Film Review: Ground Zero (California Quake)

Groun Zero / California Quake

Groun Zero / California Quake

96 minutes of utter drivel. Welcome to Ground Zero, which is known as California Quake here in the UK, probably after 9/11. This film features some of the ropiest action scenes committed to low-budget film terror. It also completely teases at things that never happen. At no point does the DVD cover explosion and drama happen… still onwards with the review.

Released: 2000

Run Time: 96 minutes

The Premise

A growing “swarm” of earthquakes makes Kimberly a very concerned bunny and so she goes off to investigate. Not all is as it seems as nuclear testing appears to be causing the quakes. Can we stop them before the big one happens? Does the film have the budget for it?

Disasters Faced

The LA Quake, broken marriage, a boy with crutches that only needs them during escape sequences, a sore throat and some pretty lame punches.

My hair is still amazing after 24 hours in the desert...

My hair is still amazing after 24 hours in the desert…

The Execution

Brownie points for starting off in reality as Kimberly turns into a seismologist after her Dad dies in the opening scene in the great LA quake. From there though it quickly goes down hill. The plot is crazy, the script is so full of pointless melodrama it feels like an episode of a day time soap opera and the baddies are some of the lamest ever conceived. They simply pack no punch and are downed by a catapult or a couple of punches. What’s worse is no baddie ever seems to die either, they just go “oooww” and then stand or lay there. It’s like the PG disaster movie.

The Effects

There’s a lot of shaky cam, a couple of bangs and some nice forest scenery. Best effect goes to Dad whom manages to pull over a bookcase on top of him that was not going to fall unless he went near it.

Why Its Worth Watching

Janet Gunn clearly out acts everyone in the movie. She seems to be the only character not on autopilot. It makes it funny to then watch her around the other actors because she’s clearly working with what she’s got and everyone else is acting by numbers. There is also some horrifying lines including a soldier singing “65 bottles of beer on the wall” as he chooses to not chase the boy on crutches. There’s comical deaths of strangling in a few seconds, a rock slide that looks like a few pebbles being thrown around and fist fights where you visually see how far away the fist is from the face. Poor, but not very interesting either.

Drinking Game

It’s G-Corp … not G-Cor!!! Such lazy speech throughout, only the news reader at the close of the film says Corp!

Best Death

Someone gets whacked by the crutch (which seems to pop up and then go walkies again throughout the movie) and falls down a fault line.

So guys... where's the Earthquake?!

So guys… where’s the Earthquake?!

Favourite Character

Vladimir Kulich plays Bateman with a monotone boredom that is so jarring you can’t quite believe it’s really happening on-screen.

Weirdest Moment

The terrible slow-mo finale as it pans round our “heroes” to dramatic tom drums. No, no, no! This is not the A-Team, it’s the Z-Team!

Random Trivia

Took a whole $150 on its opening week in the USA… and that was all it took!

Goofy Quote

“The blast makes the ground shake?!?!”

Conclusion

Terrible in almost every regard, how so many of these actors managed to find themselves in this is beyond me. If the story were a bit more cohesive or even more zany it would have been a cult classic. Sadly, this is just mundanely bad… the killer being – there’s NO California Quake. There’s no excuse for that.

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