“Prepare for the Apocalypse”
Directed by Paul Ziller
Starring Mark Dacascos, Joanne Kelly and Lou Gossett Jr.
Billionaire science maverick Dr Lucas Foster (Dacascos) is attempting to prove that greenhouse gases are a thing when his manned space plane is destroyed by the impact of a massive coronal mass ejection from the sun. Working with staff at the Solar and Near Earth Laboratory, including Foster’s ex-wife, Dr Joanna Parks (Kelly) and sacrificial ethnic Patel (Sugith Varughese), Foster must convince the President (Gossett) of the danger and then persuade a Russian submarine commander to launch nuclear missiles at the polar ice cap before the CMEs set fire to the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and turn the Earth into a fireball.
What’s wrong with it?
Solar Attack is unbelievably silly. It’s science is terrible and its politics laughable, surpassed only by the cheapness of the effects. Substantial chunks of the film’s hour and half running time are given over to pointless set pieces intended to drum up the tension, including a submarine chase, the partial destruction of SNEL (in which the film’s only Indian becomes one of only two named casualties; the other is, admittedly, a white man) and a stand-off inside the sub in which the poor man’s Tony Stark inexplicably busts out some of Dacascos’s kung fu.
What’s right with it?
It’s only ninety minutes long and never has a chance to get slow.
How bad is it really?
It’s disaster movie knock-off filler, really; neither any good, nor bad enough to be interesting.
Best bit (if such there is)?
The hilariously overdone submarine chase.
What’s up with…?
- Coronal mass ejections causing… well, any of the things that they cause in this film?
- Submarines tapping into phone cables at unsafe depths?
- The gratuitous action scenes? It’s not as if they’re any good even.
Production values – Shockingly bad, from the CGI spaceplane to the almost cringeworthy sight of orange slow-fire creeping in a steady, even front across the sky. 18
Dialogue and performances – The actors pretty much hit their marks and pick up their cues; more than that is hard to say. The writing is blandly bad, with the pointlessly hostile head of SNEL as a stand out. 14
Plot and execution – The plot is ridiculous, but at least the film sticks with it for the most part and eschews random sex and violence. 14
Randomness – The film is completely at odds with all real-world science, but sticks to its own premise well enough. 8
Waste of potential – For bargain cable fare, this was entertaining enough. 3