Review: Dragon Wasps / Cert: 15 / Director: Joe Knee / Screenplay: Mark Atkins, Rafael Jordan / Starring: Corin Nemec, Dominika Juillet, Benjamin Easterday, Nikolette Noel, Cosondra Sjostram / Release Date: September 17th
According to Wikipedia, there are between six and ten million species of insects in the world, and there are doubtless plans to make direct-to-DVD movies about each and every one of them. This time it's the turn of wasps. Big wasps. Really humongous wasps. Wasps the size of helicopters. Now, if only the budget had been anywhere near as big…
Clad in clingy tanks and tight shorts, hot female entymologists Gina (Juillet) and Rhonda (Noel) are studying bugs in the Belize rainforest. Except that it's all a front and Gina is actually looking for her long-lost father, another distinguished entymologist with an interest in biochemical engineering. A clue leads her to suspect that he might be somewhere in the rainforest interior, so off the plucky pair go, but they soon run into some American soldiers, commanded by John (Nemec), a tough nut who is given to saying things like “I love the jungle!”.
Eager for a jungle jaunt, he agrees to help in the search. But before they can so much as peek under a mangrove, a swarm of giant wasps descends upon the rescue party. With most of his platoon hauled off wriggling and screaming back to the hive, John decides that the only thing to do is to try and get the rest of his men killed by taking refuge with some violent drug-runners. Jaguar, their leader, is heavily into the occult and spouts lines which wouldn't be out of place in a topless revue: “Have you come to set your spirit free? Are you ready to experience the pleasures of the flesh?”. Uh, can I get back to you on that?
Made on a budget tighter than Rhonda's shorts, Dragon Wasps doesn't stand comparison with Anaconda or Eight Legged Freaks, but still manages to be fun in its own way. Director Joe Knee moves things along nimbly and gets the most out of some lush green locations. The critters (which also shoot jets of a napalm-like substance) are reasonably convincing when it's just a single one of them on screen, but look rather blurry en masse. The cast are a mixed bag. Listening to Juillet's whiny voice and watching her struggle with the light banter which is a given of the eco-horror genre, you can't help but wonder what the actresses she beat for the role were like. (Did they have crazy eyes and BO? Did they forget to wear underpants to the audition?) On the other hand, Nemec gets the balance of humour and grit just right, and, as his sidekick Meyers, Benjamin Easterday is very engaging indeed. Won't attract much critical buzz, but makes the time fly.