Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Beyond Atlantis (1973)

Dull and stupid, this Philippines/U.S. coproduction is a fantasy-adventure story about mainland criminals who venture to a mysterious island populated by fish/human hybrids in order to plunder a cache of priceless pearls. Virtually nothing in the movie works. The principal makeup effect involves pasting fake-looking fish eyes over the faces of the actors playing hybrids. One of the would-be highlights involves a fellow falling into a pit full of crabs. Crabs? That’s the most menacing creature the filmmakers could muster? The hybrids are inexplicably led by two normal-looking characters, an old man and his daughter, and the daughter is a slinky bleach blonde with perfect grooming and makeup. Whatever. The cast features a pair of American actors who spent much of the ’70s making bad movies in the Philippines: John Ashley plays a scuba diver with a mercenary attitude, and Sid Haig plays the crook who discovers the whereabouts of the pearls. (Indestructible Filipino actor Vic Diaz appears in a small role, lending his usual cartoonish corpulence.) Playing the movie’s nominal leading role is John Wayne’s son, Patrick Wayne, whose career peaked a few years later when he starred in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977), and if Beyond Atlantis isn’t the nadir of Wayne’s screen career, it’s close. Although most of Beyond Atlantis is boring, fans of bad cinema might enjoy the last 20 minutes or so, which include an underwater catfight, a poorly staged shootout, and the ridiculously long funeral sequence for a key character. One can actually feel the filmmakers straining to fill the screen with any old thing that might flesh out the running time of this insipid schlockfest.

Beyond Atlantis: LAME

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