Do you remember earlier in the year, when Warner Bros. Pictures released a big budget monster movie featuring a giant ape and a huge lizard? Let me help refresh your memory. The film was called Godzilla vs. Kong; it focused on a clash between two titanic characters, and was a commercial hit for the studio.
Why do I mention it? No reason really.
This week sees the release of Ape vs. Monster – the latest title from The Asylum; the studio that specialises in low-budget mock-busters such as Top Gunner, Triassic World, and Android Cop. Ape vs. Monster focuses on a clash between two titanic characters (a giant ape and a huge lizard), and may or may not share similarities with a certain movie from Warner Bros.
In Ape vs Monster, an ape returns to Earth after spending years lost in space. The ape was part of a secret mission, initiated by the US and Russia during the Cold War, and is now back on Earth and very different.
Instead of returning a little older, and perhaps a little wiser, the ape is instead rather large and understandably rather pissed off. Having been shot into space and forgotten about, he is back on Earth and not in a great place emotionally.
But there’s no time for any monkeying around, because the world has a bigger problem on its hands, in the shape of a giant lizard. You see, when the ape’s capsule returned to Earth, it inadvertently mutated a lizard, which grew in size and turned into a monster.
And if all that wasn’t enough, extra-terrestrials have become aware of the presence of the two creatures. The aliens then take over the minds of both the ape and the monster, with the goal of using them as pawns to destroy the planet.
In order to stop the alien-controlled monsters from terrorising the world, the governments of both the US and Russia must join forces to free the ape from mental control. But even if he is freed, will the ape become humanity’s greatest saviour, or will he simply go bananas?
Ape vs. Monster is directed by Daniel Lusko and stars Eric Roberts, Arianna Scott, and Katie Sereika. The movie is available to rent or buy from this week, and just to be clear, yes, this is a real film – I swear I’m not making this stuff up.
I know it might seem like this movie is the result of a fever dream, or a delusional episode on my part, but believe me, it’s not. Money has been spent on this production, actors were hired, and someone with a cheap computer program put together the visual effects.
Was all this work worth the hassle? No, it was not.
Ape vs. Monster is schlock. And it’s boring schlock too.
This is a low budget affair and as such, the monsters in this movie are limited to a few, very small appearances – and only when absolutely necessary. Hey, these things cost money, and there’s not much of it to go around.
So, if you are thinking about checking this film out for ‘monster on monster’ fun, then you should think again. There is barely any monster on monster anything, and there is definitely no fun.
The lack of monster action is arguably for the best though, because the CGI used in the movie is truly terrible. The ape in particular is atrocious, and seems to have been lifted from a crap ‘90s music video.
For the majority of the movie, this isn’t much of a problem, as neither beast is on screen long enough for it to matter. But the lack of monsters means this creature feature has to rely heavily on the cast to keep the story chugging along – and oh boy, if the ape seemed bad, the cast are much, much worst.
The level of acting in this film ranges from amateur to just plain awful. Lines are thrown out with careless abandon, bad Russian accents are chucked around the screen at any given opportunity, and there is simply no believability from anyone in this cast, other than Eric Roberts.
Roberts – who plays a government official – obviously knows what kind of movie Ape vs. Monster is and treats it accordingly. He says his lines, keeps his head down, and comes out better for it.
He can’t save the picture, and he certainly can’t inspire better performances from his fellow cast members, but then, this isn’t his job – this is the job of the director. Although, what any director could do with this script and the clear lack of funding is beyond me.
The dialogue in this movie is clichéd, the plotting is mundane, and the whole production seems to be held together with gaffer tape. Every scene in this movie appears to have been captured in one take, and there are endless sequences in which characters talk about what they are witnessing off screen, rather than allowing the audience to actually see it.
Why do they do this? Because showing the audience something exciting costs money. It is far more budget-friendly to have an actor describe a scenario (badly) than to put it on screen.
Employing this cost-saving technique once or twice can be forgiven, as many productions run out of cash. But building a whole movie around this approach to storytelling is frustrating, embarrassing, and not acceptable.
Ape vs. Monster is rubbish. The film is unoriginal, is not entertaining in the slightest, and is a complete waste of everyone’s time.
The Asylum have a track record for producing low-budget movies, of questionable quality, so it’s no real surprise that this is yet more of the same, but that doesn’t excuse this being utter dross. And that’s exactly what this is – there’s no other way to describe it.
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t bother reviewing an Asylum movie for this blog, but I admit that I was sold by the idea of the big monster clash. Of course, I expected Ape vs. Monster to be bad, but I enjoy monster movies, even some of the poor ones, so I hoped this film might buck the Asylum trend and offer up a sliver of something interesting.
But there is no sliver here; Ape vs. Monster is low-rent garbage. It stinks.
Should you have completely lost your mind and want to watch Ape vs. Monster, the movie is currently available to rent and buy through various digital platforms. Alternatively, you can pick up a copy of the movie on DVD or Blu-ray through all good entertainment stockists, including Amazon US and Amazon UK, but honestly, don’t waste your money.
The year is 2021. Monster movies have been around for decades, meaning there are plenty to choose from, should you be itching to get a fix, and there really is no need to waste 90-minutes on this one.
Watch something else, or simply stare at a wall for a prolonged period of time. You will find this to be a much more productive pursuit and it may deter The Asylum from pumping out more of this drivel.
Disclaimer: I earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.