Mystery Science Theater 3000 season 12, episode 2 recap: Atlantic Rim


As the Gauntlet continues, Mystery Science Theater 3000 once again takes aim at a cheap rip-off of a much better movie with the latest experiment — Atlantic Rim.

Most movie fans can figure out the film is a rip-off of Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim and most bad movie fans probably won’t be surprised the find out this mockbuster was made courtesy The Asylum.

Another fun fact is that Atlantic Rim now has the honor of being the first movie made in the 21st century to ever be riffed on Mystery Science Theater 3000 (take that Future War).

The cast has the expected collection of nobodies and has-beens who even in their glory days weren’t all that relevant.

Related Story. MST3K Season 12, Episode 1 recap. light

More from Netflix

The has-beens include Baywatch alum David Chokachi as our “hero” and lead robot pilot Red (more on this guy later).

There’s also rapper turned actor Treach as robot pilot Jim, who despite being in an Asylum production is easily the worst actor in the movie.

To be fair, Treach isn’t given much to do other than alternatively tell the audience how awesome Red is and awkwardly hit on his girlfriend for some reason.

Rounding out the robot pilots is Tracy, who also serves as Red’s aforementioned girlfriend, played by Jackie Moore.  Moore’s most noteworthy credit the last few years is a couple of episodes as one of the saloon hookers in Westworld.

Sadly, the cast also rather depressingly features Graham Greene as the no-nonsense man in charge — Admiral Hadley.  The actor best known for his Oscar-nominated role as Kicking Bird in Dances with Wolves gives a performance here that clearly indicates he understandably wants no part of this movie and wants to finish shooting as quickly as possible.

The end result is that many of Greene’s line readings are borderline unintelligible and some of the most riff worthy moments of the film. Of course, since in the last couple of years alone he’s had credits in Longmire, Wind River and Molly’s Game, it’s safe to say he left this movie with his career intact.

The invention exchange sadly takes a step down this time around with Jonah presenting an air dancer organ which is just a regular organ with tiny inflatable tube guys attached.  Max on the other hand (Kinga opts to sit this one out complaining she shouldn’t have to do all the work) presents what he calls Supposi-stories where you can take a suppository to learn the great literary classics.

Now that we’ve got movie sign, the film opens with an oil rig having mysteriously disappeared. Admiral Hadley decides to send three giant robots to be piloted by Red, Jim and Tracy to attempt a deep sea rescue at the bottom of the ocean.

One gruff military guy sporting an eye patch objects to sending out Red because — damn it — he’s a loose cannon who plays by his own rules. Now since Red is the hero of the movie, eye-patch dude will naturally reveal himself to be the bad guy and will do so in incredibly hammy fashion.

Eye-patch dude might have been on to something though.  Red quickly shows himself to be a drunken, none too bright dude bro and poster child for the “What the Hell Hero” trope.  When they find the monster that destroyed the oil rig, Red follows it to shore despite Hadley ordering him to stand down.

Red fights the monster on land and manages to kill it despite numerous casualties — many of which were caused by Red himself (at one point he carelessly destroys a large building using a laser and merely says “whoops”).

Since Red is a moron, he is, of course, shocked to find out his actions gets him a court-martial — yet at the same time given a medal for his heroism (pretty sure that’s not how that works).

None of this really matters though because mass stock footage and cheap CGI ensues as more monsters end up attacking the city and Red is the only pilot that’s halfway useful in a fight.  Jim and Tracy don’t even participate in one until the climax.

The eyepatch guy, who as it turns out is hilariously named Sheldon, eventually goes completely insane and tries to nuke the city and when that doesn’t work decides to hold Hadley at gunpoint to get him to shut down the robots.  Why he thinks shutting down the robots in the middle of a fight would solve anything is anyone’s guess.

To stand a better chance against the final and predictably biggest monster, the pilots are given an upgrade that allows them to mentally link with their robots to improve their reflexes.  While most of this movie ends up feeling like more of a rip-off of the craptastic Stealth, I’m not sure it’s better or worse than when Atlantic Rim suddenly remembers what movie they’re supposed to copy.

As Jim and Tracy both prove to once again be pretty much useless, Red uses the diverted nuclear warhead to launch him and the monster into space and blow up the bomb.  The robot falls back to Earth and despite there not being anything to slow or cushion the robot’s fall, Red survives without a scratch. Unsurprisingly, Red wants to celebrate this victory by finding the nearest bar.

Star Wars: 5 shows we want to see next on Disney+. dark. Next

As the heroes walk away from the flaming wreckage, Servo notes that the film ends as it began, as a garbage fire.

Up next on Mystery Science Theater 3000 on Netflix for Jonah, Servo and Crow to tackle The Abyss knockoff Lords of the Deep.