Early Review: Hornet (2018)
An alien race, intent on decimating mankind and repopulating the Earth, brainwashes humans to carry out acts of destruction. With the military powerless, humanity's only hope lies in an untested, hi-tech mech-bot.
REVIEW: Hornet is an upcoming movie by The Asylum due out on December 18th, obviously made to be a mockbuster on the Transformers: Bumblebee movie. Amazon Prime Video in Canada has been releasing almost the entire Asylum catalog on their service bit by bit over the last week (so, pretty much early Christmas to someone like me!) and among the ones uploaded, much to my surprise, was an early release for Hornet!
The plot is simple enough, although a tad bit unbelievable (then again, which Asylum movie isn't? Hahaha). When aliens invade the Earth and start brainwashing people into a mindless rage zombie-like state, it's up to a group of University students to use their secret project - a fully-working semi-self-conscious giant robot called Hornet - to help save the day.
What I found interesting about this however, is that the movie is actually done in Found Footage style. Now, call me crazy, but out of all the types of movies that would fit that treatment, I never in a million years expected a giant robot movie to be one, but honestly? It works. After the initial jarring of discovering it was Found Footage style I slipped right into that mode and had no problem with it, and unlike most Found Footage movies, the way that this is shot makes it pretty easy to even forget that it;s in that style most of the time. Plus I can always appreciate thinking outside the box, and making a giant robot vs alien invasion movie found footage is definitely thinking outside of said box.
The robot himself actually looked pretty decent most of the time, for a movie such as this, and he had some pretty genuinely funny moments throughout, even during otherwise serious intense scenes, so it was pretty easy to instantly like this robotic character. Unfortunately, he doesn't really have much to do for most of the movie. The majority of his screentime he's just standing around in the background or being one of the sources of camera footage, and occasionally offering a dry humor line of dialogue here and there. Don't get me wrong, the movie is far from boring, there's always something happening from alien ships flying around, mind-controlled rage 'zombies' attacking in some pretty intense scenes, and flash forwards to our group of characters being interrogated by a secret Government organization that included some truly suspenseful moments. However, while all of that stuff was interesting, and actually done rather well more often than not...it's not really what I'm looking for with this movie. I'm looking for giant robot action, of which, while there is some, especially during the last 20 minutes where the robot action comes out in full force, there is not nearly as much as you would think, considering the cover art and plot.
As far as Asylum productions go, Hornet is quite competently made; The robot itself is likeable, the acting from everyone is actually great, the special effects (most of the time) are passable, there's genuine moments of humor and genuine moments of tension, and there's never a dull moment or lull during the entire runtime of the movie with there almost always being something happening to the characters. However, as stated above, the one big issue this movie does have is that there's very very little actual giant robot action until the last 20 minutes of the movie, and very little for the giant robot to actually do during the rest of that time which was a little disappointing, especially considering just how good everything else about this one was.