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Friday, October 22, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 44

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Latest Lou Diamond Phillips movie Bats a useless, awful waste of time


Bats

Starring: Lou Diamond Phillips, Dina Meyer and Leon
Running Time: 93 min.
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Grade: F


By Aron Anderson
Daily Cougar Staff

Watching the latest cinematic fiasco Bats is like watching a falling star -- the star in this case being Corpus Christi native Lou Diamond Phillips.

At the movie's world premiere, held at Houston's Tinseltown Westchase theater, it seemed to have potential. But hype be damned -- this movie was a failure on all counts, not the least of which was the fact that what tried to be a horror and thriller could not have been farther from either.


Fred Hayes/Destination Films


Leon (Jimmy), Dina Meyer (Sheila) and Lou Diamond Phillips (Sheriff Kimsey) star in Destination Films', Bats, which could go down as the wrost movie of the the year.

Apparently, Destination Films didn't take track records into consideration when choosing the director and actors for this movie. Louis Morneau, whose past projects include Carnosaur 2, doesn't get any better in Bats.

And beyond Phillips (who scored a hit in La Bamba, but fell short with The Big Hit), the other leads are played by Leon (who may be best-known for his performance in Madonna's "Like a Prayer" video) and Dina Meyer of the largely ignored Starship Troopers.

The movie's plot centers around Dr. Sheila Casper (Meyer) and her lackey Jimmy (Leon), who are recruited to Gallop, Texas, to deal with an anticipated bat problem. Score one for the movie clichés.

Once in Texas, they join town sheriff Emmit Kimsey (Phillips) in pursuit of -- score two for the clichés -- two genetically altered bats and the thousands of others they have infected.

The bats are, of course, smarter, hungrier and more aggressive than their non-altered counterparts. But that's not all: They have the strength to rip through car roofs to get to their victims. Score again.

Naturally, the bats wreak havoc on Gallop, and that -- combined with the threat of the bats' taking their show on the road and terrorizing the entire country -- is what the movie's three heroes, with the help of the United States military, try to stop.

And the cliché meter goes through the roof.

Granted, even a film this bad could have been saved by tongue-in-cheek acting, like Lake Placid. But Bats crashes and burns with scene after scene that is poorly written, poorly directed and poorly acted. The only apparent attempt at humor, the lackey Jimmy, comes off as anything but funny.

Even the special effects are lackluster. The bats look like rubber-winged rhinos, and the sounds they make would be more believable in Jurassic Park than anything else. As far as fright, the bat scenes in Bats are about as scary as the bat scenes in Ace Ventura 2.

If you desperately want to see what is billed as a scary film to celebrate Halloween, a better bet is your local video store. By all means, stay far, far away from this pile of guano.
 

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