Monday, February 17, 2014

Review: Gator King

Gator King is a Rhino direct-to-video release that, of the nearly 90 movies I've reviewed for this blog (which includes scores of titles I knew would be terrible going in), is without a doubt the dullest.

Imagine Time Chasers if its plot entailed not time travel but alligator smuggling, if its cast had far less investment in what they were doing, if the chase scenes were even more cheap and stupid, and if it induced Z-grade celebrity actors to somehow embarrass themselves—in this case, Michael Berryman (Captain Rixx from the TNG episode "Conspiracy"), Antonio Fargas (TV's Huggy Bear), and Joe Estevez, who of course is reason I watched this.

After Gator King—and a few others, come to think of it—I hope I've learned my lesson about seeing movies solely on the basis of Joe Estevez being in them. Neither he nor Berryman have very much screen time, because, I assume, money. Our actual leads are spunky—reporter or something?—Shannon K. Foley, whose performance has the earnest yet stilted quality of Pantsless Attic Woman from Werewolf (I guess Joe has a type); her love interest Jay Richardson, who looks like the washed-up loser version of Brian Williams; and Fargas as the sinister Gator King. The movie spends much of its time with his character and his unconvincing thugs, which was probably a good choice: they are the least boring of the many boring elements herein.

Perhaps no single fact about this movie encapsulates it more thoroughly than the hero characters' tendency to have entire conversations with themselves solely for the benefit of the audience. That pretty much tells you all you need to know about the amateurishness at work here. In my imagination, this movie originated as an A-Team spec script, and was naturally rejected, so they added a thin environmental message to convince a regional swamp-fauna-oriented museum to fund its production…but when they saw the rough cut, they refused to run it on a continuous loop in their cafeteria or whatever, so the producers added titties and tried to get it aired on a late-night cable channel—but when THEY turned it down, the only doors left open were Rhino's.

I cannot think of a single, even highly conditional, reason to recommend Gator King to anyone. It can only be called a "thriller" inasmuch as it pretends at intrigue; it certainly can't be categorized as "action" even though it has a few scenes where guns are fired and/or alligators get loose and cause a rush of frenetic editing. Its one or two moments of unintentional hilarity (such as the thug who sets himself on fire) do not justify the hour-twenty-five running time—to put it another way, it seems at first exactly like the sort of thing they would've done during Sci-Fi-era MST3K, until you start to realize it rivals Neptune Men for sheer boredom. It's unlikely, even, that you'd find bits of Gator King interesting if you happen to be an alligatorologist—or whatever you people call yourselves. Sorry, this movie has embittered me to all things crocodilian.

Star Score: 0 out of 5

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