There are no less than five movies and two TV series that share the name “Marabunta,” or army ant, a moniker given to hundreds of different species of ant. For the purposes of this article, the “Marabunta” in question is the 1998 TV-movie, also known by a host of other names including “Legion of Fire,” “Killer Ants,” and “Terror in Burly Pines.”
Why so many name changes? All the better to repackage a total turkey. “Marabunta” aims for territory somewhere in the neighborhood of the 1954 action-adventure “The Naked Jungle” (which is ALSO known as “Marabunta”), with South American ants laying waste to a small fishing village in Alaska. Unfortunately, its goals are far loftier than its budget will allow: the ants’ path of destruction is relegated to a couple of gooey skeletons, including that of pre-fame Patrick Fugit as the town bully, while the final solution to the ant problem — the town is flooded when the local dam is destroyed — is carried out with shoddy models.
The cast, which includes TV vets Eric Lutes and Mitch Pileggi, has little to do but does what it can with the limited material and plothole-ridden script. They do manage to keep a straight face when told how the ants got from South America to Alaska — on a cruise ship, like tourists.