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The shameless movie rip-offs

Ben Arnold
Yahoo UK Movies Features
17 April 2012

That’s weird. ‘Battleship’ is out on DVD this week, but the film’s only just hit cinemas. Hold on a second… it’s ‘American Battleship’, a similar looking straight-to-DVD movie rip-off (starring Carl ‘Apollo Creed’ Weathers) that’s quite possibly been made to trick a few people into buying it by accident. Notice how eerily similar the cover art is to the ‘Battleship’ poster?

This actually happens a lot; smaller film companies turn opportunist in the hope of making a few quid from the big boys. As you can see from some of the examples we found, some of these movie 'rip-offs' are rather blatant…

[Related story: The Twilight rip-offs]
[Related story: Movie poster mistakes]

Smokey And The Hotwire Gang (1979)

“CB radios? Check. Hapless backwater policemen? Check. Rednecks in souped up cars? Check. Wilful ignorance of the Highway Code? Check. Burt Reynolds. No. No Check. James Keach. Who? James Keach. He's Stacey Keach's brother. Who?” And so the imaginary conversation goes when trying to convey that 1979's 'Smokey And The Hotwire Gang' isn't, in fact, 'Smokey And The Bandit' or any of its various sequels.

Snakes On A Train (2006)

After tabled suggestions including 'Snakes With A Brain' and 'Snakes Called Wayne' (probably), the prolific US 'mockbuster' film company The Asylum formulated 'Snakes On A Train' which, of course, bears no similarity whatsoever to Samuel L. Jackson serpent shocker 'Snakes On A Plane'. But really, it actually doesn't, and not solely because it's on a train and not a plane. In fact, the plot surrounds a woman struck by a Mayan curse who, at the film's climax, turns into a gigantic monster snake and eats the train of the title. Sam Jackson did none of that.

The Day The Earth Stopped (2008)

In 'The Day The Earth Stood Still', a giant robot besieges Manhattan, ready to destroy the Earth unless humankind can somehow prove its worthiness. In the movie rip-off 'The Day The Earth Stopped', 666 giant robots land around the Earth, poised to destroy it unless it can somehow prove its worth. This could actually be better than the Keanu Reeves version.

Princess of Persia (2010)

With a title that boasts more than a passing resemblance to Mike Newell's 'Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time', not to mention the most opportune (but presumably entirely coincidental) release of the film in 2010, this 'epic tale' actually managed to rein in an impressive, if slightly odd cast in Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole, Jonathan Rhys-Davies from 'Lord of the Rings'…and Luke Goss. From Bros. The DVD movie rip-off even uses the same font as 'Prince of Persia', again, presumably a colossal coincidence.

Ratatoing (2007)

Though the plot isn't as intricate as its splendid Pixar counterpart 'Ratatouille', it still involves a rodent cook being the most gifted in all of Rio de Janeiro in this Portuguese language take. Marcell Toing is the chef in question, who cooks with his mouse friends Carol and Greg, who have remarkably mundane names when you consider they could have been called absolutely anything at all.

Alien Vs Hunter (2007)

'AvH: Alien Vs. Hunter' is another Asylum special, strangely coincided with the release of  'Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem'. In fact, 'AvH' beat 'AVP' to the screen by a week. Well, the TV screen as it went straight to DVD, but it's still a screen. It features Dedee Pfeiffer, sister of Michelle, in a leading role.

The Da Vinci Treasure (2007)

In which C. Thomas Howell stars as a 'forensic anthropologist' who has to decode the works of Leonardo Da Vinci in order to discover the secrets behind Christianity. Which, as we all know, is nothing like 'The Da Vinci Code', in which a 'symbologist' has to decode the works of Leonardo Da Vinci in order to discover the secrets behind Christianity.

2012: Ice Age (2011)

It's where the risible '2012' meets the daft but watchable 'The Day After Tomorrow'. The cheeky flipping blighters even used a frozen up Statue of Liberty on the poster, as in Roland Emmerich's climate-calamity-ological (a word invented for these purposes) disaster movie. Ignoring the phrase 'a glacial pace', the glacier at the centre of '2012: Ice Age' moves at 200mph after a volcanic eruption in Iceland. Spurious.

Transmorphers: Fall of Man (2009)

Sure, they look a bit like Transformers, but these are Transmorphers, which is clearly a whole world of difference. And anyway, 'Transmorphers' the movie came out a full two days before Michael Bay's ear-drum shattering shout fest 'Transformers', so who's ripping off who? Exactly.

What's Up: Balloon To The Rescue! (2009)

It's probably no great coincidence that the word 'Up' appears in the title of this distinctly Pixar-esque feature-length cartoon, not to mention the big balloon carrying away the house. Yes, yes, 'Up' had lots of balloons, and this has just the one, but that's surely splitting hairs. In fact, the plots vary, 'What's Up' concerning magic stones and monster-chasing, and probably not an opening act that makes grown men weep.

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