Review by Justin Felix
Screenplay by Sean Dash.
Based upon the novel Watchers by Dean Koontz.
Directed by John Carl Buechler.
Starring Mark Hamill, Lou Rawls, Kane Hodder, Lisa Wilcox.
Rated R (contains violence and profanity) 83 mins.
Synopsis: A humorless police officer's life changes when he
super-smart, super-adorable golden retriever named Einstein and a cute,
young blond scientist. Unfortunately, Einstein shares a psychic link with a
bigfoot-sized ape-creature trained by the blond scientist to be an
unstoppable killing machine, and this rogaine-nightmare is loose and after
the dog and the girl. Meanwhile, a group of white, chain-smoking,
gun-toting NSA agents in sunglasses and business suits tries to kill all the
other characters in the movie.
Comments: Watchers Reborn, a cheaply made direct-to-video
turkey, is the
fourth sequel to the first film version of Dean Koontz's bestselling novel
Watchers. Technically, this should have been called Watchers
V, but it
seems that this cycle of horror movies, much like many other sequel-crazy
film series, has decided to drop the numbers from the titles. (Even the
Star Trek movies dropped the numbers from their titles after Star Trek
The makers of Watchers Reborn probably want to fool unsuspecting video
rental customers into thinking this might be a good movie instead of a
crappy fifth installment of a film series which should have died a long time
This really isn't a good movie. Have you ever rented a movie and recieved a
sinking feeling about it when you watched the previews preceding the feature
presentation? Well, any hope a viewer may have had, perhaps because he is a
fan of novelist Dean Koontz or actor Mark Hamill, will be dashed by the time
he's seen the trailers tagged on before the beginning of watchers
They're awful. These commercials cover films like a strange stripper movie
called Shadow Dancer, some weird crap about a dead Indian, teens, and
wolves, and an "action" movie called Detonator starring Scott Baio.
Baio! What idiot dreamed this movie up?
After surviving these abysmal trailers, the person finally gets to watch the
movie he rented: Watchers Reborn. "Maybe it won't be *that* bad" he
to himself. "Perhaps, just perhaps, the bottom-of-the-barrel film fluff
advertised before it is greatly misleading. watchers Reborn, after
based on that cool book Dean Koontz wrote a decade ago. It stars Mark
Hamill -- Luke Skywalker himself from that terrific Star Wars
Rawls is even in the mix!"
Unfortunately, the Force is certainly no longer with Mark Hamill (he looks
very sick here), and this movie shares only basic plot elements with
Watchers, the book. The latter is really too bad. Koontz is a hack
producing way too many thrillers for his own good, but he is still my
favorite hack writer. Koontz has a writing style which is succinct and
suspenseful. People who read many of his books, however, often complain of
repetitive plot devices. It's definately not a Koontz book if there isn't
(1) a psychic, (2) a super-intelligent dog, or (3) a psychotic killer who
likes ripping out people's eyeballs. Watchers has all three
may explain why it's arguably the most popular of Koontz's books. The idea
behind Koontz's novel, though highly implausible, is very interesting.
Basically, a biological war machine is created: a smart dog can be released
in battle, track down its target, and then relay the target's position,
psychically, to a large creature designed to kill in hand-to-hand combat.
Silly but kind of neat too.
I'm sorry. I don't mean to ramble on about matters not directly linked to
Watchers Reborn, the movie. I suppose I just don't want to talk
movie itself. This turkey is really cheesy. No one in this movie can act,
including Mark Hamill, and it's difficult seeing the aged Luke Skywalker
stumble around trying to be the hero. The cheese factor is only increased
when he's involved in an implied sex scene with the blond biologist /
geneticist / zoologist / whatever-the-f**k-she's-supposed-to-be whom he
befriends. Mercifully, the filmmakers opted not to do nudity. To be
honest, the only half-convincing actor in the film is the golden retriever
who plays Einstein. You know a movie is bad when a dog outacts all of its
I find it difficult to relate how laughable the action sequences are in this
movie. And the creature! Yes, the creature out after poor Einstein is some
guy in a furry suit and a mask which poorly imitates the werewolves in
The Howling. This creature is shot about 500,000 times, but it's
creature has the ability to kill people by swinging his arms around and
pushing. Oh, he can also rip body parts off, allowing for many scenes of
fake hands and arms being thrown around. Cheesy gore. That's another main
element of Watchers Reborn. It has many bloody scenes which are
unconvincing and only increase the film's campiness rather than its
Ultimately, I gave Watchers Reborn a star and a half because bad
sci-fi film buffs may get a few kicks out of the film's silliness (though
this film will tax even their patience -- it's an 83 minute film, but it
feels like four hours). Also, I hate to admit, I have survived far worse
than this. Anyone who has sat through the Christopher Lambert and Natasha
Henstridge debacle known as Adrenalin: Fear of the Rush will know
what I mean.
Finally, I couldn't help but think that Watchers Reborn would work
"bot fodder" for the creative folks behind one of my all-time favorite
shows, "Mystery Science Theater 3000." This thought alone helped me survive
Watchers Reborn with a smile on my face.
Rated R, Watchers Reborn contains dozens of blood-spattered bodies and
unconvincing gore. It also has violence, obviously. I wouldn't recommend
it for the little kids, but I'm sure even young teens would make it through
this movie okay. Instead of watching this film, however, I recommend
reading Koontz's book. Trust me, it'll be time much, much better spent.
(Out of five)
You can read Justin's other reviews at The Internet Movie