Transmorphers: Fall of Man DVD Review
Written by Robert Gold
DVD released by The Asylum
Directed by Scott Wheeler
Written by Shane Van Dyke
2009, Region 1 (NTSC), 86 minutes, Not rated
DVD released on June 30, 2009
Shane Van Dyke as Jake Van Ryberg
Jennifer Rubin as Dr. Jo Summers
Bruce Boxleitner as Hadley Ryan
Alana Dimaria as Madison
Russ Kingston as Stan Weston
When a diplomat's daughter dies in a suspicious car accident, government agents arrive in a small town to investigate. Soon it is discovered that the community is being overrun with killer robots, and it is up to a small group of heroes to prevent the attack from spreading to the outside world.
In 2006, The Asylum released Transmorphers, coincidentally mere weeks before a similar title hit theatres around the world. Now, fate smiles on The Asylum once again, as there is another giant robot movie opening in tandem with this new DVD release: Transmorphers: Fall of Man. Fortunately the good folks at The Asylum are pretty laid back and do not mind if the clerks at video stores are placing Michael Bay movies so close to their own cinematic masterpieces.
In this prequel to the 2006 mockbuster, Alana Dimaria stars as Madison, an attractive woman with a problem. It seems that her satellite dish is actually a killer robot. Luckily her ex-boyfriend Jake (Shane Van Dyke) is not only a highly trained military operative just back from Iraq, but he is also a satellite dish repair man.
He helps with her problem by dragging Madison into town and having her call the police, specifically her uncle Hadley (Bruce Boxleitner). Apparently these are good kids and that makes it easy to believe their killer robot story. Soon, additional government agents (including the awesome Russ Kingston) arrive in town and our heroes are escorted to a secret location. It is here that we meet Dr. Jo Summers (Jennifer Rubin), a manic woman suffering hot flashes who frequently appears confused and easily distracted. She isn't very good in a fight, but she may hold the key to figuring out a way to stop the machines.
Together the group fights to prevent the robots from sending a signal that will launch a full scale invasion against the planet. The movie ends on a positive note with a message of hope, yet I feel a bit let down. Perhaps it has something to do with headliner Rubin's complete disappearance from the finale. She is last seen running from an explosion and then… nothing. Maybe there will be another entry in this series, since great trilogies come in threes.
The cast of Transmorphers: Fall of Man seems eager to please fans of giant CGI robot movies. Shane Van Dyke deserves a special mention for delivering such an awesome script. As a struggling actor, it definitely helps to write leading roles for yourself in giant robot prequels. The supporting cast pales next to his biceps, except for Bruce Boxleitner, who is fantastic as a cop who spends the majority of his screen time playing with his glasses.
The main attraction to this movie is the triumphant return of actress Jennifer Rubin (Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors). She is asked to carry a lot in this film, and luckily she has the shoulders for it. It is unclear why her character constantly fans herself, as nobody else complains of being hot. Her bizarre physical tics are a bit distracting, but only until more giant robots show up to destroy some more random shit.
Director Scott Wheeler has surpassed the original film with this entertaining prequel. The production design is not as flashy, but the overall tone is less oppressive. The acting is nothing to be ashamed of and the pacing is pretty solid. Visual effects are nicely presented by Asylum staple Tiny Juggernaut (sadly, still a company and not a person.) I must say that I enjoyed this film more than the original. The DVD I rented for the first Transmorphers lost audio sync about 23 minutes in and remained that way till the end. Transmorphers: Fall of Man is guaranteed to thrill audiences…or at least to stay in sync.
Video and Audio:
The DVD provides a respectable 1:78 anamorphic transfer that brings out nice detail in the picture, with strong blacks and rich colors. Audio options include both a 2-channel stereo mix and a 5.1 surround option. Neither is reference quality, but either choice is sufficient.
A five minute look behind the scenes is not very exciting and is a pretty standard EPK puff piece. The actors all appear overly excited to be working on the robot prequel. Next up is a mercifully short blooper reel that is not very funny. Finally some deleted scenes are offered, but again add nothing to the mix, although it is nice to see Rubin play chess and pool at the same time. The original trailer contains several impressive action sequences absent from the final film. The disc offers up additional selections from The Asylum, including the awesome internet trailer for Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus!
The Asylum has once again stayed ahead of the curve with a hugely popular franchise. Now if only they can successfully make Transmorphers III without Michael Bay riding their coat-tails.