The Fallen Ones (December 7/05)
The Fallen Ones opens with a campy, thoroughly absurd sequence that effectively primes the viewer for the lunacy that is to follow, although nothing can quite prepare us for a sequence late in the film that finds Robert Wagner engaged in a fist-fight with a mummy.
In said prologue, we learn that God is retaliating against fallen angel Ammon's (Navid Negahban) transgression of sleeping with a mortal woman by flooding the earth - which means big trouble for Ammon's son, an unnamed 42-foot-giant. Thousands of years later, archeologist Matt Fletcher (Casper Van Dien) has stumbled upon the mummified remains of several ancient corpses - much to the glee of his boss, Morton (Wagner), and a visiting scientist named Angela (Kristen Miller). But it's not long before Ammon's back on the scene resurrecting his followers and oversized offspring, leaving Matt and his wacky sidekick (played by Scott Whyte) with no choice but to foil Ammon's plans for world domination.
The Fallen Ones essentially comes off as a low-rent cross between the Indiana Jones series and Stephen Sommers' The Mummy (which itself was an Indiana Jones ripoff), as writer/director Kevin VanHook imbues the movie with the same blend of comedy and adventure that viewers have come to expect from this sort of thing. But given the emphasis on special effects and larger-than-life set-pieces, the film's miniscule budget couldn't possibly be more obvious (this is particularly true of the many sequences in which computer-generated monsters run amok).
And though there a number of unintentionally hilarious bits here and there - including Wagner's aforementioned romp with one of Ammon's undead minions - there's very little of substance to hold the viewer's interest, a problem that's exacerbated by the distinctly underwhelming performances. Van Dien comes off as flat and uncharismatic (especially when compared with forebearers Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser), while the supporting cast is peppered with a number of unusually terrible actors (even the extras suck).
The Fallen Ones is, admittedly, not quite as bad as certain other straight-to-video films of this ilk, but let's face it, that's really not saying much.