Saturday, November 16, 2013

SyFy vs. The Mynd: Slayer (2006)

This is another one of those independently produced films that landed itself a SciFi Channel premiere, and like a much higher percentage of those films than of the ones SciFi/SyFy had an actual hand in making, it's pretty bad, and not even in a relatively entertaining manner. Yes, I just implied that SyFy Original Movies are often actually pretty good.

Anyway, this one finds Casper van Dien as the action movie hero name carrying US soldier Hawk (no relation to the protagonist of Dragon Age II, who is a girl), traipsing through the jungle of a Central American nation to help out with the local vampire problem, and rescue his ex-wife who left him because of an earlier vampire encounter he and his men had in the same area. He has to fight vampires played by Latino actors and Ray Park, all doing white boy kung fu, as well as his freshly turned former best friend Kevin Grevioux whose acting approach is best described as "has a deep voice", while being the worst fearless vampire slayer ever. Lynda Carter and Danny Trejo pop in for a few scenes, and not much else of interest happens.

Not surprisingly, the "action" of this action horror piece is rather on the lame side, with director Kevin VanHook never getting a bead on how to make his vampires look physically threatening instead of just silly when they do random acrobatics and snarl like cute little pooches. It's also all rather repetitive, too, for no single vampire attack or fight ever adds up to even a minor set piece, or even reaches the levels of mild craziness of your most minor Italian jungle action movie. For the first two or three action scenes, this visible cluelessness is rather charming but the film quickly reaches the point of monotony.

This impression is further exacerbated by a weak script that wastes its more interesting ideas (who knew vampires are caused by the Fountain of Youth Ponce de Leon was looking for?) on an aside or two and doesn't even attempt to do anything with about a dozen opportunities to at least grab itself a theme like a real movie. Of course, Slayer is a movie that seems to miss about five transitional and expository scenes that would at least have helped to make it feel less random and not quite as unnecessarily disjointed.

But hey, Danny Trejo smiles a few times.

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