Bats (1999)

“And the winner of the Oscar for Best Movie is…Bats.  And here to collect the award is its star Lou Diamond Phillips.” 

“Thanks Winona, I can’t tell you what a thrill this is…these are real tears in my eyes.  Who would have thought that a movie about bloodthirsty mutant fruit bats would ever get an Oscar, let alone the five it’s won tonight?  I’d like to thank everyone who had faith in me, and to all my fellow Young Guns, Keifer, Charlie, Emilio…hang in there guys!  It’ll happen for you again too!” 


“Lou? Lou? Wake-up, it’s time to go to work. Were you having that dream again?  You had a big smile on your face. Don’t forget your overalls today or the foreman will fry your ass.”

“Zzz..huh?…Aw, nuts…”

Back in 2000, I managed to convince my friend Dave that - rather than go to the gym - he should come to the cinema to see Bats instead. 
“Come on Dave, it’s about mutant bats.  When was the last time a mutant bat movie wasn't worth seeing?” 
With such irrefutable logic he had no choice, and as it turns out Dave’s stomach muscles got a much better work-out from laughing at this cinematic stinker than anything the gym could do.

From the opening scene where the obligatory necking couple appears to be getting savaged by a bin liner, it’s a roller-coaster ride of budget-priced special effects, dubious puppetry and plot holes you can drive a Kenworth through.

Here’s the movie in a nutshell: a bunch of virally infected flying foxes wreak havoc upon an unsuspecting town (uncannily mirroring our own Melbourne Botanical Gardens situation).  The only people to stop them are a hot-looking bat specialist, her sassy black assistant, the local Sheriff (a cigar-smokin’ Lou) and a government scientist (who engineered the virus in the first place). And you’ll never guess what? The scientist turns out to be a bit of a looney!  Who would have thought?  And the hot babe and Lou?  I reckon there was something going on.  The assistant? He keeps coming out with smart-aleck lines.  Imagine.  Oh, and the mad scientist?  He eventually gets mutilated by his own hideous creations.  Oh, cruel irony/obvious plot point.

The actors did what they could, but a workman is only as good as the tools he uses and I’m guessing they picked this script up from Everything’s $2.  The only three syllable words I heard were “thesaurus” and “tequila”. 
“Every sentence has the word “bats” in it.” noted Dave. 
“Bats. So you study bats? Sheriff, what do you suggest we do about these bats?  Look out - bats!  Who left their baseball equipment here? I just tripped over some bats.”

Our summation?  Two thumbs up for value (we had free tickets) and a worthy 8.5 on the crap-o-meter.  And if you want to hire Lou Diamond Phillips for anything but think you can’t afford him, rest assured I think that he works cheap.