HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:65
We’ve had an Icetastrophe, not one but THREE Sharknado’s and now we have a “Lavalantula”. Created by the Sy-Fy channel to be as cheesy and over the top as the “Sharknado” movies, “Lavalantula” is an in your face action adventure movie with horrible acting, horrible special effects and….well…. horrible everything on purpose. Reuniting 4 members of the “Police Academy” films, we get to lay witness to a movie that’s so awful, and cheesy that you might actually be able to get through it with a couple of six packs or a bottle of something strong.
Aging action super star Colton West (Steve Guttenberg) is in for a bit of a rough day. He’s getting a rough deal on his latest schlocky action film, and his wife Olivia (Nia Peeples) is riding him hard to get back home for their son’s big game today. All of this family squabbling is for naught, as Los Angeles soon erupts with a large scale earthquake that brings giant black spiders that spit and breathe lava. Tearing up the city, these “lavalantulas” (yes I winced too at hearing their names) soon turn the city of dreams into the city of screams. Colton takes to the streets in an effort to get back to his family, while Olivia uses her own ex-acting skills to blast and chew through the invading horde of arachnids. Son, Wyatt (Noah Hunt) manages to stay one step ahead of the lava spitting monsters until his parents can get to him.
Reuniting after killing their fair share of bugs, Colton, Olivia and Wyatt realize that the bugs have one weakness. Compressed nitrogen gas, like the kind used in movie stunt sets. Heading back to the good old set lab, the trio pick up some friends along the way and enough nitrogen gas to blow the queen of these beasts sky high. The only problem is that the city is crawling with lavalantulas and the path to the queen’s hideout isn’t exactly going to be an easy jaunt. However, with enough guns, nitrogen and fast talking ex “Police Academy” actors, they just MIGHT get the job done.
“Lavalantula” isn’t exactly meant to be taken seriously. Taking a hint from “Sharknado” (and actually sporting a 4th wall breaking cameo from “Sharknado” star Ian Ziering) the film just revels in the absurd and horrible. In many ways it succeeds, playing off of the old clichés and stereotypes surrounding action stars. We have horrible one liners that only Arnold could utter, bad special effects, awful bug related deaths and even a few blatant wink winks at the camera. We even have Michael Winslow (famed for “Spaceballs” and “Police Academy” as the incredible human sound effects machine) making bad jokes and special effects into the camera while gleefully grinning the whole way. Yeah, I don’t think ANYONE is going to even TRY taking “Lavalantula” seriously.
While it’s mean to be tongue in check, it doesn’t rise as high as the “Sharknado” films have gone. Somehow “Sharknado” has put its finger on the pulse of stupidity and created that perfect balance between perfectly watchable and just plain incredibly BAD. “Lavalantula” certainly tries its best, and in many way succeeds, but somehow has a harder time walking that tightrope of cheese and fun. Guttenberg is perfect as the moronic aging action star, and the rest of the cast is just there to fill in space. As much as I like Michael Winslow and his incredible voice acting skills, the goofy cinema jokes kind of put it OVER the top a bit too much, and that’s saying something for a movie of this caliber.
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=58977[/img]Filmed like most Sy-Fy shows, the image is a pleasant looking 1.78:1 encode that shot rather nicely. Resolution is nice, with good detail across the board. No major macroblocking or digital artifacts to see, and we even have some nice black levels. The orange and yellow lava spits come through nice and brightly with the rest of the color palette remaining fairly natural. Special effects are just plain bad, as is the case with all Sy-Fy channel movies, so nothing new there. It’s a solid picture, and one that’s right in line with the rest of the Sy-Fy repertoire.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=58985[/img]The 5.1 Dolby Digital track does the job well, but that’s really all it does. Dialog is clean and clear, special effects boom and roar when necessary. LFE is nice, but never overly aggressive or really in your face. Even though this IS a disaster bug movie. Surrounds are utilized, just not wildly, mainly adding some crackle and roar from the burning beasties. It’s not a wildly exuberant track, but it gets the audio through all 6 channels decently enough. Certainly nothing to complain about with an extremely low budget film where most movies suffer from awful recording.
“These Sy-Fy films are made with a certain demographic in mind, and somehow they keep eating them up because the Sy-Fy channel is making a KILLING on these creature feature films. We even had “2 Lava 2 Lantulas” coming in 2016! It’s stupid, it’s REALLY stupid, but with the right frame of mind it can be a good time waster. I’m not a personal fan of owning most of these films (although I have a REALLY big weakness for the “Sharknado” films as well as “Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus”, but it’s certainly fun enough for a bad movie night with good drinks if you know what I mean.
Starring: Steve Guttenberg, Nia Peeples, Patrick Renna
Directed By: Mike Mendez
Written By: Ashley O'Neil, Neil Elman
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Runtime: 84 Minutes
DVD Release Date: November 3rd, 2015
Buy Lavalantula DVD on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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