Starring Scott Adkins, Tommy Flanagan, Lashana Lynch, Elliot Langridge, Sally Collett, Franz Drameh & John Hannah
Written by Sally Collett and Martin Owen
Directed by Martin Owen
Unrated, contains scenes of fantasy violence
Runtime: 88 minutes
Now available on Video on Demand, DVD and Blu-Ray.
Well Go USA
I see what Max Cloud was trying to go for here, I really do: that nostalgic 1980s synthesizer soundtrack, the fondness for video games as both a novelty and a pastime, the new age of kids entertainment with those ultimately basic 16-bit games that did nothing for computer graphics except offer a starting point to improve upon. At least they were better than the 8-bits, amiright?
This movie, set in 1990, has all the colourful, visually graphic inspiration right there... and kinda blows it, though it does hit some of the right notes. Our hero is Sarah (Isabelle Allen) who is deep into the Max Cloud game but her dad puts the kibosh on things just as she discovers an Easter egg - a secret room.
Let me stop just for a tick: were there really Easter eggs in those games back then? I don't remember any such nonsense, though I was pretty much done with gaming after Yar's Revenge, so what do I know?
Finding the egg transports her into the game and she must work with the real Max Cloud (Scott Adkins) to survive their crash-landing on a prison planet, home to some of the galaxy's worst criminals. Danger abounds but thankfully she gets help from her friend Cowboy (Franz Drameh) who is playing the game in the real world.
Here's the trailer so you can judge for yourself: youtu.be/F_i7u1Rkuw8.
I wanted to like this movie more, really I did. I saw all of the inspirations and touchpoints: Tron, Ready Player One, The Last Starfighter, Thunderbirds... even modern-day retro wannabe classics like Kung Fury and Space Station 76. What child of the 70s or 80s didn't fantasize about going into the game? What adult version of that child doesn't still find some sinful glee in watching this kind of fluff and reminiscing about the good ol' days when movies and games were just plain awful but awfully fun?
There were some gems in this short and semi-sweet nickelodeon feature, though unpolished they were.
I see co-writers Sally Collett and Martin Owen's filmography. I see where they've been and I like where they're heading. At least, I'd like to hope that I like where they're heading. Only the future - and their script doctors - will tell.