10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A stew of cliches,
This review is from: Monster Wolf (DVD)
You would think that movie characters would learn. If you in any way violate or dishonor American Indian lands, some kind of ancestral spirit... thingy will appear and rip your face off. In movies, not in real life (sadly). So guess what the plot of the horribly-titled "Monsterwolf" is, and how things pan out -- lots of explicit blood, guts, pseudomystical stuff, a sloppy plot, and a few good actors who are given almost nothing to work with.
In the small Southern town of Crowley (be terrified!), the oil company boss Stark (Robert Picardo) is desperate to get ahold of Indian land, presided over by Chief Turner (Steve Reevis). Since Stark works for an Evil Oil Company that will destroy the environment, he has brought in Maria, a local-girl-turned-NYC-lawyer who he hopes will give him an edge.
Oh, and he's also sent workers to start blasting illegally... only for them to be horribly murdered. Turner says that it's the Kachinawaya, a vengeful wolf-spirit that has come to defend his tribe from the oil company "tribe." For some reason nobody believes him, even though people keep getting horribly slaughtered by a saber-toothed wolf who cannot be killed by bullets, grenades and a SPEEDING MACK TRUCK.
Meanwhile, the down-home kindness of Crowley's pure-hearted country hicks have thawed Maria's cold lawyer heart. To stop the Kachinawaya -- as well as Stark and the assassins he has called in -- she must dig back into her own past.
If they crammed any more cliches into "Monsterwolf," the entire movie might have burst into flames. We've got a tragic backstory, an environmental message shoehorned in, some faux-Indian lore, an evil oil company (boo! Hiss!), and a cast of blandly generic characters with blandly generic roles to play. It's like if Al Gore decided to make a movie about American Indians' plight.
And the plot is an absolute mess, mainly because the second half tries to introduce.... PLOT. The climactic plot twist is incredibly stupid and predictable, and stuff like Maria being American Indian is only introduced most of the way through the story (it's only ESSENTIAL TO THE PLOT). Additionally, there are all sorts of insanely stupid moments, like an arrowhead necklace being FIRED FROM A GUN. Guns don't work like that.
And like many Syfy movies, the special effects are HORRENDOUS -- the perpetually bloody-mouthed CGI wolf is less frightening than "Red Riding Hood's." Also, the budget was apparently too low to spring for a flashback sequence, so the scenes involving the origins of the Kachinawaya are depicted by scribbled cartoons. Huh?
Picardo and Reevis are easily the best actors in this, and they are CRIMINALLY misused. Both of them are playing flat stereotypes -- one the gentle, wise American Indian in tune with nature, and the other an amoral, maniacal murderous corporate money-grubber who is always on the edge of a psychotic break. Neither one really has any characteristics beyond that.
The rest of the actors are blandly mediocre. Leonor Varela does what she can, but her character is so utterly unremarkable that you don't really care if the virtues of small-town America are bringing her back to the "good" side. And most of the other actors are pretty dull, and never really developed.
"Monsterwolf" is a big choking mass of bad writing, limp characters and a smack-you-in-the-face environmental message that makes you want to leave your car running. I'll stick with other movies for my wolf quota.