Saturday, March 5, 2011

Asylum Trash: The Da Vinci Treasure

I wish that I was kidding here!  With my final Asylum film for a while, I chose a movie that managed to threaten the company with lawsuits from two different film companies.  Seriously, how did they not get sued?  Your movie is clearly trying to rip off The Da Vinci Code and National Treasure at once.  Is it just because you're too minor for Disney and Columbia Pictures to even care?  I really want to know!  So what is the plot?  C. Thomas Howell- god dammit!- is a guy who tries to uncover a stash of treasure related to Leonardo Da Vinci.  I wish that I could say that there was more here, but there isn't.  Let's just get this over with so I can rest until the next batch of Asylum films hit the site.  You know that it will happen.  Let's put on our multi-colored Da Vinci goggles in order to help us find...
The film begins with Howell and a comrade breaking into a house in London.  Their goal: steal a bunch of invention plans related to Leonardo Da Vinci.  Just to note- The Da Vinci Code begins in the Louvre (been there!).  Your movie begins in a guy's house.  That really says it all, right?  They pass by some Da Vinci Optics, but ignore them for now.  Of course, the movie gives the things their own graphic, so they're obviously going to be important later.  With no set up for this and no idea who his character is, Howell's buddy turns on him and tries to take the papers.  He dies...but nobody cares.  Howell runs into his ex-wife, who is now working for Howell's nemesis.  He runs from her, but gets cornered by the man...who's played by Lance Henriksen.  I'd feel worse if this if you didn't also do another Asylum film in the same year (Pirates of Treasure Island) and two Sasquatch films (Abominable and Sasquatch Mountain) as well.  He has a thug- who was the lead terrorist in The 9/11 Commission Report- beat up Howell (not enough though) and take the papers. It's here that Howell meets up with another lady- the woman who will be his assistant for the rest of the film.  They continue Howell's work of getting the treasure- for the world, of course- and this leads to one, natural item: the Shroud of Turin!
Yes, the infamous cloth has a clue to Da Vinci's stash of gold.  If you think that this part is silly, just keep watching.  Howell and the woman get the Shroud from a small building in the middle of nowhere.  The film's logic: people wouldn't look for it there.  Yeah, that covers your budget-cutting moves!  This leads to a chase, which is mostly a pretense to pad the movie out and throw in some random ADR.  The best part, however, is watching the nonchalant extras as the pair run down the street being shot at!  You guys in Los Angeles really are jaded!  The bad guys get the Shroud, but not the pictures taken of it by Howell.  Their next move- go to England- again- and take the Da Vinci Optics.  Wow- you're re-using a location in the same movie.  That's sad, even for you!  The man whose house they're going to actually agrees to help them out this time.  As soon as the call ends, he calls Lance and warns them of Howell's arrival.  In the ultimate insult to the audience, they flash Henriksen's face when they say his name.  Yes, we know who he is!  This plot thread proves really unimportant, however, as Howell arrives to find Lance and company killing the guy.  Thanks for helping...yourself to a bloody death.  Another chase ensues....but how cares?
A long, extended scene following the chase has Howell and the woman deciphering hidden clues in the Shroud...or the picture of it.  They decipher the clues as telling them to go to Afghanistan.  Yes, Da Vinci's gold stash is hidden there.  In mid-flight, they realize that the clues actually lead to 'The Last Supper'- standing in for the 'Mona Lisa' here- and re-route their flight.  They have to steal a brick from the wall above the painting, which proves pretty easy because the building has only one, easily-distracted guard.  How was that famous painting not stolen years ago?!?!?  They ride a train for a bit and uncover the next clue, which leads to...Afghanistan.  Your plot is running in a cycle!  They go to the land of the Taliban and immediately run into some local sexism.  Too subtle!  The pair go off into the desert whereupon they are attacked by a man in a helicopter.  Is it the lead henchman from before?  I guess so, since the guy doesn't show up later.  After another long chase, they blow up the helicopter and move on.  They find a key hidden in the brick and go through the CG door to the cave.  The pair find a giant stash of CG treasure...and Lance, accompanied by the ex-wife.  Howell gets shot, but manages to set off a fire that ignites the cave and makes it explode.  In the aftermath, we see that the whole place was destroyed- as opposed to just caving in- but Howell and the lady survived.  How?  They were wrapped in the Shroud of Turin, which Lance was nice enough to return earlier.  How did that...oh, screw it, The End!
There's no gold in these hills!  The plot of this movie is so basic and insulting that...I'm not surprised.  When you try to turn two different movies into one, you're bound to get some confusing plotting!  Aside from that, however, the actual events seem to be random and unexplained at times.  What exactly is the source of Da Vinci's gold stash?  Why is it in a cave in Afghanistan?  How did the people make a cave door that opens via some sort of mechanism?  Why did that helicopter explode?  Since when was the Shroud of Turin explosion-proof?  The acting is not worth mentioning for the most part.  Why?  The film stars C. Thomas Howell, that's why!  He's just never been good and that doesn't change here.  Lance is alright in his small role, but even he seems bored by it.  On the plus side, he wasn't obviously just reading his lines off of cue cards like in The Mangler 2!  I loved Millennium growing up, so I can never really stay mad at Lance.  It's more sad, really, as I continue to see him in crap like Alone in the Dark II, The Seamstress and Mimic 3.  At this point, he can't do better and I guess I just have to accept it.  There aren't a lot of funny moments here and it's hard to recommend.  Unless you really want to see The Asylum dare two different film companies to sue them, you can skip this one.
Next up, we begin a week of films with nothing in common.  First to come is a forgotten Corman film about space, nightmares and worm rape.  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. omg, I just 'love' all the asylum stuff. Need to see this!