(director/writer: Kimble Rendall; screenwriters: Paul Stahali/story Rendall & Jonathan Scanlon; cinematographer: Brad Shield; editors: Mat Evans; music: Roc Chen; cast: Kellan Lutz (Jack Ridley), Kelsey Grammer (Mason), Li Bingbing (Jia), Chun Wu (Luke), Ryan Johnson (Ethan), Shane Jacobson (Gary), Yassim Kassim (Lisa), Eva Liu (Yin), Stef Dawson (Milly Piper), Jason Chong (Chen); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Shuo Deng/Ying Ye/Mark Lazrus/Li Bingbing/Richard Learoyd; Gravitas Ventures; 2018-China/Australia-in Mandarin & English with English subtitles)

“Just a bad low-budget 3D B-movie creature sci-fi adventure film, but (oy vez) with deadly spiders.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Just a bad low-budget
3D B-movie creature sci-fi adventure film, but (oy vez) with deadly spiders. It stars the lovely Li Bingbing, as an Australian expert on venomous animals. The uninspiring action film is co-written (with Paul Stahali) and directed by Kimble Rendall (“Bait”/”Cut”), who adapt Rendall’s story he co-authored with Jonathan Scanlon. It involves an exploratory scientific trek to China to find the Fountain of Youth (an elixir) by mostly Western scientists, that has the smart-ass greedy businessman CEO of a struggling biotech company, Mason (Kelsey Grammer), sending his underling Luke (Chun Wu) on the mission to a previously unexcavated burial site in China that contains the mummy of a centuries-old emperor. When Mason loses contact with his team, he organizes a rescue party that includes Luke’s hot older sister, Jia (Li Bingbing). Her father was the former partner of Mason’s company before killed in an airplane crash. Also on the team is the macho mentally scarred former first-responder and outdoorsman Jack Ridley (Kellan Lutz), who leads the rescue operation that turns to one of survival when the group must battle their way through a swarm of deadly spiders in the underground desert. Others involved include stereotype figures used as victims, such as these biotech workers: the comic relief guy Gary (Shane Jacobson), the travel guide Chen (Jason Chong) and the sexy scientist Milly (Stef Dawson).

Finding the mysterious labyrinth holding the ancient mummified emperor leads to the unleashing of thousands of CGI carnivorous spiders. That’s about it folks, with a twist about betrayal also thrown into the banal story.

REVIEWED ON 2/1/2019       GRADE: C-