Hey Space Cadets, here is the second installment in a new series of science fiction movie reviews. Being snowed in early January gave me time to watch new movies, eat some popcorn and just enjoy my family. I’m still writing, and I’ll have more news on that soon. I’ve started recording my new Sci-Fi Shenanigans Podcast with my friend Chris Winder, and we’re already on episode six! In addition to more family time, I’ve fought off the winter blues by writing more and geeking out over the Heavy Falcon launch. In case you missed it, The Sleeping Legion Series has wrapped up and you can buy it on Amazon. The final audio-book for Insurgency: Spartika is in the works, and then you can enjoy every one of my stories in audio-book, paperback, or eBook! Seriously people, we’re talking the first week of March!
But enough about me, onto this specific review. Now let’s get to it!
Director: Shane Abbess
Price: $14.96 USD (Blu Ray Edition)
Duration: 99 Minutes
Release Date: September 24, 2016
Obtained: I bought this movie from Amazon.
Rating: 4/5 Grenades
When a dangerous outbreak threatens to destroy everyone living on a newly colonized planet, Lt. Kane Sommerville goes against orders and leaves his station to rescue his young daughter before it’s too late. It’s set in a time of interplanetary colonization, and Sy Lombrok, a former nurse who is now a drifter with a haunted past, forms an unlikely alliance with Kane Sommerville. The lieutenant works for off-world military contractor Exor, and his daughter arrives for a visit just in time for things to go to pot. In a race against time, they set out to rescue Kane’s young daughter Indi amid an impending global crisis precipitated by Exor.
The blurb on the back of the movie did an excellent job at setting the scene, so I won’t elaborate past that! If you like cheesy budget science fiction, I’d highly recommend you give this movie a chance! Plenty of action, adventure and just enough explosions to move the story along. The action is authentically gritty, without being over the top and I enjoyed it. If this sounds like your flavor of badassery, then you’ve come to the right place! This movie is a brilliant introduction to what I hope becomes a series from director Shane Abbess. I wish I could give you an easy comparison, if you enjoyed movie X, buy this book but I’m sadly very far behind on pop culture. I don’t know what movies are out there anymore. All I can say is that this is one Christmas present that isn’t getting returned!
I’ve included the trailer to this movie, for you to see what I’m talking about!
In this movie we meet a diverse group of inhabitants of a new colony world that’s in the process of being terraformed. During the course of the movie we meet three main characters, who were pretty well flushed out. The actors and actresses were on their A game, which is odd for what was clearly a B movie. All the characters felt flushed out and three-dimensional. They added to what is clearly a vast and expansive universe. All the characters were a lot of fun to get to know, so let’s dive in!
LT Kane Sommerville: He was one of the three main point of view characters, and was played by actor Daniel MacPherson. The acting was solid, and in that regard, I had no complaints. The character was flushed out, with clearly defined motivation. Maybe it’s the combat veteran in me, but I felt for his battle with his memories. I understood his drive to save his child, despite the odds. This one hit me in the feels, and I was moved by this character.
Sy Lombrok: He was one of the three main point of view characters, and was played by actor Kellan Lutz. He was a former nurse, who became a convict and drifter stuck on the Osiris Colony as a slave to the Exor Corporation. When stuff hits the fan, he rises to the occasion, showing true character. The acting was well done, and I truly believed in this character. I loved his tale of redemption, that arc worked for me. I can’t tell you more about him without ruining the movie, and I promised no spoilers. I’ll leave it saying that the character was awesome, and I want to know what happens to him at the end of the movie.
Indi Sommerville: She was one of the three main point of view characters and was played by actress Teagan Croft. Her acting felt a bit stilted, but it was hard to tell if this was a directing choice or was just a limitation of a child actor. She serves the role of the other two main characters motivation, and in that role, she was an excellent character. She then served as the narrator of the events, telling the audience what had taken place on this planet.
Overall, I will give these characters 5 out of 5 Grenades and can’t wait to see where the director takes this character throughout this new series!
This was a fairly simple plot, and it made the acting by the main characters even more compelling. The main character, Kane Sommerville, is on a desperate quest to save his daughter. The proverbial clock is ticking, though in this movie the clock is real. When the buzzer sounds, the planet will be destroyed by an existential threat. Like most of the science fiction I love, this was an action-packed movie. The story is set in a galaxy far, far away when humanity is post-Sol System. Nothing new here, that’s almost a requirement for any science fiction that isn’t a first contact affair. This story gave me the escapism and enjoyment I needed, especially when the fireworks were giving me flashbacks. I watched this movie on New Year’s Eve, waiting for the ball to drop, so this could potentially color my thoughts on the movie. All of this was done under the banner of intergalactic science fiction, so I had no complaints about the plot. The plot was well set-up, and extremely well executed. The plot was extremely limited, but I could definitely see bigger things coming from this series. Fingers crossed that they make the second movie that was implied in the title. My only complaint was that at times the story was confusing, because the director chooses to tell the story out of chronological order. Maybe your mileage will vary, but it’s definitely worth giving it a chance to form your own opinion. That didn’t take away from the extremely well executed pacing. There was never a slow moment, and I was never bored. I couldn’t ask for anything more from this trope; it was perfectly executed, and incredibly acted with solid pacing! I again give this movie a 4 out of 5 Grenades! If it was told in chronological order, this would’ve been a 5 Grenade affair.
World Building & Cinematography:
This movie is listed as the first movie in a science fiction universe, though it was an indie film and sequels for those are notoriously unpredictable. I loved the story, and the use of creative visual work made this world came alive. It was good, though some of the scenes set in the prison made me dizzy; lots of flashing lights and swirling artistic camera angles. This was clearly a low-budget film, but despite that the future tech shown in this movie was visually stunning. The fighter craft was amazing, the tech created was extremely motivating to see this. Again, I absolutely loved this movie. Can I say that enough? Okay, back to the nitty-gritty of the review. This movie had a very flushed out world that was visual consistent, made sense and sucked you in. The director didn’t reinvent the wheel, but instead built on the existing troupes of science fiction moviedom. Overall, the world building and cinematography was well done, and I was sold on the way it played out. It felt believable, and the characters fit within the universe the director created. It was a fun ride that made me want a sequel, which is the goal of action/adventure directors! This movie didn’t take itself too seriously, which allowed you to focus on the fun which is why I read in the first place. I give the world building and cinematography 5 out of 5 Grenades.
I really loved this movie, it was a lot of fun to watch. Definitely a solid B movie, but those hidden gems are sometimes the real winners! In a world where movies tend to have an over reliance on green screens and cinematography, instead of on solid acting, movies like this stand out. Sure, there were some of the director tricks to move the story along, but the acting was solid. I definitely see big things from director Shane Abbess if he’s ever given the chance. This story was fun, though I wouldn’t let my 10-year-old watch it. The actors did an outstanding job portraying their characters and I lost myself in the world that the Exor Corporation built. It brought back the epic space romp shows I loved as a kid, though grittier and geared to the over 13 crowd. No deep messages, or political themes, just good clean fun! The only reason the movie didn’t get five stars was because of the decision to tell the story out of chronological order. It was a bit distracting, but not overly so. Just enough to take the 5th Grenade away. Overall, they had me hooked from the beginning and kept it going throughout the entire 99 minutes. This is a movie I would happily recommend, and a director I will definitely watch again. Buy or rent this movie! But hey, it’s easy to spend someone else’s money! I give this film a 4 out of 5 grenades!
Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!
–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are used on the Fair Use Doctrine.