It’s the 12th season of some long-running sci-fi show. All the good original cast members have long since departed, and all the half-decent replacement actors have just left too. One long-forgotten film star who made a cult hit once has agreed to come on and play your bad guy, but he hasn’t really tried in years. All your good writers have gone, and anyway you’ve recycled your plots so many times that no-one’s really paying attention. Everyone’s coasting, expecting cancellation, when for no reason at all the show gets picked up for another season, and the network tells you to do a film bridging the two seasons. No money for special effects, of course, but you can use all the top-end sets and expensive cameras. This is what that movie would be.
We’re a long way from anywhere, it would seem. A huge interplanetary civil war is seen raging in the distance and two different teams of scavengers have arrived looking for stuff to scavenge. It seems we’re expected to know who these people are, as we don’t get much in the way of introductions and for a few minutes, I thought they were all on the same ship. Sean Patrick Flannery, formerly of “Boondock Saints” and sadly little else, is Jekel, the boss of…I can’t remember the name of the ship, and looking it up seems pointless. Anyway, Baddie-Ship, with its crew of people who either don’t seem particularly evil at all, or are such bad actors it’s difficult to tell and “The Revelator” (thanks, IMDB plot summary!) full of people who seem quite nice, but certainly aren’t better actors are after the Chaos Generator, which may be the most MacGuffin-y of all the MacGuffins the ISCFC has so far covered. It can tip the balance of power in the universe, apparently!
It also seems to be a battle between a group of unmedicated depressives and a group of people on Prozac. Jekel seems to be channeling Kurtz from “Apocalypse Now”, badly, and everyone else on Baddie-Ship just seems like they’re sort of vaguely unhappy with their lot in life, with the possible exception of Breathtaker (Kelley Whilden), who for reasons completely unknown is an indestructible fighter. Everyone on the Revelator seems fairly relaxed, even though they’re in the “darkest fringe of the universe” (which still has a huge number of very bright stars in the sky), with a psychopath after them and a gigantic space battle happening a short distance away.
As you might be able to tell, I didn’t think much to this film. The dialogue is ludicrous, full of “you’ll destroy this sector of space!” and other such white noise. None of the actors seem terribly thrilled about being in a sci-fi movie, like it was sprung on them at the last minute, which adds a rather odd layer to proceedings. Aside from my joke idea for the origin of this film above, it really feels like I missed the first 20 minutes of this, where they explained who the characters were, what their relationships with each other were, and why we should be bothered with this adventure they’re on. It feels like a smaller part of a larger whole.
Aside from the rotten acting and bad script, though, everything is fine. The film looks beautiful (apart from the space battles, which look like 1990s CGI), with good sets, including everything being well-lit, which sticks out like a sore thumb in low-budget cinema. But it’s just so dull! Did anyone seriously look at this and go “yup, this is definitely the best we could’ve done. I’m proud of this”?
Rating: thumbs down