Genre: Action, Adventure.
Starring: BingBing Li, Kellan Lutz, Kelsey Grammer, Wu Chun, Stef Dawson, Shane Jacobson, Ryan Johnson, Jason Chong.
Year Of Release: 2018 (UK)
Certificate: 12A (UK)
Runtime: 90 Minutes
Director: Kimble Rendall
Writer(s): Gary Hamilton, Jonathan Scanlon, Kimble Rendall & Paul Staheli
Synopsis: “An innocent discovery of a well-preserved mummified Emperor from 200 B.C. China unearths a two-thousand-year-old nightmare, a secret that should have remained buried.” IMDB
After an expedition in Western China to find a lost emperor’s tomb vanishes leaving a weak GPS signal, archaeologist and business CEO Mason (Krammer) hires scientist Jia (Bingbing) and adventurer Ridley (Lutz) to carry on the expedition.There, the group, joined by seismologists Milly (Dawson) and Gary (Jacobson), pick up the trail in a vast desert and find themselves in an ancient labyrinth where it is revealed they are searching for a fabled ‘Fountain Of Youth’.
But they are not alone – an army of genetically engineered funnel-web spiders guard the secrets of the tomb and are intent on picking off Jia and her team. It becomes clear the only way out is to venture deeper and deeper into the tomb itself…
This is your run of the mill B-movie straight-to-home-video/digital streaming release. It’s a blend of your student film ‘Tomb Raider’, ‘Indiana Jones’, ‘Relic Hunter’….any tomb raiding, lost artifact, historical lore based adventure you can think of. We have booby traps, rickety bridges, low-lighting, eerie tombs and crypts, rivers of lava… the lot.
Oh, and hordes of CGI funnel web spiders that are actually pretty spine-tinglingly horrid if you’re not a fan of the arachnid. While some of the visual effects are painfully obvious giving our spiders some animation in actually guarding said tomb, there are some moments that will easily freak out those with a fear of spiders, so be careful.
They burrow out of the skin, crawl out of mouths, jump onto passers-by, swim under-water, hide in your clothes….ugh. It’s actually nice to see something so fear-inducing used to good effect once again in a feature film as a “villain”.
It’s these spiders that our intrepid adventurers are up against as they seek for a mystical elixir that will grant eternal life. Standard stuff as said, and it only lasts 1hr 27mins. Kelsey Grammer is the man funding the search and goes along for the ride, and you just know our Frasier is hiding some devious alternate plan…but what? Oh, you already know where it’s going from the off. We’ve got a Chinese version of Lara Croft who just happens to be an expert on spiders and venom, a cheap Chris Pratt ‘Jurassic World’-esque buff adventurer and plenty of token victims – er, supporting cast – such as the throwaway damsel in distress, the witty scientist, the veteran pro etc.
While it offers little, it’s not THE worst budget movie you’re going to see. The spiders make for uncomfortable viewing if you’re not a fan of the little shits, and the cast are harmless enough aided by ‘Star Trek: The Original Series’ wobbly sets and cheap looking production and mediocre visuals to carry things over for 90mins without anything complex, complicated or memorable.