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I'm suprised about the amount of positivity expressed towards this movie as
it is quite poor. As a long standing SF fan I was looking forward to it,
despite it's low budget and the fact that the director's subsequent movies
have been less than satisfactory.
The good points: The special effects are reasonable (although not great) and the set designs are excellent (quite reminiscent of Alien.)
The bad points: Cliche after cliche hits you until you can't take it seriously. The handsome tough guy cop who smokes a cigarette out of the corner of his mouth. You'll hate this character unless you like one dimensional humourless carboard cut out stereotypes.
The muscle bound convicts who bully everyone else. IS this a prison for body builders or something?
The geeky computer wiz kids and their quirky humour. How we laughed.
The obvious 'good guy saves the day' ending.
Malcolm Mcdowell. Why does he take movies like this? Such a fine actor is wasted here.
The plot holes are too numerous to mention here but there are lots and lots - probably about 44.
There really isn't anything to like about this film apart from the average visuals.
I advise you to give this one a miss and pick up a very similar but far superiour movie called 'Outland' starring Sean Connery and directed by Peter Hyams.
I like to compare apples to apples,this is a B movie,so... compared to
B movies,this one is great.Michael Pare is almost always a very
actor,in this movie he is at the top of form,cool story,cool guy,and
the top acting(thats what makes a great B movie). Even my wife liked
If "Moon 44" deserves to be remembered, it's for authentic atmosphere.
It breathes 80's style SF realism, a cross between "Aliens" and "Blade
Runner" -- did they pilfer Deckard's living room interior for their
company headquarters scenes, by the way? Look closely...
It was Roland Emmerich's first genre movie before "Independence Day", and the two share the same flaws. Yes, it is full of stereotypes and the end is cheesy, by "B-movie" standards, but it also has some good drama and an interesting mix of characters. The real letdown is Michael Paré as the pretty face/mercenary hero -- a little more depth to his bleak and boring character might have improved the ratings. The main assets of the film are its visuals, they make for a totally believable outer space "mining" colony. This is a rather low budget production, but you don't see it. With some refinement to the story, and a few long shots and explosions more, it might have come out really good. This is one of those films that make you wonder, what if.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There is no reason on earth to watch this testosterone driven pile of
pseudo homo-erotic horse cookies masquerading as an SF movie. The story
could have been written on the back of a postage stamp (but is credited
to have taken FOUR people to concoct). The visuals are totally
derivative; take Alien, Outland, bits of Blade Runner, shove through
blender. The acting is abysmal. Not even McDowell can summon up the
effort to be interested in his lines and he can usually be counted on
to have some fun with his roles.
If you do watch this movie after reading the trashing it gets on the IMDb there are some rewards to be got from it. It's one of those movies that lets you sit there and ask yourself questions like: What are the teenage whizz kid navigators actually FOR? All they do is say "Go faster!" or "Go up!" I mean if the muscle-bound ex-prisoner fighter pilots can't work out that crashing into canyon walls in a speeding helicopter is not a good idea then they are even thicker than they look (and boy do they look thick - physically as well as mentally. Where did these guys learn to fly? - The Charles Atlas Fight School of dynamic tension?).
As it turns out, these guys ARE as thick as two short planks because, having been told that their lives are in the hands of their teenage navigators they seem to think it's a good idea to anally rape one of them in the shower. Not clever.
Other questions you might like to ask yourself include why ALL the doors in this movie give off huge spurts of steam every time they open, or close. In fact, why does _everything_ in this movie give off great spurts of steam? Everywhere people go on the mining station steam shoots out at them from walls, doors, ceilings, and floor - even, unbelievably, the cockpit of a shuttle craft. They have steam lines in the cockpits of shuttle craft? Steam powered spaceships? Wow! Welcome to the future! In fact the only place where there is no steam to be seen is in the kitchens, the only place you would EXPECT to see it. It's that kind of dumb stupid movie. There must have been at least 3 guys on set whose only job was to fire off fire extinguishers at random - and stoke the smoke machine. There is an awful lot of smoke in this movie.
It also has that standard shot of space ship approaching planet. You know the one. Static peaceful planet swimming in space. Suddenly there is ominous music and from the side of the frame comes a metallic something which just keeps on going and going, getting bigger and bigger, a vast 3 mile long pile of plastic glued together to look like a spaceship, on and on it comes until the glowing bits at the back finally come into shot with a sound cue of jet enginey noises. Finally with this movie I worked out what has always bugged me about that shot. If the engines are blasting away like that it means the the ship is accelerating towards the planet. Surely anything having crossed interstellar space would be DEcelerating as it approached its destination. Standard operating procedure for that would mean that the ship should be approaching the planet arse first with its engines going - unless they were blasting out Suckions an as yet undiscovered form of anti-acceleratonic particle. Christ I was bored.
If for nothing else I will be grateful for this movie for being so vacant of anything worth watching or caring about that it gave me time to think that one out.
Worst Line: "I got fed up with talking to my French fries."
This is a stylish looking movie, with moody lighting and atmospheric
industrial sets. The space ships are cool - though why the good guys
only have helicopters is a puzzle. The characters are likable enough
but some are out-of-the-box Hollywood cutouts. The actors are either
almost famous, or look hauntingly like people who are - I spent a lot
of time wondering if I had seen them before (I hadn't it turns out).
The story is OK, however there are a few plot glitches, and at times
the story line is a bit thin. There are no real surprises - and no
moral ambiguity. The dialogue is OK but once or twice stinks so bad
you'll cringe (it may have been an attempt at humour?). At least there
are no sudden swerves into the horror genre, and no completely
unexplainable plot twists (as in Sunshine for instance).
If you like sci-fi anyway you probably be forgiving enough to enjoy this. I got the DVD for £1 at Tescos so I feel I got my money's worth.
I'll be honest, I only watched this movie for Stephen Geoffreys, who I
believe is one of the most talented and underrated male actors in
His character, "Cookie" the navigator, intrigued me. See, he's a futuristic drug dealer. Now usually, I write drug dealer characters off in movies as low-down scumbags ... and usually they are. But the writers here decided to give Cookie a soul. Cookie reveals about 3/4 of the way through the film the reason why he became a scumbag drug dealer -- not for the money, but for attention. Much like his characters in previous films ("Evil Ed" in Fright Night, "Hoax" in 976-EVIL, and "Wendell" in Fraternity Vacation spring to mind), he's a social outcast who used to get beat up regularly for just being a good guy. Hearing Stephen Geoffreys' sweet voice telling his story to a semi-comatose inmate/pilot (to whom he had secretly given "two double whammys" as revenge for a friend's homosexual rape by another inmate/pilot), you actually feel a little sorry for him -- too bad he didn't give it to the creep who raped his friend!
The movie itself runs a little slow overall, but for Stephen Geoffreys fans, it's a must-see. Just get a Kleenex or two ready for the ending...
No, I'm not really a "fan" of Emmerich. That wouldn't be the right word. And yes, his films tend to strain credulity so much that it risks breaking. But let's admit it... he makes good popcorn flicks(with the exception of 10,000 B.C., that was awful). They tend to be enjoyable, exciting and just plain fun. And this really is no exception; while he gets larger budgets and more attention today, he could certainly deliver back then, as well. This does have a big name... I mean, Alexander Kruemmel, that's plenty of letters. Just kidding; I'm referring to McDowell, of course. The acting ranges, though this does manage to make Paré appear almost charming. I loved seeing Brian Thompson again(two appearances in Charmed, minor role in The Terminator, and he's played Klingons; what he may lack in range, he attempts to make up for in muscle, cool to see), even if they gave him unflattering facial hair. The FX are great. Dialog is pretty good, humorous and can be fairly sharp. The sets are reminiscent of Alien, and quite nice. This has guts. There is commentary on the world. The tension is reasonably effective. Arguably, there is not a ton of action(with that said, what there is usually is well-done)... then again, it's 92 minutes sans credits. There is plenty of strong language, disturbing content and a little moderate violence in this. I recommend this to anyone looking for a quick, easy to get into, cheap sci-fi B-movie. 5/10
Moon 44 is one of those little sci-fi films which really slipped through the cracks during the 1980s and early 90s. Sadly, these types of tales are nothing more than straight to video fodder with absolutely horrid acting, so this represents one of the last of the cool, dark sci-fi films. I was rather mesmerized the first time I watched this in 1992, and I thought it was better the second time around. This ranks as one of those dark films among the likes of Outland and Silent Running. Good show if I had seen any.
Not the sequel to Moon 43, as most folks would guess, but really a
boring sci-fi flick set in the future, where rivals companies duke it
out to control mineral sources in space. One such company keeps losing
shuttles (Huge machines that mine for minerals) to a rival company, so
they get the big idea of sending ex-cons to man Moon 44's defence
system, which is run by a bunch of geeks. Additionally, the company
send an internal affairs cop up there (as an ex-con) to find out
exactly where some missing shuttles have gone up to, and therefore Moon
44 begins it's slow, soap opera like plot.
Your ex-cons (including Brian Thompson of Hired to Kill) don't sit well with the geeks (including that guy from 976-EVIL), and head of the station, Malcolm McDowell (of Cyborg 3: The Recycler) tries to mediate between them both. Our hero, Stone, seems to upset just about everybody and is first up to man the defence system, which seems to be a toy helicopter driven by Stone with remote help from his allotted geek. This is even more boring than it sounds, as we're subjected to really bad special effects involving toy helicopters flying around a canyon, and not much else. I'm not one to rag on bad special effects either, but there's really not much else going on except for the drama.
You've got the cons up against the geeks, not helped by one con botting one of the geeks against his will. You've got Brian Thompson versus Stone, and Stone versus Maclom McDowell and some Sargeant guy. Add to this that everything looks like the director really, really likes Ridley Scott and James Cameron (the interiors are all Blade Runner and Alien like), complete with evil corporation, and you've got a film with plenty of set up and no pay off. The bad guys, when they do appear, kind of look like Johnny Five if he'd turn to crack cocaine and flew off into space.
Moon 44 is a drag from start to finish and I was just waiting for it end, which it thankfully does without a single surprise. I can take bad effects and cheap sets, but the one thing I do not like in a film is nothing happening. For McDowell fans, he's here for about five minutes total and doesn't do much. This film chugs off donkeys for cash. Behind a skip in Shipley.
I've just realised that this was directed by a hot shot director! Well the guy that gave us Independence Day at least.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's never a good sign when the DVD costs just £1 and comes in one of
those very thin cases. Neither is it when there's just the bald title
printed on the disc and there's no additional material. Still; we live
Well; what you see is what you get. Don't be fooled by Roland Emerich's name amongst the credits; this is truly a C-movie.
The plot goes something like this. Uninhabited worlds in deep space are being mined for minerals. The stuff is then taken away in shuttle-craft to planetary processing plants. This makes the shuttles extremely valuable and somebody is hijacking them. An undercover cop is sent to find out what's going on, by joining a prison-team at the next world most likely to be targeted. That's 'Moon 44'.
Like so many of these cheap (and not so cheap) movies, money seems to have been saved by not employing a lighting facility. And everything happens in an often barely discernible gloom - even indoors. The twilight never lifts from the beginning to end, making for an extremely dull and claustrophobic experience. Actors are almost all B or C-list and they are doomed to struggle with a script that might be politely described as lacking intelligence. Even the 'big catch' of an ageing Malcolm Macdowell from 'A Clockwork Orange' fame, fails to illuminate either the set or the script.
There's so many silly things going on as regards the plot that it sometimes appears as if children had drafted it. Macdowell's the boss/baddie on the moon, but we never know who he's working for. It's clearly not himself as there's a big battle-cruiser turns up to launch an attack on the moon. Where from? Who's in it? Where does it go? Who cares - clearly not Mr Emmerich. Criminals are sent as defence pilots. They fly helicopters along smoke-filled canyons. Why? why not gain altitude and be a helluva lot safer? Weapons systems are actually more primitive than those available today. Apaches (attack helicopters) employ 8 'Hellfire' guided missiles with a range of up to 5 miles. These defenders didn't engage the enemy within 1000 yards.
On top of all this, there's a testosterone-sodden bi-line about these violent scum-of-the-earth criminals (who are yet still exceptional enough to be qualified helicopter pilots) that makes 'Shawshank' seem like a holiday-camp. This is needlessly emphasised by a shower-scene rape. Ironically, the rapist chooses to rape his land-based navigator, the one man upon whom he will have to depend in the foggy valleys, and it never occurs to him that this geezer might take revenge. Yes.
Bought as a piece of cheap Friday-night throwaway hokum, it was in the charity shop by Saturday afternoon.
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