perfectly okay adventure movie in the spirit of all perfectly okay adventure movies after Indiana Jones. The film's titular stiff-necked (that might be the sub-par quality of the CGI), three-headed giant dog isn't the central element of the film but only a major threat to our heroes on the same level as castle-climbing, cave-slithering, and Greg Evigan possessed by an evil sword that makes him even more evil than he's already supposed to be (which leads to Evigan doing a lot of that bad guy actor thing where you show your perfect, perfect teeth a lot).

While that's not exactly something special, Cerberus is a decent time, with likeable leads, a script that assumes nobody in its audience will know who and what Cerberus, Orpheus, or a fucking lyre are and therefore makes all its characters so badly educated they need Emmanuelle Vaugier to exposit to them a lot (well, she has a pleasant exposition voice), and last but not least a three-headed dog that looks as if it really should keel over a lot. I'll take it.

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