Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Let me say that I greatly admire director Andrew Bellware’s film ‘Blood Mask’ or ‘Millennium Crisis’ as it has been renamed, because I guess it sounds cooler than ‘Blood Mask’ as I don’t think the words ‘Millennium’ or ‘Crisis’ are uttered one single time in the movie. I admire Mr. Bellware because it is a challenge to make any kind of movie on a low budget but this nut went and made a sci-fi flick with lots of special effects and robots and titties and stuff all on the low-low. Let me also say that most of ‘Millennium Crisis’ confused the hell out of me. I was making so little sense out of what was going on in front me that I don’t even think I qualify to comment on this film. Fortunately the All Movie Guide has a super long synopsis of this flick that I read after I saw this movie which had me saying ‘oooohhhh….. that’s what this was about’. It kind of makes sense now. Kind of.

The film opens at one of those ‘Star Wars’ style freaky space bars where weird creatures are hanging out being weird, when a scantily clad woman walks in and kills everybody in the place. I’m not quite sure why she did this. Now we are transported to another planet in this universe where Aurora (Claire Stevenson) is working what appears to be a dead end job, when her boss comes by showing one Ambassador Harkness (Ato Essandoh) around the place on some kind of guided tour. One of Aurora’s co-workers coerces her into using her amazing mimicking skills to copy her boss’s unique vocal tones, which her boss hears and ends up getting Aurora sacked for her trouble. This skill wasn’t lost on Harkness though as he knows a secret about Aurora that she doesn’t even know about herself.

Some other stuff happens that I’m not quite sure of but somehow Aurora meets this odd woman named Lucretia (Olja Hrustic) who is wearing some ‘Excalibur’ style Morgana le Fay gear and has a lethal metal tail that looks eerie similar to plumber’s snake. She also knows Aurora’s secret and is taking her on a little trip. Now in

between this trip we meet some Battle androids, a Nosferatu demon, and that woman who killed everybody in the beginning shows up in sword fight with a hero looking dude, but she fights him topless for some reason. Then we meet a scientist played by Ted Raimi who has figured out Aurora’s secret and has helped her understand who and what she is. Aurora you see is a Blood Mask, an ancient race of beings that can mimic any species they so choose and Ambassador Harkness plans to use her skills so that she can infiltrate the enemy, assassinate another ambassador and start an intergalactic war. He wants this to happen because he’s a life force vampire and the ensuing chaos would allow him to feed… or something to that effect. Well Aurora doesn’t dig that plan too much and will have to use all of her new found skills to defeat an undefeatable enemy and save the universe.

This movie was obviously a true labor of love for Bellware and his team and the effort that went into creating this film comes through in virtually every frame. Though this was obviously a low budget production and a lot of the special effect work did appear a bit chintzy, it’s not like the filmmakers had Industrial Light and Magic at their disposal and what they were able to accomplish using green screens, computer generated backgrounds and some rudimentary set design is fairly incredible. Of course all of the admiration and effort in the world doesn’t necessarily equate into a good movie as there are other factors which must be considered here such as narrative, acting, plotting and pacing, and here is where ‘Millennium Crisis’ suffers. There were huge chunks of this movie that were completely lost on me, such as the topless sword wielding assassin, and for that matter, the dude she was fighting, because I don’t know why they were in the movie and what purpose they served. It seemed to me that the film was too ambitious in its scope and as such a lot of the plotting of the film completely eluded me, though we could simply pass this off as me simply being an idiot, but idiots like to know what’s going on in a movie too. In addition to the confusing and branching storylines the movie dragged along in most parts, relying a lot on futuristic dialog chatter, which is fairly meaningless to you if you don’t really understand what’s going on in the first place. The actors do the best the can with what they are given with Claire Stevenson doing a good job appearing as confused about what her purpose was in the grand scheme of things in this universe as I was, plus she looks good in a catsuit. Love them hips girl. Ato Essendoh does a much better job being charming than he does being evil, and Ted Raimi knows low budget about as well as anybody and is a very accomplished and professional actor no matter what thankless role he appears in.

‘Millennium Crisis’ probably requires me to watch it again, which I almost never do and probably won’t do for this either, but a second viewing would probably clear some things up. Andrew Bellware’s film is an ambitious production and one I hope delivers him more opportunities, but it still wasn’t a very good movie.

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