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Today's lesson: If you decide to rip-off a movie, rip-off a good movie. If you rip-off a movie that truly sucked a cosmic big one then, by the transitive property
On a seemingly unrelated note, I watched DARK DESCENT today. It stars former TV Superman Dean Cain (BOA). In fact his name appears over the title. Daniel Knauf (WOLF LAKE [TV]) serves as writer and first time director.
The movie takes place in a - get this! - mining colony. That phrase seems to be built into whatever bad sci-fi screenwriting software that gets issued to film makers as they leave bad sci-fi film school. As though the only reason to build a colony in an odd location is to mine some fantastical metal for a standard-issue evil corporation.
This time the colony is built on the ocean bottom, in the very deep Marinas Trench. Although the location is an Earthly one it could just as easily have been anywhere in the universe because it's all shot on the same sort-of futuristic "base corridors" set that we've all seen before.
Mr. Cain plays Wil Murdock, a cop in the small police force keeping the peace in the deep ocean. He and his partner Niles (Scott Wiper) are called in to break up a bar fight at the Brass Monkey. They arrive in time to see some tough and well armed (why would they allow anyone to carry guns here?) Russian miners take a prostitute hostage. The Russians are lead by a guy named Vlad Kristoff (Julian Vergov), who seems to be their leader because he has the worst teeth. Wil kills Kristoff's brother in the resulting firefight and Kristoff swears (you guessed it) revenge!
Jump to four years later. Wil is about to transfer out, presumably to another mining colony, and his friends throw him a surprise party. On the way to the party Wil is left alone in a small subway car and has a barely controlled panic attack. We find out later that he's in therapy for claustrophobia, which makes us wonder why he didn't transfer out of this cramped tin can city long ago. This could have been an interesting subplot but it's never explored.
Wil and Niles are called in to investigate a strange suicide. A miner apparently took off his helmet while outside the city (a very difficult thing to do, but I'll save that for the science moment). This is not an isolated incident, either. There have been nine suicides in the past month.
When Wil asks the company psychiatrist about all the suicides and about some odd pills found among the latest suicide's personal effects, he gets the run around. Could it be that "The Company" is giving the miners drugs to allow them to work more, thus boosting profits? Could it be that these drugs are having psychedelic side effects and "The Company" doctor is in on it? Could it be that anybody was actually stupid enough to rip off OUTLAND? (You remember: Sean Connery as a U.S. Marshal on a - say it with me - Mining Colony on Jupiter's moon Io, where the miners are going nuts because the mining Company is giving them a drug, etc. Got it? Okay.)
Just as in OUTLAND, when Marshal Wil threatens to blow the whistle on "The Company" a group of assassins are sent in, arriving on the High Noon shuttle/ sub/ stagecoach/ whatever. These assassins are none other than Kristoff and his boys, freshly bailed out of prison. Can Wil prevail?
While we ponder that question, how about a minty, refreshing
Continued at SCIENCE MOMENT/DarkDescent.
Mr. Cain has some fun with this role but DARK DESCENT is memorable only for it's inexplicable decision to rip off the very bad OUTLAND. I give it one shriek girl.
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