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Sunday, 21 August 2011

Terminal Force (aka GALAXIS – 1995)

Brigitte Nielsen stars in this delightfully daft science fiction epic-on-a-shoestring. A marvellously noisy and gimmicky film, it comes across as a mix between Star Wars and the 1980s live action Masters of the Universe, and to these eyes this is no bad thing.

Released in the heyday of straight-to-video SF, Terminal Force certainly had ideas above its station, and it's that valiant attempt at doing something epic with a less-than epic budget that endears it so much to me.

Before the obligatory shift into the 'present day Earth', there are spaceships, futuristic battlegrounds, a quest for a crystal, a cackling villain and a bunch of battle sequences and giant explosions, (not to mention a beautifully awful 'Nooooooo!' from Brigitte over her fallen brother's body) all in the first fifteen minutes.

The plot is nice and simple: Aliens fighting over a crystalline power source head to earth, where a random guy is hiding an identical crystal, and explosive mayhem ensues. Those opening minutes feature a cameo from none other than Sam Raimi, who was clearly enjoying rubbing ham into the camera lens (along with a young Craig Fairbrass!).

The thing is, after that superb opening salvo of robots, spaceships and the villain escaping into the void, we're brought to earth for a typical 1990s SF action flick where the buxom alien warrior strides around the streets of L.A. Blowing things up and being all 'alien' about it.

Brigitte plays it straight, well, 'play' is a stretch when talking about her acting, and the rest of the cast seem to be taking it all very light-heartedly considering a giant alien warrior lady has landed on earth and is shooting stuff and walking through badly composited explosions in search of a magic crystal from space.

It's hokey beyond all reason, hitting every sci-fi b-movie beat in the book along the way, but I like it. It's not trying to be high art, and there's never any pretense to the film that it is anything other than a brash and cheesy series of fight scenes and clichéd moralising.

Brigitte Nielsen and John Brennan play the alien badass and the hapless human chancer with nary a glance at the script by the looks of things, and the police on the trail of their mayhem fit with Generic Police Characters from a thousand other films. I love it. It's so bad that it may well be amazing.

Amidst the early attempts at CG effects, morphing, hapless criminals and set-piece battles between Nielsen's Ladera and Richard Moll's Darth-Vader-esque Kyla, there's a cartoonish and entertainingly silly film that should not be taken seriously on any level, but should be enjoyed for what it it. A bit of trash that goes BANG.

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