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The Rig (2010)

Anchor Bay Entertainment
DVD Released: 10/5/2010

All Ratings out of
Movie: 1/2
Video: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 10/6/2010

For decades, B-movies thrived by doing one thing -- copying more expensive hit movies. When a Hollywood film would make it big, theaters would be inundated with copy-cats. This trend only grew when the home video revolution occurred. Why worry about getting your movie on the big screen, when you simply had to convince the local video store to carry it? This trend still continues to this day (see anything made by The Asylum, the makers of Snakes on a Train and Transmorphers), but not like it did in the past. Still, a rip-off does rear its ugly head from time-to-time, such as The Rig.

The Rig takes place on an oil-drilling platform. A large storm is approaching and most of the crew has been evacuated. Just before this occurs, an accident occurs with a remote-controlled sub while placing a new drill in the bottom of the ocean. As the skeleton crew, which is led by Jim (William Forsythe), wait out the storm, they begin to disappear one-by-one. After a while, Andrew (Marcus T. Paulk) catches a glimpse of a monstrous creature killing one of the crew members. Following this, those left alive must devise a plan to kill the creature, or find a way to hide from it until help arrives.

First of all, let me say -- A movie about something horrible happening on an oil rig? Is it too soon? I'm usually not one to question how tasteful a release is, but I'm not sure that this was a good idea. Of course, as you'll see below, it wouldn't have mattered when they released the movie.

It's been a while since I've seen a movie that was as much of a straight-up clone as The Rig is. Despite the fact that it's set on an oil rig and not in space, it's very much a copy of Alien. The roughneck workers who are cut off from civilization being picked off one-at-a-time by a mysterious creature certainly isn't a new concept, and this one really wants to be Alien, right down to a character having a flamethrower. How much of a rip-off of Alien is it? The rig belongs to the "Weyland Drilling Group", complete with a logo which is similar to the Weyland-Yutani company seen in the Alien franchise. Are you kidding me? You've got to have some balls to pull a stunt like that. The funny thing is, while the movie is clearly stealing from Alien, it actually plays like a remake of the 1981 TV movie The Intruder Within, which concerned an Alien-like creature terrorizing an oil rig. That movie was a rip-off of Alien, so I guess that The Rig is simply keeping a tradition alive.

Rip-off or not, this is a bad movie. The action scenes are kept very dark and we never get a good look at the creature...or is it creatures, I was never sure. I had assumed that like most movies of this ilk, the monster would finally be fully revealed in the finale, but I was wrong. Other than the monster stalking the crew, there isn't much story here, so the four (yes, four) writers involved in the movie have attempted to pad the running time with character development. Jim doesn't like the fact that his daughter, Carery (Serah D'Laine), is having a fling with Freddy (Stacey Hinnen). Freddy's little brother, Colin (Dan Benson), had been on the rig, but he left before the storm came. There's this big drama about how Freddy wanting Colin to be safe. All of this leads to a lot of dull dialogue scenes where nothing happens. And when all is said and done, we never learn anything about the monster and are left to assume that it came from the bottom of the ocean. I've always liked William Forsythe, especially in sympathetic roles like this, but he isn't given much to do. Likewise, familiar character actor Art LaFleur plays the owner of the rig, but his role is limited. For half of the film, I thought that William Sadler was in it and wondered why he wasn't on the box, but it was another actor named Robert Zachar.

Speaking of the DVD box, don't be fooled by it, as it implies that a giant monster attacks the oil rig. No, it's just a guy in a suit, which we never get to see. Credit must go to the editor, as the movie does have some nice jump scares. These are the only things which kept me awake. Despite what I may have implied with this review, I don't mind rip-offs. In fact, there have been some which I've loved. I just don't like bad rip-offs.

The Rig decides to throw in a sexual shower scene during the turmoil, because hey, why not? on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is sharp and clear, showing only mild grain at times and no defects from the source materials. However, the image is -- for lack of a better world -- dull. It's very flat and lifeless, and is often too dark. The colors are slightly washed-out. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Unlike the video, the audio is quite lively. The stereo effects are nicely detailed and show good separation. The surround sound effects are notably good, as they not only liven up the action scenes, but remind us of the storm outside. The explosions are well represented by the subwoofer.

The Rig DVD contains a few extras. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director Peter Atencio and Producer James D. Benson. "The Rig: Behind the Scenes" (10 minutes) is simply fly-on-the-wall on-set video, most of which is accompanied by samples from the film's score. We don't get any interviews or comments from the cast or crew here. We do get a good, detailed look at the creature mask. Oh, hold on, I'm getting a phone call. "Oh, hey Sleestak from Land of the Lost...Yes, it is cool that your cousin got a job as the monster in The Rig." The final extra is the THEATRICAL TRAILER for the film.

Review by Mike Long.  Copyright 2010.