Fossil Ridge, once believed to be a cattle ranch is discovered to be a breeding ground for vicious prehistoric velociraptors. When the bloodthirsty dinosaurs escape, the townspeople must fight to survive the deadly raptors.
I’m not too sure what’s going on here but The Dinosaur Experiment was released late last year as Raptor Ranch and that’s about the only thing that’s changed about it since I refuse to believe that anything on display here is any better than it was last year. Anyway you wanna look at it, either as The Dinosaur Experiment or Raptor Ranch it’s a terribly predictable, boring & poorly acted film with but one redeeming element to it. But I’ll get back to that later…
What little story there is here deals with an eccentric old man who’s been breeding and raising velociraptors (& some bigger dinos as well) on his ranch somewhere in Texas. Exactly why he feels this is necessary is never really explained but the lack of that explanation pales compared to the lack of explanation as to exactly how he’s creating these fierce creatures, that’s to say that there isn’t an explanation for that either. So what we have here is an old man that has managed to figure out how to breed dinosaurs for no real reason other than that he can. Which makes total sense if you really stop and think about it since the producers pretty much made this film for the same exact reason.
A disparate group of strangers all have extremely stupid reasons for just happening to be headed towards that town where the ranch is located and it’s obvious that screenwriters Dan Bishop & Shlomo May-Zur did as little work as possible while they wrote this mess since every character is cut from the cloth that all stereotypical characters are cut from, with absolutely nothing to differentiate themselves from each other save for their accents and their gender. And since so little time was invested in actually writing anything resembling character arcs for any of them, it’s an easy enough job writing them out of the script as well with little to no muss or fuss. I could care less who lived or died in this film since I couldn’t give two f**** about any of them anyway.
Somehow Lorenzo Lamas has managed to find himself in two different films that feature Velociraptors as his nemesis (The other being Raptor Island ) but since none of them have either “Jurassic” in their titles or have Steven Spielberg directing then this isn’t something I believe he’s gonna crow much about. What makes matters even worse is that even though he’s top billed here, he’s only in the film for maybe 30 minutes total screen time. And when he does make an appearance he (& just about everyone else involved) sound like they’re making it all up as they’re going along. I find this truly deplorable, especially since part of the script was written by the one & only Shlomo May-Zur (I just like typing the name “Shlomo” so forgive me my indulgence in doing so).
Co-screenwriter Dan Bishop also acts as a co-director (along with Michael Beberashvili) for The Dinosaur Experiment and it’s quite possible he shot his wad while he was co-scripting (with Shlomo!) because there’s absolutely nothing on display in this movie that makes me think he’s capable of directing traffic let alone another flick. I’m not sure how they split the directing duties up between themselves but Mr. Beberashvili ain’t gonna win any accolades here either. The film is rife with bad day for night shots, terrible editing & a general sense of malaise that permeates each & every scene here. It’s almost depressing to have to sit through it all.
But with all of the awfulness that is The Dinosaur Experiment, it’d still be OK for general consumption if they got their dinosaurs right, and using a combination of practical and CGI effects sounds like a good way to make up for the deficiencies of the rest of the film. Sadly but not surprisingly the production falls on its face here as well. The practical dinosaur EFX look cheesy even though we only get to see them from behind bushes most of the time and apparently the CGI stands for “Crappy, Goofy & Inferior” because that’s exactly what it looks like. There might’ve been one or two CGI EFX that could’ve been deemed usable in a SYFY production but I must’ve missed them. Everything else just sucked.
But what was that one redeeming element that I mentioned earlier? Some of you might consider this a bit of a cheat but pop songstress Jana Mashonee is quite the looker and while she can’t act her way out of a paper bag soaked in kerosene & lit aflame, whenever she was onscreen I almost forgot about how awful everything else was in the film. Why do I call her a “Pop Songstress” you ask? Because that’s what her IMDB bio calls her although I couldn’t hum one of her tunes for you even if you offered me a million bucks. But everything on IMDB is absolutely on the up and up isn’t it?
So what do you get when you combine a wanna be pop songstress, a former TV lead actor, a craptacular script (co-written by Shlomo!), awful actors acting in awful roles, terrible direction AND some of the most amateurish dinosaur CGI EFX I’ve ever seen in a film that didn’t have “The Land Before Time” in the title? You get something called The Dinosaur Experiment but take my advice and listen to me when I advise you that the only experiment going on here is how long you’re going to be able to stay awake as this mess unspools in front of your unbelieving eyes. Stay far away from this one unless you’re a glutton for punishment.
The Dinosaur Experiment – .5 out of 5 shrouds.