DEFCON-4 (1985) Poster

(1985)

User Reviews

Review this title
60 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
5/10
OK Boomer
kosmasp29 April 2020
Now this is almost too funny. Not sure if the phrase ok boomer will survive the pandemic or outlive after the year 2020, but if it does ... well actually even right now: I had no idea there was a movie with not just a character called Boomer, but also the actual dialog line "Ok Boomer". Maybe it's the fact that we are deep inside a global crisis or maybe I always thought little trivia facts like this were funny: who really knows? I should but let's leave that aside for now.

The movie itself seems to go one direction, especially after the crash and you are excused to think, wow this is intense, this could be incredible. And then it gets cliche and by the numbers. And takes a different route. So while this isn't a bad movie, it could've been way better. As it is, many things go up .. the wrong way (or is it?)
0 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Not half bad
Woodyanders22 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Three astronauts -- timid and sensitive Howe (a sound and likable portrayal by Tim Choate), brash Jordan (a fine performance by Kate Lynch), and abrasive Walker (well played to the jerky hilt by John Walsch) -- on board a satellite orbiting the planet return to earth after a nuclear holocaust has destroyed civilization. With barbarism now the harsh norm, our trio must adapt quickly to this brutal new world or perish. Writer/director Paul Donovan starts the story out strongly on the space station: It's quite gripping and intense, with a potent feeling of dread and plenty of gut-wrenching claustrophobic suspense. Alas, the narrative rapidly degenerates into an utterly routine and predictable survival of the fittest formula premise complete with such stock clichés as savage cannibals and a nefarious group of fascist swine lording it over the other survivors in a prison labor camp. Moreover, Kevin King proves to be a laughably unconvincing main villain as evil adolescent brat Gideon Hayes; this kid not only sorely lacks the necessary hard sinister edge to be remotely frightening or intimidating, but also seems far too young and boyish to be the leader of a small army. Fortunately, ever-reliable character actor Maury Chaykin contributes a spot-on leering turn as lecherous kilt-wearing loner kook Vinny while Lenore Zann provides a winning surplus of sass and spirit as plucky teen J.J. In addition, Howe makes for a refreshingly wimpy and unconventional reluctant hero. The crisp cinematography by Douglas Connell and Lee Krizsan works wonders with both the modest budget and the desolate sylvan Nova Scotia locations. Chris Young's rattling score does the moody trick. Plus there are a few loopy distinctly Canadian touches -- a space station that's stocked with soft-core porn! -- which lift this one a notch or two out of the ordinary. An overall decent end of the world sci-fi thriller.
4 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
The End of the World … As it might look from Space!
Coventry2 August 2010
"Def-Con 4" can basically be described as a mundane and ordinary post- apocalyptic Sci-Fi/thriller from the mid-80's, but at least it has a couple of semi-original elements in store. There were most 'after the nuclear bomb' movies were uninspired clones of "Mad Max: The Road Warrior", with flamboyantly tuned vehicles and deranged Mohawk villains, this film at least tries to put the emphasis a little more on depth and characters drawings. Although I really like "Mad Max" and most of its clones (especially the Italian ones), admittedly it's not a very plausible post-apocalyptic scenario that all remaining survivors will go bonkers and drive around in eccentric buggies. Anyway, "Def-Con 4" starts from a fairly inventive viewpoint. Whilst orbiting around in a satellite and minding their own business, a three-headed crew of astronauts witnesses how our planet Earth is destroyed during a short but devastating nuclear war between the US and USSR. Two months later, their board computer get "hijacked" and the satellite crash-lands in unknown and probably extremely hostile territory. Quickly after their captain Walker is ripped to pieces by unseen assailants, sole survivors Jordon and Howe end up in a secluded camp run by a pretentious teenager. He's the leader because his parents were rich, influential and owned a helicopter. You'd think people don't care about financial status anymore in a world destroyed by nuclear missiles, but apparently they do. "Def- Con 4" is full of illogical and implausible stuff similar to this, as a matter a fact. Do you reckon it only takes two months for survivors of a nuclear holocaust to turn into cannibalistic savages? Two months of hunger and disease and people are ready to devour fellow person's ripped off arms and rape women with nicely red aureoles. We're doomed, I tell you. Still, if you manage to overlook the dumb errors in the script, this might become an enjoyable little Sci-Fi treat with a decent first half hour and a familiarly tacky climax. The "evil" characters are quite funny and actually come across as pathetic instead of menacing. Kevin King tries hard to act like a genuine bastard, especially when he deliberately drops the freshly baked steak of his paralyzed computer specialist in the mud, but it really doesn't help that he has a cute baby-face and high school jock attitude. His first commander is a sort of albino Nazi and their legal system is a throwback to Medieval times. You survived atomic bombs and now you're going to hang people?!? Please!
5 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
Badly Made Survivalist Shocker
Theo Robertson19 August 2005
I haven't seen DEF-CON 4 for several years and if it's as bad as I remember it I hope to never see it again . The story is grim and lacks credibility . A space station witnesses the third world war and a trio of survivors wait for the radiation levels to drop so they can return to Earth , and when they return they find that the survivors are well armed barbarians where it's survival of the fittest

This movie doesn't concern itself with the intellect of post apocalypse authors like John Wyndham or John Christopher , it's trying to be similar in genre to the likes of MAD MAX etc . The problem is that it doesn't have the budget to do so . We see no devastated cities and most of the action takes place in North American woodland which is an obvious budgetery descion on the part of the producers and not a creative one . There probably wasn't much of a movie to start with but if there was the exploitive scenes take it down to an even lower level . For example the hero walks through woodland ( Did I mention most of the action takes place in the sticks ? ) and comes across a bunch of survivors who are carving up a roast dinner - A human leg ! There's another scene with a severed arm and a couple of other gory scenes . I know that the likes of 28 DAYS LATER and THE OMEGA MAN suffer from gaps in logic but at least they're entertaining and enthralling unlike this contrived unsympathetic mess
9 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
Def Con-4
Scarecrow-883 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Three astronauts operating an American satellite in space orbiting the globe, carrying a package of warheads, during a turbulent time on Earth as nuclear is a penetrating threat where war is imminent. When an American thermonuclear warhead lands in Russia, supposedly released by terrorists, which doesn't explode, chaos ensues, and the astronauts, faced with the fact that their loved ones and friends will perish, can only look on as the Earth is plunged into worldwide war. Someone from the ground below on Earth, after the nuclear devastation ends with most of the world dead from the nukes landed or dying from radiation in the air, triggers a program which forces the astronauts to land. Landing on a beach, the doctor Jordan(Kate Lynch)is knocked unconscious, while Captain Walker(John Walsch)is removed from the crash-landed capsule by cannibals which cook him over a fire, as astronaut Howe(Tim Choate) tries to find help. Awaiting Howe and Jordan will be a militant group under the command of baby-faced teenager Gideon Hayes(Kevin King)who operates a make-shift concentration camp(..he was the son of a military man, and successfully survived a helicopter crash, leaving him a broke-backed satellites specialist and girlfriend)with other school chums as gunmen. With Gideon's lieutenant Lacey(Jeff Pustil), a pathetic goon who relishes his powerful role which puts him in position to bark orders(..when in truth he'd be mincemeat if left in this world without such company), they take the remaining astronauts hostage, and the rest of the film shows their attempts to break free from his totalitarian grip. We are also shown that, despite most of the warheads having released from the satellite, one has remained lodged in it's chamber counting down to it's explosion time.

Maury Chaykin has an amusing role as a filthy civilian named Vinny who, for a time, threatens Howe's life if he doesn't take him to the space capsule full of food, before taken prisoner by Gideon. Lenore Zann is Gideon's Achilles' heel, ex-girlfriend JJ, for whom he still covets despite her rejections. Amusingly, JJ was Vinny's "prisoner"(..but basically, she was using his booby-trapped abode as a hide-out from Gideon)who attempts to help Howe escape. I enjoyed the opening of the film inside the capsule with our astronauts showing their emotions at what was transpiring on Earth. The last portion of the film, once we enter Gideon's concentration camp, kind of ruins an otherwise interesting premise..the idea of astronauts crash-landing on a nuclear devastated world. Gideon, played by King who looks all of 17, as a leader is a bit of a stretch..it's hard to believe that he, Lacey, or any of these teenage clowns, with(..or without) guns could operate a camp of any kind. Gideon is quite a despicable bastard..a kid obviously born with a silver spoon in his mouth and the world at his feet(..there's one scene where he promises his satellite specialist a cooked steak if he reveals a certain password, going back on his word once getting what he desired). But, would such a military brat survive a nuclear devastated world becoming a feared leader over slaves? Bah, I doubt it. I think the film has it's moments, and certainly isn't the worst movie every made as claimed during the user comments. I found it minimally entertaining, being a sucker for post-apoc sci-fi..but, it could've been much better with a more believable story(..and a more realistic villain(s))and focused direction. To start so well, and fall so short is a bit disappointing. I truly feel the film would've served better if the story remained centered on the three astronauts and their adapting to a devastated world.
4 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
Weak
grantss3 September 2020
Had potential, and the initial set-up was interesting. However, drifts in the third quarter, and the conclusion is quite lame.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
Four months supply of food.....
FlashCallahan1 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Two men and a woman circle the globe in a satellite armed with a nuclear device.

The third world war breaks out, and a few months later the satellite crashes. They survive the crash but one man gets killed by survivors and the other man gets caught.

The woman stays by the remains of the the satellite but is soon caught by evil punks who have taken power.....

Another on of those so called cult movies, because no one really bothered with it when released, and has a really cool DVD cover, but little else to talk about.

It's a sound idea, being in space whilst a war erupts, and then coming back down to the aftermath, but thats where the writers stopped having great ideas, and decided to steal from other apocalyptic movies....very badly.

There are lots of better movies out there that reference the aftermath of war, Land Of Doom, World Gone Wild, and Mad Max, are prime examples of how to make a fun movie, this just maunders on until the dour end.

I wouldn't bother.
4 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
Canadian Mad Max cheese
Red-Barracuda11 April 2010
A group of American astronauts orbit the Earth in a top secret nuclear warhead carrying spaceship. Suddenly World War 3 breaks out down below and the ship is unexpectedly put into a program to land. On arrival on the planet, they are soon captured by a warlord who has emerged after the war.

Def-Con 4 is a low budget Canadian attempt at a post-apocalyptic sci-fi action-thriller. These films were ten-a-penny back in the mid 80's. They were often low budget but full of enough action and violence to get away with it. This movie certainly fits the criteria but it fails to impress. I think this is due to a mix of things. The budget is perhaps TOO low, meaning that the sets are very limited. There are also no characters to get overly excited about. There's no one really worth rooting for and that doesn't help. And finally, the story line just seems so under-developed and almost random. It's taking the audiences credibility to the limit to think that the day after a nuclear war, the general population will resemble a Mad Max movie.

Not terrible but not good. If you have a tolerance for cheesy and cheap 80's sci-fi movies then you could find something here of interest.
3 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
"Come on, come on. Let's go!"
lost-in-limbo10 April 2011
This low-cost Canadian produced presentation is reasonably ordinary, but for its type not as terrible as it's made out to be. This is one of those films that the cover artwork always made it look quite interesting, but the synopsis on the back had less of an affect. A friend of mine convinced me to watch it, after the first half-hour I could see why because the story does such a great job setting up the highly-charged, innovative predicament (three astronauts in space watch on as world war three erupts with nuclear attacks on Earth) to only lose its way when a couple months later they crash-land back on earth then it becomes a very vanilla-like post-apocalyptic Sci-fi wasteland survival outing (of the very cheap, rancid b-grade kind) with some very unbelievably trite villains that come off more as joke than anything truly threatening. The head honcho played by Kevin King seemed more suited in a "Save by the Bell" episode, than as a ruthlessly imposing leader. At times I was waiting for cued laughter from an audience whenever he was on screen, as he came off more so a brat. Just as poor was Tim Choate in the leading role. Well more so eccentrically annoying. I found the support to be much better; Kate Lynch, Lenore Zann (running around in a school uniform), Maury Chaykin and John Walsch. The opening first half-hour is very well pulled off; with some striking visuals, solid set-designs and usefully gripping details. You could see where all the money went in to, but that could probably explain its weakly conceived abrupt ending. Maybe that had run out. Anyhow during its grounded action, it does create some nasty touches, edgy activity and cement an ugly intensity. Too bad it just too daft (simply lacking the colourful craziness) and at times incoherent. The story is straight-forward, although the script is flimsy and too black and white to make it completely fulfilling. Minimally junky and grim, if particularly plain post-nuke entertainment.
14 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Not-So-Cold War
sol-9 July 2017
Orbiting the globe with a nuclear bomb, three military astronauts debate when to drop their payload and whether to return to Earth after nuclear war breaks out between the United States and Russia in this speculative Canadian thriller. The film begins well, tapping into Cold War tensions that still existed in the early 1980s and with some very intense moments as the trio argue about when to drop the bomb and then later where the safest place to land on Earth is, given radioactive fallout. The special effects and sets in these early scenes are excellent and the film milks the trio's uncertainty for all it is worth as they keep seeing intermittent, truncated broadcasts and have no idea of what is really going on. The film changes tune though as they eventually crash-land and while Maury Chaykin is solid as always as the first survivalist they encounter, things soon go downhill; the second half of the movie comes off as a poor rehash of 'Mad Max 2' as Chaykin and the surviving astronauts become subject to the tyranny of a young dictator who has assumed command. This second-half is so lacklustre - and full of such lifeless characters - that it almost justifies the film's uncannily low IMDb score. When one factors in the awesome first twenty minutes though and all the initial scenes with Chaykin, it is hard to be so harsh on the film. There is a lot of interest here even if it concludes on a weak note.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
First half good but then it happened .......
merklekranz29 April 2017
What starts off as a reasonably interesting sci-fi, suddenly morphs into "Mad Max" nonsense on a zero budget. It's as if all the money was spent on the space stuff, and then the rest was filmed in a junk yard to finish things off. The strong writing of the beginning gives way to dark shootouts. and stupid dialog. Rarely does a film so suddenly descend into oblivion like "Def-Con 4". I really liked everything right up until the astronauts began digging their way out of the half buried space capsule. Once outside, other than the welcome appearance of Maury Chaykin, everything is totally unacceptable from an entertainment perspective. My conclusion is that for a low budget sci-fi, there are far worse out there, but the missed opportunity here is regrettable. - MERK
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
What could have been
videorama-759-85939112 November 2020
Defcon 4 has a plot, had one ever existed. It does, an original one, only it hardly gets off the ground. It's a not much happening movie, steered by really capable actors, the baddie I'll always remember, one of the trio of good guys, such a cool hotheaded dude is killed early, which is another miss (this actor- this film his only credit-lucky him) D4 actually starts off quite good, but then slows into lazy mode, almost teetering on boring. Then pretty much soon it's over, if not really given itself a chance. Shame. The VHS cover makes it looks super exciting. If only. What you get is a slow B effort. The movie is enthralling in some aspects, to me, when first viewing in 1986. It has a different story and freshness to it, but the story has been lazily managed. A misfire on many fronts.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Revenge of the 80's: Apocaplypse Now!
Captain_Couth17 January 2005
Def-Con 4 (1985) was a surprisingly good low budget take on World World 3. Despite the low budget and the cast of minor actors, it works. The landscape and the situations the residents on a heavily radioactive Earth are a lot similar to what it would actually be like compared to most movies that were made during this time.

A nuclear warhead equipped space station is circling above the stratosphere when the unthinkable happens. Nuclear holocaust! In a pickle, the crew aboard the space station must make several decisions in order for them to survive in a world that's nearly impossible to survive on. Can they do it? What kind of world awaits their return? A watchable film that will give you a good time if in the right mood.

Recommended.
18 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Nothing surprising here....
oscar-3517 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
*Spoiler/plot- DEF-Con 4, 1985. Several survivor people try to live and socialize in a post nuclear war scenario. Some are good and some are very bad in their efforts.

*Special Stars- Lenore Zarin, Maury Chaykin, Kevin King.

*Theme- Man must regain his society after the nuclear war to survive effectively.

*Trivia/location/goofs- B & W European.

*Emotion- A very dark film with amateur productions values for this simplistic plot and franchise genre. post nuclear war society 'what- ifs'. The acting is fine, but the plot gets lost in the very un-lit camera scenes taking place at night. The violence is very gratuitous and bloody. Some sex scenes are un-necessary and look to be shallowly added for box office sales.

*Based On- Post nuclear war scenarios.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Positive Characters ?
caspian197823 March 2001
Is it just me or should a film have characters that either relate to its viewing audience or even better, are positive ones at best. This film has no hero character. What it does have are several undeveloped characters who have meaningless roles. The so called "hero" is a wimp. He has no guts nor glory as well as no meaning to fuel its existence in the film. The running time of the film is lest than 90 minutes. A basic plot that leaves many doors untouched and several questions unanswered. For a film that is suppose to be filled with eye candy and explosions, it does a poor job in having a reason to watch. I give it 2 out of 10 stars giving both stars to the small but entertaining action sequences.
1 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Surprisingly energetic action end-of-the-world B movie
robertemerald10 November 2018
This is definitely a B movie, the acting all needing a little coaching, and of course, now very dated. However, the actors are all young (save one or two), there is a pretty large cast and its easily possible to look past that. The script and the story are pretty solid. The sets/props are much better and at times this strange little concoction throes up a truly Mad Max quality Dystopia. The guns/gun blasts are tinny and a mistake. More attention here would have been an easy way to instantly improve this piece. But having said that I must confess it was an enjoyable experience. The cgi (or achieve footage?) of nuclear explosions seemed very real, was done well and gelled well with the flow. For a B movie I only counted two glaring plot holes, neither of which distracted from my enjoyment, and with a dash of tangental thinking may have just been explainable. The cinematography and editing have a modicum of flare. And lets not distract from how important and brave the ambition here. It's not as good as The Day After or Threads, but its plausible and not that far removed in comparison. For me it was good enough to have imagined it from that same universe as those two seminal works. And like I said, for me at least, it was never boring and I definitely enjoyed it.

I will note that the dvd cover art is misleading. At first I thought the movie must be about a cute robot!
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
Grim Canadian post-apocalyptic flick.
capkronos20 May 2003
Bleak sci-fi begins with three astronauts who are forced to crashland on post-nuke earth after a nuclear holocaust. Much of the population has been wiped out, but those who remain are either savage mutant cannibals (who are first seen carving meat slices off of a severed leg) or unbelievably sadistic punks who imprison innocent people in a slave camp and are led by a fascist Hitler clone (Kenneth King). The special effects work (especially at the beginning) is good, the cast tries and there are some interesting things that happen, but overall it's a grim and unenjoyable film. The script could have used a polish or two.

Score: 3 out of 10
8 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Two Nifty B Movies In One That Got Better With Time
Squonkamatic12 January 2008
Let's get it out of the way first thing: The critics of the 80s like Leonard Maltin and Siskel/Ebert who sadistically maligned DEF-CON 4 as a wretched exercise in scum & sleaze were WRONG. I agree with another comment stating that this movie was unfairly dismissed at the time of original release. Yes it's tacky, low budget and amoral -- perhaps one of the most amoral movies of the Reagan years of home video rental. For that reason alone it actually stood out from the pack by actually daring to present it's viewers with exactly that which it aspired to. Unlike the Mad Max films or even the Italian ripoffs of the genre Max created, DEF-CON 4 has no presumptions about being a parable, having any kind of a message or examining some sort of social phenomenon. It is about nuclear war and the resultant breakdown of our North American collective society, and like those prospects it isn't pretty, easy to stomach or even make sense of.

In actuality there are actually two B movies in one here: A pretty taught little SNEAKERS/WARGAMES ripoff about a nuclear war triggered by "accident" after Lybians hijack a shipment of cruise missiles and shoot one into Russia. It doesn't detonate but manages to push east/west tensions to the breaking point, the Russians nuke America and the Americans retaliate. Instant global apocalypse, and a demonstration of one of the prevailing nightmares of the Cold War. This sequence of events is ingeniously staged by having the three person crew of a secret orbiting weapons platform observe the exchange and agonize over how to react. Should they launch? Should they go back to earth? Eventually their satellite's computer is hijacked by an unseen entity who prompts an impromptu landing somewhere near the coast of Canada, sparking the second of the two B movie scenarios that becomes a post apocalyptic thriller centered around a makeshift totalitarian regime dominated by the prep school brat of an Army general who recruits other brats, arms them with machine guns, and herds the surviving populace into a ramshackle town comprised mostly of junk.

One of the astronauts encounters a survivalist hilariously played over the top by veteran character actor Maury Chaykin, who steals all of his scenes with a blase attitude ("Just get in your rocket ship and fly off to Central America."), his home made converted front end loader tank contraption, and a kilt. He also has a teenage schoolgirl boarded up in his basement, the less said about which the better. His character is the only one in the film who emerges as an actual person, and when the story shifts it's emphasis away from his fate it looses that central core of interest. In any event the astronaut strikes up a deal with the survivalist for the space capsule's food supply and the female astronaut still on board, leading to their capture by the renegades and a series of bizarre scenes of social chaos that seem to have been inspired by Spaghetti Westerns.

I will admit that the film is a bit of a mish-mash, and hard to keep track of because it changes gears so quickly. At one minute it's a high tech space thriller, the next a grim survivalist tale, then social satire and finally a big, stupid shootout. But in all fairness it's only the final twenty minutes or so that loose their footing in absurdity, with the main detraction being the role of the Army brat dictator kid, who's grip on the surviving populace is never fully explained. Why are the others following his lead? Since nobody bothers to tell the audience, the kid remains a caricature rather than a character, and the final conflict between the astronaut and him remains something of a contrivance rather than a believable series of events. The ending is also annoyingly empty of any kind of meaning at all, with the movie more or less simply being over at some point. You know, whatever.

But if anything the movie has actually gotten more poignant over the decades since it's creation: We now live in a world where middle eastern fanatics do indeed shape global events & have shown themselves capable of inflicting apocalyptic events. We've also seen events like the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina where social order has completely broken down, resulting in the kind of mind boggling escapades depicted in the latter part of the film. It's no longer just an escapist nightmare/fantasy to suggest that what is being depicted in the film might actually happen, and the filmmakers should indeed be congratulated for pretty much getting the look of the apocalypse right ... though I do think that people would have found more opportunities to wash their faces & would think that ammunition for firearms would be a bit more of a rarity.

The long and short of it is that DEF-CON 4 is not the unwatchable disaster that many might have potential viewers believe. It's a grim, grimy, somewhat distasteful endeavor for sure, but then again so was the prospect nuclear combat toe to toe with the Ruskies. Don't knock the film for having more or less gotten the aspect of what that might mean correctly.

7/10
19 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
Old and Tired
bemyfriend-4018412 May 2021
Warning: Spoilers
Other reviewers say the first half hour was the best part. Reagan era, star wars, orbiting missile platform. Aboard the space station are old, curved glass tube screens, Walkman devices, and bad 1980's hair. WWIII breaks out. They fight off a Soviet missile, and launch most of their own. A hacking program recalls the platform to Earth. On the way, they dump all their other nukes; all but one. They return to Earth, where it's all cannibals and crazies. This is where I didn't want to go through the tedium required. I fast-forwarded to see they find some sort of ship, bound for somewhere. So I guess the rogue, malfunctioning nuke will take care of all the worthless, not-fit-to-live survivors; and our heroes escape. Seen on Tubi, the free streaming site, where old movies go to die.
0 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
Started well...
rocknrelics28 February 2021
The initial part on the spaceship was really good, created a real atmosphere of isolation and tension, then when they came down to earth. Oh dear..

For me it became incredibly dull, and I lost interest quickly.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Flawed, but a great 1985 B movie time capsule
whatch-1793119 December 2020
It's a very strange movie.

This might be the most gruesome nuclear war movie I ever saw, in some ways surpassing Threads and The Day After. I don't think those had cannibalism or sadism.

But this film is far far sillier than either of those. Though, while it's certainly a different caliber than those, the main characters here actually sit out the first couple months and arrive after things have "settled down."

The opening satellite scenes are rightly lauded. They do an effect here that I don't recall seeing anywhere else until Interstellar, nearly 30 years later. It's too bad they couldn't have had a lot more story set up there.

The ground based plot is bizarre and confusing. But, how much sense would the world make after nuclear war?

It's not for everybody, but it does have strong cult appeal as a mid 80s time capsule.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Better Than The Average
junk-monkey29 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Three astronauts on an orbiting space station loaded with nukes witness the outbreak of Nuclear War. After weeks of orbiting, knowing their loved ones back home are dead or dying an external signal forces them back to Earth. The crew jettison their nukes but one jams in the bay. When they land the female doctor is injured and the captain is killed by cannibals. The third member of the crew (Howe) goes looking for help and is soon in the hands of a local warlord who, it turns out, was responsible for the re-entry of the spaceship. He (rightly) suspected it contained information that would lead him to a "Safe Haven". The two remaining crew members are tried for war crimes and sentenced to hang. Howe escapes but returns, starting a rebellion. He finds the doctor dead. Eventually Howe and JJ (the Warlord's girlfriend) sail away as the last nuke on the downed ship explodes.

I'm surprised at the low rating this movie gets. For a lo-budget SF film of the period it is not at all bad. For one thing it does not play safe. Though influenced by many movies: Mad Max - obviously, Dark Star, The Quiet Earth etc. the first section of this film on the station is genuinely effective. It goes downhill a little as we enter the usual post apocalyptic shoot 'em up of the second half but even so, everything that happens is horribly credible.

I suspect people don't like this movie because it's not easy. It doesn't drop all the usual clichés into place like the the standard lazy Hollywood cheapo SF flick. The moment where our hero shoots the two guards on the boat is very realistic. He doesn't want to shoot them. He's never shot anyone before and pleads with them not to pick up their guns. They think he's bluffing and slowly reach towards them. He screams at them to stop. Their hands reach out nearer their rifles. He fires. It's horrible. In your standard Mad Max rip off the hero would have blazed in and just blown everyone up. The guards if they were given a chance would have dived for their weapons - not reached out for them slowly like they do here. It's not your standard Holly wood schlock.

I'm not saying it's a great film, there are many faults with it. But it doesn't deserve the panning some people give it. For instance: The actress playing JJ (though very good) is too old for the part I don't buy her as a teenager at all - and everyone's hair is far too clean. The end of the world by thermonuclear heck and everyone is wallowing around in filth but their hair is all nice and freshly washed? I don't think so. And I didn't buy the hanging scene at all, there is no way the kilted survivalist wouldn't have stepped forward and saved his own life at the first opportunity. I guess the writers were trying to turn him into a more sympathetic character but it just didn't work.

If I was looking to make a low-budget movie I would certainly give this one a look for ideas and inspiration. There is some good stuff in here.
7 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
a better than avergae B movie
nickboldrini19 August 2018
Saw this back in the day and have fond memories of it being not too bad, even if the ending is a bit of a cop out. Some of the action and situations fits well into the apocalypse genre, and the shooting creates a good impression of a post nuke land.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
A dissapointing "End of the world" movie
spacemonkey_fg4 December 2003
Directors: Paul Donavan and Tony Randel

Stars: Lenore Zann, Maury Chaykin, Kate Lynch, Kevin King

Review:

Well I gotta admit it watching 28 days later sparked my interest in post-apocalyptic movies again. Id seen the better known ones like the Mad Max films and Romeros Dead triology, but theres another bread out there of lesser known "End of the World" films. Def con 4 is one of those movies that came out in the 80s when fear of nuclear war was at an all time high. Everyone was afraid that the Russians were gonna go to war with the US of A so this movie touched some very real themes for the time that it was made. But was it any good?

The premise revolves around three astronauts aboard a statelite in orbit around earth. While they are up there some sort of conflict starts on earth that leads to a nuclear holocaust. When they are forced to return to earth they encounter the remains of humanity...cannibals and a hitler like regime.

This film felt a little restrained. You see, unfortunately this film was obviously held back by its uber low budget. Awful, unrealistic sets that seemed unfinished (even for a post apocalyptic world) horrible acting and terrible lighting are some of the troubles that plague this production. But one of the worst things the film suffers from is the horrible acting on the Hitler like villain played by Kevin King. Ok, exactly how does an idiot like this get to be the one who rules over everyone with an iron fist?

This guy didnt come off as a ruthless leader or anything close to that. Heck he just seemed like a goodlooking actor trying to be mean...for christ sakes the guy is blond and has an earring in his left ear! Not ruthless. He spat his lines out like the rookie actor that he obviously was. Ugh. Not only that, his character was very stupid and badly written. Why would a person (even a villain) treat needful and important people that he obviously will have use for, like s***?

The movie has an interesting premise and idea behind it. But I would say that this is one of those movies that if made it today, with the right budget and actors, could easily be a truly good film. Maybe elaborate a bit more on the effects of the radiation on humanity, maybe show how the world was devastated...for crying out loud we dont even get a shot of a city devastated by the bombs or anything.

All in all, a film that had potential but suffered from low budget, bad acting and an unpolished script that failed to explore its full potential.

Watch at your own risk...or at the very least, if you want to laugh at some really hideous dialogue and acting.
1 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Typical 1980s sci-fi...horrible overall
broadfoot18 January 2003
The artwork on the video box might make this movie look promising, but it's not until you watch it until you realize how terrible it is. The camerawork and cinematography are reminiscent of a homemade porno film, the directing is bad and the performances are even worse. It might have worked better as a feature-length Japanese anime movie.

Skip it!!!
8 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed