Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Lance Bishop (Adam Baldwin) has a pretty good life by all accounts. He’s an executive at an insurance company closing deals and stacking mad benji’s, he’s loved at his office since they just threw him a birthday party with cake and stuff, and he has a hot wife at home in Karen (Elizabeth Berkley) who let him know via telephone that she was going to tighten him up when he gets home on this birthday of his. Then this lunatic comes busting in his office with a shotgun, flat blasting folks, with his final goal being ending Lance’s life. I don’t know why he had to shoot other people to do this, but there you go. Thing is, this cat was speaking as if he was doing Lance a favor. Hey man, don’t do me no favors... Thanks anyway. Obviously this cat didn’t complete his mission or ‘Control Factor’ would’ve been a five minute movie, but why is this madman targeting Lance, and what kind of sinister plan is going on that would cause this guy to target Nice Guy Lance?

Needless to say, Lance is a mess when he gets home looking all bloody and stuff, but his wife is there to help him and let him know that all will be well. The odd thing is that later that evening in bed, some odd voices entered Lance’s head and were forcefully telling him to go to the closet, get the shotgun, and shoot his wife. And he couldn’t resist these voices. But it was just a dream. Or was it?

Nope, it wasn’t a dream because the voices keep coming, and Lance sees firsthand what these voices can do when the possessed hobo forced the investigating police officer into cardiac arrest. It’s complicated. And for whatever reason these voices really hate Lance’s wife. Lance needs answers which takes him back to the neighborhood of the loon that tried to kill him, the worst neighborhood on the planet earth, and this is where he meets Reggie (Tony Todd… who miraculously doesn’t die in this movie), and Reggie has the answers that our hero needs, and a baseball cap lined with copper Brillo pads. That’s kinda complicated too.

All of this information is just too much for poor Lance who needs to make it back home to his hot wife who the voices still want him to kill. But if only it was that simple. We’re

talking government, we’re talking shadow organizations, we’re talking mind control, we’re talking world domination and according to the hyper evil Mr. Thrillkill (Conrad Dunn) there’s not a damn thing that Lance, their prime test subject can do about it, but take it and like it.

Whatever man. Because Lance has Reggie the Brillo Pad dude on his side… and the gangbangers. Yeah… it’s complicated.

My much publicized and completely foolish effort to watch every Sci-Fi Channel movie ever made soldiers on with the little seen ‘Control Factor’. Directed by Nelson McCormick this movie made way back in 2003 has some positive things working in its favor, such as a solid story line involving mind control, government conspiracies, and at least it is a science fiction themed film as opposed to the creature features we usually get from the Sci-Fi Channel. Plus it has a concept that a filmmaker can get by on, even if this filmmaker has a special effects budget of almost zero dollars. The effect of having voices in your head? Zero Dollars. The effect of having a glowing stick that causes heart attacks? Glowing sticks are easily found at the Dollar Store… one dollar plus tax. The effect of having a baseball cap with Mind Control Deflecting Capabilities? 2 Dollars. Somebody putting a funny device on your head and you making a funny ‘somebody’s controlling my brain’ face? Zero dollars. Elizabeth Berkley jumping backwards from getting shot in the chest with not a drop a blood showing? Zero dollars. See? That’s a whole movie full of special effects for less than five bucks.

The problem with ‘Control Factor’ is that it is still too painfully mediocre and drab. Pre-Firefly Adam Baldwin was never much of an actor, or I should say he was always miscast. Since he’s a tall good looking dude… no homo… Baldwin was always cast as the heroic leading man when his gift is in sardonic comedy, a gift he’s exploiting to full effect right about now. But he sure did make for a dull action hero in this movie. And while we’ll always love Elizabeth Berkley… Saved by the Bell Elizabeth Berkley, not ‘Showgirls’ Elizabeth Berkley… my homegirl from Farmington Hills Michigan, but with her inclusion as the female primary we have a movie with two great looking, very tall, but very dull leads. Tony Todd is on board and lends his usual passionate verve to almost any role he chooses to accept, but it really wasn’t enough to elevate this film or to override an action themed movie that is languidly paced and grossly under acted.

Now mediocre doesn’t mean bad, just… kind of blah. Because sometimes we prefer a bad movie to a mediocre one because sometimes this bad movie gives us a perverse bit fun, and usually gives us something to talk about. ‘Control Factor’, despite the solid subject matter just wasn’t giving us much of anything to talk about.

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