|The Plot: Our film opens in the distant future of 1994, where we follow mercenaries Mike (Christopher Connelly) and Mohammed (Tony King) as they are paid by a colonel to kill a man for $50,000. After pulling this job successfully, the two plan on getting away and heading to Trinidad until the heat blows over. At the same time, we follow Dr. Cathy Rollins (Gioia Scola), a expert in pre-Colombian dialects, who is brought aboard a rig located in the Atlantic ocean. She is brought in by the US government who has placed Dr. Saunders (George Hilton) responsible for her. Saunders asks Rollins to decipher a tablet that is dated over 12,000 years old and was recently found on the ocean’s floor. After some quick research, Dr. Rollins decides that this tablet could very well prove the existence of Atlantis itself! When the scientists begin diving for more research and using a submarine to possibly lift Atlantis, the great underwater paradise rises from the ocean’s floor. When it rises, the rig is destroyed and leaves Dr. Rollins and a select few stranded. Mike and Mohammed, on their way to Trinidad, find them floating and soon this group is off and traveling. They stumble upon San Pedro island where Manuel, Mike’s friend and guide, goes insane and tries to kill them. On San Pedro, the island has been turned into a war zone, bodies are strung up on buildings, and the streets are empty. A gang known as The Interceptors are killing off the entire population. Now Mike, Mohammed and the two doctors have to find a way to survive and put an end to this curse from Atlantis!|
While Cut & Run is likely my least favorite of this impressive run, I give it credit for its rather clear narrative comportment. With Raiders of Atlantis, a film I find infinitely more entertaining, I can not deny how utterly ridiculous this whole project is. From a critical standpoint, no this is not a “good” movie. The special effects are laughable, some of the acting is atrocious and the general plot is made up entirely of head scratching moments that deny probability. Yet, when this movie finally decides to get up and start moving, it does so with a unabashed sense of urgency that can’t be denied. The first half of Raiders of Atlantis is comprised of establishing information primarily, but it still comes off entirely as fluff. We know next to nothing about the characters of Mike Hall or his companion Mohammed/Washington, despite their being our leads. So, it becomes rather difficult to say that the first half is dedicated to character exposition when we aren’t entirely sure what it is that our lead characters do for a living. It is obvious that we watch Mohammed and Mike commit murder and we see them collect money for doing so, apparently from a colonel, but how did they get wrapped up in this business? Are they mercenaries? What has happened with these men to have lead them to this? Do they have families? How long have they been doing this? Are they cruel? There is very little time spent explaining who these men are, despite it being crucial in understanding the characters.
Deodato reveals his lack of technique in the world of science fiction as we see Atlantis raised from the bed of the ocean. A director more experienced in this form of special FX may have been able to save some of these scenes, but as it is Raiders… features some of the absolute worst miniature FX on record. You begin to understand how brilliant a filmmaker Ishiro Honda was, that his Godzilla movies and giant monster flicks could still look so good fifty years later, when a movie made recently in comparison could look so awful. In the book Cannibal Holocaust and the Savage Cinema of Ruggero Deodato, the writers correctly described the FX work as “boat in a bath tub stuff”. The “waves” that come rushing towards the camera have no frothy edge to them like you would expect in such a mammoth tidal wave, the props are lacking in detail and the sequences overall come across as embarrassing. Still, for b-movie fans looking for a laugh, there are plenty to be had here.