Atlantic Rim (2013)

The Asylum’s answer to Guillermo Del Toro’s upcoming “Pacific Rim” is goofy, and often times inadvertently funny. But in the realm of science fiction from The Asylum, I’ve seen so much worse. The Asylum has been pretty good about their science fiction inputs, offering another solid robot movie “Transmorphers,” so I was much more open minded with this endeavor. I would take writer Jared Cohn to task for offering no build up to the action, but if he went the opposite route, I’d be complaining he took too long. So in that respect, “Atlantic Rim” gets a pass for knowing exactly what kind of film it is.

It’s a little over eighty minutes long and centers on three of the most broadly written characters in an action film. After an oil rig awakens a few deep sea monsters, the rig is taken down and devoured by the monsters. The Government opens up Project Armada, and brings three massive fighter robots out of retirement to look for the sunken rig. It’s barely twenty five minutes in before the trio of heroes are walking around in their giant robot suits and coasting the bottom of the ocean. Thankfully while “Atlantic Rim” can be absurd (notice the dead extras strewn about on the streets of New Orleans while the lack of ambulance or police is apparent) it also has its camp appeal, too. The robots are well animated considering the budget, and look sleek on screen.

The characters even have their own colors with the female pilot in blue, the male pilot in red, and the African American pilot in green. When the monsters begin surfacing the group begins fighting them off and bringing them down, cue some pretty cool animation and fight scenes. I’m not sure why there’s a sub-plot involving two of the teammates hooking up, or why we had to have a scene where star Treach saves a little girl from a fire, but “Atlantic Rim” makes up for its silliness by giving audiences what they paid for. The first thirty minutes is all out robots vs. monsters carnage, while the final half features the trio of soldiers coming back to master a whole new breed of robots. This eventually culminates in to a throwdown in the city where the robots battle the monster with some pretty good computer animation that’s well done for what the movie entails.

“Atlantic Rim” is thin on plot, but makes good on its promise of giant robots and monsters alike. The performances often vary from baffling to downright over the top. Graham Greene chews the scenery as the Project’s supervisor who works to ensure the safety of mankind in the face of the robots, along with David Chokachi, who seems to convinced this is the role of his life. Treach also gives a solid performance as the roughneck Lieutenant of the trio. As for Tracey Moore she varies from lethargic to tolerable. I could never figure it out, but in her final scenes she seems almost drunk, as she stumbled and held on to actors Chokachi to stand. In either case, “Atlantic Rim” is a fun and rather entertaining science fiction entry, and in spite of its flaws, it warrants a bonafide viewing from folks looking for a quick palette cleanser before the buffet that is “Pacific Rim.”

In Stores from The Asylum July 9th.