Jurassic Revival (复活侏罗纪) begins with a bit of backstory so ridiculous even The Asylum wouldn’t use it. in 1980, a meteorite lands in the ocean triggering a volcanic eruption that creates a new island. That island somehow already has plant and animal life on it, and if you’ve read the film’s title you can guess what kind of life.
Dr. Zhao Qiming (Chang Hai Bo, Swordsman Nice Kungfu, Monkey King Reincarnation) leads an expedition to this new island complete with a “professional escort team” that turns out to be mercenaries, not outcall girls, only for them all to get eaten by a T Rex who’s pissed off at them for stealing one of its eggs. Qiming, despite being an alleged genius never thinks to drop the egg when it chases him and it looks like he’s about to end up as a saurian snack.
Next, we meet his daughter Zhao Xueli (Ma Xin Yu, Overseas Security Guard) who has become a brilliant scientist in her own right. I’m not sure when this is supposed to be happening because it looks like the present day which would mean she was in her mid-forties, but she looks and acts like she’s in her twenties.
Regardless of that, she’s approached by evil billionaire Du Zhe (Yang Qi Yu, The Eye of the Dragon Princess, The Emperor’s Sword) who wants to find the island and the meteorite. She refuses, but not being one to take no for an answer he turns up that night with some goons to convince her to change her mind.
So far Jurassic Revival isn’t much different from other Chinese creature features from Snakes to Golden Spider City. And it pretty much stays on a familiar path as assorted creatures from killer spiders to giant cobras start picking off the expedition’s members. Of course, the T-Rex shows up again and as a bonus, we get raptors as well.
Director Zhao Cong (Revenge Girl, Tomb of the Dragon Coffin 2: Flowers of the Dead) does what he can with the film’s attack scenes. The running battle with the raptors in tall grass is the film’s standout scene. But Jurassic Revival’s script really doesn’t give him much to work with at other times, and scenes that viewers anticipate, such as the T Rex versus giant cobra battle are cut disappointingly short.
However, Jurassic Revival’s one moment of originality may also be its most ridiculous, or at least as implausible as the island appearing complete with dinosaurs. As the survivors are trying to escape the T Rex a second one shows up, this one ridden by a human. It seems that Dr. Zhao escaped being eaten and used horse training techniques on the beast that hatched from the egg. And he’s been riding the range on his reptilian steed ever since.
The effects in Jurassic Revival are about what you would expect from one of these Chinese creature features. The scenes at the beginning aren’t bad. Between the need to make the opening six minutes work as a preview and the ability to hide the CGI’s shortcoming with the darkness they work fairly well. The rest of the film is a mixed bag, ranging from tolerable to laughable. A Jurassic Park-style scene of several different creatures on an open plain is the worst of the lot.
While it’s hardly a great film, Jurassic Revival is far from the worst CGI creature feature to come out of China and it is free of the moralizing and propaganda several other recent ones were saddled with. It’s a passable time killer and, as a free watch, it’s certainly worth seventy minutes of any dinosaur film fan’s time.