Survival Code (2013)

survival-code

The future is miserable and a bit depressing. I know that (hopefully) long after I die, the world will choke itself because rich people only care about making profit and too many poor people have been tricked into thinking the Kardashians are important people who are worth an instant of your time, but I always hope that more sci-fi will be more like the sort of utopia we deserve, and less like the living hell we’re going to get.

Anyway, Ty Olsson is a great actor, and well worth watching in just about anything. He’s one of the best recurring characters in the history of “Supernatural” and is a decent role away from a decent level of stardom, I think. Luckily for we lovers of things at the bottom end, he’s not got it yet so we get films like this. He’s a former MMA guy who runs a bar as well as being the local customs agent – and we’re immediately introduced to the people who are going to be taking part in this TV series. Sorry, it’s so obvious it’s a pilot for a TV show that I felt bad holding out on the information as long as I did.

It’s set somewhere in Northern Canada. When the opening info-dump told us about the melting of the ice-caps, and how “arctic” things were going, my first thought was “hold on, I didn’t think there was any actual land at the North Pole?” but I was just being tricked a little. It’s 2045, and the gold-rush town at the top of the world features a mix of people of all nationalities, trying to find the last reserves of oil and gas anywhere on Earth.

Survival-Code

You can fill in most of the blanks yourself. It feels a little like SyFy Channel show “Defiance”, just without the aliens – a charismatic lawkeeper, lots of different factions manoeuvring for dominance, weird and wonderful ideas being thrown at the wall to see what sticks. In fact, “Defiance”‘s existence probably sounded the death knell for this show’s potential – there are a lot of reviews of this from when it was first broadcast which sound quite hopeful for it getting picked up to go to series. Sorry, guys!

It looks surprisingly good, so clearly some money was spent on it, and it’s several orders of magnitude more interesting than your average SyFy Channel movie. And it would, truth be told, have made a perfectly decent TV series. I just wish that visions of the future had a bit more of the “Star Trek” about them and a bit less of the dystopian – if we don’t all want to die in an increasingly violent rush for the last natural resources on our planet, we need to start working together, for everyone not just the super-rich. And that sense of “is this what we can expect?” hangs over this film like a smog cloud, leaving a bad taste in the mouth despite a decent cast, some okay effects and a plot that could have supported something ongoing.

Rating: thumbs down

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