There are a lot of families out there that would just rest easier if you were dead!
I’m sure like most people that were born in the 1980s, one of the earliest and most impressive memories you will have from going to the cinema was the outrageously fantastic Jurassic Park. It was a achievement that was pretty much unparalleled in cinema in the 1990s, it did everything right and it was critical acclaimed.
Along came The Lost World to a mixed reaction, and then there was Jurassic Park 3, which was largely panned by pretty much anyone who watched it, but it’s safe to say that compared to Jurassic City, Jurassic Park 3 deserves to be as critically lauded as the first film.
Sometimes films borrow the title of another franchise to make themselves more noticeable, when in reality they are nothing to do with the original, yes, I’m looking at you, Night of the Living Dead : Resurrection. Like many other instances of this, Jurassic City, which is a very strange title given that the vast, vast, vast majority of the film is set in a prison and there is maybe five minutes in the entire run-time not spent in that prison, is an extremely poor attempt at a cash-grab and if you see this, please don’t make the mistake of thinking that this is part of the Jurassic Park franchise because it isn’t.
Following on from getting arrested at a party, several girls find themselves locked in a prison for the night whilst the police decide how to charge them. Meanwhile, several miles away a secret lab has been growing dinosaurs and the boss has three more coming in before he unleashes them on the city in an experiment.
The van has to stop in the basement of the prison and the three dinosaurs therein manage to escape and devour everyone in sight. Soon the girls have to join forces with guards and inmates alike to try and survive, although that is made more difficult due to Doyle (Gage), a convicted murder and rapist, being antagonistic towards everyone.
As the group slowly makes their way through the prison, being taken out one by one, they need to start trusting each other and the survivors of the group that brought the dinosaurs in the first place.
It’s like Sharknado, but worse…..
Now, you may have noticed that in the poster there is a T-Rex, let’s just start off by saying that there isn’t a T-Rex anywhere to be seen in this movie and it’s blatantly trying to pull in people by lying to them before you even see the word Jurassic in the title. Don’t be fooled by this as the only two types of dinosaur that appear in the movie are again what I am assuming is velociraptor and pterosaurs. You may be wondering why I used the word assuming in there, it’s because the CGI is so incredibly terrible for the the raptors that is makes it impossible to really tell what they are.
You see, I can appreciate films being low budget and therefore not necessarily having the money to make it look convincing, but it is quite possibly the least convincing CGI I’ve ever seen. Poor CGI isn’t a deal breaker for me but I do find it hard to ignore it when it’s done to such a poor level. There are scenes where the raptors are jumping on someone from behind it looks as un-natural as the way the ring falls onto the fingers of Bilbo and Frodo in the Lord of the Rings franchise. It’s just almost like they’ve given the CGI created dinosaurs the flexibility of an animatronic equivalent and not made sure that the conditions are ideal.
So ignoring the CGI, which again is pretty hard when you’re watching it, there are virtually no redeeming qualities to this film as it is just awful. Let’s start with the script and the incredibly unnatural way that every line is delivered. The film features quotes such as “And you girl, you’re full of vinegar!”, I mean do I even need to go into that to tell you how little it actually makes sense? Even in the context of the situation and the previous lines, it’s still an atrocious and nonsensical line. I even get the sense that the actors themselves didn’t believe in the script as several of them struggle to not laugh whilst delivering their lines that are supposed to be serious.
Robert LaSardo plays a Corporal who regularly starts laughing in mid-sentence in a serious situation and I seriously doubt that this was how the character was supposed to be. I honestly believe that he found the script so absurd that he struggled to keep his composure whilst delivering it. LaSardo is one of the few actors I’ve seen before and he is a very serious actor that can be menacing, such as his roles in films such as Leon and TV shows such as Nip/Tuck. When your actors don’t believe in the script, how can the audience be expected to take it seriously?
My ultimate problem with the script is that it is predictable and the characters are a walking set of clichés, not one of them feels natural or believable. None are more forced than the character of Stephanie, a leader of a sorority at an American college. Through the entire film she lives and breathes that she is a leader of a sorority and thinks that it actually matters in the real world. Whilst in the prison, despite people being eaten around her, she still thinks the hierarchy within the sorority matters and not only that, but she feels a sense of entitlement compared to the characters who aren’t in the sorority.
It’s not just the characters that represent clichés as there are numerous scenes throughout the film where you know exactly what is going to happen before it does and this starts right in the first few minutes. We start with a guard walking down a corridor and noticing that a door is open, he wanders inside and nothing is there. Relaxing, he drops something and bends down to pick it up, only for it then to be revealed that there is a dinosaur stood behind him. It’s basically borrowed from Chapter 1 of “Horror Clichés 101”. If it was a one-off then I wouldn’t mind, and there are many strange moments that also fell out of that book, despite not making any sense, such as;
- A character running around a corner away from the dinosaurs and telling everyone to run, everyone looks and sees nothing before getting a look of fear of their faces as they see something off camera, but the camera pans around and the dinosaurs aren’t even in view yet.
- A raptor biting a girl’s head clean off and the other characters can then hear her screaming, even though she wasn’t screaming at any point before her head was bitten off, and it may just be me but decapitated people can’t scream.
- A man on foot somehow managing to outrun raptors, even though raptors are shown quite clearly later in the film being able to catch up with a moving vehicle.
- The main bad guy being so obvious that he might as well walk around with a t-shirt on saying “I am this movie’s bad guy!”
- Every conversation about the dangerous prisoner is about how he is dangerous, but then that prisoner doesn’t really do a lot throughout the film.
- A prison guard thinking he’s safe simply because he’s closed a wooden door, only to be proven wrong seconds later.
- A scene at the beginning in the sorority where they are doing an induction and the candidates are made to fight each other in bikinis, in a small pool whilst covered in baby oil. Yeah, I’ve never been part of a sorority, and am pretty certain I never will be, but I’m pretty certain that doesn’t happen in a sorority and is quite clearly only done for the interest of any teenage boy watching.
- Mugshots featuring young women being like modelling photoshoots rather than actual mugshots.
- A character from that sorority being so stupid to ask “where is my car?” when it’s right in front of her.
Just to round it all off, the director also tries to blatantly rip of Jurassic Park by replicating some of the more infamous scenes and failing miserably. Remember the iconic scene in Jurassic Park where Lex and Tim are being stalked around a kitchen by the raptors? Well in Jurassic City they have a guard hiding is a control room as a raptor searches around corners for anyone that’s alive, but there is a considerable difference in lack of quality or tension.
There are films that are so bad that they’re enjoyable, such as the aforementioned Sharknado, The Room and many others, but then there are just films like this which are bad. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a film that I hate by any stretch, it’s hard to truly hate a film like this because you can tell it’s not trying to be something more than what it actually is, and you have to admire that in a way.
Make no mistake though, it is truly awful. I can’t think of a redeeming feature for it and if this doesn’t appear on the SyFy channel in the near future then I would be amazed.
It’s obvious that they have tried to use the word “Jurassic” to fool people into thinking that this is something that is not, so I hope no-one sees this advertised and think it is somehow related to the Jurassic Park franchise, although if they do get fooled then they deserved everything they get.