12 April 2011 | paul_haakonsen
It could have been so much more...
A movie about the mythical manticore creature. Hmmmm... Well that sales pitch was enough to get me interested, and so I decided to give the movie a go.
Now first of all, I had expected somewhat more thrills and horror from the movie. I hadn't anticipated this much action. Most of the movie has enough action in it that it borders on being an actual war movie with American troops in Iraq, and just having the manticore being a background story. That was a shame, in my opinion, because the creature would have worked so much better with more attention to it.
The creature itself was nicely enough fleshed out, despite it looked painstakingly fake at times. But the conceptual design of it was really good. And compared to the manticore from fantasy role-playing games, like Dungeons & Dragons, then the manticore did look quite like how the creature is presented in that world. And since most of the movie takes place during daylight, then you really get to see the creature a lot, unlike many horror movies that take place at night and everything is shrouded in perpetual shadow.
As for the cast in "Manticore", well then I was pleasantly surprised to actually see Jeff Fahey (playing Kramer) in here. I had no idea he was in the movie prior to actually seeing him on the screen. However, his performance here wasn't among his better performances. But still, his face was a welcomed one. The movie was solely carried by Robert Beltran (playing Sgt. Baxter), and he did a phenomenal job with his role. He was very believable and dynamic in this role, so thumbs up on that.
There weren't any real scares or shock moments throughout the movie, and that was a shame. There was a bit too much focus on the military parts of the story. But that particularly military part, they did well, however. It was realistic and adrenalin-filled action to watch the soldiers as they rushed through the narrow streets, and the camera work added a lot of chaotic touch to the scenes (in a good way). So that was really working out great.
The story of the movie, however simple it actually was, could have been better. You just brush the surface of the legend of the manticore. Again, it is the military in Iraq that overshadows everything here. And this weak storyline drags the overall impression of the movie down, for me at least.
"Manticore" could have been better, but it is far from bad. Don't get me wrong. It is good enough for a night where you just want to unwind with a movie and disconnect your brain.