13 July 2013 | L_Miller
Decent on its own terms, much better than SyFy average
A post-pandemic world is the setting for a very watchable morality tale about obligation to others and sacrifice for the collective good.
Some klunk here and there but the sets, costumes, performances and themes are well above the very, very, very, very low bar set by SyFy (e.g., "Mega Python vs. Gatoroid"), in fact far enough above that this is a decent movie in its own right.
Sean Bean is a decent actor and does well in this movie along with no- name cast, to a unusually deep level. Good action scenes, too; fights from horseback, group hand-to-hand combat, interiors and exteriors.
The major characters all have interesting conflicts and the interaction is believable (though as some have said, they are all waaaay too pretty). No eye candy shouting their lines; the actors modulate well and for a very large part play their roles believably.
There's also a nice structural component with parallel story lines, unusually nuanced for the media. The story lines alternate well between the questing leads, the tribespeople trapped in the cave, and Gagen's self-justifying depravity, are better than expected for the genre.
One of the other reviews said "Good bones, bad carpeting". That's well put - I'd say the carpeting is cheap, not bad, but that's just semantics.
To be clear - this is not an A-list movie; it's entertaining but low budget. The primitive tribespeople are groomed to the max and comically articulate, the effects are serviceable but still almost all CGI, one of the leads father seems to have somehow taught -himself- to read in the absence of any other literate persons (??), etc.
All of that notwithstanding, I have sat through way worse Hollywood crap with 100X the budget and one-tenth the script. Not Inception or anything epic, but worth a watch if you are looking for a couple of hours of entertainment.
I make all these points because the people who make these movies work just as hard as the Hollywood A_listers but don't get the recognition.
Just because it's a B movie doesn't mean there should be no standards. When a movie crew puts time and effort into making a structurally good movie, it deserves recognition even if it's never going to be on "Entertainment Tonight".
There should be a genre name for these films which not quite A-list but better than traditional "B movies" - decently made, not great art, but decent entertainment. Maybe "paperback movie" is a better title - other examples are "Snitch", "The Naked Kiss", "Love and a .45", or "Red Eye".