we start out with the titles and some pretty cool title music, using
shakuhachi and dijeridoo and percussion...and then it goes more
synthetic, alternating with the other stuff. Which is probably
synthetic, too, but hey, points for originality.
And we fade in on a lone scorpion, milling about the desert, in front of a smallish building. We get X-Files-style typed in headlines (with teletype sound effect) saying this is Stewart Genetic Research, NSW, Australia. Oh, there's also a sign that says “Stewart Genetic Research” just in case we missed it. Hey, movie, I'm not a dummy, though perhaps that's not obvious. (I am, after all, watching Tail Sting.) Anyway, we pan to follow one of Stewart's vans as it drives along a scrubby road.
Suddenly, we see what looks like an infrared view of this (the van is “crossing the axis” which is what films aren't supposed to do). Every now and then this processed film jerks to a halt, but the soundtack doesn't glitch so it's not an defective DVD. We hear a voice over of someone telling us to “stand by.” Oh, good.
The voice goes on to order someone else to hit the van with CS gas; that someone else says “Roger, he won't know what hit him.” So these are like, industrial thieves or something? I guess we'll find out!
Suddenly the van is flanked by two motorcycles. One of the riders tosses a gas grenade through the van's open passenger window. Yes, you read that right. Top-notch security, fellows. The driver stops, and the cyclist shoves a gun in the now open door and demands that everyone get out. He also wants everything opened up. They open up the back, and one middle-aged guy jumps out, waving a gun. Apparently, he is enough to put paid to these two motorcycle ruffians. (A quick shot of the interior of the van shows the biohazard symbol.) Sure enough, the next shot shows the two ruffians tied together, back to back, as the now safe van speeds off. Never underestimate a middle-aged guy with a coat and tie and a gun. (We're still in the credits, by the way.) The cyclists make a muffled argument among themselves, then the crappy camcorder watches the van speed off. Then, whoever is manning said crappy camcorder gets driven over, as the van goes right over the shot. What other possibility could there be? The stuff that's actual film (movie) is pretty nicely shot, these crappy camcorder things are, well, crappy and are really distracting. I sure hope this is just for the opening credits or I'm going to need more aspirin.
The music is by Ray Colcord, I know I've seen his name on some rock albums. And the music is now kind of ordinary. Well, we follow the van through the desert and the rest of the credits until it reaches an airport. “Woomelang Airport” reads the sign.
Done with the credits now, we are in the airport waiting room. Various folks milling about. Including a team of some sort. Middle-aged guy walks into the room.
The ticket person makes an announcement that the flight to New Jersey has been canceled due to weather, but there's a stand-by going to Los Angeles. Okay, I'm way behind in my airline knowledge, but could there be a flight from Australia directly to New Jersey? Wouldn't they have to stop in Los Angeles anyway?
Middle Aged Guy meets up with some other folks and tells them everything is okay. The ticket gal goes on about alternate flights (it gets pretty complicated—is this “humor”?). While the coach tells the team members that they are going to take the stand-by (they all want to stay in a hotel again, but Coach says they can't afford it) we get a rather punky-gothish guy getting his ticket. He has a leather collar and wrist bands, and I think a nose-ring. He also gets a distinctly menacing musical sting (ho ha ho). Middle Aged Guy notices him and makes sure he still has his gun. He does! Whew.
And passengers are getting their bags scanned through. Middle Aged Guy quickly sticks his gun into punk guy's bags, so when the alarm goes off, security jumps him. Turns out it is just a cigarette lighter, and in the confusion, MAG goes through fine with his own (real) gun. He goes to a younger guy who is combing his hair (“Dr. Milhouse”) and tells him about the hijacking attempt but says that all “the specimens” are safe. “The project is still secure,” he emphasizes.
“Why didn't you tell me something before?”
“Well, I'd rather not upset Dr. Stewart [a-ha!] and Dr. Ryan. Besides, we have to sit with them in a flying tin can for the next twenty hours.” Which, the assembled Doctors, or the “specimens”? Guess we'll find out!
They further discuss how it's better to keep the (lame) hijacking attempt to themselves, and comment (each) that that's right. Sure hope this scene has some kind of payoff. Dr. Milhouse looks kind of like Rob Lowe. More shots of prep for take off (including the world's slowest baggage handlers) and a quick shot of a helicopter gearing up(?). But now that the baggage guys have finished their slow motion routine, they strip off their uniforms and reveal Muslim-looking hats and fancy knitted shirts. Good thing they're doing that in luggage, right? No security camera or anything there. When was this thing made?
The sports team is welcomed aboard (one of the pilots looks like Bruce Campbell) and we see the two Muslims going toward their seats.
A pretty blonde woman goes up to Bruce Campbell and tells him about the special cargo (presumably, what was in the van). He says, “Oh, you're the new gate girl!”
As Jack Slater says, “Big...mistake.” She starts reeling off her doctorates, all with a smile that could slice brains in half. He of course takes offense at THAT, saying he's going to go and see if he and the other “hillbillies” can get the plane airborne.
You know, I can just smell the romance in the air. Unless that's the litterbox again. I mean, he's a physical type (who looks like Bruce Campbell) and she's a brainy type (looks kind of like a blonde Julia Roberts), you know how opposites attract in the movies.
A quick shot of punk guy putting his bags in the overhead, and then a loud boorish guy with a bowtie just manages to get on board. The male stewardess, who is very prissy, welcomes him aboard and Boorish says “Save it pal, just point me to my seat.”
“Someone's in a mood,” says Prissy between clenched teeth, knowing it was a most unrewarding part. Did I mention that Boorish showed up with a bag of golf clubs? Prissy has to take them to storage, and Boorish says “Don't lose them, I have an early tee time.” While this is going on, the Muslims sit in the back seat.
More dialogue. Old Goateed Guy is worried about the cargo from Stewart Labs, and MAG says it's safe, “Doctor Stewart.” Dr. Milhouse is sitting next to blonde, whaddaya wanna bet she's Dr. Ryan? Perhaps in mere moments we'll get some more awkward dialogue confirming my speculations! Let's watch!
There's some lame comedy with the other passengers. And we're in pre-flight, the stewardess runs through the usual drill. Lame banter in the cockpit too (Bruce Campbell smokes) and then the plane explodes, killing all aboard.
No, actually it just takes off. Just like normal. But to make sure we get this, it takes a long time. And I have to admit, there is some nice photography from the bottom of the plane, pointed at the runway, as the plane rises. And the music swells appropriately. We see the passengers in various states of relief as they are airborne. Again, from the bottom of the plane, we see the landing gears retract. Some nice stuff.
Well, that out of the way, we get some more exposition! Hooray! I was hoping for some. Well, I wasn't really but come on, it's only been twelve minutes. What it is, is Dr. Milhouse and “Jen” (the blonde with all the degrees) used to be “an item” and she's sorry they had to break up, but he's not done being mad, they were together for three years and just broke up last week, and he's not “fine” with this, and isn't it just the height of screenwriting convenience, er, I mean irony that they are seated next to each other!
Of course, since he's a prick and is involved with deadly mutant scorpions...what do you mean, you wanted to be surprised?...he's almost certainly going to fall victim to something. Oh, and never mind what I said about “Jen” looking like Julia Roberts. She's a bit too wide-eyed.
Well, Dr. Milhouse complains about the air making him irritable so he's going to splash some water on his face. He passes the seats with MAG and Dr. Stewart (who looks like Jose Ferrer in Dune) (wouldn't it be cool to make a movie cast entirely with look-alikes? Too late, this movie beat you to it). Dr. Stewart tells “Jen” there's an old chemist's expression, “Don't leave your lunch bag next to a lit Bunsen burner.”
“What?” she and I both say, almost at the same time. Bread and butter.
“Don't date people you work with, Jennifer,” he spells out. Oh. Um. Okay, yes, his previous expression makes perfect sense...in some universe, no doubt.
Gosh, this expostionary dialogue is the coolest! Jen points out that Dr. Stewart has never married. “She's got you there, Doc,” says MAG. Uh...yeah. She sure does. Boy, I wish I had all those degrees, this dialogue would make sense then.
A bit of a dull exchange between Coach and one of her team, who is seen as a troublemaker but probably isn't. Hope that isn't relevant in the details cos I didn't pay a lot of attention. This is like a TV movie with all the characters and their little storylines.
Anyway, Dr Milhouse uses a cell phone to call...the guy who set up the hijacking! He tells said guy that he paid to have the “specimens” removed. Hijack Mastermind says no one said anything about the “bloke with the gun [MAG]” and so now Milhouse is on his own. Boy, talk about doomed! I'll be surprised if you get anywhere near the closing credits, Dr. Milhouse.
A quick cut to the cargo bay, where we zoom in on a crate that has the biohazard sign...then back above to Prissy, patrolling the aisles. He stops and asks if the Muslims need anything, they both say they're “fine.” With a big grin, Prissy moves on. Stephen Stucker has nothing on this guy.
We stay on the Muslims as they talk about their misgivings. “Our father died attempting this same mission,” the older-looking one says. He says he has waited and worked for eleven years, “to accomplish what he has not.”
Okay, it's Limb Time! I'm going to go out on this limb and guess, that these guys are NOT terrorists. This film was made in 2002, and I think putting terrorists on an airplane would make this simple monster movie far too heated. It would be extraordinarily dim film-makers (or insensitive) to toss in a couple of terrorists as an afterthought in this time. If I'm wrong I'll admit it, but that's my guess: these guys are meant to be looked at suspiciously, but are actually good guys.
Oh, I also looked at the back of the box and saw that “Jen” is indeed Dr. Ryan. So that is how I will refer to her from here on out. Also, nowhere on the box are the screenwriters credited!
Back to the film, and Mag notices that no one is in the seat where Drs Ryan and Milhouse were. There is a very quick shot of a hand pulling closed a...hatch in the floor. You guessed it, and so did I, it's Milhouse going into the cargo hold to either commit mayhem or wreak havoc. I didn't think cargo holds were pressurized, ie, isn't there a lack of air in there? One thing it doesn't lack is a coffin! Yes, there's a big coffin prominently in the cargo hold.
Dr. Milhouse finds a big crate with biohazard symbols on it, and inside are glass cylinders filled with green fluid, and fairly large scorpions (the size of a rabbit, maybe)! Ooo, scary! Having satisfied himself that these are, indeed, scorpions in bottles, he then pries the lid off the coffin. Which is empty. He puts all the jars into the coffin. Why? Beats me.
Hey, very nice shot of the plane banking away from the setting sun, over a smooth cloud-cover. Really pretty.
Back in the plane, suspicious MAG looks at the hatch in the floor and tells Dr. Stewart he's going to “stretch his legs.”
Fun fact: If you put anything on a table, and a cat decides that table is a good sleeping place, the “anything” previously mentioned has a very good chance of hurtling earthward at the next flex of a feline limb. True!
In the movie, to comical double-bass music, a lady passenger tells Prissy that she smells “cigarette smoke!”
“Really! That's terrible!” he minces. Hey, I'm sorry, but if you see this movie, that's what he does.
She's insistent, and he says, “Well, we'll see what we can do to get that nasty smell out of your nose.”
“You just do that!” she replies, and he looks quite taken aback. His face makes a brief grimace, which is probably him mouthing a dirty word. Ladies and Gentlemen, let's have a big hand for Prissy! Comedy at its finest! Thank you!
Prissy meets with the other stewardess and he asks her how things are in “first.”
“First? I don't know!”
Ha ha ha, I kid. Actually, she says “just taking care of the 'privileged' passengers” and her voice has a certain amount of venom, hey, are the scorpions out yet? No, not yet, please keep your voice down or the ushers will have to escort you out. It's just regular human I-Hate-My-Job venom right now.
The two stews comisserate on...well, basically how they don't like the passengers, etc. I guess the pay must be good. I thought it was going to lead to something, that's why I reported it. At least the double-bass player gets a break now as we return to pulse-pounding drama. I hope.
Sure enough, MAG surprises Dr. Milhouse in the act of bottle-moving.
“What are you doing, Doctor?” asks MAG.
Milhouse exhales and has that “Whoa” look about him. “Everything's...okay,” he doesn't-really-answer.
MAG isn't fooled, and points out that as head of security, he ought to know what's going on.
Milhouse breathlessly tries more weaseling, saying that Drs Ryan and Stewart have “limited vision. They just don't know how much money this technology is worth.”
“But you do.”
“Yeah...that's right, I do! And I can make sure that there's a nice slice in it for you, Fred [MAG's real name]. Huh? My good pal Fred, huh?”
“I make a living, I work for my pay,” says MAG.
“Yeah, but why should you, buddy?” Milhouse further weasels. “Look, this time next week, I'm in Hong Kong, at a restaurant, eating sushi off a naked woman's body.” A) Pardon me if I say ewww and B) Sushi is Japanese, not Chinese. “And you can be there with me [he does a Japanese accent] toasting to our good fortune.”
MAG laughs, then says, “I don't like sushi.”
Milhouse realizes the gig is up, but he says “The place I know makes a great burger.”
(All the above dialogue is verbatim, by the way.)
MAG is having none of it, though. He pulls a gun on Milhouse. (Good for you, MAG, but I bet this spells your doom.) He tells Milhouse that the two of them are going to return to the passenger section. “Dr. Stewart can deal with you when we land, but for right now, we're going to keep all of this between us.”
Milhouse continues to weasel, saying “Absolutely, this is my f**k up...my bad!”
He's so weaselly that you know what happens next: he knocks away MAG's gun, but MAG is no fool, he pins Milhouse against the wall, and then there's this big fight scene. The lid of the coffin gets knocked off, the fight goes on for a while, and then Milhouse jabs MAG in the skull with one of those things that guys use to pick up litter, you know, the pointed metal stick things. Well, the pointy end goes into MAG's brain and he falls, and Milhouse is pretty upset by this. Look at it this way, Milhouse, at least he wasn't killed by horrific mutant scorpions, look at the bright side, man!
Back in the passenger section, Drs Ryan and Stewart and having a discussion. She says their research isn't “advanced enough” to be put in the hands of “CEOs, and Marketing Suits. We haven't done near enough testing!”
“Jennifer,” says Dr. Stewart, “I didn't want to mention this, but to be bluntly honest...we're tapped.” You mean someone is listening in? Other than me, I mean?
No, he means their funding has run out. The Government has to fund other stuff, like Defense, Education, Silly Walks, and some things just have to take the brunt, like Deadly Mutant Scorpion Development. Not exactly his words but you know the drill.
Back to the Muslim Brothers, they discuss their worries again, and I'm more and more convinced this is a red herring.
Remember the pilots and all? No? Well, they're still flying the plane, and Bruce Campbell decides he wants some coffee. We get another lovely sunset shot of the plane over clouds. Either they really got some good stock footage or the DP had some favors to call in.
A brief shot of one of the team girls making out with a guy, while the coach is listening to loud music on headphones, and thus is unaware. With a spot of luck, we'll move on quickly.
We do, unfortunately it's to another meeting between Dr. Ryan and Bruce Campbell. And more strained banter. And then some more passenger stuff. And then down to the cargo hold, where Milhouse has solved the problem of MAG's body by dragging it out of camera range. Good plan! That always works. He then replaces the lid on the coffin.
Then...oh my God. Oh, no, no, no. There's no other way to convey this, but to give you the full scene. Prepare yourself just as you would for Sonic Attack. Use your wheels, it is what they are for. Here we go--
Dr. Ryan meets the other stew (not Prissy) who apologize that Dr. Ryan “ had to get your coffee yourself.”
“Oh, that's okay,” says Dr. Ryan, “ I got to meet the captain.”
“Oh,” says stew, “you mean Captain Broken Heart.”
“What do you mean?”
“Oh, honey, he's a one woman man,” stew explains, “and she died eight years ago.”
Dr. Ryan looks on in horror. I'm with ya there.
“He was flying a little cesna into San Fransisco,” stew goes on, “hit a low patch of fog...he lived. His wife and her sister, didn't.”
“Oh my god, that's terrible.” Again, Dr. Ryan, you echo my thoughts, though probably not my reasons.
“That's what they all say, sweetie,” says both stew and the God of Cinema. “I tried to play in that brier patch a few years ago, and got stung [wow!]. Mark my words...run!”
“I'll take that under advisement,” Dr. Ryan says, and returns to her seat.
Okay, I knew Dr. Ryan and Bruce Campbell were going to get together, I just could not imagine that the film-makers would be THIS DAMN BALD ABOUT IT! Movie, you made me put the puke stick in. Now I'm glad this DVD didn't come with “Free! Scorpion Venom!” cos I'd a used it.
Back to the cargo hold. Milhouse picks up MAG's gun, and tells himself he is a winner and so forth...and over to the left, there is a guy in white shorts and white tennis shoes standing there, kind of hidden behind the luggage section. Oh my goodness, a member of the film crew! Doing what, I wonder. Anyway, we pan to the coffin, and see it is perched pretty precariously on top of another box! Movie, my respect for you is leaking away by the second.
Sure enough, we have another lovely shot of the plane, banking at sunset, and then the coffin falls over and all the jars break. And, naturally, when Deadly Mutant Scorpion jars break, we cut to Prissy, bantering with Stew. Nothing much happens. She taunts him that she'll be soon on the Bahamas run, he says “Talk to the elbow, cos the hand wants to smack you.”
Then we cut to Boorish typing on his laptop, apparently he spills something all over something else, and he calls for the stewardess and Prissy goes to help him.
Back in the cargo hold, the scorpions are crawling all over people's luggage. There are some wires near a burned section of the wall (well, it is!) and they start sparking. In the cockpit, one of the pilot guys notes this. Bruce Campbell pooh-poohs it, but tells the Bald Pilot Guy (boy, are YOU dead) to go check it out.
I'm skipping the dull passenger bits.
Bald Pilot Guy goes to the cargo hold, and the music becomes kind of Peter-Gunn-like. Uhhh. Well! He looks around, with increasing alarm, but we don't see whatever it is he sees. I'm suspectin' scorpions, but that's just me, this film sure likes to pulverize the obvious, why not start now? Nope, not ready to start. Bald Pilot Guy continues to look around in a panic, and we see (for a couple of frames) a silhouette of a big claw, grabbing a silhouette of a leg. Bald Pilot Guy yelps and goes down.
Oh, one passenger thing. Remember goth punk guy? He explains to another passenger that the coffin in the hold is his, actually it is an Aborigine coffin—cough, choke, sputter—and that his “Doberman” is guarding it. Said Doberman sure didn't care much when MAG and Milhouse were fighting, but then, I don't know many Dobermans, maybe they only react in genuine danger, not movie danger. It's a theory.
Before we go on, let me say something here. We have a movie called Tail Sting, and the box says it's about deadly scorpions loose on an airplane. Fine, fine, fine. Did you know we are at the 30 minute mark, and we have had only one deadly scorpion attack? The rest of the time has been this stupid soap-opera stuff. This movie stinx and wears funny sox.
Back to the grind. The other pilots notice Bald Pilot Guy has been gone a while. Bruce Campbell suggests the intercom, and Other Pilot says “he's not picking up.” Bruce Campbell says he'll go down and see what is what.
More passenger stuff. A team member tries to talk to Boorish, but Boorish says he can't talk, he's “busier than God,” and continues to type. “Nice to meet you too,” she says. Ha ha ha ha ha, no wait, I'm not done holding my sides, ha ha ha ha.
Bruce Campbell goes into the cargo hold, calls out for Bald Pilot Guy, says (a propos of nothing I can see) “What the hell has happened here?” then trips and falls right on (Dead) Bald Pilot Guy, who was right in plain sight the whole time.
Trivia: Dogs look really happy when they are panting, but I wonder if they enjoy it. Doesn't it mean they are hot? I hear scientists are working on actual flying cars now, that we can buy in a few years. Just what everyone needs—idiots in an additional dimension.
Oh. Sorry, this movie. Did I mention the two making out in the bathroom? We get a microsecond of breast-footage, then a big fake claw busts through the ceiling and (I hope) kills them both.
In the cockpit, Bruce Campbell asks Other Pilot if everything is okay, then says there is an emergency situation, and Other Pilot should call ground control, Bruce Campbell will be right back after these important messages.
A fake-looking scorpion is going through the vents, I guess, and Prissy in the galley complains about things. Then he gets a huge stinger through his abdomen. Pity, he was more fun than a lot of these other folks.
Bruce Campbell asks the Stew about the Muslims. He's suspicious, see, which I find rather offensive. They're going to exploit (needlessly) 9/11 fears here, for their stupid monster movie. Anyway, either this plane has two galleys, or Stew and Bruce Campbell are too stupid to notice dead Prissy. Or maybe he's been taken up! Yes, he's been taken up! No, he's over there. OH!!
So, Bruce Campbell goes to talk to the Muslims, and it turns out...they are great electricians, and want to work in America. They can fix anything! Bruce is kind of peeved at this, but heck, we're all one world, right? Bruce Campbell has sure forgotten about Dead Bald Pilot Guy. Hey...the guy was Bald! Forget him!
Back in the cockpit, Other Pilot tells Bruce Campbell that he can't get through on the radio. Bruce Campbell has this idea that the phones in the cabin will work.
He goes and asks Dr. Ryan if he can use her credit card. She gives him that pop-eyed look we've all come to know and love, and wants to know why. He says its to make a personal call.
This whole conversation goes on way, way too long. Eventually he gets the card. Oh, Bruce Campbell's character name is “Jack Russell,” just like those highly-strung dogs!
He gets through to someone, whose name is Rob Campbell! Bruce Campbell manages to say to Rob Campbell that they have an emergency situation, but everything gets swamped with static when he has to give details! Wow, isn't it always the way? In movies, I mean, before they changed the water.
Just then the plane goes into a power dive, and Bruce Campbell makes his way back to the cockpit, where he finds Other Pilot with a big red stain on his chest. He manages to pull the plane back into a swell place, then notes unauthorized movement in the cockpit, and hits the “auto pilot” switch just as a scorpion the size of a cow decides to menace him with its claws. He hightails it out of there, but not before stabbing it in the eye with something. Perhaps his charm and wit!
In the passenger cabin, Bruce Campbell tells everyone that everything is fine, etc, in this very exaggerated manner that I imagine fools no one, no one at all. Then he tells Dr. Ryan that there is something she should know about.
Trivia: I have never heard the word “allemande” used in anything other than square dancing. I wonder what the word means.
Dull, inconsequential stuff. Rob Campbell tries to tell his boss about Bruce Campbell. And in the galley, Stew drinks from one of those little airline liquor bottles. Sure enough, big fake scorpion sticks his-or-her tail through the ceiling and skewers Stew. Bye, Stew, we...we never had enough time, you and I!
Bruce Campbell goes into action and orders everyone back into the “coach” section. The lady who complained to Prissy about cigarette smoke earlier, she says she'd rather be dead than go into “coach.” Ladies' choice!
The big fake scorpion kills the team coach, and more's the pity, her seat mate who never had any fun. Aren't you glad I told you all about them, so you could feel like they were your friends, and mourn their passing? Me too. The big fake scorpion scurries around, until Dr. Ryan throws a pole to the younger Muslim, who pokes the big fake scorpion a lot until it...runs away, I guess.
Dr. Ryan asks what's going on. Dr. Stewart says, “Well, I knew the cloning process would very likely quadruple their size, but not this fast! Scott, Scott! Did you know this was going to happen?” He asks this of Dr. Milhouse.
“I had no idea this was going to happen, [Dr. Stewart],” says Dr. Milhouse, he then says some good advice would be to avoid these scorpions.
“Oh thanks,” says Jive Black Guy, “yeah, cos, you know, I was thinking of going and petting them!”
We get footage of big fake scorpion scurrying around, and finally, he or she grabs Dr. Milhouse. While most of us out here in Viewer Land were hoping he'd be killed, well, we were disappointed yet again when Dr. Ryan beat the stupid thing with a notebook computer until it got gooey in the head.
We see various scurrying shots, which to me say “creature effects on a budget” but I think are supposed to say “there are a lot of these bad things and they are all over.”
It turns out that Dr. Ryan beat off the big scorpion with Boorish's (Apple) notebook. It's got goop on it, and Boorish looks all ewww. Ha ha ha ha ha, oh, that is so funny, I may perish from laughter.
Or maybe not. There is some talk, a lot of stupid talk, Dr. Ryan and Bruce Campbell formally introduce themselves, Jive Black Guy says “Enough jibber-jabber,” Dr. Milhouse opines that the creatures have “obviously retreated.”
Bruce Campbell wants to know what these things are. “Scorpions,” says Dr. Ryan. Jive Black Guy says, no, he has seen scorpions on “one of them animal shows, they are about that big,” and he holds his fingers a couple of inches apart.
Bruce Campbell points out that “giant scorpions” are not listed as part of the manifest.
Well, Dr. Ryan sure takes offense at that! “They weren't giant scorpions! They were just dormant specimens...we listed them as such. There's no way they could have gotten out. They were in a secure containment crate.”
Dr Milhouse weasels on up: “The canisters must have been jostled,” he says, in his not-my-damn-fault-NO-WAY voice. “When your plane [he points at Bruce Campbell] lost control,” he adds accusingly.
“Well, that would be a good theory,” says Bruce Campbell, “except for the fact that we lost control, because one of those big ass son-of-a-bitches was in the cockpit!”
“What!” says Jive Black Guy.
There's some discussion about just how big this “big ass SOB” in the cockpit is. Bruce Campbell's opinion: big.
“There's a queen,” says Dr. Stewart, demonstrating the value of a doctorate in irrelevancy. None of our characters seem to take this as happy news, except, oddly, Dr. Milhouse. Now, just an aside here, my understanding is that scorpions are solitary creatures, they don't have a colony with a queen, but then I'm notably ignorant.
And we cut to Los Angeles. A sports car speeds past a futuristic building. In the airport, a strong looking black guy, flanked by some stupid looking white assistants in dumb t-shirts, meets another person and says that yes, he is the security specialist. And there's some very awkward how-do-I-do-that-Ghetto-handshake, which Strong Looking Black Guy looks just as awkward at. You see, it's wacky movie humor at its finest! Well, it would be if there was any humor in it. Which there isn't.
Strong Black Guy is introduced and he starts speaking out of sync with the soundtrack. Quality, thy name is Tail Sting. SBG goes over to Rob Campell, you remember, the guy who took the call from Bruce Campbell earlier. They have a dull little chat about how long has it been since contact with the plane, I see you got them on radar (nodding toward a computer monitor), any ransom demands. I'll wake you if anything interesting happens. SBG waves his two t-shirted flunkies over to desks, and mildly funky music plays as they whip out their laptops. SBG says he needs schematics, cargo manifests, etc, and these guys are hackers and are going to get this information. Of course, they're in the airport, I imagine the airport staff could get this information a lot faster. But it wouldn't be as cool, see?
No? Me neither.
Back on the plane, Bruce Campbell and Dr. Ryan are taking a blanketed body out of one place and into another. It's a way to keep busy, I suppose. Dr. Milhouse says “Jennifer, you know I'd help if I didn't have this damn bad back. Watch the arm!” Talk about signing your own death warrant.
I have this stupid idea that Dr. Milhouse is going to try to reason with the scorpions, bargain for his life in return for helping them, and just when he thinks triumph is his, then they'll kill him.
While the bodies are being moved, Boorish keeps typing on his laptop. Snooty Complaining Lady from earlier is covered with a blanket. Let us pause to mourn another one of our strikingly drawn characters. They were so lifelike!
All the survivors, the two Muslims, German Goth Punk, last remaining Team member, Drs Ryan, Milhouse and Stewart, Bruce Campbell, Boorish, Jive Black Guy, all meet together. Boorish says he has to get off the plane, he has a very important meeting, and Bruce Campbell tells him to shut up, nicely.
He then says to the Muslims that they told him they could “fix anything” and they say, yes, they can, but “we need to know what we are up against, in order for us to properly defend ourselves.”
“They're giant...scorpions,” Bruce Campbell explains patiently.
“Okay,” they say, “no problem.” I admire their enthusiasm, myself.
And the soundtrack goes out of sync again. Bruce Campbell explains that the rest of the crew is dead, he's “the only one who can land the plane.”
“Well, do us all a favor and don't die,” says Dr. Ryan, and Bruce Campbell admits that is part of his plan. He also notes that communications are out. And they need to activate the APU.
“What's a frickin' APU?” asks Boorish.
“Auxiliary Power Unit,” explains one of the Muslims. Bruce Campbell is impressed that he knows this.
“We also need weapons,” says Dr. Ryan. She suggests “heavy artillery.” I imagine planes have this as standard equipment. During this bit, we see the shadow of a crewman moving across the ceiling, probably positioning a boom or something. But our intrepid survivors are now engaged in something other than panic, which is good for them.
Back to the airport for a scene which adds nothing, except that...are you ready for this? Hold on to your seats, ladies and gents, because the plane is heading into a storm! In movie terms, this is like drawing four aces from a deck, except in a bad way, of course.
Back on the plane, they have gathered some improvised weapons and, also, a bit of hope for themselves. Dr. Ryan figures, worst case scenario, there are twenty scorpions, with one dead, and one locked in the cockpit, that makes eighteen to deal with. No one's really delighted to hear this but they start to work. Suspiciously absent are Boorish and Dr. Milhouse, but they may just be out of frame. Bruce Campbell and Dr. Ryan are going to go fix the APU. Now, if it was anyone else going, I'd add “and going to their deaths” but these are our heroes, so unless this movie has one huge surprise up its, um, sleeve, I think I'm safe in saying that they'll be okay.
Back to the airport. Nap time!
Back to the plane, and to martial drums, the Muslims, Goth Guy and Dr. Ryan and Bruce Campbell are going down into the cargo area. That doesn't sound good for all but two of them.
Elsewhere, in the coach, the Redhead Team Member, well, she has a broken arm (I may have mentioned that) and she is using white tape to attach silverware to her cast! This is actually a pretty clever idea, though I suspect in order to get near enough to be useful, you'd kind of have to be near enough to be dead. Might be better to use that silverware the same way as the Blue Rajah.
Lastly, Dr. Ryan and Bruce Campbell go under the floor, and we cut back to the coach, where the survivors are gathering up weapons. Boorish whines that none of this is any good, Redhead asks if he has a better idea, and he says, “Let's just land this bug-invested heap and get another plane!”
Jive Black Guy points out that the plane is over the ocean, and he adds, “stupid!” He could also have added that whole cockpit-has-a-monster-in-it detail, but maybe he was too angry. Deep breaths, man.
Down in the cargo hold, the Muslims are going to get their tools (which they had smuggled on way at the beginning, when they were pretending to be cargo loaders) and Dr. Ryan and Bruce Campbell are going to “avionics” because Dr. Ryan's “expertise” in same will be helpful. I think it's looking bad for our Muslims, but they might still manage a narrow-but-comical escape.
Dr. Ryan asks what “expertise” Bruce Campbell means, and he says he needs someone to hold the flashlight. Ha ha ha ha, oh, it hurts to laugh so much!
Back to the Muslims, turns out they have Goth guy with them. They call him “Dracula” and he complains that that is not his name. It's Gunther.
“Actually, it's not Gunther, it's Joel,” he says with a heavy sigh. And, dropping the German accent he has used throughout the film, he says he is from New Jersey, he just uses the accent to attract women. “My whole life is a sham,” he says. I put this in here because I just know you'll find it as fascinating as I do.
The younger Muslim says, not without sympathy, “Dracu—Gunth, er Joel. This is a great story, but this is not the right time for personal identity crises.”
“Yeah, this is no story telling time,” says the older Muslim. “There are scorpions.” I'm going to use this argument whenever I can.
Back with Bruce Campbell and Dr. Ryan, in order to cut the tension, they make small talk. I note this because none of it is interesting in itself.
Back where the others are, Jive Black Guy notes that Drs Milhouse and Stewart are scientists. “So, fill me in...why are you guys making giant scorpions?”
Oh, I have to pause. Here is where the film presents itself with a great opportunity for post-modern mocking of “explanations.” What will the answer be? You viewers at home, take out your ballets, and mark what you think is the correct answer.
1. To make a super-solder? (Weapons)
2. To increase the food supply? (Benefit to mankind)
3. Because they will make great astronauts? (To do the work of Mankind) Or
4. “Because we can”? (Arrogance)
Mark your ballets now. And, movie, let's see what your answer is!
Dr. Milhouse says the answer is “complicated,” but Dr. Stewart says they were trying to synthesize a new medicine to combat disease. So those of you who marked number 2 are the winners!
I bet every answer associated with this movie is “number two,” if you get my meaning.
Anyway, it of course turns out that the components of this new medicine are found in scorpions, so they cross-bred scorpions with “lots of things,” but mostly “fossilized DNA from a paleolithic scorpion, millions of years old.”
Jive Black Guy suggests, then, that the scientists made “Jurassic Park Scorpions.” His whole tone is, how could you be so stupid? I bet Dr. Stewart looks downcast, kicks a tin can, and mutters something about, “Just tryin' to make big scorpions. We didn't mean nothin'.”
Before he can, though, we jump back in the Cargo Hold, where the Muslims and Goth are in the area with the coffin. (How convenient!) I wonder if that Bald crew guy is still there! They find a “dead skin of scorpion” (very small) and look at Goth guy. “It's not mine!” he says defensively. Gosh, then where else could it possibly have come from? It's a total mystery!
Anyway, they look up, and giant scorpion falls from the ceiling and flops on the floor in front of them. They blast it with a flame-thrower (not a standard one, it looks improvised)! Then they get out of there.
In the cockpit, a red light goes off. That exciting shot over with, we cut to Dr. Ryan and Bruce Campbell. They come across the same place where Bald Guy was killed about a thousand hours ago. “The whole circuit board is melted,” Bruce Campbell says, after pointing out that this is “bad.” “We're going to have to turn on the auxiliary power unit at the source,” he goes on. He also notes that the cables controlling the landing gear are bad.
Just to add to everyone's troubles, they hear Goth guy yelling. He is climbing up the stairs out of the cargo hold, but a big scorpion has him by the leg. It pulls him down. We don't actually see him die, so it is always possible that he may pop up, unexpectedly, to rescue someone else before getting killed, but...what am I saying, “possible”? It's almost likely in this movie.
But Dr. Ryan and Bruce Campbell apparently weren't going to help Goth guy, as they stop by a panel and are so engrossed in its switches that they don't notice the giant scorpion moving in on them until it is about five feet away. Guys, I know the camera can't see it, but a thing this big would have been spotted as soon as they entered the room. You guys!
Anyway, Bruce Campbell starts beating on the scorpion with his big flashlight, and tells Dr. Ryan to throw the APU switch, and she does, and they run away.
We cut back to the airport but nothing interesting happens there, so I...what do you mean, nothing interesting is happening anywhere? What about the radioactive clowns? What do you mean, “What radioactive clowns?” Ha ha, I was just seeing if you were paying attention.
Dr. Ryan and Bruce Campbell are running away from the scorpion, when they almost run into another one. They both get into the coffin. You remember how these scorpions broke through the walls of the airplane, right? Walls much hardier than those of a coffin, right? Just checking.
Back to the airport. SBG is talking to his hackers, they are checking the passenger manifest and cross-referencing that with every cell phone company. “You can do that?” asks SBG.
“Of course not,” Hacker says, “that would be in violation of these citizens' right to privacy.”
“Or, industrial espionage,” says the other Hacker.
“Yeah, I forget which,” says first Hacker. Okay, it's not Abbott and Costello but it's kind of amusing. Given the surroundings.
Back on the plane, Bruce Campbell and Dr. Ryan are in a very intimate position, face to face in the coffin. She says she knows about his wife.
“You wanna talk about this now?” he says, taken a bit aback.
“I'm sorry, let's talk about the APU some more,” she says. Oh will you two just get on with it and fall in love and let us get on with our lives! And shut off that tender music. And no singing!
Well, they talk about his wife. He says he still misses her and gets kinda chokey. She says there's a lot to enjoy in this life, and his wife would want him to do that. Enjoy life, like especially the giant scorpion part. Well, maybe not that part, but how about being in a coffin? That could be enjoyable...well, probably not, too.
There's more talk and...come on, the music is swelling...and they get out of the coffin, and there aren't any scorpions around, so that was lucky, only that same lame, lifeless model from earlier falls from the ceiling and into the coffin! They shut the lid on it.
I don't think I've heard this sound before...the scorpions make a noise! They kind of squeal, but it is (sorry this is inappropriate) an extremely cute squeal! They sound like kittens, or some kind of baby's chicken toy, or little birds.
Bruce Campbell and Dr. Ryan run for the ladder, but one of them grabs his leg, but Redhead and Jive Black Guy show up with their improvised weapons and drive the bad scorpion away. And it does more squealing! I hope the film-makers were not hurting kittens to get that sound, I would think they were very bad people if they did that.
Bruce Campbell congratulates his two rescuers. Everyone returns to the survivor's camp in Tourist. Bruce Campbell lights up a smoke. He says he needs to get into the cockpit, and they therefore need to get the scorpion in there, out of there.
The Muslims show up, and say they have “fashioned a weapon for that exact purpose!”
Dr. Milhouse suggests they try to make a “container” for the one in the cockpit. Everyone looks at him like he is a crazy man. Contain a scorpion! Why that's just crazy talk!
The Muslims unveil their weapon. It is big and is made of ropes and (I think) life-preservers and such, and looks like a big floppy harness.
“...I have nothing to say,” says Boorish. (Shouldn't he have been killed by now?) Jive Black Guy also questions of the effectiveness of this weapon, but the younger Muslim points out that this is “just the body armor,” and the other Muslim brings out a power-pack.
He explains that this goes on one's back, and they have lined the “body armor” to insulate it. The wearer will feel “a tiny prick.” Still no real indication of how the thing is supposed to work, but I guess they're building up to it. Yeah, they'll probably get to it now.
Jive Black Guy asks where they found the insulation, and the Muslims explained they found a wet-suit and used that. Jive Black Guy says that was HIS wet-suit, and he is not happy!
The Muslims tell him they are sorry, but on the other hand, they assure him they had no interest “whatsoever, in many, many pairs of bright underpants!”
Jive Black Guy is rather embarrassed by this revelation of his interest, and he wants to hide his shame in macho-ness, by killing the scorpions by himself. Despite the protests of others, he goes on alone.
Back at the airport, they have found Bruce Campbell's cell phone number. The Hackers are named Brick and Highball, by the way.
Back on the plane, I suspect we have missed something, since when Jive Black Guy left the safety of numbers, he was carrying a long spear, but now it is nowhere to be seen as he tries the bathroom door in panic. He sees the dead make-out couple from long, long ago, and he yells and runs some more.
Back in Tourist, Dr. Milhouse pulls Dr. Ryan aside and speaks to her in a low voice about “the fact that we're sitting here, conspiring to destroy everything that we made.” He tries the argument about how they shouldn't make these scorpions “become extinct” because that would not be respecting the environment and such.
Oh, and for those of you who circled answer number One in our little quiz, he notes that, yes, the scorpions kill people, “and very effectively.” So he may have been working on that ole' Super Soldier aspect. I hope you didn't throw away your ballets because you can't claim the prize without them.
Anyway, it also turns out that Dr. Milhouse has noted that Dr. Ryan and Bruce Campbell seem to be getting along fine, and he is jealous about that. She's pretty disbelieving about his reasoning (if you can call it that).
“This is about the survival of the people on this plane,” she notes.
“Don't you think I've seen the way you two have been MOONING over each other, ever since you came on board?” he shouts. He then talks about these scorpions being pretty much his entire career, and all he ever wanted to achieve, and no one's going to take that away from him. He pulls out the gun he took from MAG way back when, and points it at her, then makes her stand with the others.
Boorish points out how that gun could have been used against the scorpions, but Dr. Milhouse is not in a debating mood. Just then, moist scorpion noises are heard overhead, which distracts Dr. Milhouse enough so that Bruce Campbell can jump him. No one else helps, and in the struggle, Dr. Milhouse shoots Dr. Stewart.
“Why?” asks the old man.
“You never gave me equity, profit-share, any control, you know,” he says. Is this supposed to be funny? Dr Ryan calls him a sick bastard, and he mocks her with a sing-song voice.
Just then, a scorpion (remember them?) skedaddles down the corridor, apparently (it's badly cut together) going between Dr. Milhouse's legs and toward the others. They evade by moving out of the corridor, except Dr. Stewart, who says, “I never wanted this. I'm going.” I bet that's the actor speaking, not the character.
Well, the scorpion jumps on his back, and in his death throws, he opens the emergency door! Sure enough, he and it fly out the door, and all the loose papers and cups and such fly through the air, and people start being pulled toward the door.
And Boorish actually does his first nice act in the entire movie. He rescues Redhead so she can be strapped into a seat and be safe. Then a big suitcase hits him, and he goes out the door. So, he also does his last nice act in the entire movie. That's pretty efficient.
“Pressure should start stabilizing soon,” Bruce Campbell yells, “just hold on!” Wait a minute, how is pressure going to stabilize, with an open door, other than by running out of air? Will that be a good thing?
Well, to answer my question, the door just swings shut. Wow, you really do learn something new every day.
While the plane was depressurizing, we saw a few shots of scorpions also being sucked out of the plane, so Redhead (after saying “I can't believe that guy saved my life!” Me too) asks if all the nasty creatures are gone?
To answer that, Dr. Milhouse pops up and puts his gun to Bruce Campbell's throat. “Well, I'm okay!” he jokes. He makes everyone go toward the cockpit. He is very impatient with them, yelling at them to move faster. What we have are Bruce Campbell, Redhead and Dr. Ryan, what happened to the Muslims and Jive Black Guy? Did they get sucked out or what?
At the airport, BowlingBall (sorry, I've already forgotten the Hackers' names) hands SBG a cell phone. SBG tries to call a favor from a “Randall Anderson,” but apparently this was just a clever ploy to use screen time. He closes the phone and says he's going to have to “do this the hard way.”
He asks the Hackers to hack into the CIA spy satellite system. No idea why, myself.
Back on the plane, Dr. Milhouse is asking everyone to remain calm. Oh, and the two Muslims are back. Dr. Milhouse asks Bruce Campbell if he can land the plane. Bruce points out the bad wiring for the landing gear. Landing can't happen with that all busted up. They're still an hour out from LA.
Dr. Milhouse asks one of the Muslims to “drive” and Bruce Campbell is all, were you born stupid, or did you study? He still needs to fix the landing gear. So, Dr. Milhouse tells the two Muslims to go fix the landing gear. There's some arguing back and forth. I'm sure hoping you're getting as much out of this as I am. Maybe we'll look fondly back on this when we're old people, eh?
Bruce Campbell says it's too complicated, but the Muslims convince him that they can do it. And next, I think we are treated to a blown take! Bruce Campbell starts talking about “the wiring you're looking for...” and Dr. Milhouse looks all disgusted, like, Oh not again. Bruce Campbell starts to say “the wiring you're looking for” and one of the Muslims pulls out a piece of paper. It looks to me like the actor forgot his stage business!
Anyway, they get this sorted out with a bit of bad comedy that I am sparing you. Then Dr. Milhouse shoots out the auto-pilot. Uh--
Look, not that I'm complaining about making this movie shorter, or anything, but there was a scorpion locked in the cockpit. Did it just wander away or something? Did someone decide we needed all that wasted human interest footage earlier, and cut out the “getting the scorpion scene”? Where the hell are your priorities?
By the way, Dr. Milhouse staggers around giving orders and being snotty, and at any one time Bruce Campbell has dozens of chances to jump him again. Even from behind, one time.
Anyway, Bruce Campbell is now flying the plane. The Muslims go below. The wiring thing for the landing gear is very complicated, and Dr. Milhouse doesn't help by standing behind them waving the gun around. More dull talk from all parties. I guess all the scorpions really are dead. You stupid movie.
Anyway, the older Muslim has cobbled together a two-way radio, and he asks Dr. Milhouse to bring it to Bruce Campbell, so Bruce can guide them in the repairs. Impressed despite himself, Milhouse agrees, but advises the Muslim, “No funny business.”
“Yes, yes, yes, no funny business,” says the Muslim. “I know you are a very evil and scary man. NOW GO PLEASE!”
Milhouse jumps a bit but goes off with the stuff. Well, it was kind of funny. “Go! Please please fast! We want communication!”
I'm skipping over the tender conversations between Dr. Ryan and Bruce Campbell in the cockpit. You're welcome. He mentions that if he finds a reason to live again (remember, he's depressed about his dead wife) then he'll give up smoking. They're about to kiss, but you know Milhouse interrupts. He drags Dr. Ryan out of the cockpit. He sits her down in the cabin and sits across from her. And they have a rather obvious conversation, she's all miffed because he was going to sell the stuff to the military, and people died, and he's all, hey, I was gonna make some serious money and get on magazine covers. You know the drill, I'm sure you or I could write better dialogue if we wanted to write a bad movie.
Dr. Ryan makes her move but gets slugged. And behind the cockpit, the hatch opens, and the last remaining scorpion comes out and slashes Bruce Campbell across the face with its tail.
I've just stopped the film, and by sheer coincidence, we have a freeze-frame of Dr. Milhouse approaching the scorpion, face-to-face, with his hands out in a “you and I can be friends” gesture. <smug> If you'll recall, I predicted that. </smug>
Starting the movie up, he even puts the gun on the floor! He then almost starts making lovey talk to it, telling it how sexy it is, etc. It's a kinda ill scene.
But Dr. Ryan sees her chance again and grabs the gun. As the scorpion stings Dr. Milhouse right in the crotch, she empties all the bullets into it. Doesn't seem to hurt it much, as it scurries back beneath the floorboards. It even closes the hatch behind it.
Dr. Ryan checks on Bruce Campbell, he's all right except he can't see. So Dr. Ryan calls in Redhead to help him out. “Where are you going?” Redhead asks.
“Somebody has to kill that thing,” she answers.
Down in the cargo bay, the scorpion—the Queen, no less—attacks the Muslims and carries off the older one. But they hammer it awhile and he escapes, though he is badly injured.
Back to the airport, the hackers get a CIA satellite. Wake me when it's over.
Back on the plane, Redhead is putting a bandage on Bruce Campbell's eyes. Sure glad we got that thrilling scene. In the cargo bay, dying older Muslim is telling his younger brother that everyone's lives are in his hands. He has to save them. Only he can do it.
Just then, Dr. Ryan shows up, dressed in the Muslim Brothers' Ultimate Scorpion Weapon Suit thing. Apparently there are defribulator paddles on it, which is where the killing part goes. The Muslims proclaim her “beautiful!”
“Where did she go?” asks Dr. Ryan. They talk a bit, older Muslim says he will live if they land in time. They talk about the weapon and Dr. Ryan goes off to her destiny.
“Say what you want,” the younger Muslim says, “that girl got moxie!”
So Dr. Ryan goes off into the dark recesses of this suddenly huge airplane to find and kill the monster. And she does that same stupid thing, where she starts walking backwards, looking at where she has already been. I would really love to know if anyone, in any monster movie, has ever found a monster this way. More often than not, they back right into the monster, am I right?
SBG manages to get a call to Bruce Campbell's cell phone, bouncing it off the CIA satellite I guess. We only hear half the conversation (the part on the plane) but boy does it sound dull. I wonder if SBG is saying, “How you doin' Doin' pretty good here. How's the weather? Good thing that storm disappeared from the movie. Say, did you see that sports game last night?” Maybe he's trying to sell magazines or something. It sure takes a long time to get to the point.
The point is finally gotten to, and SBG is going to talk down the plane. They have to dive a bit, which throws everyone around in the plane. In the cargo, Dr. Ryan gets tossed into a baggage net. And the scorpion chooses that moment to, well, not exactly attack...perhaps “menace” is a better word. She's like, “Ha ha, I can sting you, and I am scary!” Dr. Ryan gives her a face full of fire extinguisher. She doesn't like this, and her tail goes toward some kind of electrical thing. Dr. Ryan runs in this very weird fashion (like on a treadmill) toward the electrical thing. But the scorpion is now skittering along back upstairs! Are they fast moving, sheriff? Yeah, they're scorpions, they're all messed up.
Dr. Ryan is right behind, though. She's lost the trail, but she slowly...and I mean sloooooooowly...walks through the cabin. And she finds it in the toilet! No, no, it's a sink. My bad, it is the movie that is in the toilet! Ha ha, it is a funny joke I have made.
Anyway, Dr. Milhouse shows up again, blocking Dr. Ryan from the scorpion, using the (empty) gun, and he explains that he is not dead from the sting because he has been stung so many times by other, tiny scorpions. Thanks, jerk, another useless bit of trivia we can all take to the grave. Can this damned thing end, please? I've been more than patient.
Dr. Milhouse is all giddy and way-over-acting. Of course, he's been doing this since he got the drop on Bruce Campbell way back when, but now it's not only annoying, it's adding to the running time!
She points out that the gun is empty. So he loads it. He says that the scorpion (he is standing in front of it, by the way) is “my little girl.”
Dr. Ryan says, “You can have her,” and kicks him in the crotch, and he falls on the scorpion, who basically uses the claws and tail that (assisted) nature gave her. Blood spatters everywhere, and I swear, if Dr. Milhouse shows up again, I will break this DVD into a million pieces.
And the Muslims fix the landing gear at the last minute. And Dr. Ryan is having this odd fight with the scorpion. The scorpion seems to be jammed into the sink. And Bruce Campbell, with visual input from Redhead, is landing the plane. And Dr Ryan zaps the bad mean queen scorpion. Then, as the plane touches down, she returns to her seat, puts all trays in an upright position and extinguishes all smoking materials.
And the plane lands and everyone is happy. And the music gets all piano-y and “it's over” and so I'm damn betting it's not. Dr. Ryan throws some fabric over the (I bet it is not) dead scorpion. “Thank you for flying with us,” she says bitterly.
Dr. Ryan goes to the cockpit for the big round of congratulations. The two Muslims are glad they are in America now. (Older Muslim looks pretty far gone, sorry.) As Dr. Ryan, Bruce Campbell and Redhead go into the passenger area, there is a thumping noise! And Jive Black Guy, very much alive, falls out of the luggage compartment. There is some talk, and he talks about his brave battling against the arachnids, and Redhead asks him how he got up in the luggage section.
“I...I don't know,” he says. And she takes his arm.
And Dr. Ryan and Bruce Campbell are out of the plane, and walking across the tarmac. She offers him a cigarette. He tosses it away. “I just quit,” he says.
“Finally got a reason to,” he says, and at long damned last, they kiss.
As they leave, a really tiny fake toy scorpion walks behind the plane (I guess that is our SHOCK ending), and it sounds like a power rock ballad is starting up. And yeah, we get the credits.
“No fat hairy scorpions were harmed in the shooting of this movie!” says the last credit. Hardy har har har har.
And it is finally over.
Well, well, well, well, well, well. Is there anything good I can say about this movie?
I think I've said this before, but if not, here goes. I don't think anyone makes a movie to hurt the audience. I don't think any film-maker wants to make the audience angry at the film, or feel cheated, or generally like the film-maker wanted the viewer to feel bad for watching the film.
No one makes a Tail Sting to make me, or anyone else, suffer.
So how do these things happen? Well, some speculation.
Someone has an idea for giant scorpions loose on a plane. “Great!” say the film-makers, and they write a script and get all excited by the concept. Then someone says, “Guys, the special effects budget for the scorpions is X.” And they realize they can't afford that.
So they downsize the effects, and when they see the models, they get depressed. Then someone has the bright idea, “Hey, let's camp it up! You know, put some goofy jokes in, and some funny stereotypes! That way, people will realize it is funny, and cut us some slack with the effects!”
And everyone's happy again.
And I can just see the concept eroding, just like that, bit by bit, dollar by dollar, but the project carrying them forward until they can no longer see what it is they are making. They think they are making the greatest movie ever.
And finally something like Tail Sting is released. At that point, I imagine the film-makers think, “Wow, this is just the coolest movie!” And the rest of us...well, don't think that.
Now, making movies is a drawn-out and difficult process. It takes a lot of work even for the worst movie to go from script to screen. And I don't want to slam the makers of Tail Sting for delivering a...less than enjoyable product. Everyone has to start at the bottom. It's understandable.
What is not understandable, is staying at the bottom, and convincing yourself that it is okay to be there. I sure hope the makers of Tail Sting realize that they have made a pretty bad film here, and put that knowledge and experience into their next work.
So, no, sorry guys, I can't recommend this one. I have certainly seen worse, sure, who hasn't? But that's not an excuse any more. Not when there is better out there.
Oh, and for those of you who have been waiting for the obvious: Tail Stink. Ha ha ha, see, it's like a fart! Ha ha ha, it is a funny joke. You may laugh...now.
--September 30, 2004