STARRING: Brian J. Smith, Danielle Nicolet, Kate Vernon, Tamzin Merchant, Devon Graye, Gordon Kennedy, Robert Patrick

2011, 93 Minutes, Directed by:
Michael Nankin

Not a movie about some radical ‘Seventies terrorist group as the title might lead one to believe, but instead a made-for-TV movie based on a lesser-known video game of the same name.

It is the year 2145 and a colonized Mars is now independent of Earth. Looking suspiciously like refitted abandoned warehouses and boiler rooms made to look like sets from Total Recall, the planet is however divided between several hostile factions.

Hero is of the piece is Jake (Brian J. Smith), who belongs to the Red Faction (called that because, well, they’re on Mars and they seemingly have a thing for old Soviet propaganda posters). During a mission to salvage a recently crashed spaceship, Jake comes across someone he believes to be his sister who was kidnapped as a child by a rival faction.

On his rogue mission to find and save his sister Jake however uncovers a plot by a secret third force to ignite a war between the Red Faction and their rivals, the Marauders (called that because it sounds kinda mean one supposes).

When it comes to the scraping of the bottom of the Sarlac pit world of Syfy movies then Red Faction stands heads and shoulders above the likes of The Almighty Thor and Battle of Los Angeles. That however doesn’t mean that it is any good though . . .

Normally one would say that this sort of thing is strictly for fans of the game, but judging from the amount of online whining they aren’t too happy about the liberties the movie took with the source material as movie adaptations are wont to do. That, plus the fact that it is a TV movie boasting the sort of cheapo special effects and sets one would expect from an episode of StarGate Atlantis instead of a $200 million James Cameron blockbuster. (The episode was directed by a Battlestar Galactica regular by the way. In Bulgaria it seems.)

Still, the production values (sets, effects, photography, etc.) are much better than most recent Syfy fare. Acting is stiff though and the screenplay could have done with more surprises.

Red Faction isn’t outright bad, but just on the bland and dull side of things. Maybe the producers can take a more adventurous route in future movies. As the title suggests it is a prequel of sorts and we’re sure that if they can maybe hire a bona fide science fiction writer to hammer out a screenplay for them the producers might just wind up using those retrofitted sets on a more worthy outing next time . . .



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