They say that when an alligator grabs hold of something tasty to eat, the reptile won’t let go for anything. I guess the same thing could be said for Roger Corman. He’s earned the title as King of the B Movie and has held reign for nearly 60 years. So we shouldn’t be surprised that his relationship with SyFy and their monster mash-up series of original films would feature a few entries from Corman. Dinocroc came in 2004, followed by Supergator in 2007. Both found fitting places in the series from SyFy. Now Corman and the network have pitted the two against each other in the latest joint venture: Dinocroc vs. Supergator.
Two genetically-altered crocodilians have been developed in secret by the laboratories owned by Jason Drake (Carradine). The lab was funded by the government to create super-versions of food plants to solve the world’s hunger problems. But these guys got greedy and decided to use the technology to develop a weapon out of an alligator and a crocodile. The result is two giant predators that soon break out of containment and threaten a Hawaiian island. There’s plenty of the expected mayhem and chaos as the two creatures make their way through the population.
David Carradine gives us one of his final performances as the guy responsible for the giant creatures. His involvement is basically an extended cameo where he is shown mostly on the phone with some of the cast as they deal with the onslaught. He’s actually pretty good in those scenes. He pretty much plays it straight with an almost uninterested morality to the corporate big shot. He’s always in opulent surroundings and far more interested in his own pleasure than the havoc his project is causing. He’s even less interested in the multitude of employees that have become snacks. Carradine is quite a natural fit here. It was inspirational casting. The rest of the cast features the usual trademark kind of characters you would expect in this kind of film. Amy Rasimas plays Cassidy Swanson. She’s the obligatory sexy law enforcement officer in cut-off shorts and a button-down top. Her father Charlie (Callahan) is the local sheriff. Meanwhile Drake has his own “fixers” on the job. There’s Victoria, played by Lisa Clapperton. She’s in charge of making sure there aren’t any loose ends. That usually means having to kill folks in order to try to keep the whole thing quiet, which in itself is completely ridiculous because you have 20-foot monsters roaming around eating everyone in sight. Drake also hires the Quint character who is tasked with hunting down the creatures. That man is known only as The Cajun, and he’s played by Rib Hillis. When we first meet The Cajun, he’s hunting normal gators in the swamps of Louisiana. He slices his arm to get blood in the water to bait his quarry. Yeah, he’s the mysterious tough guy. Then there is the government agent who is trying to get the goods on Drake and shut him down for good. That character comes in the form of Paul, played by Corey Landis. The Cajun, Paul and Cassidy end up teaming up to take on the reptiles.
The film also benefits from the Hawaii locations. There is a rather nice lush environment here that helps us to buy into the whole scenario just a little bit more. There is plenty of the usual humor you already expect in a Roger Corman feature. Director Jim Wynorski allows the cast to have a lot of fun with a few clever winks that are never quite so campy and obvious so as to spoil our fun. This is his kind of film. Wynorski has become somewhat of an exploitation staple with his Busty Cop series and a few other SyFy monster movies. He’s not quite so much the household name because he usually uses pseudonyms when directing. He’s worked under the names Harold Blueberry, Salvador Ross, Jay Andrews, and Rob Robertson.
This was one of two SyFy monster mash-up films that came to us on Blu-ray this month from Anchor Bay. The first was Mega Python vs. Gatoroid. While this film has its share of lame dialog and, at times, subpar f/x, it is far more entertaining than Mega Python. Perhaps it was the guidance of Corman. I doubt he had a ton of hands-on involvement, but when you work for someone like that there tend to be better standards. I’d say the thing that made it a better movie was it never tried to be anything more than what it was. It made no bones about the fact that this was strictly entertainment and nothing more. If you’re trying to decide between the two titles, I’d go with this one every time.
Dinocroc vs. Supergator is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The 1080p image is arrived at with an AVC MPEG-4 codec at an average 30 mbps. This is made-for-television fare and isn’t going to blow you away with its high-definition image presentation. The HD image often works against the CGI work, making the blend into the live action somewhat obvious, particularly when the creatures interact with water. The creatures themselves are actually a cut above the usual work I’ve seen on these films. There is some detail to be found here. Colors are bright and almost hyper-bright. There’s very little use for black levels in this sunny environment, but you will find a bit of nice shadowing from time to time. The lavish greens of the Hawaiian environments show up quite nicely throughout.
The Dolby Digital TrueHD 5.1 is not very aggressive at all. This was made for television, and while most providers allow for 5.1, television still plays to the main speakers. Dialog comes through perfectly. The roars sound a little flat because you’re not getting a big push from your sub.
There is an Audio Commentary with Jim Wynorski. It’s quite laid back and offers plenty of background info. He talks about working with Carradine and, of course, Roger Corman.
Just the Commentary
I find that I have been mostly greatly underwhelmed by the SyFy original movies for the last decade or so. Perhaps they should work with Corman’s outfit a little more. This still isn’t top-notch filmmaking, but it is rather fun to watch. I’d suggest a quick rental, because I don’t suspect you’ll be reaching for it with any frequency. At least you know what you are in for, if you know anything about Roger Corman. He’s certainly not for everyone. If you get him, he’s been putting a smile on your face for decades. For me, watching Roger Corman movies? “You know, it’s my sworn duty.”