12 Days Of Dino Dicember #16: Raptor Island (2004)

Some tales are indeed worthy of a Princess Bride style framing, as they retold time and time again.

Some are expendable TV movie fodder that will be only remembered as vague snippets of an – often incorrect – IMDB entry by generations of trash seeking cinema nerds, lured in by the dinos.

Those aren’t definitely getting any younger. Or older.

And indeed Raptor Island is one of those, where the “dino cheese” is so thick you could just read a synopsis and rightfully assume this was a TV movie for the Sci Fi Channel, because it involves a team of Navy Seals fighting terrorists somewhere in the South Chinese Sea area, stumbling on a island where a bunch of dinosaurs seem to have survived that global extinction event thingie.

This is the only movie (outside of two documentaries about cinema) Stanley Isaacs ever directed, and you’ll be glad for it, since even the action scenes in the beginning are already awful, like, impressive in how eye-scratchingly awful they are, enough to make you give up on the entire movie almost immediatly, or throw up since the cameraman can’t stay still to save his life.

It has been a while since i’ve seen a stinker like this, so aggressively unwatchable from the get go, the kind that 5 minutes in you feel done, ready to give up.

So of course i didn’t.

The reward for sticking throught all the 88 minutes of Raptor Island it’s some primo broth of braindead characters, plot and action, with Navy Seals planting charges to intercontinenal missiles and then going away because of course the tiny ass explosion won’t travel out of the crappy digitally rendered boats. Not that raptors fare much better… or worse, they get shot and they don’t much as “react” as the editor adds blood spatter effects worthy of a PS1 on-rail shooter.

Yes, i know i’ve used this criticism at least 10 times before, but it’s not like this movie deservs better. It doesn’t, so i won’t even bother discussing the awful acting in any detail, or the cast, besides Lorenzo Lamas being in this turd as the lead Navy Seals commander, clearly sleepwalking in a monotone voice his way through the film. As does most of the cast, honestly not giving a fuck.

There is a tiny bit more to the plot, like the hostage was investigating the terrorists’ dealings, toxic waste on the island that somehow mutated the dinosaurs and made radioactive volcan ash that it messes with with radio signals, but don’t worry, nothing really matters, so it ultimately boils to 4 people running around in the bulgarian woods and caves that eventually rip off Predator too.

It’s amazing that in some scenes you can see how they didn’t tell the actors where the raptors where supposed to be, so you get a heavily trained Navy Seals unit shooting 2 feet from the feral animal clearly in their line of sight (to say nothing of the other goofs and plentyful errors you can spot), though hilariously most of the shootouts or actions scenes aren’t as bad as the first shaky mess, still not very well shot but not barf inducing. After the first 5 minutes, it’s drab shit but watchable… drab shit.

The movie does live up to the title, and there is an Allosaurus (kinda) alongside the many raptors, but…. it’s not just that it’s pretty dang awful and boring, but it’s both in completely predictable ways, there’s no weird scene or bit that helps Raptor Island stand out, its cheapness doesn’t evoke laughs but just apathy and boredom, there’s nothing interesting to point out, and since it’s a TV movie i’m not counting as positives being able to clearly hear the dialogues and the plot being easy to follow, since there’s barely one to speak of besides “navy seals vs raptors”.

It’s exactly what you think it is, you can slog through it, if you MUST see every damn dinosaur b-movie ever made and scrape very close to the bottom of the barrel. Not that it stopped a “not really but kinda sequel” getting made with 2007’s Planet Raptor.


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