May 7, 2013

Movie Review:Slipstream (1989)

All right, now we're talking. Well, kinda sorta I guess. So many movies in this set have been utter snoopers that when you come across one of ever so slightly more questionable quality, it feels like you are watching Citizen Kane. Still, there has to be something to it other than just a better by comparison aspect. I don't know. I guess it really doesn't matter, if you are entertained, it is a worthy movie of watching. The movie in this case turns out to be Slipstream. I can tell by the looks on some of your faces that you are familiar with this little public domain gem.

Why this movie doesn't have a higher profile seems to be a story of legend. It boasts a solid cast including Bill Paxton (Near Dark, Aliens), Mark Hamill (Star Wars, duh), and Bob Peck (Jurassic Park), not to mention small roles from Oscar winners Ben Kingsley (Sexy Beast) and F. Murray Abraham (Star Trek: Insurrection). On top of that, it was directed by Steven Lisberger, who seven years earlier co-wrote and directed TRON. You would think something like that on your resume would help push your career forward. Didn't seem to work here.

To take this all one step further, the movie was produced by Gary Kurtz. He produced Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back before a falling out with George Lucas saw him off of Return of the Jedi. Anyway, Slipstream was supposed too be his triumphant return and was largely financed with Star Wars money, but a costly divorce left him little money and would seem to have played a role why this movie landed in the public domain. It received a small theatrical release in Europe while landing directly on home video in the States.

So what is Slipstream? Is is a science fiction chase film set in a post apocalyptic future. We get a hasty introduction that tells us that humanity lost the war against the environment. The Earth is ruled by the Slipstream, a howling wind that has carved a new landscape. Random pockets of people live in small towns scattered about.

All right, that tells me what the title refers to, but what is it about? Mark Hamill is a cop who has captured a wanted killer named Byron (Peck). They foolishly stop and a dirty diner for something to eat. It is here they meet Bill Paxton, a dealer in illicit goods and bounty hunter. He sees Byron as his big ticket item and steals him from Hamill and hopes in a ratty plane and heads into the slipstream.

What follows is pretty simple pattern. Paxton and Byron arrive at a town, meet some weird people, Hamill shows up and kills some folks, Paxton and Byron get away and he pattern repeats. Along the way we learn a secret about Byron but not why he did what he did. We meet people who worship the wind like a god and another group who have collected all manner of artifacts and hide their existence from the world.

It is an interesting movie, if never a fully explored one. The acting is decent. I actually think Hamill does a pretty good job of being a tough guy you don't like, while Paxton and his 80's roadie rocker hair do a fine job as the off kilter hero.

Slipstream may be a movie that ever quite comes together, never quite explains all it should, ever explores all it should, but it still somehow holds together. It is a very watchable movie that while nowhere near a classic, is certainly serviceable. It is the sort of movie that could do with being remade. I am sure his idea in abler hands could be something very good indeed.


Related Posts with Thumbnails


Post a Comment