Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

" I’d Strike the Sun if it insulted me!" a scarred and physically disabled Captain Ahab (Barry Bostwick) would shout at the woman questioning his motives while pursuing the great white whale that has done him harm. That is an actual line from Herman Melville’s classic novel ‘Moby Dick’ my friends, now updated Asylum Style to the tune of ‘2010: Moby Dick’. It’s been a while since I read ‘Moby Dick’ but what wasn’t in the book, I don’t think, was a cute female marine biologist with heaving bosoms, her wisecracking African American sidekick and Moby shimmying up the sides of mountains and flying through the air like an albatross. But then like I’ve said… it’s been a while so that stuff might be in there.

Back in ’69, young seaman Ahab aboard the U.S.S. Submarine (can’t rightfully remember the name), hears a sound. Actually he hears the ‘absence of sound’. Nobody else on the sub can hear this ‘absence of sound’ except Ahab. Sucks for them because soon this sub is in the jaws of a fearsome 600 foot white whale and is getting body slammed against an iceberg. Ahab comes eye to eye with this beast who takes half of this sub and Ahab’s left leg with it to the depths of the ocean and now an obsession has been born.

40+ years later, I’m thinking sometime around the year 2010, despite his various infirmities, Ahab has risen to the rank of Captain and is in control of his own nuclear sub, The U.S.S. Pequot, and is on a mission from the government to hunt this mythical whale to the death. Not really, but this is what he has told his crew who oddly enough believe him. His X/O Davis (Michael Gaglio) doesn’t believe him but man… Ahab really knows how to give a half-time pep talk. To help him in this cause Ahab has abducted Dr. Michelle Herman (Renee O’Connor) and her graduate assistant Pip (Derrick Scott) to track this beast since the good doctor is an expert in whale sounds. However as this movie goes on we will learn that Dr. Herman is really an expert in looking just adorable and not much else.

Unfortunately for Ahab the hunter will soon become the hunted as the U.S. Navy doesn’t cotton to crazed one-legged captains stealing nuclear subs and willy nilly launching nuclear warheads. To that end our Navy has dispatched one Captain John ‘Boomer’ Enderby, also disabled by the big sea-mammal back in ’69, to find his old friend Ahab and hopefully talk some sense into him… that is if blowing him out of the ocean with other death subs and death dealing helicopters don’t work.

But of course if you know Ahab like we know Ahab, reasoning with the man is not an option as he is willing to risk all to send this beast back to the hell from whence it came as the showdown between the Great White and the screaming one-legged nutjob on a speedboat looms. Note… try not to get too attached to anybody in this movie who wasn’t a principle character in ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’. I’m just saying.

So… why would one watch this particular Asylum joint as opposed to another epic-like but completely awful Asylum joint like, I don’t know, ‘The Seven Adventures of Sinbad’? Three words my friends… Barry Freaking Bostwick. You would think a sixty five year old cat whose been acting for 40 or so years might not approach the role of a modern Captain Ahab in a film by the Asylum, the same people who sanctioned ‘Snakes on a Train’, with a lot of seriousness but Mr. Bostwick took this role deadly serious. Sometimes when we run into movies, especially movies that have a theme that is a bit campy like this one, when it’s taken too seriously oft times it just doesn’t work but for whatever reason, especially in regards to Barry Bostwick, it works like a charm here. I don’t know if Harold Melville would be happy with Bostwick’s crazy, insane, over-the-top, scenery chewing star turn of Captain Ahab but we sure were happy with it.

Still… we can’t with a clear conscious call this version of Moby Dick a good movie, but Bostwick’s performance and to a lesser extent the performances of the supporting actors such as Michael Gaglio as the beleaguered X/O and Matt Lagan as his old friend Boomer does raise the level of this movie to mediocre. Maybe even a little above. That’s saying something. The problem with this movie is that the middle is filled with some serious dead space lulls as we are stuck looking at Dr. Herman wearing headphones listening to the ‘absence of sound’. As adorable as Renee O’Connor might still be, watching her listening to nothing wasn’t very entertaining. Director Trey Stokes does his damndest to bring life to these scenes by keeping his camera constantly in motion and pumping up the synthetic music but it just can’t cover up the fact that we are spending an awful lot of time watching people listening to headphones in cramped rooms while frantically pointing at blips on screens. Watching old Moby constantly thrash around kicking up dust got a bit tiresome after a while, watching old Moby take to land as well as he did was slightly curious and observing the lovely Dr. Herman somehow outrun a nuclear exploding island was a little unrealistic, but whaddayagonnado?

Yes, the special effects and CGI were suspect as always, but we have to say they were marginally better than usual. Yes, Renee O’Connor served very little purpose in this movie outside of lowering the testosterone level but we would still rather look at her than not look at her in this movie. And if Moby Dick is like your favorite novel of all time and you are of the mind that the movie versions start and end with John Huston and Gregory Peck… then why in the hell would you be watching this anyway? Seriously? But if you want to be somewhat entertained and watch Barry Bostwick chew up a scene like it’s a piece of Bubblicious… ‘2010: Moby Dick’ is the movie for you.

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