Apocalypse Pompeii (2014)

Apocalypse Pompeii (2014)

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Wow, that CGI looks impressive /sarcasm
Wow, that CGI looks impressive /sarcasm

Twitter Plot Summary: Mount Vesuvius erupts again and Adrian Paul has to save his family before they fall victim to the lava and stuff.

Five Point Summary:

1. Adrian Paul going for a job interview.
2. Mount Vesuvius has erupted! Oh no!
3. John Rhys-Davies shows up. Clearly had nothing better to do.
4. That girl rather handily knows everything about volcanoes.
5. A helicopter based finale. Yawn.

The Asylum strike again with another well-timed mockbuster intended to lull unsuspecting punters into buying the DVD of this and expecting to receive Paul WS Anderson’s equally as suspect, big budget (cough, splutter) Pompeii. You know, that one with Kit Harington’s abs and terrible CGI. But not terrible CGI abs, strangely.

Unlike the aforementioned historical action epic (again, with a distinct cough and a splutter), the characters in this film have access to cars as it’s set in the modern day. Adrian Paul stars, last seen contributing to the ridiculously bad Highlander: The Source. He is accompanied by his wife and daughter, who can be defined as “badly written” and “slightly irritating” respectively. They head off on a coach trip to Pompeii, led by an Italian man with a MASSIVE mole, whilst Adrian Paul goes off to get a real job having recently left the army. When the inevitable happens – Mt Vesuvius explodes and threatens the residents in the local area – Adrian Paul heads into the danger zone with a few members of his old Black Ops team (sadly not a group of Call of Duty aficionados) to rescue his wife and daughter. And, of course, the other dozen or so tourists that are trapped within Vesuvius’s lava-based grasp who will, inevitably, be bumped off one by one until only a select few remain.

You shouldn’t have to be told that this is an awful movie, because it really is that poor. The effects are laughably bad, as is much of the acting. Adrian Paul demonstrates exactly how far his career has fallen since the Highlander series reached its nadir. Meanwhile John Rhys Davies shows up as a very English military man who gets to enunciate a little bit before going back to some serious acting elsewhere. Other than these two, the rest of the cast are relative nobodies. Paul’s daughter, played by Georgina Beedle, is rather conveniently an expert in volcanoes and therefore is the only person capable of helping everybody survive the forthcoming onslaught of lava, heat and dust.

"Get out of sight, they might come and ask me to do another Highlander movie!"
“Get out of sight, they might come and ask me to do another Highlander movie!”

Laboriously scripted and rife with terrible exposition, there is absolutely no tension and it simply serves as an excuse to send the crew off on a holiday to do some filming in and around Pompeii itself. It’s so obviously shot on a shoestring that it makes Anderson’s Pompeii look like the historical epic that he wanted it to be. Shoestring budgets can be forgiven if the script has something to offer, be it an interesting thematic point or some well written dialogue. Apocalypse Pompeii has neither. In fact, given that the second half of the film is basically Adrian Paul flying in a helicopter and the combo of his wife and daughter hiding – that’s literally it – you’re probably safe in missing this entirely and using the 90 minutes in some more worthwhile pursuit. Like stamp collecting.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that one scene features a group of stranded teens spontaneously combusting after being hit by a heatwave, so you know instantly that this isn’t going to be at the top of any film viewer’s lists, unless that list happens to be “Best direct to DVD films designed to cash in on another Pompeii related movie with a bigger budget”. If so, Apocalypse Pompeii would still struggle to make the top five.

Score: 1/5

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