Avengers Grimm (2015)

AG8The mark of a good friend, some say, is the ability to not spare you from some awful truths about yourself, without losing any love or respect for you.

I think I’ve proven my love for the Asylum, they of SHARKNADO and ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE fame. They have found a profitable formula by producing quick, cheap movies, many so-called ‘mockbusters’ that ride on the coattails of bigger films with similar names and probably subsist on the myopic or distracted who pick up their DVDs or select their films on Streaming, expecting TRANSFORMERS and getting TRANSMORPHERS, or expecting PACIFIC RIM and getting ATLANTIC RIM.

Now, this sort of quick-fire approach can, like someone throwing a bucket of balls at a carnival game, hit the bulls-eye out of sheer luck, and despite the odds they end up cheesily entertaining.

Then there is AVENGERS GRIMM.

Last night, Scott tried watching this, but switched it off after 15 minutes, for fear of a spontaneous brain aneurysm growing like some Cronenberg nightmare. Me? I love a challenge…

There, now you know who to praise. Or blame.

There, now you know who to praise. Or blame.

Like all Asylum movies, AVENGERS GRIMM opens quickly and in the middle of the action; you gotta give them credit for that, they don’t waste your time with lengthy introductions. We cut to a woman (Lauren Parkinson, APPETITES) running through the barren hills, while faux-LORD OF THE RINGS music and faux-LORD OF THE RINGS voiceover carries us to a horde attacking a castle and leaving thatched cottages aflame in CGI.

Somehow, the woman manages to make it inside the castle and goes to the mirror. “Mirror, Mirror, where’s the king?” Showing better algorithms than Google, it provides silent exposition without distracting you with sponsored ads.

Casper just kept on his uniform from his weekend work at Medieval Times.

Casper just kept on his uniform from his weekend work at Medieval Times.

Then she’s interrupted by a man (Casper Van Dien, STARSHIP TROOPERS), who calls her “Snow.” Which means she’s either Snow White or the local cokehead.

She turns to him, and with a look better reserved for a snotty waiter at the Sizzler, identifies him back as “Rumplestiltskin.”

We quickly realise that Van Dien is trying to channel the spirit of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, but in truth he couldn’t channel Tom Hiddleston’s PA. Still, he looks fetching in his golden coat, even if the proper depiction of an imp like Rumplestiltskin would require an actor more like Peter Dinklage (yeah, like you could afford him, Asylum). Rumpy demands to know how to use the mirror to get into other worlds, while Snow is only interested in knowing what happened to her husband, the King. When a sack is dropped at her feet and a crown (but not an implied dismembered head) drops out, she gets her answer.

Another frigid woman- BAH DUMPH TISH!

Another frigid woman- BAH DUMPH TISH!

She opens the mirror portal, but then demonstrates that in addition to being the Fairest of Them All (sorry, Snow, but my current lady love holds that title, and you can kiss her peachy ass if you don’t like it), she has ice-making powers like Elsa in FROZEN and tries to kill Rumpy, only to have him pull her and himself into the portal…

Too late, a quartet of women arrive in supposed rescue: purple-haired Cinderella (Milynn Sarley, TEAM UNICORN), dippy blonde Sleeping Beauty (Marah Fairclough, DRONE), and long-haired Rapunzel (Rileah Vanderbilt, the HATCHET Trilogy); I describe them by their hair, because you will not remember them or distinguish them by anything else.

Red left me a-quiver. It was 'arrowing...

Red left me a-quiver. It was ‘arrowing…

Then there’s Red (Elizabeth Peterson, HALLOWEEN HELL), who arrives late to the party, but she’s the one who’s not a team player. She’s got a red riding hood, bow and arrow, and as we discover later she also knows jujitsu and ninja skills, which she must have learned in between taking baskets of McDonalds to her Grandma. The other princesses are out to stop the war because the carnage has touched their respective kingdoms, but Red is only after the Wolf (mixed martial artist Kimo Leopoldo), so screw you sorority bitches.

Of course they end up in another world, our world, through the now-shattered mirror, and the princesses soon demonstrate to the local LAPD that they have powers beyond what the public domain fairy tales gave them (sleeping power, magic… um, hair whips), because let’s face it, the power to be beautiful virgins is fairly limited outside of your novelty porn movies.

Oh yeah, their AVENGERS movie has a Hulk in it as well. Technically...

Oh yeah, their AVENGERS movie has a Hulk in it as well. Technically…

They also learn from Snow (who appears driving a sports car) that since arriving, Rumpy has used his own powers to become Mayor, zombifying dissenters or minions who fail him. There’s also local con man with a good heart Jack (Jonathan Medina), and local thug with a good heart Iron John (Lou Ferrigno), who says “Bitch” a lot and gets turned into literal iron by Rumpy’s magic – or, you know, by having himself covered in silver paint and having Tin Man movement sound effects added in post-production in a vain attempt to make you think he’s more than just Lou Ferrigno in silver paint.

Oh look, it's the Silver Surfer's drunk uncle!

Oh look, it’s the Silver Surfer’s drunk uncle!

Okay… AVENGERS GRIMM is a mess. With its miniscule budget it’s less a rip-off of THE AVENGERS (though they do manage a line where they state they’re ‘avenging’ the destruction of their kingdoms) and more a rip-off of the ONCE UPON A TIME series. I remember watching some episodes of that, and I think Robert Carlyle played Rumplestiltskin, too. In terms of acting chops, however, the difference between Robert Carlyle and Casper van Dien is like the difference between a weekend in bed with Drew Barrymore and a weekend in Guantanamo scrubbing out the torture rooms. AVENGERS GRIMM couldn’t match the show’s budget. To be honest, AVENGERS GRIMM couldn’t match the show’s catering budget.

The obligatory Slow Heroes Walk Into Battle...

The obligatory Slow Heroes Walk Into Battle…

It’s… not the worst movie I’ve ever seen. It’s not even the worst Asylum movie. The women aren’t the best thespians (no, I said ‘Thespian’) but they try. Everyone tries. The direction by Asylum veteran Jeremy Inman, like everyone else, does the job, and with a larger budget and a tighter script, it could have been something. Even Casper Van Dien is adequate with what he has, which isn’t much, and he’d probably be wasted if given lines worthy of Tim Hiddleston (sorry, Casper, but I can’t hear you calling someone a ‘mewling quim’ without my brain shutting down for self-protection). The individual fight scenes are adequate, but obviously don’t expect a city-wide battle, except in long shot with rubbish CGI.

And if they cut out the ‘bitches’ in the dialogue and trimmed one scene where a cop gets shot in the head, this would be perfectly presentable to children. In fact, it’s notable for having five women playing the heroes, and it probably has the highest Bechdel Test rating of all Asylum movies.

Fish Vindaloo farts are the worst...

Fish Vindaloo farts are the worst…

And in a Hollywood where we get only one female Avenger, and even she’s left out of nearly all the merchandising (allegedly because Disney, who allegedly only bought Marvel to corner the boys’ demographic now that Disney allegedly has the girls’ market with their own products, aren’t allegedly interested in promoting Marvel stuff for girls. Allegedly. You hear that, Disney lawyers? THIS IS ALL ALLEGEDLY), AVENGERS GRIMM stands out for having five super-powered heroines who don’t rely on their Prince Charmings. Your undiscriminating daughters might like it.

Or they might not. Maybe it’s just the soporific effects of a Sunday morning that’s making me more charitable to this.

AVENGERS GRIMM is available on DVD or VOD, and the trailer is below.

Deggsy’s Summary:

Director: Jeremy Inman (also writer. Probably the caterer too)

Plot: 2 out of 5 stars

Gore: 1 out of 10 skulls

Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains

Reviewed by Deggsy. Mewling Quim.


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