Thursday, May 28, 2009

Shadowchaser: The Gates of Time

AKA Orion's Key, Alien Chaser, Project Shadowchaser 4

The number of names this film goes by you'd think it was trying to hide something, well it seems to have worked because despite this being the forth 'Shadowchaser' film it's the first i've heard of the series. Looking over the directors IMDB page reveals the high point of his career to be 4 episodes of 'Peak Practise' and 2 episodes of 'Ultimate Force', so we've not got a regular Scorsese on our hands here but TV work has to at least be functional so this shouldn't be too painful on the eyes.

We've got a fairly simple storyline to grapple with here, 5000 years ago aliens are in contact with an African tribe. After one of their little get togethers the aliens spaceship is struck by lighting and explodes. You'll just have to run with this and ignore how unlikely it is that a civilisation capable of space travel are unfamiliar with the concept of a Faraday cage. Jump to present day and a team of archaeologists are digging around the crash site and find this little key thing that the aliens gave to the tribes people before they came to their untimely end. Well most of them came to an untimely end, all except for large alien cyborg Sirius who wakes up at this point and goes in search of the key.

Sirius is the films main problem, it's really hard to take a killer alien robot seriously when he looks like Duke Nukems' homosexual cousin. Nobody can look badass with a bleached blonde flat top and black spandex shirt but worse is to come when he opens his mouth. Just to make sure you know that Sirius is a robot he has a computerised robot voice that makes it sound like he is underwater. This guy makes Johnny5 from 'Short Circuit' look like Robocop.

So the big gay robot chases the archaeologists around for a while but this is only the beginning of their problems. They have a son who was hurt in a car crash and is in hospital and apparently dying. You'd never have guessed though, when they go to visit him he looks fine probably just faking it to get some attention. The doctor is however convinced he's dying so maybe i'm missing the subtlety of the kids performance, it couldn't possibly be that he's not even trying. The poor archaeologists can't catch a break it seems as when their boss finds out about what they have found he sends a group of mercenaries after them to retrieve the key. If more employers used hired guns as a motivational tool would productivity increase?

The rest of the movie plays out in a slightly underwhelming action movie style, oh except for the spectacular stunt that never was. A truck is forced off the road and down a steep hill, well the shot appears to be set up to catch the truck rolling down the hill but it gets stuck on a rock at the very top and refuses to move. So your probably wondering what the key unlocks, i mean it must be pretty important to cause an hours worth of chases and gun fights. Well for once it actually is. The key opens an alien temple that contains an elixir that cures all illness, even the symptomless one that the archaeologists son is 'dying' from.

So for once a £1 shop movie verges on competent in all areas, not really 90 minutes wasted but hardly 90 minutes well spent.

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