Summary: A wrongly accused convict is offered his freedom if he can rescue the president’s daughter from an outer space prison where she’s being hostage by psychopath inmates.
Thoughts: I wasn’t expecting much with this one due to its low ratings, but I actually enjoyed it very much. I loved the look and feel of the film, from the cinematography to the set design. I loved the look of the prison space ship, gritty and rugged and machine-ish, “sci-fi noir” as someone called it in the bonus features. I love these sorts of space ships, not the overly-clean and overly-plain white and silver vast palace-like space ships that one often sees. I love this dark saturated grayish-bluish-greenish industrial feel, with pipes and wires everywhere, ships that say “this machine is more complicated than you have the wits to understand.”
Some of the special effects were pretty bad; I would’ve gone for something more subtle than a futuristic road race when there’s no budget. But I can forgive the bad CGI when I know the film makers didn’t have much money to play with.
The overall story was rather standard; I thought it would’ve worked better had more been at stake for the main characters, and/or if there were some more dilemma he had to deal with in terms of relating to the murderous inmates who’ve taken over the ship. They hinted at moral dilemmas; it’s revealed that the prison had a dark side, that its staff members were doing some shady things. It would’ve been interesting if that had been explored a bit deeper thematically. But overall, it wasn’t bad.
What I especially enjoyed was the main character’s personality. His dry sarcastic humor just worked perfectly for me. Very Dr. House-like. And, like House, he might’ve come across as an arrogant jerk to some, but I loved it. A lesser writer might’ve tried to make the hero say noble serious things, which would’ve fallen flat. I enjoy when the hero cracks jokes even when the tension is high. It keeps the film from taking itself too seriously (which makes it more serious, in a sense, because audiences disengage when it feels too serious), and it gives the character personality.
Overall, surprisingly fun movie. I quite enjoyed it.