Story: Sheriff Jim Tanner (Eric Roberts) has found himself in the wildest case of his career, with a number of dead bodies, all mutilated beyond belief, but no clues as to who or what was responsible. The victims seem to have been almost torn apart, with a level of violence and primal strength that a human would be incapable of. Tanner and his assistant Barbara (Melissa Brasselle) push forward however, even as it becomes clear some kind of animal is behind the killings and even law enforcement seems helpless to intervene. After the beast kills some police officers, Tanner manages to trace a potential lead to the science lab of Dr. Hyde (Corbin Bernsen), who used to work on experimental military projects for the government, but was terminated. Unknown to Tanner and the government, Hyde has continued his research in private, which is how this creature was unleashed. But can Tanner and Barbara somehow track down and take down a real life dinosaur?
Entertainment Value: If Raptor looks or sounds familiar, perhaps you’ve seen one or all of the Carnosaur movies, which is where this picture was mined from. I’ve seen a good deal of films that lifted footage and even entire subplots from other movies, but Raptor is a master class in cinematic borrowing. Producer Roger Corman and director Jim Wynorski carve out most of the Carnosaur franchise’s wildest sequences, then create a new narrative to frame those scenes, with some newly shot footage that is mixed in. I have to admit, as wild as this concept is, Raptor mostly makes it work, aside from awkward moments of exposition. But even when the existing footage makes it tough to weave in the new scenes, the leaps of logic add to the entertainment. This just winds up as a super fun movie and given its patchwork, sewn together production, that is impressive. Of course, Carnosaur fans have seen most of this chaos before, but the remix is quite good and the new scenes can be hilarious. A b movie ensemble was wrangled for those fresh sequences, with Eric Roberts, Corbin Bernsen, and Lorissa McComas all on deck. Bernsen channels his performance in The Dentist, while Roberts is his usual enjoyable, if detached style performer. These three help liven up the Carnosaur reruns and bring some b movie star power to the table, which is always welcome. In short, Raptor is a wild, over the top, and very fun movie that regardless of its roots, stands as a b movie blast.
There is not much time for romance with all the dinosaur mayhem, but there is a scene with a topless Lorissa McComas, which is the lone burst of sleaze here. And given how much action and carnage unfolds, its hard to hold that against Raptor, I think. And there is a lot of dinosaur action to be had, as the movie yanks the bloodiest scenes from the Carnosaur series, then rearranges them, giving us some gently used violence. This includes a group of folks being mauled by our dinosaur friend, resulting in some splashes of crimson and body part roulette, which is how the movie opens to grab you from the start. The attacks are very frequent, but not graphic, just fun, over the top stuff like rubber appendages and other low rent cinematic treats. So there is bloodshed in a number of scenes, but I wouldn’t call it heavy or intense. I had fun with the dialogue here as well, with Corbin Bernsen’s scene chewing providing some of the highlights, as well as Eric Roberts’ overly serious at times presence. The patchwork approach also produces some odd exchanges, when the transitions aren’t exactly seamless. Not a lot of big, quotable lines in Raptor, but consistently cheesy writing and ham handed performances that usually entertain. The entire movie has a lot of b movie magic, but I want to talk about how the raptor basically wages a one dinosaur war against law enforcement. The raptor battles local police officers, the Sheriff’s Department, a full SWAT team, an armed helicopter, the United States military, a spec ops squad, and then, this beast takes on the military industrial complex itself. Comrade Raptor. I also love the ridiculous laser hallway scene, which is just outlandish here, thanks to the mixed footage involved.
Overall Insanity: 5/10