Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I am a bit curious as to how the Sci-Fi channel actually gets a hold of these Sci-Fi Original Movies of theirs.  Do they actually fund these things, overseeing them from start to finish, or does somebody just make a ‘Raptor Island’ and then hope and pray that Sci-Fi or some other network desperate for programming picks it up? I mean can I buy a camera, give C. Tom or Lorenzo Lamas a few bucks, hire me a Specs-Howard graphic guy and make a movie and then have Sci-Fi buy it? And more importantly, how much would they give me? I have some vacation time and a Generate-O-Script program so I’m thinking I could pull it off despite the fact I have absolutely no filmmaking skills. This is just something that I was thinking about while watching the Sci-Fi Original ‘Crimson Force’ which as far a Sci-Fi Original movies go, wasn’t so bad. Which admittedly is like saying ‘as far as dookey goes, mine doesn’t stink as bad’, but yet in a way it’s still praise.

In a tried and true Science Fiction device, it’s the future and governments have largely been dissolved and the world is now run by corporations. In another tried and true Sci-Fi device were about out of energy or something on Planet Earth and we need some of that cold fusion action for super clean, limitless free energy. To make this happen Super Greedy Corp has launched the first manned mission to Mars because Peanut down the street has advised them that Mars is loaded with free clean cold fusion style energy. Leading the mission is Super Greedy Corp company man Captain Baskin (C. Thomas Howell) who sees a precious appointment on Greedy Corps board of directors if he’s able to pull this off.

From the start things don’t go so well in this mission as lead pilot Ambrose (David Chokachi) advises Baskin that they should abort the mission due to some major malfunctions but Damn That! Says Baskin as he doesn’t want to miss out on this opportunity and thus crash lands on Mars. Well now the crew has to get the ship fixed

but unfortunately there’s a traitor on board, working for the defrocked government and killing crew members trying to fix the ship. Now I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but I’m thinking that we probably need the ship fixed if we plan to fly back to Earth – thus I wouldn’t be killing the people trying to fix it, that is unless there’s some kind of human sustainable life dome on Mars that we didn’t know about before we got here.

Amazingly while checking out the planet, our heroes run into a human sustainable life dome chock full of cold fusion type free clean energy and angry Martian guards. Now there’s a lot talking going on here but in a nutshell these Martians are the precursors of human life, led by their Priest King Marduk (Tony Amendola) and his hot warrior slutty wife Enya (Julia Rose). Mars is dying and Marduk wants to reopen negotiations with the violent earthlings in a technology for resources deal while Enya the slut just wants to kill us all and take what they need. Baskin just wants his board seat while pilot Ambrose and his hot co-worker Shara (Theresa Livingstone) simply wants love peace and happiness for everyone. And then there’s still the issue of the spy.

So I was poking around online and found some blurb by a guy who claimed to once work for the Sci-Fi network and he had stated that the Sci-Fi Network CEO was so cheap that she used both sides of the toilet paper. That’s funny. That also derails my plans to get rich making Sci-Fi original movies in my spare time. Directed by one David Flores who I guess is a staff director on the Sci-Fi Channel since he’s crafted a few of these movies, including the terminable ‘Lake Placid 2’, but ‘Crimson Force’ at least is miles better than that one. It’s not that good mind you, definitely falling into the category of mediocre entertainment, but when you’ve seen stuff like ‘Mammoth’ and ‘Mansquito’, mediocre is more than acceptable.  We liked Mansquito, by the by.

Yes the story is derivative, but it’s deep and complex, perhaps overly so, in its derivativeness. The special effects are suspect in some spots, but they are there and there are a lot of them. Even the acting is surprisingly passable, considering that C. Tom has been in more sub B movies than just about anybody on the planet earth and as such has figured out how these things go, there was a brief Jeff Fahey sighting which is almost as appreciated as much as a brief Eric Roberts sighting, and Steven Williams even had a nice turn as a Doctor… who had to die because he was Black… but, and this is a spoiler… they bring him back to life. I think a couple of times.

Yes it’s a Sci-Fi movie and it is worthy of all the derision that comes with that moniker, but at least it was more Sci-Fi like than all those killer Snake, Croc, Gorilla, Sabertooth, giant bug junk they usually show. Not good… but watchably mediocre. And ‘watchably’ is a word I just made up.

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