Ah, Asylum films. You never cease amaze me with your movie rip-offs, rife with cringe-worthy dialog, paper-thin plots completely lacking in story and logic, and actors with questionable skills. You’re like a bad habit I cannot break. I find your films sometimes painful to watch, yet, I cannot look away.
Today’s offering is Jack the Giant Killer, the knockoff of the theatrical version, Jack the Giant Slayer. I’ve actually seen both, and the theatrical version makes more sense, and was much more enjoyable.
Jack the Giant Killer takes the age old story of Jack and the Beanstalk and needlessly adds child abduction, dead-beat dads, steam punk battle suits, and the old “take revenge on humanity” theme.
So the movie opens and we see Jack and his girlfriend working on some big metal robot suit thing. Why? Who knows, they never explained it. Anyway Jack and girlfriend are working on this suit for unknown reasons, when his parents call him in to celebrate his 18th birthday. Yay, that’s great, but oh, Jack seems to be adversarial with his dad. Oh, wait, STEP DAD. Instant drama. Even though his step dad actually raised Jack from a baby, and the guy doesn’t really seem all that bad, hey, he’s not Jack’s “real” dad, so pouty face!
As Jack whines and goes all broody teen about the fact that his bio dad took off before he was born, whacky uncle dude shows up to give Jack something for his birthday. It’s something Jack’s dad would have wanted him to have—a packet of huge-ass beans. Yay, thanks Real Dad! Your weird and awkward gift proves you’re so much better than the guy who’s actually been there for me my whole life!
Anyway, let’s fast forward a bit to the point where Jack tosses a bean into a field, creating a huge beanstalk. The British equivalent of the Men in Black show up, and a crowd gathers. But the stalk likes its space, and if someone gets too close, the plant impales them with one if its snake-like vines. Turns out, only the person who planted the bean can approach and climb the resulting beanstalk. But the stalk only lasts a day, then it deteriorates.
So up Jack goes, and discovers this land above the clouds. There are giant beasts, a flying castle, and OMG!! His long-lost dad! Named Newald! Who’s only 10 years older than Jack. Seems time moves differently way up in the clouds. Even though 18 years passed on Earth, it had only been a few DAYS to his father.
You know what this cloud-land doesn’t have? Giants. Because apparently Jack’s father killed them all. In the few days he was there. Let’s all take a moment to chew on the fact that this dude appeared in a strange land and immediately started murdering the locals for no apparent reason.
So bad-ass giant killer Newald uses his flying castle (because, you know, the giants are all dead now and don’t need it anymore) to take Jack to a sorceress, Serena, to try and figure out a way back down the stalk. Because you can’t just climb down.
Let’s talk about Serena for a minute. She is human, abducted by the giants when she was a child. Why? Well, the good folks at Asylum apparently didn’t know either, because we’re not privy to that bit of backstory. All we know is she was brought up to scenic Cloud Land, never wanted for anything, wasn’t mistreated, but she’s pretty bitter about it. Oh, and she’s magic.
Seems Serena thinks her mother didn’t do enough to stop the giant from taking her. And that humanity in general is pretty much crap because they didn’t keep her safe or come get her. Because, you know, that’s a completely reasonable reaction to have. Her mother totally could have stopped a giant from kidnapping her. TOTALLY.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, Jack’s girlfriend uses another bean to go up and look for him. When she gets there, Serena decides to take some of the giant beasts—that she controls with a magic amulet—with her down to Earth to take over. Also a totally reasonable reaction to her situation.
Did I mention that the giants were apparently the only thing that kept these big triceratops-like beasts at bay? Well, they were. So Newald not only committed genocide, he also royally screwed up Cloud Land’s ecosystem.
So Serena goes down with 4 beasts—this number is important, remember it—to cause havoc, kill various British military red shirts, and issue her demands of world domination. Cue scenes of destruction, lots of people shooting pointlessly at the beasts, and Serena acting all “Now you’ll pay!”
At some point Serena’s magic amulet is broken, and the beasts go nuts. Serena conveniently switches sides and is now one of the good guys to try and help stop the creatures from destroying everything. The good guys are all “We totally trust you now even though 5 minutes ago you were trying to kill us!”
Now we’re at the point in the movie when bombs are dropped, bigger bullets are shot, and beasts barely flinch. If only there were a plot point that could somehow come back at the end and save us all!
WAIT!! JACK’S VAGUE STEAMPUNK ROBOT SUIT THING!!
So Jack brings his suit and manages to take out the biggest beast. Everyone cheers, there are lots of hugs and kisses and the screen fades to black. The world is safe once again.
But what’s that you say? Weren’t there actually 4 beasts when Serena descended from the heavens? Shouldn’t there be 3 more that still need dealt with?
The answers are yes, and yes. But the credits are already rolling. Asylum can’t be bothered to re-edit.
Sharp-eyed viewers will also notice that the beasts in the movie look NOTHING like the beast depicted on the front of the DVD. And, that Jack himself did not, in fact, kill any giants. The whole movie actually seemed to focus a lot on Newald, leaving Jack as a mostly secondary character.
Pfft. Details. Asylum’s got a studio to run, and 12 more mockbusters to make in the next 2 months.
Some moves are so bad they’re fun. This wasn’t one of them.