wondered what happened to C. Thomas Howell, the little boy in
Not really? Well, I'm going to tell you in any case.
He ended up playing in movies like this 1997 movie made especially for the
Sci-Fi Channel. Proof again that (a) if you weren't a famous actor to
begin with, then starring in a Steven Spielberg movie won't be
advantageous to your career at all (obvious really, considering that you'd
probably be playing second fiddle to a special effects team) and (b) the
Sci-Fi Channel will show anything. And I do mean anything, no matter how
bad it is . . .
Anyway, George W. Bush obviously won the 2004 American
because more disastrous environmental policy decisions have resulted in
the Earth being uninhabitable by the year 2014. (A site visitor recently
castigated me for making unwarranted anti-Republican remarks in my
reviews. Another scolded me for using words such as "castigated", but
Lord! I just can't help myself!)
By 2064 the space station U.S.S. Legacy is still orbiting the Earth while
scientists onboard work on a scheme using solar flares to re-ionize the
earth's atmosphere. Or something like that. The one scientist described
the process as being similar to shaking a bottle of soda pop. Whatever.
ensues when the space station is taken over by a megalomaniacal madman
named Durbin (played by Matt Frewer of Max Headroom and Jobe in
Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace
fame) and his evil henchmen. Durbin is impatient with
the whole process and wants to kick start it by
detonating a nuclear reactor aboard the space station instead of hanging
around waiting for the next solar flare to erupt.
Just how megalomaniacal is Durbin? He doesn't care that the planned
nuclear reactor explosion will result in the deaths of the thousands of
people held in deep freeze, er sorry, suspended animation; all of them
intended to repopulate the Earth once it is made hospitable again.
Also we have the following piece of choice dialogue:
"Durbin, you're not God."
"Yes, I know I'm not God
However, before you can say "Die Hard
in Outer Space", unbeknownst to the bad
guys, also aboard the space station is disgraced hotshot security officer
Cal Brody (Colin Cunningham), thought to be dead by the baddies.
the chief baddie of the movie's name sounds similar to that of a major
port city on the Natal South East coast of South Africa (Durban) is only
one of the film's many mysteries, plot holes, idiocies and inanities.
Towards the end of the movie the character played by Howell has bounced a
ray off the Hubble telescope (!) and the U.S.S. Legacy using a billiards
ball simulator. Great -
except that a billiards game is played on the flat
two-dimensional surface of a pool table whereas bouncing around rays in
three-dimensional space like in this movie is a completely different thing
And so on. The problem with Dead Fire is that after kicking off
with some gratuitous violence and female nudity in a hostage situation
taken right out of Outland, Dead Fire
is on auto pilot. Instead of trying anything more ambitious, Dead Fire
is content with being Die Hard on the set of
Aliens. Except think "Die
Hard in Space"
with some serious budget constraints, cheap looking sets, serious
over-acting, clunkily bad dialogue and CGI effects below the level of an
average Babylon 5 episode. Not even some more gratuitous violence
and female nudity would have helped Dead Fire . . .
NOTE: Things I have learned from watching this movie: in 2064 we
will still be using oversized walkie-talkies to communicate aboard
gigantic space stations with artificial gravity. We will also be using
MS-DOS command line computer operating systems (obviously).
DISC: This is the Region 2 South Africa-only disc distributed by Next
Video, the same folks who gave us the 1993 post-apocalyptic bore fest
Knights (starring Lance Henriksen and Kris
Kristofferson). No matter how bad Knights was I forgave Next Video
because they are the local distributors of the brilliant
Donnie Darko. After all, the South
African market is so small than anyone who brings out stuff that isn't
brought out by our two local film distribution monopolies, er sorry,
companies, is welcome, even if it is dross. However, Next Video is really
pushing things here.
Once again the main menu consists of both a Play option and a chapter
selection. No trailer, nothing. The movie is probably encoded from the
video masters and while the image and sound is good it isn't as brilliant
as the format can be. No serious complaints though, but is definitely a no
WORTH IT? Are you kidding?