HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
Bloodthirsty
When the Screaming Starts
Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
Lions Love
Demonic
Night Drive
Luca
Prospect
Toll, The
Last Bus, The
Purple Sea
   
 
Newest Articles
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
   
 
  Guardians of the Tomb Something crawling in the dark
Year: 2018
Director: Kimble Rendall
Stars: Li Bing Bing, Kellan Lutz, Kelsey Grammer, Wu Chun, Shane Jacobson, Stef Dawson, Jason Chong, Eva Liu, Zhao Chun Qing, Yang Yong-Qiang, Chen Qian-Hua, Liu Ruo-Gu, Ryan Johnson, Tim Draxl, Yasmin Kassim
Genre: Horror, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: When a Chinese archaeologist goes missing his sister, Jia (Li Bing Bing) joins an expedition hoping to find him. Led by rugged rescue expert Jack Ridley (Kellan Lutz) and funded by Jia's estranged family friend-turned-shifty corporate bigwig Mason (Kelsey Grammer) the team arrive at a remote desert region in China. Where they discover the mysteriously emaciated remains of local villagers save for one survivor: a traumatized waif named Yin (Eva Liu). Their investigation leads underground to a labyrinth housing not only the tomb of an ancient emperor but it turns out also a nest of freakishly large, intelligent and deadly funnel-web spiders. Who immediately decide it's snack time.

Along with The Meg, Guardians of the Tomb was the other Chinese-western (in this case Australia) co-production released in 2018 showcasing Asian superstar Li Bing Bing. In common with the higher profile and frankly more profitable giant shark movie, the film assembled an international cast. Among them sitcom legend Kelsey Grammer (reunited with Li after Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) and playing almost the exact same kind of pantomime villain), Twilight (2008) lunk Kellan Lutz (who despite an absurdly macho entrance proves so conspicuously inept and un-heroic throughout one suspects his character was intended as a parody), former Mando-pop idol Wu Chun, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (2014) veteran Stef Dawson (whose character's sole defining trait is being unsubtly horny for Lutz's Jack Ridley until the script throws her a surprisingly noble gesture) and Aussie comedian Shane Jacobson (best known for cult comedy Kenny (2006)).

Behind its grandiose title and an ad campaign trying to promote this as a mummy movie the film emerges a rather dreary, garden variety killer spider movie. And not a particularly good one. With an effectively icky but still ill-used mix of practical and digital arachnid effects, the tone leans oddly closer to Seventies drive-in favourite Kingdom of Spiders (1977) with a lick or two lifted from The Mummy (1999. Punk rocker turned filmmaker Kimble Rendall - assistant director on blockbusters from The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and I, Robot (2004) to Ghost Rider (2007) - previously directed Cut (2000), a slasher film pairing Molly Ringwald with Kylie Minogue, and Bait (2012) about a supermarket flooded with man-eating sharks. Here he seems unable to settle on what exactly the film is meant to be, veering from heavy handed melodrama to grisly but inept gross-out gags (including a WTF ending that casually dispatches the one sympathetic character) and moments of outright camp (as when a spider splats against the camera lens).

Scripted by numbers the plot opts for a regrettably jumbled mess of faux home movie flashbacks to supply its would-be emotional spine. Yet aside from wasting an intriguing concept (the spiders are ancient genetically-engineered bio-weapons) on some very lean thrills, Guardians of the Tomb proves singularly inept at engaging the viewer in its cast of charmless stick figure characters. Li Bing Bing is an earnest presence but alas her stilted English further hobbles an already abrasive and aloof heroine. Jia's sole function is seemingly to point out the funnel-web spiders are behaving abnormally, something most viewers can discern for themselves. There is a semi-neat twist wherein after insisting Jia follow his lead, posturing he-man Jack is unmasked as an arachnophobe and forced to relinquish leadership to the newcomer who happens to be an expert on spiders. Unfortunately the film then does next to nothing with this strand. Watching the cast fumble and whine their way through spider-infested catacombs is an experience less akin to fun pulp adventure than watching some office workers on a team-building exercise trying to find their way out of an escape room. Twenty years ago this was the kind of silly romp the Hong Kong film industry would have made cheaper, pacier, way less po-faced and way more fun.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 991 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Jason Cook
Darren Jones
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: