Moon 44
Dir: Roland Emmerich
Star: Michael Paré, Lisa Eichhorn, Malcolm McDowell, Brian Thompson, Dean Devlin
Cert / Year: 15 - PG-13 / 1990
Format: DVD R2

By the year 2038 all natural resources on Earth have been depleted.
Multinational corporations have taken control of the universe. Now a different kind of war rages. Rival companies fight deadly battles over priceless mining planets in outer space.

Felix Stone (Michael Paré) an internal affairs agent for a huge international mining concern is sent to a remote mining planet to discover whether the dissappearance of valuable spacecraft is sabotage, and accident or something else. All of the robot controlled fighter craft stationed there have been destroyed so convicts are being despatched to pilot the new fighter craft instead as a hostile force is due to attack the planet known as "Moon 44" very soon. Stone must win over the convicts led by the burly Jake O'Neal (Brian Thompson), the management and the oppressed "navigators" on the planet whilst enduring the military interference of Major Lee (Malcolm McDowell) and his second in command Sergeant Sykes (Leon Rippy). All this without actually knowing just what exactly is going on or who he can trust.

Before Stargate or Independence Day , the famous partnership of German director Roland Emmerich and American actor Dean Devlin had to start somewhere and this is it. Before they teamed up, Emmerich directed this film and Devlin was one of the stars. They obviously hit it off so well, that they decided to go off into the sunset together and make movies..... or something like that.

Surprisingly enough Devlin actually puts in a good pefromance and is one of the best in the film, he is cursed with almost as horrendous dialogue as the rest of the cast, but he doesn't seem too bothered by it and rides out the cheese. Lisa Eichhorn doesn't fair so well and is completely unbelievable as Terry Morgan. Surely she wasn't the first choice for this role, she doesn't act like she had ever read the script before setting foot on set and is unable to convey any authority as a supposed "commander", resulting in her voice breaking at one point. That role needed someone with more clout, a stronger character needing a stronger actress and a more involved role in the story. The vaccuous acting non - entity that is Michael Pare, once again puts in his usual, cheesy and horribly wooden performance. Malcolm McDowell is guess what?..... yep, you guessed it. The bad guy. No great surprise there, so the film has no surprises or suspense and is predictable. McDowell gives his usual blase, bad guy by numbers performance which is of course always a pleasure to watch him in action, but you get the sense that even he is bored with his role. Of the supporting cast, the only notable performances are really the cooky Stephen Geoffreys and Brian Thompson is his usual hulking, bulky and wooden self as he is in every role he plays. "Centropolis pictures" regular Leon Rippy, appearing here as the nasty Sergeant Sykes. Geoffreys will be instantly recognisable to genre fans as "Evil Ed" from Fright Night, and here plays the reprehensible drug dealing navigator "Cookie". His was perhaps the only character which was developed, as we get a lame excuse for his drug dealing in a quaint scene where he speaks to a comatose victim of his products. Pointless and borderline ridiculous in this context, a "supporting character" should not be better fleshed out than the main characters.

Moon 44 owes a lot to the Alien movies. In fact, it owes almost ALL the production / set design and photography to the Alien movies. "Moon 44" itself is strikingly similar to the planet in Aliens although with a very subtle difference..... it has canyons! Yes, once again Roland Emmerich indulges his canyon chase fetish which he includes in virtually all his films, in one form or another. The model effects, look like model effects and are heavily masked by copious amounts of smoke, probably to hide the wires but it does cheapen the effect of the models somewhat. The large spacecraft approaching the planet looks good..... but hold on, we saw exactly the same shot and almost exactly the same ship (Sulaco) in Aliens. At times the film is almost atmospheric, but it fails to deliver effectively.

The story is simple and rather bland and contains nothing particuarly challenging or very stimulating. Emmerich who also wrote the story includes an underlying story of the struggle between the navigators versus the bullying prisoners and the "us & Them" attitude of the corporations and big business in general. It is almost as if he is trying to throw all the worst elements and ideas into a big stirring pot and see what comes out. The result is a bit of a mess, but if you can get passed the eighties cheese and a plot full of holes, then this will be an entertaining watch. This is more likely to appeal to the more rabid Sci-Fi fan and not a more discerning viewer. The ending is just so damn heroic and wrist slashingly banal, it just wreaks mediocrity and yet there are one or two rather good moments.

Budgetary constraints show, and you know that Emmerich must have been itching to do more with it, but isn't that always the way. Moon 44 is one of those lesser known, straight to video jobbies and is rather pretentious, mildly plagiaristic drivel. It shows the directorial style and flair of Emmerich which would later tantalise us with Stargate. But as a "B - movie", Sci-Fi offering it is quite good, but it does owe an awful lot to Aliens and compared to the laters works of "Centropolis pictures" and modern standards, this is just dull and unengaging.


In the outer zone.... You need a friend

Rating: 1.5 out of 5Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Picture 4.3 Fullscreen Poor transfer, rather grainy - lacks the scope of Widescreen and remastering
Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 Poorsurround track
Features Dull / Flat, uninteresting static menu
Verdict Well thats your lot, no extras. Nothing, Nicht, Nada, Nowt. Just scene selection and an uninspiring menu. Poor just doesn't cover this release.

Rating: 0 out of 5

Reviewed by Logan Back Top Home