Don't mistake this release of King Of The Ants with Stuart Gordon's film of the same name! Gordon's movie is a tense, disturbing and oft times frightening crime movie. Michael Arabian and Tedd Taskey's King Of The Ants is a romantic drama about a college football player. They have nothing in common and probably couldn't be more different if they tried.
With that out of the way…
Michael (played by co-director Tedd Taskey of Alien Fury – Countdown To Invasion!) is a young man trying to find himself while going through all the growing pains one normally associates with the college years. Ever since he was a young boy he's wanted to be a football player. He watched every game he could, whether it was on television or down at the local school. He'd even go down to watch the local college team go through their training and practice sessions. It's safe to say he's a football nut and since making the team at his own college, you'd think his lifelong dream would now be coming true.
Sadly for Michael, things aren't quite working out the way that he'd hoped that they would. He's bottom of the barrel material and the coach really isn't giving him much time on the field, instead relegating him to the bench seemingly as often as possible. His family is pressuring him to get his game back and make something of himself but things just are not working out for the poor guy.
Soon, while down in the dumps about his life and his football career, Michael meets a pretty young girl named Brenda (Theresa Sherrer Donovan). The couple soon fall head over heels in love with each other and with Brenda's love and support, Michael soon develops enough of a backbone to tell his family how he really feels about their so called expectations in a blow out with his father. This allows him to look past the yard lines and see that there really is more to life than football and Michael soon learns that Brenda is what he'd been looking for all along.
I don't usually go for either sports films or romantic dramas. I dig on exploitation and horror and action and gratuitous nudity. Those are my hot spots and I'm not ashamed to love the trash. So I really went into King Of The Ants expecting it to be absolutely awful and came away surprised that it wasn't. I can't say I'll be going back to it over and over again as it really wasn't a film geared towards an unromantic anti-jock like me but the movie, as a romantic sports drama, is effective. You care about the characters, the acting isn't bad, and the director captures some of the angst that not fitting in the way you want to in the world of post secondary education can bring down on a young man.
The story isn't groundbreaking or really even revelatory in any way whatsoever but if you are a fan of romantic dramas, this one plays better than your average TV movie of the week material and it's probably worth your time.
The fullframe 1.33.1 image has some minor print damage and is a bit shimmery in a few scenes. Other than that, the image is reasonably clean with decent colors and realistic skin tones. The black levels could be a little deeper but at least they don't break up. The shimmering effect is a little annoying though.
The English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound mix is mostly confined to the front speakers using the rears to fill in some ambient and background noises. Clarity is fine though the mix is predominantly dialogue based which makes it pretty simple. The subwoofer doesn't get much action but at least the clarity of the track is fine.
There are no extra features at all, the only thing the disc has besides the 'play' option is chapter selection.
For fans of this type of material, King Of The Ants is worth a rental. Vanguard has done a decent job on the DVD in the audio and video department and while the lack of extras is disheartening, those whose ears are perked by the plot description should probably give it a shot. Just make sure you don't confuse it with the Stuart Gordon movie – because if the idea of a romantic football film does perk your interest, you'll probably hate that movie.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.