When I heard this title I was immediately thinking of an old west dinosaur film in the style of Ray Harryhausen’s Valley of Gwangi. Sadly, this is a tale of the new west with rednecks in pickup trucks and sporting heavy firepower fighting some giant lizards courtesy of bad CGI.
The plot is generic as it comes, greedy mining executives free dinosaurs who were living in a hollow area underground. They go on a killing spree, (of course), just as a former rodeo hotshot hit the skids returns to town and finds his old sweetheart has taken up with the Sheriff. Of course they have to put rivalry aside to save the town and themselves from becoming Dino Chow.
This could have at least been a harmless time waster if it wasn’t handled so ineptly. The script moves from cliché to cliché without ever trying to do anything new with the material, not even try and spoof it a little. It’s dull and uninspired with dialogue that must have been as painful for the actors to say as it is for the audience to listen to. And while Ari Novak has considerable experience as a producer, this is only his second feature film as a director and he shows no talent for it. Nothing in the film shows any spark or flair, it’s all plodding, dull and by the numbers.
The cast is mostly unknowns who deserve to stay that way but even one time Oscar nominee Eric Roberts can’t do anything with his role and Vernon Wells shows none of the over the top villainy he did so well in The Road Warrior and Commando. In fact he basically recycles his role in Jurassic City here, like he’s on autopilot. The actresses are hot, but certainly can’t act so there’s at least some eye candy for the guys.
The effects are the one thing you would think they would put some time and effort into, but even they are awful. The CGI is unconvincing and the attacks look more like the dinosaurs are trying to beat their victims to death than eat them. It’s just awful…
Cowboys vs Dinosaurs isn’t even a movie to drink to for fun, avoid it and watch Valley of Gwangi instead.