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
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.
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.