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Rotary Action - helicopter movies
cast: Cuba Gooding Jr, Ron Perlman, Ray Winstone, Valerie Cruz, and Stephanie Jacobsen
director: Jason Connery
90 minutes (15) 2010
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Lions Gate DVD Region 2
review by Matthew S. Dent
The Devil's Tomb
Once in a while, a film comes along that I cannot pre-judge it. A film whose nature and premise confuses me so much that I can only watch in silent
awe. Or something like that, at any rate. The Devil's Tomb features a hard-as-nails special forces team led by Cuba Gooding Jr, going on a
classified mission they know far too little about, to recover a missing scientist from a hole in the ground in somewhere which is strongly hinted
to be Iraq. Except there are zombies down there, or it might be the devil, or maybe aliens. But there's definitely Ron Perlman.
That's the fundamental feeling I get from The Devil's Tomb, that it's never sure what it wants to be. At its heart I'm fairly sure it's an
action film, due to all those guns, and army boots, and the endless, dripping militaristic cliché. But it's trying desperately hard to be something
more than that, which is something encouraging, I guess. The problem comes, though, with the zombies. A team of soldiers fighting off the
undead-and-uncooperative is nothing new when it comes to horror films, and the only new thing that The Devil's Tomb brings to the table is
that these zombies are chattier than most, with their own pseudo-satanistic religious mumblings.
The acting talent varies drastically, with most of the cast being fairly resolutely B-movie stock. Gooding Jr feels like he's phoning it in most
of the time, with poorly cut flashbacks seeing him staring off into the middle distance like he's forgotten his lines, and actually explaining nothing
in the long run. And Ray Winstone may as well not be there. It's not that he's bad, it's just that he's not given much to do, and it's never really
made clear why he's there.
On the other hand, though, Ron Perlman is fairly impressive. It was a bit surprising at first to see him playing a scientist, especially when there
are so many macho soldier roles going. But he pulls it off brilliantly, showing the acting flair that has come closer to the fore with such films
The Devil's Tomb can't be dismissed as a simple B-movie. It's something more than that. There's so much potential there, with the actors
and with the ideas. But it ends up being unfulfilled. Perlman is very good, but in this particular film, that's a lonely position to occupy. It
isn't a bad film, but it left me feeling disappointed in the end, simply because for a little while I'd thought it could actually be good.