Search This Blog

observation notes: 7 Adventures of Sinbad

"The Original Prince of Persia," boasts the box for this gem, though truthfully it's more a tie-in to the recent disaster in the Gulf than to the Gyllenhaal-Disney flick, if anything. Either way, The Asylum's take tells the story of wealthy, handsome, gadabout energy entrepreneur Adrian Sinbad (Patrick Muldoon), who, at the beginning of the film, at least, is a bit of an Ebeneezer Scrooge meets Jay Gatsby, a money-centric megalomaniac in serious need of being taken down a peg or two. When eco-terrorists take over one of his ships, Sindbad - fulfilling his CEO duties, I guess - takes actions into his own hands. But when the chopper he's taking to said ship encounters a freak storm en route, it goes down in the middle of the Indian Ocean, but not before Sinbad catches a glimpse of his ship being crushed and pulled under by a motherfucking kraken. Game on.

As one might expect, the survivors of the chopper crash wash ashore on an uninhabited(?), uncharted, unusual (or as Jules Verne might have put it, "Mysterious") island. It isn't too long before our uber-pampered, pretty-boy trust-funder finds himself in a situation in which his money and power don't account for shit, thus rendering him pitifully overwhelmed:

"Crab!..Crab!..Big crab!" - actual dialogue
 Our hero had better learn to get his panic in check however, as the strange goings-on are only going to get stranger thanks to a series - 7 - of travails - or adventures - young Mr. Sinbad must accomplish if he is to save his compatriots and indeed the world from the mechanisms of an ancient apocalyptic prophecy, return home again, to the real world, restore honor to his family name, and find within himself the better man he was meant to be. What these adventures are, or if and how he surpasses them? The things of spoilers, so I relent.

Overall, I found this to be a pretty inventive script - written, as was the film directed, by Ben Hayflick, a former scribe for the Onion News Network, and Adam Silver, an Asylum employee best known for his cinematographic work on films like The Apocalypse, Megafault and the upcoming Princess and the Pony - laced with twists and turns and homages to everything from The 7th Adventure of Sinbad to Mysterious Island to "Lost" to The Most Dangerous Game to The Odyssey. It was a little slow to start - to me, at least - but once Sinbad and crew find themselves on the island, things move more rapidly and grow more intense, unfurling into one action-packed sequence after another.

As such, a lot is required of the FX in this movie, and for my money, they don't disappoint: helicopters, flying creatures galore, winged fire demons, waterspouts and tornadoes, landmasses that turn out to be whales - that's right, fucking whales! - giant crabs and the Looney-award-nominated Cyclops (which moves like Ray Harryhausen must have imagined in his most lucid daydreams: fluid, formidable, palpable and perilous, A+ work for this market), they all look awesome. The actors' reactions to them, not always so awesome, but that's a minor flaw, and technical at that, so should in no way detract from what are otherwise mostly capable performances.

Patrick Muldoon ("Melrose Place," Starship Troopers, Ice Spiders) as Sinbad delivers the stone-coldest one-liners this side of David Caruso, and he's a little to slimy-seeming to ever be believable as a truly good guy, but say what you will, the guy looks the part, and he's got a helluva jawline. A kind of poor-man's Christian Bale, Muldoon strikes the right balance here between villain and hero, confident but uncertain, and as such is a triumph.

But the real spotlight-stealer here is Looney-award-nominated supporting actress Kelly O' Leary, who according to IMDB has only one other credit to her name, an episode of "Mad Men" in 2008. This is a travesty, as Ms. O'Leary portrayed the overburdened assistant to Sinbad as regal, adaptive, stern but relatable, potent and feisty and more than capable to stand her own ground in these adventures. She is much more than a beautiful face, and turns this role into one of the stronger supporting females parts in all of The Asylum's filmography. Please Asylum, get her back, and soon.

Rounding out the cast is the lovely Sarah Desage as Loa, the native islander girl who is harsh and hard but heart-breakingly human, a kind of evolution from the native women in 100 Million B.C., who were still a little primal in terms of expression; Ms. Desage not only supplies the more obvious eye-candy, but becomes more than that with her earnest portrayal of a woman out of her intellectual league but struggling to hold her own. And she looks a lot like Jax's chick on "Sons of Anarchy."

And of course, the other billed star here, Bo Svenson (Snowbeast, The Inglorious Bastards) earns his paycheck with aplomb as an adviser to Sinbad in the business world. Not really worth a billing, as he's not around much, but he is a name, so, you gotta do what you gotta do. 

To sum up, The 7 Adventures of Sinbad I found to be an intense, action-packed, at times psychedelic and truly original mythological thriller, full of creative visual FX, barbed dialogue, oodles of bloodshed, scantily-clad native women and, yes, even nudity. And the ending...all I'll say is that it's truly bizarre and even more bizarrely-touching. Enjoy. 

No comments:

Post a Comment