THE STORY:Remember the TV show Space Above and Beyond? (You should. Its not that old and I have the pilot on tape...so you may be seeing it in the Inferno soon!) It was about futuristic marines and space wars and stuff like that there. Well this movie could have been the pilot! At least a pilot for a show with same theme. I was ready to blast this movie to kingdom come but it wasn't atrocious enough to deserve such a fate! (DAMN!)
A band of space pirates called the Infinity Brigade hijack a shipment of Utronium (Hey, I'm only trying to spell what they said) and kidnap a vice minister of the United Planets. (Read: Earth and other colonized worlds) Led by Colonel Frasier, the Brigade demands a [unwrite]load of gold for his release. This Utronium stuff is used to make bad-ass bombs and the UP are fearful that the bad guys will make one and start blowing up [unwrite]. So in a situation like that who ya gonna call? Well, you call in the Space Marines of course!
The battleship Missouri comes to the pirates base planet and drops of Captain Gray and his marines to lead an assault. The marines start whacking the pirates left and right but just as they're about to save the minister Ambassador Nakamura of the UP gives an order to the Missouri's commander, Commodore Lasser. He tells her to call off the assault so the UP can negotiate with Frasier! (?). Lasser has no choice but to call the marines and order them to fall back. They do so reluctantly but one of them, Mike, is killed. The other marines blame the rookie guy, Tex, for Mike's death. Actually if you watch the movie its a tough call. Mike died trying to help Tex, but I don't think its Tex's fault. He didn't actually do anything that caused Mike to die. Mike just ran out in the open, guns a'blazing, trying to cover Tex as he set an explosive. Tex wouldn't have made it out either, but Zak, the hero of the movie goes and saves him.
I have to wonder...Frasier and his right hand man, Gunter, know the Marines are in orbit before the assault really starts. When things start going bad for them, Frasier shoots one guy in the back for trying to run. What the hell is up with these guys that work for bosses like that? How do super villains manage to maintain a staff? Do they have ads that say "Looking for toady like lackeys that don't mind being killed if they disobey or disappoint me in the slightest thing."?
Ambassador Nakamura and his aide, Dar Mullins arrive to negotiate. You'll know right away that Mullins is going to be the heroine of the movie. You'll know because she instantly becomes the frigid bitch when she has to deal with Zak. Zak is assigned to pose as an ambassadors aide during the negotiations,. He gives sage advice too. Like "This is a trick....its a trap." etc but Mullins clamps down on him telling him to basically shut up and follow orders. Hey folks, how many times do we need to see this happen. We KNOW Zak is the hero. We know Frasier is a jerk and really, really, really evil. So we know by default that it is indeed a trick. Frasier has used the Utronium to make little aspirin like bombs. He forces the captured minister to swallow one so when it seems he's being rescued, Frasier detonates the bomb by remote control. Then he captures Nakamura, Mullins and Zak. Nakamura's a more valuable hostage.
The Space Marines aboard the Missouri are pissed off. Captain Gray wants to finish the bad guys off but Frasier leaves the planet with his hostages and crew. Lasser claims she has to wait for orders from the "council" before she can take any action that may endanger the hostages. Man, they need to institute the Kirk regulation in this universe! (The Kirk law: Any commander of a starship can do whatever they think is right providing that they are out of immediate touch with their superiors. This includes blowing up planets, killing pirates and having sex with aliens to save the ship)
Frasier's plan is relatively stup---I mean simple. He implants a bomb in Nakamura and accompanies him to the UP home planet. Frasier then demands gold. (I guess Gold is worth a helluva lot in the future) He tells the assembled leaders that if he doesn't get his gold he'll distribute the urtronium to every terrorist in the galaxy. Kind of like giving every terrorist on Earth right now a bag of uranium. The Space Marines and Commodore Lasser figure out his plan by examining evidence on the "black box" of the transport ship the pirates hijacked and head for UP HQ.
Frasier is really an madman though. When he's confronted by the good guys in the council chambers he tells them about the bomb in Nakamura. He'll detonate it if they don't put the gold in his ship and let him escape even though he will die if they don't. Gray's computer expert, Hacker, (lotta thought went into that name, huh?) is trying to break the encoded detonator signal so Frasier can't and he's close. Tex sacrifices himself to give them the few seconds they need. Actually Tex manages to do that and kill Frasier at the same time! The danger is over and the galaxy is safe thanks to the space marines.
Ok, I know that review sounded like a Saturday morning cartoon. Still, this movie was interesting and I can see it being a regular series if that was the point of the film. Most of the special effects were computer generated and it shows...but Babylon Five's SFX were CGI too and that was a damn good show. (A lot better than any Trek show I might add!..and yeah, I meant that, Trek boy! WANNA TAKE ME ON..HUH?...Didn't think so.) Its never really explained but the Missouri seems to travel through space via opening holes in Hyperspace. Although it doesn't look all that great as a CGI effect its a nice little touch. At least they didn't add in useless technobabble on how it works.
Edward Albert was Captain Gray. The mysterious and beautiful Meg foster was Commodore Lasser. Zak was Billy Wirth,
Best Lines:"How many times do I have to tell you 'NOT TO LEAVE YOUR POST?'...it sets a bad example for the men!"- Frasier yells at Gunter.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?:
1.)When the marines begin their assault of the pirates HQ Zak yell orders to his squad. But Zak's and his men are only a few feet away from a pirate. This guy didn't hear Zak YELLING to his men about "kill anyone that's not a marine!" Yeah, the guy was firing a weapon but come on...they're only about six feet away!
2.)Geez..they really do need "Kirk Law". The United Planets sure does give up easy. Why? The man the bad guys have some vice minister as a hostage? So what? The US and probably a lot of other countries would sacrifice an ambassador right now to keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands. So if Nakamura, an ambassador is a better hostage then isn't the Vice minister kind of expendable? Why not just blast the pirate base into badly smelling smoke thus saving the galaxy from Utronium bombs and the pirates...and only one guy, The Vice Minister who really can't be THAT important has to die for the cause. [unwrite], I know my bosses would shoot me themselves in the same situation!
3.) Uh..why in the future are all dancers and strippers in clubs holograms? It may seem cool now, but would you like to go to a strip club only to see a hologram hottie? Why? If that's the point you might as well stay at home and watch X rated vids or whatever. Not that I go to strip clubs. (at least since I got married...oops said too much...) Plus, isn't this putting futuristic trailer trash chicks out of a job? I'll get medieval here...I'd rather oogle a live stripper than a holographic stripper...that is if I wanted to see such a thing...and I don't. Ok, I'm probably lying, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it!
4.) Apparently the cargo ship carrying the utronium was under such secrecy that no one could know its flight plan. Thus it was unguarded. But if it was guarded they bad guys probably wouldn't have been able to capture it. Go figure.
NUDITY AND SEX:none
HUH?:Mullins doesn't WANT to carry or fire a gun after Zak manages to free them from Frasiers cells. What the [unwrite]? She doesn't want to carry a gun? (I've never fired a gun and I'm not going to start now she says) FUNK DAT! If I was Zak I'd have said "All right, bitch...seeya!" and left her. I don't care if she was allergic to firing a weapon...if its a life or death situation like that she'd better get some Benadryl!
HOLY MOLY! The marines actually took weapons away from the fallen bad guys! I've been waiting YEARS to see that. Zak actually takes guns from the guys he's beaten. Man....you have to see it to feel the full effect.
THE TALLY:Ultimately this movie can only be worthy of two devils. I liked it, but I don't think its for everyone but die hard b-movie sci-fi fans. There wasn't a lot of action and the action we do get is mostly the space Marines blasting the villains rather easily. In many ways this movie seems like a pilot to a TV show. (Except for the occasional curse word.)