A like-minded friend of mine … like-minded in the sense that he too watches way too many crap movies by design…was in my office discussing these movies that we watch while an another, uninitiated friend listened on. We were discussing this movie ‘Atlantic Rim’, the concept of The Asylum and their mockbusters and how this movie compared to ‘Pacific Rim’ which me and the initiated friend had seen the night before. But upon hearing the title ‘Atlantic Rim’ this woman launches into this tirade about a lack of volcanic pockets in the Atlantic and how the lunar progressions will affect the wave frequency and all other sorts of, what I’m certain are scientific facts, basically saying a film called ‘Atlantic Rim’ can’t make sense because there’s no theoretical way monsters could come from the Atlantic. After me and my other friends eyes de-glassed over, we simply said ‘You just don’t get it’. Please, roll the tape for ‘Atlantic Rim’.
Somewhere in the Atlantic an oil rig disappears. Oil rigs just don’t disappear, unless they were eaten by monsters. Back at Navy central, the disappearing oil rig has caused some concern, but no worries because hardcore Admiral Hadley (Graham Greene) has green-lit the top secret operation Big Ass Robot to go to the ocean floor and check out the situation, we just need to track down our Big Ass Robot pilots. Ah… say hello to Red (David Chokachi), who is one of the more interesting characters in low budget movie history. When we first meet Red, he’s enjoying Mardi Gras with his lady and fellow Big Ass Robot pilot Tracy (Jackie Moore), and he’s obviously drunk. It is clear, as this movie plays on, that Red has a drinking problem and for most of this movie he’s either drunk already, sitting in a bar drinking, or talking about heading to a bar to get a drink. The other characters seem aware of this situation, including his lady love and his brother from another mother Jim (Anthony ‘Treach’ Criss), but Red is the ‘best pilot they have’ so they’re all cool with this, probably because they drink a lot as well. In fact Jim and Tracy had a thing a little while back, behind Red’s back, but hey… they were drunk at the time so it’s all good.
Anyway, Red, Tracy and Jim walk to their robots. In slow motion. From every conceivable angle, for a virtual eternity. I have no idea why director Jared Cohn is torturing me with this. Eventually they make it to their robot ships and descend to the ocean floor and they eventually engage with a monster. Or at least Red does because Navy Central shut the other two robots down for some reason. It’s a hell of a battle, many lives are lost… mainly because of Red… but we killed that monster bastard! Now I was curious why there were all these dead bodies littered in the streets, since this battle took place on the shore and the monster never touched land, but I guess they could be there because Red and his robot accidentally lasered a nearby skyscraper, which no doubt killed thousands. Oh well. The city threw Red a party anyway and give him a medal, and do you know what Red did at that party? He drank his ass off is what he did.
The bad news is there's a bigger monster coming. This brings us to a scene in this movie where actress Nicole Alexandra Shipley runs from one room to the next to deliver the Admiral this bad news. Arguably the best scene in this movie. That is until they drop rockets on this monster and it heads back to the sea where everybody celebrates back at Navy Central, including actress Nicole Alexandra Shipley who will now jump up and down. We have to find pleasure in these films wherever we can my friends.
Back on point this monster has resurfaced in New York City and is way bigger than the first one, and it’s pissed off about something or another. But our pilots are ready, now implanted with neural enhancers which make them and the robots one. Before it was just joystick action. And they might want to think about putting some seatbelts in those Big Ass Robots to keep their pilots from bouncing around in the cockpits like they were doing.
This battle between Big Ass Robots and a bigger monster will be epic, and while the survival of our heroes is not guaranteed, if they do survive… they will drink heavily afterwards. This much I know.
How terrible is ‘Atlantic Rim’? Why it’s all kinds of terrible of course, but as I look over the list of the Asylum mockbusters that I’ve seen, and I’ve seen more than my fair share, but I do believe that ‘Atlantic Rim’ is amongst the best of them. I mean it’s no ‘Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies’ or anything, but it does have its own special terrible charm. For starters, the monster terrorizing the Rim of the Atlantic was well designed and looked very good. It almost fit into the environment it was rampaging. And while the robot effects weren’t quite as good, these robots did have one advantage over the Pacific Rim robots… they could freaking fly! How about that, huh? Take that Guillermo del Toro! Johnny Sokko’s robot could fly. Ultraman could fly. Why couldn’t those Pacific Rim robots fly? There were a couple of other cool effects too, like when the monster threw a nuclear sub out of the water into a naval destroyer. You gotta like that kind of stuff in a movie with a fifty dollar budget.
The problem, of course, is that there is a lot of deadspace in the film where not a lot of anything of note happens in between monster fights. There was a scene where Jim rescues a girl from a burning building by carrying her on his back, even though this ‘girl’ looked to weigh twice as much as Jim did and looked more than capable of running by her own damn self. The look on Treach’s face when he shoved that beast off his back was priceless. But mostly this dead space was filled by Graham Green grossly overacting while at the same time underacting, it’s truly something to see and David Chokachi wobbling around and not to mention the touch of melodrama. And while watching Chokachi whoop it up and look for alcohol had its own level of entertainment value, it just can’t carry a movie. And while Jackie Moore is an amazingly beautiful woman, I probably would’ve made the executive casting decision of stuffing actress Nicole Alexandra Shipley into that tight fitting robot leotard. That’s just me though.
What can I tell you? Atlantic Rim is generally awful. But you already know that’s the baseline. It doesn’t fall below that, and even gives us a little bit more to raise it up to the level of simply terrible on occasion. We call that a winning situation where we come from.