We get a few laughs and a bit of slapstick, but ultimately this film does not deliver.
Jennifer Connolly is Sewell's wife, a somewhat lacklustre role. William Hurt ( Altered States ) plays a police detective assigned to investigate the murders. Colin Friels ( Darkman ) has a cameo as a man who discovered the truth, and was driven insane by it.
Richard O'Brien ( Flash Gordon ) pops up as the leader of a band of similar-looking bald-headed pasty-faced types. Every night at midnight all humans fall asleep, and the O'Brien-looking creatures move them about and alter their memories.
In this story she is taken to an impregnable pirate fortress. The Royal Navy sends Fleming (Doug McClure - Warlords of Atlantis ). His comedy sidekick is a Hungarian pirate called Zucho (Kurt Kaznar, in a role quite similar to his Land of Giants one). They are aided by a small troupe of crimson-clad acrobats. Yes, this owes something to the film Crimson Pirate with Burt lancaster himself a former circus acrobat.
The other notable part here is Jill St John as the fiery red-headed pirate queen.
There was a previous adaption of the novel, Against All Flags . It was filmed in black&white, with Errol Flynn and Katharine Hepburn in the lead roles. Beyond being technicolor, this version has no real advantages.
Earth is dying, trapped in a cycle of civil war. The only hope for the good Guys is to set up a colony on a nearby inhabitable planet. Their colonists are the cliched 1950s family, the Space Family Robinson. The parents (William Hurt and Mimi Rogers ) designed their space-ship, the Jupiter Two. Their eldest daughter is the frigid Judy ( Heather Graham ), while the youngest child is a boy, Will Robinson. The only member of the family who is not a top-class scientist is Penny ( Lacey Chabert ), who is a cliched adolescent girl.
The evil Dr Smith (Gary Oldman) is working for the other side, the Sedition. He sneaks aboard the ship just before it takes off, and attempts to sabotage it. While Oldman is a masterful actor, the character he has to work with is a one-dimensional cardboard villain. He makes the character in the original show look far superior in comparison.
The problem with the film is that, while it looks great, the story itself is disappointing. It will come as no surprise to those who have seen it that it was written by Akiva Goldman, the hack responsible for Batman & Robin !
The look of the show is reminiscent of Farscape , perhaps because the creatures were provided by Jim Henson's muppet workshop. Stephen Hopkins does an adequate job of directing, and we even get a cameo by June Lockhart (Mrs Robinson in the TV show). Hopkins has directed a number of action-adventure films, and that is what this is - not the light-hearted comedy you might expect.
Lance Hendriksen ( Aliens ) plays the stereotypical scientist who breeds a genetically engineered killing machine but fails to invest in any security.
Ally Sheedy is a TV journalist who breaks into Hendriksen's labs in order to do an exclusive expose on his work. She takes pity on a big fluffy rottweiler, Max, and takes him home with her. Unfortunately for her, Max is the killing machine! He has the climbing abilities of a cat and the camouflage of a chameleon.
There are a couple of high points in the movie, but that is when Max shows off his abilities. Yes, he pisses acid and eats a cat. Of course, we all feel like that sometimes.
The tournament is to decide the fate of the Earth. The world's champions, led by Raiden the Lightning god (Christopher Lambert - Highlander ), will defend the world from alien invasion.
Shao Khan (Brian Thompson - X-Files ), the evil Emperor of Outworld, has decided to invade Earth. He has opened portals that will merge the two worlds over the next six days, and as this happens Raiden's powers will fade.
Since this is a film of a computer game, and a sequel to boot, you should know not to expect too much. The script is somewhat cliched, penned by the team responsible for Dark Skies . However, there are some nice points, such as the beautiful cinematography (especially in the location scenes from New Mexico). The film is packed with great SPFX and tons of well-executed fight scenes. Exactly how good are the martial artists? Well, Raiden's stunt double is Ray Park!
This film harks back to the old Road To movies, and even has a cameo by Bob Hope. The road our heroes take is from The Man Who Would Be King, up the Khyber Pass into what had by the 1980s become part of the USSR. En route to their destination they meet Donna Dixon , the token babe. The jiggle factor is provided by Vanessa Angel , who plays a Russian soldier. For some reason the shots of her in her underwear are usually edited out from the BBC version. That is a pity, especially since they made it to the video of the theme song (sung by Paul McCartney).
As a supernatural thriller this is pretty pathetic. However, as a lightweight so-called erotic thriller this is somewhat watchable. Ms Delaney goes topless in a couple of scenes, if that is what you are into.
Return to the September 2001 Special