Descent (September 23/05)
Imagine a low-budget, thoroughly inept ripoff of The Core, and you've got Descent. And since The Core wasn't particularly entertaining, it goes without saying that Descent comes off as nothing less than an all-out disaster.
The story kicks off with the revelation that a top-secret government project has somehow gone awry and caused the earth's tectonic plates to shift, leading to a series of calamitous events worldwide (earthquakes, oozing liquid hot magma, etc). A shady military man (played by Michael Dorn) calls on rebellious scientist Jake Rollins (Luke Perry) to save the day, and he is - of course - teamed up with both a fierce rival and a former girlfriend on the mission (which involves burrowing into the earth using a machine that's straight out of The Core).
Descent is, right from the outset, exceptionally tedious and by-the-numbers, to the extent that it's impossible not to wonder why the film even exists. There's not a shred of originality to be found anywhere within Michael Konyves screenplay, which emphasizes the hoariest cliches one could possibly imagine (ie Jake explains what's happening in layman's terms by using a jelly donut for comparison, in a scene that's awfully reminiscent of - you guessed it - The Core). The storyline is far more confusing than it needs to be, as Konyves piles on the questionable technical jargon in an attempt to compensate for the film's ludicrous premise (the government just happens to have a machine that can drill its way to the center of the earth standing by?) The special effects are expectedly shoddy, with models that look like models and sets that look like sets (and let's not even get started on the laughable computer effects, which make Tron look cutting-edge).
And although Perry delivers a surprisingly strong performance that belies the quality of the film (surely the poor guy deserves better than this), there's really nothing here worth recommending.