Donkey: It looked harmless enough at first. We were casually glancing over the seventeen thousand copies of Transformers at a video store when we saw it sitting there. I found myself reading the cover a second and then a third time, just to make sure that I wasn’t falling prey to some vicious optical illusion or a hoax perpetrated by an employee with a copy of Photoshop and calendar full of appointments of not getting laid. But there it was: Transmorphers. Even though we were unsuspecting mind-virgins who couldn’t possibly comprehend the brutal rape of our psyches that was to ensue with this and many more movies of its kind to follow, the one thing we were sure of at the time was that this movie looked hilarious. For those of you who are not already familiar, Transmorphers belongs to an exclusive category of movies given the term ‘mockbusters’, in this case made by a production company called The Asylum. These movies are made as quickly and cheaply as possible, then thrown into movie stores in the hope that you’ll mistake it for the actual Hollywood film that it was ‘inspired’ by, which is either still in theaters or sitting on the shelf next to it at the time.
Milobar: This is exactly why when we rented this movie, as soon as we took it up to the counter the girl working at the video store was sure to point out to us that it was Transmorphers and NOT Transformers.
Donkey: Apparently many have unwittingly been sucked into this vacuum of substandard production values. But when we assured the girl that we were going to watch this movie very much on purpose, she looked at us like we had just announced our intentions to invade Poland using an arsenal of dill pickles and motivational cassette tapes, so the lesson to any of you who might want to rent it yourselves is this: you’ll get more respect from the person facing you on the other side of the counter when you’re purchasing genital crab shampoo, a tube of Anusol, and a copy of Mein Kamph than you will renting this. Consider yourselves warned.
Milobar: I honestly have no fucking idea what the plot is. As you’ll come to understand, that’s a recurring theme in Asylum films.
Donkey: Agreed. Summarizing this movie is kind of like spending an hour attempting to find coherence in the mumbled ranting of a schizophrenic homeless man who’s convinced that he’s fighting off invisible CIA agents that are somehow managing to continuously replace his one remaining sock with an even dirtier sock. But seeing as we are consummate professionals, let’s give it a try:
In the year 2009, life is discovered on a planet twenty million light years away. How exactly do we discover anything that fucking far away, given these events are supposed to be unfolding this year? Since it isn’t explained, we’ll just say it was done using a Magic 8-Ball and the majesty of Barry Gibb’s beard. In our infinite wisdom, we as a species decide to make contact by sending a message of peace and friendship, as well as the three least popular episodes of Alf. Five years later, we discover the hard way that cat-eating Muppet humor isn’t exactly universal, as the Earth is understandably invaded in retribution for that atrocity and humanity is forced to retreat underground after nearly being wiped out by an army of Transmorphers. Hey, extremely-near-future scientists, I’d like to make a suggestion just for the record: if you ever discover an alien species that hasn’t already got us in their crosshairs, maybe it would be best just to keep your goddamn mouths shut. A planet that’s begging to be your pen-pal might as well be wearing S&M gear, because it’s just asking to be beaten and subjugated. Just ask Native Americans how hospitable visiting guests from faraway lands can be.
Now it’s the year 2XXX, and what’s left of humanity discovers that their robot overlords are preparing a new offensive. But all is not lost, as the Science Guild has come up with an extremely conveniently timed plan, based on information that there’s no way they could possibly have, that could shut down the machines for good. They enlist the begrudging aid of General Van Ryberg and the Military Guild, who promptly sends a team of elite soldiers to their deaths. Well, at least we assume that they’re dead since the General sees fit to cut off all communication and pronounce them dead as soon as a member of the squad gets a nosebleed. You heard me correctly. A nosebleed.
Faced with that predictable and completely unavoidable failure after putting minimal time, effort, and planning into the mission, Van Ryberg decides to put the future of the species into the hands of a cryogenically frozen military criminal, whom after proving to be the only human capable of fighting the machines had been tried and convicted of treason. But as much as the three of us were breathlessly praying that Sylvester Stallone’s Demolition Man would be entering the film at this point to rock the future with beret-clad garbled enunciation, alas it turns out to be a man named Warren Mitchell. Mitchell and his second-in-command, Itchy, are thawed and given the task of carrying out the plan hatched by the Science Guild: capture a Transmorpher, stand guard while scientists remove and reprogram the fuel cell inside that robot that also acts as the Transmorphers’ primary mode of communication, then insert that fuel cell back into the system mainframe in the Transmorpher control tower.
The first part of the mission is handled with ease. Too much fucking ease, actually. Despite moments of stunning ineptitude, Mitchell and his company still manage to dispatch a group of Transmorphers so handily that you can’t help but ask yourself why the hell no one had managed to accomplish this before. But then, of course, they balance this out with how badly they botch the second part of the mission. For some reason they’re unprepared when they discover a large, retaliating force of Transmorphers ambling in their direction, so they’re forced to bring the robot and its fuel cell back to the underground human city to complete the reprogramming, even though they specifically said that they shouldn’t do that under any circumstances. As predicted, the robots then use the homing beacon in the fuel cell to locate the city’s whereabouts and launch a full scale assault.
While the Military Guild attempts to hold off the invading Transmorpher army using all the badly imagined and horribly executed fictional weapons they have at their disposal, Mitchell and his small team of ass pirates manage to make their way into the robot’s control tower, surprisingly without any incident whatsoever. Once confronted by the last line of defense that the Transmorphers have, Mitchell alone is able to make the ultimate sacrifice and shut down the robot army for good.
I think that’s what happened, anyways. But it could have just as easily all been a dream that some drunken electrician had after a night of drinking bathtub-distilled moonshine from a Double Gulp cup while watching old reruns of Voltron. You really can’t tell.
The Case for Greatness (aka The Lowlights):
Milobar: Transmorphers! The excitement in the air is so thick it’s like having a mouth full of cottage cheese.
Donkey: The movie begins with a title screen of the Transmorphers logo that is probably the best special effect in the entire film. No shit. It’s all downhill from here.
Milobar: I love the movie’s opening shot. It’s the same opening shot The Asylum uses in all their ‘It Came From Outer Space’ films. It’s just random shit flying through space. Sometimes they’re rocks, sometimes they’re space ships. This time they’re giant fucking Rubik’s cubes. (Okay, they look more like dodecahedrons, but seriously, how many people on the Interwebs even know how to pronounce that word?)
Donkey: And while they’re showing this migrating army of space fads, they pass by two massive planets. I haven’t brushed up on my astrophysics for a while, but can two planets be that close together without gravity smashing them together like crossed-eyed line dancers struck with vertigo?
Milobar: Well I believe those are actually my balls. That’s why they call me the Doctor. Doctor Balls. These opening scenes were done by a man named Tiny Juggernaut. With a name like that, would you really expect him to produce anything other than a giant pair of testicles hanging in space?
Donkey: The other aspect of the opening credits that really jumps out at me is the fact that the last credit shows that the movie was written, edited, and directed by just one person, Leigh Scott. You know, they might’ve been better off to break those up into three different actual credits because when they’re presented as one like that, it becomes infinitely clear that all three of those jobs must have been far too easy to do in this case.
Milobar: Or, *warning: spoilers* that all three of them were done very poorly.
Donkey: We catch a brief glimpse of the madness that we’ve stumbled into as the first Transmorpher flies into the scene, transmorphs, and walks away. It’s hard to truly put into words how many buckets of shit this actually looks like, but all I can say is that I would probably have an easier time believing I was actually watching a real robot walking around the Earth on the screen if we were watching Go-Bots: Battle of the Rocklords. Seriously, just look at that shit.
Milobar: As the narrator explains the events of the Transmorpher attack, we get to see more scenes of the mighty robots. Well, scenes of their Rubik’s cube spaceships crashing into shit anyways. In my opinion, when your intergalactic spaceships start crashing into things like buildings, bridges, and the fucking ground, you might want to rethink your attack strategy. Not so in the case of the Transmorphers; you see their ships were apparently designed with this very purpose in mind. Now, I don’t know about you, humble reader, but that doesn’t seem like a very sound engineering decision to me. What kind of design committee decides that the primary weapon of your new space fleet should be crashing into shit real good?
Donkey: Engineers at Chevrolet?
Milobar: Point taken, and perhaps the American military should look in to the new Chevrolet Crashomatic 5000 because apparently the ships were so effective that ninety percent of the human population was killed within an hour, A FUCKING HOUR, and the robots managed to turn the sky into eternal night. So now I’m really confused. Is this movie ripping off The Matrix or Transfomers?
Donkey: Both, and neither very well. Blackening the sky is a great example. It never gives any reason the Transmorphers would possibly hold any type of advantage or desire to do that. This just serves as an unfounded excuse for every external scene to be in complete darkness so that you won’t notice that they only use one shitty soundstage the entire time. While they’re tossing out transparent excuses, they should have said that the machines hunted down and eliminated all remotely talented thespians to explain the group of douchenozzles that we’re about to be forced to watch read lines off a cue card while trying not to stare blankly at the camera and wave hello to their mothers.
Milobar: The…way they…deliver…lines in this movie…is…amazing.
Donkey: The dialogue itself is remarkable enough, but it becomes even more impressively appalling when it’s spit out by actors that may as well have a mouthful of crackers while passing a kidney stone. It’s like a bad combination of Middle-Earth, jive-talking smart ass, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. They go together about as well as Christian Medical Science and a desire to not die horribly.
Milobar: Notice how, like many movies that give us visions of a distant tomorrow, every hallway in this movie is made up of random fucking pipes and florescent lights?
Donkey: And you can’t accuse this movie of only licking half an ass, as it refuses to focus that kind of inspired attention to detail in the visual department alone. They take the sound effect of walking on metal grating from a videogame and use it as the sound of people walking through those hallways. You can hear that clanking constantly, but it’s not synched properly with the characters actually walking around on screen. Finally that stops momentarily as the movie shows us the briefing of the first strike force that soon will march out to its imminent demise while trying to execute the Science Guild’s plan.
Milobar: Apparently female doctors in the future wear giant hoop earrings?
Donkey: Sure, because the doctor that is introduced in this scene looks to be about twenty years old at best, which means she’s either Doogie fucking Howser, or she couldn’t possibly be a doctor.
Milobar: If she were Doogie Howser, those earrings would really start to make a lot of sense. Get it? Cause NPH likes dudes. Get it? Check out that extra standing in the background with glasses on. He looks so awkward and out of place.
Donkey: It’s like they took Dwight Schrute and threw him into this movie. I keep expecting him to interrupt the scene and declare that he’s the Assistant Regional Commander.
Milobar: Assistant TO the Regional Commander.
Donkey: That doctor was an outstanding example of another magnificent trait that the entire cast of this movie shares: they’re all ridiculously young. I understand that if you’ve got a budget more appropriate for buying candy at a corner store than for making a film, you’d hire young actors because they’d be so concerned with breaking into Hollywood that they’ll work cheap, plus you theoretically end up with a sexier cast that way, but this is fucking ridiculous. There’s damn near no one in this entire movie that appears to be over the age of thirty. Fuck, it may as well be the cast of The Wonder Years that’s fighting for our survival.
Milobar: Apparently in the gritty Transmorpher dominated future, once you hit twenty, you’re past your prime. I guess that makes us weary old men, Donkey.
Donkey: That sounds about right. And like elderly Inuit people who drift out to sea on ice flows to avoid being a burden to their families, or members of Menudo that have their testicles unbound at the age of sixteen only to be thrown back into the gutters of Mexico City, we’d be sent out to face the Transmorphers alone with nary but a grapefruit spoon and a paperback copy of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.
Milobar: Just like this strike team that was just randomly sent to the middle of nowhere.
Donkey: Shit, we’d do a hell of a lot better than these cock wranglers. This highly trained military regiment runs out into the middle of the open ground and then stops to have a four hour conversation. Nope, can’t see a problem with that.
Milobar: It then cuts back to the generals at HQ watching the team’s progress on radar. How the hell is radar picking up individual people standing on the ground? Radar wouldn’t even pick up individual people rocketing through midair.
Donkey: This is the first scene in the movie that gives an example of its most pervasive, recurring, and unforgivable flaw: the audio is completely useless. It’s not a matter of the old equation, ‘No Budget = Shitty Equipment’. No, it’s just edited so badly that the special effects, the scene’s score, and even random background noises are so loud that they drown out the dialogue. So because there happens to be thunder and lightning in this scene, even if you crank the volume you can’t possibly hear what the characters are saying. Wait…what? WHAT?!
Milobar: Apparently this elite team came to the middle of nowhere to deploy the E-MAG, their secret ultimate weapon which kind of looks like a dinner plate upside down on another dinner plate. They just have to wait for a Transmorpher to come over and touch it. That’s their attempt to capture one? Brilliant fucking plan.
Donkey: As they wait, one of the characters is pushing her squad leader for them to “run in, guns blazing, and take them all out”. I appreciate your moxie, kid, but the only problem with that is that we haven’t seen any enemies anywhere yet. But suddenly the molestation of our eardrums is kicked up a notch as a loud screeching sound begins.
Milobar: The loud, annoying, oscillating noise that they, and by extension we, are hearing is very painful and causing someone to get a nosebleed. So it’s kinda like playing a Virtual Boy for about eighteen seconds.
Donkey: “Pull back! Get them out of there! Abort the mission! Goddamn it…Johnson’s got a nosebleed!”
Milobar: I thought these guys were supposed to be hardcore. They call this off when someone gets a nosebleed? What happens if someone gets a hangnail?
Donkey: Then it would be time to break out the fucking cyanide pills. Back at HQ, the girl working the radar, which looks suspiciously like it was built out of used copies of Warlords for the Atari 2600, explains that objects that were originally showing up on radar as terrain are now showing up as enemies. How the fuck would radar pick up terrain? I was under the impression that radar is quite specifically not supposed to do that.
Milobar: These robots were transmorphed into shitty buildings. The kind you expect to find in a shanty town outside of a large Mexican city. How did these stupid fucking things manage to take over the entire planet in one goddamn hour? Did they offer everyone sub-prime mortgages with no money down?
Donkey: You know, when I was playing with Transformers as a kid, I remember thinking to myself that I need more of them that transform into shitty buildings and random cement objects that just serve as terrain. Go, Optimus Prime! And by go I mean sit perfectly still and wait for the Decepticons to eventually wander past! Thrilling!
Milobar: That was pretty much the entire premise of the Rocklords. Although if I remember correctly, they could at least roll around.
Donkey: Once the robots transmorph and attack, General Van Ryberg back at HQ cuts all communication with the strike force, because the Transmorphers are apparently somehow hacking into their system by that point. I can’t imagine how, and even if they could, I’m not sure why they waited until they had revealed themselves to do so. But the General just assumes that everyone is dead and immediately calls for the next people in the chain of command to be gathered for immediate promotion.
Milobar: How exactly do you hack in to a computer system through a radio communication channel? Wait, did I just have a goddamn seizure? Why are there three different camera angles on the screen all at once?
Donkey: The classic triple split screen. The great part about this is that they’re showing one person talking and then one or two other people listening. Not reacting or doing anything the slightest bit dramatic. They’re literally just showing random people standing around while one person rambles on.
Milobar: The consensus seems to be that they need to thaw out the cryogenically frozen Mitchell; the only human who has ever successfully fought the machines. Or some dumbass bullshit like that, I’m officially at the point where I no longer care.
Donkey: Apparently he’s also Scottish. Once again I was hoping for an unnecessary crossover, because if you’re going to have the greatest fighter the world has ever seen be a Scotsman, might as well just make him the Highlander. I’m pretty sure Christopher Lambert’s available. As a matter of fact, if you turn around while reading this, he’s probably at your window, waiting to steal those pizza crusts.
Milobar: You know, I hate to say it, but this Scotsman is the best actor in this movie. Maybe it’s because of the accent, but he’s the only person who doesn’t sound like Stephen Hawking’s voice box when he’s reciting his lines.
Donkey: Moments later we meet Mitchell’s second in command, a man named Itchy. Apparently that’s a man with a hooker fetish.
Milobar: They sure are looking very longingly into each other’s eyes. Their bodies might have been frozen, but nothing could extinguish the fiery passion that burns within them.
Donkey: There’s actually more sexual tension between these two than any two characters in any other movie we’ve seen thus far, including ones where the characters have actually had sex. As Mitchell and Itchy are being briefed by Van Ryberg and Itchy starts giving her attitude, she makes the comment that Itchy hasn’t changed a bit. What? Really? He’s been frozen for five fucking years. Isn’t that a rather obvious statement about someone who’s been inanimate? It’s not like he was sat down for some quiet time in a corner for five years to think about what he did. He was unconscious, for fuck’s sake.
Milobar: General Van Ryberg doesn’t like Mitchell and makes sure to point out that Mitchell’s ex-girlfriend Karina is now her wife. That’s right HER wife, the General is a woman. So now I’m fully expecting some soft-core Showcase-style lesbian scenes in this movie.
Donkey: And that’s what you’ll most assuredly get. I’d love to think that the movie’s making some enlightened, liberal statement about the future and acceptance of gay marriage, but I’m quite sure this is just a stupid excuse to tantalize males viewers with an IQ under forty five with two women who may potentially kiss. The amount of dudes I’ve met who will sit through pointless drivel on film all in the hopes that two women will make out never ceases to amaze me, especially when you consider that it’s easier to find porn on the Internet than herpes at a moustache convention. But then, I’m not a fucking imbecile, so I guess there are some things I’ll never understand.
Milobar: I honestly wonder if the character of General Van Ryberg was originally written to be a man, and at the last moment, the director/producer/editor/caterer/janitor decided to do some gender bending. Much like Tobias Fünke in the episode of Arrested Development where he decides to cast the part of Romeo as a woman and Juliet as a man.
Donkey: As the movie progresses, there are hints providing this theory great merit. But before we can take too long to ponder this, the earfucking this movie is committing continues. When any of the doors back at HQ open, they use a sound effect that’s a ridiculous knock off of the sound the doors in Star Trek make. The problem is that while it sounds like the doors should open smoothly and entirely, the doors are actually opening slowly, in a very jerky fashion, and only half way.
Milobar: Mitchell and his team gather for their mission briefing and Doctor Alextzavich explains his plan to capture one of the robots, take out their fuel cell which is also their way of communicating with one another, reprogram it, reactivate it, and insert it back into the Transmorpher, which will cause all the robots to shut down. That seems like it’s based on very intricate and detailed knowledge on how the machines work. And yet, later in the film, the same doctor will be frantically screaming that he’s never seen one of the Transmorphers before.
Donkey: As the scene ends and Karina decides that she’s joining Mitchell’s group on what is supposed to be their suicidal run, Itchy is standing in the background smoking a cigarette. This might be a small point to pick on, but if they’ve been underground for centuries, the sun has been permanently blocked from the sky, and there’s no natural light anywhere, then who the fuck is growing tobacco and processing it into fucking cigarettes?
Milobar: Trouble is brewing for the Sisters of Battle that have also joined up with Mitchell for his ultimate assault on the surface. As they return to their quarters they find some other random chicks going through their stuff and they quickly end up having a bit of a scuffle. Now of course, despite this movie’s attempts to make all of the female characters appear bad-ass, the fight still starts with one woman pulling another woman’s hair.
Donkey: She doesn’t even pull hard. She just tugs on the other girl’s hair like she’s trying to playfully suggest they start making out. This fight scene is awful. Seriously, I think Three Ninjas would probably be a more authenticate display of martial prowess.
Milobar: I definitely have to agree with you because I remember watching that movie.
Donkey: What? You’ve seen that movie?!
Milobar: Yes. And I can remember a very specific point where they “light up the dummy”, as they called it, by punching a very large Chinese man in the groin and other delicate areas to topple him with their amazing eight year old ninja skills.
Now that Mitchell’s team has been assembled they decide to spend a night relaxing socially before they head out. Doctor Alextzavich has a very attractive young woman at his side and he explains that she is actually an android that he built in his garage.
Donkey: With what materials? How the fuck does this guy come up with the material to build a completely lifelike android?
Milobar: I’m guessing discarded hair and skin from his own body. Beyond that, who would be willing to allow him to just walk around their underground city with a robot? They’ve been at war with robots for hundreds of years, I would think someone might have a problem with him building, let alone freely walking around with, a robot that looks like a regular human being. When questioned about this marvel of modern science he explains that he was able to create his robot by “backwards engineering [the Transmorpher] technology”.
Donkey: Fucking brilliant. You’d hate to say “reverse engineered”, because that would be using an actual term and requires you to abide by the basic logic that comes with it. Why not just make up your own term instead? Now we’re finally faced with a scene of General Ryberg and her wife, Karina, alone as she begs Karina to reconsider her decision. You know what’s coming…
Milobar: Yep. And now they’re kissing.
Donkey: Finally, the great boner moment of the movie that serves as the entire purpose of having two lesbians in it. I’m glad we finally got this out of the way. Now we can get back to not really paying attention to what someone laughably calls a story.
Milobar: After that spectacular half mast send off, Mitchell’s team emerges from their underground lair to fight on the surface. A group of what appear to be Transmorphers fly overhead looking like poorly built Lego robots.
Donkey: The computer generated models in this movie are so bad that I think you could have used paper cutouts and it would have looked more realistic.
Milobar: You could splice in scenes from the 1980’s Transformers cartoon and it would look more realistic. The soldiers decide to set up an ambush and, understandably, some of them decide to take the high ground. However, they don’t seem to realize that standing out in the open on high ground just serves as a conspicuous warning, rather than an ambush.
Donkey: They actually show a distance shot as a group of Transmorphers are approaching and you see there’s no cover there at all. The humans are literally just standing on a wall. But the Transmorphers continue to draw closer, and eventually walk into the ambush without noticing the humans clearly standing just above their heads. That’s fucking ridiculous. And once they’re in Mitchell’s midst, he gives the command to attack.
Milobar: Holy shit! Did their guns just shoot lightning? And, more importantly, is that chick wearing her goggles upside down?
Donkey: Yep. After taking out most of them rather easily, they set their guns to stun to knock one of the Transmorphers out. Um…why didn’t the last squad do that? Considering how this entire scene looked, I’m honestly not sure that this movie isn’t actually just a lost episode of Captain Power. If you look that shit up on Youtube, you’ll see it’s honestly the same damn thing. It’s filled with horrible acting and robots that look like penile discharge. I’m just waiting for the flashing red spots on the robots’ chests to come up so that I can shoot at them with my toy laser gun.
Milobar: After defeating the patrol of robots on foot, a squad of the aerial Lego-bots fly in and start blasting the shit out of Mitchell’s team. One of the Transmorphers manages to tackle Mitchell, transmorphs its hand into a saw blade and attempts to end our pain early by slaughtering everyone’s favourite fearless leader. Mitchell, being the ridiculous badass that he is, manages to kick the robot off at the last moment saving his own life and crushing our hopes for doing something constructive with the remainder of our evening.
Donkey: And once again, I’d love to be able to tell you what people are saying in this scene, but you can’t hear them. You can clearly see their lips are moving, but you can’t hear the slightest bit of their dialogue. Fuck, we might as well just make up our own dialogue at this point. “Hey Whitney, how’s this battle affecting that yeast infection?” “All this excitement has me baking up a loaf of sourdough shame in my panties, Frank!”
Milobar: When we first rented this, I remember us trying to fix the sound on the television, wondering what the hell was wrong. We were sure there was something wrong with the television because we couldn’t hear a goddamn thing. After a few minutes of fiddling with settings and cables we realized what the problem was: we were watching Transmorphers.
Donkey: We were so much younger then, and naïve to the ways of Asylum movies. And I hate to harp on this, but why would you do that? When you’re editing this movie, you have to notice that the sound effects that you’re inserting are louder than your dialogue. Somebody had to do this on purpose. Otherwise, why the fuck wouldn’t you fix it? Is your dialogue that bad?
Milobar: Remember when you mentioned it was written, directed, and edited by one person? It’s quite possible that they didn’t bother checking any of the scenes when they wer editing it together. They just threw all the film and audio tracks in a blender and hit the puree button. *Editor’s note: Yes Blombo, I realize this movie wasn’t shot on film.*
Donkey: Apparently he was smarter than us and didn’t bother to watch this movie. The troupe is standing over their new captive when five of the flying robots land around them. The basic logic that the movie had established up to this point would demand that our heroes are all about to face a horrific end. But Itchy pulls out what appears to be a secret weapon; one of the glowing disks from Tron. He throws it at them, there is a terrible looking explosion that scatters the robots in all directions, and they fight on against the remaining Transmorphers. What the fuck was that?
Milobar: I’m guessing the humans managed to ‘backwards engineer’ the Transmorphers’ crashing-into-shit-real-good technology and built a frisbee based on that concept. Karina grabs a jetpack from one of the defeated robots and takes off so goddamn fast that she might as well be running a three card monty scheme on the street. And of course you can’t hear what she’s saying at the time either, due to the aforementioned sound problems.
Donkey: And why not? The video might as well match the audio. I have no idea what’s happening at this point. And just to rub that in my face, three other women throw more Tron disks and completely dispose of the robots in front of them. What? Now they all have those things? If that’s standard military issue, then again, how the fuck has no one ever defeated a robot before now? Three people just did it in a matter of seconds.
Milobar: Why didn’t they do that in the beginning? Oh yeah, because then at least ONE thing in this movie would make goddamn sense. Karina’s magical attempts to reach low earth orbit come to a thrilling conclusion as she chases down a Transmorpher that was in the process of kidnapping Blair, another woman in Mitchell’s group. Once they land, the robot transmorphs into… something, I’m just really not sure what it’s supposed to be. The women don’t hesitate however, and decide to empty a few clips of ammo into what looks kind of like a poorly put together IKEA futon.
Donkey: It looks like it only got half way transmorphed and then gave up to go make a sandwich. But not wanting to be upstaged, the scene gets even more ridiculous when we look back at the women firing on this robot. It’s bad enough that the special effect of the guns firing looks worse than it would if these were cap guns, but as Karina is sitting there shooting at the Transmorpher, you can clearly see that she’s just wailing away on that thing while the animation of the gunfire is only occurring for every five or ten of her trigger pulls. This is yet another aspect of this film that’s nowhere near synched up. I’m starting to wonder if any thought was put into any detail of this film.
Milobar: It’s time for science to once again save the day as we see some scientists in a field tent opening up the captured robot.
Donkey: The robot that they’re working on in this scene doesn’t look anything like they do when they’re created using CG in the other scenes. This one looks like Styrofoam chunks with metallic gray spray paint coating it, clinging together on pipe cleaners.
And at this point, there’s the big reveal that the Transmorphers are actually ‘cyber-organic’. When they open their captive up, it has not only robotic parts but living tissue. You would think that if these things were ‘cyber-organic’ that when they cracked this puppy open, it would die pretty damned fast. It’s not like they knew that at the time they were cutting it open and therefore planned for it. They just ripped into its chest and, “Ewww, blood!” If I ever cracked open the hood of my car and discovered that I was inadvertantly performing open heart surgery, then trust me, it’s days of pulling a Johnny-5 on me are numbered as that car’s seven shades of dead.
Milobar: There’s so much going on right now that I’d love to describe but at the same time, I just can’t bring myself to. From the giant robot foot that just crushed their tent to the set that consists of a total of three fucking cement blocks. If these ass clowns can make a movie and release it upon the public, then fuck it, even we could make a movie. We could call it Replicant 2, and it would center around JCVD blowing his load in his pants for two hours (that comment will make a lot more sense when we do our review of JCVD’s Replicant).
Despite his explodey disc technology Mitchell is still managing to get his ass handed to him by giant foot bots, and is saved at the last second by two random dudes out for a stroll in the wasteland. They quickly lead him back to HQ but first they need to pass through a hallway filled with PIPES AND FLORESCENT LIGHTS.
Donkey: Apparently there’s only one hallway in the entirety of the human underground city, since we’ve seen this same one about thirty fucking times already. Next they wander around in front of a green screen that has the image of a hangar on it, which would look just as believable if it were drawn using crayons or finger paints. They ramble over to where the doctor is working on the captured robot and eventually the doctor asks his companion for “thermodymes”? What the fuck are “thermodymes”?
Milobar: A “thermodyme” is apparently some kind of future tool, which consists of an electric drill without a battery attached.
Donkey: Moments later, the robot dies (it’s about fucking time), they realize that the Transmorphers are attacking their city, and the doctor is now looking desperately for a way to complete their original plan. So at this point it’s revealed to Mitchell that he is, in fact, a robot and the first robot that the doctor ever built. I think my biggest question would be; if he manufactured this Mitchell character for the military to be the ultimate fighting machine, why the fuck did he give him a Scottish accent? No one else here has an accent.
Milobar: Obviously it makes him more realistic, because if you’re going to have people living underground, let’s face it…they’re going to be Scottish. Or made out of mud. Damn, that takes me back to the Mudblups from Teddy Ruxpin.
Donkey: The doctor proves to Mitchell that he’s a robot by walking up to him, grabbing him by the wrist, and doing something that makes a robotic-tape-ejecting-from-a-VCR noise. But true to form for this movie, we don’t know what he’s actually done because it takes place out of the frame. That sure beats having to come up with a special effect of any kind. And it’s barely noticeable.
Milobar: To be honest, I’m glad they didn’t show anything because it would have looked like balls.
Donkey: That’s one way to dodge the bullet. But another question for you: if he didn’t know he was a robot, does that mean someone actually took the time to go through the incredibly complicated process of generating fake memories for him, or does he just not wonder why he doesn’t have a single memory before a couple of years ago? The doctor also casually throws out the fact that he made Mitchell too perfect, so that he could love and hope like a human. HOW? Considering love is an abstract concept, I’d love to see the code he used to program for it. And that’s a pretty big fucking thing to just be mentioning in the same offhanded manner you’d use to say that you designed him to use 5W-30 oil instead of 10W-30.
Milobar: So let’s get this straight, Mitchell is a super robo-soldier created by the military. He committed treason and, as punishment for his crime, he was cryogenically frozen. Why would they bother to do that? Why not just turn him the fuck off? He’s a goddamn robot. They didn’t get an extended warranty on this motherfucker? Shut him down, pack him into a fucking box, send him back to Microsoft and let them deal with his Red Ring of Death.
Donkey: The movie now moves on to the final assault, which involves teams in jets and on hover bikes with nothing but the shittiest green screen technology. It starts by showing the jets taking off and it looks as bad as a fucking PS1 cut-scene.
Milobar: At least we don’t have to turn your DVD player upside down to watch this movie.
Donkey: They show us a shot now of what I think is supposed to be the invading Transmorpher army, but frankly, you’d have an easier time convincing me this was a Backstreet Boys dance routine. It’s a large crowd of robots just wandering around in no particular order or common direction.
Milobar: With giant robots crushing smaller robots under their feet. That seems a little counter productive.
Donkey: No matter how incompetent you tried to convince me that a robot army might be, I’m pretty sure, at the very least, they would be good at organizing themselves into rows and patterns to carry out an organized assault.
Milobar: In some sort of Dick Tracy inspired attempt at communication, General Van Ryberg keeps issuing orders to central command by yelling into her wrist. Unfortunately, the prop department spent their entire budget on glowing frisbees, and couldn’t even afford to give her a watch that we could pretend was a communicator.
Lux, the fighter pilot carrying Mitchell and his assault team, can’t shake the Amazing Aerial Transmorphers and frantically explains that she’s going to have to drop them off early… in midair. Luckily, they suddenly notice some hover bikes that have been floating at the other end of the cargo container this entire time.
Donkey: The cargo container the team is standing in is only about twenty feet long, the last ten feet of which is taken up by these goddamn hover bikes, and these people are just noticing them now?
Milobar: These people have lived underground their entire lives, but that doesn’t stop them from straddling their new sky hogs and taking flight. Where exactly did these people learn to fly a hover bike?
Donkey: Oh, it’s even better than that, as just before they climb on, the doctor asks if any of them know how to ride these things and Mitchell says…no. So even though they all appear to be pros, they’re flying something that they’ve never fucking been on before.
The movie goes back to Blair and Karina, who are still hanging out where they were earlier in the movie and are facing off against two more robots that have transmorphed into cannons walking around on legs. Mitchell then appears on the scene just as Karina seems to have gone missing. I’m not really sure how Mitchell got there. It didn’t show him flying into the scene or landing….
Milobar: Maybe he followed suit with the Transmorphers and performed a crash into the ground attack?
Donkey: I guess we’ll just assume that he landed, or used the famed talent of Ninja Teleport. Everyone in the scene is under the impression at this point that Karina is dead, but before the movie can build even the slightest bit of dramatic tension, she walks out from behind a pillar to say no, I’m alive. Did nobody bother to look for a body?
Milobar: Nobody even bothers to call out her name. Of course, even if they did, there’s no chance in hell anyone would be able to hear them over the goddamn background noise.
Donkey: For all we know, she wandered off to take a piss. What was the fucking point of that? Why was that even in the script?
Milobar: After Karina’s near brush with being absent for 30 seconds, the ‘team’ heads towards the very realistic looking Transmorpher Tower.
Donkey: And it appears that they get into that very important tower with absolutely no resistance whatsoever, making yet another task that you would intuitively think was quite difficult look insultingly easy. That’s fucking consistency right there.
Milobar: Once inside they discover that the tower itself is a Transmorpher and it is hungry for human brains. Luckily that places our heroes slightly to the left of palatable, and they continue to tromp around inside like wellies in Walmart.
Donkey: Everything in this goddamn movie transmorphs into a cement landscape object, building, or shitty looking cannon on legs.
Milobar: I believe there was one that transformed in to a tank near the end of the film.
Donkey: And throwing that one in there at the end makes it even more ridiculous. You’d think it would be more practical, and not to mention more impressive, just to have them all turn into tanks. That seems like a better idea than a random walking gun.
Mitchell’s team opens the door to a hallway, at the end of which there are two robots that begin shooting at them as soon as they come into view. After they take cover for about forty five seconds, those robots then inexplicably leave. Apparently even fictional, computer generated characters are bored by this point. But when the team tries to poke their heads around the corner, they’re shot at by a bunch of wall mounted cannons acting as countermeasures that have magically taken the robots’ place. While they’re all scratching their heads, as nobody apparently planned for any type of resistance, the doctor takes a pin or broach and throws it into the hallway. The guns don’t go off, so he concludes that the countermeasures are not working on motion detectors, but bio-detectors that only detect organic material. That seems like a HUGE fucking assumption. What if they just don’t detect items that goddamn small?
Milobar: Maybe it is actually a threat detector, much like ED-209, and just didn’t see a tiny piece of metal as a threat.
Donkey: But this is perfectly convenient, since now Mitchell is the only one who can make it down that hallway without being cut to pieces. So it’s time for him alone to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Milobar: There is a very conveniently human sized chamber inside the main control room in the tower/giant robot. Mitchell clambers inside, is bathed in blue light, groans like he’s dropping a Cleveland Steamer, and somehow magically shuts down all the Transmorphers.
Donkey: What the fuck did he do in there? All he did was touch the walls and sound like he was jizzing in his pants. And whatever he did, how did he know how to do it?
Milobar: I like to think that he shit his pants, some of it leaked into a processing unit, and it caused a small fire.
Donkey: Well we might as well just make it up because we’re given no fucking explanation as to what just happened. Mitchell climbs out of the chamber and falls over, taking his last gasps. Why was that lethal to him? Beats the shit out of me. As he’s dying, it shows him fondly remembering Karina, but of course it only shows flashes of them together that are from previous scenes in this movie. Apparently it would have taken too much money to shoot a couple of extra scenes of the two of them together in plain clothes.
Milobar: I’m guessing the actors wanted to spend as little time filming this movie as possible. The epic adventure then finishes by ripping off Return of the Jedi as planes fly by and fireworks go off in celebration of the human’s victory. Where are the goddamn Ewoks?
Donkey: Who the hell had fireworks in their jet with them, just in case they were successful? And once again, the running time of this movie was eighty two minutes. Fuck that tells you something.
Milobar: That appears to be the magic number for Shitty Movie Night. As the credits roll they show various pictures of characters from the movie with some kind of Photoshop filter on them to make them look gritty. I believe this is the most artistic part of the movie.
Donkey: Those pictures are probably how they convinced someone to make this shit in the first place.
Milobar: The credits are also set to dance music. Really? Why not a scene where the Transmorphers perform the Thriller dance routine?
Donkey: By now, I’m sure even the people involved with making the movie just couldn’t give a shit. So I’m going to guess the special effects team had already gotten bored and moved on to create the introduction for Sneak King, the greatest game ever to extoll the virtues of fucked up monarchs leaping out of construction yard wood piles to take his victims on a horror filled journey into Flavor Country using a goddamn hashbrown.
Donkey: In retrospect, this movie consisted of three things. Shots where people repeatedly stood in the same hallway, engaging in conversations that threaten to induce massive brain hemorrhages. Action scenes where you couldn’t tell what the fuck was going on because you couldn’t hear the dialogue but you didn’t care because you were so busy laughing your ass off at how shitty they looked. And random CG scenes of the Transmorphers that looked like they were created by a team that spent its budget on hookers and Fun Dip, therefore not even managing to look like they even belong in an already shitty movie. My rating for this movie is a combination of frontal lobe melting white noise and Rosie Perez screaming the periodic table of elements at the top of her lungs. For those of you that insist upon a numerical value, let’s call that pi over the square root of eleven.
Milobar: From the word ‘go’ this movie hits the ground running and doesn’t stop. Much like a fugitive on the run from the Federal Bureau of Coherent Plot Lines, and the National Center for Quality in Movies, this film picks up odd jobs and sleeps in the hay filled lofts of barns as it desperately searches for clues to prove itself innocent of its wife’s murder. Along the way it makes some friends, helps some people in trouble, and proves that all it takes is a big heart and a tender smile to save the day. Unfortunately none of that is fucking true, and this movie is more akin to getting slapped in the mouth with a sweaty pair of stubbly balls. I therefore give this movie 800 Harrison Ford hobo beards out of 3 cinema hotdogs. Well played Asylum, well played indeed.
What We Learned:
Donkey: The Asylum has really opened my eyes to the money that can be made with this whole notion of completely ripping something off in a way that it appears to be incredibly similar on the surface, and yet manages to be a monumentally shitty and almost entirely unrelated substitute upon closer inspection. That’s why tomorrow I’ll be legally changing my name to John Claude Van Dance and writing a screenplay that involves me doing the splits while traveling through time to teach inner city youth gangs about the importance of good oral hygeine.
Milobar: The only thing more shameful and degrading than trying to break in to the film industry by starring in pornography is appearing in an Asylum movie. Conversely, the only thing more shameful and degrading than trying to break in to the film industry by starring in an Asylum movie is watching one.