Last seen harassing Harry Hamlin in 1982's Clash of the Titans*, mythological three-headed canine Cerberus makes his long-awaited return to the silver screen in, well, Cerberus, a low-budget action/horror mish-mash that originally debuted on the Sci-Fi Network, but also stands as one of the channel's more popcorn-worthy pieces of genre goofiness.
Starring Emmanuelle Vaugier (who could either be a poor man's Angelina Jolie or the next Jami Gertz) as a brilliant archaeologist and Greg Evigan as a snarling bad guy, Cerberus is half adventure flick, half monster movie, and mega-looney all around. The director is John Terlesky, the man who gave us Chain of Command, Written in Blood, and Malevolent, and if you've seen any of those movies, you know you're in for 92 minutes of pulpy cinematic cheese.
The plot involves two groups of people who are hunting for Atilla the Hun's ancient weapons and armor, but once the warring factions scamper off with the relics, up pops a giant three-headed dog who enjoys nothing more than grabbing a hold of random henchmen and ripping them to shreds.
Clearly we're not talking about something with the wit, intelligence, and craftsmanship of, say, Deep Blue Sea (heh), but for what it is -- Cerberus is actually a stupid little time-waster that might just be worthy of a matinee spin. The screenplay is leaden and obvious, the acting is uniformly pedestrian throughout, and the set design borders on the cardboard, but there's just something fun about seeing a giant CG dog tear people limb from limb, especially when most of the victims are hateful villains or obnoxious townsfolk.
Even the special effects are ultra-kitschy and somewhat shoddy, but that just adds to the overall air of b-movie silliness. Following a second act lull in which our heroes are stuck underground, Cerberus kicks in with a rather kinetic third act that delivers solid handfuls of eye candy without taxing the brain. Fun junk is what it is, provided you don't take Cerberus even remotely seriously.
Video: Although initially broadcast on the Sci-Fi Network, the flick hits DVD in a pretty slick anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) transfer. Well, pretty slick considering what must have been a fairly paltry production budget.
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 or 2.0, with optional subtitles in English and Spanish. Dialogue aside, the audio quality's pretty solid.
Just a bunch of trailers for Saw 2, Fear of Clowns, Waiting..., Ultimate Avengers: The Movie, and Three...Extremes.
C'mon, it's a low-budget adventure-horror flick about a giant tri-craniumed mythological mutt mutant who chomps a lot of people. If that synopsis sounds inviting to you, then you'll probably be able to enjoy Cerberus -- at least on the level that I did.
*Esteemed DVD critic John Sinnott reminds me that Cerberus, or a close cousin, did indeed make an appearance in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, but I'll really: Wouldn't just about any movie improve with the inclusion of a ravenous three-headed dog?