Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
There used to be a time when this was easy, and a lot more fun.  Back in the day we used to watch these Sci-Fi channel original movies, have fun with them, rail on them and move on.  Recent Sci-Fi Channel movies, the Sharknadoes excepted, have been… well… competent.  Not terrible, but still not good.  This puts us in the unenviable position of not caring about these movies as much as we used to, because who wants to talk about a semi-competent, sub-mediocre movie?  'Zodiac: Signs of the Apocalypse', despite the promising title, is such a film.

One day at the local U, fire clouds appear in the sky raining hell.  Those of us born under the sign of the lion, like myself, recognize the shape of that cloud as the symbol for Leo.  Observing this is Dr. Neil Martin (Joel Gretsch), the third best archeological type dude in the whole world.  Soon after this odd disaster, Dr. Martin is visited by one Dr. Kathryn Keen (Emily Holmes) who needs the doc to come to Peru to see some amazing find.  Neil declines, mentioning the other two experts in the field, but they are dead, mainly due to this amazing find.  If ever there was a reason not to go, that would be enough for me, but Neil's bratty, Old Navy model adult son Colin convinces his old man to take the money and go to Peru.

In Peru what Neil finds is simply amazing.  I'm taking his word on that but it looked mighty ordinary to me, but he found a relic with all of the signs of the zodiac on it.  And inside this relic he and Kathryn find a magic rock.  And under a bunch of other fallen rocks they find a hot chick.  This hot chick would be Sophie (Andrea Brooks) and we saw her earlier in this cave when it completely collapsed on top of her.  I'm thinking it's probably been a couple of weeks, without food or water, and with a bunch of boulders on top of her, but clearly that Sophie is one resilient girl.
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The theory is this magic rock is the source to unlimited power.  Dr. Neil however sees the signs in the sky and knows something is amiss.  Like the destruction of the world following a zodiac pattern.  It has something to do with the mythical Planet X, the sun and the Aztecs.  What I don't get about the Aztecs, in relation to these movies we watch, is that they have all these mystical world saving contraptions, but yet they always hide them behind debilitating, damn near indecipherable puzzles.  What's up with that, Aztecs?  How about a simple note, or better yet, an instruction manual in plain whatever language you guys spoke?

At first nobody believed Dr. Neil about the Zodiac and the world exploding, but now everybody believes except FBI loon Agent Woodward (Aaron Douglas) who believes something else that requires him to indiscriminately shoot at people for no real good reason.  I think he wants to weaponize the magic rock or something.  What we need is a device in which to place the magic rock to stop the end of days.  And this device, that we need like yesterday, requires a laundry list of tech so advanced, much of which I don't think has even been invented yet, which would make the designers of a Death Star weep.  Unless by chance, some wacky doomsday author (Christopher Lloyd) has already built this thing for some reason.  And a holographic mountain to hide it in.  What are the chances of that?  And what if by chance he lives in Peru?  Or someplace?

As we mentioned earlier, 'Zodiac Signs of the Apocalypse' isn't really all that bad… and that's kind of the problem with the movie.  It's directed by Stephen Monroe, who has done more than enough of these types of movies, so my man knows what to do with the limited budget that I'm sure he's been given.  It has a competent cast, though I admit that Christopher Lloyd sure is showing up in a lot of these low budget sci-fi style movies lately.  All of these elements make 'Zodiac' relatively competent, but it's really not good enough to be good… in fact I fell asleep on it the first night… but it's also not nearly lousy enough to be stupidly entertaining.

But not to sell this film completely short, there is some stupidly entertaining stuff in this movie though.  Aaron Douglas, all by himself, and interpretation of an FBI agent did everything in his power to make this movie deliciously stupid.  That character was The Grinch and Josef Mengele from 'Marathon Man' all wrapped in one nice, slightly overweight package, and at no time did this character do anything that made any kind of logical sense, which made him almost infinitely entertaining to watch.  On the other side of the coin we have actor Ben Cotton playing some kind of Conspiracy Theory nutjob, and while he was supposed to be crazy, his character was making the most sense out of all the characters in this nonsense.   Otherwise, everything else is pretty much what we expect from these movies.  Dodgy CGI, Joel Gretsch has been playing variations of this 'man in charge' role for his whole career, and attractive young people doing attractive young people stuff to round everything out. 

As we mentioned in an earlier article, when Sci-Fi was funding more of these originals, this stuff was easier to digest.  Now that they come so infrequently, our Sci-Fi original buffer just isn't what it used to be.  Now Sub-Mediocre is just sub-mediocre.  And that's what you get with 'Zodiac: Signs of the Apocalypse'.
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