It’s a battle of the beasts from the director of Pet Sematary
that’ll rock your world when two titanic terrors face off along with a pair of ‘80s pop icons! After doctor and activist Nikki Riley (Debbie Gibson) accidentally unleashes a python into the Everglades, rival doctor Terry O’Hara (Tiffany) is tasked with finding an expert reptile hunter—and when her boyfriend dies in the process, she resorts to extreme measures to create genetically enlarged gators to stop the slithering menace. Soon the swamp is a huge, scaly battleground between colossal gators and pythons -- with a charity ball of potential human snacks in their path! Don’t miss this mammoth spectacle of teen queens and man-eating monsters in a gargantuan duel to the death!
This SyFy Channel original production starts and ends with the joke pairing of Debbie Gibson and Tiffany, the '80s teen-pop mega-idols whose rivalry at the peak of their fame gets a real comeuppance over the course of an unconditionally silly story about giant snakes and giant alligators and the human flesh that comes between them. Those old enough to have been tweenage fans may take some perverse pleasure in an extended catfight between the two fortysomethings, which ends with them flopping around in a swamp. But a wet T-shirt contest between a pair of sexy starlets this ain't. Fortunately both of them are entirely in on the publicity ploy of their onscreen battle as well as the utterly absurd and blatantly amateurish attempts at monster effects, not to mention a script that's as lame and self-reflexive as schlock horror gets. Gibson plays an animal activist named Nikki who liberates giant pythons from a laboratory into the Florida Everglades, where they breed bigger and bigger offspring, endangering the native alligator population. As Terry, the self-righteous park ranger, Tiffany fights back by heedlessly feeding the gators dangerous experimental steroids so they can fight back against the mega python aggressors. (In a nod to Jaws
, Terry points out to no one in particular, "We need a bigger gator!") Needless to say, neither Nikki nor Terry was paying much attention in biology class when issues of maintaining the delicate balance of eco-preservation were being taught. Each one keeps upping the ante in what turns into a personal grudge match--hence the ultimate Tiffany vs. Gibson smackdown--until creatures of both species now hundreds of feet long are terrorizing the locals and threatening to cut a swath of reptilian destruction all the way to Miami. Caught in the middle of the digital mayhem are countless humans who get chomped and swallowed in great splashes of gore, including those who are closest to the dopey women responsible for it all. Two good sports who show up for some self-effacing fun and what was probably a very small paycheck are A Martinez as a scientist who thinks he knows what he's doing, and ex-Monkee Micky Dolenz, who plays himself, though apparently for the last time. Speaking of the digital effects, they're about as laughable as the rest of the cheapo production elements and appear to have been layered in via laptop as an afterthought. When the humans fight back with automatic weapons and dynamite, giant chunks of reptiles fall from the sky like pixilated boulders. But Mega Python vs. Gatoroid
is meant to be winking high camp from start to finish (see opening sentence) and no one is taking anything very seriously. That's also the best way to view it, preferably with a roomful of Tiffany and Gibson fans (or maybe haters) who have been appropriately lubed with the beverages of their choice. --Ted Fry