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Code Red: The Rubicon Conspiracy – 6

Director – Ian Gilmour

Cast – Brian McNamara, Marjean Holden, Callan Mulvey, Brett Tucker, Jeremy Callaghan, Anthony Engelman, Rene Naufahu, Steven Grives

Release Year – 2001

Reviewed by John of the Dead

I believe most horror fans have a few films that they should be ashamed to have enjoyed, and this is one of those films for me. A TV movie from no-name filmmakers and a plot we’ve seen a thousand times, Code Red: The Rubicon Conspiracy is everything Rotten Tomatoes critics hate and everything cheese-hounds love. Brian McNamara stars as Lt. James Doyle, a former special ops commando turned herpetologist after being discharged from the military for psychological reasons stemming from a botched mission. When word arrives that his military brother has gone missing after a disastrous jungle mission James decides to give the service one more go – not for country, but for family. Little does he know, he and the operatives joining him are going to come across an enemy unlike any they have ever experienced in this horror/sci-fi flick filled with badassery and government conspiracy.

The experience begins with an opening sequence showing a group of commandos (lead by James’ brother) coming under fire from an unknown source and each being wiped out one by one. A little time is spent convincing James to take on the mission, where he sadistically toys with the soldier sent to persuade him, and soon enough James is back in the field doing what he used to do best. It takes a while before things get going again, with the first glimpses of horror arriving at the 26 minute mark, where the soldiers come across the corpses of those we saw being killed in the opening sequence. The look of the corpses was great, with them appearing very shriveled up like they had the life sucked out of them. Soon enough the group begins to suffer attacks from the unknown force, which finally shows its face and power in quite silly fashion – retreating across a large river by simply jumping across it in a defiance of gravity. The remainder of the second act contains the constant battles between the soldiers and the beast, which also employs other smaller critters to make waste of those seeking him. I was glad to see what once things got going the film did not slow down very much and the action and horror were kept at relatively high levels. All of this boils down to a final act that I should have expected but did not expect, and I must say that it brings insane amounts of cheese that you have to see for yourself.

The direction came off just as cheesy as the writing did, which is only natural for such a film. The acting performances during the opening sequence will give a good representation of what to expect for the remainder of the film, which also come complimented with cheesy dialogue. I enjoyed the sets and locations used as they provided a good atmosphere for the horror, and if you’ve seen Predator then you know what to expect with these jungle-themed films. Despite what is most likely a mediocre job overall, director Ian Gilmour made sure to make things count where they mattered most, and I must say he did a darn good job with the horror. He was able to accomplish such a feat (for a TV movie) by giving us great live-action effects that I did not expect to see in such a “cheap” film. The animatronics are great and he gives us some full-frontal kill scenes, with my favorite being a scene where we watch first-hand as a creature sucks the life out of a tortured soldier. The gore used was great and also came via live-action FX, with the only negative attribute of Gilmour’s direction (in reference to the horror) being the cheap CGI used for the creature when it jumps away in retreat from of the soldiers. Honestly, those scenes are downright hilarious in how bad they are. Nonetheless, in my eyes Gilmour did his job thanks to ensuring that he focused on what was most important for the film, and because of that this was an enjoyable experience for me despite how bad it should have been.

Overall, Code Red: The Rubicon Conspiracy gives the usual TV movie experience but comes with the added positives of good live-action FX and positive horror. The cheese is heavy and it comes in enjoyable fashion, with plenty of gunfire and enjoyable kills to keep viewers entertained so long as they know what they are getting into.

Rating: 6/10

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