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Manticore
Manticore
Actors: Robert Beltran, Jeff Fahey, Chase Masterson, Heather Donahue, Faran Tahir
Director: Tripp Reed
Genres: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television
NR     2007     1hr 28min

In war-torn Iraq, rugged Army soldiers learn that the battles they face every day have only been a warm-up to the unspeakable terror awaiting them. Dispatched to find a missing news crew, the squad finds itself facing an a...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Robert Beltran, Jeff Fahey, Chase Masterson, Heather Donahue, Faran Tahir
Director: Tripp Reed
Creator: John Werner
Genres: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Science Fiction
Studio: Image Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Enhanced
DVD Release Date: 11/06/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 28min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Enhanced
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Pulpy Science Fiction
Karl E. Weaver | California, USA | 12/13/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)

"This apparently was shown on the Science Fiction Channel, before being released on DVD in 2007. The breaks for commercials are still obvious in this DVD production.
I have to admit I was biased against the production before watching it, based on the description. American soldiers in Iraq have to face down a Manticore? What bothered me about that was that--despite anyone's opinions about the fighting in Iraq, people are still dying over there. To turn the conflict into a backdrop for a science fiction movie seemed like it was almost trivializing or fictionalizing a very real conflict that is still going on.
Anyone who watched "No End in Sight", a documentary about the Iraq War which met with good reviews, may recall the looting of the Baghdad museum which scattered thousands of years worth of historical archives. This too is the backdrop for the story, as there is an ancient relic in there which can bring back to life the stone figures of 2 Manticora. The movie begins with a detachment of soliders trying to stop the looting and Iraqis looting the museum, including a pair intent on retrieving this artifact.
Well, you have your good Iraqis and your bad Iraqis, your good Americans and your..no, wait, there are no bad Americans in the film, only good guys.
Storyline is mediocre, acting is mediocre, nobody is going to win any awards from this production. Though when I started out I thought perhaps it would be the worst DVD of the decade to date, I decided it wasn't really quite that bad. Best character, of course, is the Manticore unfortunately. It's a little sad when a special-effects creature makes for the highlight of an entire movie- length production. If special effects are your thing you might find the beast interesting. If you enjoy laughing at a really pulpy plot, then you can do that too. This should be rated "R" for blood/gore, but no nudity or sex."
Probably the best made-for-Sci-Fi Channel movie ever
Sandor Swartz | Chatham, IL US | 02/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"While the SciFi channel shovels out stinkers by the dozen, from Species 3 (and Species 2 clearly earned a grade of Z-, so why they'd make another one....) to that movie with the cloned dragon with Dean Cain, Megasnake with the winner of the superhero competition, Basilisk and let's not forget those amazingly awful and absurd Sabretooth slasher type movies (I liked how the fetus had sabreteeth - cats of course don't grow teeth until after they're born, just like humans) which somehow managed to cast John Rhys Davies and Venessa Angel (hmmm, lots of mythological creatures from the commodore 64 game Archon when you think about it - perhaps we can expect a banshee, golem or shapeshifter movie to come - hopefully not a unicorn movie) to every manner of hokey disaster flick, this one stands out as an exception, despite the fact that its plot SOUNDS like a clone of all the others, which themselves contain nothing new or creative and are therefore pointless. I assure you, this is much, much better, and much more poignant. It's not mindless violence, it's mindFUL violence!

I was so impressed that I was actually waiting all through 2005 and 2006, checking video stores every week, to try to buy it on DVD and finally gave up and recorded it and edited out the commercials for my own collection when I saw it was on one last time, and I guess I should have just waited a little bit longer since now on inspiration I looked it up and sure enough it was released on DVD in 2007. It has several familiar faces, most notably the man who played Chekotay from Star Trek Voyager (and longer back, a main character from the movie Night of the Comet). It amazingly performs a striking political commentary on the whole 'weapons of mass destruction' fiasco in Iraq, as a small group of religious eccentrics in Iraq resurrect a creature of legend to rekindle THEIR national spirit behind a real, living, breathing weapon of mass destruction, in the face of a military invasion of dubious justification. Of course, the Manticore is just SO powerful and nearly uncontrollable (a standard creation turning on its master sort of story you might say), and practically immortal, so it of course gets a bit out of hand (I thought the manticore was kind of cute though, especially that long spiky tail - and they got the legend just right on the physical characteristics of the Manticore, by the way). So how do you stop the invincible manticore? In the final confrontation, they do their best to scrap together legend and modern technology, so watch the movie and see what they come up with. You won't be disappointed with the resolution. Well, unless you were rooting for the manticore to destroy western civilization or become someone's pet, you won't be disappointed.

As another reviewer pointed out, if they couldn't make the manticore a little less flagrantly computer animated, they should have shown him a bit less. His first appearance was such a brief glimpse, you don't get a good look at him, and that was pretty good - too bad they didn't continue like that all the way through, that would have even better than 'a claw here, a talon there'. Oh well, so it's not perfect. But as a low budget movie goes, I'm sure it was a million dollars well spent. Hollywood can shovel out garbage at 5 times the rate of the Sci-Fi channel and 500 times the price, so this is a testament to how good even a small investment can be if it's only done right. And that manticore was totally badazzzz."
Surprisingly entertaining
Matthew Griffith | 01/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Despite this film's obvious shortcomings, the entertainment value is priceless. The CGI of the Manticore itself is some of the worst in the history of the film industry. However, up until the Manticore is revealed onscreen, the film boasts some very fine performances from both known and unknown talent. Director Tripp Read does a wonderful job shooting action-intense sequences while still maintaining the integrity of quality cinematography.

While Manticores are generally revered as indigenous to Indian myth, this particular Manticore appears in the caves of what we can assume to be hills of Iraq. As I said before, every time this Manticore appears onscreen, the CGI is so bad that the only resort to surviving the images in front of you is to invent a drinking game.

However, when the Manticore is not onscreen, the actors seem to do a wonderful job despite the ridiculousness of the story and mediocre writing. As far as a Sci-Fi Channel original picture goes, they did surprisingly well in hiring the right actors. Relatively unknown Benjamin Burdick portrays a wonderfully funny and refreshing portrayal of a cameraman held captive by his overbearing anchorwoman, played by Chase Masterson. Robert Beltran is in-and-out at best, but Jeff Fahey displays true professionalism in his seriousness of the role. Heather Donahue also attacked her role with a surprising vivaciousness and though I have never seen someone quite as beautiful be a corporal in the military, I was pleasantly surprised by her performance. AJ Buckley and Faran Tahir do an excellent job as well.

Unknowns Michael Cory Davis, Richard Gnolfo, Jonas Talkington, and Jeff M. Lewis do a great job as a supporting ensemble. Though the entire cast were wearing uniforms the only two who actually played convincing soldiers were the two Jeffs: Fahey and Lewis.

The special effects are bad, the writing is mediocre, and the plot is well...a Sci-Fi Channel plot. Despite these, I noticed a smile on my face nearly the entire time and overall enjoyed the experience. I am excited to see what comes from these unknowns and Mr. Read in the future."