STUDIO: MTI Home Video
MSRP: $22.45
RUNNING TIME: 85 Minutes
End Credits

"We’re ready for you on set, Mr. Langella…"

The Pitch

Filmmakers: “It’s Predator with Skeletor! Huh? Whadda ya think?”
The Studio: “Uh…”
Filmmakers: “With a higher and more pointless body count than Commando!”
The Studio: “Sold!”

"This reminds me of that other horrifying experience."
"Dracula 3000."

The Humans

Michael Rooker, Casper Van Dien and a bunch of Victoria’s Secret models / underwater demolitionists.

"When crying didn’t stop the littering, Ole’ Iron Eyes Cody started scalping motherfuckers to get his point across."

The Nutshell

A 200-year-old Indian myth comes to life and goes all hockey mask on anything that moves in both a wooded area and chemical plant. When an undercover Delta Force team is called in to see what’s the what, they hold a bloody dismemberment / impaling contest.

Caption A: (Insert your name here) 10 minutes into this mess…
Caption B: Newell started out to review this movie but, well…

The Package

My copy was a promotional DVD in a cardboard slipcover, so I occasionally had to deal with the “For Promotional Use Only” subtitle, which just ruined the storytelling for me…no I’m sorry, that’s the movie itself. The cover art itself doesn’t completely suck. I almost think all the production design budget went into it and not the movie. It sure as shit didn’t go into the Skeleton Man himself. Sound was fine and the look was surprisingly good. With one or two exceptions, that’s pretty much the last positive thing to be said in this review.

Caption A: This is actually more believable than the villain in the flick.
Caption B: Okay, maybe she padded her resume a bit on her head shots.

The Lowdown

Man, where do I start? The plot? There would have to be one to comment on it. From what I was able to glean, an archeological dig wakes up the spirit of an ancient Indian madman who liked to collect scalps from his own people. Pretty much everything after that is “how many ways can we spray the walls with red corn syrup and stretch the special F/X budget?” The direction? The fact that this is veteran stunt coordinator Johnny Martin’s first movie as director is no surprise. If it’s not his last will certainly be. The cinematography, by relative newcomer Richard Briglia, is actually quite good. He needs to get on better stuff definitely. The main problem is that Martin had him pointing the camera in the wrong places so many times it was funny – the first 50 or so times. The editing was worse.

Prepare to see this shoot out of your ass when this movie is done with you.

Martin has absolutely no idea how to construct pace, atmosphere, suspense, nor believable characterization…but his blood splatter is first rate for sure. This movie is a film flub smorgasbord. The damn horse that Skeleton Man used changed from appearance to appearance for Jiminy Cricket’s sake. There’s also a flashback when Rooker is reminiscing on past campaigns where he’s lost men that smacks of a bad Ted Stryker flashback. Van Dien gets to play another character that doesn’t make it to the third act and Rooker had to be in this for the paycheck and the free camping trip. As far as the “undercover” Delta Force team? Hey, I’m all for the pointless casting of hot chicks in highly specialized combat roles; but if there’s no T&A, what’s the point?

The poor sap who was playing Skeleton Man just couldn’t get over the fact that he was Hamlet in Shakespeare in the Park three months earlier….

There’s an admittedly decent flashback scene where the origins of Skeleton Man are quickly highlighted. It showed him scalping a bunch of Indians around a campfire. But from what I could tell, there hasn’t been this many non-Indian Indians since the last episode of Bonanza. And the “Soothsayer” that tells the story? He’s the whitest Indian since Daniel Day-Lewis. Priceless. And finally, let’s talk about Skeleton Man himself. Let’s forget about the fact that the costume was pilfered from the nearest ghetto costume shop. Let’s forget about the fact that he’s wielding an ancient Indian axe he got from Home Depot. And let’s forget about the fact that he’s about as menacing as Richard Simmons in a table cloth (but with a striking similarity to Michael Jackson circa 2004). And let’s forget about…aw hell, let’s just forget about it period…

"Me hatem white man."

Overall: 1.4 out of 10