TBS has managed to come up with a new twist on a stale theme with the low-rent “On Hostile Ground.” This time around, New Orleans, during Mardi Gras, is besieged by a giant sinkhole, and everybody is at risk. Connect the dots and the cable web has a cheapo genre pic, one where the pseudo-thrills are noticeably bargain bin.
Geologist Matt Andrews (John Corbett), has never been the same since he failed to stop a mining accident years ago. Now he’s overly cautious about everything, including his relationship with long-time girlfriend and mayoral confidant Allison (Jessica Steen), who wishes Matt would realize the accident wasn’t his fault and then ask her to marry him. Just as everyone is arriving in town for Mardi Gras festivities, a city worker is killed when an underground tunnel caves in.
Matt soon determines that the entire downtown of New Orleans is in danger, and heatedly advises that Mardi Gras be called off. Given his rep for cautiousness, nobody, including Allison, believes him, and she decides to suggest to the mayor that the parade go ahead.
From that point on, it’s all foreboding music from composers Asher Ettinger and Tony Kosinec, and crowd shots (a few of which were taken at Mardi Gras itself) as we wait for the inevitable moment when the ground gives way. Once the ground starts sinking, it’s up to Matt to save the day.
Director Mario Azzopardi would have been well-advised to compensate for the lack of spectacular visuals with a bit more humor; everything in “On Hostile Ground” tends to be taken a bit too seriously, especially since the filmmakers don’t have the budget to come close to re-creating Mardi Gras, let alone Mardi Gras manque.