Saturday, May 30, 2015


Avengers Grimm [2015] is a recent direct-to-video release fro, the fun folks at The Asylum, makers of such cinematic goodies as Nazis at the Center of the Earth, Mega Piranha and, of course, Sharknado and its sequels. If one can love a movie studio, then I’m deeply, madly in love with The Asylum.

The Asylum’s spirited movies may not have the biggest budgets and stars, but they capture the wonderfulness of the “B” movies that enlivened my childhood. When I watch one of their movies, I feel like that 12-year-old boy who huddled close to his family’s black-and-white TV set in Cleveland with the sound turned down low so as to not disturb the rest of the family.

Ghoulardi aka Ernie Anderson was my guide to monstrous movie mayhem in those bygone years. He was the king of Cleveland TV and taught me the ways of Godzilla and the Black Scorpion and that crazy tree monster that came from Hell. Just saying “Hell” out loud back then would have been grounds for going to confession at Saints Philip and James Church.

If I want to be honest and I always try to be honest with my bloggy thing readers, that black-and-white TV was my real church and the beatnik-like Ghoulardi was its pastor. Small wonder I grew up and became the founder and pastor of the First Church of Godzilla, now holding services on Facebook. But I digress.

In Avengers Grimm, five fairy-tale heroines are whisked from their magical world to our more mundane world by the evil machinations of Rumpelstiltskin. Here, they must use their magical powers and their well-honed natural skills to keep “Rumpy” from conquering our world as he seeks a way back to their world. Yes, I called him “Rumpy.” I’m not typing “Rumpelstiltskin” more often than I absolutely have to. I wouldn’t do that to my Spell Checker.

The premise of this movie delights me. Some have called it a mash-up of Marvel’s Avengers and Once Upon a Time - not without some justification - but this movie doesn’t feel like either the super-hero movies or the TV series to me. It has flaws which kept it from being as good as it could and should have been, but, though I will mention them here today, didn’t keep from spending an enjoyable 87 minutes with Snow White and her posse.

The "Avengers Grimm" are Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and the outsider Red (as in riding hood). The first three have magical powers, Rapunzel has weaponized hair and Red is just hella good at archery and other fighting skills. Working with the villain are the Wolf (of course), Iron John (a gangster forced to work with Rumpy to protect his neighborhood), an extremely corrupt police force and a legion of transformed and mind-controlled human beings who got on the wrong side of Rumpy.

Lou Ferrigno gives a terrific performance as Iron John. Casper Van Diem is a little chewy as Rumpy. The fairy-tale fighters - Lauren Parkinson, Milynn Sarley, Marah Fairclough, Rileah Vanderbilt and Elizabeth Peterson - are a little shaky with their performances, but look and move well. With a little work, I think they could all be much improved in any sequel.

Briefly seen is Jonathan Medina as “Jack,” who could be either Jack Be Nimble or Jack the Giant Killer. He has a great “don’t blink or you’ll miss it scene” where’s he helping a girl and her little dog to safety. I assume the magic mirror portals open to more than one fantasy world.

Avengers Grimm was written and directed by Jeremy M. Inman. I think this is his first major writer and director gig, though he worked as a digital imaging technician on nearly two dozen other movies. He’s also been an actor, producer, editor, second unit director and filled other roles as well. It’s a good first effort. I hope to see more of his work in the future.

Avengers Grimm isn’t a great movie. It is a fun movie with obvious potential to become a series of movies. That’s all I ask from “B” movies and The Asylum rarely disappoints me.

Forget about Disney and Universal and all those other movie-making places. When I grow up, I want to be in Asylum pictures.

Come back tomorrow for my review of a non-Asylum movie that may be one of the worst movies I ever have seen and reviewed.

© 2015 Tony Isabella

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