Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
This rather old Sci-Fi original 'Bugs' started off well enough I guess.  We got a cop chasing some thug though the streets of the Big City.   They never gave the city a name but we know they shot this thing in Canada so let's go ahead and call it Windsor, because I've been to Windsor.  Somehow this thug makes it to some underground subway tunnel where this cop is eviscerated by a giant bug.  Impaled, lifted off his feet, vivisected and devoured.  That's pretty a good start and plus this cop was a Black Guy so the predetermined dead Black Guy is out of the way three minutes in.  Unfortunately 'Bugs' would not be able to maintain this early promise as tedium, boredom and typical Sci-Fi channel malaise sets in and carries it to the finish line.

On the scene of this crime is FBI agent Matt Pollack (Antonio Sabato Jr.) who happens to be searching for a serial killer.  This isn't the work of his guy.  His guy doesn't eat his victims.  I thought maybe the serial killer angle would be merged with the giant bugs in some way, but alas it was almost immediately dropped.  However, due to some weird goo on the dead cop, which is insect in nature, our FBI agent knows that he has to take it to CDC entomologist Dr. Emily (Angie Everhart) who has determined that this dead cop is the work of a giant bug.  Not as crazy as it sounds according to Dr. Emily. 

Why are there giant bugs in a subway tunnel in Windsor?  Quicker than you can say 'evil developer', we get to meet Victor Petronovich (Karl Pruner) who is spending tax payer dollars to build the deepest subway tunnel ever!  Because he can.  And when on the subways first inaugural run, hosting a bunch of big wigs, is interrupted by everybody getting eaten by giant bugs, Victor knows he has some issues which require him to jump in his helicopter and fly away.  Or so I thought.
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What has to happen now is that FBI agent Pollack, Dr. Emily, and a bunch of hardcore, albeit completely disposable SWAT members have to descend into this tunnel to find these bugs and take them out.   Easier said than done.  The Bugs, which kind of look like giant scorpions… at least some of the time… are tough as nails and there are literally thousands of them.  And they are constantly surprising our bug expert who doesn't know nearly as much about prehistoric bugs as she thought.  Other than they are like sea monkeys.  It's complicated. 

The situation at hand is a dire one.  Our few remaining heroes have to stop the bug menace from making it to the surface, because if they do… it's the end of Windsor.  My only question is how the evil developer is going to get his, considering he got in helicopter and flew away.  Unless, for some crazy reason, he stopped off at the underground dig to make a surprise appearance.  But why in the world would he do that?

Director Joseph Conti's 'Bugs' is fairly awful, paint by numbers, typical Sci-Fi Channel dreck.  Which means for a Sci-Fi Channel original, it's about average.  The filmmakers certainly aren't trying to reinvent the wheel here as we have the atypical checklist of requirements for this kind of thing, such as the hardcore cop, played by a blandly handsome, semi-recognizable actor, the hot female lead / PhD, because average looking chicks aren't allowed to have PhD's in these kinds of movies, and the evil land developer.   Land developers are getting a seriously bad shake in these films.  So while these stock characters are decent enough, including a bonus stock character who goes all 'Deer Hunter' on us in the end, after the initial bloodletting, 'Bugs' gets real boring real fast.

Our characters spend the majority of the middle of this movie discussing in depth about how to stop the bugs, decrying how hopeless their situation is, while running from basically nothing.  Or they will be running from hordes of bad CGI, but I did like the look of the one real world bug they did go through the trouble of creating.

Then by the time we got to our conclusion, with the giant bug flying around, who I think was supposed to be the queen, this is where the movie should've been at its most tense, but sadly it was at its most lackluster.  I don't know why this was, but perhaps it was the fact that the giant bug never seemed to be all that dangerous, or perhaps it was Antonio's and Angie's inability to act, or the fact that they both seemed more bored than scared most of the time… who knows.

But for a Sci-Fi original from back in 2003, it was pretty much par for the course.  Heck, this is par for the course in 2014… and beyond I would imagine. 
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