Cowboys vs Dinosaurs Movie Review
Written by Steven Wood
Released by MarVista Entertainment
Directed By Ari Novak
Written By Anthony Fankhauser
2015, 90 minutes, Not Rated
VOD released on May 19th, 2015
Rib Hills as Val Walker
Casey Fitzgerald as Sky
John Freeman as Henry
Sara Malukul Lane as Dr. Sinclair
Kelcey Watson as Quaid
Vernon Wells as Marcus
Eric Roberts as Trent Walker
Over the past decade or so, the amount of low budget sci-fi released has been staggering. This relatively new sub-genre, which I'm coining as "cheese-fi", has become ever so prevalent and makes you wonder if these directors/production companies are intentionally spewing out films like this. There is an audience, for sure, and I'm one of the people who enjoy probably half of the cheese-fi that's released. It does surprise me, though, as to just how awful some of this sub-genre can be. I expect subpar acting, the cheap CGI or lack of practical effects, and the nonsensical plot, but when mixed correctly, and the director knows what he's doing, the end result may end up great.
Cowboys vs Dinosaurs – "really?" you might ask yourself; I know I did. But don't scoff just yet; I've come to realize that any movie (mainly due to The Asylum) with the term "vs" in it is bound to be fun, if not anything else. The writer, Anthony Fankhauser, must have been heavily influenced by the underrated Eight Legged Freaks and Tremors to a certain extent. The parallels are pretty uncanny: from the disaster in the local mine, to the stranger (Rib Hills) returning home after a long absence. There are a few other similarities and I'm sure you will spot them while watching.
Do we as an audience really need a plot at this point? Well one, though trite, still exists. When a local mine has an accident and reports of "animal" attacks run rampant, the tyrannical boss of the operation (Vernon Wells) decides to proceed as per usual, completely neglecting the fact people may still be trapped in the mine. He also doesn't care about the wellbeing of the town since his only concern is to get himself out of harm's way. Turns out these so called "animal" attacks are actually dinosaurs! The locals will not just stand idly by but rather choose to stay and fight to protect their small town. With radio signals down, it's up to them to eradicate the dinos and survive.
To my surprise, the acting isn't as terrible as I assumed it would be. No one will be winning any awards, and Eric Roberts is over the top, but overall things are stable. I'd like to see Rib Hills in more movies like this as he is the best part of any scene he's in, and he has the acting chops as well. Other standouts would be Vernon Wells as Marcus, who is a completely self-centered dick the entire time. Kelcey Watson as Quaid is also fantastic, particularly in a scene involving him in a laundry mat, a raptor and dual AK-47's. Yea, things get wild in Cowboys vs Dinosaurs, and it's never boring. With the exception of a few moments in the first 15 or so, it's balls to the wall. This is easily one of the better cheese-fi movies I've seen in the past few years.