• Warning: Spoilers
    Bill Paxton 20. Slipstream (1989).

    One of 8 movies with the same title, this was the first scifi movie, coincidentally released the same year as the slipstream (scifi) genre was first coined.

    Set in the not-so-distant-anymore-future, after a global environmental disaster causes most of the planet to be uninhabitable, there is a thin valley tunnel system, called the slipstream, where the winds haven't wiped the planet clean, where humanity ekes out a living following the downfall of technology. Many small groups have begun to worship the wind as a god. Others who were better prepared, simply party away the years, awaiting their eventual doom.

    Traders and trackers fly the slipstream in small 1- or 2-man planes, presumably also with their own wind-powered generators, because no-one ever refuels.

    Does the slipstream encompass the globe or is there a beginning and end? No-one knows.

    2 cops (although who they report to is unknown, it's hinted that there's no-one left to even read the reports) capture a murderer, Byron, who in turn is kidnapped by petty thief/fence Matt Owens (Paxton), intending to turn Byron in himself for the reward. In their journey downstream, Byron befriends Owens, to the point that he no longer wants to turn him in.

    Unfortunately for Owens, he was hit with a dart by the cops during his escape, containing a tracer (they catch up with him a few times) and a very slow-acting curare poison (takes days to take effect, rather than minutes).

    But fortunately for Owens, the cops are also lovers who are slowly falling apart, and the female ends up falling for Owens, while Byron, who it turns out is an android, kills the male cop, who turns out to be Luke Skywalker. Yes, it's Mark Hamill. The number of times I yelled out "Use the force, Luke!" is quite embarrassing.

    So Byron the android learns to be human and heads off for the promised land of androids, Owens ends up with Belitski, the female cop (who shoots him again, this time with the antidote), and they presumably start up a hot air balloon company, and Luke is one with the force. Or maybe just dead. Those movies probably aren't in the same universe. Although, it is produced by the same guy that produced A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. So you never know.

    Starring

    Elmer Bernstein - Composer/conducter since the 50s, died in 2004, but his music continues to be used, as recently as The Magnificent 7.

    The London Symphony Orchestra - who are just awesome (Star Wars series, Harry Potter series)

    Alan Polonsky - bit part in Aliens with Paxton as an insurance claimant, bit part here as a committee member (they're arguing that now these newcomers know about the place, they can never be allowed to leave. Then the cops bust in and start shooting everybody)

    Bruce Boa - "Prepare for ground assault" - General Rieekan, Empire Strikes Back. Not this movie, but the only part you'll know him from

    Richard Huggett - born in Brisbane, career highlight was 3 years on Neighbours as Glen Donnelly. Glen has an incestuous relationship with his half-sister. These scenes were cut from UK airing. When Richard decided not to renew his contract, his character fell off the roof and was paralyzed from the waist down.

    Ben Kinsley - best known for Ghandi, Sexy Beast and Iron Man 3. But still mostly Ghandi. Certainly not for his death scene here, where he gets crushed by a stone prayer wheel.

    Eleanor David - short-lived lover of the android, also wife of Pink in Pink Floyd: The Wall

    Robbie Coltrane, aka Rubeus "You're in a hot spa, Harry" Hagrid. That's his whole scene. He sits in a giant bubbling bathtub with 5 other people and makes fun of Owens as a loser. To be fair, he hadn't really broken into TV or movies yet, although I was surprised to see him and Liam Neeson in Krull (1983)

    Ricco Ross - left Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket to play Frost in Aliens. Never really made it big after that. Has 2 small scenes in this movie, where he's friends with Owens and helps him escape

    Mark Hamill - after Star Wars, he didn't want to get typecast, so he started acting in small budget roles, which nobody saw, and everyone still only thinks of him as Luke. As a hardass cop, he's pretty good. When Gary Kurtz and George Lucas split up, Mark said it was "like Mom and Dad getting a divorce". Kutz didn't like where Lucas was taking the franchise, which was making more money in toy sales thatn the movie itself. Kurtz left, and we ended up with 'Ewoks dancing in the forest like a teddy-bear luau.'

    Gary Kurtz - Assistant Director and Producer of Empire Strikes Back. He made 5% of net profit from the movie, but lost it all when he divorced his first wife (somewhere in the realm of $6m at the time). Same year, he's remarried, to a woman he met filming one year earlier. Coincidence? It was the divorce that sank this movie, as he was personally bankrolling it. He couldn't even afford to have it shown in theatres, so it went straight to VHS. He filed for bankruptcy, and this film is in the public domain, so go download it guilt-free (or watch it on Amazon for $3.99 or buy it 'new' for $12.99).