17 September 2011 | krachtm
Dopey, silly, campy, cheap, and dumb.
I watched this because I figured Robert Loggia and CCH Pounder were pretty cool and could elevate almost anything to a watchable level. Ron Silver is a recognizable name, but I've never really been a big fan of his. The plot sounded pretty decent -- essentially, just a scifi remake of an Hitchcock bit of wartime propaganda by way of Steinbeck.
What I didn't realize was that this was very low budget and given to some really amusing melodrama, with the requisite whooping alarms, shaking camera, and people yelling and panicking. Some of the characters were interesting, and the acting was generally pretty good, but it was really quite full of clichés, such as the fiery revolutionary, the penny-pinching bureaucrat, the feisty pilot, the grief-stricken mother, etc. It's not so much that I hate film archetypes; rather, these weren't really given all that much time to develop into real people and capture your interest. They had somewhat interesting backgrounds that hinted at a familiar, somewhat derivative scifi universe where evil corporations and authoritarian politicians have caused each of the passengers to have at least some degree of motive for sabotaging their ship. Yet we never learn anything about any of the characters beyond which allows him or her to become a red herring. I'm sure that the actors did their best, given the rather two-dimensional writing, but it's somewhat unfortunate that they weren't given more to work with.
If you're a fan of CCH Pounder (and I know that this talented actress must have more fans than just me), you'll be disappointed to know that she doesn't have a prominent role in this movie despite being one of the stars. Robert Loggia has a meatier role, and Ron Silver cast himself in a more supporting role. I really liked Ed Gale's character, a cybernetic mechanic, but his character, too, suffered from a lack of depth.
In the end, this is actually pretty enjoyable as far as mainstream scifi movies go. I would have preferred to have seen more characterization, a faster pace, and a bigger budget (the special effects were quite laughable, unfortunately), but, for a TV movie, I suppose it could have been much worse. There were a few good lines, some good actors, and a decent-enough ending, but everything was so derivative and clichéd that I felt as though I'd seen it all before a hundred times. An extra ten minutes of dialogue and characterization would have probably helped.
It's truly unfortunate that Ron Silver died, but I'm still not a fan.