(director/writer: Martin Owen; screenwriter: Sally Collett; cinematographer: Håvard Helle; editor: Jeremy Gibbs; cast: Scott Adkins (Max Cloud), John Hannah (Revengor), Lashana Lynch (Shee), Tommy Flanagan (Brock Donnelly), Elliot James Langridge (Jake), Franz Drameh (Cowboy), Sam Hazeldine (Tony), Jason Maza (Space Witch), Isabelle Allen (Sarah Noble), Andi Osho (Sofia), Sally Collett (Commander Rexy), Ruth Horrocks (Prisoner); Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Alan Lathan/Matt Williams/Phil McKenzie/Thomas Mattinson; Goldfinch Pictures/VOD/Well Go USA Entertainment; 2020-UK)
“It might work for some as an escapist film, like for those overwhelmed these days with too much Covid-19 reality.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
So-so helmer Martin Owen (“L.A. Slasher”/”Killers Anonymous”) is co-writer with Sally Collett (also a player in the film). He directs this low-budget B adventure film, geared as a fantasy nostalgia film for gamers of video games. Built more as a short than a feature, it’s a film that has little originality or wit, and quickly runs out of ideas. It might work for some as an escapist film, like for those overwhelmed these days with too much Covid-19 reality.
It’s set in 1990. The Brooklyn teenager Sarah Noble (Isabelle Allen) is addicted to playing games on her video game console. She’s content to stay indoors all day and try to win the sci-fi “Max Cloud” game. Tony (Sam Hazeldine), her disapproving dad, is at work when she plays these video-games. One time a magical witch intercedes to transport Sarah into the “Max Cloud” game, when she by accident hits the wrong switch. Inside the game, she takes on the role of Jake, the nervous chef (Elliot James Langridge), who is partnered with Max. Sarah meets her cocky hero Max Cloud (Scott Adkins), who crash lands his spaceship on Planet Heinous, home to the intergalactic prison and the Revengor (John Hannah), an evil fiend who needs a special power core to escape his fate of death.
In the missing girl’s room, communicating with her by using the console’s controller, is her old pal Cowboy (Franz Drameh). Trying to be the puppet master for Sarah, as we view how Max is programmed to be the game’s hero. For action, we catch a few fights Max has with aliens. It’s all done in mock seriousness and the movie is made solely for gamer teens or adults who fondly remember the old days of gaming.
I would think it’s not the kind of film to attract either sober or stoned adults. But it will attract fans of the muscle man B-film hero Scott Adkins, even if this is not one of his more memorable films. The film also spoofs its own neon CGIs, retro electropop music and low-budget Sci-Fi movies like Tron and Ready Player One.
REVIEWED ON 1/5/2021 GRADE: C-