Plot: A group of first offenders is being taken into the woods, to learn some social skills and hopefully take the first steps back to a better lifestyle. The man in charge is Sgt. Hoke (Thomas Downey), who loves to bark orders and even though he is a glorified prison guard, likes to think he is a five star general. He is determined to whip these troubled teens into shape, whether they cooperate or not. But while this rural excursion is supposed to be about hard work and learning lessons, the offenders soon decide to party instead. That means ignoring the work and exploring the creepy woods, where they come across an altar of some sort. A massive horn is displayed and of course, the teens decide to swipe it, which triggers a horrific chain of events. Soon people begin to die in brutal ways, as local legend Paul Bunyan cleaves a blood soaked path through the teens, but can anyone survive this giant sized massacre?
Entertainment Value: I love the premise here, as a mutant version of Paul Bunyan goes on a murderous rampage, with teenage criminals as his victims. Axe Giant reminds me of a SyFy style movie, with a ridiculous concept, terrible CGI, and over the top characters and dialogue. The movie never tries to scare or be serious, opting for an outlandish style approach instead, which I think was a wise choice. The narrative is humorous, as Paul is pissed off about his beloved Babe’s horn being stolen, so he carves a blood soaked path of vengeance. A strange thread involves an old love of Paul’s being reincarnated or some such nonsense, but it just sets up an old west scene that has some of the worst green screen work I have ever seen. The performances are fine, most are hammy and over the top, which suits the material. But the real draw cast-wise is Dan Haggerty, I mean who doesn’t want to see Paul Bunyan vs. Grizzly Adams, right? The pace in this one is brisk and aside from some goofy exposition with Joe Estevez, it stays focused on the humor and splatter, as it should be. So yes, Axe Giant is an outrageous mess of a movie, but it is also a lot of fun if you appreciate this kind of schlock.
A little tent sex yields a topless scene, but that’s all the sleaze here. I know, you wanted to see Bunyan lay some giant sized pipe, but no such luck this time. But hey, there’s always the potential sequel, right? The movie has a wealth of blood and gore, but it is all CGI and not too impressive. But the tone is so over the top and campy, it doesn’t detract from the experience, though as always, I don’t award full points for CGI bloodshed. Bunyan lays down the carnage with his massive axe, cleaving his foes in twain and rivers of CGI blood flow in the process. I think some of the kills are fun and creative, so it is a shame practical effects couldn’t have been used here. I also liked Bunyan’s design, as he looks better than expected as a mutant lumberjack creature. The scene where he chases the car is fun, but my highlight had to be the epic curb stomp. So fun kills, but terrible CGI lessens the glee a little. As for dialogue, the tone is camp driven, so some one liners and bad jokes are sprinkled throughout. But the bright spot has to be Thomas Downey as Sgt. Hoke, as he is the least intimidating drill sergeant type I’ve ever seen, but he does have fun lines. I also appreciate that even after he was sliced in half, he continued to bark orders and talk trash. As for craziness, the ridiculous premise, b movie vibes, and Sgt. Hoke add a couple points, but it never fully embraces the concept in an off the rails kind of way like I wanted.
Overall Insanity: 2/10