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Transmorphers: Mech Beasts (2023) Review

It’s only taken sixteen years but Transmorphers: Mech Beasts the sequel to Transmorphers, one of The Asylum’s first mockbusters has arrived. The film opens with a brief recap of the first film along with the news that the defeated Transmorphers contained alien nanobots which were waiting for the right time to regroup and attack.

That time is the year 2324 when a firewall breach is discovered at the New Los Angeles Power Station. This isn’t just any breach, it causes the generators to turn into a giant robotic lion, that can fire a death ray from its mouth. It also causes the techs at HQ to start uncontrollably screaming technobabble at each other.

It’s a good thing that Mark (Todd Karner, The Critic, Triassic Hunt) and Agnes (Jolene Andersen, 2025 Armageddon, Captive) have discovered another bunker full of weapons left over from the war. Also in the bunker are her two teenagers, Trevor (Matthew Gademske, Colored White) and Reena (Geena Alexandra, Never Quit, Kiss and Tell) and Colonel Wilks (Chad Ridgely, 6:66 PM, Amityville Hex) who’s there to bravely sacrifice himself when the mechanical lion turns up.

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The script by Joe Roche (Battle for Pandora, Attack of the Meth Gator) at least makes an effort to explain the film’s low tech/low budget look, the nanobots can turn anything with a CPU into a weapon, which is more than most Asylum films do. But the script is still very long on dialogue. Much of it either collections of tech terms that make no sense or stories of the war, frequently related by actors who look way too young to have fought in it. Tom Arnold (Abomination, True Lies) at least gives a humours spin to the word salad he gets for dialogue.

Director and cinematographer Michael Su (Bridge of the Doomed, The Revolting Dead) does what he can with the script. The films he’s directed for the Mahal’s show he can deliver a good film on a low budget, but there’s only so much he can do with endless scenes of people standing around in rooms talking about the attack. Especially when much of what they say sounds like it was copied from a fly-by-night techno startup’s press release.

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The one thing about Transmorphers: Mech Beasts that does work that does work are the effects, which are some of the best I’ve seen in a film from The Asylum and good for low budget films in general. Let me clarify that, the robot effects work, the various explosions and fires still suck. It’s a good thing that the robot effects do work though because the future of mankind ends up resting on some of the old Transmorphers that Trevor manages to get to fight against the newer models.

If they’d put a few more dollars into the last half hour and shown more of the robot on robot mayhem Transmorphers: Mech Beasts, might still have been salvageable. There are a couple of good ideas in among all the crap, and replacing some of the talk with even a couple of shortish action scenes would have done wonders for the pacing. The same if they’d set the last act at night to build some atmosphere and hide plenty of vehicles and buildings that don’t look post apocalyptic.

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What we’re left with is one of The Asylum’s more frustrating releases. Transmorphers: Mech Beasts had a good director and the effects were on point for once. But the cost of giving the script another draft and adding a couple more effects scenes was too much for them, and the film ends up collapsing under the weight of all the dialogue. I’m giving it two stars but mostly for the robot effects near the end.

The Asylum released Transmorphers: Mech Beasts to a handful of theatres over the summer, and it snuck onto Digital Platforms sometime between then and now. I probably should have waited a couple of months until it came to Tubi. At least it was a cheap rental.

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