Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Turok: Son of Stone Movie

Darned right a legend is born
Who doesn't love Turok the Dinosaur Hunter? People who don't like fun, that's who! The Turok franchise has been an interesting study. It's one of those unusual concepts that refuses to die and keeps getting reincarnated in different forms yet never gets the true appreciation it deserves. Kind of strange, considering how long this guy has been around.

Turok started out as a simple comic in the fifties where Turok and his younger friend Andar find their way into an isolated canyon that still has ancient wildlife still surviving along with what basically amount to cave men and have all sorts of adventures. I've gotten ahold of the first batch thanks to the Dark Horse Omnibus setup they've been doing, but so far they have been underwhelming. The art is nice but the overall feeling of the stories is very mellow. There is rarely a sense of urgency or any sturdy plot. I'm hoping they get better structured later on.

Most people know Turok through the Nintendo 64 video games which I myself enjoyed the crap out of as a kid. In that setting Turok was changed to a special dimension-traveling warrior fighting sentient dinosaurs and all kinds of other imaginative enemies. And boy was that glorious fun!

Other comic variants have been released over the years, often dealing with dimensional shifts, lost worlds and other mind-bending concepts for the sake of awesome. But always it's Turok doing what he does best: Beating up dinosaurs with anything he has on hand. Really, he deserves more recognition than he's gotten! I mean, a Native American traveling between dimensions to fight sentient dinosaurs with alien-esque weaponry? That's one of the most awesome things I've ever heard of!

Ah, but not too long ago dear Turok has been finally awarded something long overdue: A movie! I'm sad that I hadn't heard about it before, but better late than never I suppose. I have to give thanks to Prehistoric Pulp for mentioning it on his place, otherwise I might not have heard of it.

But yeah, you can bet that I got myself a copy as soon as I heard of it, and I gotta say it was a fun watch. This flick is basically a combination of the old and new comics to create yet another incarnation of Turok, yet it doesn't feel like an annoying retcon. It carries a lot of spirit in it which is what I think really carries it through in what might otherwise be a dumb cash in. But let's take a look at the details!

We start off meeting three characters: Turok, the obvious protag, his brother Nashoba, and Catori, their mutual lady friend. All his fun and games for a little while as they frolic through the forest, laughing and having a good old time. But this doesn't last too long as they run into some enemies of their tribe. This is where we get the impression that this incarnation starts off in our timeline, perhaps the early 1800's due to both technology and the appearance of the Native Americans, as they seem to take cues from actual dress and hairstyles. I could be wrong on the styling however, so please correct me if I am wrong.

Things go downhill pretty quickly as the small group of enemies want to show off their fancy cutting objects to Turok and Nashoba's insides and to take Catori for some personal time. The leader of the band starts off by throwing his tomahawk at Turok, but the teen shows some remarkable skill in grabbing weapons out of the air like a champ. This shocks not only everyone watching, but also astounds Turok himself! I get the impression that he, his brother and Catori are only teens at this point, so it w

Turok then quickly lays waste to the four guys in a ghastly display of brutality, and this is when you learn that this is most definitely not a kid's movie. Holy crap no. One guy gets his arm slashed off at the wrist and we get to see it spin majestically through the air in a spray of blood along with its owner splashing face first into the river. In fact this might very well be the most violent cartoon since the 86 Transformers movie. And we all know how that one went...

Rest in peace Prowl, rest.
This is just the beginning though. Although a novice in warfare, Turok is apparently the physical incarnation of destruction, as the second the fight starts he lays waste to them by pure reflex. When they are all dead his brother lays a hand on his shoulder, which proves to be an unwise decision, as Turok is still in a blood frenzy and slashes Nashoba to ribbons. It's only after Catori tells him to knock that crap off that he realizes just how bad he has screwed up and comes to his senses, bringing his brother back to his tribe where the local medicine man patches him up and tries to keep him from keeling over.

Turok's father, the chief, is meanwhile discussing how his son screwed up a little bit but that the guys he slaughtered were their hereditary enemies and that they should chill, but the shaman believes that Turok possesses a vicious warrior spirit. I find it hard to disagree with him, considering how he fought before. "From blood follows blood" he says, and deems that Turok should be exiled, believing no good can come from having a blood-crazed fighter like him around. Turok is then banished and left to survive on his own.

We cut to the future where a young man is running through the woods and stumbles into Turok's current home, a charnal house out in the boonies surrounded by pelts, rotting meat and bones. On his own Turok has become a fierce and deadly warrior, but he is extremely bitter about his banishment and seems to take his anger out on anything stupid enough to be within the same dimension as him. The young man reveals that his name is Andar and that he is Nashoba's son and Turok's nephew. There is a wicked fight coming up and Nashoba who is now chief wants his brother to return and help them.

Turok is still a bit annoyed with that whole exile thing and declines, feeling that he has no ties to his tribe any longer. Andar returns to his family sadly and prepares for the upcoming fight. Catori tries convincing Nashoba, her husband, to simply beat a retreat so that they can build a life for themselves elsewhere, but he declines. He's determined to defend his home to the death. For good luck she gives him her hair clip. Let's just say it's not as lucky as everyone hoped it would be.
Remember that whole river massacre before? Well, it turns out that the prediction of a blood feud resulting was true, as they are now back for revenge. Hard core revenge. We see both groups line up along the river at the same site as the battle years before.

The defenders start off with a salvo of arrows, but they only succeed in hitting the dirt. Wow, someone was slacking off on archery practice. Not Nashoba however, as his arrow strikes one of the other dudes clean in the chest and kills him. Nashoba is awarded +25 XP for scoring the first kill of the match. The bad guys however have a very slight advantage in the form of muzzle-loading weapons, probably traded from white explorers from another territory. This is also where we get to meet our villain of the movie, Chichak and he is a very worthy bad guy! Wearing a head-piece made from the horns and scalp of a bison, he opens up a salvo that devastates Nashoba's defenders and even wounds him in the arm. They are astounded at this display of firepower, showing that they've never seen guns before.

From here things go downhill faster than a communist economy. The bad guys lay waste to the tribe, shooting and slashing like crazy. Chichak rides into the fray on horseback, sporting a pair of pistols and what I believe is a rifle. This guy is a frigging buzz-saw, as he cuts through the good guys like a scythe through dry grass. Even without his weapons he is proven to be quite deadly. Andar is kind of terrified at the battle raging around him and is just trying to survive when he runs right into Chichak who grins and says that this is no place for a child to be. As he begins to fire his pistol into Andar's face Nashoba teleports over and gets into a wrestling match with Chichak. It doesn't last long as the bad guy uses his pistol like a club, bludgeoning Nashoba's already wounded arm, blood spurting at every impact before firing into his chest.

Andar hightails it out of there and collapses just inside of Turok's camp. He knows this doesn't bode well but also seems to rouse his sense of honor. Without a word he takes his bow, arrows and tomahawk that he took from the enemy tribe all those years ago and runs to the scene of the battle with Andar thrown over his shoulders. He hauls arse over to the battlefield only to find just about his entire tribe slashed and gutted, with his brother mutilated and strung up against the bole of a fallen tree. Shockingly Nashoba is still alive. Turok cuts him down and his brother says that if he could have he would have tried to keep him around during that night years ago, and that Chichak is going to their home to slaughter the women and kids. Turok swears to protect Catori and Andar just before Nashoba dies, dropping Catori's hair clip from his hand.

Turok heads off to get some vengeance on and Andar tags along, rightfully wishing to protect his mother. We cut to Chichak and his entire retinue of victorious warriors... both of them. Okay, for some reason at the village Chichak has only two guys along with him to loot the place. I've gotta be honest, I have no idea what happened to the rest of his guys. I don't think those are the only survivors because they were wrecking pretty well. Nor do I know what happened to the other villagers. Maybe they were all rounded up and taken off by the bulk of the victors and the guys left just wanted to loot and destroy. Whatever works.

So they set to burning the tepees when Catori runs out of one of them. Chichak somehow knows she was Nashoba's wife and runs her down on horse back. He swiftly picks her up and begins crushing her torso with his forearm. She screams in pain and he ominously whispers into her ear "Your husband screamed too." Now that is some good villain dialogue!

Suddenly a figure begins to emerge from the inky smoke and Turok walks into the open like a boss with Andar close behind. He demands that they drop Catori and leave while brandishing his tomahawk. Chichak's eyes widen and demands to know where Turok got the weapon from. He says that he took it from those fellows from the beginning and then killed them with it. Chichak hisses that it belonged to his father, pretty well showing off his motivation.

The two nameless warriors lunge at Turok with their own tomahawks and we get a superb example of how to use slow motion as Turok grapples with them, butchering both in a manner of seconds. Slow motion is used very well in this movie along with the audio which helps amp up the tension. I especially like the slow-mo when the guns are used. They actually show the hammer striking the frizzen, igniting the powder and showing the battered lead ball fly out. Very dramatic and effective! I can't recall slow-mo having been used in any other movie or show in this manner. Maybe it has, but I've never seen it and it works especially well here.

Anyway, Andar tackles Turok just in time to keep him from being shot by Chichak and a chase ensues. The chase takes them to a narrow canyon which seems to have gone unexplored to everyone. I'm just going to assume that they are somewhat aware of it but stay far away because it is pretty spooky. The place is covered with broken bones and is eerily dark. Chichak still has Catori who is fighting like the dickens when Turok and Andar show up on their own horse. Chichak holds the woman hostage during a brief face off when they are interrupted by a frigging terror bird emerging from the shadows and decapitating Turok's horse in an unnecessarily brutal manner. Good grief!

Turok and Andar try killing the nasty bird while Chichak knocks out Catori like a jerk-face and drags her into the nearby cave, being the only direction left. Andar shoots the bird through the frigging eye while Turok buries his tomahawk into its flank up to the hilt, which kind of convinces it to stay down and quit fighting back. They gather themselves and go into the cave after their enemy and emerge into a land completely different from their own.

Flying reptiles sail through the sky and dinosaurs thunder across open plains and thick jungles. They pick up pretty quickly on the fact that this place is a wee bit different than their nick of the woods, but don't let that stop them from trying to peel Chichak's skin from his bones.
They quickly pick up the trail and spot Chichak chasing down Catori in the distance across a field and Turok gives chase, hopping along the backs of anklyosaurs like a complete boss. Not sure how Chichak got his horse back though. And I know, I know, there technically weren't grassy fields in the dinosaur ages and that there are names for those periods, but I'll be darned if I'm going to look up those complex names while writing about a comic book character in a cartoon. Just comfort yourself in knowing that dozens of species of plants and animals separated by more than a hundred million years are all interacting without rhyme or reason. Weep paleontologists, weep!

Anyway, it looks like Chichak is about to get ahold of Catori once again when a frigging ginormous Carnotaurus bursts from the foliage and realizes that it absolutely must sample these curious two legged critters at all costs and the chase begins!

So the chase leads Turok, Andar and Catori over hill and dale taking turns being near bitten by Carny and shot at by Chichak, eventually resulting in our three heroes floating downriver on an uprooted tree. We then get a scene that I really like as they try to comprehend where they are and passively observe the brutality of the world they've entered, concluding that it is a place known as the Underworld. Fair nuff given the circumstances.

But the reprieve doesn't last long as an elasmosaur smells some fresh humie in the water and wants to get a good taste of that. Man, maybe cannibals are onto something, because humans seem to be the most tasty thing in the frigging planet. Anything that eats meat sees a human and will stop at nothing to get them! Okay, I'm just making fun. It'd be kinda boring if every predator saw a human in a story like this and just shrugged its shoulders and moved on.

Turok of course isn't going to take any of that lying down and we get an awesome fight scene, half of it taking place underwater. I really have to hand it to the creators of this flick, they really do a good job! Our hero frigging shoots the beast with his bow while under water, and while I checked to see if that was possible, apparently the animators were operating on the Rule of Cool, so any argument against the physical feasibility of archery under water is rendered invalid. Take that physics!
Turok gets a few gashes along his ribs and retaliates by straddling the thing's neck and de-spining it with his tomahawk like a boss.

The obscene amount of blood released attracts the granddaddy of all mososaurs which decides to help out with that elasmosaur problem, but decides it also wants to add our heroes to his diet as well. But they make it to shore and the beast retreats into the depths. Aaaaaaaand then our heroes are instantly found and captured by a group of people that look remarkably like themselves but riding upon terror birds and wearing dino-hide clothing! And what's more, they bear the same symbol as Turok's tribe! Dun dun duuuuun!

Meanwhile, Chicak has buggered off from the earlier river and is cruising around on his horse, finding a strange rock formation that is honeycombed with tunnels and stumbles upon what he takes to be an abandoned child. In the first and only case of him showing any sort of respect for life he dismounts and attempts to talk with the kid, but it turns out she's not quite what he was expecting. We then see he is surrounded by a freaking huge number of overweight neanderthals with spikey teeth and the IQ of Youtube commenters who bludgeon the almighty crap out of his horse and set upon Chichak, almost ripping his arms off. Man, horses do not do well in this place.

Before Chichak is de-limbed the obvious leader of the cavemen comes out muttering gibberish, and Chichak breaks away for his rifle and puts a bullet in the leader's gut. Of course these guys have freak strength and endurance, so that doesn't knock the leader off that easy, who charges down ready to show this newcomer who's boss. Chichak is forced to fire before he is completely done reloading, meaning that he shoots the ramrod instead of a bullet which frigging impales the caveman's head in one of the most gruesome images I've ever seen in a cartoon. Good grief this is brutal...

Anyway, guess who is now in charge of the cavemen? Yup. They basically regard him as a deity and even begin bowing before him.

Meanwhile Turok, Andar and Catori are brought to a cliff dwelling which is populated by a people remarkably similar to themselves, speak the same language and are presented under guard to the leader of the Cliff People, Sepinta. We also get a pair of supporting characters. There is Koba, who is a frigging ripped warrior with an awesome double bladed bone spear and Aniwa, a capable gal who rides on terror birds and is darned deadly with a knife.

They tell Sepinta that Turok is a human buzz-saw, having single-handedly massacred an elasmosaur which brought a mosasaur to finish it off. This kind of weirds them out, as this is not unlike someone using a 22 caliber rifle to bring down an Apache helicopter.

Sepinta doesn't know who these people are or what they're about and is understandably suspicious. She even mentions that they've never seen others of their own kind in this strange land. It's heavily hinted that they are in fact a branch of Turok's tribe, having somehow entered this place long ago. They even have the same phrase "From blood follows blood."

Turok just wants to frigging leave and is a bit grating but Catori is able to persuade Sepinta to allow them a test to prove that they mean no harm. So Turok gets to go on a fun fetch quest before he can use any of the buildings or trade with the... wait, nope, that's my fanfiction RPG. Sorry!
But he does get a fetch quest.

Koba leads Turok and Andar to a nearby mesa which towers high into the sky, scaling it partway before Turok volunteers to go the rest of the way. All he has to do is get an egg, but as you might imagine it's not nearly that simple. Turok starts leaking a good bit of blood from where the elasmosaur grazed him with its teeth but he keeps on, finding a good sized egg at the top and putting it in a specialized satchel. And then come the pteranodons! Things aren't as easy this time because Turok doesn't have his weapons, so he proceeds to frigging fistfight with the fliers. Again, props to the animators and sound department, cuz when he lands a punch it feels like it has impact. It's like watching someone pound a nail with a hammer.

Andar begs Koba to help, but he declines, saying that this isn't his test. Andar isn't exactly up to the challenge himself it would appear. Turok, then being awesome, hijacks on of the pteranodons and uses it as a glider. In an epic display of his awesomeness he actually forces it so high that they clear the clouds and witness the sky above before he steers it right to the front door of the Cliff People and snaps the animal's neck like a Kit Kat Bar. Oh, and he got the egg too. Fetch Quest completed!

Turok finally gets to get patched up and his little group is accepted into the tribe, Party time!

Elsewhere Chichak is undergoing his own sort of initiation ceremony. Within the dank caves of the cavemen they engage in a gristly meal, tearing chunks of flesh from bone while Chichak sits upon a small throne and also wearing the horned headpiece that the former leader wore. It's no accident that it is similar to what Chichak wore before entering this place, which was from a bison. He sits there brooding, looking over the brutish creatures he now commands when one of the women offers him a big hunk of meat. At first he declines, saying that he doesn't eat horse. She doesn't understand him, and confused keeps offering it to him. He accepts and after taking a bite comments that it's not too bad.

But just outside the cave we see one of the neanderthals cooking and eating the body of his former leader, very heavily implying that Chichak unknowingly just engaged in cannibalism. This also serves to illustrate some of the differences between him and Turok, who do share a strange similarity in their capacity for violence. Chichak has fallen in with a group of brutes who are callous and uncaring, reveling in gore. Turok on the other hand has allied himself with a dangerous people, but who also enjoy the lighter points in life, having a structure and customs.

Anyway, the Cliff People party and we see Andar and Aniwa beginning to bond. Turok manages to recover from his wounds quite quickly, but is very withdrawn and at first doesn't engage in the revelry. He leaves the cave he is given and strays away from the heart of action, looking over the edge of the cliff and beyond.

Here he is approached by a strange, masked individual who asks Turok why he is alone there. Turok counters, asking why the stranger is hiding behind a mask. The stranger persists in an innocent way and Turok says that the darkness is where he belongs, hinting that he isn't necessarily bitter at other people, but that he feels he is an outcast and doesn't belong with others.
In a really awesome line the shaman replies "And you say that I am hiding."

Andar and Aniwa find Turok and drag him back to the fun, but as Turok looks back he finds that the shaman has vanished. You wouldn't think it, but this movie really does have some subtlety and character focus.

Meanwhile Chichak tries to get his affairs in order and tries to communicate with the cavies that he wants to find other people like himself so he can brutalize them. Of course they don't understand him, having no real language. In a burst of savagery that is shocking even to them Chichak shoots one of their number in the head with his pistol, and using the blood paints the symbol of Turok's tribe on the wall, demanding to know if they've seen it.

Their reaction is almost instantaneous. The animators do a great job of conveying a look of surprise, recognition and understanding on these very inhuman and savage faces. Good work guys! But they begin barking and pointing in the same direction. Chichak then smiles. He's still got a score to settle.

Next day we actually get a very pleasant little montage as Andar and Catori interact with the Cliff People. It's one of the few scenes that isn't heavy with dread or violence. In fact, I consider it to be a very important scene as it not only allows us to take a breath but shows how the two cultures are beginning to meld. In the commentary the developers comment that this helps establish that while this land is dangerous it's not a bad place to live. There are moments of calm and happiness. The Cliff People don't regard it as being cursed or trying to escape. They've adapted and managed to find happiness even in this territory. All too many things with dinosaurs portray the place as grim and almost apocalyptic. Here we actually get a very nice middle ground. It is dangerous, it is harsh, but it is also their home and they can live there. They've adapted their cultural outlook and thinking to the land and have become stronger for it. Now that's awesome. :)

While this is happening Turok is still very distant, standing off to the side and not engaging much with anyone else. As night settles in Sepinta visits Turok in his cave, returning his weapons as a sign of respect and trust. Sepinta is slightly upset when he informs her that he plans to take Andar and Catori back from where they came from. Sepinta then gives a great speech, saying that his spirit mirrors the land unlike that of any other person she has ever met. The ferocity of his spirit made him an outcast in his former life, but in the Lost Land it makes him an asset. In a figurative and literal sense he was born for this place. This is a concept that resonates strongly with me. Although he wasn't born to this place he understands it and belongs there.

Turok however shrugs off her belief, insisting that he has no home. Sepinta is visibly hurt and you can really tell that his words cut her pretty deep. I really like this scene though. Like a lot. This is perhaps what elevates this movie from a bunch of violent schlock to being a genuinely good movie.

Night settles and a strange figure stalks the bridge that spans the canyon that separates the dwellings of the Cliff People from the rest of the Lost Land. He silently butchers the guard and then two others before signalling across the expanse. Oh yeah, Chichak is back and he's brought friends. One of the caveguys bursts in on Turok and we proceed to have a pretty epic fight scene as the cavemen wage war on the Cliff People. I can't even describe the carnage that takes place in this battle. Well I could, but that would be doing a disservice to it. Cuz holy crap, this is some of the most almighty violent stuff I've ever seen.

In the end Koba is tragically lost, holding off a small army of these buggers on the bridge by his lonesome, racking up an amazing body count. But it's clear he can't hold forever and Sepinta can't bring herself do cut the bridge, and Turok does it for her. He and Koba share a brief moment of eye contact where Koba smiles and nods, giving Turok permission to basically kill him. Even as he tumbles into the abyss he is still killing his enemies in a death grapple. Pretty epic stuff.

Chichak managed to get across to the other side and laughs horribly, telling Turok that he has not yet won and that he will be back to finish them off. Sepinta and Turok look back to see the cliff dwellings in shambles with a horrifying number of their people dead. Pretty darned grim actually.

In the aftermath of the battle the Cliff People are understandably upset and start turning on Turok, knowing that Chichak has come because of their new bestest buddy. Before they can act on mob mentality can fully take over Sepinta speaks up and reminds them what the heck their symbol stands for and how they had better darned well remember who they are.

Sepinta then organizes her people to move to another territory far out of the reach of Chichak and the cavemen where they can't be pursued. It also turns out that the Cliff People have domesticated a wide variety of Pleistocene animals as war mounts and beasts of burden to carry all of their stuff. For such a smart and capable people, you'd think that the cavemen would be on their heels, y'know? Sure, they are harder to kill than cockroaches, but for being so stupid the cavemen apparently have the advantage of numbers and are mostly overweight.

Just a minor complaint, but I think it would have been smarter to take the fight to the cavemen while firing arrows from the backs of mammoths and terror birds. Really, the Cliff people have the major advantages: Crude but effective armor, war mounts, superior weapons, tactics, strategy and a high level of coordination. Ah well. It's not a huge problem, but it did kind of stick out to me.

Anyway, Turok decides that he's going to take the fight to the enemy, going on alone to kill Chichak before he can give any sort of pursuit. Andar and Catori also inform him that they don't wish to return to their old home, but want to stay with Sepinta and the other Cliff People. This honestly doesn't seem odd to me and shows how adaptive they are.

Turok takes off, fueled with purpose and still keeping his promise to his brother. If Chichak dies, then the fighting will end and the others can live in relative safety. He slowly treks back to where they first entered the Lost Land and takes to observing the Carnotaurus, and to his surprise finds that it is actually a mother. He watches it feed its young, the one time the animal isn't trying to kill everyone. It's quite fascinating really, as the two do share a sort of kindred spirit. Both are brutally efficient killers, but at the same time both have a soft side. They watch over those they care about. Just because they are predators does not make them monsters and actually adds an odd level of personality to the Carnotaurus.

Of course while watching this Turok gets a bit sidetracked and a caveman lamps him over the head with a piece of stick. Oops. He wakes up inside one of the caves surrounded by the knuckle draggers and is approached by Chichak who has now reacquired his fathers tomahawk. This is a really tense scene where the two for the first time talk without trying to murder each other. Well, kind of. These two guys are intelligent and vicious warriors with a blood feud, each having killed the family of the other and have nothing but bad blood between them.

When reminded of his brother's death Turok loudly proclaims that Chichak murdered him, and Chichak, having the best lines, replies "Then why were you not fighting by his side?" Ouch man, ouch. You've really got to hand it to this production, they know how to make a great villain!

In a frigging cruel move even for this movie Chichak shoves his hand inside one of Turok's wounds to torture him, trying to figure out where the Cliff People have gone. Like the audience he has reasoned that these are descendants of Turok's tribe, and being a genocidal warlord plans to finish off all remnants of the group. Turok refuses to spill the info though, even when his rival whips out a knife and starts slashing his chest open.

The torture continues until he slips into a delirium, his mind churning over the events that have taken place in a rather trippy way. But we also see the return of the mysterious shaman who explains that the Carnotaurus kills because it is a hunter, that is what it was made for. Then in his dream the shaman removes his mask, revealing him to have the face of Nashoba and asks "What were you made for, brother?"
Man, I've got chills just typing this scene! I am honestly not doing it justice, because it truly does help define Turok as a character. There is a lot of metaphorical stuff going on here but wow does it carry weight. Is the shaman a real person or is he simply Turok's manifestation of guilt, trying to define himself and his purpose in life? Surprisingly heavy stuff.

Turok regains consciousness just in time for his rival to throw Andar before him, who had followed, wanting to help his uncle. Andar kinda feels like dirt for getting captured and it's kind of hard to blame him. At the threat of seeing his nephew cut open at the point of a knife Turok finally gives in and reveals the location of where the Cliff People are going. Personally I would have lied, but that doesn't seem to be Turok's thing.

Chichak gathers his forces and leaves two guards to watch over his prisoners. Andar feels even more like crap as he now feels pretty heavily responsible for the massacre that is going to take place, but Turok tells him to buck up, that the spirit of his father and he are in him, that he has great potential and that now is not the time to get depressed, but to escape and deliver the most epic arse-beating of the century.

He has almost freed himself from some crappy rope and Andar acts as a distraction, flopping around and yelping on the ground in a way that is honestly hard to take seriously. The two cavemen are kinda distracted by this, allowing Turok to thoroughly crush them both. Things still aren't done though, as everyone else has a huge head start on them and he is still pretty badly injured. But this is where things get even more ridiculously awesome, as Turok squeezes his wounds, letting the blood dribble from his palms and onto the ground, reciting the phrase that keeps coming back to him "From blood follows blood." His heart fired with new found purpose and embracing his warrior spirit Turok prepares for one of the most epic things I've ever seen in cinema.

Sure enough, the Carnotaurus picks up on the bloody scent and begins tracking him, but he's got a plan. Instead of getting eaten like a wuss, Turok has a spear with a long thong of leather tied to both ends and actually turns it into a set of reins and makes the Carno his steed. Andar hops on as the two charge ahead for the final showdown.

Ahead on a narrow cliff ledge Sepinta is trying to keep everyone moving, as the animals aren't faring well. Catori then runs up, finding that her son is missing and that Sepinta hasn't dispatched any of her warriors to try and find him. Catori is understandably upset over this and proclaims that if no one else will look for Andar then she will. Sepinta doesn't even flinch, stating flatly that she will die. Apparently Catori was bluffing as she backs down and begs for help, but Sepinta knows she can't spare anyone. It's hard to blame her. She's in a tough position. They just suffered a pretty epic beating and dispatching guys for a Saving Private Ryan mission is likely to cause more trouble than it would solve. She really does kick arse.

It's then that the cavemen appear on the upper level of the cliff and start raining down boulders and spears on our hapless heroes. After leaving the bulk of them trapped the cavemen race down the slope in a really awesome skateborder way while Chichak systematically annihilates anyone he comes into contact with. Sepinta and Catori tap into their Legolas skills, shooting back to back with bows while the bodies pile up around them.

In a nasty turn of events they are separated and one of the cavemen is about to bludgeon Catori, but before he can Chichak, yet again displaying his contempt for life, shoots his own dude just so that he can get credit for the kill. Most guys on online gaming consider this a low thing to do. Ah, but before he can finish her off who should appear?

Why Turok and Andar astride their new house pet! The watchers are understandably taken aback as the fight gets even more intense, what with this trio now turning the entire tide of battle. Andar completes a nice character arc, going from cowering in fear in his first battle to helping save Aniwa as her terror bird is killed beneath her and the two proceed to carve a path of carnage through the cavemen with nothing but their knives and sheer awesomeness.

Then just to be a complete jerk Chichak shoots Sepinta in the back of the head with one of his pistols, ending her once and for all. Poor lass! Turok doesn't appreciate this and the two officially throw down, punching the crap out of each other and grappling. Turok however is still pretty weak from having been cut open like a cow carcass earlier and isn't able to quite fight at full strength, while Chichak is still in fairly good condition.

Turok manages to retrieve the signature tomahawk as he is knocked away and the two face each other down. Turok has his melee weapon and Chichak has his pistol, everyone else just watching. Thinking he's got this in the bag, Chichak fires but only grazes his opponent, but with a really awesome slow mo effect and twin streamers of blood flowing from the graze wound. Turok then sends his rebuttal, throwing the tomahawk and lopping Chichak's head from his neck. Ouch.

His head topples from his shoulders to the ground, only to be followed a moment later by the Carnotaurus crushing it beneath its scaly heel. Now that was a gruesome end! For a moment the Carno and Turok look into each other's eyes, either facing down or sharing some sort of strange moment of connection before the beast pursues the now retreating cavemen.

The battle finally ends and the threat of Chichak at last ended but at great price. The movie ends with Sepinta's body being laid upon an alter with her clothing and weapons, the newcomers now fully accepted into the fold and reciting the motto of the tribe, at last setting her body ablaze in remembrance.

Folks, I really like this movie. The first time I saw it I figured "Yep, that was a decent action flick." and thought that was the end of it. But I kept feeling myself drawn back. For a little while I was baffled, not sure why I was so interested in re-watching what at first glance was a pretty simple and mindless cartoon. This is one of the very few times that I actually watched not only the behind the scenes stuff but the commentary track as well. I had to crack this riddle and find out why I liked it so much.

A surprising amount of depth had been put into this, turning it more into a character oriented story rather than a simple "Man fights beast in lost land" shtick. There is a lot of subtlety to the three main characters and are supplemented with a truly chilling villain. He's now one of my favorite bad guys! Granted, the characters are fairly simple, but they are solid. You get their deal and come to really like them. I was sorely tempted to describe Turok as being a simple grumpy, angsty killer without any deeper meaning, but that simply wasn't the case. It was only after digging deeper that I was able to break down the elements and see how this guy really became solid.

The creators of this really knew what they were doing, making it go far enough in some areas but not so extreme as to be come unrealistic. It's actually pretty impressive how they did some really exciting things but almost all of them within the realm of physical feasibility. With maybe one or two exceptions Turok doesn't do anything you couldn't potentially do in real life. Granted, he is meant to be something special, a guy with a feral spirit in him who can do what few others can, but it's not to the point of him being super powered. In that sense they were very mature in showing restraint, which I think was a very good move.

They also did a good job with pacing, which isn't always easy in a movie. This movie feels rather long, but in reality is only about 70 minutes, barely over an hour. They get a heck of a lot done in that short period of time! Really, nothing is wasted. It's tight with little to no flab to weigh it down.

The animation is a bit simplistic but it really lends itself well to action and there is a lot of detail if you know where to look for it. For example, I really like the clothing of the Cliff People, being very interesting pieces made from dino hide, which really appeals to me. The weapons are imaginative too. Also, gotta call them out for this as well, they understand that muzzle-loading weapons aren't semi-auto. All of Chichak's guns are fired after an appropriate amount of time for reloading, which is sooooooooo rare in this kind of stuff. Granted, he almost always load off screen, but considering that loading a muzzle loader is one of the most time consuming things with guns, I don't blame them for that. A good user can fire three shots in a minute. Do you really wanna stop the action to watch him do that? Do you really? Didn't think so.

The audio also sticks out to me as well. Great attention is given to proper sound selection and placement, often giving some scenes some real weight when the action is going on. Or also grossing you out. I had to chuckle during the commentary where one cliff guard is impaled through the torso by Chichak and you hear him gurgle wetly and one of the commentors says "I think that's the grossest sound in the whole movie." Another chuckles in a morbid way and replies "Oooh no, there's more coming!" It's also nice to see creators have a sense of humor about their work. They actually make fun of a few things and couldn't help but smile.

And cuz I'm in no mood to stop praising this thing, they have the best usage of slow mo I think I've ever seen in a movie. Granted, I haven't seen all that many movies and slow mo tends to make me zone out, but here it is wonderfully utilized.

With very little time and a small budget these guys did just about everything right and churned out a legit good movie. I'm not saying that this is an award winning flick that changed the lives of millions, not at all. But it is a well made, well paced and well executed film with Native Americans and dinosaurs, harking back to the original comic series and updating it without losing the spirit of it all.

I'm actually annoyed with myself for not having heard of it sooner, cuz wow.
And with the holidays right around the corner this would be a perfect time to give it a look see, seeing how cheap it is! Wink wink nudge nudge. So if you have a friend who likes comics, dinosaurs, retro games or just has a sick sense of humor this would make a good stocking stuffer or drive by gift.
And no, I'm not getting paid to recommend this. Trust me, I wish I was! I could really use the cash. But for now I'll have to settle for the warm feeling in my heart at thinking people will enjoy watching this. Sorry for having gushed so much, but... it was fun!

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