Directors/Screenplay – Ben Hayflick & Adam Silver, Producer – David Michael Latt, Photography – Mikey Jechort, Music – Chris Ridenhour, Visual Effects – Kevin Hand, Mark Kochinski, Joseph J. Lawson, Ed McDonough, Ben Mitchell & Aaron Witlin, Additional Visual Effects – Rogue State (Supervisor – Glenn Campbell), Makeup – Megan Nicoll, Production Design – Rae Deslich. Production Company – The Asylum
Patrick Muldoon (Adrian Sinbad), Sarah Desage (Loa), Bo Svenson (Simon Magnusson), Kelly O’Leary (Gemma Hargrove), Dylan Jones (Captain Atash), Berne Velazquez (Mehrak), Oliver Mason (Alex Degraves), Peter Greathouse (Whittaker)
Adrian Sinbad is the CEO of Kamaran Shipping International. When he receives new that one of their tankers The Aqaba has been captured by pirates off the coast of Madagascar, Sinbad personally flies there to negotiate. As they approach, they see the tanker attacked and sunken by a giant squid. At the same time, a storm causes their helicopter to go down. Sinbad, his secretary and several of the pirates and ship’s crew find themselves washed up on a mysterious desert island. Sinbad befriends Loa, a shipwrecked English girl who lives as a native. She shows cave drawings that suggest Sinbad is a destined saviour but also says there is no way off the island. Having to deal with giant crabs, cyclopean beasts, fire devils and a society of shipwrecked survivors, Sinbad determines to find a way back home. Meanwhile, the sunken Aqaba is about to rupture in the depths and cause the biggest oil spill in history, while weather everywhere is going amok heralding the end of the world.
The 7 Adventures of Sinbad is another film from The Asylum. The Asylum is a low-budget US company that specialises in ‘mockbusters’ – cheap films that seek to capitalise on the publicity of upcoming big-budget releases with soundalike titles. Various Asylum films have included the likes of Snakes on a Train (2006), Transmorphers (2007), Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls (2008), The Day the Earth Stopped (2008), The 18 Year Old Virgin (2009), Paranormal Entity (2009), Battle of Los Angeles (2011), Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (2012), Age of the Hobbits (2012) and others.
The 7 Adventures of Sinbad is another of The Asylum’s mockbusters and was released three days before the big-budget Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010). There was the expectation that Prince of Persia would be a big hit and spark off a revival of the Arabian Nights adventure. Only this didn’t turn out to be the case and Prince of Persia flopped badly. Still you can see what The Asylum were planning with The 7 Adventures of Sinbad – a low-budget effort that jumped aboard the Arabian Nights trend that Prince of Persia presaged.
There have been numerous Sinbad films before, the best of these being the first two of Ray Harryhausen’s trilogy The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) and to a lesser extent Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977). There have been numerous others Sinbad films – from older efforts like Sinbad the Sailor (1947), Son of Sinbad (1955) and Captain Sindbad (1963) to the terrible Sinbad of the Seven Seas (1989), the animated Sinbad: Beyond the Veil of Mists (2000) to DreamWorks’ Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003), tv movies like Sinbad and the Minotaur (2011) and tv series like The Adventures of Sinbad (1996-8) and Sinbad (2012) – none of these particularly standout. What is common to all of these is the Arabian Nights setting with Sinbad in a sailing ship encountering various fantastical creatures, rescuing princesses from the clutches of black-hearted viziers and sorcerers. These are the staple of every Sinbad film.
Expecting such when you sit down here, The 7 Adventures of Sinbad proves exceedingly confusing to find that it is set contemporary, where Sinbad is not a sailor but the CEO of a corporation. You keep expecting that once the film gets the characters abandoned on the desert island there is going to be some plotting convolution where Sinbad is going be thrown back in time and/or gets to commandeer a sailing ship but this turns out not to be the case either. The film remains bound to the desert island for almost all of its running time – it has more in common with a lost world adventure like Mysterious Island (1961) and in particular The Asylum’s The Land That Time Forgot (2009), which had various contemporary travellers abandoned on an island via a time warp. About the only point that Sinbad does get to go sailing is when he and the primitive girl he has picked up along the way commandeer a bathyscaphe at the end of the film – which is surely about as far away from a traditional Sinbad film as it is possible to get.
While half of the film is spent trying to wrap your head around the idea of a contemporary Sinbad, you eventually have to admit that The Asylum pull off a passably cut-rate adventure. The scenes early on in the piece with a giant squid dragging a tanker down to the depths look extremely cheap but things improve after that, even if the encounter with a giant crab immediately subsequent to that is offset by the laughable image of Patrick Muldoon going bug-eyed and yelling “Craaaaab. Giant crab.” The other creature effects emerge with a sufficiently cheap competence, even if the appearance of The Cyclops comes nowhere near holding a candle to the same scene in Ray Harryhausen’s The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.
The plot that stitches everything together has been minimally sketched – Bo Svenson’s corporate takeover scheme is extremely vague, nor are we ever sure why the tanker sinking to the bottom of the ocean and Sinbad and crew being transported to a mysterious island is suddenly causing weather to go amok and the world to come to an end. The alien that turns up at the bottom of the ocean at the end to offer a magical out of the blue last minute solution has been borrowed outright from The Abyss (1989).
The Asylum later made a further contemporary Sinbad adventure with Sinbad and the War of the Furies (2016), although that does not appear to be connected to this film in any way.