Man eating worms pop up in South Africa and terrorize a village until an American with plenty of experience arrives to take care of business in this action/monster/comedy hybrid.
The story begins with a pair of hunters running afoul of these subterranean monsters. One escapes the attack and his account motivates a Game official to journey to Nevada to contact the one man who has survived various encounters with these creatures.
That guy is Burt Gummer. He is found in Perfection, Nevada demonstrating how to live off the land by baking a rattlesnake in a handcrafted clay oven for his reality show, “The Survivalist.” Gummer loves two things. Guns and using said weapons to kill “Graboids.” Turns out Graboids are the same worms preying on South Arica and Gummer knows them well(after three sequels he should).
He is ,at first, reluctant to leave home but a new producer, Travis, is able to motivate him with a big and shiny weapon of mass destruction. It’s off to Africa where custom officials screw up the plan immediately by impounding Gummer’s stockpile of weaponry.
The village has plans to welcome him with a party but the gung-ho Gummer intends to get to work. He investigates the most recent attack site and realizes that this is a new breed of mutated worm beast. This African variety is sleeker and better adapted to its environment. The hunt is on.
Burt finds out , the hard way, that his Game official liaison is actually a skilled poacher but by then it is too late. The false huckster now has an egg from this new species and that adds a new wrinkle as there is also a whole cave full of these creatures that are also demanding his attention. Burt must team up with his snarky cameraman and a local Vet, Dr. Montabu, though he’s used to working solo.
It all comes down to a terrific bunch of action sequences pitting bullets and bombs against worms the size of SUVs. The scenery couldn’t be prettier ,though it sure doesn’t stay that way by the time these folks are done smearing the terrain with worm innards.
This series has been going strong since the first one debuted in 1990. All of the films have featured Gummer, as well as a brief television series, and he is a fun character to follow. This guy is a bit stiff but he loves his guns and is the perfect foil for guest characters who get to be funny while interacting with the tight lipped Gummer.
Michael Gross (TV’s Family Ties) has played Gummer in all of the installments and notches up another tongue in cheek performance this time out. He gets good support from Jamie Kennedy(Scream) as Travis. The pair play off each other well and both give plenty of stage to newcomer Pearl Thusi as Dr. Montabu. She is a gorgeous, and statuesque, screen presence who also acquits herself in several action scenes. My only complaint is that the film could have used a little more of her .
The special effects are why these films work . The Graboids are cool creations rendered through a combination of CGI and in-camera make up. They are like miniature versions of Frank Herbert’s sandworms in his ‘Dune ” series. They also come in several shapes with the flying ones being the most deadly. A fun series that has yet to falter.
It was announced, last November, that there will be a new series featuring the Graboids in 2016. Kevin Bacon (who starred in the first flick alongside Remo Williams himself, Fred Ward)is set to produce and star in this version which will see him returning to Perfection ,Nevada for more worm wars. You just can’t keep a good Graboid down.
Best Lines: “I think I broke my butt.”
“Now we wait while this little baby turns snake into snack.”
“I just got wormed.”
Tom Doty is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.