Starring Michelle Meadows, Christopher Persson, Casey Clark, Richard Froelich
Directed by Martin Munthe
Check out that promotional artwork. Doesn't that make Stinger look like it's going to be a rip-roaring slice of cinematic cheese? Oh, if only the movie itself had even an ounce of the humorously cheeky vibe that promo art gives off. Whoever created that promo art and the people that made the movie clearly were not working on the same page. Stinger is as morose as a funeral. For goodness sakes, this is a movie about soldiers encountering big mutant scorpions inside a nuclear submarine. Stinger isn't so much a bad movie in the conventional sense of bad; it just adheres so strictly to the clichés of its genre and insists on taking itself so seriously as to completely choke the life out of itself. Watching Stinger, I kept having to resist the urge to find a long stick with which to begin poking the TV screen.
The SS Newark submarine has been located sixty miles off the coast of California after having gone missing for two months. The military sends in a team to find out what happened and recover some top secret cargo that the sub was transporting. The first surefire sign of trouble is when they open the sub's hatch and are overwhelmed by the pungent smell of death, followed by the discovery of many a dismembered corpse. They initially speculate that the extended isolation caused one or two of the sailors to snap and massacre the rest of the crew before killing themselves. Of course that's not the case, and of course there's a scientist along with them that knows the truth about the top secret cargo and how it might have been responsible for the massacre. Of course they happen upon a mentally unstable lone survivor who explains everything that transpired. Of course there's a bunch of macho soldiers that sometimes bicker amongst themselves. Of course there's a character with his own agenda working against the soldiers' efforts to eradicate the big mutant scorpions. And of course people keep taking turns wandering off by themselves or in small groups of two or three where they'll encounter the big mutant scorpions. Oh, I hope it ends with the survivors getting off the submarine just moments before it explodes. Stinger - another product of President Bush's No Cliché Left Behind Act of 2001.
Michelle Meadows, who plays the government scientist involved in big mutant scorpions to be used as a military bioweapon project, sounds so bored out of her mind every time she speaks that I began wondering if she was drugged and then forced into starring in this movie against her will. She's so devoid of a pulse that I wanted to use defibrillators on her in hopes of resuscitating the woman. Then again, why should the lead actress display any more energy or enthusiasm than anyone or anything else in this lifeless production?
Now that I think about it, didn't I just review this same movie about a week ago? I'd swear I just reviewed a movie about soldiers battling mutant scorpions within enclosed quarters about a week ago with Scorpius Gigantus. Stinger is actually the better made movie, but Scorpius Gigantus at the very least had a sense of humor. Scorpius Gigantus would make a great double feature with Stinger, assuming you want to sit through a double feature consisting of two very low budget, dull, suspense-free, cliché-filled movies featuring less-than-convincing CGI monster scorpions.
To be fair, the big scorpions in Stinger do look better than the ones in Scorpius Gigantus. That might have to do with the Stinger scorpions almost always being partially obscured by shadows and darkness. In the rare moments when you see them in bright light, they looked to me like big scorpions with a purple candy shell.
Stinger is also one of the ugliest looking movies I've ever seen in my life. The other day I complained in my review of Nightmare Man that the cinematography of that film was too murky. I apologize. This is murky. I fully realize that 99% of the film is set within what is supposed to be a dimly lit submarine interior, but the darkness and the putrid hues - various shades of brown permeate the screen - combined with the very murky cinematography make Stinger as ugly to look at as it is boring to watch.
1 out of 5
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