Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tremors 5: Bloodlines

The original Tremors is one of my favorite monster movies. It’s fast, fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s also remarkably well made for a B-movie and features a great cast. I can’t say the same thing about the multitude of DTV sequels and the television spin-off that spawned from this classic. Cheap, repetitive and mostly boring are the three adjectives I’d use to describe the majority of them.

It’s been quite a while since we’ve heard from this franchise (Tremors 4: The Legend Begins came out in 2004), so I was extremely surprised to see Tremors 5: Bloodlines randomly appear on Netflix. I was apprehensive at first, but eventually caved in to curiosity and gave it a watch.
Burt Gummer (Michael Gross), Graboid hunter extraordinaire and wilderness survival show host, travels to South Africa with his new cameraman (Jamie Kennedy) to stop an infestation from threatening a small village.

Yeah, this is another rehash that’s set in South Africa instead of Texas. It follows the formula to a “T” and doesn’t stray from it one iota. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s bad, but that doesn’t mean it’s good either. This one falls squarely in the middle. I’d say it’s mildly entertaining.
It’s great to see Michael Gross return to play Burt once again, although he isn’t as gun crazy as he has been in the other incarnations. He’s mellowed a bit. That’s fine. I’m okay with it. That shtick is one of the reasons I found some of the sequels, and especially the TV series, kind of annoying. I like that they changed the location to South Africa. Sure it was probably filmed in Arizona, but it gives the movie a more diverse cast and puts Burt into an “out of his element” scenario. Some of the jokes are actually quite funny and the sense of humor is right up there with the better films. But that’s where the positives end.

Jamie Kennedy is as annoying as usual as Burt’s cameraman, Travis. He has this goofy X-Sports thing going on and speaks mainly in douche-bro slang. Plus the development involving Travis and Burt is really dumb and hokey. Most of the action is really cheap and underwhelming. Plus the secondary characters aren’t really developed in any sort of way. Well, the town doctor was rad. Especially when she channeled her inner Katniss Everdeen. The rest not so much. There is no style on display as everything has a washed out and bland look to it. Sure it’s a DTV movie, but that’s no excuse. It might take a couple of minutes more to set up a Dutch angle, but no one behind the camera seemed to be interested in putting in any extra effort to give the visuals a little oomph.
But my biggest issue has to do with how the Graboids have been changed to make them more threatening. In each film the creatures have been altered to set themselves apart from the original. In part two the worm-like Graboids birthed Shriekers. In part three the Shriekers gave birth to Ass Blasters.  In part 4, well, nothing much happened. In part 5 the Ass Blasters bring the life cycle full circle by laying Graboid eggs. But the look of the Graboids has been altered severely. They now look like something out of The Thing as do the Ass Blasters. And now the Worm tentacles that emerge from the Graboid’s gullets are detachable and look like snake versions of the tentacle creatures from Deep Rising. Actually they look EXACTLY like the tentacle creatures from Deep Rising. Did the CGI artists find the models from that movie online and repurpose them here? Ugh. I know that’s an obscure detail to pick on, but I love Deep Rising. And you don’t mess with the design of these classic movie monsters. It’s not a Tremors movie when the Graboids don’t look like Graboids! And since when do they leap out of the ground and perform half twits in midair before landing on a victim and swallowing them whole? Dumb.

And to make matters worse it looks like the producers want to continue this pointless series with Jamie Kennedy as the lead because the whole film has a “passing of the torch” sort of feel to it. No. All the no. Just remake the first movie and get it over with already.
Tremors 5: Bloodlines is fun in spurts, but on the whole it’s a pretty uneventful entry in this highly uneven series. Was anyone really asking for another sequel? I mean, other than Michael Gross? It offers nothing new on top of making some changes that actually angered me. As a fan of the original I have to say that what was done to the creatures was sacrilege. Shriekers and Ass Blasters… fine. Whatever. But changing the main creatures and making them look like monsters from other films? Hell to the no! I hope the series ends here.

1.5 out of 5

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