The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum


Director Mark L. Lester was responsible for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best movie, Commando and Dolph Lundgren’s best non-Rocky IV film, Showdown in Little Tokyo, so it only figures that he should be the one to bring us the definitive Coolio vs. prehistoric monsters movie, Pterodactyl. 


Basically it’s all about a smirking professor who takes a bunch of students to investigate an active volcano somewhere in Turkey.  Unbeknownst to them, the heat from the volcano has awakened some prehistoric pterodactyl eggs and those suckers are HUNGRY!  They annoying students run into a gang of tough mercenaries led by Coolio (come on when you think “tough mercenary”, you immediately have to think of Coolio) who are looking for a terrorist cell hiding out in the woods.  The pterodactyls grow to enormous size and quickly reproduce.  That means the scaly bird beasties have to latch onto various cast members and whisk them back to their nest so that the baby pterodactyls can turn them into Gerber’s Prehistoric Baby Food.  In the end, Coolio busts out a big ass bazooka and sends the bloodthirsty birds to Gangsta’s Paradise. 


The typical plot and cardboard acting are about on par with what you’d usually see on Sci-Fi Channel at 1:00 AM.  At least the effects are slightly better than the norm and there’s more intentional humor that actually manages to be kinda funny.  All of this doesn’t quite add up to make a successfully entertaining flick though.  Sure, it’s a hair or two better than the usual Sci-Fi Channel fare, but that isn’t saying a whole lot.  Coolio is pretty good (God, I thought those words would ever come out of my mouth) and his hard ass character is kinda like a cut-rate Keith David. 


The pterodactyl effects aren’t half bad as far as these things go and the gore is better than average.  The scenes of the baby dinos ripping out people’s guts are fun as is the scene where one guy got cut in half by the prehistoric bird’s wings.  Lester slyly rips off Jurassic Park here and there (the students find a bunch of Pterodactyl Pee-Pee instead of Brontosaurus Poop, there’s a monsters-chasing-the-Jeep scene, etc.) and keeps things moving along at a steady clip.  His considerable action chops suffer due to the lack of a healthy budget (the gunfights are all interchangeable and indifferently edited), but Pterodactyl nevertheless manages to be a decent enough time waster.


It ain’t much, but at least it’s better than The Lost World:  Jurassic Park. 


Coolio gets the best line of the movie when he gets the drop on the greasy terrorist:  “You move and I’ll blow your nut sac off!”

Tags: p, sci-fi
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