Hey gang, Valkor here. Is there such a thing as “made for trailer” movies? You know, movies that look great as a trailer but ultimately it sucks as a full film? If there isn’t then there should definitely be a category for it. Because the next flick up on the TOV MediaView chopping block, Never Leave Alive, is just that type of film; the trailer looks great, but the film? Meh.
“Never Leave Alive” centers on famous hunter Rick Rainsford (John Hennigan), who was out on a boating excursion, when suddenly the shit hits the fun, the boat explodes, and all but him, and two others survive, winding up on what appears to be a deserted island. Unfortunately for Rick, one of the survivors, Anna (Michelle Taylor), isn’t one of his biggest fans – she pretty much hates his guts. Fortunately, the island has a couple of inhabitants in the form of Zaroff (Eric Etebari) and his partner Ivan (Joseph Gatt). Zaroff coaxes Rick away to have a drink with him, while Ivan tends to the wounded. And it’s during Rick and Zaroff’s drinkfest that it’s revealed Zaroff was the one who was responsible for the boating “accident”, which was supposed to bring Rick to the island alone (Anna and the other guy are caught in the mix). Zaroff doesn’t want to hunt animals, but the ultimate prey – man. And on the top of his list is Rick, who must make it to a boat on the other side of the island alive or die trying. And he might die as Rick not only has to contend with Zaroff hunting him, but also an island filled with booby traps. Oh and Anna is also along for the journey, which won’t make things easier for Rick. Or will it? Regardless, the two will need to stay one step ahead of Zaroff and Ivan unless they meet an early demise.
Never Leave Alive has something of a 80s vibe to it; watching the film, I’m instantly reminded of the Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner films Jewel of the Nile and Romancing the Stone. And just like in those films, Rick and Anna kick things off with a hate/hate relationship, where they eventually discover that they actually like one another. And along with the Zaroff hunt, is it enough to make you want to sit through this 90-minute piece? Maybe. Then again maybe not.
There really isn’t much I can say about Never Leave Alive. I liked the idea behind the film and I sort of wish it was only Rick who was surviving Zaroff and his traps. Seriously, the film had the potential of being a great action flick. Instead, it comes across a little too campy and not in a good way. But I’m getting ahead of myself. So I’ll switch gears to…
Never Leave Alive, is a slow paced, snooze of a film. The title alone gave me something to look forward to and the trailer gave it that extra push to get me to sit and watch it. But when all is said and done, the film turned out to be a waste of time. The acting is way too campy for this type of film and the action was just so-so. Again, so much potential and it was all wasted. If the makers behind this one were going for a “Romancing the Stone” type vibe, then they’ve failed as this film lacks any of the charms of the 80's film. One of the weirdest and most awkward scene in the film, which should have been the most intense, was when Rick wound up stepping in quicksand, having only Anna to save him. Their dialogue was just the cringiest thing I’ve ever had to watch in quite some time. So, Anna needs to pull Rick out of the quicksand, but makes a point to tell him “don’t look at me”. What does that matter since the man is about to die? Eventually, the campy dialogue ends, but the overall blandness of the film remains. Which is unfortunate, because I really wanted to like this one. Sadly, Never Leave Alive gets tossed aside.
Never Leave Alive is available now on DVD and digital media. But you see that trailer over there on the right? Yea, watch that instead and save yourself from 90-minutes of cheesy dialogue and action so bland that it’ll put you to sleep. So, out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving “Never Leave Alive” a 1.