Scott Adkins leaps about in this really iffy low budget creature feature which doesn’t really scare or thrill. Nothing much happens at all accept for the odd obligatory water sequence where faceless people get snatched by the monster. Its all very ‘Lake Placid’ like but with really bad attempted humour and some atrocious acting all round. Travis and his team travel to China in search of what isn’t supposed to exist … their mission to capture a Cryptid which is wreaking havoc in a remote village and they need to do this before it is killed by Harker, the legendary bounty hunter.
The dragon in question isn’t really a dragon naturally (shame), they go down the more realistic approach and merely make it an overgrown gecko type lizard…salamanderzilla. So no fantasy element just a stupid looking big lizard that doesn’t really look threatening. The finale sequence in the caves really shows the creature in a bad light, hokey ass CGI. The moment Adkins wrestles the beast is fantastically crappy looking, even Harryhausen’s dated work looks better. The only thing more hokey than the CGI lizard is the lurching Lundgren and of course this being a flick with the two action men they gotta fight. Amazingly though neither of them gets their shirts off, old fashioned fisticuffs for this one. The entire film is basically trash accept for the finale which is slightly more exciting, as said the lizard looks awful but at least you get plenty of eating action. It feels like a homage to those old Doug McClure fantasy flicks more than anything, then you could easily forgive the schlock on screen, problem is it isn’t. Why would the Chinese hire Americans to search their countryside for a man eating amphibian?
I will say the movie was nicely shot, and had some really beautiful scenery to work with. And the lizards themselves, well, they were actually rendered nicely enough. As for the cast of the movie, well, I will just say that you know what you are getting with these people, and they deliver. Just about so, nothing more, nothing less. I mean, wouldn’t someone notice that lizards bigger than cars were roaming the Chinese countryside? Especially because creatures of that size would have to eat a substantial amount of food in order to stay alive, especially when there is more than one of them around. Secondly, why would the Chinese government bring in American researchers, soldiers and freelancers? It just doesn’t add up. Especially when one of the groups were running around armed to the teeth.
Dolph Lundgren is his usual self, playing the cigar smoking hunter who won’t even consider letting the animals live to be studied. Though really what purpose a 30 foot lizard, or bear are to helping make this a better world is something that this movie never gets clear. The sudden ending with everything all wrapped up is just too perfect after all the messy crap that no one was doing right for most of the movie. These people are all just going to get themselves killed, and then there will just be a park full of giant weird animals eating each other in the sequel for sure. I didn’t Enjoy this movie over all, the animals all look fake, and I never felt that anyone should be allowed to put themselves in that kind of danger for no real reason. You will most likely never see this movie, but if you do, I can tell you that you will come away unimpressed, and feeling like you should have just skipped it.