To keep ourselves from going mad here at the ISCFC, we try and notice trends across completely disparate movies. There’s “Gerald Webb Watch” (a fine actor, and one of the Asylum’s supporting players); “unquels” – sequels which bear no relation to their predecessors; my favourite, movies with prostitutes who have really luxurious apartments; and the subject of today, stereotypical villain actors who get the chance to play a good guy. We’ve seen Robert Davi in the second and third “Maniac Cop” movies, and now we get to see Robert Knepper, aka T-Bag from “Prison Break” and a million other creepy roles.
A scientist fella and his young assistant are setting up what look like silver painted deckchairs in a field. Turns out they’re sensors to pick up info from super-dense matter expelled from a “While Hole”, and Federal agent John Streich (Knepper) is investigating. Now, I felt from the off like I’d missed a prologue or something, as the white hole matter hits the field where they’re stood, killing the scientist and going straight through the Earth and out the other side, somewhere in Australia. How did he know where this up-to-now theoretical hole was going to hit the Earth? Why were the Feds interested in a bloke in a field in the middle of nowhere?
Anyway, this super-dense impact is causing the Earth to slow down, which is in turn causing the magnetic fields at the Poles to reduce, which means the sun’s rays are causing all sorts of havoc. The Earth will eventually stop, one side will freeze, the other will burn, and the main Government scumbag Arnett (Roark Critchlow) wants to make sure the “green band” between the two will be controlled by America, and specifically rich, powerful Americans. It’s a whole heap of science and people staring at screens with computer renderings of the Earth on them, you know, the usual.
There’s actually quite a lot of stuff in this movie, even if it does slow down at the end. Streich’s son Andy is a computer super-genius, hacking into the Department of Defence’s top-secret servers with no problem and feeding the info to his Dad. He’s got kinda a girlfriend Michelle, and she’s the “oh, are you sure you should be doing this? I’m worried about you” voice of reason these sorts of movies feel they ought to have. Then there’s the friendly Government scientist Chloe, a friendly Government guy, the evil Government henchman, and finally the genius scientist who invented a system to stop exactly this sort of disaster but got locked up by the CIA for his trouble, Rothman (Bruce Davison). Our heroes are trying to gain control of two old satellites to do some important world-saving science, and Arnett is trying to control them in order to keep control over a potential green zone.
Lots of characters, good special effects (all the lights in the sky), a few decent plotlines, there’s certainly enough to put it in the top tier of SyFy Channel movies. The acting is mostly strong, too – Knepper is great, and clearly enjoys the chance to be the hero; Davison likewise; and the smaller parts are filled with a range of people you’ll recognise from some of the last decade’s best genre shows – Stargate, Fringe, and Orphan Black, among others. The only weak links are our two teen heroes, Cameron Bright and Julia Maxwell. Maxwell’s surprisingly poor, given how good she was in “Supernatural”, and Bright might as well be replaced by a nodding dog that goes “whoah” every few minutes.
They hit the point where the ending would be at about 1:15, but they’ve got another 15 minutes to go, so it just gets padded and padded. It seems to be a flaw of the SyFy system, where movies have to be a certain length to fit schedules…and I guess they ought to have known that before they started. When you have a fight with five separate “get knocked down, almost out, get up and fight some more” scenes in, you can tell they’re playing for time. Bit of a shame.
It’s also sort of interesting when this was made – at a time when idiots were saying the world would be done in December 2012. How do you feel now, dum-dums? A few people in this movie seem resigned to their fate, too. I reckon they wouldn’t make this in 2016, unless the white hole was spewing sharks.
Rating: thumbs in the middle