Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

So you’re sitting in front of your tele watching ‘Sharknado’, and let’s assume that you don’t regularly watch SyFy channel original movies and that this nonsense calling itself ‘Sharknado’ is your introduction to such nonsense.  Let’s further assume… and this is the stretch… that you were actually enjoying ‘Sharknado’ and observed the commercial for this movie ‘Blast Vegas’ which will be showing the following week.  You’re excited because the concept of Sharks in Tornadoes has blown your mind!  You’ve discovered a whole new genre of wacky original programming that you didn’t even know existed and you are now ready to throw yourself into it.  Go all in.  Las Vegas waylaid by an ancient curse?  That sounds hot!  That’s some straight up Sodom and Gomorrah type stuff.  Then

you watch this ‘Blast Vegas’ and now you’re depressed.  What happened?  Where was the magic?  Welcome to our world.  A world where almost all of the movies are terrible, but yet where some are still capable of filling you with joy.  It’s those other movies that make it difficult to live in this world.  Movies like ‘Blast Vegas’.

First of all, let me start off just by telling you that ‘Blast Vegas’ isn’t gawdawful.  I mean in the realm of SyFy original movies it’s not ‘Planet Raptor’ bad or ‘Almighty Thor’ bad or anything like that.  It’s just non-descript and tired.  So while this movie is largely competent, it’s just not all that good, where incompetent and terrible is usually a better play for the audience, at least as far as entertainment value is concerned, if you were to ask me.

Two cranky criminals played by film directors John Landis and Joe Dante knock over a Fed Ex truck carrying an ancient artifact.  For some reason the artifact doesn’t like this and summons a cloud of evil dust to sweep them away.  This artifact, an ancient sword, instead desires to be on display in a low brow Las Vegas casino.  Again, we don’t know why because from where I was sitting, John Landis and Joe Dante were a little classier than a hollow sphinx statue in a seedy casino.

Now for our heroes which will consist of the ultra tiny nerd Nelson (Frankie Muniz) and his potential paramour, the nerdy yet attractive Olive (Maggie Castle).  Nelson and Olive are in Las Vegas on Spring Break with other, less nerdy, more attractive

people, but we aren’t going bother to name them.  Just know that Nelson’s crew of misguided friends have stolen this sword from the hollow sphinx statue, did exactly what the inscribed plaque told them NOT to do, and now there’s a sword stuck in the sand in Las Vegas that can’t be removed, that has created a giant sand snake cobra and is wrecking the whole town.

What now?  Fortunately we’ve run into veteran lounge singer Sal Rowinski, as played by Barry Bostwick in what could be his greatest role since ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ almost forty years ago.  Sal knows Las Vegas like the back of his hand and will guide our heroes to various unsafe locations.  Also quite fortuitous for everyone is that Olive has Ancient Sword Knowledge and knows exactly what the ancient sword needs to stop the Vegas Carnage.  Some of these items are locked away in high security type spots, but also quite handy is Sal’s magic keycard which unlocks every single door in the entire state of Nevada.

The plan, as it were, is to save Las Vegas and our couples annoying friends.  After hanging out with the friends and spending time in this version of Las Vegas… neither will be missed.  Meaning if they fail at this and the evil sand cobra just fades away doesn’t float to Reno and beyond, I’d be okay with this outcome.  I know that’s not gonna happen, but I’d be totally cool with it.

I will say one thing about director Jack Perez’s ‘Blast Vegas’ in that it does have an awful lot of action.  Planes crash, buildings collapse, CGI tigers stalk, real cobras strike, sand cobras strike… lots and lots of action in this one.  The problem is the action, like most of the movie, is all so uninvolving.  In fact, about an hour in, I totally lost my connection with this movie.  I know I was still in the room watching it, and there’s a good chance that my eyeballs were on the screen, or at least one of them as the other might’ve been on my IPAD, but ‘Blast Vegas’ lost me.

There are many reasons we could assign to this issue… a lazy plot device, generic special effects, a maudlin pace but I’m thinking it’s the bland characters that is mostly at fault.  Except for Barry Bostwick’s inspired take on a lounge singer, these are some of the least interesting attractive young adults in a low budget movie I’ve encountered in some time.  Including our two leads.  I do like the concept of the microscopic Frankie Muniz as an action hero but his character was just slightly more interesting than the dead attractives that kept systematically dropping off to various death episodes. 

Probably the best scene in the movie involved a harrowing encounter or leads had with a loon in an underground parking structure, but that scene had almost nothing to do with anything that had happened in the movie before or will happen in the near future, which kind of made it pointless. 

Again, ‘Blast Vegas’ isn’t the worst SyFy original we’ve seen, not even close, but it is one of the more mundane and least involving we’ve seen.  Boring competence is nice and all, but we will opt for fun incompetence any day of the week.

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