Sabretooth (2002)
By: Devon B. on September 21, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Lions Gate (USA). Region 1, NTSC. 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 2.0. English, Spanish Subtitles. 90 minutes
The Movie
Director: James D.R. Hickox
Starring: David Keith, Vanessa Angel, John Rhys-Davies
Screenplay: Tom Woolsey
Music: Igor
Tagline: Be prepared to be ripped apart!
Country: USA
Yes, I rented Sabretooth. And yes, I did enjoy it. And yes, I know I'm a retard.

Sabretooth doesn't waste any time before revelling in its own preposterousness. A janitor is cleaning the kitty's room, and drops a can. The can rolls RIGHT next to the interior door that's supposed to be closed to keep the kitty locked up while the guy cleans. Does he go "Oh, crap!" when he realises the door's open and leave? No, he goes to retrieve the can! This guy's so stupid, he can't even bleed right, with blood coming out of the top of his completely unrupptured skull. Then the kitty begins to maul or eat the guy, and the door to its cell rattles away quite flimsily. How is this door keeping a 500-pound animal in????

From there the viewer is introduced to the walking clichés that make up about half the cast. There's the Hoo-Ha boy; the "ice queen;" the naïve young girl; the wishy-washy nerd; and, worst yet, a black guy who thinks he's Chris Rock. This crew of non-thespians have neglected some much needed acting lessons to instead train to be junior guides for underprivileged kids, all the while grinning inanely and trying desperately to be cool.

They're out getting ready to explore the beauty of Mother Nature and play Truth or Dare, but a guy transporting the kitty goes night-night behind the wheel of his rig. The kitty gets out, and attacks him while he's in the cab of his truck. The kitty's claws cut through the metal roof of the truck, which begs the question, again, why does that flimsy door hold the kitty in during the first scene?

Anyway, Jonathan Rhys-Davies, stepping up from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, is a mogul that helped finance the clone of the sabretooth. Actually, it wasn't cloned from a sabretooth necessarily, just something "very close" to one. I don't know where the original came from that got cloned, or why Rhys and co. thought the kitty also needed a cellular growth hormone, but that's what happened. Rhys calls in Keith David, or was it David Keith…I always get those two confused. I think it's 'cause they look so much alike. Anyway, Rhys calls in one of the Keiths to hunt the kitty.

Sabretooth goes for extremely obvious jokes and dialogue, though it does occasionally hit a mark with the humour, as in a truly funny "no bullet" scene. When Rhys and Keith are introduced into the film, it becomes much harder to watch the amateur youths traipse about the woods, because the professionals naturally do much better with the humour elements Sabretooth strives for.

Along with the bad humour come some bad decisions made by characters. One person assumes that a loud scream will have scared the kitty away, despite a fresh track being found in their campsite the next morning. A couple appear to enjoy combining beer and coffee. Keith does what he can with the script, but even he can't cover up the character's idiocy. Keith claims he will kill the kitty no matter what, then follows the youths' tracks and not the kitty's. He's an expert hunter that just leaves his weapons during a tense confrontation. But his stupidity must make him stronger, 'cause he's hit by the 500-pound beast and not hurt at all. All the human mongoloid behaviour even confuses a feline member of the cast: A puma that forgets that its species doesn't generally just wander up to people.

The CG sabretooth doesn't look too bad, but it seems a bit small. Considering the budget and the fact that the creature has hair, it's pretty good computer work. The kitty also appears as a mechanical mask, and stock footage of a mountain lion or perhaps a regular lioness. I was pretty impressed with this low budget film's bringing the kitty to the screen, until the end where the mechanical kitty is shown way too much and ultimately makes the kitty look like a stuffed, angry mall-animatronic. The climax also shows too much of the CG kitty, with varying levels of success. The biggest problem with all the kitty stuff is that the mix of effects styles results in the kitty really fluctuating size, especially evident in the scene where Not-Chris-Rock gets in a knife fight with the kitty. No, you didn't misread that, he gets in a knife fight with the kitty…and not only that, he turns his back on it for a long time while telling the others to flee. This is quite possibly the stupidest thing I've ever seen! EVER!!! Who would do that????!!! I've heard it's an homage to the bridge fight in Predator, but even then…COME ON!!! Knife-fighting a fucking sabretooth? And just when I'd definitely resolved that this was indeed the stupidest thing I'd ever seen a character do, one of the other cast members decides to enter the running for that prestige by simply telling the kitty to go away. Yeah, because fucking mammals from the ice age speak English…YOU RETARDS!
Sabretooth is presented at 1.78:1 in a 16x9 enhanced print. For a low budget film, it looks great. Minor speckling, but the image is sharp and vivid.
The audio is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track. It's okay, but not spectacular. The dialogue remains discernable throughout, and everything's mixed at an appropriate level.
Extra Features
There's a "hidden" trailer that can be found by selecting the Lions Gate logo. This will also get you the trailer for May.
The Verdict
I did like the movie, despite its many, many, MANY faults, so I deem it rent-worthy if you like the giant monster genre. If you're looking to buy, get it cheap…really, really cheap.
Movie Score
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