The first Epoch movie was a hit for the SyFy Channel, drawing their biggest ever rating and almost guaranteeing a sequel. Perhaps the poor fools of 2001 were just deprived of normal entertainment, and “Epoch” was the best they could manage? They both feel a bit like they’ve been beamed in from another universe which has lower standards for its entertainment; but what will SyFy do with the two returning cast members (David Keith and Brian Thompson) and the rather iconic torus (toruses? Torii?)
There are two prongs to this movie. One, a shadowy group with some sort of religious underpinning is hunting and killing everyone who had any interaction with the Torus in “Epoch”. This includes the main female star, and as far as ways of explaining how your cast is a bit thinner for the sequel, it’s kind of a clever idea, although their justification for doing this is…how to put it politely…non-existent? Two, China has decided to start a nuclear war, blowing up a joint US/Russian nuke-tracking satellite. Why they’ve chosen to do this is not clear either – it’s set 10 years later, so it’s not like they’re retaliating for the Americans getting the best of them in the first one.
Unfortunately, they forgot to hire actors for this movie, seemingly using whoever was hanging around their Eastern European set – if their accents were too thick, they were dubbed by even less competent voice people. Of people you might like or recognise, there’s the great Billy Dee Williams as the guy who gets David Keith to emerge from hiding to come and check out the two new Toruses (one in France, the other in Russia); and the staggeringly beautiful Biliana Petrinska in a rare English-language role, as the Russian army representative.
It all feels a bit cobbled together. One Torus is a healing tower, like before, but the other is all about destruction. Looks like whoever’s in charge of them doesn’t like the thought of nuclear war so is about to re-terraform the planet, again, and it’s up to our heroes to try and figure out what they want, all the while being pursued by assassins hired by the Genesis Coalition. There’s secret military plans that leave David Keith out, just like part 1, but not content to just rip off that, they also borrow some effects shots and most of the rest of the plot. They appear to have borrowed some sets from a primary school play, because I really hope they didn’t pay anyone to make them. Just awful, really distractingly bad.
Plus, I kinda wanted the Torus to win. Wipe everyone out, I say, if the best you can manage is nuclear war and people using religion to murder folks. I think a film has failed if you’re cheering for the destruction of the entire world, personally.
There’s no real explanation for anything that happens. There’s aliens in it, and it turns out Keith’s son is the Messiah, or something. Well, thank the Lord there was no part 3 to this garbage, because the strongest feeling I got about this was that they were asked to make part 2, had absolutely zero idea of what to do, so just cobbled together a few bits and bobs from discarded scripts laying around the SyFy offices, added them to an earlier draft of the first movie – and hey presto, sequel! The one thing they altered from part 1 was to turn religious undertones into overtones – not just the Messiah thing, although that’s by far the worst, but large chunks of the ludicrous script are people reading straight from the Bible.
The really annoying thing is, if you can forget “2001”, this is a decent idea for a movie series. The people who kick-started our evolution come back to see how we’re getting on and get a bit annoyed with us, but have no real way of communicating that. Part 2 is far too similar to part 1, but they could be used for all sorts of plot ideas. I mean, I barely ever say this, but I’m reasonably confident I could write a better movie than this, but I’m also confident ability has little to do with getting hired to write for the SyFy Channel.
This is right down at the bottom of SyFy’s movies. Avoid at all costs.
Rating: thumbs down