Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Raptor (2001)

REVIEW BY: Jeffrey Long


COMPANY: New Concorde 

RUNTIME: 81 mins

FORMAT: DVD

PLOT: A small town Sheriff and a Wildlife Officer look into some grisly murders and discover that not only is a dinosaur on the loose, but it came from the nearby Government laboratory and they go to investigate, but only end up making things go from bad to worse as they accidentally cause all the Carnosaurs...err, I mean dinosaurs... in the lab complex to get loose.

REVIEW: I had really wanted to see Carnosaur 4 get made for the simple fact that I thought Carnosaur 3 was easily the weakest in the series and would have liked to see the series go out on a higher note. While Carnosaur 4 was never made, another movie was brought to my attention in it's place: Raptor. Made by all the same people and acts as kind of an unofficial Carnosaur 4 (apparently they couldn't get the Rights to the title, for whatever reason since it was made by the same company and people, however it's even regarded as Carnosaur 4 in parts of the world). As soon as the DVD arrived in the mail, I couldn't wait to pop it in and check this Raptor out and get started on a review, fully excited to get back into the world of Carnosaur.

Oh boy. This movie is bad. Even by my very low standards.


First off, there is no new dinosaur footage in this movie - every single scene with a dinosaur in it is just stock footage from one of the three Carnosaur movies, and while that stock footage was integrated pretty well in the first half of the movie, the second half was botched all to hell, combining shots from each movie together into the same scene, despite the fact that they don't match up at all. One part has a famous Tyrannosaurus vs Construction vehicle scene that this series is known for...except it's made up of footage from both Carnosaur and Carnosaur 2, despite the fact that the construction vehicle used in the first movie was different then the construction vehicle used in the second, but this movie treats them the same, so you'll see a shot of the Tyrannosaurus Rex and vehicle fighting, cut to a reaction shot of the person, then cut back to the Tyrannosaurus Rex and vehicle fighting again...except now the vehicle is suddenly a different one, even though it's supposed to be the same. The second half of the movie is filled with that kind of stuff. Up until that point, I actually didn't mind the use of stock footage as, understandably, the props and suits had gone into disrepair and couldn't be used in a 4th movie, and said stock footage was integrated pretty well. Hell, they even got an actor from the first movie back for this for a few scenes, just so they could re-use his death scene (although he is considerably older here then in the re-used stock footage, but it's the attempt and effort that counts). But then the second half of the movie comes along and does the above-mentioned horrible botching every step of the way and it just gets gross. There are quite a few scenes where we see someone get attacked, but then we cut to stock footage from one of the Carnosaur movies and suddenly it's a completely different person being chomped down on by the dinosaur in place of the one we were just seeing, and in a completely different location then the one the character was just in. It really made no sense whatsoever and was some of the most horrid use of stock footage that I've ever seen (in one scene from Carnosaur 3 used here, we see life boats and a life preserver hung on the wall...yet the characters in this movie are in the middle of an underground basement-level of a Government facility in the middle of the desert...). To further the point, when the dinosaurs start running amok in the facility, the Government sends in not one team, not two teams, but three different, unrelated, teams of Black Op soldiers to deal with it, so that they can use footage from both Carnosaur 2 and Carnosaur 3, where the government/military characters were dressed wearing different uniforms. And one of these teams is dressed in...rain jackets. Yes, rain jackets. No explanation is given in-movie at all for sending in three unrelated teams, nor why one team is dressed in rain jackets despite the fact that it's not raining outside.


And it's a real shame too, because apart from that stock footage debacle, this movie actually had some potential. It's more or less a remake of the first Carnosaur movie, but minus the dino-birthing disease and with more likable lead characters (the Sheriff is actually played by none other then Eric Roberts, oddly enough, though even saying that he's phoning it in may be giving too much credit). And IMO, this movie actually worked the mad scientist angle better then the original Carnosaur. Here, the guy (named Dr. Hyde if you can believe that) was actually making intelligent dinosaurs at the request of the Government to use in overseas warfare in a project titled Jurassic Storm, but then he decided to go rogue and wanted to instead sell them to the highest foreign bidder, but before he can get that far they break loose and start causing havoc first in the nearby small desert town, and then in the facility itself.

To flesh out Eric Roberts' Sheriff character, he has a teen daughter (played by a porn star that looks almost as old as him) that sets him on the path of figuring everything out, as she and her boyfriend get attacked by the escaped Raptor and results in her getting hospitalized and the Sheriff wanting revenge on whatever attacked her, which leads him to the nearby government facility. To aid him along the way is a Wildlife Control Officer (played by a stripper, who has since gone on to star in many movies of this elk). At first they think the creature may be an escaped cougar, which is a subplot not in the original Carnosaur movie but is in the original Carnosaur novel that the series is based on, so it surprised me they included it here, and a surprise that is more then welcomed. If the movie had continue to follow the path of the original book, even the stock footage may not have seemed so bad for me because that book was pure awesome. Adding to the cast, just over halfway through we get two teams of Black Op military characters, and then a third team shortly after that. Most, like in Carnosaur 3, are just background cannon fodder and don't even have names or more then one or two lines of dialog, but there is a couple that are given personality and they're pretty fun to watch, especially the hard-as-nails swear-loving Boston-native leader of the 'Black Team'.

Also in it's favor is lots of good gore (granted it's all from stock footage of the other movies, but they could have gone near-goreless like the third movie did, so props have to be given there), and surprisingly they got James Horner to do the music. What kind of giant ass favor he owed these people, I'm not sure, but it was good to see his name there because the music is one of the movie's strongest points and is really befitting of a much better movie then the one the music ultimately ended up being for. Often times I'd zone out of what was happening on-screen and just listened to the awesome music.


There's honestly not a whole lot more to say, since most of it is just a clip show of the previous movies, which I've already reviewed. If this movie had been filmed using the actual props and costumes of the previous movies instead of horribly badly-integrated stock footage, it actually would have been a really good Carnosaur 4 or Carnosaur remake, as a lot of the actual plot itself was pretty good.. Unfortunately the use of stock footage to the degree they use it, especially in the second-half of the movie when all the dinosaurs take over the facility and all those random Special Black Op teams are sent in, as well as some of the newly-shot story aspects that had to be there in order to have the stock footage scenes make sense, really brings it down to not even being enjoyable on a so-bad-it's-good level, as it's just too damn distracting and really takes you out of the movie, instantly making you think of the better Carnosaur movies.

2/10 rooms in the Psych Ward
 

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