Asteroid-a-Geddon (2020)

“Don’t make the mistake of judging me based on my appearance. Ignorance can be a real bitch.”
— Alexandra Svoboda, the world’s leading punk rock metallurgist and geochemist

This movie has two things going for it: Eric Roberts and no IMDb reviews (at least not at the time of this writing). That means when PPV surfers and VOD streamers discover it on their cable menus (like I did) or on Amazon Prime streams, they’ll hit the IMDb for some plot and production background, and B&S About Movies sees an uptick in traffic. It’s a win-win for everyone. Yes, even for the studio that made it: The Asylum.

Uh, oh.

Is this another Shark Encounters of the Third Kind? And are we finally launching a fleet of mechanized robo-space sharks to save the Earth, you know, like back in good ol’ Godzilla days, when the green guy became a friend of man? Are the space amoebas of Yog (1970) kaiju’in us a space octopus and only marine biologist Eric Roberts can save us?

Nope.

Déjà vu of the rock. Only cheaper.

But we do get an asteroid ready to hit the Earth in fifty days. And a bickering multinational summit more interested in their individual country’s ambitions than the world’s safety. And — once again — bad, bad Russians (see Airliner Sky Battle) who don’t listen and launches the nukes everyone told them not to launch — and makes the situation worse, natch. Luckily, we do get Eric Roberts (The Arrangement, Lone Star Deception) with a set of four stars on his shoulders — with his under 10-minutes of screen time spliced throughout the film — to keep us watching. And we get a hot, fuchsia-haired punk rock geochemist (Veronika Issa) to keep us watching . . . and is it just me, or she wearing Ron Keel’s demin vest?

You’ve got the right to rock, and break my heart, Alexandra.

And we get Alex’s cancer-stricken, metallurgist-expert billionaire father who dies before he finds the answer, you know, so we think we’re watching Carl Sagan’s Contact. And we’ve got a Russian shuttle — that looks suspiciously like a decommissioned U.S. shuttle — launching rockets, because it makes us think about how the Russians stole our Skylab guidance system in Space Cowboys. And we’ve got a U.S. rocket meant for a Mars mission overhauled to carry a nuclear payload. And we get a CGI space plane, Copernicus, launching a CGI space probe, Aristotle, sporting a nifty rock-splitting laser known as a “Transducer” that punk rock girl built. And we’ve got the Divine Will, lead by one named Malachi (because all religious whack jobs must have a biblical first name), a merry band of mountain-based paramilitary religious nuts who — instead of praising God for giving man the intelligence to build techno-trinkets like a Transducer to stop asteroids — hacks the Tranducer weapons platform to thwart the mission because, well, destroying the asteroid defies “God’s Will.” And we get weapons that don’t work so — instead of being hit by one big ass rock — we’re bombarded by, as the title implies, an CGI asteroid-a-geddon that lays waste to Las Vegas and the Philippines. Oh, and Australia, but that’s okay; the “hits” are mostly in the unpopulated Outback, because, well, what’s a few dead aborigine natives down under when you’re covering up your f-ing up Armageddon.

And what we don’t get and desperately need: more past-their-prime celebrity actors that make these Asylum mockbuster disaster rips so much fun in the first place. Yeah, it’s cool to have Eric Roberts on board — even if he sits in a chair the whole time. But where’s Ian Zierling (as a hero astronaut), Tara Reid (as the Geo-scientist), and John Heard (as the religious nut) when we need them?

To that end: Most of the actors here are new the game, with our leading-lady Veronika Issa making her big screen debut in Fast and Fierce: Death Race, released by The Asylum earlier this year. The real standout of the cast is the most experienced actor of the cast — sans Eric Roberts — Craig Gellis, as Malachi. His 70-plus resume features support roles in TV series across the Big Three networks, including a leading role in the recently reviewed indie-horror Legend of the Muse. He’s really good here, so we’re looking forward to seeing more of him on screen — and in bigger, marquee-quality roles.

In the writing and directing chair we have reformed stunt man Geoff Meed˟*, who racked up 60-plus acting credits in TV series and indie films (and a role in Fast Five) before an on-set injury led him on a journey as a prolific screenwriter — with 14 credits since 2007. We reviewed Meed’s Final Draft and Canon Red debut in our quest to review all things Amityville* with 2011’s The Amityville Haunting. And if you’ve spent any time with the SyFy Channel or got swept up in the streaming-verse, you’ve watch his mockbuster-penned flicks Bermuda Tentacles, Independents’ Day, Operation Dunkirk, Atlantic Rim, San Andreas Mega Quake, and yes, his Eric Roberts-starring aerodynamic ode to all things Tom Cruise, 2020’s Top Gunner.

As you can see from the trailer, while the dueling asteroid odes of 1998 — Armageddon and Deep Impact — are clearly the mock-models here, what we’re actually left with is a mock of the Star Wars-inspired** asteroid ode of 1979, Meteor. In that film we also got a lot of Greek designations like Icarus, Orpheus, and Hercules for the rocks and weapons. But we also got James Bond as the rock-expert dude, the dude from the old American Express Card commercials who did a Dario Argento giallo*˟ (Cat o’ Nine Tails) as a boondoggling politician, and Brian Keith from Hardcastle and McCormick ranting with a bad Russian accent about the L.A. Dodgers.

However, to Meed’s credit: he does his research and has a way with the techno-exposition, so everyone sounds like the experts they’re suppose to be. And the “science,” while not exactly grounded in reality, sounds convincing, never the less. But isn’t it all just a wee-bit too talky? Yes. Do we want more CGI-action? Yes. But for his second directing credit, Meed’s delivered us a serviceable retro B-flick — and for significantly less green than the $120 million spent on Warner Bros.’ Gerald Butler-starring boondoggle, Geostorm — which received across-the-board negative reviews criticizing it as a “lackluster” and “uninspired” work. And I still haven’t made it all the way through — in spite of its incessant cable airings — and never will. I have, however, since watched the Chinese-made The Wandering Earth three times.

And so it goes for film 600-or-something for good ‘ol Eric. And because of Mr. Roberts, I made it all the way though. And I had a good time. And the next time I see Meed’s name on a film (as with Eric Roberts) I’ll watch it, for Meed’s got the Brett Piper-cum-Mark Polonia to retro-touch I love (Queen Crab).

Now, let me go a eat fudge banana swirl with Dr. Alexandra Svoboda, for she is my punk rock girl.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies and publishes short stories and music reviews on Medium.


* Seriously, we really did watch ALL of the Amityville films, as our “Exploring: Amityville” featurette, proves.

** Our love for all things Amityville is only matched by our love for all things Star Wars, as our “Exploring: After Star Wars” featurette, proves.

*˟ Oh, boy! Do we love our Giallo round ‘ere. Check out our “Exploring: Giallo” featurette on the genre.

˟* Several of Meed’s films are available as free-with-ads streams on Tubi TV, so check ’em out:

Amityville Haunting (2011) — screenwriter and director
Airline Disaster (2010) — actor
Atlantic Rim: Resurrection (2018) — screenwriter
Bermuda Tentacles (2014) — screenwriter
D-Day: The Battle of Omaha Beach (2019) — screenwriter and actor
Hold Your Breath (2013) — screenwriter
I Am Omega (2007) — screenwriter and actor
Independents’ Day (2016) — screenwriter
Kickboxer 5: Redemption (1995) — actor
Operation Dunkirk (2016) — screenwriter
San Andreas Mega Quake (2019) — screenwriter
6 Guns (2010) — screenwriter and actor
Universal Soldiers (2007) — screenwriter

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