Attack Pack

Starring: Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Michael Gross and Finn Carter
Universal Pictures
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 03 March 2007

In the first Tremors film Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward star as handymen Val McKee and Earl Bassett, who are looking for work. When leaving the tiny Nevada Desert town of Perfection they come across an attractive seismology student who is taking some unusual readings. Before they know what has happened they, and the handful of inhabitants of Perfection - including the gun-toting survivalist Burt Gummer - are fighting for their lives against huge underground man-eating worms that move like lightening and are attracted to sound.

This is one of my all-time favourite films. Fun is the key word here. Bacon and Ward prove to be a great pairing. You can tell they got on well together, and the humour of their partnership and the very weird situation they find themselves in comes across as well-balanced and quirky. I would recommend anyone to give this one a try. It's like a modernised fifties B-movie with all the enjoyable elements that brings. Extras on this disc are a Making of Tremors featurette, Trailers, Production Notes and Cast & Filmmakers' Biographies.

In Tremors 2: Aftershocks, Earl Bassett is asked by the Mexican government to hunt Graboids (the worm creatures) for $50,000 each. Having been cheated out of the money made on his first venture by unscrupulous lawyers, he accepts, calling in Burt Gummer (Michael Gross) for help. But they discover the Graboids have a second part to their life-cycle which involves three aboveground Shriekers tearing their way out of each creature. To make matters worse the Shriekers self-reproduce by eating.

So no Kevin Bacon for this one, who has gone on to other bigger roles. But Fred Ward and Michael Gross return for a slightly sillier but still watchable sequel. I think it was a mistake to put a Kevin Bacon lookalike in his place, although he fills the role adequately without bringing anything new. In fact, many of the same set-pieces are played-out. Helen Shaver plays a scientist to give Ward the love interest that Bacon had in the first film. I did find myself warming to this film after a slow start.

In Tremors 3: Back to Perfection, Burt Gummer kills an army of Shriekers in Argentina and arrives back in Perfection to find Jack giving guided tours to tourists, complete with cheap and fake effects. All hell breaks loose when real shriekers show up, and this time they have mutated into flying creatures. And why is one albino Graboid following Burt around?

Michael Gross returns to give the only continuity for this third outing. Once a few comments have been made about flying Shriekers lighting their farts (internal gases are ignited to enable them to takeoff and attack at great speed) you soon realise the whole concept is starting to get more than a little ridiculous. There are some nice moments, but even Burt Gummer has become a parody of himself by now. Extras include a Spotlight On Location, a Trailer, Production Notes and Cast & Filmmakers' Biographies.

The fourth and last film is a prequel set in the late 1800s. When a number of horrible unexplained deaths take place in a silver mine in the town of Rejection (the original name for Perfection), the mine is closed and people start to leave. The owner, Hiram Gummer (great-grandfather of Burt - again played by Michael Gross) arrives to get things moving, but when he experiences one of the underground creatures firsthand the frightened man hires a gunfighter to do his work for him... With unexpected consequences.

It's not giving away too much to voice the obvious and say that the gunfighter meets a sticky end, and that Hiram becomes a man and learns to fight his own battles - even becoming a hero. Yawn. By now the format is tedious, and has pretty much run out of ideas. Placing it in a different time period hasn't helped reignite the fire the original had.

It makes sense in this time of DVD box sets to sell these four films together. If a special edition of the original Tremors had been released I would probably have scored it much higher, but on average 7 is a fair compromise for the set.

Ty Power

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