Blu-ray Review – Tremors 5: Bloodlines

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I’m a little embarrassed about the fact that I was looking forward to a new Tremors movie. Don’t get me wrong, the first movie is one of my favorite monster movies of all time. But when Kevin Bacon didn’t return for the sequel, it’s all downhill from there. Some of the sequels are somewhat watchable, but none of them manage to capture the same magic the first one was able to accomplish. It’s a fascinating world, with endless possibilities, all the different kind of monsters that spawn from the Graboids, but without a budget, or quality actors and filmmakers, it’s just not the same. I don’t even know why I was looking forward to this sequel. Maybe it was that Michael Gross would be returning, but without Bacon, without Fred Ward, it’s going to be D-grade at best. Throw Jamie Kennedy into the mix, and who the hell knows what I was thinking. Perhaps it was that rumor floating around that they would be rebooting the franchise with Bacon/Ward in tow, and that news of Bloodlines was soon to follow. Whatever the case may be, I know now that I was wrong to be excited for the 4th straight-to-video sequel in a series with a long line of lackluster followups.

From the press release:

The stakes are raised for survivalist Burt Gummer (Michael Gross) in his most dangerous monster hunt yet. When Gummer’s hired to capture a deadly Assblaster terrorizing South Africa, he and his new sidekick, Travis Welker (Jamie Kennedy), find themselves in a battle to the death against the fiercely aggressive Assblasters and Graboids. Discovering that the monsters have evolved into even more lethal creatures, their mission takes on a whole new level of unseen terror — far more than they bargained for.

When Tremors 5 begins, we join Michael Gross’ character, Burt Gummer(from the previous movies) who now has a generic survival reality show, as he scrogs about in wilderness, creating makeshift ovens to cook snakes, and any number of nonsensical outdoor activities. Soon his path is crossed by an obnoxious extreme sports junkie named Travis Welker, played by Jamie Kennedy. The first issue here, is that there is absolutely zero on-screen chemistry between Gross and Kennedy. I realize that this is not a romantic comedy, but if the two are supposed to be riffing off of one another for the duration of the film, you’d think they’d cast actors who can at least pretend to either enjoy, or legitimately hate each others’ company. The end result is annoying, as are most things which feature Jamie Kennedy in any capacity. There’s a twist involving the two characters which you can guess within the first five minutes of their introduction, and it adds absolutely nothing of value to the plot.

All of that aside, “how are the monsters” you might ask. This is a monster movie, after all. Who gives a crap about Michael J Fox’s TV dad and a third-rate has-been-actually-never-was actor? Well, the concept of the monsters is cool. Their names are cool, the way each of them has different identifying features and abilities is cool, but remember, this is a zero-budget straight to video picture. The monsters are presented as a poorly-rendered CGI mess. Normally I can forgive such a thing, but I’ve seen too many low budget indie films with terrific practical effects to give a studio sequel, straight-to-video or not, a pass for such a lazy effort. Tremors 5: Bloodlines is a hook for completists, and maybe it will find an audience with fans of the lesser-known SyFy Channel movies, but even those have upped their game recently. If you find yourself craving a Tremors fix this October, you can get the Attack Pack Blu-ray box set for under thirteen bucks. But if you feel like you just can’t live without owning the newest incarnation of this series, you may find it to pre-order here.

The Blu-ray itself is fine. No real complaints on that front. The video and audio quality are on-par with most similar releases. The package contains the Blu-ray disc, a DVD copy of the film, and an Ultraviolet code, if that’s your thing. The extras are few, but do exist. If you actually do find enjoyment within Tremors 5, you will have deleted and extended scenes, outtakes, and a behind-the-scenes featurette to whet your appetite for more, but that’s really it. It’s a Universal release, so the product and the packaging are all top notch, if only the movie would have followed suit. Oh well. It’s a missed opportunity, but maybe that rumored reboot involving Bacon and Ward will come to fruition someday.

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