Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Flying Virus (USA, 2001)

Gabrielle Anwar (The Marsh [2006], Rutger Hauer (Hobo with a Shotgun [2011 / trailer]) and Craig Sheffer (Nightbreed [1990 / trailer]) must have had a three-for-one offer going in 2001, for the trio was promptly cast as a group in two direct-to-DVD productions that year, the doo-doo extra-ordinar Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal (trailer) and this less extra-ordinar doo-doo killer bees flick, Flying Virus. Turb 3 is definitely the "better" of the two, if the concept of "good" can even be tossed around when discussing the two films, but Flying Virus does have a cheesy scene or two – not to mention a hundred and one or so explosions, some of which are lifted directly from Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985 / trailer) – so it isn't a total washout. Still, Flying Virus is closer to being a washout than it is to not being one. When it comes to low budget cheesy killer insect movies, this one is powdered mustard in a house empty of liquids – though liquids (with alcohol content) will surely help the viewer enjoy the film better, if at all. (If the last bit about mustard seems construed and left-field and to make no real sense, no matter: it fits the film.)
Flying Virus could almost justifiably be called Turbulence 4: Killer BuzzKiller Buzz being the a.k.a. of the film – seeing that half the film takes place aboard a plane. And it is on the plane the film has its most cheesy moments, but with the exception of the enjoyably cheap and stupid scene of Martin Bauer (Craig Sheffer) hanging out of the flying airplane by a rope, nothing is so memorable as to be even slightly imperative viewing. Ditto with the whole film, although Rutger Hauer is rather enjoyable in his laid-back turn as the amorally psychotic Ezekial – but one mellowly professional and mildly camp character does not a film good make. But Hauer, along with the Brazilian scenery, may well be the best thing of the film – as he (much like fellow bad film stalwart Brad Dourif) often is.
Perhaps the most impressive thing of the film is in passing: there is a scene of Gabrielle Anwar (as the Ann Bauer, the no-nonsense reporter heroine with a ticking biological clock that is the center of the film) in which, as she walks, the blue veins traversing beneath the skin of her chest (and oddly immobile breasts, one could suppose) are so aglow that were they protuberant she could well qualify as a model on That scene, along with that of Martin hanging out of the plane, definitely got the most spontaneous commentary at the guys' night screening I was at.
Oh, yeah: the plot – oddly enough for a B-film of so little pretensions, the flick has a political message of sorts. White man greedy, white exploit, white man bad – what can you say but: the film might be crappy, but the message is true. Reporter Ann (Anwar) is down in Brazil with her on-again and off-again swish cameraman Raka (Mark Adair-Rios of Candyman: Day of the Dead [1999 / trailer]) covering the story of a how Big Biz petroleum has reached an accord with the aboriginals in the forest in which Big Biz are allowed to drill for oil only so far into the jungle in exchange for a road that ends. Just as Ann wants to snuggle up to the noodle of the Big Biz rep Scotty (Jason Brooks), the "Shadow People", a legendary and rarely seen and amazingly non-Indio-looking indigenous Amazon tribe attack and blow things to kingdom come. An Indio manages to gasp out something about the devils from the sky to Raka before dying, and soon Ann is out wandering around the forest playing reporter and looking for, well, something. A bullet wound and a couple of bee stings later, she wakes up in the hospital to argue with her estranged hubby Martin, who just ain't ready to make babies yet. As they argue, her doc and (going by the look of things) occasional fuck Dr. Stephen North (David "I once thought my career had promise" Naughton of A Crack in the Floor [2001 / trailer]) goes out into the wild and finds a pile of metal crates full of genetically altered bees, which Big Biz is using to clear the forests of bothersome natives. A greedy prick, he promptly hightails for the NYC with a crate 'cause he is convinced they have magic healing powers. A couple of oiled palms later and the crate is on his plane, which just happens to be the same one the rejected Martin ends up taking home, but damned if there isn't some Turbulence and the bees get out and the incredibly few people on the plane face a stinging death. As plans are made by Big Biz to cover their tracks by blowing the plane from the sky, Ann and Raka go in search of the Shadow People so as to get the antidote to the killer bee's sting, unaware that Martin and the duplicitous Scotty are on their trial... There are a couple of other laughable Z-level subplots to pad the film to a decent running time and to add unfunny intentional laughs, but none are really worth mentioning.
Sound exciting? Well, it isn't – but as said before, Flying Virus is good for an occasional laugh. But not enough laughs, to tell the truth. There are a lot of explosions but there is no blood, there are enough female characters but absolutely no flesh (tho there are Anwar's veins and one wet-shirt scene which does more to show how immobile her breasts are than how enticing they might or might not be). The film is, truthfully, so unmemorable in every way as to be totally unnecessary and dispensable. In fact, I expect that, at the latest, by this time tomorrow I will have forgotten I ever saw it...
Uh, what film were we just talking about anyways?

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