Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I guess I should tell you right off that that I enjoyed this movie ‘Paradox’ probably more than I should have. Probably more than it deserves to be enjoyed, but what am I gonna do, lie to you? I guess I could lie to you but what purpose would that serve? I guess I have a weak spot for Sci-fi channel type movies, alternate universes and cheongsams.

The movie is based on comic mini-series which explains why we are looking at panels and word balloons in lieu of other stuff like, you know, sets. Hardcore homicide detective Sean Nault (Kevin Sorbo) and his partner (Sean Carey) are racing to the scene of some crime. His partner is young as has a pregnant wife. I know… poor guy. Anyway they creep through this museum and see the dead guy sitting at his desk, though his death is strange looking to these detectives. Decent detectives would’ve checked the premises and yelled ‘Clear’ or some other stuff we see on TV, but not these guys which is why they didn’t see the criminal walk up behind them, shoot the young guy in the back of the head and put one in Sean’s chest before jumping out a nearby window and carried out by a gargoyle. Huh?

When the coroner (Alison Down) comes to the scene, sprinkles pixie dust in the form of pentagram on the floor and brings the dead curator back to life for a few seconds, we know that we aren’t on any Planet Earth that I’m familiar with. There are a lot of things similar to this earth and our parallel earth in the way of history but where our planet is science based, this one is magic based because all humans have this mystical force flowing through them, some more than others. Thus when Sean retrieved the metal slug that should’ve killed him from his cigarette case, he had no earthly idea what it was.

Something weird is going on and Sean needs to get to bottom of it. His boss Capt. Papillo (Christopher Judge) would like to be kept in the loop since Sean is one of those cops that don’t play by the rules and stuff, but this is probably not going to happen.

First order of business involves a trip to the local science shop of the cheongsam sporting Lenore (Steph Song) who he hopes can analyze the slug. That would be like going to a psychic or some other mystical soothsayer in our world, and as such Lenore is treated like a crackpot which has made her quite hostile. Next order of business is finding someone who has the mystical power to pull something like this off, a wizard, say Winston Churchill (Alan C. Peterson). Yup, Winston Churchill. He’s around a hundred and thirty but his mystical powers keep him fresh. Sir Winston isn’t behind this but he has educated Sean as to what is probably going on. Somebody has created a portal between our two worlds which explains the appearance of these odd science based weapons. So if Sean wants to solve this case he and his new hot scientific right hand woman are going to have to make a special trip to our world to get the clues to crack the case in their world. And as bad as this duo thinks the situation might be, it’s worse. A billion times worse. As in the number of lives that will be lost if the perpetrators of this crime aren’t stopped immediately.

Like I mentioned earlier I did enjoy ‘Paradox’ but mainly because I do enjoy real live creative science fiction and Christos Gage’s comic book, with the screenplay co-written by Gage and his wife Ruth Fletcher, is very inventive. Of course this is not to say that ‘Paradox’ doesn’t have its plethora of issues. Let’s start with the actual story supporting our movie, because while I have no idea what the original plan was for this thing, but it feels a lot like a television pilot. I mention this, not as a slight, but because of the running length and how short this movie actually was. The movie was humming along and I’m looking at the time, knowing the length of this film and I’m thinking ‘they’re going to have to hurry this up if they want to complete this movie’ and damn if things didn’t get sped up exponentially. It was like the original plan was to tell the story over a certain length of time, then that was scrapped with the producers choosing to compress it all into an eighty-minute movie. Far be it for me to wish any movie to be longer than it already is, but this one really could’ve used an extra twenty minutes or so to adequately conclude its story. For instance I have to believe that the plan was to do more with the plotline of our heroes making the journey to our version of Earth, but that little excursion was severely truncated and probably the most disappointing part of the story. And maybe another month or two could’ve been used to tighten up the special effects just a bit. Ray Harryhausen just texted to let me know those Pegasus creatures really needed some more work.

But the concept of the mystical based alternate earth was just too cool. I liked the way that director Brenton Spencer allowed this world to just develop before us, since at the outset this looked to be just another cop procedural. I also like a movie with righteous villains, bad guys who sincerely believe they are doing somebody a favor because it makes them better characters and it also makes it more difficult to root against them as opposed villains the way they are usually presented. Kevin Sorbo put in usual solid performance, Steph Song was rocking the cheongsam like it was nobody’s business and Christopher Judge uses that booming voice of his to great effect.

It’s a cop show that takes place in another earth that has gargoyles, flying horses and mutated porcupines. You can’t really go too terribly wrong with that, but I do feel like I was cheated out of a good chunk of the rest of the story.

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