Sci-fi, 93 Minutes, 2013
[This is the fifteenth selection in my irregular, “My Wife and Kids are Visiting Relatives and I’m Home Watching Movies” film festival.]
This is one of those super-low-budget “what the…?” movies that you come across sometimes. At first I couldn’t find any information about it – until I realized that it had been released as both “Space Soldiers” and “Scavengers” (when “Space Scavengers” would probably be best).
Getting the obvious out of the way: this movie suffers terribly, horribly (but not quite completely) from its budget. The sets are collections of junk store computer parts and vaguely “futuristic-looking” crap such as 1980’s power strips, analog TV switchers and MS contoured keyboards (really, there are a LOT of keyboards).
The computer effects range from, maybe, 1990 TV to 1990 video game quality and are heavily leaned on. The acting is bad although to be fair with at least a dozen primary roles to fill it could have been a hell of a lot worse. The number of characters makes for an overly complex, convoluted script.
But! Indeed I say, “but“! There’s something here… something not quite good but not quite bad either. The movie is clearly (some might say overly) going for a “Firefly” vibe. The number of characters and their relationships are really too complex for a feature; they seem more “TV”. The concepts introduced – a scavenger class living on the fringe, alien technology that can change the universe, etc – are nothing new, in fact they’re classic clichés. Other ideas, such as the clone that can only be regenerated 13 times but has a nasty habit of killing himself, are genuinely inspired.
The movie never rises above its budget but more importantly, it can’t. You simply can’t tell the story they try to tell with the money they had. Anybody that thinks so is either crazy or insanely optimistic. I like to think in this case it was the latter and, damn, you gotta love a dreamer, don’t you?