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CBS MOVIE 'Locusts' swarms with bad scenes



Published: Sat, April 23, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The flick is about insects that escape a lab and multiply.

By ROB OWEN

SCRIPPS HOWARD

I had no plans to review CBS' "Locusts" (9 p.m. Sunday) because, frankly, viewers don't need me to tell them it's a schlocky TV disaster movie. The promos scream "Trash!" but viewers will tune in anyway.

That's what happened last fall with "Category 6: Day of Destruction," and last month with "Spring Break Shark Attack."

I was especially disinclined to give "Locusts" any attention after CBS sent out the review tape. I ripped open the envelope and, without peering inside, turned it upside down and emptied the contents on my desk. Along with the tape and press release, some realistic rubber locusts, supposedly used as props in the movie, came tumbling out.

Isn't sending me the tape punishment enough? Did CBS really need to include fake bugs that might catch a not-quite-awake TV critic off-guard on a Monday morning? But here I am reviewing it anyway.

Lucy Lawless ("Xena: Warrior Princess") stars as Maddy Rierdon, a U.S. Department of Agriculture voracious-insects expert with a failing marriage to a scientist husband (Dylan Neal). She goes on the bug hunt after deadly bioengineered locusts escape from a lab, multiply and go on the warpath, swarming across the United States.

To get past the notion that locusts, while destructive to crops, pose little imminent threat to humans beyond being an annoyance, "Locusts" posits that these hybrid locusts could start munching on humans once their food source is depleted.

On the "rough cut" tape CBS sent for review, the special effects were not complete. So instead of seeing a swarm fly away, the words "swarm flys away," misspelling and all, floated across the screen.




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