I hate much of SyFy's movies with a passion and have made no secret of it. There is however something compulsively watchable in how bad they are, and they can be somewhat entertaining as a result when they're not insulting your intelligence, and it is interesting to see if they ever do make a halfway decent movie. The good news is that not all their movies are terrible, there are some watchable ones but essentially seeing one of those is like a glimmer of good in a sea of mostly terrible.
Rise of the Dinosaurs/Jurassic Attack is not one of the watchable SyFy movies though. It is a long way from their worst, but that doesn't stop it from being a major flop in so many ways. Its redeeming qualities are small and there are only two, one is some nice scenery and a fun performance from Michael Worth that is the definition of "diamond-in-the-rough".
Only Worth really makes an impression in the acting stakes though. It's a shame though because Corin Nemac and Vernon Wells have far too limited screen-time to really save the movie, and they have proved themselves to be decent actors. I wouldn't say that Gary Stretch is a terrible lead, but he is rather uninspiring and he doesn't stand out amongst the many actors in this particular type of role. The rest of the actors badly over-compensate, Israel Saez De Miguel especially acts like he is in a pantomime, complete with accents that really grate. There is no chemistry at all between them, and it really is a waste when the actors don't look as though they care a bit for their situation and just go through the motions instead. You'd think that with good characters and dialogue that it would help a little.
Actually, the characters and dialogue were really not up to snuff and seemed to be contributing towards why the acting was so bad. Rise of the Dinosaurs/Jurassic Attack doesn't give us any time to let us connect with the characters, they are not developed well at all and instead of having any charm or likability they are irritating instead. The worst case is the villain Marquez, I found him incredibly annoying and there were even instances where I questioned whether there was any need for him at all other than SyFy movies seemingly having to have a villain in some shape or form. Like with the characters, the dialogue wastes no time in using every cliché in the book and the whole script just reads of an endless list of cliché after cliché after cliché. The banter and arguments are wildly overplayed, probably an attempt by the actors to give credibility to the characters and the writing. People may say that it was a sign of them enjoying themselves, but actually seeing the overall standard of their acting(over-compensating and completely indifferent to their situations) I find that hard to believe.
The story is very little better. It is one that I have seen in variations so many times in so many movies that I just know what is going to happen and it takes away from any enjoyment to be had. People may like the little homages/references, there's always one or two lurking about with SyFy, but others will find that they come too late when they are this close to turning the television set off. I belong in the latter group, and I only didn't turn off the television, no matter how tempting, because I don't believe in judging a movie without seeing the whole thing. There is no fun because it's predictable, the dialogue is terrible and there's a lot of overacting going on, there are no suspense or thrills because again there's nothing exciting or new, the pacing is all-over-the-map(with scenes like the attacks rushed and the basic backbone of the story gets dull after a while) and the attacks are like watching a really bad cartoon. Even worse, it is very under-explained and illogical, characters' motivations, various scenes and plot points are touched upon but never expanded or developed. I constantly found myself asking questions like how Roxton lived with dinosaurs without food or being eaten, or why a member of the army squad is wearing earrings. The scene where a dinosaur is shot from three metres away really tipped the iceberg in terms of sheer idiocy.
Scenery aside, Rise of the Dinosaurs/Jurassic Attack is made poorly. The camera work never rises above average-at-best television quality and the editing is choppy, especially in any of the scenes involving the dinosaurs, but it was in the special effects where things really got pear-shaped in this regard. The dinosaurs are some of the worst-rendered I think I've ever seen, looking really artificial in design and colour and as though they had been thrown into the movie at very last minute. I know it's low-budget, and I knew to expect these flaws, but at least look as though some effort at all was made, with this movie I didn't see very much. This is particularly true in the attacks, especially with the soldiers, where my aforementioned bad cartoon comparison applies. The music is generic and unmemorable and either doesn't fit with the atmosphere or is too obvious.
Overall, the scenery and Worth are good enough but the rest contribute towards a real failure of a dinosaur movie. 2/10 Bethany Cox